Liberation Route Marker 35

LIBERATION ROUTE MARKER 35 - BRIDGE NUMBER 7

There were a number of bridges over the Maas-Waal Canal that would play a role in Operation Market Garden. From south to north they were bridge 7, near Heumen, bridge 8 near Malen, bridge 9 near Hatert and bridge 10 near rail bridge to Nijmegen. These bridges were the target for 1st Battalion of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. They were defended by the Landesschützen Battailon II / 6 and Kampfgruppe Runge.

Bridge 7 was between Heumen and Molenhoek, near the lock at the current Kapitein Postmalaan and Sluisweg. Company B was under the command of Captain Thomas Helgeson. His company approached the bridge from the west. They managed to push the German defense back to the islet in the middle of the canal, but the Germans did not give up. Afraid that the bridge would blow up into the air at any moment, Helgeson sent one of his men across the bridge to cut every cable. Around 7:30 pm a jeep patrol from the headquarters division arrived from the other side, followed a moment later by a group from the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. With these troops, the bridge could eventually be taken intact.

Company C was assigned bridges 8 and 9. When they arrived at bridge 8, together with elements of Company A, near the current new bridge at Blankenbergseweg, it was blown up before their eyes. Company C found bridge 9, at the current Van Boetbergweg, already blown up when they arrived there.

Bridge 10 was the northernmost bridge, or actually two, a rail bridge and a normal bridge (the current N326). This bridge too was blown up, but not completely. When XXX Corps arrived, Lieutenant Jones of the 14th Field Squadron reported that: "The demolition had been far too hastly to do any real damage. […] If it was operationally necessary, the bridge would take tanks, but otherwise it should first be repaired." XXX Corps would shift its route to advance through Heumen to Nijmegen. A few armored vehicles did cross bridge 10 to enter Nijmegen via that side.

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Related books

The Battle of the Bridges
Operation Market-Garden