Pays-Bas / Histoire

Band of Brothers




US soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division 506th Regiment pass the small station near Opheusden in October 1944. After the failed attempt to take control of the bridge over the river Rhine near Arnhem, the Allies tried with all their might to maintain a bridgehead across the river Waal in the Betuwe. The population had to evacuate in a hurry due to heavy fighting.

Some civilians moved west and still had hard months ahead, while others managed to escape to liberated places in the south. On 3 October, soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, called Screaming Eagles, took up positions near Opheusden and Dodewaard.

Two days later, on 5 October, the German 363 Division launched an attack near Opheusden in an attempt to push back the Americans and drive them out of the Betuwe. At the same time, beyond Opheusden between Heteren and Randwijk, they had put two SS companies across the Rhine to surround the Americans. It resulted in fierce fighting around Opheusden. The SS men were discovered by Captain Dick Winters of the 2nd Battalion E Company and overpowered. The German attack failed. The front in the Betuwe stabilised on the west flank between Opheusden and Dodewaard.

Regimental photographer Al Crochka took several photos there. E company's experiences were filmed in 2001 in the drama series Band of Brothers by director and producer Stephen Spielberg.