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North West Europe 1944 - 1947:

Overview and Higher Formations

Chronology of Events
The campaign in North West Europe opened with the landings by Allied Forces in Normandy on 6 June 1944. Airborne landings were made by one British and two American divisions, with seaborne landings being made by two British, one Canadian and elements of three American divisions. The campaign concluded with the surrender of the German forces on 8 May 1945.

A chronology of events is provided to give a synopsis of key events, but, it should be noted that there were several other incidents and events that took place that were important to individuals or formations that do not appear on this chronology.

Order of Battle and Command Structure
The British and Canadian forces, together with the Polish, Belgian and Dutch formations, all served under the 21 Army Group. Four order of battle structure diagrams are included for the D-Day landings, Operation ‘Market Garden’, Operation ‘Plunder’ (the crossing of the River Rhine) and at the cessation of hostilities.

Higher Formations
The 21 Army Group commanded all the British, Canadian and some European formations that particpated in the campaign in North West Europe. In addition, at various times there were some American formations under command. This included the initial landings and operations in Normandy until the U.S. 12 Army Group became operational, and in The Netherlands in late 1944.

Apart from the initial landings, 21 Army Group comprised two Armies, namely the 1 Canadian Army and 2 Army. There were four corps of the British Army and one from the Canadian Army deployed in the campaign in North West Europe, namely:

I Corps;
VIII Corps;
XII Corps;
XXX Corps;
II Canadian Corps.

Late in the campaign, the I Canadian Corps was transferred from Italy to North West Europe at the request of the Canadian Government to bring all the Canadian formations together in one theatre.

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