CRITICAL OPERATIONS OF THE DIVISION
The parachute echelon of the Division began it's drop at 1300 on D-Day, September 17, 1944. The 501st Parachute Infantry,
with two platoons 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion attached, dropped on two DZ's; one 2 miles west of VECHEL and the other
some 3 miles northwest of VECHEL. The Regiment, less the 1st Battalion, landed on DZ "A" west of VECHEL, proceeded to that
town and by 1500 had seized all initial objectives which were the two Highway Bridges and the two Railroad Bridges over the
WILLEMS VAART CANAL and the Aa RIVER. No resistance was encountered on this DZ. The 1st Battalion landed on DZ "A-1" in the
vicinity of KASTEEL, assembled and reached VECHEL by 1700. The 1st Battalion received some resistance from scattered enemy
troops in the vicinity of the DZ. Some resistance from scattered enemy groups was encountered in the taking of VECHEL, but
no organized defense of the town was made by the enemy. At dark the regiment was well dug in and set to defend the town against
any enemy attack. All bridges were seized intact. The Engineer Detachment immediately began the construction os a second bridge
across the WILLEMS VAART CANAL in order to permit two-way traffic if the situation so required.
The 502nd Parachute Infantry
with 3 platoons 326th Airborne Engineers Battalion attached, landed on DZ "B" without enemy opposition and all Battalions
were assembeled by 1500. The 1st Battalion proceeded to ST. OEDENRODE and after a skirmish, seized the town and its objective,
the bridge over the DOMMEL RIVER, intact. This Battalion then proceeded to gig in at dark and had the situation well in hand.
Company "H" of the 3rd Battalion proceeded to the Highway Bridge at Best; secured it initially against little enemy resistance,
but was forced to withdraw just before dark by reason of a strong enemy counterattack. The remainder of the 3rd Battalion
was then dispatched to join "H' Company, with orders to secure the bridge the next morning. The remainder of the Regiment
went into Division Reserve in the vicinity of WOLFSEVINKL.
The 506th Parachute Infantry landed
on DZ "C" without enemy opposition. Companies of the 1st Battalion departed immediately without formal assembly in an effort
to secure the three bridges over the WILHELMINA CANAL in the vicinity of ZON before they could be blown by the enemy.
Scattered enemy resistance was encountered before the main bridge and forward elements were within 100 yards of this bridge
when it was blown by the retreating enemy. (It was found that two bridges had been blown several days before). The Regiment
began the crossing of the canal by various expecients, and by 2400 the entire regiment was on the south side of the Canal
and a bridghead extending for some 2,000 yards.
The Command Echelon of Division
Headquarters jumped with the 502d Parachute Regiment and established an initial Command Post at ZON. Some 70 gliders carrying
additional Command personnel, the Reconnaissance Platoon, Signal and Medical Personnel, and some transportation for the combat
units, landed on the LZ about 0ne hour after the parachute landings. Overall time of landing of all parachutists and gliders
was one and one-half hours. Communication was established with all elements except the 501 by dark on this date.
The 501st Parachute Infantry continued
the defense of VECHEL throughout the day. Communication was established with Division at 0600. Several light enemy attacks
were repulsed, but no major effort to retrieve the town was made. The 1st Battalion of the 502d Parachute Infantry continued
to hold ST.OEDENRODE and likewise repelled several light enemy attacks. The 3rd Battalion of the 502 attacked at first light
in an effort to retrieve the Highway Bridge at BEST, but suffered heavy casualties at the hands of the enemy force which had
been strongly reinforced during the night. The 2d Battalion was then ordered to assist the 3rd Battalion in securing the bridges.
The Battalion penetrated to the outskirts of BEST, but was forced to withdraw by heavy artillery, mortar, and small arms fire,
and took up a defensive position to the left of the 3rd Battalion. At dark the entir regiment less the 1st Battalion was in
a defensive position east of the highway facing the enemy defenses around the Highway Bridge at BEST.
The 506th Parachute Infantry
with the 3rd Battalion leading, advanced on EINDHOVEN at first light. The 3rd Battalion was held up at WOENSEL, one mile north
of the city, by determined enemy resistance. The 2nd Battalion made a wide envelopment to the east of the city, outflanked
the enemy defenses, and seized the town at 1300. Contact was made with a British Reconnaissance Patrol at 1215 north of the
city. At dark the regiment was in control of the entire city and was in position defending the important bridges in the city
which were the main objectives.
At about 1530, some 428 gliders carrying the 3rd Battalion of the 327th, the Engineer Battalion, the remainder of the Medical
and Signal Companies, elements of the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion and additional supply and administrative vehicles,
arrived at the combat area. The 3rd Battalion of the 327th was assigned the mission of providing local protection for the
LZ and the Division service area.
British Forces reached the south side of the canal at ZON at approximately 2100 and immediately began the construction of
a bridge across the Canal.
The bridge across the Canal was completed during the night and at 0615 leading elements of the Household Cavalry and Guards
Armored Division began crossing. These same leading elements passed through ST.OEDENRODE and VECHEL by 0645. One Squadron
of the 15/19 Hussars was attached the the 506th at EINDHOVEN, and one squadron to the 502d at ZON.
"C" Company of the 501 was ordered to send one platoon to DINTER. Reports from this company indicated the enemy was in some
force in and around this town. The 3rd Battalion of the 501 was ordered to move from VECHEL to EERDE and take up a strong
defensive position at that point. The remainder of the 501 continued in a close in defense of VECHEL and during the day the
2d Battalion repulsed an enemy attack fron the northwest estimated at over 250 Infantrymen. During the late evening, Company
"E" was driven back from it's outpost position about 200 yards by a well executed night attack by enemy parachutists.
First Battalion of the 502 continued in the defense of ST. OEDENRODE. The 2d Battalion attacked at 0600 in another attempt
to seize the highway bridge at BEST. This attack was repulsed by the enemy. At 1415 the Regiment, less the 1st Battalion,
reinforced by one squadron of the 15/19 Hussars, launched a coordinated attack against the enemy position. This attack was
very successful and the objective seized at 1800. Fifteen 88mm guns were destroyed, 1056 prisoners taken and over 300 enemy
dead left on the field after this battle. The 506th Parachute Infantry established strong points east and west of EINDHOVEN
and continued extensive patrols with the squadron of 15/19 Hussars attached.
A third glider list began to arrive at about 1400 carrying the 1st and 3rd battalions of the 327th, the 81st Anti-Tank Battalion,
the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion less battery "B", 907th and 321st Glider Field Artllery Battalions. Due to fog
encountered enroute, only a portion of these units arrived. Elements of the 327th were given the mission of protecting the
glider landing field and assisting the attck of the 502 if necessary. At about 1700 enemy tanks were reported approaching
ZON from the southeast and a few minutes later several tanks approached within a few hundred yards of the ZON bridge and shelled
the bridge, the Division CP, and the town. Little damage ws done and the tanks withdrew when AT guns arrived fron the glider
landing field. Two tanks were knocked out by AT fire.
Command Post moved to ST. OEDENRODE at 1200.
During the morning, the 1st Battalion of the 501 attacked and seized DINTER.
Four hundred and twenty prisoners were taken in this action. The 2d Battalion continued a close in defense of VECHEL. The
3rd Battalion conducted extensive patrolling to the north and west from a strong point at EERDE.
The 1st Battalion of the 502 continued the defense od ST.OEDENRODE. During the afternoon the 2d and
3rd Battalions were ordered to proceed to ST.OEDENRODE and the Regiment charged with the defense of the ST.OEDENRODE area.
By 2100 the entire was closed in the area and had taken up strong defensive positions.
the night the 1st Battalion of the 506th was ordered to proceed to ZON in order to assist in the defense of the ZON bridge
against the suspected enemy attack. The Battalion went into position at 0600 and in conjunction with elements of the 1st Battalion
of the 327th and one company of the 326th Engineers, repelled the attack on the bridge launched by the 107th Panzer Brigade
at about 0630. The 2d Battalion of the 506, riding tanks of the squadron of the 15/19 Hussars, attacked the enemy rear and
a sharp engagement took place at NUNEN. The 3rd Battalion of the 506 remained in EINDHOVEN as Regimental Reserve. At 0900
the 44th Armored Regiment was attached to the Division and proceeded toward HELMOND in a further attempt to destroy the enemy
attacking the ZON bridge. Intermittent tank and infantry fighting took place the remainder of the day.
The 2d and 3rd Battalions of the 327th relieved the 502 of the defense of the sector east of ZON and the landing zone and
service area. The 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion was attached to the 327th and fired missions in support of that unit
during the day. At 1500 Battery "B" of the 377th arrived by parachute and joined its Battalion. The 377th then moved to ST.OEDENRODE
in support of the 502d Parachute Infantry. Battery "A" of the 81st Anti-Tank Battalion was attached to the 327th and battery
"O" to the 502. Battery "B" remained in defense of the ZON bridge.
The 1st Battalion
of the 501 crossed the WILLEMS VAART CANAL in the early morning at HEESWIJK and conducted extensive patrolling during the
day. At 1845 an attack was amde on SCHIJNDEL and the northwest section of the town was seized at approximately 2215. The 2d
Battalion remained at VECHEL. The 3rd Battalion moved at 1745 to the west and cut the ST.OEDENRODE-SCHIJNDEL Road in the vicinity
of the railroad station.
The 502d Parachute
Infantry, with the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion attached, continued to expand its defensive positions in the
ST.OEDENRODE area. "B" Company of the 1st Battalion received a strong enemy attack from the northwest in the early afternoon,
but held its position.
The 1st Battalion
of the 506 continued its defense of the ZON bridge. The 2nd Battalion working with the 15/19 Hussars and the 44th Tank Regiment,
attacked the enemy near NEDERWETTEN. The enemy withdrew in the face of this attack and at 1200 contact was lost. The
2d Battalion went in to a defensive position in the vicinity of TONGLERE for the night. The 3rd Battalion was ordered
to ST.OEDENRODE as Division Resreve. The regiment was given a warning order that it would probably move to UDEN on the following
0300 the 3rd Battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry closed in the ST.OEDENRODE area, moving up from EINDHOVEN. At 0500
orders were received that this battalion, as wee as all other elements of the regiment, would move to UDEN without delay.
Movement was to be by motor and marching. The 3rd Battalion began its move to UDEN, BY MARCHING, AT 0900. The 1st and 2nd
Battalions initiated their movements, piecemeal, as transportation became available during the day.
The advance detachment of the
506, consisting of approximately 150 Officers and men from Regimental Headquarters and other units of the regiment, passed
through VECHEL AT 1000. Immidiately passing through the enemy out the main highway between VECHEL abd UDEN, and this detachment
became isolated in UDEN.
The 107th Panzer Brigade, after
after withdrawing from it's attack on the ZON bridge on D+4, moved under cover of darkness to ERP, and in the late morning
of D+5 launched an all out attack to seize the town of VECHEL and destroy the bridge there. Enemy forces in this attack
were estimated as three battalions of SS troops supported by 30 to 40 tanks and artillery.
By 1200, the 2d Battalion 501
astride the VECHEL-ERP Road, was being hard pressed. Additional troops were started toward VECHEL and General McAuliffe was
placed in command of troops in the area and charged with defense of the town and bridges. At about 1400 enemy tanks tanks
out the highway northeast of VECHEL and destroyed transport parked on the highway. Battery "B", 81st AT Battalion, arrived
at the same time, went into action on the highway and immediately destoyed a Mark V tank leading the attack. The 2nd Battalion
506 took position on the left of the 2d Battalion 501, with the 1st Battalion 401st Glider Infantryon its left. With the assistance
of British artillery gathere from the highway, the attack from ERP was repulsed by dark. At about 1400 enemy infantry, with
tank support, attacked astride the Canal from the northwest toward the highway bridge southwest of VECHEL. Company "B"
506, which was in VECHEL on its way to UDEN, was turned around, deployed near the bridge and repulsed the attack, with
the assistance of elements of the 44th Tank Regiment.
During the afternoon
the enemy launched an attack against the town from the north, and were finally halted just short of the railroad bridge
by elements of the 2d Battalion, 501, and one platoon of "H" Company, 506, which had taken up a defensive position there a
short time before.
The enemy renewed their
attacks from the south and southeast during the late afternoon, but by now additional forces had arrived and enemy attack
was stopped. By dark the 506, less the detachment cut off at UDEN, the 327th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, Battery
"B", 81st AT Battalion, the 2nd Battalion 501st Parachute Infantry, and the First Squadron, 44th Royal Tank Regiment had arrived
and formed the task force under General McAULIFFE charged with holding the VECHEL area.
In the meantime the 1st
Battalion of the 501 attacked at dawn and had occupied all of SCHIJNDEL by 0915. Some 400 prisoners were takenin
this operation. About 1200, orders were received for the 1st Battalion to proceed to WEIBOSCH, seize the town, and provide
northern flank protection for VECHEL. The movement ws completed by 1700, and the battalion took up a strong defensive
position in and around the town. The 3rd Battalion, which had advanced toward SCHIJNDEL in the morning and joined forces
with the 1st Battalion in seizing SCHIJNDEL, was ordered to EERDE, where it took up a defensive position guarding VECHEL from
The 502d Parachute Infantry
extended its defensive positions during the dsy. Elements of the 1st Battalion made contact with the 3r Battalion 501
south of SCHIJNDEL, and joined forces in cleaning out several enemy strong points along the SCHIJNDEL-ST.OEDENRODE highway.
The 327th Glider Infantry
was ordered at 0930 to proceed to VECHEL, and movement began at 1030, the 3rd Battalion by truck and the 1st and 2nd Battalions
by marching. The 1st and 3rd Battalions were commiitted on both sides of the bridge immediately upon arrival, the 2nd
Battalion continued into VECHEL and became task force reserve. The town of VECHEL was heavilly shelled during the late afternoon
and early evening.
Soon after dawn the enemy launched small scale attacks against the defensive positions
southeast of VECHEL. These were held off without difficulty. During the night plans were drawn up which called for a British
Armored Brigade , recalled from the NIJMEGEN area, to advance on VECHEL from UDEN, join forces with the 2d Battalion of the
506, which was to advance from VECHEL, toward UDEN, and clear the road in order that the flow of traffic might be resumed.
Following that, the Armore Brigade was to swing sharply south and cut off the enemy escape route through ERP.
Due to communication difficulties,
that part of the plan calling for the advance in force and encircling movement of the British Armored Brigade was not carried
out. The 2d Battalion of the 506 made contact with a patrol of the Armored Brigade northeast of VECHEL about 1700. By that
time the enemy had begun his withdrawl, and soon thereafter contact was lost.
During the morning the
1st and 3rd Battalions of the 501 readjusted their dfensive positions west and north of EERDE, and at dark were deployed with
the 3rd Battalion generally along the railroad from the Canal to EERDE, and the 1st Battalion from EERDE due south to the
main highway. The 2d Battalion continued the close in defense of VECHEL, with the 506 given offensive missions to the northeast
and south. The 327th was assigned a defensive sector north of VECHEL.
The 502d Parachute Infantry
continued its defense of ST.OEDENRODE, with the 377th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion in direct support.
During the day a 4th Glider
serial arrived bringing remaining elements of the 327th Glider Infantry and the 907th Glider Field Artillery Battalion. These
troops were moved immediately to the VECHEL area, and the 907th Field Artllery Battalion was attached to the 506th Parachute
Infantry. The 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion was attached to the 506th Infantry, and fired several missions during
At dawn reconnaisssance as
far as ERP indicated the enemy had made good his withdrawal to the southeast, and the area was clear of enemy troops. The
506th Parachute Infantry, with the 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion and battery "B", 81st AT Battalion attached, was
ordered to UDEN to take over the defense of that area.
The Division Command Post ws
moved from ST.OEDENRODE to VECHEL at 1000.
The 327th Glider Infantry was
assigned the task of defending VECHEL, with the 907th Glider Field Artillery Battalion in general support. The 2d Battalion
501 was released from its defensive assignment in VECHEL, and joined its regiment in the EERDE area, as Regimental
Reserve. Battery "A", 81st AT Battalion, continued attached to the 501, with the 907th Glider Field Artllery Battalion in
The 502 continued the
defense of the ST.OEDENRODE area. Battery "D", "E" and "F", the Anti-aircraft Batteries of the 81st AT Battalion, arrived
in the seaborne echelon and were assigned to protect the Division Service Area nothwest of ZON.
At 100 the enemy launched a
series of probing attacks against the defensive position, moving from SCHIJNDEL toward KOEVERING. Two Companies of the 502
were dispatched to KOEVERING to intercept this force, reported to be two tanks and about 40 infantrymen. The enemy force moved
rapidly, however, and were almost in KOEVERING when Companies "D" and "H" of the 502 arrived. The two companies held KOEVERING,
but could not prevent the enemy from cutting the highway northwest of KOEVERING just before dark. Under cover of darkness
the enemy built up his forces with tanks, self-propelled artillery, and fairly large infantry units, using the corridor he
had found between the 501 and the 502.
During the night the 506 with
Batteries "B" 81st AT Battalion, and the 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion attached, was ordered to return to VECHEL
from the UDEN area. Movement began at 0300, and at daylight these units were just east of VECHEL. At 0915 the 506, with one
squadron 44th Royal Tank Regiment attached. attacked the enemy at KOEVERING. The attack progressed favorably for some 2,000
yards, when both attacking battalions (formation, 1st and 3rd Battalions abreast, astride the main road) were pinned down
by well-directed artillery and small arms fire, and fire from tanks dug in along the road. The 2d Battalion was then ordered
to execute a wide envelopment of the enmy's southern flank, and began its movement at 1400. In the meantime elements of the
50th British Division, with strong armored forces, began an advance from the south. The 501 and Companies "D" and "H" of the
502 assisted by providing bases of fire for the attacking forces. By darkness the enemy had been cleared from all but a very
small area soth of the road.
The 502 continued its defense
of the ST.OEDENRODE area, the 327th defense of the VECHEL area, and the 501 its defense of the EERDE area. All three regiments
had several small scale attacks launched against their positions during the day.
The 506 resumed the attack
soon after daylight, and by 0900 had driven the enemy north of the highway and made contact with the 501 on the right. The
British forces continued the attack to the north, pinching out the 506 and Copanies "D" and "H" of the 502. At 1300 the 506,
with attachments was ordered to return to the UDEN area. The movement was completed by 1700. The 502 continued its defense
of the ST.OEDENRODE area, Companies "D" and "H" returning to Regimental control at 1500.
The 501 and the 32th continued
their defensive missions, both regiments repelling small scale enemy attacks during the day.
No change in unit dispositions. Several enemy infiltartion attempts on
front of 501 and 32th repelled.
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS-17-18 September 1944. KLONDIKE
17 September 44
I (1) First Serial (1st Bn)
at 1300, 6 miles NW of DZ at Kasteel (412422). Excellent Drop Pattern, Assembly completed with slight opposition with 90%
equipment and personnel in 45 minutes. Bn immediately moved SW and seized objectives "R" and "T" by 1600. Only resistance
encountered was approximately 30 disorganized rear echelon troops.
(2) Second Serial (2nd Bn & Regt Hq)
at 1310 about 1500 yards West of DZ (435365). Excellent Drop Pattern, assembly completed without opposition with 95% equipment
and personnel in 45 minutes. All units moved out at once and seized objectives "F" and "A" by 1515.
(3) Third Serial (3rd Bn)
1500 yds West of DZ (435365). Excelent Drop Pattern, assembly completed without opposition with 95% personnel and equipment
in 45 min. Bn moved out at once and occupied Eerde and blocked the Vechel-St. Oedenrode highway by 1500.
(Two plane were shot down, one before and afetr the stick had jumped).
II Remainder of "D" day
was generally quiet and was spent in organizing objectives for defense and the planning of work for reinforcing of bridges.
Enemy patrols were repulsed at Eerde and on the South of Vechel at about 2100. Two enemy trucks and one sedan were trapped
and knocked out at Eerde at 1900.
18 September 1944
I 0500 Enemy force estimated at one company attcked objective "A"A
from the NW but was repulsed with heavy losses to the enemy. Our losses were 7 killed, 15 wounded.
1100 "F" company delivered counterattack which forced enemy
1300 Enemy force (probably same as above) attacked objective
"R" from the NW but was repulsed with light losses on both sides.
1400 Enemy force estimated one company attacked Eerde from
NW but was repulsed with heavy losses to the enemy.
1500 Resupply dropped, widely scattered 1000 yards W of Eerde.
1800 Two companies 3rd Bn moved into Vechel in Regt Res.
One company 3rd Bn remains on outpost on W side Willem Vaart Canal.
II Patrolling is continuous in all directions- St. Oedenrode, Eerde, Zwanneburg,
Mariaheidl, Erp, Ziztaart.
Three DAY ATTACK By 501-1
Note: For sustained action and results, the attack of 501-1 in the VECHEL
area was the most considerable enterprise in the American part of OPERATION MARKET and embraces unique tactical values.
The narrative was developed with the sustained help of the Bn Commander and his staff, all company officers, and finally,
the men of the companies. They were then in the front line along the southern bank of the northern arm of the RHINE. The work
was done during the week of 15 Oct 1944. There were no discrepancies in the story.
In the beginning, 501 was given VECHEL as its objective, and Rgt
was supposed to maintain the corridor defense in that general area. Bn 1 was assigned to drop in the southern side of the
WILLEMS VAART CANAL. The Bn Commander, LIEUT COL HARRY W.KINNARD, however requested of COL JOHNSON, the regimental commander,
that he be THE APPROACH AND permitted to put the Bn down between the canal
and the River Aa, and this change was
accordingly made. The strip thus selected was about 1600 yards wide
and upon conference wit COL WHITAKER, group comm of 434th TCC, it was agreed that the change was operationally practicable.
The Bn, with 42 planes in its serial, was the first to came in; of these planes, 36 carried the Bn, 3 were for an attached
plat of "C", 326th Eng, and the others were RGT HQ planes. The original drop zone was SE of EERDE; the change in plan was
designed to get the Bn over the water obstacles and land it at 465-385, approximate to VECHEL (or VEGHEL) The flight over
was excellent. The serial hit all of the early checkpoints including the marking ship in the Channel. The fighters were coming
along well. While the serial was still over water, the Pathfinder planes passed overhead and flew on. As they came into Holland,
WHITAKER remarked to KINNARD that his maps were not agreeing with the terrain, particularly as to the woods and water spaces.
But he hit the last checpoint OK and KINNARD then went back and hooked up---4 minutes from the enemy line. The run-in from
the IP was uneventful except for a light scattering of flak. The men saw the British arty positions, then the line of foxholes,
and following that, the enemy foxholes and arty positions. The serial was then flying at 1500 feet; it descended evenly to
450 ft over a 20 min period. A few minutes out, mg bullets ripped the wings of the lead plane and the fire shifted to those
which followed. Yet only one man, LIEUT JANSEN, ws hit fatally at this stage. He remained in the plane and became the only
man of the Bn who did not jump. ****NOTE**** I received a message from Jana Jansen, the daughter of Lt. Jansen on July
23, 2007. In this message she stated the following; This is inaccurate. My Dad was Lt. Edward Jansen and he was not
a fatality. He jumped from the plane before it crashed, was badly wounded, taken prisoner by the Nazi's, was
rescued from a bombed out German Red Cross train that the Nazi's deserted by a Dutch boy named Ad Hermens (with
whom I correspond), his Mother Marie and sister Gera (who is still living) who took him as well as another
American and an Eglishman to Rosmalen to be seen by a Dr. Haanegraff - who probably saved his life by amputating
his gangrenous leg, was re-captured but treated well and subsequently went home to Indiana at some point. I suppose
there could be another Lt. Jansen in 501/C...but I kinda doubt it.***NOTE***At the final checkpoint just before the drop---the
canal near EINDHOVEN---the course didn't seem just right to KINNARD. As the plane went on to the WILLEMS VAART, he looked
out of the right window for VECHEL. It wasn't there and he couldn't see any rail line. Then the green light flashed. The No.5
man was just getting out the door when KINNARD saw another stream go under the left wing and knew that his men were dropping
at the wrong point. He tried to orient himself as he dropped but the time was too brief. Otherwise, all the he saw satisfied
him that the Bn was coming down in good shape. The chutes were bunched tightly together. He had to "slip" his chute to miss
other men in mid-air and when he hit the ground he had to scramble quickly to avoid being crashed by other men and bundles,
so tight was the drop. The bundle lights had been so rigged up that they would drop right in the middle of the stick. The
Bn had been briefed that any man who dropped where he could see a bridge should go straight for it, whatever his unit. However,
the specific assignments had been made that one plat of "A" was to go at once to the lower RR bridge and one plat from "C"
to the upper bridge over the Aa RIVER. A plat from "B" was to move at once on the road bridge in VECHEL.
KINNARD landed near a road and at once saw the large bldg that is indentified
on the map as the "KASTEEL". (see scetch 1A) But he
THE ADVANCE TOWARD
still did not know where he was and he
sent PVT BATTS of the S2 Section over to
the road in quest of information. BATTS found a Hollander who told him
that they were at KAMERAN---6 kilometers from VECHEL---about 5 miles NW of where they were due to drop. Upon getting this
info, KINNARD decided to assemble Bn on the CR near the KASTEEL and use the latter as a Bn aid station to care for his drop
casualties. KINNARD's orderly was among the injured; KINNARD never saw him again after getting him to the KASTEEL. The Bn
put out its orange smoke and waved its red assembly flags, and the body of the men moved toward the CR. Within 15 mins, all
company commanders had rptd and the Bn was formed for the approach march with "B" as advance guard, "A" covering flanks, "C"
as rear guard and HQ coming down the road in center of the formation.
Hollanders were coming to the road from all sides until their numbers
became confusing. They crowded in trying to shake hands with Kinnard's men, offering them fruit and other gifts and asking
if they could be of help. KINNARD's officers their bicycles over for use of their own messengers and issued memo receipts
for them as the Bn continued to move along. CAPT BURD of HQ CO was told to clear the countrymen away except for a detail which
he was to use in collecting the Bn bundles, and after the collection, he was to move via the main road to VECHEL. During the
hour or less when Bn was getting squared away for its advance, "C" was covering the DZ. After it moved, BURD would be on his
own with about 46 men, including 8 cripples and the 38 nondescripts which he was using in collecting the bundles and establishing
the temporary aid station; it was figured that this group would be able to withdraw in rear of the Bn without undue difficulty.
Because spedd was the essence, the Bn moved right down the main road.
It encountered stray German parties coming up the road in motor cars---but nothing else. All were killed or captured without
loss to the Bn either in men or momentum. When the head of the column reached DINTER, it met LIEUT WOOD, Bn S2, coming back
down the road with a pick-up truck and a Hollander---identified as head of the underground in DINTER. Into taht truck and
another truck taken from a German party, 1 1/2 sqds were loaded. A machine gun was mounted on the first vehicle and the group
rolled on, ahead of the column. The main body continued marching and where the highway comes athwart the RR bridge, KINNARD
encountered 13 of his own men. Some running, some cycling, they had raced right on from the drop and had seized No.4 bridge
while Bn was still assembling. KINNARD sent his demo officer, LT LEE J. BOWERS, one mile up the RR to blow a secion of rail.
At the same time, he learned from the "C" men who had seized the upper bridge that a group of "E" men under LIEUT SNODGRASS
had already come up and secured the No. 3, lower, bridge. KINNARD then got in a truck and headed for the road bridge of the
RIVER Aa. Hearing firing up ahead, he dismounted and advanced on foot with his radio man. CAPT SAMMIE N.HOMAN, Bn Exec, who
had jumped No.1 on the right wing plane with the mission of going at once to th eNo.3 bridge and securing it, met him just
after he started and told him that LIEUT HOWARD of HQ Co, with about 30 men, was already in VECHEL and engaging a small German
detachment in a house-to-house fight. KINNARD reached the town in time to find HOWARD's men moving past the center of VECHEL.
Theyhad killed a few and captured a few and were still in good shape. By radio, word came from Rgt taht an enemy tank had
broken through road brdige No.1 and was headed toward VECHEL. KINNARD put out bazooka men to cover the approaches to the town
and then continued with the mop-up. A littlep ast the center of VECHEL, the lead scout of Bn 1 bumped into the lead scout
of Bn 2. This meant that Rgt had secured all four bridges---the Rgtl mission. The hour was 1630. They had jumped at 1330.
KINNARD then rptd his situation to RGT and his company commanders joined him at the German CP. His Bn was still on the road
and only just beginning to enter VECHEL. "B" was sent to cover VECHEL on the SE,"C" to cover the RR bridges and bending back
toward the town and "A" to cover the VECHEL bridge. In this deployment, the most serious obstacle became the Hollanders who
were still trying to rush the troops with great quantities of food and beer.
LIEUT. HOLT of the Rgtl group arrived with word that a fire fight had developed at the KASTEEL and that BURD and his men were
being roughly handled. He had just left that area and had heard the firing. KINNARD discounted the story but as a precaution
sent LIEUT HOWELL, Bn Sup Officer, and a few men west to the KASTEEL to look things over. As they moved out, COL JOHNSON called
the Bn Commanders down to Bridge No 1 to give them additional instructions about organizing the VECHEL defenses and KINNARD
then told him of BURD'S situation. Bn 1's dispositions were not materially changed. Upon returning to his CP at VECHEL, he
heard by radio from HOWELL that the men at KASTEEL were beleaguered and hotly fought by a force of perhaps 50 Germans and
a number of mortars. The Americans, caught at their work, had fallen back into the bldg. KINNARD asked permission to send
"C" to relieve the KASTEEL. JOHNSON replied: "Send one platoon. Your task is to defend VECHEL." It was almost dark when LIEUT
RAFFETY (later KIA) and 3rd Plat started. Meanwhile a few men who had been around KASTEEL but had gotten away before the Germans
closed on it, straggled into the CP. They said the situation was "hot" and that the defense did not appear to be organized.
RAFFETY and his men got s far s HEESWIJK, ran into a small group of enemy in the dark, were aggressively opposed, and proceeded
to dig in for the night---800 yards short of the objective. KINNARD alerted the rest of "C" to move if needed. There was no
contact wuth enemy around VECHEL that night except that then, and through the next morning, German vehicles continued to blunder
into road blocks and were promptly captured or destroyed. RAFFETY rptd soon after first light that the Germans were in KASTEEL
and that he was being opposed by two platoons which were closing around both of his flanks. KINNARD said to JHNSON: "I'll
have to pull him back or support him," and JOHNSON replied: "Then pull him back." RAFFETY disengaged and fell back on VECHEL.
There was no other action on D plus One. The Dutch underground brought in word that there were 700 enemy in DINTER. Bn initiated
vigorous patrolling in that direction, and the 18-30 man patrols drew fire as they moved over the ground between the roads
and the river. BEUG was supposed to mark the limit of Bn 1's patrolling but KINNARD asked permission to send a patrol all
the way to KASTEEL to see what had happened. "C" was given the mission and S/SGT DeHUFF took charge of the patrol. He took
alond a 300 SCR and from the time he and his men quit the Bn area, every stage of his progress was rptd. At 1300 he told KINNARD:
"I an now at KASTEEL. The wounded are gone. There are no signs of our men here but bloody bandages. The DZ is almost clear
of bundles. I have found one 81 and one 60 mortar and have them with me. The mission is complete. Our force has been lost.
What are your instructions?" He was told to return to VECHEL. Then KINNARD asked permission to send "C" to HEESWIJK and DINTER,
with one palt ath the former place, so as to outpost the entire force: he figured that the main threat to RGT was from that
flank. JOHNSON approved and "C" was sent on its way. So eneded the third day. The move of "C" initiated the whole series of
events which came to engage first the Bn and then the entire Rgt. It was obvious that the Germans had filtered in in considerable
strength along the N side of the canal as any attempt at movement along the highway during the third day drew fire. They made
one attempt to get at No 3 Bridge but were driven back. They also hit hard at the planes flying re-supply missions into the
PLANS FOR TAKING
KINNARD at this time felt that a passive, close-in defense of the VECHEL area might in the long run be the costlier way and
that taking offensive measures against the enemy was more likely to preserve the corridor. Accordingly on the third night,
he proposed to JOHNSON that Bn 2 hold VECHEL and Bn 1 make a sweep along the highway to KASTEEL, then with its right shoulder
resting on the CANAL while Bn 3 made a corresponding sweep to the south of the canal. JOHNSON disapproved, feeling that he
should keep Rgt assembled on the vital area. However, KINNARD persisted and on the fourth day JOHNSON approved the plan in
part: Bn 1 would be permitted to assemble at VECHEL and make the sweep to north of the Canal.
Now "C" was already formed on HEESWIJK, considerably to the west of VECHEL.
KINNARD therefore decided to have "C" deploy to the S of HEESWIJK and to include the bridge over the Canal within its ground.
He would then use "C" as the dustpan, and the otehr two companies as the broom sweeping toward it.(see sketch 1C) The distance
of the sweep would be 5 miles and it would cover the ground between the highway and the canal, which sector was bisected almost
evenly by the Aa RIVER. The attack jumped-off at 0930 and "C" started its move from HEESWIJK to the canal at about the same
time. "B" was on the left with its left shoulder on the canal. "A" was on the right, escheloned to the right rear, and guiding
on "B". When "B" got 1000 yards out fron the RR, it found that the enemy had pulled back slightly and had abandoned a large
ammount of equipment. Two hundred yards further along, fire from two 20-mm guns, 4 mgs and a number of machine pistols broke
around it quite suddenly and the line hit the dirt. KINNARD, who was with "B", sent his Bn S3, LIEUT SEAL, with orders to
have "A" push up and put a flanking fire on the enemy, "B" meanwhile building up a base of fire with a section of LMGs and
the 81 mortars. But "A" was already having its own troubles. The CO, under CAPT STANFIELD A. STACH, had moved out with 2nd
Plat on left and 3rd Plat on right, 1st Plat in support being escheloned to right rear and following 3rd within seeing distance---approximately
300 yards. One section of LMGs from HQ was attached to the CO. There were two difficulties in keeping the CO collected. The
AA RIVER intervened so as to form the platoon boundry, and there was a gap of several hundred yards to the left seperating
"A" from "B". The lefthand squad of "A" was supposed to be on continuing patrol keeping contact between the two companies,
but this it proved unable to do, and in its wanderings it got lost to the company so that it became a cypher in the crisis
of the action. The LMG section followed along on the left bank of the river and STACH went along with the guns, figuring that
this was where he was most likely to be needed. Visibility was good until "A" came next to the woods at ZWANENBERG: at that
point there occured the first contact with the enemy. Machine gun fire had opened from the windmill on the right bank.(see
sketch 1B). It had done no initial damage. LIEUT BILLY TURNER of 2nd Plat, STACH and LIEUT GEORGE MURN were frd a little of
the LMGs on the left bankat this time and were working their way across a field when they saw four Germans in the weeds about
100 yards away. No one fired and STACH called on the Germans to surrender, Instead, they flopped into a drainage ditch and
dissappeared. STACH called back for two mgs, got them up to the ground where he and the others had been standing: then he
and his lieutenants crawled on through a high-weeded pasture. They saw ahead of them a line of trees with flanking ditches
providing fairly good cover and they guessed this was the enemy position. As they got to within 125 yards of it, rifle, mg
and mp fire enveloped them and the party became pinned. TURNER and his platoon sgt crawled on another 40 yards, dropped into
a drainage ditch, and the others lost sight of them. STACH sent a runner back to the LMGs with word that the whole section
should get frd. It took them 10 minutes to get moving but it "seemed like an hour" to STACH and he became so anxious that
he crawled back to get them. One rifle squad from 2nd Plat and 1 mg got frd by "fire and movement" to the ground where STACH
had been. The other mgs were disposed on the left flank to fire over the ground sepearting the two companies and keep the
enemy from enveloping the line. More tahn that could not be done. The contact squad had been lost and one squad had been sent
forward, The third squad of 2nd had lost one man as the enemy fire opened, and the squad had thereon scattered through the
woods and was no longer a working unit.If the company left was to advance itself, then strength would have to be drawn from
the right flank which was across the river. The fir from the guns on the left, however, had caused the enemy fire to get all
the way up to the ditch where TURNER was pinned. He already had one prisoner---a straggler who had been lying in the ditch.
He said to TURNER: "Our men don't want to fight but the commander is killing anyone who tries to surrender," and he added
that the main line of resistance was about 100 yards to the left front in the drainage ditch.
(Below added November 27, 2005)
STACH re-grouped his mgs, 2 on the left, 1 next to the
river bank, 1 in the center. He then sent a runner to 1st Plat with word that it was to cross the river via the bridge
near the windmill. Pending its arrival, he ordered 1 rifle squad from 3rd Plat to cross the AA and get to him as quickly as
possible, then thought better of it, and went in person across the river to bring them back, The field intervening between
STACH'S frd position and the enemy MLR was about 150 yds wide by 150 yds deep and was covered by wild plum trees and a rank
growth of weeds. TURNER had been told to have the guns ready so that when the force from across the river arrived, he could
cover this field with a maximum fire to enable their approach. He turned it loose as the squad from 3rd Plat came
in on the right flank, moving by bounds from ditch to ditch. 1st Plat arrived during this movement, got to the first ditch
and then took the same route as the sqd. And as that happened, LIEUT CECIL O. FUQUAY and six men on the left charged directly
into the open, going at a run for the road, yelling and firing as they went. This precipitated movement stampeded the remaining
enemy from the forward line, though the road was tree covered and paralleled by ditches. As the men closed in on the road
and jumped into the ditch, the enemy pulled off through the ditches to the road on their right---the main position---and to
the red barn on down the road. SGT BRUMLEY of HQ Co was killed as he made the charge with FUQUAY but the others got to the
road, took position in th ditches and continued to fire toward the left front. The sqd on the right with STACH moved right
along and reached the road well to the rightward of FUQUAY'S men, the 1st Plat coming on behing them. From there, they saw
TURNER run out into the open field on the left, stand there in the open and yell for the enemy to come in and surrender. Some
of the Germans turned back and came towards our lines. LIEUT SUMTER BLACKMAN, who had followed TURNER out, collected the prisoners
and headed them back. Then TURNER ran on to the next field, stopped near the center of it and again called loudly for a surrender.
He got a bullet through his head and died. But his machine guns had kept coming right on behind him. One of his gunners, PVT
WEBB, was hit in the neck by a bullet which severed his spinal cord. He fell near TURNER. The enemy had completed
its withdrawal to the diagonal line and the red barn and automatic fire began to fall amid the company like rain. The men
sought the cover of the ditches. "A"'s prime need at the moment was contact with "B" and supporting fire from the Bn
left flank. On the other side of the RIVER AA, Lieut Henry J.Pulhaski had eliminated the machine gun in the
windmill. STACH sent him word to press on to phase line 4, (see overlay 1E) with his remaining sqds. The plat got out
into the open field and began to receive fire from the enemy in front of STACH. But on his own side of the river, PULHASKI
saw two Germans get up and wave white handkerchiefs. He walked frd in the open. Then someone fired a shot at close range.
Intantly fire broke out all along the line in front of PULHASKI and he fell, riddled with bullets.
"B" had come through somewhat similar misadventure. In the first
instance the company had come in check through trickery. After advancing the first 1200 yds, the men saw a number of white
handkerchiefs tied to the bushes ahead, and they pressed on rapidly, thinking they had a surrender. In this way they got sucked
in to within 300 yds of the German position. Then fire---most of it high and ineffective---broke over them. One man was
hit in the shoulder and the rest of the men hit the dirt. Lieut Ian B.Hamilton didn't fuss with his situation. He sent word
up and down the line: "In 10 minutes, we will get up and go on." When the time had elapsed, he moved, and the men all got
up and followed him. But the interval had been well used. STACH had engaged the enemy SP at close range on the right
and had drawn a large part of the bullet fire away from "B". Too, the enemy had made the mistake of not digging-in the position
of the three 20-mm guns at the SP which were the chief harrassment of the advancing infantry. From the ground where it went
prone, "B" could see these guns about 25o yds ahead and slightly off to the right. A small group of riflemen crawled up to
where they could drive the Germans back from the guns; mortar fire completed their destruction. This crippling of the enemy's
principle arm had almost decisive effect on the defensive action. The Germans were also using two 81 and four 50 mm mortars
but most of the fire was falling well to the rear of our men, and when the 20 mm guns were silenced, the motar fire fell off.
"B" then moved on up, got to a ditch within clear view of, and off to the left of, the red barn and concentrated fire of its
LMG section and 81 mortars on that object. So doing, it lifted the pressure from "A", even though the companies were not in
contact, and the enemy, dealing with an aggressive infantry on one flank and receiving withering fire from the other,
decided to quit. Fifty prisoners came out of the red barn wit their hands in air; that was the beginning of the haul for the
day and the end of the difficulties of the two advancing companies. They made contact at the barn. The sector had narrowed (see
overlay 1E) and the two companies could now go frd shoulder to shoulder. They moved right along. The back of the resistance
had been broken. Enemy fire had fallen away to a whisper. The trap was fully set and patrols moved alon the highway to enfilade
any enemy who tried to break across it to the North. By 1500 "B" was at LAVERDONK with "A" abreast and about 500
yds to go to DINTER. About 2 reinforced companies of Germans had been distributed over the positions southward of the windmill
and all were now either dead, prisoner or fleeing in panic toward the rear where "C" awaited their coming.(see sketch 1D)
The "dustpan" end of the opening phase had been as spectacular as the results were to be conclusive. Under CAPT ROBERT
H.PHILLIPS, the two plats of "C" which were at DINTER moved through HEESWIJK and on to the canal about 1000(see sketch
One plat was left at HEESWIJK as a RB force and from that plat one sqd was pulled sothward where they could cover the
bridge across the Aa and act as a block for the left flank. The rest pressed on. Just short of the bridge over the WILLEMS
VAART there is a small collection of houses. As "C" got to within 150 yds of this hamlet, it drew machine gun fire from among
them. The men got down in the ditches alongside the road and volleyed into the houses. The enemy vacated in a few minutes,
getting out the rear of the buildings, crossing the canal and raising the drawbridge. "C" pressed on to the bank, and from
behind the covering dike, drove the Germans back from the opposite shore with rifle fire. An attempt to cut the drawbridge
chain with rocket fire got no result, so under cover of fire from the other men, LIEUT BRIERRE and one squad rowed across
in a small boat which they found tied to the bank, fanned out in a covering position on the other side and then lowered the
bridge. The Co was then disposed with one plat north and one south of the bridge so as to serve as a buffer and establish
the bridgehead at the same time. (It was this same bridge which was used in the further advance of the Bn southward to Schijndel.)At
about 1200, "C" began to draw small arms fire from Bermans moving westward against its line: the enemy moved to within range,
then took up ground in a more or less disorganised manner, and fired uncertainly in "C"'s direction. Mortar fire from within
the position kept these scatterd enemy at distance. About 1500, the enemy made his all-out effort to break through the noose.
There was a wooded area on the right along the canal and they moved that way in a rush. But Phillips had already put a machine
gun on that bank and it caught them in the flank as they came in, mowed some of them down and drove the others back. They
then tried to work a trick, shouting "Kamerade" but coming frd with their arms. PHILLIPS sent word by messenger that they'd
have to put their arms down or he'd fire. He already had their Bn Commander, having captured him near the bridge early in
the day, and when he suggested to the German that he tell his men that further fighting was useless, the German answered:
"Never!" The messenger returned. "They said to tell you they have plenty of time," he told Phillips. "They said it is too
early in the day to surrender". PHILLIPS yelled at them: "I'm ging to kill every damned one of you." His mortars had not opened
on this large group at all and the machine guns had gone quiet during the negotiations. He signaled them to let everything
loose at once. Within five minutes he witnessed this phenomenon---the Germans, clinging to earth, were throwing their rifles
and pistols high in the air in token of surrender. So he told his men to hold their fire. In the first group, 120 Germans
came in, dragging 40 wounded. Others came in after them---250 all told from the woods North of the canal and a handfull from
the south shore. PHILLIPS had only 80 men at the position so he pulled the other plat down from HEESWIJK. In the morning he
had lost a sergeant shot through the hand while trying to coax the Germans into a surrender along the canl bank, and that
was his only casualty of the day: the cover provided by the paralell ditches---the same ditches which had been used to work
south to the bridge---had made the German fire harmless. KINNARD in the meantime had circled around the north end of his advancing
line and had reached C's position in time to see the trap close. "B" and "A" came steadily on and at 1730, "B"'s scouts moved
into "C"'s position. "A" had swung more toward the highway to cut any final attempt at a break through. The total bag netted
418 prisoners, 40 dead, 40 wounded, all from the same unit--- the EWALD or JUNGWIRTH BN of a Parachute Training Rgt.(See G2
identification notes, this operation.) The Bn losses for the day were HQ Co, 1 DOW; "A", 2 off and 2 men KIA, 2 men LWA; "B",
1 man wounded; "C". 1 wounded; Med, 1 LWA.
The annihilation of the German force in this "small Cannae" was accomplished
by inferior munbers which had initially no advantage whatever in potential fire power. The unhinging blow was struck by the
companies maneuvering westward: it is stated by prisoners of war taken that afternoon taht at the time the line confronting
"A" and "B" crumbled, the defenders were without wire communication and did not know that "C" had moved into the backstop
position. Hence the first surrenders were induced by the close-up fire fight and not by manuever. the larger group which surrendered
to "C", however, was already beating back from the direction af the A-B assault when first brought under fire from "C". It
appears probable that this was theri first intimation that there was an American force on their rear. They did not know, however,
wether it was a picket squad or an organized position and their early quibbling with Phillips is believed to have been a time-stalling
and probing gesture. Yet it took only two well placed machine guns and four 60 mm mortars to convince them that they were
powerless. KINNARD, who romped through this whole operation as if it were an exercise, said this: "I had dreamed of doing
this thing many times---actually dreamed it, in my sleep. Then the opportunity came. I do not believe any of them got away."
(The text below was added at 7:22pm Sunday Dec.11,2005.)
THE MOVE UPON
SCHIJNDEL As the companies came together,
"C" pushed its bridgehead about 200 yds farther S of the canal, "B" set up a perimeter defense around HEESWIJK and "A" around
DINTER for the night. They stayed there all the next day and were not engaged. On D PLUS 4, KINNARD was told that he
was to attack SCHIJNDEL on D PLUS 5. The success of the Bn had impressed JOHNSON with the soundness of such undertakings on
an even more extensive scale and he was about to employ the RGT south of the Canal. Already, however, at HEESWIJK and DINTER,
KINNARD was getting a bitter taste from at least one consequence of his action. The Dutch were breaking out their orange bunting,
denouncing the collaborationists in their midst and putting up "Welcome" signs. KINNARD knew that he would not be able
to hold there, and that shortly the Germans would be back and would probably take reprisals against all who had shown their
friendship for the Allies. He was concerned for them on the one hand, and on the other, he felt that he could not tell them
that his unit would be moving for security reasons. He said: "I felt like a damned heel every minute of the time."
At 1600 KINNARD went to Rgt and got his orders for the next day's attack.
Tanks were to support him directly and he would have ample artillery. 501-1 would cross the canal and go right down the main
road to SCHIJNDEL: 501-3 under EWELL would move on SCHIJNDEL along the RR from EERDE at the same time. One squadron of 44th
Royal Tank Rgt, with 13 tanks, would participate in the pincer attack. From Rgt, KINNARD called his company commanders and
told them to get ready to meet him at the edge of the wood next the canal upon his return so that together they could make
a perimeter reconnaissance of the route of advance. He got back at 1715, and a lieutenant from the tanks, riding in an armored
car, was already at hand with the company commanders, ready to lead off in the reconnaissance. At that time a patrol from
"C" rptd that from a house to the west of the dike above BOOMGAARD, they had drawn what they thought was .50 fire. The recon
just started to move. KINNARD was called to the radio. It was the Rgt S3 on the line. He said: "You are ordered to attack
at once." KINNARD objected against the order, figuring that an after-dark advance was too hazardous, but JOHNSON was not at
the CP and KINNARD had no choice to argue the question. So he briefed his commanders on an attack without reconnaissance.
The lieut in the armored car then informed him that he had just been called by his own command: All 13 tanks would support
Bn 3, and Bn 1 would attack without tank spt, this being presumably because they knew the route from VECHEL would be open
while the other route had not been reconnoitered.
As for the reasons why the plan was changed and the night march suddenly
ordered, KINNARD and EWELL say they were given to understand by JOHNSON (later KIA) that the situation of 502-1 to N of ST
OEDENRODE was rptd to him by higher authority as "critical" and that his attack was designed to relieve it. Whether that was
the true reason, a study of the situation of 502-1 will reveal that neither its commander nor the men had any feeling that
their situation was getting out of hand. They were engaged, but they were making steady progress and expected to continue
to do so under their own power.
The Bn started, marching in order, C,B,HQ,A, going frd in column of companies
right down the highway. There was no special arrangement of weapons. KINNARD had weighed the two dangers of running into an
ambush on the main road or getting his command scattered in the dark and had chosen the former. One plat of "C" was left to
guard the BH and rear CP, along with the Bn demo section. At 1900 the Bn advanced beyond its OP line, and had progressed just
500 yds from ther when it drew 20 mm fire from the house where the .50 mg had been rptd. KINNARD heard the fire go well overhead
and he saw the entire first half of the column melt away as the men took to the ditches. He went running frd, yelling to the
men: 'Keep moving! That fire's way high." A private answered him from the darkness: "Maybe it is Colonel, but we already have
eight men hit in the legs." That many men from "C" had been hit by a machine gun which had opened simultaneously with the
20 mm gun. The company stayed there in the ditches on both sides of the road putting fire on the house with rifles and mg,
until at last they heard a motor vehicle pull away from the house and start towards SCHIJNDEL. Then the march continued without
further incident except twice the truck mounting the 20mm halted at a bend in the highway ahead of them and gave them a few
futile rounds. As the point got to SCHIJNDEL, KINNARD called his company commanders up to "C" by radio. It was 2400. He ordered
the seizure and occupation of the town in this manner: "A" was to take over the SE end of town around the Twin Windmills;
"C" would dominate the business district in the NW and "B" would hold in the elongated, thinly-populated area between the
two companies. The Bn was to clear out all enemy that night, then set up strong, close-in defenses, just outside of the housed
areas. "A" was to send out a patrol to WEIBOSCH CHURCH to meet Bn 3 and tell EWELL of Bn 1's situation. The Bn CP would set
up in the center of town. "C" led off in pursuance to these orders, moved about two blocks, recieved about a dozen rounds
of small arms fire from the darkness and kept right on moving. KINNARD came in behind them and set up the CP. "C" then continued
with a very casual examination of the houses, taking every third or fourth house. "B" followed, crossing the town to the south
of it; "A" was instructed to cross the town to the north, this precaution being taken to avoid an accidental collision between
the two companies in the darkness. Each Co ran into a dozen or so Germans; they routed some of them out of bed and even those
they encountered in the street were wholly surprised and threw up their hands. A few minutes after the CP was operating, there
was a heavy burst of automatic fire in the street outside and LIEUT HARRY HOWARD of Hq Co ran out with four men and directly
toward the enemy gun, one-half block away. As his men ran frd in the dark, close in to the bldgs, they fired. The German gun
quit, and three minutes later Howard was back with the gun and 8 prisoners.
ENCOUNTER By 0150 the town was completely
in hand. A priest, head of the Dutch underground, came to the CP and introduced himself, asking what he could do to help.
He said that the majority of his members were hidden out in a factory near the Twin Windmills, and would do whatever the Americans
wanted. KINNARD told him to get the man who could speak the best English and then present him at the CP. A little, bald-headed
Dutchman rptd in about 10 minutes. KINNARD told him:"Keep your people off the streets. Tell them not to get out their bunting
and to act as if we're unwelcome. get that word to them tonight." The little man told him that there were considerable forces
of Germans at SCHIJNDEL STATION and on the Heide (moor). KINNARD asked him:" Can you send two small patrols of your men on
bicycles to both of these points and have them rpt to us what they find?" He agreed, and the mission was duly carried out,
the patrols rpting back in about two hours with some circumstantial information as to the enemy dispositions.
Bn 3's situation was obscure. So far as KINNARD knew, EWELL was not meeting
much opposition, and little firing could be heard from the direction of EERDE. But the circumstances were these: EWELL had
open country to move over. He feared that his men would become scattered in the dark and so he had decided to move them along
the railway embankment, and it was not easy going. This accounted for his slower progress toward the objective and for KINNARD'S passing
the night without getting definite word of EWELL'S force. At first light the two Bns made patrol contact between WEIBOSCH
and EERDE but shortly thereafter Bn 3 drew steadily increasing fire from south of the RR tracks and began to veer north
from the line and into "A"'s sector without having cleared the flank to the south. EWELL headed them straight into SCHIJNDEL
and when he met KINNARD he told him "those buildings looked damn good to me and I thought I'd get my men where they could
get their backs up against something." They then talked the situation over and agreed that they didn't know enough about the
"big picture" or their reasons for being there to come to any decision about what to do next. So they called for JOHNSON to
(The text below was added January 8,2006.)
THE LITTLE FIGHT AT
Meantime "C" out on the flank was having a field day against enemy vehicles
coming in from the west, and LIEUT HOWARD was cautioning his men to "shoot high so you can knock off those men without
ruining a good motor car." At 0715, LIEUT IAN B. HAMILTON of "B" reported that two tanks and an infantry force were pushing
hard from SW, coming astride of the road. All other companies were alerted to send bazooka and grenade teams to these sectors.
KINNARD then tried to get observation from the church steeple but found that heavy ground mist effectively screened the enemy.
HAMILTON rptd next that the tanks were still coming and that the Platoon which had been outposting the road was pulling back
past the factory and through the hedgerows. He said to KINNARD: "I'm leading the support plat up to restore the position."
KINNARD said: "What size is the enemy force?" He replied: "Two tanks and two hundred men." KINNARD said: "Go ahead." HAMILTON
had been at his radio and had received this message: "We've been over-run and were withdrawing,"...this coming from 3rd Plat.
Thinking that these were mutually-exclusive terms, he got this meassage off to KINNARD, then jumped for the door and ran to
the next house. The 2nd Plat men under LIEUT JOHN H.SALLIN were still sleeping in the doorways along the KLOOSTER Road. SALLIN was
at breakfast. HAMILTON said to him: "Drop your coffee. Third is falling back. We're counter-attacking." HAMILTON ran from
door to door collecting men, yelling at them as he went: "Come on! We're taking off." He found a plat scout, PVT RUEL O.HOSKINSON,
right by the RP, pointed toward the Nunnery bldg on the next road over, and yelled:"We're heading that way. I think we can
get them from the flank." The advance body of the Germans was already drawing into the edge of the town, a matter of 150-200
yds away. HAMILTON could not see them but he calculated that if 3rd Plat had withdrawn, the Germans would come straight in
on the same line. This checked with his estimate of where he thought he heard them firing. (In fact, 3rd Plat had not been
roughly handled: the appearance of the tanks had simply startled it into a withdrawal. The first tank had fired three rds
in their general direction which did no damage, and had then charged their machine gun and over-run it, though meanwhile the
gunners had fled.)
The German tanks, then coming to the edge of the built-up area, had backed
away before receiving opposition, but the German infantry had kept on coming. HAMILTON's idea was to make an "end run" around
the buildings to his right---do it at once---emerge on the line of the enemy advance between the main body and the advance
party, take the latter in rear and so bring the whole movement in check. They took off through the backyard of the Nunnery,
HOSKINSON in the lead, HAMILTON following, and 30 men behind them, all moving at dead run. They then crossed the road, circled
around the barns and the houses to the right of the road and swung back to the road. They had guessed correctly: the enemy
advance party was now between them and the rest of the battalion. HAMILTON spread one squad out behind the sheds and manure
piles to the right of the road to do the out-fighting and contain the elements of the German main body which were coming up
on his right flank. HOSKINSON still leading, the remaining men then turned left and back into the road. A gate blocked them
right at the last moment; hardly pausing in his stride, HOSKINSON shot the bolt off with his M-1 and kept on going. The whole
thing had taken place so quickly that the enemy, advancing cautiously along the line of houses on both sides of the road,
was taken totally by surprise. HOSKINSON shot and killed five of them as he came at them from the rear; the supporting fire
from the other men behind him killed five others, and that broke up the threat. The remaining 20 Germans between this flying
wedge and the Bn threw up their hands in surrender. But the enemy flank confronting the detached squad held its ground and
was not cleared out until later in the morning when with two tanks leading, HAMILTON took a platoon down the road and attacked
them on their own ground, capturing 40 and killing 5. His own losses for the day were 1 KIA and 2 SWA. A few of the
enemy, however, had already disappered into the houses of the town during the early advance, and while the Co undertook a
vigorous house-to-house rat hunting campaign, there was intermittent sniper fire through the town all morning. About 15 more
Germans were kileed before this nuisance was eliminated.
JOHNSON and the tanks arrived about 1000. He gave KINNARD six tanks, but
three of them and a plat from "A" were immediately dispatched to clean out WEIBOSCH, which had been bypassed by EWELL and
which was thought to contain about 40-50 enemy. "B" and one tank undertook to clear the area south of SCHIJNDEL; two tanks
were kept in general support in the center of the sector.
The attack then continued. Bn 3 was ordered to move S with its right shoulder
approximately on the highway toward ST OEDENRODE, which meant that it would be advancing toward where 502 was then engaging.
However, Bn 3 marked time on the line of the RR and KINNARD was then told by JOHNSON taht EWELL would get off as soon
as the "balance" of Bn 1 got up to that line to attack S on the right side of the road. At the same time, he was ordered to
continue to hold SCHIJNDEL. So he left a plat of "C" in the upper part of the town and one of "A" in the lower part,
and went on with the remainder of his force. STACH was left in command at SCHIJNDEL. The two tanks which had gone to WEIBOSCH
were to return to STACH as soon as they had completed their mission; this meant that only two tanks were available for KINNARD's
mission toward ST OEDENRODE. As for arty support, the 377 FA Bn, which was set up in 502's territory, had already been
doing some firing on the SCHIJNDEL STATION area.
"B", the only full company left in Bn 1, was put in the assault by KINNARD,
with the two tanks following the assault wave; this was the customary arrangement between British tanks and American infantry
throughout OPERATION MARKET. The Bn was given three phase lines for the attack, KINNARD having used this type of coordination
in the HEESWIJK fight and found that it worked well. The line in each instance was marked by an irrigation ditch. Behind "B"
what remained of "C" was escheloned to the right rear while "A"'s one remaining platoon came right on down the main road.
"B" in the assault got to the RR almost without event, shooting three or four enemy stragglers and also running into and destroying
a few enemy vehicles enroute. "C" rptd that it was getting 20 mm fire and saw a German infantry force approaching about 1000
yds off its right (west) flank. Men from the Dutch underground patrols came in with the same information, and a squad patrol
from "A" was sent out to confirm it. At 1330, Bn 1 drew abreast of Bn 3 along the RR line and the attack jumped off, but EWELL
had chosen to advance over ground considerable to the east of the highway and there was a gap of about 300 yards between the
two Bns. As the ground was perfectly flat and without almost no cover, this was not a serious matter. The infantry moved along,
and from behind the infantry line, the tanks engaged the German works (foxholes and gunpits) at once from long range: HAMILTON
was riding along on the outside of one of the tanks and telling the gunners where to fire. This frd movement was interrupted
when one of the tankers spotted a German 88 gun---crewless---over to the left of the road, behind "B" and in the "gap" territory.
The British tanks had had a flank shot from this same gun earlier in the day and the tank leader said he wouldn't go on until
he made a run over into the other sector and destroyed the gun. So the infantry marked time until he got back. During all
of this early action, the tankers had been having a field day shooting into German trucks which from bivouac areas in the
fields on both flanks were trying to break onto the highway and get away toward OEDENRODE. The joint action continued, "a
combat patrol action by a Bn," to use HAMILTONS phrase, in which the essence of the tactics was the softening up of the enemy
field works by tank fire, followed by a steady movement of infantry groups up the ditches to points where they could bring
their small arms to bear. By the time "B" reached Phase Line 1, it had killed 25 enemy and captured 45, at a cost to itself
of 2 KIA and 6 LWA. It was then 1430. The Bn held at Phase Line 1, waiting for Bn 3 to get even. Then a call came from Division:
The corridor line above VECHEL was about to be cut by a German armored force. The tanks supporting 501 would have to return
to VECHEL at once. KINNARD heard JOHNSON get the order. The tanks pulled out. JOHNSON told KINNARD to keep going. But then
JOHNSON began to worry about the situation at VECHEL, which was his primary responsibility. So he ordered that when Bn 3 got
up to the ditch which was the Rgtl phase line, EWELL was to take his men to EERDE and be ready to help the tanks. But Bn
had already passed Bn 1 and gotten up to that line without the men on the right of the road becoming aware of it. EWELL,
getting the order, wasted no motion in executing it. In the face of the enemy, he simply walked his men off by the left flank,
gang fashion, and reassembled them around KOEVERING. He figured he was within 500 yds of 502nd by that time, (in fact
he was not that close) and that the enemy was in no state of mind to take advantage of his open flank. And he was right about
it. However, the withdrawal by EWELL according to order had left KINNARD in a position where, unsupported, and with an enemy
force approaching on his right flank, his own withdrawal became not only necessary but difficult. He was told to fall back
on EERDE via SCHIJNDEL. This meant turning his back on an enemy which he had been engaging successfully but which would be
in good position to take advantage of the opening; fortunately the 150 prisoners which had already fallen to the Bn had been
shunted back to SCHIJNDEL where the DUTCH underground took them in charge. That left him more mobile that he might have been
otherwise. So he planned to have "B" pivot around "C" which was escheloned to the right rear, "C" coming frd to cover it with
fire while it made the turn. After that, "C" would turn outside of "B" while "B" covered "C"'s line of withdrawal. The
plat of "A" under LIEUT BLACKMAN meanwhile was moving west to where it would be outside both companies and would be able to
cover the flank against which the new enemy force rptd advancing. KINNARD was worried about the complexity of thi maneuver
becausse the enemy force in front of him was still resisting stoutly. But he had no notion at that time that 30 days later,
the enemy would still be holding the same ground and would have re-established himself at SCHIJNDEL. But as they drew near
to the line where "B" was to begin the pivot, "C" rptd an enemy tank to its immediate right front and LIET BLACKMAN rptd that
the German infantry force to the west was materializing very rapidly. His patrol was already drawing 88 and 20 mm fire, as
well as automatic fire from a heavy mg, and he had just had his carbine shot out of his hands by a 20 mm shell. KINNARD figured
then that he'd better get around as quickly as he could. So he called for the arty down with CASSIDY'S force to put fire along
his immediate front. "B" being out front, he had his right cover the general front with fire until "B" had fallen back to
even with "C", the men going back the same way they had come up. Then both companies withdrew gradually over the ground along
which they had advanced. They got back to SCHIJNDEL at 1730 and took up their former positions.
ADDED ON OCTOBER 19, 2008
WITHDRAWAL FROM SCHIJNDEL
By now, the Bn had 250 prisoners and the aid station was over-taxed with
German wounded, there being about 170 all told. The casualty situation was far beyond the resources of the Americans present
so the German medicos were put in charge of their own men. The Bn OPL was pushed out well beyond the positions of the previous
night. At 1800, Bn was ordered by Rgt to withdraw as soon as possible to WEIBOSCH.
Bn was now loaded down with a great number of enemy trucks, cars and cycles
of which it never had chance to make an inventory. KINNARD ordered them turned over to the Dutch underground with one exception-a
rolling kitchen complete with peeled potatoes and two sides of beef. These went along with the Bn. The German wounded, he
decided to leave with the German doctors and aid men though this meant that they would get back to their own army. Thw Dutchmen
who had been aiding the Bn all day came to him and said: "If you're leaving, we've got to get out with you." So he armed them
with German rifles and on the march out they helped cover the prisoners---8 Dutchmen and 8 Americans being detailed to cover
250 men. KINNARD was concerned about what might happen if the prisoner column became engaged in a fire fight while on the
march after dark and he instructed them that in that case, they were to look for their own safety and not try to bring
the prisoners through. The column closed on WEIBOSCH at 1930 and the POWs were escorted on to VECHEL while at WEIBOSCH the
Bn set up an all-around defense, using the dunes to the S and W of the town as an OP line.
These dunes, which run in a more or less even N-S line, are the dominant
feature of this part of the flat Holland terrain. They run from 25' to 40' ft in height and are well-covered by grass and
stunted firs, which latter provide serviceable cover. KINNARD saw their significance but at this stage of operation, G2 was
convinced that there was no important enemy force to westward. He felt that the enemy was only to the east and was withdrawing.
The enemy had abandoned the threat to VECHEL, it was reckoned, and was coming in at UDEN. The threat of the day before had
actually materialized at this point and the GUARDS ARMORED had become engaged at UDEN to hold the corridor line, or rather,
to restore it, since the enemy had actually slashed through. The general apprehension felt in the quarter and the asy success
of the day before both figured in KINNARD'S estimate of his situation, and he put only one platoon from "C" to cover the line
of the dunes. To round out the Rgtl situation, Bn 2 was at VECHEL and Bn 3 at EERDE.
At 0830 next morning all Bn commanders were called to Rgt CP at VECHEL.
They were told that three German SS Bns were coming out of the ERP-GEMERT area and proceeding toward VECHEL. Bn 3 was ordered
to move from EERDE to an assembly area between EERDE and VECHEL, about 800 yds N of the main VECHEL highway. Bn 1 was ordered
to EERDE. The information had been correct. During that day, GENERAL McAULIFFE, who was combat team commander in VECHEL, used
other forces---327th Infantry and 501-2---and beat off the German attack. Bns 1 and 3 were not committed.
THE FIGHT AROUND THE DUNES
As it became obvious that the greater part of Rgt would not be employed,
KINNARD on his own initiative began to push out to the westward so as to strengthen his defensive position, and it was at
this time that the OP detail along the dunes was increased to one platoon under LIEUT CHARLES BOWSER. This was the post farthest
advanced to the west. By 1600, the Bn was deployed with "C" to S of the RR, "B" just across the RR from it and deployed along
the RR embankment and "A" at the S end of town, tying into the other companies with patrols. The machine guns were attached
to "C" and "B". The mortars were positioned around the church at EERDE and the main observation post was in the steeple; from
there, one could get a good view of the country and, in fact, see all the way to SCHIJNDEL. Another ob post was put in the
windmill just west of town. Nothing much happened that day except that the force along the RR took a beating from sustained
arty and mrtr fire between 1700 and dark, the shells coming from the westward. The Germans were back in SCHIJNDEL and some
88's had pushed up to the Heide just S of the RR line at WEIBOSCH. The Bn defenses included also a roadblock about 100 yards
N of the RR near HEERTVELD---or about even with the plat under LIEUT BOWSER. Through the night, listening posts were employed
well out along every covered avenue of possible approach---principly the hedges and ditches. By this time, lack of food was
robbing the Bn of its vitality. Though the Dutch had tried to help, a majority of the men had gone four days with little or
no food. KINNARD noticed that the patrols decreased in vigor as the hours went on and the men had trouble keeping awake. They
said it was because they were hungry.
At 0600 next day, 25 Sept, KINNARD and EWELL were called in by JOHNSON
and alerted for a move to UDEN. When KINNARD returned to his CP at 0800, he found that his Bn was already engaged. CAPT SAMMIE
N. HOMAN said to him as he walked into the CP: "Tanks and infantry. I don't know how many, but it's plenty rough out there."
BOWSER, who had been covering the line of the dunes, had looked out through the morning mist to see "five tanks and 200 German
infantry" coming at him. About that moment, fire from a defilade to the SE of the RR line broke over the platoon which didn't
wait to see what would happen. It fell back immediately to the company position and the dunes became open to the enemy advance
and his first scouts got up to within 700 yds of the town. Mortar and arty shells were falling thick al around the town area
when KINNARD reached his CP; the church steeple was being rocked by 88 fire. It took him about 20-30 minutes to learn his
exact situation---that the dunes defense line was gone and the enemy was in there---and he then called Rgt. At 0900, Bn 3
was ordered to his assistance, and Rgt advised him also that 9 tanks from the 44th Royal Armored Tank Bn were one the way