Radio journalists Charles Lynch and Matthew Halton report on Otterloo
The narrative on this page was transcribed from a radio broadcast located
at the URL below as verified on 2015 06 17.
Charles Lynch was one of two journalists present for the battle
of Otterloo and was employed by Reuters at the time.
He is introduced by Matthew Halton of the Canadian
This news item was broadcast on
the second and final day of the battle
This is Matthew Halton of the
speaking from Holland.
Victory's in the air, but in the meantime there are still some
Last night, for example, a thousand Germans had been cut off by
the Canadians and made a desperate effort to get back into
They overran a Canadian headquarters and all through the long
night there was a bloody battle.
Here is Charlie Lynch to tell the story.
Charlie Lynch is a young Canadian, a war correspondent for
Reuters, who has made a world reputation for himself since
D-day in Normandy.
The German dead were strewn about the tiny Dutch village of
Otterloo today after one of the most savage little battles
of this campaign.
This was a battle between Germans and Canadians, 1000
men on each side.
This morning 400 German dead lay on the roads and in
the ditches and in the fields.
Two hundred fifty Germans had been taken prisoner.
Down a road leading into Otterloo from the north came a column
A Canadian artillery sergeant challenged them when they came
abreast of the gun lines.
The reply was a vicious burst of Spandau fire.
The battle of Otterloo was on.
Ten seconds after the Canadian sergeant's challenge,
there was bedlam.
Gunners jumped to their field pieces and fired them over
open sights at the oncoming Germans.
When the enemy overran the guns, the gunners dug themselves in
and went on fighting from their slit trenches with sten guns,
rifles, and pistols.
Not a single gunner surrendered and not a single gun was
captured but the Germans surged past the gun area and into
If the Germans could have penetrated this headquarters area,
they might have been able to dash right across
They did not get through.
A Canadian colonel firing from beneath his caravan killed two.
His batman killed three.
Nearly everybody in the headquarters has at least one notch to carve
on his gun.
Some have as many as ten.
At the height of the battle, four WASP flamethrowers trundled
into the battle-torn village of Otterloo.
They wheeled up to the road along which more Germans were pouring
to join the break-through attempt.
Great tongues of flame spurted out.
Terrible screams came from those who did not die instantly.
In front of one flame thrower this morning, I saw 105 German dead,
all terribly burned.
The flame throwers turned the tide.
With 400 Germans dead and 250 taken prisoner, the enemy attack
broke and tonight remnants of the German force are being rounded
up in the woodlands around Otterloo.
At 8:30 AM the fighting was over.
German prisoners started the tremendous task of burying their
Men like Lance-bombardier Tom Mauer of Hazel Dell, Saskatchewan;
Gunner Larry Agnew of River Hebert, Nova Scotia; and Bombardier
John A. MacLean of Montreal laid down their smoking guns and
congratulated one another.
Man for man these gunners and headquarter's soldiers had
outfought the Germans.
They killed more of the enemy than I have ever seen in such
a small area.
Their own casualties were not heavy.
Tonight there are 400 fresh graves at Otterloo.
The Canadians are ready to increase that number if the Germans
want to try it again.
[ Matthew Halton ]
You've been listening to Charlie Lynch of Reuters describing
what happened to a thousand Germans when they tried to
overrun a Canadian headquarters.
This is Matthew Halton of the CBC speaking from Holland.