Holandia / Historia

Plan Ooievaar




After the lost battle of Arnhem, the Allies tried with all their might to maintain a bridgehead in the Betuwe. The front stabilised across the Betuwe, near the villages of Opheusden and Dodewaard. For about seven months, the river area was the front line. In the fight against the Allied stronghold in the Betuwe, the Germans used a very Dutch weapon: water.

Fall Storch was de German code name for the flooding of the Betuwe area on 2 December 1944. On that day, German troops blew up the dike near Elden, resulting in the entire Lower Betuwe up to the - not yet completed - Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, between Rijswijk and Tiel, being flooded.

The Liniedijk could not withstand the pressure of the rising water on 6 December and collapsed, flooding the area behind it, including the villages of Lienden and Maurik. This area was still in German hands; they were forced by the water to retreat there. On Sunday 10 December, Typhoons of the 193rd Squadron of the Royal Air Force attacked the already partly succumbed Line Dyke once more with so-called 1000-pounders. A new gap of some 100 metres was the result. The dyke along the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal now had to hold back the further rising water. With the efforts of many men from the area this dyke could be strengthened to the extent that it held.

The Allies had to retreat in part, but held out. The German troops themselves also suffered greatly from the water. In the flooded country, it was very difficult to stay on the roads if the local situation was not known. Not only the soldiers suffered from the water, but also the inhabitants of the Lower Betuwe. Especially in Ingen and Maurik where thousands of evacuees from the surrounding villages that were in the front line took temporary shelter.

The water caused a lot of trouble until April 1945, in the meantime transportation had to go via rowing boats, rafts and all kinds of wooden structures.