The 4th Armoured Division and the 2nd Canadian Division had first entered western Holland during the 1st Canadian Army operation to clear the Scheldt Estuary. Once Allied ships could sail to Antwerp unmolested by German forces, however, the army was reassigned. On 9 March, Field Marshal Montgomery, commander of the Allied armies in Europe, gave the 1st Canadian Army the task of pushing the German forces out of Holland. The 1st Canadian Corps, which had arrived from the Italian Front on 15 March 1945, joined the 1st Canadian Army for the operation.
The Canadian 1st Army launched its assault on 2 April 1945. The 1st Canadian Corps advanced northeast toward Amsterdam, while the 2nd Canadian Corps drove into western Holland and northern Germany. By 2 May, the Canadian 2nd Corps had occupied all of western Holland as well as the German towns of Meppen, Sögel, and Oldenburg.