The Battle for ‘s-Hertogenbosch from the German perspective
Documents for 27-10-44
German soldiers and a sturmgeschutz of Oberleutnant Kopke’s Panzer.jager.abteilung
559 near the
‘s-Hertogenbosch train station during the German counterattack on Saturday 27 October.
By means of the Bosveldweg the Germans headed for square Stationsplein.
27-10-44 During the night the south-west part of ‘s-Hertogenbosch was subjected
to own harassing artillery fire, but this couldn’t prevent the opponent to strengthen
himself with tanks and infantry during the course of the night.
Parts of Artillery Group Kiewitt went in to position in the sector
Heusden during the night. The commander of A.R.191 and the commander of
s.Pz.Jg.Abt.559 and 59.Inf.Div have discussed the support for our own counterattack
starting from the train station area to the south to regain the MLR. The 59.Inf.Div
refused to give support from the south by means of infantry and based on the
communication attempt made by the executive officer of F.E.B.347 the left flank of
59.Inf.Div would by then already have shifted more to the west anyway.
The start of the attack was ordered for 08.10 hrs after the south-
west part of the city would have been subjected to destructive artillery fire from
08.00 hrs until 09.10 hrs by A.R.1712 (artillery group north of the Maas, Art Group
Vlijmen) and from 4 Batteries of the 59.Inf.Div and III./A.R.139. This order could
be conveyed to Art.Rgt.1712 (Art. Group north of the Maas) by radio.
The enemy realized we were preparing an attack and had the area
were we would deploy destroyed by a heavy concentrated artillery attack. Our own
Infantry suffered heavy bloody losses during this attack. Nevertheless, supported
3 Sturmgeschutzen and 2 Jagdpanthers the Infantry attacked trough two streets into
southern direction to regain the MLR at any price. The attack however was lingered
by strong defensive fire whereby in particular the numerous of enemy Pak (Anti Tank
Guns) laying in ambush stopped our push. One Jagdpanther and two Sturmgeschutze
were put out of action.
To cover the failure of the Battle Commander the Division ordered
north-west adjacent Battle Group Schulze to immediately put a company with a
battle strength of at least 50 men under the command of the Battle Commander.
The Artillery kept the order to give harassing fire on to the south-west part of
‘s-Hertogenbosch. After rumours it became apparent on 28.10 that the Battle
Commander against all orders already had given orders for a withdrawal in the
morning but according to his own statement at 14:30 he had attached himself to
the rest of Battle Group Schulze that consisted out of two officers and about 30
who were still able to fight after the battle for the last row of houses at the canal.
He immediately received the order from the Division Commander to fight his way back
into the city with the in the meantime provided company of Battle Group Schulze
(battle strength 68 men) or else report himself for court martial at the Division.
It was promised that he would be provided with a further company of stranglers that
in the meantime were cared for by the Divisions Staff and were geared up by the
Nat.Soz.Fuhr.Offz. (National Sozialistische Führungs Offiziere: Officers that made
propaganda for the National. Socialist. Party.) and were provided with weapons and
ammunition by Section. Ib. At this stage there still had to be parts of F.E.B.347
Battalion Ewald and remnants of other groups in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Finally at
18.00 hrs the enemy broke trough with Infantry al the way up to the army barracks
west of the blown and for tanks not suitable railway underpass at the south-west
exit of the city and all the way up to the sports area at the train station. Because
of combined artillery fire the enemy was hindered to get any further and retreated.
The Division ordered Battle Group Schultze to order the company
stranglers, that was accompanied by a strong force of shock troops and were marching
on to Engelen, to be commanded by an energetic commander and to report to the Battle
Commander. In the evening it appeared that, as ordered by the Battle Commander,
also the commander of FEB 347 had pulled out around 16.30 hrs. An order messaged
by radio directed to the Commander of FEB 347 that told him to hold out at any cost
was only partly received. Some brave groups though continued to stay in the city.
It became apparent after 28.10. that the shock troops deployed
north-west exit of the city encountered heavy resistance in the factory area. Numerous
soldiers returned back to Battle Group Schultze separated during the night because
of enemy artillery attacks. There could be told nothing with certainty about the
of Battle Commander Riedel. There are reports that he was wounded in action.
The Division assessed that because of its position and the available battle numb
the retaking of ‘s-Hertogenbosch was impossible. It was important to prevent the
enemy to breakthrough to the west. Therefore the Division had deployed the former
troops of bridgehead Hedel, 2 Company’s of .Lw.Bodenpersonal (Lw, Luftwaffe,
Air Force- Bodenpersonal, ground personnel) precautionary to the area of Bokhoven
occupy a defensive position at the road fork (1km east of Vlijmen) along the
causeway leading north-east to Engelen, while 1 Company of FEB 1712 kept occupying
the east boundary of Vlijmen frontal positions along both sides of the main road
they already did since 25.10.
The bridge 1,5 km to the east of Vlijmen was prepared for demolition
was to be blown if enemy amour should be approaching without keeping notice
with the for safety reasons forwardly deployed troops at Groot-Deuteren.