Articles

  • Article by Pieter Schlebaum
  • Published on December 29th, 2011

Airraid on Kleykamp

The population registration administration and personal identity documents were an important checking tool for the German occupying forces. Slowly but surely a resistance movement developed itself against this system. The forging of these documents became a sophisticated issue. Another possibility was the elimination of the administration registers. One of the most well-known examples thereof is the attack on the Kleykamp in The Hague. The remarkable fact of this attack is that it was not carried out by the resistance movement itself, but by aircraft of the Royal Air Force.

  • Article by Pieter Schlebaum
  • Published on September 9th, 2016

Attack on the Pegasus Bridge

On June 6, 1944 the greatest amphibious landing in history took place on the beaches of Normandy, known worldwide as D-day. For many inhabitants of the occupied countries in the west, this was a day never to be forgotten. Over 130.000 allied troops set foot on French soil to liberate them from German occupation. Just after midnight, on the night of 5/6 June one of the most daring actions of that day took place. British troops landed by glider and in a lightning attack captured the Bénouville bridge over the canal near Caen. Today, this bridge is better known as the Pegasus bridge, named after the flying horse in the division emblem of the 6th British Airborne division. Not only the Bénouville bridge was their objective, but also the bridge over de river Orne, now known as the Horsa bridge.

  • Article by Pieter Schlebaum
  • Published on April 19th, 2014

Battle for Bastogne

On the 16th of December 1944 the Germans launched a last offensive against the fast moving allied forces on the Western Front. No fewer than 24 German Divisions were involved in the attack. The purpose of the German offensive was to force a breakthrough in the Ardennes which would divide the allied troops in two and then to move towards Antwerp. The allies were completely surprised by the German attack and from 16 to 20 December the German troops advanced towards Stavelot, Sankt Vith, Houffalize and Bastogne. Bastogne was a crucial hub in the Ardennes for traffic, which controlled the north - south and east - west routes. Eisenhower realized the strategic value of the Bastogne cross roads and sent the 101st Airborne Division to the town. The city had to be held at all cost. On 20 December Bastogne had been surrounded by the Germans. They employed all possible efforts to conquer the town, which led to the Battle for Bastogne. The deceleration the German progress suffered from because of the Battle for Bastogne proved to be crucial for the further development of the offensive.

  • Article by Jeroen Koppes
  • Published on June 5th, 2019

Battle for Sluis 11

It was September 1944. Dolle Dinsdag (Mad Tuesday) had just passed and operation Market Garden was about to begin. The strategic target of operation Market Garden was a bridgehead on the Veluwe with runners across the IJssel. Airborne troops were charged with securing a number of river crossings, so that the ground units from the XXX Corps could advance. This corps would move in across ‘Hell’s Highway’ from the Belgian border at Eindhoven and Nijmegen to Arnhem. However, the Arnhem Bridge proved ‘a bridge too far’.

  • Article by Sjoerd Aarts
  • Published on July 8th, 2015

Battle for the Elsenborn Ridge

The Elsenborn ridge is a boomerang shaped, higher laying ground east of the Belgian village Elsenborn with view on the villages Krinkelt-Rocherath and the German border. When at 16 December 1944, the Ardennes offensive started,the forward American units were ordered to fall back on this easily defendable position. Surprised by the sudden German attack the Americans fought for four days in order to secure themselves and to contain the German advance. The Ardennes offensive officially lasted from 16 December 1944 to 25 January,1945 but this battle for the Elsenborn ridge, fought between the American 99th and 2nd Infantry Divisions and the 6. German Panzerarmee would be decided in the advantage of the allies in four days.

  • Article by Jeroen Koppes
  • Published on April 26th, 2018

Battle for the river Elle

"And now, on 11 June 1944, I was alone with two other men from another company with very little ammunition, cut off and not sure what to do. We crept like cats from place to place, hoping to find our lines or at least other Germans with a leader among them. Stray shots, bad luck or the will of God, I’ll never know why, but by nightfall the others were dead. I found a place on the top of a rather high hedgerow, curled up with my machinegun and waited for something to happen. In the end I was fast asleep." Obergrenadier Martin Eichenseer of the 916. Grenadier Regiment about the battle for the Elle.

  • Article by Arie Netten
  • Published on January 11th, 2012

Battle for the river Scheldt

The developments on the Western Front, from the moment the allied troops crossed the river Seine by the end of August 1944, made the position of Antwerp more and more important. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the American commander of all allied troops in Western-Europe already saw in an early stage that future operations, deep into Germany, only were possible if the provisioning and supply could take place through a deep water harbor close to the frontline. In August 1944, the allies did not comply with that condition. The advance that followed from the river Seine had to comply with this demand and one of the primary targets of the allies was the liberation of Antwerp.

  • Article by Peter ter Haar
  • Published on February 12th, 2014

Battles for Overloon and Venray

In the autumn of 1944, in a remote area of the Netherlands known as de Peel, a vicious battle was fought to reduce a German bridgehead west of the Meuse near the German border. Preceded by Market-Garden and followed by the Ardennes offensive and because of its dismal nature, heavy losses and lack of success it has been somewhat forgotten in history. Hence "forgotten battle" or "battle in the shadow". The troops themselves called it "Second Caen", because of the ferocity and unforgiving nature of the fighting. The operation was conducted by the US 7th Armored Division and later British 3rd Infantry and 11th Armoured Divisions. On the defending side was the German Kampfgruppe Walther consisting of paratroopers from the 21. Regiment, a battalion sized unit from the 10. SS-Panzerdivision Frundsberg and a Luftwaffe 88 mm battalion. The hard core of the unit was the 107. Panzerbrigade.

  • Article by Wesley Dankers
  • Published on September 21st, 2012

Bombardment of Nijmegen, February 22nd, 1944

Almost every Dutch person is familiar with the German bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940. In order to force the capitulation of the Dutch army, in the afternoon of May 14th, the Germans bombed the city of Rotterdam, resulting in approximately 800 deaths. However, far fewer people will be familiar with the American aerial bombardment of Nijmegen on February 22nd,1944, although this attack resulted in the same number of casualties or maybe even more.

  • Article by Pieter Schlebaum
  • Published on February 6th, 2016

Bombardment of the Saumur Tunnel, 8-9 June 1944

No.617 Squadron is commonly known for its actions during the Dambusters raid (Operation Chastise), for which it was specially formed. But after this famous raid it was kept in existence for the remainder of the war as a precision-bombing unit. In this role 617 Squadron carried out various other missions. One of them was the bombardment of the Saumur Tunnel in occupied France during the night of 8-9 June 1944. The raid was prepared in great haste because the Allied commanders believed the Germans would use the tunnel to move a Panzer unit to the Normandy battlefield. The tunnel was successfully bombed and the attack is regarded as a notable contribution to the success of the Normandy invasion.

  • Article by Jeroen Koppes
  • Published on July 12th, 2015

Defence of Carpiquet, 7 June 1944

"Was I seeing clearly? An enemy tank was pushing through the orchards of St. Contest! It then stopped. The commander opened his hatch and observed the terrain. Was he blind? Didn't he realize he was only 200 meters from the Panzergrenadiere of the II./SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 25 and the barrels of our antitank guns were directed at him? Obiously not. He calmly lit a cigarette and looked at its smoke. "

SS-Standartenführer Kurt Meyer, commanding officer of the 25. SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment

  • Article by Peter Kimenai
  • Published on July 15th, 2015

Dutch contribution to Operation Neptune

Operation Neptune was the maritime counterpart of Operation Overlord, the allied landing in Normandy that started at 6 June 1944, better known as D-Day.

  • Article by Wilco Vermeer
  • Published on February 11th, 2017

First attack on the Waal Bridge, 17 September 1944

The capture of the various bridges across the rivers and canals in Mid-Holland was one of the most important assignments given to the three airborne divisions who were deployed during Market garden. Regarding the 82nd Airborne Division around Nijmegen, the railroad bridge across the Meuse at Grave, the bridges across the Meuse-Waal canal at Mook-Molenhoek/Katwijk and the railroad-traffic bridge across the Waal at Nijmegen.

  • Article by Peter Kimenai
  • Published on February 20th, 2015

Mine sweeping activities on the Scheldt, 1944

For the Royal Dutch Navy, the most direct and visible contribution to the liberation of The Netherlands was the participation in mine sweeping actions on the Scheldt in the second half of 1944.

  • Article by Frank van der Drift
  • Published on February 22nd, 2015

Operation Bodyguard, deception for Overlord

During the Teheran Conference in November 1943 the "Big Three", Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, approved of a plan of deception.Germany was to be deceived as to the place, time and means for the future landing in Normandy, codenamed Overlord.

  • Article by Mia van den Berg
  • Published on December 19th, 2016

Operation Haudegen

Operation Haudegen was the code name of a secret mission of the meteological department of the Kriegsmarine on the island of Spitsbergen, carried out by a small complement of 11 men.

  • Article by David Izelaar
  • Published on October 17th, 2012

Operation Pegasus 1

After the dramatic end of Operation Market Garden, about 300 allied soldiers in the German-occupied territory, north of the Rhine, managed to obviate war captivity by the Germans. These paratroopers (para's) were taken under the wing of the local resistance as much as possible. For various reasons these paratroopers had to cross the river Rhine as soon as possible. In collaboration with the local resistance, the Allies prepared for a mass escape.

  • Article by David Izelaar
  • Published on October 17th, 2012

Operation Pegasus 2

During World War II, Major Airey Neave was head of British Intelligence. He was responsible for providing opportunities for Allied soldiers to escape from occupied territory in Western Europe and therefore he was partly responsible for operations Pegasus 1 and 2. According to Neave, Operation Pegasus 1 was the largest escape from occupied territory during World War II.

  • Article by Jeroen Koppes
  • Published on April 18th, 2015

Operation Stack

I went over to C Company and found a satisfied commander. He had secured the row of houses north of the steel factory until the village of Colombelles. He was only concerned about the fire from the direction of the village itself. He thought the 1st Gordons were shooting at him. We didn't know at the time that the 1st Gordons hadn't gained their objectives- Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Thomson, commander of the 5th Black Watch, commenting on the first hours of operation Stack.

  • Article by Pieter Schlebaum
  • Published on November 30th, 2014

Preamble to the battle for Bastogne

The battle for Bastogne was a decisive moment during the Ardennes offensive. The harsh wintery conditions and the fact that the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division were poorly rested and completely surrounded, made the successful defending of the city into a heroic happening.

  • Article by René ten Dam
  • Published on March 17th, 2013

Sinking of the Junyo Maru

Many people think the sinking of the Titanic was the biggest disaster in modern history also due to the romanticized motion pictures. Over 1,500 people drowned in the icy waters of the Northern Atlantic in the night of April 14th to 15th 1912.

  • Article by Peter Kimenai
  • Published on July 5th, 2019

Sinking of the Tirpitz

On September 15, 1944, Tirpitz' forecastle was struck by two Tallboys and from then on she was no longer seaworthy. The vessel was transferred to the small island of Håkøy near Tromsø in order to serve as a floating artillery emplacement. The ship now was well within reach of AVRO Lancaster bombers flying from Scotland

  • Article by Pieter Schlebaum
  • Published on December 22nd, 2013

Transportation Plan

The German supremacy in Northwestern Europe was one of Dwight Eisenhower's main concerns in the run-up to D-Day, seeing as the Germans had over 60 divisions in that area. If only a minority of those troops would be sent off quickly to reinforce the front after the Allied landing, the Allies would have a serious problem. It would have taken them months to get an equal-sized force on the ground. To prevent this problem, two plans were designed: 'Bodyguard', which aimed to misdirect the Germans, and the 'Transportation Plan'. The latter was designed to isolate the Norman battlefield by bombing the German transport lines, thus keeping the Germans from reinforcing the front. This way, the German upper hand would be a lot smaller, and would give the Allies time to build up a considerable force in the bridgehead. The plan, however, sparked heavy debate at the Allied High Command.