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Thread: The battle for Woensdrecht 1944 - Then & now.

  1. #1
    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Default The battle for Woensdrecht 1944 - Then & now.

    Hello,

    Recently I was able to add this close combat day list to my collection.
    Such list would be kept in a soldiers Soldbuch, the listed days counted to award the soldier with a Erdkampf Abzeichen or Nahkampfspange.
    Lists like this, combat action on the westernfront, are rather rare; and what makes this list a bit more special for me is that several of the close combat actions were fought not far from where I live.
    Today was an excellent day to cycle to the battlefields of Woensdrecht and I have made some pictures of how it looks today.

    Gefreiter Wolfgang Singhof was a member of the Fallschirmjäger Ersatz und Ausbildungs Regiment "Hermann Göring", the trainings- and replacement unit of the HG division.
    At the end of September his unit was transfered to an ad hoc formed combat formation of Fallschirmjägers (I/Fj Rgt 2 & Fj Rgt 6) under the command of the famous Lt-Col August von der Heydte.
    In early October this combat formation was transfered to Woensdrecht (Holland) with the task to hold up the Canadians that were trying to free the banks of the Schelde river.
    The Fj's that controlled the high ground defended their positions fiercely, for example on October 26 1944 the Canadians had to use flamethrowing tanks to free the woods of Wouw.
    In Woensdrecht itself, the little hamlet Nederheide was the main defensive position held by the Fj's it did cost the Canadians a lot of casualties before they were able to take it.

    cheers,
    Peter
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    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Nederheide is a small hamlet halfway between the two small vilages Hoogerheide and Woensdrecht; now a small memorial is erected to commemorate the fallen Canadians.
    Btw the big church is that of Hoogerheide, the small one is that of Woensdrecht.
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    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Behind the memorial a Sherman tank is placed, according to the plaque next to it, it is a canadian Sherman that was put out of action in the fight for control over the airfield Woensdrecht.
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    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    In Ossendrecht a small vilage just South of Woensdrecht a French 155 Schneider canon is placed on a marketsquare.
    These old WW1 canons were used on the Atlantikwall defences.
    - The church is that of Ossendrecht.
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    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    This is an Im Meroriam card of a German soldier that was KIA in the battle for Woensdrecht that is in my collection.
    Obergefreiter Johann Ganter was a pilot without an airplane, who was transfered to a Luftwaffe groundcombat formation.
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    Last edited by Peter U; 04-19-2010 at 01:33 AM. Reason: spelling mistake

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    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Fideel Tanghe was a Belgian resistance member that was KIA on October 9 1944; his resistance group, together with the Canadians unsuccesfully tried to flanc the Germans occuping the hills in Woensdrecht.
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    Senior Member jack944's Avatar
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    Default Then and Now

    Keep the Then and Now stuff coming. I can't get enough. I wish I had the $$ to travel to all the battle places I have read about.

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    Moderator² Pisgah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter U View Post
    This is an Im Meroriam card of a German soldier that was KIA in the battle for Woensdrecht that is in my collection.
    Obergefreiter Johann Ganter was a pilot without an airplane, he was transfered to a Luftwaffe groundcombat formation.
    I knew we had enlisted pilots at that time too but this fellow was more or less the rank equivalent of a corporal.

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    No War Eagles For You! mrfarb's Avatar
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    Awesome display and story!
    Order the new K98k book at www.thirdpartypress.com
    Don't forget to visit www.latewar.com for info on late war 98k's.

  10. #10
    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    I knew we had enlisted pilots at that time too but this fellow was more or less the rank equivalent of a corporal.
    Hello Pisgah,

    This isn't uncommen in the LW.
    An example this is the crew of a German bomber that was shot down between Ghent & Antwerp on May 12 1940:
    - Pilot: Obergefreiter Karl Haase
    - Observer: Gefreiter Willibald Graubner
    - Radio operator: Obergefreiter Werners Kops
    - Mg gunner: Unteroffizier Ferdinand Kotrade
    So the highest ranked fellow in this bomber had the lowest possition.

    Cheers,
    Peter

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