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Thread: Battle for Arnhem....

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  1. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Re: Battle for Arnhem....

    Reports of tanks were now coming in to 101st HQ from Dutch sources, but they were also receiving reports of progress of the Garden flanking forces. They were unsure then as to whose tanks they were. In one example report a small unit of the 101st was spread thinly along a canal road when Dutch civilians sped up to them to warn of six German tanks on the way.

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    All they could do in practice was wait. The 101st was holding 20 miles of road, so thin defences were inevitable. The 101st defences east of Son were even thinner than intended, due to reserve units being sucked into a battle to the west of Son, at Best. The Bridge itself was defended by some engineers and a platoon of infantry, with glider pilots to the north east.

    The 506 PIR had also pushed out from Eindhoven into the surrounding country to the north east overnight September 18/19th. E Co, 2nd Battalion had reached Neunen, 4 miles NE of Eindhoven, with Cromwells of 15/19 Hussars. In the late afternoon on the 19th, tank/infantry patrols were sent to the woods outside the village when they bumped into 107th PB (flank protection screen for the main attack on the bridge) at 400 yards range. The PIR had been tank riding and now jumped off the Cromwell tanks, who looked for targets. None could be seen so nothing happened.

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    Sgt Martin jumped back on a tank to point out a hidden target, the tank edged forward and Martin urged caution. The commander replied, ‘I can’t see him old boy and if I can’t see him, I can’t very well shoot him’. Martin warned him he would, ‘see him dam soon’, and climbed down just before a Panther brewed it up. The crew bailed out, including the gunner who had lost both legs. The blazing tank was still in gear so kept moving. A Panther claimed a second burning Cromwell. The remaining tanks and PIR retired back to Neunen, pursued by 107th PB.

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    A sharp fight at dusk followed, after which the Allies withdrew to the outskirts of Eindhoven under cover of darkness.

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    These photos are of several collections, taken over many years. I acknowledge and thank the collectors for allowing me to take them.
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