Airheadsfly.com editor Dennis Spronk joined the preparations of the 2014 Market Garden Parajump at Eindhoven Airbase, the Netherlands, on Saturday 20 September 2014.
A historic Douglas C-47 Skytrain (Dakota) and modern-day C-130 Hercules aircraft were taking hundreds of modern day airborne assault troops up for a jump over Ginkel Heath (Ginkelse Heide) near the city of Arnhem, commmemorating the 1944 attempt to capture the strategic bridge over the river Rhine and to liberate the Netherlands from Nazi-Germany.
The weather was a bit foggy to start with, but conditions improved during the day. Dennis started early in the day feeding us with some quick smartphone camera work (see “the B-roll” at the bottom of this page) he loved to share with you.
Due to the still foggy weather not all aircraft went airborne: a Royal Air Force C-130, a Belgian Air Component C-130 and two German Air Force Transalls let their engines run for a long time without leaving the ground. Later the RAF and BAC Hercs did take-off.
But the US Air Force & Air National Guard plus the Royal Netherlands Air Force did go into the blue yonder for the mass drop over Ginkel Heath in the municipality of Ede – following a first jump by 25 paras from the Skytrain (Dakota) – with 60,000 spectators on the ground at the field. Make sure to read Airheadsfly.com commemorates Market Garden as well.
Airheadsfly.com commemorates Operation Market Garden this week. Our dedicated photographer Dennis Spronk joined the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division earlier this week when they showed how to take a strategic bridge in modern times, Saterday 20 September Dennis aims his camera at the airlift fleet that lifts of Eindhoven Airbase for the yearly paradrop on Ginkel Heath (Ginkelse Heide) near Arnhem.
In 1944 the allied operations in the Netherlands were well advancing. As part of World War 2 Operation Market Garden British paratroopers landed at the Ginkelse Heide (Ginkel Heath), municipality of Ede, province of Gelderland, the Netherlands (Nederland) at the 17th of September 1944. Their objective was to take the bridge over the river Rhine (Rijn) in the city of Arnhem, 8 miles (13 km) away.
A Bridge too Far
The paratroopers mission failed, and while part of the Netherlands was liberated the Arnhem ops became commonly known as A bridge too far – resulting in many stories, an impressive 1974 book by Cornelius Ryan that resulted in the classic 1977 war film with the same title directed by Richard Attenborough, the film icon who passed away on 24 August 2014.
For many years veteran paratroopers of the 1940s remembered the drop near Ede by jumping again, followed by active Dutch and British paratroopers. In 2014 the very old remaining veterans of the jump watch the spectacle from ground level alone.
Seventy years after the 82nd Airborne Division air landed into Nazi-German held territory of the Netherlands, the modern-day successors to those troops showed how it would be done today, on Wednesday 17 September 2014 at the Maas river banks of Grave, near Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Like in 1944 the troops marked the taking of the strategic bridge during Operation Market Garden. Airheadsfly.com dedicated photographer caught the modern day air landing on camera. You can read all about why, here.
Present in Grave this Wednesday was also the only veteran that was part of the operation still alive, the 93-year old Clinton E. Riddle, who landed by glider back then. This is what he – and many other modern-day spectators – saw:
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.