The “Q” Background
By the end of the second week in January the GERMAN offensive in the ARDENNES had been liquidated.
On 15 January therefore stock piling began for operation VERITABLE which was timed to commence on 8 February.
This operation was to be the first blow of what the C-in-C 21 Army Group in his personal message of 7 February characterised as “the last round”.
In that same message the C-in-C continued by emphasizing that the last round would continue until the final count and that there could be no relaxation until the knock-out blow had been delivered. These were the principles on which the whole of the administration in this phase was based.
Before the assault across the RHINE into inner GERMANY could take place the obstacle of the River MAAS had to be crossed, and the country between the two rivers cleared of the enemy until 21 Army Group could close up all along the RHINE from DUSSELDORF to ARNHEM with its right flank secured by the US armies.
From that moment the time taken for the build-up of the vast quantities of stores and bridging material required for the assault had to be reduced to a minimum in order to allow the enemy no opportunity to recover and regroup behind the protection of that great river obstacle.
Despite the fact that the date for the assault was brought forward by five days from that originally planned the whole build-up was completed the day before the attack.
From the moment that the signal “21 Army Group will now cross the RHINE” was put into effect the weight of the attack and the momentum of the pursuit had to be maintained until final victory.
As in the previous swift advance across FRANCE and BELGIUM the exertion of continual pressure on there treating and broken enemy depended on the necessary supplies and stores being constantly and instantly available to the fighting troops.
This object was achieved until the final count took place on LUNEBURG HEATH on 5 May.
It can be said, perhaps, that the administrative built-up for these operations was the setting in front of which the operational role of the fighting formations was enacted.
But just as no stage can be set without thorough and painstaking preparations behind the scene, so these administrative achievements could not have been brought about had not the work in the advance base and on the Lof C been carefully co-ordinated and directed to the final end of ensuring that the operations continued without pause until final victory.
The various aspects of this ground work peculiar to each service will be found in appropriate service paragraphs but it may be advisable to consider briefly some of the major policies, decisions and circumstances that contributed to the successful support of the armies before examining the administrative plans for the actual operations.