LIBERATION ROUTE MARKER 105 - A FATAL DELAY
It was already against dusk that Major Edward Tyler’s No. 2 Squadron in the north of Valkenswaard could form a defense. The rest of the Irish Guards spent the night at the Markt. In the evening, an unsuspecting German ambulance half-track from Schwere Heeres-Panzerjäger-Abteilung 559 entered the village and was captured: "A welcome addition for the transport of 3rd Battalion."
At the end of the first day the entire Irish Guards were in Valkenswaard. At 10 p.m. it was decided to continue the advance of the Irish Guards the following day at 7 p.m. This appears to be a controversial decision. Historian Margry writes that after a day of fighting the Irish Guards indeed needed rest, but that the Grenadier Guards, the next in the column, could have pushed through.
"Brigadier Norman Gwatkin, CO of the 5th Guards Brigade, reportedly told Colonel Vandeleur [CO 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards] late on the 17th that there was no more reason to hurry up because the 101st Airborne had lost the bridge at Son and the bridge material had to be brought in. The loss of the bridge at Son should have been a reason to hurry up since they themselves were the ones who had to bring the Bailey equipment needed to to build the bridge. "
Lieutenant-General Horrocks indicates that Gwatkin had been informed that the bridge at Son had been blown up. However, Gwatkin could not yet know that the bridge at Son was destroyed, they would not be in radio contact with the 101st until the next day. Historian Didden indicates that the Guards stopped because they had reached their goal for the first day. That too does not seem to be entirely true. He will return to this in a later book and indicates that they are still a few kilometers to the south of their goal. The War Diary of the 5th Guards Armored Brigade gives Eindhoven the target for the first day and gives Phase I "to Eindhoven". It also clearly indicates that Valkenswaard must have been captured in the afternoon.
Whatever the reason, it would not be until the next morning that the Irish Guards would continue the advance to Eindhoven.
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- Text: Jeroen Koppes
- Photos: Jeroen Koppes
- Major Eddie Tyler - The Telegraph
War Diary 2nd Battalion Irish Guards 1944
WO 171/605 War Diary, 5th Guards Armoured Brigade.
WO 171/1256 War Diary, 2nd Irish Guards.
- DIDDEN, J., Fighting Spirit.
- DIDDEN, J. & SWARTS, M., Autumn Gale Herbssturm.
- HORROCKS, B., Corps Commander, Magnum Books, 1979.
- MARGRY, K., Operation Market-Garden.