Period: September 22, - November 9, 1944
Citaat: Brits officier: Overloon, it’s mines, woods and mud, stiff with the enemy all the way!
In late September it seemed that Operation Market Garden had been abandoned and that the Allied armies could forget their wish to end the war before Christmas. Nevertheless, Operation Market Garden had resulted in some positives: a wedge had been driven into the German lines from which the liberation of north Brabant, northern Limburg and northern Netherlands could be further addressed. Moreover, Eindhoven and Nijmegen had been liberated.
One of the goals was to drive out the last German resistance in northern Limburg. The German opposition still seemed unusually strong, which eventually led to the Battle of Overloon, the first and only tank battle ever fought on Dutch soil. The Germans were able to hold off the Allied soldiers for three weeks, but on October 18 the last part of north Limburg was liberated.
In the same period, the Allied Forces started the advance in north Brabant and Zeeland. Fierce fighting took place here too.
On September 4 the port of Antwerp was in the hands of the Allies. This was important in supplying the Allied troops with everything they needed such as weapons, ammunition, clothing, food, fuel, etc. But first the German resistance round Westerschelde needed to be overcome. The battle moved to Zeeland, where there was heavy fighting in Walcheren. Zeeland was finally liberated on November 8.
So the south of the Netherlands, below the river, became liberated territory. In the north of the Netherlands, as we now know, the people had to prepare for the winter famine.
British tanks advancing through Overloon
Source: Public domain
Overloon, October 2, 1944: A US mortar crew acquires German troops at Vortum-Mullem under fire
Source: Public domain / US Army Signals Corps photo / Collection Arie-Jan van Hees
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