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Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof 
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Pieter F

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Bericht Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
In februari heb ik in het topic 'Ter herinnering aan' aandacht besteed aan Sergeant Aubrey Cosens (D-Company, 1st Bn, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada). Iemand waar ik goed contact mee heb, heeft deze plaats bezocht en de aanval uitvoerig beschreven op WW2 Talk. Met zijn toestemming zal ik zijn verslag ook hier op het STIWOT-forum plaatsen.

Aanvullingen op het verhaal zijn uiteraard altijd welkom!

Pieter F schreef:
In herinnering aan Sergeant Aubrey Cosens (23)

Zoon van Charles en Yvonne Cosens. Afkomstig uit Latchford, Ontario, Canada. Zijn vader Charles was een veteraan uit de Eerste Wereldoorlog. Aubrey werd op 21 mei 1921 geboren en genoot zijn onderwijs aan de Porquis Junction School. In 1938 stopte hij met school en ging hij bij de spoorwegen werken. Een jaar later wilde hij zich aanmelden voor de Royal Canadian Air Force, maar hij werd afgewezen. In 1940 nam hij alsnog dienst, bij de Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada. Hij diende in Canada, Jamaica en Engeland. Hierna werd hij in de zomer van 1944 overgeplaatst naar de Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.

Op 26 februari 1945 nam hij deel aan de aanval op Mooshof. Hierbij werd hij gedood door een Duitse sluipschutter. Cosens ligt begraven op de Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery.

Afbeelding
Foto: VAC

Afbeelding
Foto: Pieter Schlebaum

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za jul 28, 2012 7:21 pm
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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
On 26 February 1945, the Canadian 2nd Corps, launched a set-piece attack called Operation Blockbuster, designed to break through the last German defensive line west of the Rhine, the "Schlieffen Line" which centered on the Hochwald feature. The first objective of the Canadian attack was to secure the high ground to the south and southeast of Calcar (also known as the Calcar - Uedem ridge), which was used by the Germans as an advanced zone of resistance for the main Hochwald defence. To the 3rd Cnd Infantry Division, operating on a one Brigade front on the right of 2nd Cnd Corps, fell the task of capturing the high ground in the Keppeln area and securing the town of Uedem, which served as southern anchor of the German defensive line in this area.

In this operation, which started in the early hours of 26 February 1945, Sergeant Aubrey Cosens of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his actions at Mooshof. It was the first Victoria Cross to come to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.

Afbeelding

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za jul 28, 2012 7:24 pm
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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
On the night of February 25/26, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada launched an attack to secure ground, the possession of which was essential for the large-scale operations in the immediate future (Blockbuster).

The first phase of the attack was made by 'D' Coy with two platoons up. Sergeant Aubrey Cosens was sergeant in No. 16 Platoon, which had under command two tanks of the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment, with orders to capture the farm buildings of Mooshof. The platoon was to cross its startline, which was about half a mile from the objective (near the Ebbenhof), at 0430 hours. Before reaching the startline, it came under heavy enemy shell fire, but the attack went in on time and was pressed home through the darkness in face of intense artillery, mortar and small arms fire.
On reaching Mooshof, the enemy was found to have prepared positions throughout the area and to have strongpoints in three farm buildings. The platoon attacked these buildings twice but, on each occasion, was beaten back by fanatical enemy resistance.
The enemy then counterattacked in strength. In the darkness, and aided by his knowledge of the ground, the Germans succeeded in infiltrating into the position which No. 16 Platoon had hastily taken up. In bitter and confused fighting this counterattack was beaten off, but not until the platoon had suffered heavy casualties, including the platoon commander.

(Text taken from: Valour in the Victory Campaign, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Galantry Decorations 1945, by T. Robert Fowler, p. 51 and onwards)

Afbeelding
1. The startline of the attack of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada lay just beyond the Calcar - Goch road, it stretched between the Ebbenhof ond the left and the Gottern Farm on the right. Picture of the area near the Ebbenhof.

Afbeelding
2. The Mooshof Farm as seen from the Ebbenhof, the terrain was flat and without cover but for the scattered stone farmhouses around which the enemy had dug in.

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za jul 28, 2012 7:38 pm
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Pieter F

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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
Sergeant Cosens at once assumed command of the platoon. To a lesser spirit, the situation would have seemed hopeless as the enemy was obviously present in force, and he was able to find only four survivors of his platoon. In addition one of his two tanks had become separated from the infantry during the fighting and the area was being swept from all sides by intense enemy fire.

Not daunted and determined to carry on with the attack notwithstanding the odds, Sergeant Cosens organized his four men in a covering fire position and himself ran across twenty-five yards of open, flat, bullet-swept ground to his one available tank. Here, with magnificent contempt of the very great danger, he took up an exposed position on the tank, sitting in front of the turret and, with great daring, calmly directed the fire of the tank against enemy positions which had been pinpointed in the previous fighting or which disclosed themselves by their fire.

Once again, the enemy counter-attacked savagely in force. Remaining on the tank and completely disregarding the enemy's superiority in numbers and the withering fire, Sergeant Aubrey Cosens led and inspired the defence. He plunged the tank, in the blackness, into the middle of the attackers. His bold tactics resulted in the complete disorganization of the enemy force, which broke and fled after sustaining many casualties.

Turning promptly and with great courage to the offensive, and notwithstanding the sustained enemy fire from all directions and the obvious risks in the darkness from concealed enemy posts and from snipers, Sergeant Cosens determined to clear the three buildings. To do so, he ordered his four men to follow the tank on which he was riding. He ordered the tank to ram the first building a one-storey farmhouse and, when it had done so, aided by the covering fire of his men, he entered the buidling entirely alone, killed several of the defenders, and took the rest prisoner.

Sergeant Cosens then pressed relentlessely on and directed the tank, under continuous heavy fire, towards the second building. En route, he saw in the flash of shell fire, the body of one of his comrades who had been killed in one of the first abortive attacks on his position, lying in the path of the tank. Calmly he halted the tank and removed the body. Continuing, he had the tank fire into this building and then he entered it alone to find that the occupants had fled.

With splendid persistence, he then advanced to the third building which was a two-storey farmhouse and strongly held by the enemy. Under cover from the tank and from his little band of four men, he again made a one-man entry into this building and personally killed or captured its occupants.

The hard core of the German resistance in the immediate area was thus broken. Sergeant Cosens promptly gave his small force orders for the consolidation of the position and started off to report to his company commander. He had not travelled twenty-five feet when he was shot through the head by an enemy sniper. He died almost instantly. The German force in the Mooshof area had by this time been so completely battered and dispirited, however, that there was no further counter-attack against this position. The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada was able to pass through to its next objective and the other attacks were able to proceed according to plan.

(Text taken from: Valour in the Victory Campaign, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division Galantry Decorations 1945, by T. Robert Fowler, p. 51 and onwards).

Afbeelding

Afbeelding

Afbeelding

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za jul 28, 2012 7:42 pm
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Pieter F

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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
Kaart van het gebied:

Afbeelding

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za jul 28, 2012 7:45 pm
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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
Schematische weergave van de gevechten van de Queen's Own Rifles of Canada:

Afbeelding

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za jul 28, 2012 7:47 pm
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Pieter F

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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
Afbeelding
View towards Wimmershof as seen from the Mooshof area. The farmhouse of Wimmershof was the final objective of B Coy's attack.

Afbeelding
View towards the southeast from the same spot. The trees mark the Uedem - Calcar road which had to cut by the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada. The church spire of Keppeln, the village was the objective of the North Shore Regiment of the 8th Cnd Inf.Brigade, is visible in the distance.

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za jul 28, 2012 7:50 pm
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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
Colonel Charles Stacey beschreef de gevechten bij Mooshof ook in zijn boek "The Victory Campaign":

On the 3rd Division's front The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada were having a difficult time. The mile or so of open slope up which the battalion had to advance was dotted with several farmsteads whose buildings were fiercely defended by German paratroopers. At first the sodden ground ruled out direct tank support, and at 4:40 a.m. Lt.-Col. S. M. Lett sent his two assaulting companies across the start line alone. Hard fighting developed on the left, where "D" Company found the hamlet of Mooshof strongly held. The enemy had converted three farm buildings into strongpoints, and from these the leading platoon was twice driven back by sustained fire. A German counterattack was beaten off in bitter, confused fighting at a cost of many casualties, including the platoon officer.

In this emergency Sergeant Aubrey Cosens took command of the other survivors of his platoon, only four in number. Through the thick of the enemy fire which was sweeping the area from all sides he ran twenty-five yards across an open space to a tank of the 1st Hussars which had now come up in support. Seating himself in front of the turret he calmly directed the gunner's fire against the German positions, and then broke up a second counter-attack by plunging the tank into the midst of the startled paratroopers. Next, taking the offensive, he reorganized his little group and, still crouched on top of the Sherman, ordered the driver to ram the first of the three buildings. While his men gave covering fire he went inside, killed several of the defenders and captured the rest. When he entered the second house he found that the occupants had not awaited his coming. Covered by the tank's fire he then crossed the road alone to clear the third strongpoint-a two-story building held by several Germans. "We followed him from building to building gathering the prisoners", one of his comrades later reported. Having thus broken the hard core of resistance in Mooshof, Cosens gave orders for consolidating the position, and set off to report to his company commander. On the way he was killed by a sniper's bullet. This very gallant non-commissioned officer had himself killed at least twenty of the enemy and captured as many more, and had gained an objective vital to the success of the 8th Brigade's operations. The Victoria Cross posthumously awarded to him was the first to come to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.

From Mooshof the two reserve companies of the Queen's Own fought grimly forward towards the battalion's final objectives about Steeg and Wemmershof, north of Keppeln. Intervening strongpoints were reduced with the aid of Wasps. By the time they reached their final goals the armour of the 4th Division had passed through the two villages, but the stubborn enemy had still to be driven from the cellars. By five o'clock all was secure, and Phase One of "BLOCKBUSTER" was over. The day's fighting had cost the battalion 37 killed and 64 wounded.

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za jul 28, 2012 7:55 pm
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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
Op de website van de Queen's Own Rifles of Canada is dit schilderij te vinden van de acties van Cosens.

Afbeelding

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za jul 28, 2012 7:58 pm
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Fedor

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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
Interessant en goed verhaal.

En weer een punt om te fotograferen :)

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za jul 28, 2012 8:40 pm
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stolpi

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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
Ik zie dat de foto's bij deze posts helaas zijn verdwenen. Zie voor meer over Cosens' actie bij Mooshof:

http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/48254-a ... t-mooshof/


za jun 18, 2016 11:29 am
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stolpi

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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
nieuwe link naar WW2talk topic: http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/ma ... ald.55003/


wo sep 14, 2016 7:15 am
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stolpi

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Bericht Re: Aubrey Cosens' Victoria Cross en het gevecht bij Mooshof
Ik zie dat ik aan mijn vorige post het verkeerde linkje heb toegevoegd; hierbij de juiste link naar Aubrey Cosens:

http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/au ... hof.48254/


wo dec 28, 2016 6:54 pm
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