Douglas & McIntyre
Terrible Victory

Book details:

November 2007
ISBN 978-1-55365-227-4
6 1/8" x 9 1/4"
560 pages
History HIS000000
History / Canada HIS006000
$37.95 CAD


  • 'Terrible Victory' nominated for the 2007 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize

Douglas & McIntyre

Terrible Victory

First Canadian Army and the Scheldt Estuary Campaign: September 13 - November 6, 1944

BOOK SIX in the Canadian Battle Series

Terrible Victory is a gripping account of Canada's bloody liberation of western Holland, one of our finest, and most costly, militar

Mark Zuehlke returns to his best-selling narratives of the Canadian army in World War II, with this account of Canada's bloody liberation of western Holland, one of our finest, and most costly, military victories.

In September 1944 nothing mattered more to the Allies than liberating Antwerp, Europe's largest port, so that it could become the supply lifeline to the great armies driving toward Germany. On September 4 the port fell to Second British Army and it seemed the war would soon be won. But Antwerp was of little value unless the 12-mile-long West Scheldt Estuary linking it to the North Sea was also in Allied hands. In his greatest blunder of the war, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery failed to realize this. Set on winning the war with the great offensive known as Market Garden, Montgomery turned his back on Antwerp, leaving the First Canadian Army to fight its way up the long coastal flank.

By the time the Canadians and the British, Polish, and Belgian troops that served with them reached the area, it had been transformed into a fortress manned by troops ordered to win or die trying. The Germans knew that the use of Antwerp's ports must be denied to the Allies at any cost. The battle that raged from September 13 to November 4 was for Canada the bloodiest of World War II, costing more than 6,000 casualties.

But it was not the bloodshed alone that made the Scheldt Estuary Campaign such an ordeal. The battleground was as great a foe as the Germans. Dominated by polders-lowland wrested by massive systems of dykes from the sea-it was a muddy quagmire that rendered tanks useless and confined infantry to dykes swept by fire from heavily entrenched machine-gun positions. One veteran's testimony said it all: "To most soldiers who fought from the beaches through to Germany, the fighting in the Scheldt was the worst and most ferocious." Winning that battle required all of the Canadians' courage, endurance, and skill.

Mark Zuehlke has been hailed by the highly respected Canadian historian Jack Granatstein as Canada's leading popular historian. Terrible Victory is the latest in Mark's bestselling series on Canada's major army campaigns and battles of World War II, which include Ortona, The Liri Valley, The Gothic Line, Juno Beach, and Holding Juno. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed For Honour's Sake: The War of 1812 and the Brokering of an Uneasy Peace; The Gallant Cause: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939; and co-author of The Canadian Military Atlas: Four Centuries of Conflict from New France to Kosovo. Terrible Victory is his 19th published book. When not writing history, he often turns to fiction and is the author of the award-winning Elias McCann mystery series. He lives in Victoria.

About the Author

Mark  Zuehlke

Mark Zuehlke

Hailed by Jack Granatstein as Canada’s leading popular military historian and short-listed for both the 2007 and 2013 Pierre Berton Award for popularizing ...

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