75 years ago! That is now one of the largest airborne landings taking place at Arnhem to put a swift end to the war in Europe. Unfortunately it all went differently and the sacrifice that the soldiers then made is an ultimate act of courage and justifies the attention it should receive every year.
It has been on my list for a long time to find out more about the battle of Arnhem (Market Garden) where my family rootes are. It will be exciting and beautiful to visit the places that played an important role in battle for Arnhem. On 15 September 2 days before the actual landing in 1944 we are ready in the morning to do a battlefield tour at Arnhem / Oosterbeek. What strikes me is the broad interest and involvement of people from the immediate surroundings of Arnhem and Oosterbeek, but also the people who come along from different areas of the country with the tour of today.
Today we did a car tour to the far western tip of Denmark with a stop at Lake Filso and under the lake Stutzpunkt Börsmose-Dorf. The majority of the area has been abandoned and is being used as a military training ground. This gives the whole an extra dimension. Certainly considering the bunkers present (and there are many) that are still in good condition and often just free to enter. Stutzpunkt Börsmose-Dorf was established in the spring of 1943 to protect the intersection 3.5 kilometers inside the coast. It had a strategic position to block the passage to further inland and Germany.
We went to look in the middle of the stutzpunkt and walked a bit into the forest. xactly opposite the S.t. 610 bunker, Danish soldiers were busy with a …
On the 13th of September the first breakthrough at the Siegfried Line was established at Roetgen, a town at the border of Belgium. A few days earlier (10th of September the first jeep crossed the border). The Siegfried Line was a defence system stretching more than 630 km (390 mi) with more than 18,000 bunkers, tunnels and tank traps.
During the battle for Groningen the Canadians had difficulty gaining ground in the city. It was one of the hardest urban battles the Canadian had to fight during ww2. What it made difficult was the centre of Groningen as it is surrounded with canals and bridges. Only a few here usable.
Infanterie Les Fusiliers, Mt-Royal op de Radesingel. 15 april 1945
This picture clearly shows the hardness to advance to the centre of Groningen.
In for a weekend in Berlin to see the modern highlights of a reborn city with scars of it’s dark past. As a start, we immediately went to a point where the history of Berlin is clearly visible which is the Niederkirchnerstraße. The monument surrounding the horrors of the Nazi regime and part of the Wall dividing East and West that has ruled the city for a long time.
Neuwe Wache – Designed and built in 1816 where it was originally supposed to be a guard house for the troops of the Crown Prince of Prussia for the nearby Kronprinzpalais. It thus served as a replacement for the old artillery guard house. Still used as an important place to remind us of the German fallen in various wars and war zones. It was seriously damaged in the battle for Berlin.
Berliner Dom – In 1935 Hermann Göring – the second-in-command of Nazi Germany – married Emmy Sonnenschein at the cathedral. Hitler was a witness (best man) at the ceremony. The cathedral was badly damaged during the second world war especially with air raids on Berlin on May 24, 1944.
Reichstag – Herman Goringstrasse (now Friedrich Eberstrasse) towards the Reichstag. Happy faced Russian soldiers walk past the Tiergarten park with AA guns in joy that the battle for Berlin is over.
Flakturm III G-Tower Humboldthain – One of the most visible remains of the Second World War in Berlin. Partly buried under the rubble of the city after the war, it can still be visited. Keep in mind that you have a sweater or jacket with you because otherwise it will be too cold and you cannot join the tour (which was unfortunately the case with us). This tower is one of three built in Berlin to protect Berlin from constant attacks by the air force. The others have been cleaned up completely. The roof is 3.5 meters thick!
The Flakturm (Flak Tower) is a concrete bunker that is placed in a city. The bunker was provided with a space where people (the largest tower itself had room for 20,000 people) could shelter during bombings and there was room for storage of goods. In addition, the bunker was equipped with Flak anti-aircraft guns (Flak is the abbreviation for Flugabwehrkanone, also known as Fliegerabwehrkanone).
These large towers were built in the cities of Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna during the Second World War.