The Battle for ‘s-Hertogenbosch from the German perspective
Documents for 22-10-44
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
At 07.10 hrs the enemy advanced over a wider front after a half
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
attack especially after the tremendous pre-bombardment that damaged the
communication equipment – the phone line network in the area was also almost
It was not surprising that the 50 armored vehicles were able
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Battle map of the 53 Welsh and 7th Armoured Div. for 22-10-44.
(click on the map to enlarge)