The Brabant village Oisterwijk and Operation Market Garden
Railway bridges over the Wilhelmina canal
This aerial photograph is dated 9 July 1944.
After reading the story from the newspaper I, as a born citizen of the city of Tilburg,
am under the presumption that the attack on the vehicle, probably a German vehicle,
took place at the railway bridges over the Wilhelminacanal in Tilburg.
The vehicle could have crossed one of the two nearest swing bridges over the Wilhelminacanal
that were located at the roads Bosscheweg and Oisterwijksebaan.
Both bridges were of the same type as the swingbridge that became so well known in
the tails of the 101st Airborne Division at Son near Eindhoven during the first day’s
of Operation Market-Garden.
Both Spitfire's made their first attack from a North-South direction after a left
This indicates to me they approached their target, a vehicle, from the direction
of the swing bridge at the Bosscheweg and that the vehicle was protecting itself
underneath the railway bridges.
It is also clear that Pierre Gallay was hit here by German anti-aircraft fire, presumably
covering the bridges.
Just as his group commander Michel Brunschwig who made a climbing maneuver before
a left turn, Pierre Gallay presumably will also have preformed a similar maneuvre
for a second attack on the vehicle.
Most presumably he was hit by Flak during this maneuvre and as a result descended
in a straight line into the direction of Oisterwijk were he made his forced landing
on the road Oisterwijksebaan.
At the red marker in the photo the attack took place and it is also the spot were
Gallay’s Spitfire was hit by German anti-aircraft guns positioned in this area.
Its possible that the German anti-aircraft battery at the Nieuw-Lovenstraat (now
a day’s called Nautilus straat) was responsible for shooting down Gallay.
In the upper left corner in the photo a small part of the Nieuw-Lovenstraat is just
visible but the situation today has changed and is entirely different with also the
street name changed.
Somewhere along Nieuw-Lovenstraat the Germans had located their anti-aircraft batteries
and a number of barracks for their anti-aircraft personel.
These troops belonged to an anti-aircraft unit called ‘Einheit Magnussen’, presumably
under the 256th VGD (Volks Grenadier Division).
In the night of 23 on 24 October they were strategically pulled back to new positions
because of the advance of the Allies on to Tilburg from the direction of Eindhoven
from the east and the Belgium border from the south.
Last present on this anti-aircraft position that day was the German lieutenant Lt.
Eschenbach of the 256th VGD.
He was to inform three local Tilburg municipal workers, ordered to daily take care
of the area’s security, that they where not needed anymore.
if they did this job as punishment by the Germans for some kind of wrong doing or
as their job as pro German supporters known as the NSB, (National Socialist Movement)
is not known.
After they arrived and reported for duty in the early morning of October 24 they
were immediately dismissed and sent home by this German Lieutenant.
From the city of Tilburg the Oisterwijksebaan runs to the north, all the way to the
village Oisterwijk and trough an area of farmland.
Gallay followed this road and eventually landed right on top of it in Oisterwijk.