Pays-Bas / Champ de Bataille

German cannoneers in an impossible position




POWs were regularly interrogated to obtain information about the opponent. A German gunner of 5. Batterie Artillerie-Regiment 164 told a Canadian interrogator in October 1944 that from Waterlandkerkje his artillery was chasing one shell after another toward the Canadians, while in the distance the ominous growl of Allied fighters swelled.

According to the record of the interrogation, the German gunner looked wearily at the Canadian intelligence officer and heaved a deep sigh of relief. He stated that he was glad to finally be put out of his misery. The interrogator's detailed report continued; They had moved into a position a few days earlier with four guns near Waterlandkerkje in the yard of a farm on the Philipsweg. It was October 16 and their assignment was to help the comrades in IJzendijke keep the Canadian attackers at bay.

After the first shots were fired, they heard the approaching roar of an airplane in the distance. As usual, they left the spot from behind the artillery and anxiously hid in the muddy foxholes they had dug a day earlier in preparation. To his horror, he heard the shouts of the sergeant, who, with a pistol at the ready, drove some gunners back to the artillery. As the Allied fighters rushed like hornets toward their target of attack, the artillery commander apparently was not moving fast enough; the firing was not to be interrupted under any circumstances! The officer also drew his weapon and, cursing and ranting, forced the anxious gunners back to the guns to face the air attack.

The cannoneer continued his story after a brief pause. While their mood had dropped to well below zero as a result of this incident, the next day, to their great surprise, they were read an order. The battery was complimented on its splendid performance. The artillery fire had successfully repulsed a Canadian attack!

Philipsweg 1, 4508 NR Waterlandkerkje