Sunday, September 23, 2007

Anton van Ensbergen (member of the Liberty Jump Team) told us that there were jumpings from the Liberty Jump Team and the Dutch and British Pathfinder Group at 11.30 am and 12.30 pm at the drop zone of the 508th PIR. A battalion of the 504th PIR also landed on this DZ by errant droppings.
This DZ is next to the Nationaal Bevrijdingsmuseum 1944-1945 (the National Museum of Liberty 1944-1945) at Groesbeek. We parked the car next to this museum and walked to the DZ, almost 2 kilometers. Because of the cornfields in front of us we didn’t have a very good view from where we watched the first jumps. We searched for a better place to watch the second jumps. We walked the same route that the jeeps took and arrived at a point were we had an excellent view. There we also met Anton. He jumped with the second stick at 11.30 am.
Marc with veteran Bobby Hunter of the 101st Airborne Division Around 12.30 am there were jumps from two sticks and at last three parachutists with modern day parachutes.
We didn’t leave directly when everyone landed safely on the ground. After a while it seems that there was more going to happen. At first the parachutists who made their 5th jump got the Dutch wings. Then they marched to a place half a kilometer further. Here Dutch MIA researcher Ben Overhand told the story about the things that happened on this DZ. Ben had researched since 1983 about soldiers missing in action at Nijmegen and surroundings.
The road where the museum is, the Wylerbaan, was the frontline during a German counterattack at September 18. The DZ was on the German side and would be used as a landing zone for gliders on the same day. The Americans conquered the LZ at the moment the gliders were already landing. After the landings the LZ was left for the Germans. There were just a few American posts at this site of the road.
On September 27, these posts were attacked by a big German offensive with tank support. The posts were attacked from three sides and the situation was hopeless for the Americans there. The paratroopers at farm Heuvelhof got the orders: everyone has to take care of himself and go back to the lines at the other side of the road. A lot of them were taken prisoner or killed and a few of the victims are still on this DZ. Also staff sergeant David ‘Rosie’ Rozenkrantz was killed there.
After this explanation everyone took a moment of silence to remember the victims.
The parachutists posed for a group picture. We were talking a bit afterwards and heard that one of the parachutists had a flag with him from William Leonard. William Leonard of the 504th PIR took this same flag with him when he crossed the Waal and used it to cover his wounds.

Dakota C47 The parachutists The parachutists The landing
The landing The jump of the Dakota The parachutists The parachutists
The parachutists The landing A parachutist coming from the DZ A parachutist
Three parachutists looking up to the modern day parachutes Parachutist with a modern day parachute The landing On his way off the DZ
Getting the wings for the fifth jump March Listening to the story Listening to the story
The fightings have been here The DZ/LZ Outpost farm Heuvelhof Rozenkrantz was last seen at this place
A moment of silence The parachutists who had jumped on this day A few parachutists on a jeep This flag was taken with the Waal crossing. This kind of flags were used to mark captured vehicles