The Battle for ‘s-Hertogenbosch from the German perspective
Documents for 26-10-44
26-10-44 In the morning the artillery fire became less.
Deployed in the MLR were:
in sector ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Commander Major Riedel)
right subsector: F.E.B 347 (Felders Ersatz Battalion) added with 4./F.E.B.1712.
left subsector: Btl. Ewald added with Sammel-Company (a company put together
with soldiers from different units) a fighting force counting about 450 men.
The equipment with M.G. (Machine Guns) was remarkably low, some of the
company’s even counted one M.G.! 4./F.E.B. 1712 counted a fighting force of
100 men and 2 M.G.!
In contrast to the view of the Chief of the General staff of the
Command, who meant to believe that in ‘s-Hertogenbosch liberation party’s took
place, the enemy continuously strengthened itself with infantry and armour at the
east bank of the north-south canal.
At 11.30 hrs strong artillery fire with fog grenades on the MLR,
positions at the destroyed bridges were simultaneously controlled by the at the
east bank deployed enemy tanks. Under cover of this fire the enemy succeeded
to cross the canal at two points with infantry-shock troops counting 30 – 40 men
and to infiltrate the MLR.
Because of immediate executed counterattacks one enemy shock
troop could be destroyed/driven back over the 80 to 100 cm deep canal and the
other for the greatest part could be whipped out. While these counter measures
were initiated and shock reserve troops were taken away from less threatened
areas the enemy crossed at other positions over the poorly blown south bridge
at the canal and advanced in to the direction of the west bank and infiltrated the
MLR. The enemy was able to create a crossing at the south bridge by means of a
bridge laying tank under the protection of artillery fire and fog grenades. Two tanks
could cross over this bridge around 14.00 hrs and could advance until the railroad
embankment and from there covered their advance route to the west and north
with fire. The Adjudant of Felders.Battalion.347 attempted to contact its right
neighbour (Battalion Gramse) to discuss a joined counter action. He was able to
advance past Vught without being able to find any members of Battalion
Gramse at the Dommelcanal, the main road, the railroad and along the
Afwateringscanal. At concentration camp Vught he observed a tank maintenance
and repair platoon with 10 enemy tanks!
The enemy closed in with its front troops from the south under heavy
artillery support and with the use of phosphor and fog grenades. Individual
strongpoint’s from houses held, while a strengthened trench line supported with
Sturmgeschutzen was build by the Battle Commander in the area south of the
train station. Because of the lack of artillery ammunition for the Group Vlijmen
our own defence lessened essentially. The already in the early morning by the
Division initiated shifts of ammunition stocks from Artillery Group Hedel to
Artillery Group Vlijmen had not been completed. s.Pz.Jg.Abt.559 already had
suffered sensitive losses. The strengthened trench line at the train station could
be held for the most part. The enemy suffered heavy losses by the counterattack.
5 enemy tanks could be destroyed.
On 26 October British tanks attacked the German positions at the Wilhelmina square
and Willemsbridge in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in support of the 1st East Lancs.