Following the breakout from Normandy in August 1944, the British Army made some of the fastest advances in history, racing across northern France and Belgium. When German resistance stiffened in the Netherlands, the British paused briefly to resupply, then set out again. The armoured divisions of Operation Garden pushed north to where Operation Market's 1st Airborne Division held a precarious foothold across the Rhine, only to be stopped by the revitalised German Army. With the days of rapid advances over, the British and Canadian Armies turned to clearing the Scheldt Estuary to open the vital supply port of Antwerp, opening it to shipping in November 1944. With their supply lines secured, it was time to clear the flooded west bank of the Rhine and the dank Reichswald. Interrupted by the Battle of the Bulge, the British and Canadian attacks destroyed the remains of the German Army west of the Rhine in March 1945. The Rhine crossing led to a month of desperate battles as the British captured the North Sea ports and ended the war on the shores of the Baltic Sea.