Pays-Bas / Histoire

Battlegroup Beatty – Liberation of Haren




Haren is visited by a wonderful group of liberators. On Friday evening the Essex Scottish Regiment advanced to Paterswolde and established its headquarters in restaurant De Twee Provinciën. At the same time, Canadian scouts reach Haren.

The resistance fighters took immediate action and started arresting NSB members who were imprisoned in the institute for the blind on Rijksstraatweg. However, the lightly armed Canadian scouts prove no match for the German troops and they withdraw to report to headquarters. This puts the resistance fighters of Haren in trouble, because the village is again in German hands that same Friday evening. The resistance is entrenched in the town hall. The Germans retreat the next morning behind a tank ditch, as they await a Canadian attack. But they don't show up.

The resistance now knows that the Canadians have their headquarters in De Twee Provinciën and they manage to make contact by telephone. The military staff understands the situation, but they are left empty-handed. All soldiers are involved in the attack on Groningen. Yet they do not want to leave the resistance fighters to their fate. The regimental journal reports: "The commander called on all non-field soldiers along the lines of 'Who's in?" to form a force together to cover the right flank. The interest was great.'

The makeshift battle group, christened Beatty, is given six tanks. Beatty is a mixed bag of cooks, drivers, technicians and writers. They have all received basic training, but they are by no means hardened frontline soldiers. The battle group Beatty goes on the attack and they advance so quickly that the Germans only partially destroy the strategically important Meerweg bridge over the Noord-Willemskanaal. The battle group then captured Haren.

The regimental journal: "Our unusual method of combat must have taken the Germans very much by surprise. Our force showed very little organization and discipline. We captured two anti-tank guns after driving out their crews with our light artillery. The afternoon ended for us with 33 German prisoners of war, including an army captain and two Dutch pro-German snipers in civilian clothes. After several hours of unusual warfare, The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada arrived to relieve us. They were dismayed to see our disorderly medley of vehicles and soldiers.” The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada took over and reached the Esserweg in Groningen early Saturday evening.. 

179 Rijksstraatweg Haren, Groningen