Yesterday I took a day off from work to see the 70th Market Garden Celebration in Groesbeek. This week is full of events marking Market Garden 70. This was one of the biggest military operations in World War II. Unfortunately this operation failed. Allied troops could not take over the bridge in Arnhem. This bridge turned A bridge too far. If Allied troops were able to take the bridge, World War II would have ended somewhere in December 1944. Britain, Canada, USA, Poland and The Netherlands participated in this operation.
If you have seen the HBO series The Band of Brothers; episode 4 is about operation Market Garden. The Easy Company parachutes were dropped in The Netherlands and liberated Eindhoven near Grave.
During operation Market Garden Allied Troops wanted to attack German through The Netherlands. They planned to take over three important bridges in three cities; Grave (Maas river), Nijmegen (Waal river) and Arnhem (Rhine river). Paratroopers were dropped on 17 September 1944 at 11.30 am around those three locations.
Yesterday I witnessed para dropping of 82nd Airborne Division in De Heuvel, Groesbeek. 300 paratroopers sprang out of 4 Dakota bombers. It was quite impressive to see. Yesterday it was sunny like 70 years ago.
The parachutes are now square instead of round.
Afterwards the paratroopers mingled with public. I chatted with these three friendly soldiers. 82nd Airborne Division has female paratroopers. These two women jumped out of the first Dakota. Pretty cool right? All three of them are stationed in US military base in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
70 years ago the paratroopers were dropped in the enemy lines, some were shot at, some made it to the ground and marched to Nijmegen from this drop zone.
Besides para dropping there was a reenactment with volunteers and real soldiers and exhibition of war vehicles.
We (husband, father in law and I) arrived quite early in the morning, some soldiers were still having their breakfast. They had English breakfast; scrambled egg, beans in tomato sauce, sausage and toast.
This is how Groesbeek looks like. On the other side of the village, there is Wyler, a village in Germany. Actually the mayors of Wyler and Kleve (other neighbouring city in Germany) attended the remembrance yesterday. It is a sympathetic gesture. Then they were enemies and now they are neighbours.
Tonight there is the highlight of this Market Garden Week. In Arnhem on the bridge too far, there will be a parade with veterans, memorial service and a concert. If I get to capture decent pictures I surely will share them here.