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April is instead remembered as the month of the liberation of Holland, 'the sweetest of springs.' But April was also the cruellest month, for if the war was all but won, the killing had not stopped. In Zutphen young Germans fought fanatically, they still belief in Hitler and Nazism
The enemy defences in Zutphen were well prepared with the bridges blown and anti-tank obstacles blocking the roads forcing the Canadians into a series of difficult battles. Zutphen was defended by the 361st Infantry Division of the 88th Corps, with a parachute training battalion under command. These troops, many of them “teen-aged youngsters”, resisted fiercely during the Battle of Zutphen.
It’s two-pronged thrust westward into the town had begun on 6 April 1945. The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment on the right ran into heavy opposition and hand-to-hand fighting while Le Régiment de la Chaudière on the left made good progress. As a result, the plan changed, with the North Shores being pulled back to pass through the ‘Chauds’ right flank. Fighting continued through 7 April 1945. Sometimes the infantry were pinned down by snipers and machine-gun fire.
The coup de grace was given on the morning of the 8th, when the brigade penetrated the factory area with the help of flame-throwing Crocodile tanks. By midday the historic old town had been completely cleared, some of the defenders escaping across the IJssel in rubber boats. After the liberation of Zutphen the German prisoners were described as ‘young, about sixteen and seventeen years of age… When interviewed they still thought Germany would win and their belief in Hitler and Nazism was still unshaken. The battle for the city of Zutphen had cost the French-Canadians 56 soldiers, of whom 17 were killed.
Battlefield Tours offers battlefield tours for both private and mixed groups in Zutphen. Battlefield Tours can provide specific programs for larger groups, schools and scouting groups. In Zutphen we offer walking tours led by an experience guide. Most walking tours in Zutphen last approximately 2.5 hours.
The tours in Zutphen takes a half day. Combination with other tours into a multiple day tour is possible.
Possible tour days
Our private tours can be booked all year round and all week to availability.
Price, bookings and payment
Different prices for a private tour may apply depending on group size. Prices, terms and conditions can be found here. You can easily book the tour via the booking form on this page, or by contacting us directly. By submitting a booking you agree to our terms and conditions. After receipt of you booking request we will verify availability on the tour date(s) requested. If needed we will contact you to discuss details or other options. Presuming a requested tour date is possible we will sent you a confirmation email containing an invoice stating the total amount due and the deposit amount (if applicable) needed to complete your booking. Full payment is due 10 days prior to the start date of the tour.
Transport and pick up location
This is a walking tour. We start the Battlefield Tours from the restaurant Super Snack Rozengracht 3 in Zutphen. If you arrive by plane, you will probably fly to Schiphol, Amsterdam’s airport. The easiest way to get to Zutphen is by train. There is a train from Schiphol to Zutphen, which leaves every hour. You can plan your train trip using the journey planner of the Dutch railways. You should select Schiphol as your departure station and Zutphen as your destination. From the Central Station it only takes you several minutes to walk to the city centre and Rozengracht 3. Overnight accommodation is possible in Zutphen. Book overnight accommodation via this website.
Army Newsreel, about the Battle of Zutphen
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