More Seelowe Nord Battlefields

by Phil Johnson | June 29th, 2010

In this update there are a few views of the area around the Cawood pocket where, in the novel, the Germans hit their high-water mark, just before the British counter-attack. This first picture below is a view from where the German spearhead, led by the SS Totenkopf first ran into the defenders of the pocket. You are looking towards the forward edge of Bishop Wood, where Chalky White and his mate Lance Corporal Woods were dug in with their Bren Gun. The ground is very open as you can see, even in high summer, and the SS Troopers and their supporting armour were raked with fire as they pushed forward.

Next are some photos of the very furthest point of the German advance, where Engels and his Panzer Grenadiers finally came to grief. The first photo shows the railway junction at Church Fenton. You can just see, between the Y-Junction of the tracks, some woods and houses where the British positioned one of their many strong points. The German Panzers and their supporting Grenadiers got as far as the side of the tracks on the left of the photo. Unfortunately, the copse where Engels’ company were pinned down is now obscured by the newly built houses. The hedgerow and embankment on the right of the photo was also heavily defended by the British, and this photo is taken from the bridge next to the village railway station, which itself was a strongpoint in the book. Unfortunately, the Junction Hotel, which once stood next to the station and as another British strongpoint also frustrated the German plans has recently been demolished, presumably for more housing.

And below, a close up of the houses and undergrowth, sandwiched between the rail tracks, that were heavily fortified and fiercely defended by the British in the novel.

The RAF airfield at Church Fenton is still there, but is now only used for flying on rare occasions and is kept on as an emergency services rally point in the event of a major disaster in the region. Standing on the bridge by the station, or next to the airfield, you can look west and clearly see Towton ridge, with its lone tree. In reality, this ridge once witnessed the bloodiest battle on English soil on 29th March 1461 during the Wars of the Roses. In the novel, it is from Towton ridge that the British artillery lay down barrage after barrage as the advancing Germans roam about the Cawood pocket, looking for a way to break out.

In the next post – the ground where Merkal gets such a shock when the British counter-attack begins.

Comments are closed.


Seelöwe Nord is the online home of Andy Johnson, a war fiction novelist. Seelöwe Nord is a war novel that tells the alternative history of Operation Sealion, the proposed German invasion of Britain in 1940. Followed by Thunder in May, and the recently released Crucible of Fate, the trilogy of War Fiction remains a popular read within the genre.

Andy has also started to publish small Leadership and Management Booklets drawing from his extensive experience across many sectors and industries, both military and civilian, the first of which is entitled Captains of the Gate and is now available for download on eReaders directly from Amazon.