Joe Crilley

The Island


The Hemmen·Dodewaard railroad station today and 60 years earlier. My Father's unit, code name Kiwi Baker, was attached to the 506th PIR at this junction. For two days the 326th Airborne Combat Engineers set up trip flares on the perimeter of the Main Line of Resistence (MLR) along with other tasks. Early on the morning of October 5, 1944, these trip flares begin to go off announcing the German counterattack by the 363rd Volksgrenadier Division augmented by tanks, artillery and a battalion of Engineers. Hitler realized that Monty's plan had some merit and wanted to seal this gateway from Germany's industrial heartland. If Operation Market-Garden had good fortune the war may have ended in 1944, thus changing much of history.

A map showing the German main thrusts and diversionary assualts on the morning of October 5th. Hitler's plan was to concentrate his attack on the village of Opheusden and then drive onward to Nijmegen pushing the Allies off of the Island. On the top right is Arnhem, the main objective of Operation Market-Garden, which was on the Neder Rhine (Lower Rhine), the last river before you cross into Germany just to the east of the city. Since Holland was a neutral nation at the start of World War II, Hitler's border defense, the West Wall, stopped at the Lower Rhine, leaving no barrier to protect the Fatherland. North and east of Opheusden is where Captain Richard Winters of the 506th's Second Battalion's Easy Company repulsed a SS Company as seen in the HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers" in the episode titled "Crossroads".

Top photo by Dave Wilber
Second photo from "The Epic of the 101st Airborne"
Map from "Rendezous With Destiny", by Leonard Rapport and Arthur Norwood, 1947, Konecky & Konecky
The Island

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