The Brabant village Oisterwijk and Operation Market Garden
The Battle for ‘s-Hertogenbosch from the German perspective
Documents for 22-10-44
The German documents with the outcome of the battle for 22 October 1944. (Click on the documents to enlarge)
B. Outcome of the fought battle.
22.10.44 After in the early morning heavy fire was only received in the sector south
of G.R.732 (Grenadier Regiment), this heavy fire increased shortly after 06.00 hrs
and expanded up to the Div. Command post. The sector of G.R.745 however received
no artillery fire which made the Division believe that it could expect a big offensive
on both sides of the Zuid-Willemsvaart shortly. At 06.00 hrs after a heavy pre artillery
bombardment the enemy advanced along both sides of the road Veghel-Berlicum with
2 companies of infantry and 12 – 15 tanks to attack. The attack was haltered after
combined artillery fire from the main line of resistance positioned near the advanced
secure boundaries in which also the left side of 59.I.D. Artillery section took part
in. The tanks were deployed shortly after.
At 07.10 hrs the enemy advanced over a wider front after a half hour artillery bombardment
and attacked the sector of Fusilier-Btl.712 between the road ‘s-Hertogenbosch-Hees
and the railway line ‘s-Hertogenbosch-Nijmegen. With about 50 armoured vehicles,
amongst them numeral flam throwing tanks they attacked. As a result of the poor visibility,
it was difficult to execute a joined artillery attack especially after the tremendous
pre-bombardment that damaged the communication equipment – the phone line network
in the area was also almost entirely destroyed.
It was not surprising that the 50 armoured vehicles were able to infiltrate the front,
but the MLR (Main Line of Resistance) held out. It was only after hours that the
enemy was able to, after systematically smoking out dug in anti-tank measures, force
a gap in the lines at Nuland. The enemy however lost at least 6 tanks in this sector
because of the fearlessness of numerous of soldiers equipped with panzerfaust and
medium Pak. Because the battle area was very favourable for usage of the panzerfausts
it can be concluded that the losses were probably a lot higher though the division
has no proof for this logical assumption seen the loyalty of these soldiers that
kept to their assignment and posts and defended themselves – the greatest part though
should be considered killed in action.
The Division decided to keep the ongoing buildup of the main resistance line by deploying
III./G.R.732 (G.R. Grenadier Regiment) with the use of hundreds of volenteers and
not to shrink the number of troops here and not to consider this a position to fall
back on, and even when poorly manned to keep this position existing over a 7 km wide
front with 250 men, of which 40% recruits. For this Luftwaffe-Btl.Ewald (without
the recruit company), situated at ‘s-Hertogenbosch incase of an airborne assault
and for the reassurance of the Battle Commander, was alarmed and brought in, and
also the Gren.Rgt.745 (Rgt, Regiment) was ordered to let one battle ready reserve
company, Btl.Wittstock, that occupied a line of resistance at the hamlet Bruggen,
occupy the so-called 2nd line of resistance south-west of Nuland.
At 09.30 hrs the enemy again commenced an attacked on the south wing with support
of several tanks and simultaneously attacking I./G.R.732 at Nieuwekampen. During
this attack our own artillery was destroyed. I./G.R.732 reported that the tanks at
Nieuwekampen were allegedly advancing behind German prisoners of war that were used
as shields. As a result of this act, both here deployed medium Pak could not attack
the enemy and were put out of action.
At Fusilier-Btl.712 the enemy used the same trick but here the evidently “German
prisoners” opened fire just in front of the MLR so it became clear that it was considering
a shameful deception of British soldiers in German uniforms.
Around 11.00 hrs the enemy was ready to break out from the gap at Nuland that temporarily
was closed again by a counterattack at about 12.00 hrsby the battalions; Btl.Stabes,
Fus.Btl.712 and I./Fus.Btl.712. But the enemy broke through after a pre-bombardment
lasting about half an hour and attacked with at least 2 Btl. of Infantry and about
40 tanks on both sides along the railway line. The enemy was engaged in bitter fighting
at the local defensive positions but it could not be prevented - the artillery was
not able anymore to give support by using the desirable loads of ammunition – that
the enemy advanced until the defensive position north of the railway and even crossing
it. In heroic close combat against enemy armour the Regimental command post G.R.745
held on until the last men.
There were further enemy attacks between 11.00 – 16.00 hrs at multiple places varying
from 2 companies up to battalion size, regularly supported by 5 – 8 tanks. In one
occasion 3 tanks had broken trough at the street from Veghel to Berlicum with the
infantry split in two and heavy casualties inflicted amongst the infantry along the
MLR by own defensive fire. At Doornhoek and south of the woods at Hooge Heide a bigger
breakthrough had taken place. The here deployed 8,8cm Pak was simultaneous attacked
and destroyed by 5 tanks. This part of the MLR is, except from a few still fighting
soldiers, apparently totally destroyed. At Nieuwe Kampen the enemy also succeeded
to push through with 5 – 6 tanks until south of the command post of I./G.R.732 so
the connection with the in the middle of the woods positioned 1./G.R.732 was cut
off. Further north the MRL stayed intact until the edge of the woods 800m south-west
of Nuland were the line bend several hundred meters further to the north. Here the
brave Fusilier-Btl. lead by Hptm. Siebecker (Hauptmann, Captain) held the line from
23.10 hrs to 04.00 hrs until the order to withdraw was given to the defensive position
It was completely lacking the Div. of counterattack and mobile anti- tank weapons
to close the gap in the MLR so the Div. was forced to conclude that the defensive
position should be considered now as the MLR.
The Engineers were already deployed during the morning to create roadblocks by the
use of fallen trees and booby-traps and other obstacles with the little reserve of
mines that was left.
Because of counterattacks of Btl.Ewald along the defensive position in the woods
to the north and near the Divisions army school barracks from the west the enemy,
that had penetrated the defensive position into the west, was forced to turn around.
Btl.Wittstock has vacated the defensive position north from Kruisstraat after enemy
pressure, no forces are at hand to close this gap.
At the railroad crossing 1 km south of Kruisstraat infantry supported by 6 tanks
was spotted east west of the defensive position adjacent the woods. One shock troop
attack during the night supported by artillery failed with heavy losses to own troops.
Though the Division in the evening was able to fight back this first day of heavy
enemy attacks on the defensive position against a strong British Armoured Division
with a full Infantry Division counting about 25 – 30 Batteries and divisional and
army artillery from every caliber, it was doubted that these more or less unorganized
troops were able to hold the new Main Line of Resistance during another day of heavy
battle. Sadly, it was noted that the Division was out of Pak. The north flank of
the defensive line north of Kruisstraat was open wide. The artillery ammunition is
becoming scarce. The Division is expecting a concentrated attack on the area Berlicum
and Rosmalen concentrated on both sides of the rail line.
It has become clear that our troops inflicted heavy bloody losses to the enemy after
their first attacks and also on this day 15 enemy tanks and an armoured reconnaissance
vehicle have been destroyed. Also, our own losses were considerable. The overall
mass of the Division battalions kept occupying their positions, they fulfilled their
assignments to defend these positions to the last men.