Liberation of Groesbeek by the 82nd Airborne Division on September 17, 1944.

On Sunday, May 28, 2017, we participated in a unique battlefield tour organized by Battlefieldtours where we were picked up at the National Liberation Museum 1940-1945 in Groesbeek by a Liberation Tour Dodge WC-51. We were immersed in the 1944 atmosphere with 40's music and events of September 1944. This tour was noted for the 82nd Airborne Division at Market Garden.

We stopped at an open model of a Waco Glider. On board the Dodge there was a video screen and our guide could show images of the location we found in September 1944. We saw the American airlands and the landing area. And we got an explanation of Operation Market Garden. Then we climbed into the model of the WACO. We had a view of the Reichswaldzoom. On September 17, 1944, before the airlands, Groesbeek was boasted by a severe air bombardment at the expected German positions on the edge of the Reiswald. We also stayed at the nearby 'bommenbos'. During the war years, the occupier was employed at various places in the Netherlands. The Feldmunitionslager 15 / VI in the State Forest between Groesbeek and Mook was commissioned in 1943 for the supply of German military airports. Here were the German practice bombs made of concrete. We saw the specimens at homes in and around Groesbeek, which were used as markings.
Operation Market Garden

It was September 17, 1944. On that date, Operation Market Garden began. A bold plan of General Montgomery. This meant that British and American airline divisions had to conquer important bridges of, among other things, the major rivers Maas, Waal and Rhine, after which land groups from Belgium could bridge these bridges towards the IJsselmeer. As a result, the Germans were caught in the Netherlands in a force of tears, and it was possible to upgrade to the Ruhr area, which was the heart of the German war industry.


The plan was very ambitious and speed was important. The British 30th Army Corps, headed by Lieutenant General Brian Horrocks, had to get out of Belgium and be in Arnhem within three days. For these three days all intermediate bridges had to be conquered. The US 101st Airline Division (Screaming Eagles), headed by General Major Maxwell D. Taylor, had to secure all bridges between Eindhoven and Veghel. The other American airline division, 82nd Air Force Division (All-American), led by Brigadier General James Gavin, was commissioned to conquer all bridges between Grave and Nijmegen. The British First Airborne Division, headed by General Major Roy Urquhart, had to take the bridges across the Rhine near Arnhem. The Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, headed by General-Major Stanisław Sosabowski, supported the British at Oosterbeek, to defend the Rhine.

Operations Market included the airplane plan and Operation Garden the ground offensive, together became this Operation Market Garden. The operation would be preceded by a bombing to turn off the German Air Force and the airports in the south of the Netherlands. The British 30th Army Corps, headed by Lieutenant General Brian Horrocks, had to push the bridge head over the Maas-Schelde Canal at Schelde Canal at Lommel over the route cleared by the airfield troops. They had to follow the route over the ashes Eindhoven, Sint-Oedenrode, Veghel, Uden, Grave, Nijmegen and Arnhem. From there, the corps had to divert to the IJsselmeer to cut off the German troops in the West Netherlands. After that, bridges of Isburg, Zutphen and Deventer had to be crossed over the IJssel, whereupon one could immediately pass on to the Ruhr area.
The forefront of the British 30th Army Corps was formed by the Army Division "Grenadier Guards". Below was the 43th Wessex and 50th Northhumberland Infantry Division. Finally, the British 8th Army Brigade and the Dutch Princess Irene Brigade followed.

The British 30th Army Corps consisted of more than 50,000 men and about 22,000 vehicles. This had to be moved to Arnhem over only one road. So the ground operation was very vulnerable to counter attacks. To reduce the vulnerability, two more army corps were used to protect the flanks. The British 8th Army Corps covered the right wing while the left flank was protected by the British 12th Army Corps.


During the battlefield tour, the following people were mentioned: General James Gavin, Captain Arie Bestebreurtje and Resistance Officer Jan van Hoof.

General Gavin

Major General James M. Gavin

On September 17, Gavin was Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Market Garden. His mission was to occupy the Maasbrug in Grave, and at least one of the four bridges across the Maas-Waal Canal and the bridge over the Waal in Nijmegen. At the landing he damaged two intervertebral discs, but the doctor said nothing was going on, so he walked through. Only five years later the damage was determined.
On November 12th, the 82nd left France. Because he was opposed to the presence of the US army in Vietnam, Gavin was nominated as president's candidate in 1968, but he did not make himself available.
He died at the age of 82 in a nursing home in Baltimore at complications of Parkinson's disease in 1990 at the Old Chapel in West Point.
Gavin was the commander of the city of Nijmegen. On 29 June 2009, the Mayor of Nijmegen Thom de Graaf received some veterans for a memorial at the liberation monument in Groesbeek. Gavin was represented by his daughter Barbara Fauntleroy Fuller.
Arie Dirk Bestebreurtje

Bestebreurtje photographed at a field hospital


Arie Dirk Bestebreurtje Was a Dutch reserve major at the Wapen of Infantry. When the war broke out, he escaped with his wife and daughter via Portugal to the United States, from where they traveled to England later. In October 1943, he volunteered in England with the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) and became one of the nearly 300 "Jeds" (agents of the Jedburgh group) in 1944. In 1944, Bestebreurtje conducted a Jedburgh team and was dropped as Dutch liaison officer with two Americans, Willard 'Bud' Beynon and George Verhaeghe. They were added to the American 82th Airborne Division and became involved in the air landings at Nijmegen. Best breach knew the area well, because in his youth he had spent cycling holidays here. He had also participated in the Nijmeegse Vierdaagse.
On September 17th he went to Groesbeek on exploration. He overwhelmed a waiting post and returned with valuable information. When he the next day with Commander Gen.Maj. James Gavin [1] went on patrol, they became an ambush. He killed the German and saved the life of his commander. At later explorations he injured his hands and elbow. A few days later, he went to a British unity and managed to reach the Waal bridge after killing a sniper and catching another. He helped keep occupied land occupied so that US airland troops could land.
At the end of October he joined the British in the liberation of 's-Hertogenbosch. He was the liaison officer who maintained contacts between the British and Dutch domestic armed forces. In the night of April 7th, he became part of Amherst operation. His team also consisted of RAF captain Harcourt, Carel Ruijsch van Dugteren and British sergeant radiotelegraph C.C. Somers. There was parachute over Hooghalen in Drenthe; Due to the bad weather they came to camp Westerbork. At the landing, Bestebreurtje was unlucky on his leg and could not participate in the operation. Harcourt hid him and Best Breast is in the woods for a couple of days. After four days he reached the farm of Mr. Schutten in Hooghalen. Harcourt was captured later. The other members of the team were so dispersed dropped that there was no contact with them. On Friday, April 12, the region and Kamp Westerbork were freed by the Canadians.
During the war he was called Captain Harry, because the Americans and British could not pronounce his last name.

View of the village of Groesbeek, which is quite peaceful in contrast to September 1944. I took this picture from the Dodge WC-51 during the battlefield tour.
View of the village of Groesbeek, which is quite peaceful in contrast to September 1944. I took this picture from the Dodge WC-51 during the battlefield tour.
Our guide explains a panel at the landing area, where General Gavin and Captain Bestebreurtje were landed.
Our expert guides JoŽl Stoppels and Bert Eikelenboom gave us an explanation of the Waco Glider, a replica of which is written at the landing area of the 82nd Airborne Division at Groesbeek.
View of the landing areas of the 82nd Airborne Division under the direction of General Gavin at Groesbeek.
Behind the Dodge was a screen shot on which we saw a movie about the landings at Groesbeek. Our guide showed a map of the area indicated by the military operations.
The 'General Gavin Monument' in Groesbeek is a memorial wall, made of red bricks. Two black marble plaques are embedded in the wall. On the right plate there is a picture of a soldier. In the pavement, a memorial stone is provided in front of the wall.
During the tour, take a cup of coffee and break while enjoying the surroundings and the rest.
The tree house you see here was the lookout post of General Horrocks who directed the operation
Bezoek aan het Nationaal Bevrijdingsmuseum 1944 - 1945 te Groesbeek
After the tour, we visited the Liberation Museum in Groesbeek.
The Liberation Museum in Groesbeek will also meet you on the Liberation Route.
Just a self-made at the Sherman tank of the Liberation Museum in Groesbeek.
If you want to visit the current Liberation Museum, you need to be there soon ...
In the museum the exhibition Rosie The Riveter. This exhibition tells film images and unprecedented pictures the story of 'Rosie the Riveter', a name that became a symbol for American women who filled the workplaces of men who went to the front during World War II.
Diorama of the Waaloversteek near Nijmegen. The Waal Crossing was crossed by the 82nd Air Division Division of the River Waal on September 20, 1944 at Nijmegen, on the western side of the village of Lent. This action was part of the Operation Market Garden in the Battle of Nijmegen, aiming to conquer the traffic bridge and railway bridge in the Arnhem - Nijmegen railway line.
In the museum you could experience what it was like to be in a shelter during a bombardment, under the influence of air alarm.
Parachutist of the 82nd Airborne Division ready to jump out of the plane.
Hungering for the liberation was listened to Radio Oranje, broadcasting the message of the conquest of the Waal bridge at Nijmegen in its news broadcast.
More about the National Liberation Museum 1940 - 1945 at Groesbeek at War Museums on ARS Website.