John S. Thompson Bridge

In the plans, Bridge 11, the current John S. Thompson Bridge over the Maas near Grave, was attacked from two sides. Where the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment mainly jumped north of the bridge, only Company E was charged with a jump south of the bridge. Everyone actually jumped too early from this company, except for one stick. It was Lieutenant John Thompson who saw that they were still above the nearby Velp. He jumped a little later and landed with 15 people close to the bridge. Waiting for the rest of the company would take too long, he immediately decided to start the attack.

"We worked our way down various canals wading in water up to our necks. By this time, firing from the town and the buildings around us had increased considerably and there was now firing coming from a camouflaged flak tower on the southern approach to the bridge. [] The flak tower continued to fire but by now the fire was going over our heads. My bazooka man, Robert McGraw, worked his way forward and fired three rounds, two of them going into the top of the tower. The gun then ceased firing."

The south side of the bridge was thus secured. Moments later a 2nd Battalion patrol arrived on the north side of the bridge. Lieutenant Company F McCash crossed the bridge from the north to see what was going on on the south side. He reported at 16:00 that Thompson had conquered the south side with his stick. At 4:50 pm the battalion commander was able to report "Bridge No. 11 is ours". Around midnight, the battalion had secured Grave and captured a 1.5-kilometer perimeter south of the bridge. On September 19, around 8:30 AM, the 2nd Household Cavalry, the peak of XXX Corps, reached the Americans at the Grave Bridge. Thompson: "It was a welcome sight to watch them from our positions all that day with their array of tanks and trucks."

After the Second World War, the bridge was named after the Lieutenant John S. Thompson. This happened during the commemoration in September 2004 by the widow of John S. Thompson.

Do you have more information about this location? Inform us!


Related books