Overlord 75

 

D DAY75 years ago you embarked on something that had never been done before. 156,000 of you were dropped on the beaches in Normandy.

156,000 just imagine that. It is the equivalent of a medium sized city, like Alexandria in  Virginia USA.

Not all 156,000 made it, thousands died even before they reached the beaches.

Utah Beach;Omaha Beach;Gold Beach;Juno Beach and Sword Beach are now just beaches filled with sunbathers on a sunny day. How many of those sunbathers realize the sacrifices made on that sand, Sacrifices to secure their freedom, sacrifices so that they can walk,cycle, or just lie down in the sand.

How many know?

At time I despair at how many of these hard fought liberties are eroded by so called political correct agendas.

They call you the greatest generation, simply because you are.

I am thankful for what you have done. I will never ever forget the battles you fought to secure my freedom. The battles often fought seemingly in vain because so many died, But eventually you were the victors. We should therefor never be victims.

I salute each single one of you may you still walk on this earth or gone in peace in that big place in the sky.

The operation was called Operation Overlord- Overlord has turned 75 today. 75 years, 900 months.

D-DAY MEN

 

Battle for The Hague-The lost victory

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The Battle for The Hague took place on 10 May 1940 as part of the Battle of the Netherlands between the Royal Netherlands Army and Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger (paratroops). German paratroopers dropped in and around The Hague in order to capture Dutch airfields and the city.

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After taking the city, the plan was to force the Dutch queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to surrender and to thus defeat the Kingdom of the Netherlands within a single day. The operation failed to capture the Queen, and the German forces failed to hold on to the airfields after Dutch counterattacks. The main body of surviving troops under Von Sponeck retreated toward the nearby dunes where they were continually pursued and harassed by Dutch troops until the Dutch supreme command, due to major setbacks on other fronts, surrendered five days later.

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A German airfleet crossed The Netherlands under cover of darkness and, once over the North Sea, headed back towards the Dutch coast aiming for The Hague, the Dutch seat of government.

Surrounded by fighters and fighter-bombers, a large number of Junkers 52/3m transports carried the 5.000 men of the German 22nd Airborne Division.

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The audacious objective of this unprecedented massive airborne operation was to seize the three airfields surrounding the city, arrest the Dutch government and capture the Dutch Royal family in their residency.

Attacks on Dutch airfields began at 04.15 and despite the alarm that had gone out around 03.00 (when the German airfleet had crossed the border) many Dutch fighters and bombers were damaged or destroyed on the ground..

The Germans planned to surprise the Dutch and so catch them off guard, allowing them to isolate the head of the Dutch Army. It was their intention to fly over the Netherlands, in order to lull the Dutch into thinking that England was their target. This was to be followed by approaching the country from the direction of the North Sea, attacking the airfields at Ypenburg, Ockenburg and Valkenburg to weaken potential Dutch defenses before taking The Hague. It was expected that the queen and the commander in chief of the Dutch forces, Henri Winkelman, might agree at this point to surrender.

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However, if the Dutch did not surrender, the Germans planned to cut off all roads leading to The Hague in order to quell any subsequent Dutch counter-attack.

Although the German troops managed to capture the three airfields, they failed in their primary objective of taking the city of Hague and forcing the Dutch to surrender. Accordingly, the Dutch Army launched a counter-attack several hours later

The counter-attack was started from Ypenburg. Though outnumbered and relying on ammunition that they had captured from the Germans, the Dutch Grenadier Guards fought their way into position to launch artillery attacks against their own airfield, causing heavy damage to it. Following the attacks, the German troops were forced to evacuate the airfield’s burning buildings, losing their strong defensive position. The Dutch troops were able to advance into the airfield, and in the skirmishes that followed, many of the German soldiers were forced to surrender. Those who did not were eventually defeated.

Four Dutch Fokker T.Vs bombed the Ockenburg airfield,

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destroying idle Ju-52 transports.

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The Dutch troops followed up by storming the airfield. The Germans were forced into retreat, and several were captured. However, some of the German troops withdrew to the woods near the field and successfully defended themselves against the counter-attack. The Dutch forces were later ordered to disengage and turn instead to Loosduinen, and so the Germans were able to head towards Rotterdam.

Having sealed off Leiden and the village of Wassenaar, the Dutch retook an important bridge near Valkenburg. When reinforcements arrived, the Dutch began attacking the Germans on the ground at the same time when Dutch bombers destroyed the grounded transport planes. While the Germans put up a defence at the outskirts of the airfield, they were forced to evacuate under heavy fire. Several skirmishes to liberate occupied positions in the village of Valkenburg nearby were fought between small groups of men on both sides, the Dutch with artillery support from nearby Oegstgeest, the village being heavily damaged in the process.

By the end of 10 May, Dutch forces had retaken the captured airfields, but this tactical victory was to be short lived as on 14th May the German Rotterdam Blitz forced the Dutch armed forces to surrender.

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The liberation of the Netherlands

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On 4 May 1945 at Lüneburg Heath, east of Hamburg, Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery accepted the unconditional surrender of the German forces in the Netherlands.

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On 08:00 AM on the 5th of May 1945 the Netherlands is officially liberated, although the Southern provinces had already been liberated by September 1944.

Below are photographs of the liberation of the Netherlands.

Liberation of Geleen and Sittard in the south eastern province of Limburg on the 18th and 19th September 1944.

 

Liberation of Hoensbroek also in Limburg on the 17th of October 1944.The kids were orphans being cared for by the Nuns near castle Hoensbroek, The kids dressed up for the occasion.

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The liberation of Ermelo

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An ecstatic crowd in Utrecht welcomes the Canadian liberators

An ecstatic crowd in Utrecht welcomes the Canadian liberators

Groningen

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Holten-Rijssen April_1945

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Some tender medical care

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Ontarios parade in Holland to celebrate Dutch liberation, 1945

Ontarios parade in Holland to celebrate Dutch liberation, 1945

Citizens of Utrecht celebrate newfound freedom on May 5

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World War II: Liberation of the Netherlands–South of the Rhine (September-December 1944)

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Liberation Parade in Witteveen, Netherlands.

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Some final personal words.

My young friend, you sacrificed your live selflessly for my freedom.

We never met but yet your act of valour has changed my life.

My young friend, I thank you for it is because of you I am here.

Often I ponder why you did what you did so that I can thrive.

 

From afar you came to deliver us from evil.

And evil you witnessed all around you.

Leaving a safe place just to be thrown into upheaval.

To see death, destruction and chaos too.

 

You don’t know it but my life you did change.

For if it wasn’t for you I may never have been conceived.

You gave up your life for a land that wasn’t yours but was strange.

Freedom was given by you and by me is thankfully received.

 

Alas there are those who do not realize the debt we owe to you.

They talk about leaving bygones be bygones and forget those who died.

My young friend not me, never will I forsake the memory of you.

The promise I make to you is that your bravery will be the source of my pride.

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