Remains of a Canadian Soldier from WWII discovered in Netherlands

Pte. Albert Laubenstein appears in this undated photo [Via]

The remains of a Canadian soldier who died during Second World War has been recovered and identified. The Canadian Military revealed the name and details of the soldier in a statement issued last month. The soldier is identified as Pte. Albert Laubenstein, who was born on March 28, 1914 in Saskatoon. Laubenstein joined the Canadian military in 1940, and served in 102nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Artillery, the 4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, and the Royal Canadian infantry Corps and the Lincoln and Wellington Regiment. Pte. Albert Laubenstein was killed in the famous battle of Kapelsche Veer on January 26, 1945.

A narrow and long island on Maas River witnessed one of the most ambitious and seemingly impossible offensive of the Second World War. The harbor of the shore called Kapelsche Veer was under the firm control of Germans. German paratroopers had surrounded the harbor; along with a network of trenches and tunnels under and around the harbor. A previous attempt to take control of the harbor by the Allied forces had failed. The 47th Royal Marines and 1st Polish Armored launched a coordinated attack on January 15, however the Allies could not succeed in dislodging the Germans.

Everything about the harbor made it extremely impossible for the Allies to take control. Lack of trees on flat land, meant that there was no cover in case of a land assault. Even the land assault itself,  was a herculean task, since it was only possible through a 7-meter high dike, which was again too exposed and treeless. Another obstacle was the muddy soil, which made fast movement really challenging for the troops.

Men of Lincoln and Wellington Regiment were ordered by Major General Chris Vokes to practice a Canoe attack. General Vokes rightfully thought that the only possible way was to launch an attack through the dike using canoes to drop men on harbor.

Lincoln and Wellington Regiment launched the attack on the German Paratroopers on Kapelsche Veer on 26th of January. The attack was not particularly swift due to the extremely cold conditions. To make the matters worse, most of the canoes were unable to make to the harbor due to the frozen and shallow waters near the shore. A comparatively smaller number of troops made to the dike from the east. German paratroopers had dug tunnels under the dike and were waiting for the attackers with heir guns pointing upwards. Scores of Lincoln and Wellington Regiment troops were killed when Germans opened fire at them from under the dike.

The ‘B’ company was gaining a foothold in the west, by successfully resisting German counter attacks; soon it was reinforced by ‘D’ company. In the east however, after facing fierce resistance the Anti-tank platoon managed to gain a similar position over Germans. German Paratroopers were eventually besieged by Lincs in the east and Argylls in the west. After four days of fierce battle with cold weather and Germans, Allied Regiments took control of the situation, the CTV News reports.

In the Battle of Kapelsche Veer, 234 Canadians were killed and hundreds wounded, while more then 700 German troops were killed. A large number of German paratroopers managed to escape out of the Island.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE