Pole bitwy

The battle for the Kraneweg





The Canadian soldiers of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division advance along the Hoendiep via Hoogkerk to Kostverloren. They use the Friesestraatweg to enter the Diepenring in Groningen. Thanks to aerial photos, the liberators are well aware of where the German defenses are located. They also knew that there was a large bunker at the railway crossing on the Friesestraatweg. The Germans thus have an excellent overview.

The Canadians are therefore advancing along the Hoendiep to the so-called summer road, which leads to the German fortifications. Here they take these fortifications under heavy fire, causing two grenades to hit the railway guard's house. The German soldiers, who are under the strong influence of alcohol, withdraw further to the Kraneweg to continue their resistance there.

The Canadians have approached the Kraneweg. This is defended by about 250 Germans, who often have entrenched themselves in the porches on both sides of the street and also in the houses. The liberators deploy armoured vehicles with flamethrowers. They aim the flamethrowers at the windows of upper floors where German snipers may have been holed up. At half past twelve, the roof of the house where ex-police commissioner Blank lives is on fire. The domestic science school is also on fire shortly afterwards. Not long after, the Germans surrender. At 1 pm the western end of the Kraneweg was liberated. The Canadians smash the Germans' guns in the street and take the prisoners to the field behind Kostverloren.

Private Frank Holm had entered the house with a group of men to set up company headquarters. He says: “When they put out the equipment, an older woman comes out of the basement. She walks to the kitchen and starts making coffee. Later she offers the coffee in beautiful porcelain cups. One of my men has set up his Bren gun on a narrow wooden table by the window. He fires from the window at a German car on Kraneweg. The woman was so stunned that she was unaware of what was happening around her. The woman was concerned that the Bren Gun's tripod might damage her wooden table. She grabbed a pillow and gave it to the shooter, asking if he wanted to put it under the tripod. The Canadian did this, of course.”