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During the winter of 194445 the Allies desperately sought a strategy for Germany’s quick defeat. From the Swiss border to the North Sea, hundreds of thousands of soldiers in trenches and dugouts suffered through the bitterest European winter in 50 years, while their generals debated and schemed in the war rooms. In this grim environment, First Canadian Army engaged in deadly patrols behind the German lines and fought costly skirmishes to gain control of small patches of contested ground. After much debate, the Allied high command decided that First Canadian Army would launch the pivotal offensive to win the war an attack against the Rhineland. Winning this land would give them a launching point for driving into Germany’s heartland. On February 8, 1945, First Canadian Army launched Operation Veritable. Advancing on the heels of the greatest artillery bombardment yet fired by the western Allies, thousands of Canadian and British troops advanced into an inferno of battle. Infantrymen were forced to fight relentlessly, alone and often at close quarters, for 38 grueling days. Their story is one largely lost to the common national history of World War II Forgotten Victory gives this important legacy back to Canadians.
Mark Zuehlke is the author of the critically acclaimed Canadian Battle Series and many other books. Having worked as a journalist, been educated as a historian, and written award-winning fiction, he draws on these varied experiences and skills to bring history to life for a general audience. He lives in Victoria.