The Brabant village Oisterwijk and Operation Market-Garden

The Battle for ‘s-Hertogenbosch from the German perspective

Documents for 22-10-44

712 I.D.
712 I.D.
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 company’s 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 armored 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 armored 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

favorable 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 hrs

by the battalions; Btl.Stabes, Fus.Btl.712 and I./Fus.Btl.712. But the enemy

broke trough 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 armor 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 trough 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 (new MLR).

 

                    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

Armored 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

armored 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.

 

Map for 22-10-44

     Battle map of the 53 Welsh and 7th Armoured Div. for 22-10-44.

(click on the map to enlarge)