WW2 Battles in the Netherlands (1944) Arnhem German forces attack bridge

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stoffel:
Arnhem, German forces attacking the main bridge on September 18-21 1944.

September 17th
from the east
Kampfgruppe Brinkmann armored recon batallion 10th SS division.
Company Mielke 4 MKIII and 4 MKIV tanks.
Bridgesecurityplatoon Stadtkommandant Arnhem

from the north
3rd Company 21st panzer grenadierregiment(10th SS)

September 18th
from the east
1 platoon Tiger 1 and 1 platoon Tiger 2 tanks

from the north
Kampfgruppe Knaust training and replacement Bn Bocholt consisiting of 4 companies wehrmacht troops(not fit for frontline service)
Kampfgruppe Euling 1 company only rest withdrawn next day

September 19th
from the north
remainder 21st panzerregiment
88mm and 20 mm AAA gun detachements

September 18-21st
from the south
Kampfgruppe Graebner 22 vehicles and few remnants after the failed first attack

At the peak of fighting roughly 1000 men with artillery support and 15 tanks

Take the bridge!
Bittrich ordered Brinkmann to attack the bridge early morning september 18th.

From the east:

The Germans gathered a reasonable big force to counterattack the British paras.(see above)
Early German intelligence reports indicated there were just 120 paratroopers in fortified houses( this proved to be wrong, numbers were about 600)
Elements of Brinkmanns kampfgruppe were allready in combat with the British troops,3rd company of 21st panzergrenadierregiment was figthing in the houses to the west of the bridge and around the market place and Eusebius square.
Eulings 10th bn had its leadcompany also engaging paras north of the bridge.
Knaust reported for duty around 04.00 in the morning his troops were 8 tanks from the driving school and 4 companies from Wehrkreis VI.
Brinkmanns unit would provide the Schwerpunkt for the early mornig attacks.

The first attack started at dawn, Brinkmanns troops first tried to infiltrate from the east.
Tactics were simple, some squads tried to reach the houses with defenders, sneak through their lines and blow them up by throwing satchells inside, after that a frontal infantry attack was carried out.Often the defenders threw the satchells back into the groups of attackers all this resulting in heavy casualties among the Germans.
A group of trucks with German soldiers was shot to pieces when they drove to a street which they thought was clear.
Next followed a heavy artillery barrage and after that Brinkmanns armor rushed forward.
A few light tanks, halftracks and armored cars approched the Brittish line from the eastern factory district into Markt street.
There 2 light  6 pounder AT guns situated in the open streetwrecked havoc among the attackers.
The attacks were still not co-ordinated and were not effective.
It was not possible to carry out a succesfull combined arms attack, the houses offered to much protection for the defenders.

From the south:

SS captain Victor Graebner looked at the Arnhem bridge.
He examined the British positions at the northern ramp of the bridge.
He made a decision to attack, resulting in his dead and the dead of many men in his unit.
Graebner was a succesfull and well liked officer among his men.
He was allways in front of his unit and allways the first one in.
Graebner thought he could blow the lightly armed paras away, a fault often made by armor commanders during the war.
He thought that speed and shock should be enough to destroy the enemy.
His assault started at 0900.
His armored cars(Pumas) lead followed by the halftracks(250/1, 251/1 and 9) and trucks with troopers.
In US cavalry style they drove across the bridge towards the enemy, guns blazing.
The defenders waited for them to arrive, than when the first vehicles passed their position they opened fire.
Lobbing grenades into the halftracks at close range from the houses, firing their PIATS and mortars and cutting down the German troops in the open with concentrated rifle and brengun fire.
Fighting  went on till midday, many Germans were cuaght without a chance to escape, their vehicles hit, escape routes blocked by burning vehicles.
One by one they were shot.
Some choose to dive into the Rhine to escape the British bullets.
Graebners attack also became a failure, a heavy loss of men and material, losses which Germany could not afford anymore.

From the north:

Knausts arrival was a welcome gift for Eulings weary men.
Graebners attack caused the Germans more trouble because his burning vehicles blocked the road.
So the focus of the battle shifted to the north.
Soon Knausts men advance was halted by stiff resistance.
Further progress was impossible and Eulings men left with a detour towards Nijmegen.
Later that day two 105 mm guns were brought in position to destroy the fortified houses held by the paras.

The attacks were stopped for that day.
Frosts days however were counted.


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