Holandia / Historia

Fierce encounter at the track




As the Belgian SAS entered the area with heavily armed jeeps on the east side of the Hoogeveen municipality and purged it of the last Germans, a Canadian unit tried to penetrate the town from the north. That succeeded on the 11th of April, but was preceded on 10 April by a fierce firefight at the Pesserstraat level crossing.

The vehicles and men who approached Hoogeveen from the north on 10 April 1945 were part of the Manitoba Dragoons. They came through Toldijk and were led by Lieutenant W.R. Batten when the battle with the remaining German occupiers broke out. This happened in Hoogeveen, at the end of what is currently Pesserstraat, near the level crossing, where about a hundred and twenty enemies defended Hoogeveen.

Toldijk itself seemed liberated on 10 April, but the Staghounds retreated again, after a brisk firefight. Hauptmann Specht reported two armoured reconnaissance vehicles with machine guns and rifles. They shelled his unit from both sides of the street. The armoured vehicles were positioned and camouflaged in such a way that they could not be approached.

But the crews of the vehicles also recognised that they could not get through to Hoogeveen this way. This prompted Lieutenant Batten to direct his men towards Pesse, but not after first defusing a few more vehicles with fleeing Germans. Hoogeveen was completely liberated a day later and cleared of the last occupiers.