This morning we left to visit Nijmegen and the surroundings to see where the 82nd Airborne Division had landed and, of course, the crossing of the river Waal. We couldn’t visit everything on one day so we booked a hotel at Molenhoek.
We started at Grave with the town hall, which had been the HQ. We also found the wall of the Maas quay which was marked with a bronze parachute.
Then we went towards the bridge over the Maas. We had to park our car on a sidewalk. There was a biking path, walking path and a space to picnic but no space to park the car. We saw the bridge but also a monument, the pumping-engine and 2 Dutch bunkers. The bunkers were used by the Germans to defend the bridge.
The paratroopers should've been dropped south of the Maas next to the village Velp. But 15 of them under command of lieutenant John S. Thompson jumped a few seconds late and landed next to the pumping-engine of Sasse. Next to the pumping-engine were two bunkers build for the defense of the Netherlands. But now they were used by the Germans to defend the bridge. The Germans were taken by surprise and the bridge was captured undamaged.
The other paratroopers liberated Grave.
On September 21, De Nederlandse Koninklijke Prinses Irene Brigade (The Dutch Royal Princes Irene Brigade) took over the defense of the bridge.