Holandia / Audiospot

The John S. Thompson Bridge

FightingLiberationVictory and defeat




One of the most successful military operations during Operation Market Garden is the rapid capture of this bridge. Lieutenant John Thompson and his group land not far from the southern approach. The rest of his company has landed much further away. Thompson decides not to wait for them and immediately storms the bridge. He achieves maximum surprise and captures the bridge undamaged. The bridge has borne his name since 2004.

The bridge over the Maas at Grave was an important strategic point in the route of Operation Market Garden. The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the American 82nd Airborne Division was ordered to capture the bridge undamaged. E-Company from this regiment would storm the bridge from the Brabant side. But the company jumped too early and landed far from its goal.

Thanks to his alertness, a small group of 16 men led by Lieutenant John Thompson, landed near the bridge. Thompson decided to immediately begin the assault, because they still had the element of surprise. The rapid capture of the bridge was one of the most successful actions on September 17 1944.

For the rest of the war, the bridge at Grave was important for the logistics build up of the British XXXth Corps, which from February 8 to March 5 1945, under the code name "Operation Veritable", successfully attacked the German Rhineland from the area around Nijmegen.

Turning off the N324 at the start of the Mars en Wijthdijk dike, in front of the casemates.