UPDATE 19 SEPTEMBER 2014 | The Netherlands has started its yearly Liberation celebrations, dating back 70 years to the end of the Second World War when American, Polish, Canadian and French forces pushed back Nazi-German forces. First up is the village of Grave near the city of Nijmegen.
The current 82nd Airborne Division demonstrated – a bit – how they would redo their part in the famous and at the same time notorious Operation Market Garden on Wednesday 17 September 2014. Black Hawk helicopters didn’t exist during the 1940s, but they sure do now, making nice eye-candy when they landed near the John S. Thompson bridge of Grave.
Since 2004 this connection across the river Maas is named after the platoon commander of the 82nd Airborne (with the AA unit patch on their uniforms) who led a group of 16 men on 17 September 1944 from the Mars in the Wythpolder the 700 metres (765 yards) to the bridge to take the southern entry/exit point – after they killed the German AAA with a bazooka and a fire-fight with the Germans there. Later that day US forces managed to take the northern bridge head. Thomspon’s team were airdropped into the war zone just prior to the action.
Despite the fierce battle, the advancing Allied forces never succeeded to take all bridge over the three main rivers of the Netherlands, leaving part of the country liberated in 1944, but a huge chunk – including the most populous cities in the west – remained occupied by the Nazi-Germans till May 1945.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger