The Brabant village Oisterwijk and Operation Market-Garden

The Battle for ‘s-Hertogenbosch from the German perspective

Documents for 23-10-44

712 I.D.
712 I.D.

23-10-44     In the night strong harassing fire that at times increased to artillery

barrage fire.

 

                Reinforcements that were added where:

1./Pz.Jg.Abt.256 (Anti Tank Division 256) with 5 x 7,5cm Pak 40 (mot.Z.)

I./G.R.481 (arrival last parts finally at 07.00 hrs)

4./A.R.185 (Artillery Regiment 185) (fire ready around 09.30 hrs)

Stab I./A.R.159 with 1. and 9./A.R.159 (Stab= HQ or staff) (fire ready around           ………………………………………….                                               10.00 hrs).

                During the night our own artillery gave harassing fire on suspected

enemy assembly area’s and locations.

 

                07.00 hrs the enemy attack began as expected on the rail crossing

south of Kruisstraat. After artillery and fog bombardments 3 tanks broke trough the

defensive position south of the railway. Further tanks broke trough the line 500 m

north of the main road ‘s-Hertogenbosch-Hees. As a result of the foggy morning

and because of enemy artillery support by own troops proved difficult. Also here

it was noticeable again that the lack of communication equipment was to our

disadvantage.

 

                At the position of I./G.R.481 at Bruggen, for the retaking of section

Kruisstraat – Hoefgraaf- canal, a battalion moving in a rather narrow area under

the protection of the fog suffered a strong enemy tank attack with multiple flame

throwing tanks. Several tanks advanced to Rosmalen but could be forced to turn

around because of combined fire. Btl.Wittstock together with I./G.R.481 pressed

trough from Rosmalen again until Bruggen and, without informing the Division,

pressed on until Het Gewande. The result hoped for, closing the gap at the

north wing, failed. On the contrary, also a breakthrough of numerous tanks took

place again in the area of G.R.732. Nevertheless the area around Rosmalen

remained the most threatened area. At 12.45 hrs 2.(Sturmgeschutz)/Pz.Jg.Abt.256

(Panzer. Jager. Abteilung.256) without 1st platoon was, according to the request

of 11.00 hrs made by Gen.Kdo.LXXXVIII.A.K.(General.Command.88.Army.Corp.),

deployed at both sides of Kruisstraat for retaking the Main Line of Resistance.

The Division had, from own recourses, provided this Sturmgeschutz company with

fuel so it could be expected that they soon would be ready to march. The

accompanying infantry was provided with 2 VB’s, (Vorgeschobener Artillerie-

Beobachter, Forward Artillery Observers) from both the artillery-battalions and the

plan of attack was discussed with the involved commanders so a presumption for

success was given. These commanders were specially ordered to close all gaps.

The south adjacent troops kept to their orders and accompanied into the attack.

Because of incomprehensible causes – apparently difficulties during  refuelling - the sturmgeschutzen finally arrived around 16.00 hrs at the Divisions defensive position

at Hintham, at the time when the batteries of A.R.1712 (Artillery.Regiment.1712)

were already at Rosmalen partly involved in to close combat with enemy tanks and

infantry. On this dim day there was the danger that the attack, at the beginning of

darkness, would not fully develop. During the hours of preparation the frontline at

G.R.732 was broken trough by enemy tanks and infantry troops at multiple places.

The opponent was increasing his artillery activity since noon. It was not a rarity that

shells 800 t0 1000 shells where shot on single districts ore expected defensive positions.  

 

                 When our multiple Sturmgeschutzen, accompanied by infantry seated on

top of the Sturmgeschutze, approached Rosmalen from the south at 16.30 hrs for

the attack, they came under attack from our own artillery by over a 1000 shells and

suffered considerable losses. 2 Sturmgeschutzen were putt out of action by direct

artillery hits. Heavy tank battles developed around Rosmalen. While half the

Sturmgeschutzen accompanied by infantry bypassed Rosmalen to the east-west

and progressed forward on to Bruggen, the other half was engaged in a heavy battle

with tanks that wanted to destroy our counterattacking west flank. This Sturmgeschutz

group came in oppression and called back the infantry accompanied Sturmgeschutzen

in the dawning dusk. As a result the infantry could not continue their attack and also

because they suffered significantly under enemy artillery. At Rosmalen a super heavy

tank (dreadnought), 1 Sherman-tank and 1 armoured reconnaissance vehicle were

destroyed. The Sturmgeschutzen were pulled back to serve as corps reserve as ordered

by the Gen.Kdos. (General Command) after a further Sturmgeschutz was put out of

action by multiple direct anti-tank hits in the north-west part of ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

 

                While the focus of the division with all the heavy weapons was focused

to support the attack on Rosmalen, Bruggen and Kruisstraat around 17.30 hrs, British

infantry penetrated at Hintham coming from the southeast numbering about 50,

occupied the houses and could not be driven out again because of lack of power

as parts of the Div.Stabes (Divisions HQ) the communications- battalion 712 and

the Stabsbatt.Art.Rgt.1712 (HQ of Artillery Regiment 1712) were deployed

elsewhere as an alarm unit. In this critical stage the newly added Battalion- Balzereit

arrived around 18.30 hrs and was assigned to push north along Hintham to take over

the protection of the artillery positions in the area around Rosmalen and to resume

the communication with parts of Gr.Rgt.732. Btl.Balzereit did not fulfil this order,

partly because it was annihilate by artillery fire during darkness. It lacked the Division

in communications with the at the front deployed troops. In march send out special reconnaissance patrols couldn’t penetrate, either because they couldn’t get trough

because of the enemy ore because they just couldn’t find the troops any more.

Communication equipment was partly shot to pieces and telephone lines were destroyed.

                    

                 At 20.00 hrs the enemy artillery barrage started on the location of the

Divisions Command post in the west part of Hintham without pausing until 04.40 hrs.

There was no doubt this was espionage because the largest part of shells fell

precisely on the command-communication-Ic and IIa Bunker. According to stopwatch

counts that were hastily repeated by an artillery-battalion commander during the

artillery attack, in the night of 23 on 24.10, with a number of batteries, the enemy

had fired about 50.000 grenades up to the calibre of 17 cm on the Divisions

Command Post. The military damage inflicted is certainly in no relationship to the

expenses taken!

The German documents with the outcome of the battle for 23 October 1944.
(Click on the documents to enlarge)

The staff car of Generalleutnant Neumann after heavy artillery fire on the Hinthammerpark and his command post. This artillery attack started on the 23rd at 20.00 hrs and without pausing ended at 04.40 hrs on the 24th.