Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
L17
Nijmegen
1944

Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal

Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal

On September 19 1944, the Americans wanted to advance and capture Nijmegen’s two bridges. The 2nd Battalion of the 505th Regiment and the Grenadier Guards were to take the rail bridge, the road bridge and the post office.

Bridges
There were reports that the detonation equipment the Germans would use to blow up the Waal bridge was located in the post office. However, apart from the capture of the post office, the operation encountered difficulties. The Waffen-SS General Wilhelm Bittrich had sent units of the 10th SS Panzer Division to Nijmegen to defend the Waal bridges there. The Americans attempted to capture the bridges at Nijmegen, and advanced to the southern Nijmegen bank of the river Waal. There they were halted. The bridges would have to be captured from the northern bank. If this did not happen, the Allied troops fighting in Arnhem could not be supported and would be lost.

Fierce fighting
On September 20th, Major Julian Cook’s 3rd Battallion of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment were ordered to cross the Waal, and capture the bridges from the northern side. They made the river crossing in the canvas boats of the British XXX Corps, which were inadequate for the job. Once over the river, they were immediately plunged into hand-to-hand fighting. According to eye-witnesses, only 13 of the 26 boats which left the southern bank actually reached the northern side. The rest were either sunk during the crossing, or the engineers operating them were killed. The troops who did manage to reach the northern bank then advanced towards the road bridge, bayonets fixed. The fighting was fierce, often hand-to-hand. Two hours after the river crossing, the Paras captured the rail bridge, inflicting heavy losses on the Germans. After another two hours they held the north side of the rail bridge. At last, the tanks of the Grenadier Guards could roll across the river.

Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal
Nijmegen – The Allies cross the Waal

Geallieerde oversteek

NL 17 - Nijmegen
5:06