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.
LATEST UPDATE 25 MARCH 2014 20:20 UTC | The armed forces of the Netherlands have turned a former navy air station into an airhead for the huge international Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in the area of The Hague from 23 to 26 March 2014. The US Army and US Marines landed nearby.
Five AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, 4 AS532U2 Cougar tactical transport choppers and 2 CH-47D Chinook medium-lift helicopters of the Royal Netherlands Air Force have as of 21 March 2014 been temporarily forwarded to ex-NAS Valkenburg near the Dutch governmental city, together with 500 personnel. Their number will increase to 19 helicopter of the armed forces and the national police, with at least three of the police’s Eurocopter EC135s on location. On Saterday a sixth RNLAF AH-64D arrived on Valkenburg, followed on Sunday by two National Police AW139s.
RNLAF F-16 Fighting Falcons will provide air coverage during the summit, with a pair of Vipers airborne at any time. They will enforce a declared no-fly zone above The Hague and hotels in Noordwijk near Amsterdam and intercept any threats. Extra F-16s will be put on alpha scramble alert on both Leeuwarden and Volkel airbases. Surface to air missiles have been put on five different locations in the crowded west of the country. See here a few photos of the RNLAF F-16s that flew CAP missions.
Tanker & AWACS
Eindhoven Airbase deploys 2 RNLAF KDC-10 tanker aircraft to refuel F-16s in the air, while NATOs AWACS fleet at German Geilenkirchen – near the Dutch border – has put 2 E-3 Sentry aircraft on alert. The Royal Netherlands Navy deployes air defence frigate Zr. Ms. De Zeven Provinciën off the coast, with corvettes Zr. Ms. Holland and Friesland in support with each of the corvettes having a NH-90 helicopter on board. The Coast Guard (Kustwacht) also deployed several vessels and is likely to put their Do-228s airborne as well.
During the NSS – with the actual summit days only on 24 and 25 March – a total number of 13,000 police and 8,000 Dutch military personnel will try to guarantee safety: 4,000 from the army, air force and navy plus 4,000 from the military police. The air situation picture during and from these days will not be shared via online media.
Rotterdam-The Hague Airport
Rotterdam Airport has seen several arrivals the last couple of days, including six US Army UH-60 Black Hawks arriving on 18 March. Two Presidential VH-60s and other stuff arrived by three USAF C-17A Globemasters on 15 (1 aircraft) and 19 (2 aircraft) March 2014. Check some images here. Another four C-17s landed on Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport.
The 58 world leaders and their entourage of 5,000 members will arrive in aircraft at Amsterdam-Schiphol IAP, where the so-called Polderbaan (Runway 18R – 36L) will be used for parking. Schiphol has already closed it down since 10 March and will execute scheduled maintenance after the nuclear summit. A relatively vast area around the runway will be a special secured area during the event.
From the following countries VIPs (and their aircraft) are expected: Argentine, Armenia (A319CJ), Australia, Azerbaijan (B767-300ER), Belgium, Brazil (VC-99B), Canada (CC-150), Chile, China (B747), the Czech Republic, Denmark (CL-604), Egypt, Finland, France (Falcon 7X), Gabon (B777), Georgia (G450), Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy (Falcon 900EX), Japan (2x B747-400), Jordan, Kazakhstan (A330-200), Lithuania (C-27J), Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria (B737BBJ), Norway, Pakistan (G450), Poland (ERJ175-200LR), the Philippines, Republic of Korea (B747-400), Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland (Falcon 900EX), Thailand, Turkey (B737-800), Ukraine (IL-62), the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States of America (VC-25A “Air Force One”, Gulfstream C-37B (G500), C-32 and more) and Vietnam (B777-200ER). Images of the arriving government aircraft can be found here.
One of the aircraft spotted early on at Schiphol was a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-150. Also the Chinese start early with an official state visit of the Chinese president on 22 and 23 March to the Netherlands ahead of the NSS2014. As it is custom during these state visits the Air China Boeing 747 was accompanied from the Dutch border by a pair of RNLAF F-16s. See images of these scrambled aircraft here.
Source: Ministerie van Defensie (the Netherlands MoD) / Nederlandse Politie (the Netherlands National Police), with additional reporting by AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger