On 12 September 2009 Our battlefield tour started with the visit to the renewed Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek. Ather then we went to vital places in the Arnhem area during the battle of Arnhem. First we were in Oosterbeek, then Wolfheze, the vital Arnhem bridge and finally the Westerbouwing.
 
Here we are standing on a vital crossroad in the Battle of Arnhem: the crossroad near restaurant "De Koude Herberg". On Wednesday 20th September 1944 The Borders were under heavy German fire. The Germans attacked the positions of A Company at De Sonnenberg. They were supported by a B2 Flammpanzer of the Panzer Kompagnie 224. At the Utrechtseweg at the beginning of the Sonnenberglaan a British 17 pounder anti-tank gun was in position. That was number 1 gun of X troop of the 2nd (Oban) anti-tank Battery under the command of sergeant Horace 'Nobby' Gee. When the tank came in sight it was disabled with one shot.Simultaneaously with the appearance of the tank to the Sonnenberglaan from the Utrechtseweg two Flammpanzer and a self propelled gun appeared, supported by the infantry of SS battalion Eberwein. The crossroad near De Koude Herberg was defended by two platoons of C Company 1st battalion The Border Regiment. number 17 platoon with positions on both sides of the road and number 18 platoon behind them in the houses at the southside of the Utrechtseweg. They were driven away from the crossroad. The C Company had three 6 punder anti-tank guns. Two of them, the Hellespont and the Scimitar, were in position at De Koude Herberg but unable to fire. The third 6 pounder Gallipoli II was probably in position in the garden of house number 17 at Van Lennepweg. This gun fired an armour piercing granate and demolished the tank. The tank halted in front of De Koude Herberg. The crew succeeded to escape. After the battle this tank was used by the Germans to practise with Panzerfausten. Still in 1945 military men of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade found this tank when they visited Oosterbeek. Here we are standing on a vital crossroad in the Battle of Arnhem: the crossroad near restaurant "De Koude Herberg". On Wednesday 20th September 1944 The Borders were under heavy German fire. The Germans attacked the positions of A Company at De Sonnenberg. They were supported by a B2 Flammpanzer of the Panzer Kompagnie 224. At the Utrechtseweg at the beginning of the Sonnenberglaan a British 17 pounder anti-tank gun was in position. That was number 1 gun of X troop of the 2nd (Oban) anti-tank Battery under the command of sergeant Horace 'Nobby' Gee. When the tank came in sight it was disabled with one shot.Simultaneaously with the appearance of the tank to the Sonnenberglaan from the Utrechtseweg two Flammpanzer and a self propelled gun appeared, supported by the infantry of SS battalion Eberwein. The crossroad near De Koude Herberg was defended by two platoons of C Company 1st battalion The Border Regiment. number 17 platoon with positions on both sides of the road and number 18 platoon behind them in the houses at the southside of the Utrechtseweg. They were driven away from the crossroad. The C Company had three 6 punder anti-tank guns. Two of them, the Hellespont and the Scimitar, were in position at De Koude Herberg but unable to fire. The third 6 pounder Gallipoli II was probably in position in the garden of house number 17 at Van Lennepweg. This gun fired an armour piercing granate and demolished the tank. The tank halted in front of De Koude Herberg. The crew succeeded to escape. After the battle this tank was used by the Germans to practise with Panzerfausten. Still in 1945 military men of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade found this tank when they visited Oosterbeek.
Crossroad at "De Koude Herberg"

Here we are standing on a vital crossroad in the Battle of Arnhem: the crossroad near restaurant "De Koude Herberg". On Wednesday 20th September 1944 The Borders were under heavy German fire. The Germans attacked the positions of A Company at De Sonnenberg. They were supported by a B2 Flammpanzer of the Panzer Kompagnie 224. At the Utrechtseweg at the beginning of the Sonnenberglaan a British 17 pounder anti-tank gun was in position. That was number 1 gun of X troop of the 2nd (Oban) anti-tank Battery under the command of sergeant Horace 'Nobby' Gee. When the tank came in sight it was disabled with one shot.Simultaneaously with the appearance of the tank to the Sonnenberglaan from the Utrechtseweg two Flammpanzer and a self propelled gun appeared, supported by the infantry of SS battalion Eberwein. The crossroad near De Koude Herberg was defended by two platoons of C Company 1st battalion The Border Regiment. number 17 platoon with positions on both sides of the road and number 18 platoon behind them in the houses at the southside of the Utrechtseweg. They were driven away from the crossroad. The C Company had three 6 punder anti-tank guns. Two of them, the Hellespont and the Scimitar, were in position at De Koude Herberg but unable to fire. The third 6 pounder Gallipoli II was probably in position in the garden of house number 17 at Van Lennepweg. This gun fired an armour piercing granate and demolished the tank. The tank halted in front of De Koude Herberg. The crew succeeded to escape. After the battle this tank was used by the Germans to practise with Panzerfausten. Still in 1945 military men of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade found this tank when they visited Oosterbeek.

Van Lennepweg

A welknown picture of running British soldiers through a garden of a house at the Van Lennepweg. You may often seen this scene in documentaries about Market Garden. I was at the same spot on September 12 and took a photograh again. Only the house has changed. Still the fence with curvature is there...

 

Kate ter Horst

A well known person in Oosterbeek is Kate ter Horst. Kate ter Horst (born July 6, 1906, Amsterdam Ė February 21, 1992, Oosterbeek) was a Dutch full-time housewife and mother who tended wounded and dying Allied soldiers during the Battle of Arnhem. Her British patients nicknamed her the Angel of Arnhem.
Ter Horst was born Kate Anna ArriŽns, daughter of Pieter Albert ArriŽns and Catharina Maingay. She married Jan ter Horst, a lawyer from Rotterdam, with whom she had six children. One of her daughters, Sophie, still resides in the family home in Oosterbeek.
During Operation Market Garden, the British 1st Airborne Division parachuted to capture the Arnhem bridge but was outgunned by the German army. Captain Martin asked the Ter Horsts permission to set up a regimental aid post in their house at the Benedendorpsweg in Oosterbeek. The family consented.
The house of Kate ter Horst

During the eight days of fighting, Ter Horst tended to about 250 wounded British paratroopers herself, while having five young children. Some of her most famous actions in looking after the British troops are; walking around her home reading the bible to dying soldiers and finding water in the most unlikely places (such as the boiler and toilet) when the house was at the center of conflict. At the time, anyone who tried to leave the house was shot. Mrs. Ter Horst wrote about these experiences in a book called Cloud Over Arnhem.
In November 1947 her oldest son, Pieter Albert, was killed by a left over anti-tank mine in a meadow along the Rhine.
She starred in Theirs is the Glory, a movie made directly after the war about the battle of Arnhem in which survivors were asked to re-enact the parts they played in the battle.
In the 1977 movie A Bridge Too Far her character is played by Liv Ullmann. In 1980, the British ambassador to the Netherlands decorated Kate and her husband as Honorary Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. She died of an accident in 1992 (knocked down by a car outside her home next to the Lonsdale Church), while Jan died at the age of 98 in 2003.

The former Hotel Schoonoord. Here we used the lunch. Inside Cafe Schoonoord in Oosterbeek there is a room dedicated to the 1st Airborne division.
This is written inside Cafe Schoonoord.
This is written inside Cafe Schoonoord. Painting inside Cafe Schoonoord.
 
Wolfheze

We visited dropping zone "X" of the 1st Parachute Brigade at Wolfheze and after that the culvert of Wolfheze.

Landing zone 'X' at Wolfheze when the gliders came.
This is the former landing zone "X" at Wolfheze on 12 September 2009. Landing zone 'X' at Wolfheze when the gliders came.
The culve of Wolfheze at the Johannahoeveweg.
The culve of Wolfheze at the Johannahoeveweg.
The culvert was a small brick-built cutting under the Arnhem railway line near Wolfheze. It was the close to the scene of the ambush of men from 1st Airborne Recce by the SS Krafft Battalion on 17th September 1944 and overlooks the ground where Captain Lionel Queripel won the Victoria Cross on the 19th.
It was used by elements of 4th Parachute Brigade to withdraw from the position north of the railway line on 19th/20th September 1944. Most of the wheeled transport was taken to the railway crossing in Wolfheze, and some even tried to drive up the steep embankments. However, it was found the Culvert could be used by jeeps if some air was let out of the tires. Once on the other side the men could proceed to the Oosterbeek area.
For some years it was speculated that this event was among the many rumors surround the Arnhem operations, but it was proved possible in the 1990s by using wartime jeeps which all made it through the Culvert - an event that has been repeated many times since.

Johannahoeveweg at Wolfheze.
 

Arnhem bridge

Plaquets near the Arnhem bridge.

 
The vital bridge in operation Market Garden. The Rhine bridge at Arnhem. Here we were on 12 September 2009. It is hard to believe that such a bitter fighting took place 65 years ago. This was on the third day, Tuesday, September 19. During the early morning hours the 1st Parachute Brigade began its attack towards Arnhem Bridge, with the 1st Battalion leading supported by remnants of the 3rd Battalion, with the 2nd South Staffordshires on the 1st Battalion's left flank and the 11th Battalion following. As soon as it became light the 1st Battalion was spotted and halted by fire from the main German defensive line. Trapped in open ground and under heavy fire from three sides, the 1st Battalion disintegrated and what remained of the 3rd Battalion fell back. The 2nd South Staffordshires were similarly cut off and save for about 150 men overcome by midday. The 11th Battalion, (which had stayed out of much of the fighting) was then overwhelmed in exposed positions while attempting to capture high ground to the north. With no hope of breaking through, the 500 remaining men of these four battalions withdrew westwards in the direction of the main force, 5 km (3 miles) away in Oosterbeek.
The 2nd Battalion and attached units (approximately 600 men) were still in control of the northern approach ramp to the Arnhem bridge. The Germans recognised that they would not be moved by infantry attacks such as those that had been bloodily repulsed on the previous day so instead they heavily shelled the short British perimeter with mortars, artillery and tanks; systematically demolishing each house to enable their infantry to exploit gaps and dislodge the defenders. Although in battle against enormous odds, the British clung to their positions and much of the perimeter was held. Lt. Colonel John Frost's force at the bridge continued to hold and established communication via the public telephone system with 1st Division around noon learning that the division had no hope of relieving them and that XXX Corps was stopped to the south in front of Nijmegen bridge. By the afternoon the British positions around the north end of Arnhem bridge had weakened considerably. Casualties, mostly wounded, were high from constant shelling. An acute lack of ammunition especially anti-tank munitions, enabled enemy armour to demolish British positions from point-blank range. Food, water and medical supplies were scarce, and so many buildings were on fire and in such serious danger of collapse that a two-hour truce was arranged to evacuate the wounded (including Lieutenant-Colonel Frost) into German captivity. Frederick Gough took over as commander when Frost left.
 

Westerbouwing

We were on the Westerbouwing. This hill played an important role during the Battle of Arnhem. The soldiers from the 1st Border were dislogdged by German troops. They could sweep the entire river with their machine-guns. Especially the Polish on the other side of the river came in trouble. They were constantly shot and only could cross the river during the night. In this they did not succeed completely, al light bullets were fired during the crossing. Only 200 of them managed to reach the other side of the river. On day later the Dorsetshire Regiment also tried it, but they failed, as the Germans could easyily reach them from the height of the Westerbouwing. ALso because of the sacrifice of this Regiment the battle was cancelled. On the Westerbouwing a beautiful restaurant is situated. On the wall of the restaurant a plaque is fit which commemorates the Dorsets. From here we can also see the Driel ferry, the church towers of Elst and Driel, and the power station of Nijmegen.
Plaquet on the wall of restaurant on the Westerbouwing.
Plaquet on the wall of restaurant on the Westerbouwing. Railroad bridge Oosterbeek as seen from the Westerbouwing.