Het Brabantse dorp Oisterwijk
  en Operatie Market-Garden

The German troops in Oisterwijk

During the German occupation a lot of different German troops were present in Oisterwijk, as well as a German field dressing station in the poirterstraat as part of 245 I.D. (Infantry-Division), plus a big medical supply depot named WVA (Wehrmacht Verplegungs Amt) at the leather company beside the railwayline.

The leather company was also in use by the Germans for their war effort.

The German Luftwaffe staff of Airbase Gilze-Rijen (the grey gents) resided in the Oisterwijk hotel ‘Bos en Ven’.

The Germans further had a large ammunition depot in the woods east of Oisterwijk measuring some 390 acres with ammunition bunkers and open ammunition storage area’s covered by trees.

The brick paths that the Germans had laid out trough the forest in order to transport the ammunition in and out of the area originated from debris that was left over of the houses after the German bombing raid on the Dutch city of Rotterdam on 14 May 1940.

As a result of that raid the Dutch army and government had then capitulated.

 

The German transport unit NSKK, National Sozialistisches Kraftfahr Korps, tasked with the transportation of the ammunition was also located in the woods.

To this day there is still a grease pit visible in that part of the woods where this unit had its base.

At the railway marshalling yard in Oisterwijk, located near the train station, the Germans loaded their ammunition into boxcars for further transport.

For this dangerous job the Germans used Russian Prisoners of War from the Russian front that where imprisoned in Oisterwijk.

During September and October of 1944 also the residents of the city of Tilburg, Oisterwijk and the surrounding villages were ordered to work at the ammunition depot.

This usually were civilians who were dealing with German sanctions as a result of some wrong doing.

 

Just prior our liberation in October of 1944 several German Infantry Division were staying around Oisterwijk.

The German troops on the run for Allied forces that had landed on the beaches in Normandie France had  planned a stand at the border of Belgium and Holland.

Small groups with retreating German soldiers that reached our borders were refitted into troops under command of the German General Command, Generalkommando VXXXIII (88) Armee Korps led by General der Infantrie Hans Reinhard.

Because of operation Market Garden many different German troops passed Oisterwijk on their way to the front line at the corridor (Hells Highway) to fight back the Allies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elements of the 59 I.D. (generalleutnant- Poppe) and

245 I.D.( generalleutnant- Sander) were staying in Oisterwijk and surrounding area during the occupation.

Also in the neighbouring village of Moergestel, now a day’s part of the Oisterwijk municipality, lots of German troops were stationed.  

The German troops were billeted in civilians home’s, local schools and in large stables along the Oisterwijkseweg.

According to the status, size and location of civilian houses and villa’s German officers where billeted.

In the fall of 1944 the German 88 Army Corps of the German Wehrmacht even set up its headquarters in Moergestel.

The German commander of 88 corps, General der Infantrie Hans Reinhard, chose ‘Zonnewende estate’ in Moergestel as his temporary new home.

His corps consisted of the 347th Infantry Division, 16th Luftwaffe-Felddivision, 719th Infantery Division, Artilleriekommandeur 119, later 488, the 613th Tank Company, 835th Pionier Battalion and the Nachrichten-Abteilung 488.

Later during the war also the ‘schnelle Brigade auf Fahrrädern’ (fast Bicycle Brigade) was added to the corps.

German troops of the 256th Volksgrenadier Division lead by Gerhard Franz and troops of Kampfgruppe Chill, 85 I.D. lead by Generalleutnant Kurt Chill, were also at Oisterwijk and Moergestel during the final stages of war.

Further troops of 712 I.D. lead by Generalleutnant Friedrich-Wilhelm Neumann passed trough Oisterwijk.

During the war years also German officers and soldiers on ‘erholung’, special leave and R&R from front line duty’s came to Oisterwijk.

Usually they went back to the front after a short period.

 

This German army map shows the boundaries between the different German infantry divisions in the North Brabant province early September 1944.

Doctor Frans de Sain played an important role for Oisterwijk as a Red Cross man during the end of the war.

He was regularly called upon when in the surroundings of Oisterwijk an Allied plane had crash landed resulting in injured crew members.

Ones even, when a local resident was hiding for the Germans on a neighbouring attic, food was provided to this man by a hole through the roof from the Doctors attic.

 

Under the difficult circumstances of war the doctor had managed to underkeep a reasonable good contact with the Germans and its said he even earned some kind of respect from them.

It must have been as a result of some of his actions in favour of the Germans or even by his kind of fearless attitude against them.

Possibly this contact found its way trough the German field dressing station that was housed near the doctors home and practice.

This German field dressing station resided in the girls school building that was part of the Catharinenberg convent located in Poirterstraat.

This field dressing station was lead by the German chief of staff Dr. Zink and staff surgeon Dr. Auer.

These German officers had access to large amounts of medical supplies from the WVA storage at the Oisterwijk leather company and because of the scarcity of medical supplies it was of great interest for the doctor to upkeep good relations with these officers.  

 

LXXXVIII Korps
General der Infanterie Reinhard, Hans Wolfgang
1888-1950
719 I.D.
Generalleutnant
Sievers, Karl
1892-1961
256 V.G.D.
General-Major
Franz, Gerhard
1902-1975
Kampfgruppe Chill 85 I.D.
Generalleutnant
Chill, Kurt
1895-1976
?
?
59 I.D.
Generalleutnant
Poppe, Wahlter Frits Rudolf
1892-1968
245 I.D.
Generalleutnant
Sander, Erwin
De Duitse troepen in Oisterwijk

712 I.D. Generalleutnant

Friedrich-Wilhelm Neumann

1889-1975