On the southern bridge ramp of the Waal bridge hangs a plaque in memory of the conquest of the bridge by the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Grenadier Guards in September 1944. The text on the plaque reads:
This memorial plaque was unveiled on September 18, 1994 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Nijmegen and the capture of the road bridge by the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Grenadier Guards in September 1944.
On September 19, the Grenadier Guards crossed the bridge over the Maas-Waal Canal at Heumen and then turned left towards Malden. At De Kluis there was a temporary stop for reorganization. From there they went a little further north and then to the right towards Sionshof, nowadays Restaurant Konbanwa. From here the Guards crossed the Groesbeekseweg in the direction of the Waal Bridge.
The attack on both bridges would be carried out by the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, supported by a company of tanks from the 2nd Grenadier Guards and a company infantry of the 1st Grenadier Guards. All this under the leadership of the CO of 2nd Battalion, 505th PIR, Lieutenant-ColonelBenjamin Vandervoort.
The area of both bridges was defended by parts of the German 10. SS-Panzer Division "Frundsberg". Led by Kampfgruppe Reinhold in Lent, the railway bridge was defended by Kampfgruppe Henke and the Waal Bridge by Kampfgruppe Euling.
The paratroopers of Company E and F went via the Groesbreeksedwarsstraat towards the Waal bridge. Company D had meanwhile been advanced to the railway bridge via a completely different route west of the railway line. After intense street fighting, where fighting took place in houses, on roofs and in the gardens, the Allies managed to reach the south side of both bridges. Vandervoort: "A tank cannon thrust through a kitchen door really stimulates exodus." Unfortunately, it started to get dark and the final attack on the bridges was postponed until the following day. Vandervoort: "The decision to pause was disappointing. The momentum was ours all afternoon. We wanted to continue while we held the upper hand."
Do you have more information about this location? Inform us!
- Text: Jeroen Koppes
- Photos: Dick de Bruijne (1), Pieter Schlebaum (2), Jimmy Hilgen (3, 4, 5)
- WO 171/1253 War Diary 1 Grenadier Guards.
- ADAIR, A., A Guards' General, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1986.
- KERSHAW, R., It Never Snows in September.
- MARGRY, K., Operation Market-Garden.