Paesi Bassi / Storia

The Pesse conflagration



Indicazioni stradali

Pesse is situated at a junction of roads that cuts across Drenthe from north to south, with another connecting road to Meppel. Also during the war, this was already a good and fast road link. The Germans therefore decided to defend Pesse tooth and nail against the Allied advance.

We follow in the footsteps of a person in hiding, a young boy, who approached the north of the village, called Eursinge, with the Canadian Manitoba Dragoons. This is the account from the 15-year-old baker's apprentice Harry Stengs from Amsterdam:  "We heard fierce machine gun fire coming from Hoogeveen. In the curve we looked up and saw that manholes had been dug that the Germans were using to resist, and we saw that they were being captured. The barn behind it caught fire. Slowly at walking pace, about five Allied armoured vehicles approached with a command vehicle with rubber tyres in front. I started walking along behind the latter, towards Eursinge intersection".

The Manitoba Dragoons immediately deployed their crudest artillery: grenades. Each impact came with a blast of fire. Machine guns from both sides rattled. A Canadian armoured vehicle lined up on Dorpsstraat. The latter fired at the Moes and Van Lubek farms. Another armoured vehicle fired on Waninge's farm. Wind caused sparks to hit Lubbinge's farm, which consequently caught fire as well.

The occupant of the Olde Hunting Lodge stood there waving a white flag to be spared. Albert Smid was an eyewitness to what happened: "It was no wonder that both Geert Moes' and Hendrik van Lubek's houses were ablaze so quickly, because of this tank artillery. A group of soldiers sat with Van Lubek for a final drink in the room. Suddenly, bullets whizzed passed them and pierced the wall. It was fairly heavy artillery, judging by a hole in the wall of more than thirty centimetres.

Everyone fled outside in a panic. The first German ran into the street without thinking twice and dropped dead almost at the same time. The other soldiers were more sensible and stayed under cover, as did Hendrik van Lubek as well. The latter fled behind the old hunting lodge past Berend Lubbinge to Bareveld. At the last house, that of the Bolding family, he came to a stop to recover a bit from the shock. Both burning houses were still in the line of fire and were busy burning out. No one dared to go there.