The German actor who was ordered to shoot American soldiers, but refused.

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September 17,1944 saw the start of “Operation Market Garden” a failed allied operation during WWII, which had dire consequences for the Dutch population.

However this blog is not about that but about the movie made about ‘Operation Market Garden@ a star studded movie made in 1977 directed by Richard Attenborough, with the title ‘A Bridge too Far’

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More specifically about one of the actors in the movie.

Hardy Krüger played Generalmajor der Waffen-SS Karl Ludwig, the name of his character was fictitious. It was in fact based on Heinz Harmel, CO of the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg, but he did not want his name to be mentioned in the film.

Hamel

Hardy Krüger was born Eberhard Krüger in Wedding in the borough of Berlin on April 12 1928. His parents were enthusiastic Nazis.

When he was age 13 Hardy enrolled in an Adolf Hitler School, which was a NSDAP boarding school and joined the Hitler Youth.

When he was  15, Hardy made his film début in a German picture, “The Young Eagles”.

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His acting career was interrupted though, when he was conscripted into the German Wehrmacht in 1944 at age 16.

In March 1945, he was assigned to the 38th SS Division Nibelungen where he was drawn into heavy fighting. The 16-year-old Krüger was ordered to eliminate a group of American soldiers. When he refused, he was sentenced to death for cowardice, but another SS officer stopped the order. The incident opened his eyes to what Nazism really was.

Hardy related how he “hated the uniform.” During the filming of A Bridge Too Far , he wore a top-coat over his S.S. uniform between takes so as not to remind himself of his childhood in Germany during WWII.

Hardy

In the TV mini series War and Remembrance televised in 1988/1989 he played Field Marshall Erwin Rommel.

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Sources

German Wikipedia

IMDb

 

 

 

The effects of Operation Market Garden are still being felt today.

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Operation Market Garden started on September 17 1944. It was supposed to end the war in the Netherlands.But the operation failed, as a result the war was prolonged for several months,compounded with one of the severest winters on record it resulted in a famine for the northern provinces.

POW

But there was more,as a form of reprisal the Germans started stealing everything valuable they could find. although Market Garden failed the Germans knew the war was coming to an end and they would be on the losing side.

Dr J.H. Smidt van Gelder, the director of the children’s hospital in Arnhem, stored 6 works of art in a bank vault for safekeeping during the Second World War.

Dr

One of the pieces was a painting called The Oyster Meal by Jacob Ochtervelt The paintings were looted in January 1945, when the Nazis plundered the town.Although the instructions were given not to loot the banks a German officer called Temmler paid no attention to those instructions.

Even Himmler had warned about Temmler, he said he would bring disrespect to the Nazi party, killing millions was okay, but stealing art was disrespectful.

The painting then made a bit of a mysterious journey. In 1971 was acquired by the property  Harold Samuel,  it had  painting reappeared on the Swiss art market ,a few decades after the war, where Harold Samuel bought it

Harold Samuel  bequeathed the painting to the City of London Corporation in 1987, on condition that they be shown permanently in Mansion House.

The Commission for Looted Art in Europe uncovered the history of the painting and discovered the rightful owners. Samuel’s daughters agreed to waive the condition so that The Oyster Meal could be returned to Charlotte Bischoff van Heemskerck, the daughter of Dr van Gelder,she is now aged 97.

It was returned to her in November 2017.

The painting went  on auction at Sotheby’s in July 2018, and was sold for estimated value 1.6 Million Pounds Sterling.

oyster meal

 

 

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Sources

BBC

Sotheby’s

World War 2 in the Netherlands

paratroopers

As the saying goes “A picture tells a thousand words” therefor rather then writing at length about  WWII in the Netherlands, I have decided that this time I will let the pictures do the talking.

The photograph on the top is a picture of American troops from the 82nd Airborne Division parachute into The Netherlands on Sept. 17, 1944.

Following are just a few pictures in no particular order

German SS soldiers advancing towards the Allies on stolen  bicycles during Operation Market Garden.

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In 1941 the German occupiers turned the Jewish district in Amsterdam into a ghetto.

opnamedatum: 27-10-2006

Jews are being arrested during a raid in Amsterdam in February 1941

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The city of Rotterdam after the German bombing during the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940.

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Dutch soldiers guard the border with Germany shortly after mobilization, 1939

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Diplomat being evacuated from occupied Holland. German special visa issued for the travel on a diplomatic train for the evacuation in July of 1940.

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Members of the Dutch Resistance, identified by their cloth armbands, with American paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division in Eindhoven, September 1944

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A case of ‘friendly’ fire on October 5 1942 RAF bombers mistakenly bomb the town of Geleen, thinking it was Aachen in Germany.

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Canadian troops pass a windmill in Rijssen-Holten, April 1945.

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Dutch civilians pictured during the Hongerwinter of 1944–45

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The town of Nijmegen in ruins on Sept. 28, 1944. The bridge in the background was one key element to Operation Market Garden.

nijmegan-ruins

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Tulip Bulbs and Bicycle dynamo- Surviving WWII, Dutch style.

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Without trying to boast too much about my fellow Dutch folks,it is generally known that the Dutch are very inventive  and creative. Two skills which really came to fruition during WWII and especially the last few months of the war.

‘ As a result of the failure of ,Operation Market Garden’ the northern provinces had to endure a very harsh winter and famine.

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With the exception of a few pockets of German resistance at the southern border regions, most of the south was liberated in September 1944.

Vrijheid

For the North it was a different story After the national railways took heed of the request of the exiled Dutch government’s appeal for a railway strike starting September 1944 to further the Allied liberation efforts, the German occupiers  retaliated by placing an embargo on all food transports to the North and West Netherlands.By the time the embargo was partially lifted in early November 1944, allowing restricted food transports over water, the unusually early and harsh winter had already set in. The canals froze over and became impassable for barges.

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Over 20,000 people died during that time known as ‘the Hungerwinter’

Those who survived did so in part by eating what was still available: tulip bulbs. The government even published recipes to cook a nutritious meal with them. Below is one of those recipes.

Ingredients
1 cup of brown beans.
1 cup of tulip bulbs.
Onions (if available).
Curry-surrogate (if available).
Salt to taste (if available).
Marjoram to taste (if available).
Oil.

Preparation

  1. Cook the beans and bulbs until done.
  2. Let them cool and mix them together until you get a smooth paste.
  3. Fry the onion with the curry surrogate and add to the paste.
  4. Add salt and marjoram to taste.
  5. Form little balls of the paste and bake them in as little oil as possible

Throughout the war there were many power outages but that didn’t stop the Dutch. I remember the stories of my Mother and her siblings on how my Grandfather and some of the older siblings made sure that there still would be some light. But this was not only done in my family but by many families across the country

It was both easy and effective, easy as in setting it up, it did actually took some physical power to generate the energy.

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A bicycle was put in the room and the back wheel would be taken off or at least secured to the floor to ensure the bike would remain stationery, very much in the same way as an modern exercise bike works, then the bike would be mounted by a senior male member of the family and he would start cycling. The Bicycle dynamo would convert that energy into light from the bicycle light.

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Source

Dutch Ancestry Coach

Ebay

Robert G. Cole-Medal of Honor

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One of my new year;s resolution is to start honoring more heroes and raise more awareness of what these real heroes have done for our freedom.

No actors,musicians,athletes, or reality tv stars but real heroes who sacrificed themselves for the betterment of others.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert George Cole (March 19, 1915 – September 18, 1944) was an American soldier who received the Medal of Honor MoHfor his actions in the days following the D-Day Normandy invasion of World War II.The 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions were the first to jump into occupied France and cease certain important areas. An important part of the invasion, was to capture Carentan. Carentan the link between Utah and Omaha beach.

On 10 June Cole and his 3-502 PIR were moving up the causeway in between St. Come-du-Mont and Carentan. Trying to capture territory over the Germans. Close to the outskirts of Carentan, the Germans had a well defended position in the hedgerows near the Ingouf farm. While moving up the causeway, Cole’s men had to move through intense enemy fire, causing a lot of casualties in their ranks. The causeway is now nicknamed ‘Purple heart lane’.

At the end of the causeway, the Germans placed some obstacles, which acted as a bottleneck for Cole’s paratroopers. Slowly advancing, the paratroopers finally got into positions at the last bridge over the Madeleine river leading up to Carentan. Only 265 men of the initial 400 from third battalion were left and prepared for an assault on the farm. With the Germans in well defended positions and their fire still suppressing the paratroopers, Robert Cole had to make a difficult decision. He ordered his men to fix bayonets and prepare for a bayonet charge.

Robert Cole, like many other Airborne commanders, led from the front and ran with his men towards the hedgerows. The attack didn’t start out to well, but some of the men from H-502 PIR started running to the German positions together with Cole, getting more men from other companies moving too. More and more men got motivated to participate in the push. While Cole kept firing his .45 pistol in the direction of the German defenders, the attacking force reached the German lines and got into hand-to-hand combat, finally overpowering the enemy. Cole’s charge proved costly, leaving him with 130 of the 265 men. Cole set up defensive positions at the Ingouf farm and called for 1-502 PIR to support his exhausted troops. For the bayonet charge and his efforts that day Cole was to receive the Medal of Honor, the highest American medal a soldier can earn. Sadly, Cole did not live to see it.

LTC Cole was recommended for a Medal of Honor for his actions that day, but did not live to receive it.

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On September 18, 1944, during Operation Market Garden, Colonel Cole, commanding the 3rd Battalion of the 502d PIR in Best, Netherlands, got on the radio. A pilot asked him to put some orange identification panels in front of his position. Cole decided to do it himself. For a moment, Cole raised his head, shielding his eyes to see the plane. Suddenly a shot was fired by a German sniper in a farmhouse only 300 yards away, killing Cole instantly.

Two weeks later, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bayonet charge near Carentan on June 11. As his widow and two-year-old son looked on, Cole’s mother accepted his posthumous award on the parade ground, where Cole had played as a child, at Fort Sam Houston.

LTC Cole is buried at Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, in Margraten, the Netherlands.

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Medal of Honor citation

“For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty on 11 June 1944, in France. Lt. Col. Cole was personally leading his battalion in forcing the last 4 bridges on the road to Carentan when his entire unit was suddenly pinned to the ground by intense and withering enemy rifle, machinegun, mortar, and artillery fire placed upon them from well-prepared and heavily fortified positions within 150 yards of the foremost elements. After the devastating and unceasing enemy fire had for over 1 hour prevented any move and inflicted numerous casualties, Lt. Col. Cole, observing this almost hopeless situation, courageously issued orders to assault the enemy positions with fixed bayonets. With utter disregard for his own safety and completely ignoring the enemy fire, he rose to his feet in front of his battalion and with drawn pistol shouted to his men to follow him in the assault. Catching up a fallen man’s rifle and bayonet, he charged on and led the remnants of his battalion across the bullet-swept open ground and into the enemy position. His heroic and valiant action in so inspiring his men resulted in the complete establishment of our bridgehead across the Douve River. The cool fearlessness, personal bravery, and outstanding leadership displayed by Lieutenant Colonel Cole reflect great credit upon himself and are worthy of the highest praise in the military service”

Dear Sir I salute you.

robertgcole006

 

 

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The Supply Chain Management Principles during Market Garden

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This may seem a strange title for a WWII related subject but in fact it is probably more appropriate then you’d expect.

One of the definitions of Supply Chain Management  is “the management of the flow of goods and services,involves the movement and storage of raw materials, of work-in-process inventory, and of finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption”

Replace the word “consumption” with “action” or “combat” and you can apply the principle of Supply Chain management to Operation Market Garden or a great number of other operations during WWII.

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The reason why I chose Market Garden is twofold. Firstly because it had a great effect on the country I was born in.Secondly It was the largest airborne operation up to that point and is one of the best recorded mistakes by the allied forces.

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Planning is key to successful supply chain demand and the forecast demand needs to be as accurate as possible. Given the situation and the time this was always going to be a problem.

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Among the controversial aspects of the plan was the necessity that all the main bridges be taken. The terrain was also ill-suited for the mission of XXX Corps.Brereton had ordered that the bridges along XXX Corps’ route should be captured with “thunderclap surprise“.It is therefore surprising in retrospect that the plans placed so little emphasis on capturing the important bridges immediately with forces dropped directly on them. In the case of Veghel and Grave where this was done, the bridges were captured with only a few shots being fired.

 

The decision to drop the 82nd Airborne Division on the Groesbeek Heights, several kilometres from the Nijmegen Bridge, has been questioned because it resulted in a long delay in its capture.

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In Supply Chain management terms this is deemed to be a “bottleneck”The Bottleneck is the drum (schedule) that controls the throughput of the entire system.In this case the Nijmegen Bridge had become the bottleneck and the speed of the operation was going to be determined by the situation around the Nijmegen Bridge.

Browning and Gavin considered holding a defensive blocking position on the ridge a prerequisite for holding the highway corridor. Gavin generally favoured accepting the higher initial casualties involved in dropping as close to objectives as possible in the belief that distant drop zones would result in lower chances of success. With the 82nd responsible for holding the centre of the salient, he and Browning decided the ridge must take priority. Combined with the 1st Airborne Division’s delays within Arnhem, which left the Arnhem bridge open to traffic until 20:00, the Germans were given vital hours to reinforce their hold on the bridge.

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As part of the planning you have to look at all options and pick the best option available to you,based on statistics and parameters available to ensure the best possible throughput.

Arnhem bridge was not the only Rhine crossing. Had the Market Garden planners realized that a ferry was available at Driel, the British might have secured that instead of the Arnhem bridge. Being a shorter distance away from their western drop and landing zones, the 1st Parachute Brigade could have concentrated to hold the Oosterbeek heights, instead of one battalion farther away at the road bridge; in this case, Arnhem was “one bridge too far”.

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Allied Airborne Units
Killed in action
or died of wounds
Captured or
missing
Safely
withdrawn
  Total
1st Airborne 1,174 5,903 1,892 8,969
Glider Pilot Regiment 219 511 532 1,262
Polish Brigade 92 111 1,486 1,689
Total 1,485 6,525 3,910
Other Allied losses
Killed in action
or died of wounds
Captured or missing
RAF 368 79
Royal Army Service Corps 79 44
IX Troop Carrier Command 27 6
XXX Corps 25 200
Total 499 329

It is amazing to think that a simple excersize in Supply Chain management could have turned Operation Market Garden into a success, of course the term Supply Chain management was only invented in the 1980’s but not withstanding that, proper planning and forecasting could have avoided the many losses and the famine that ensued afterwards.

I did not think I could link my field of studies ‘Supply Chain Management and Production Control’ with my interest for WWII.

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