Holandia / Historia

Operation Berlin




When the situation for the troops in Oosterbeek proved to be untenable, it was decided to evacuate. The evacuation took place in the night of 25 to 26 September.

The situation for the allied troops in Oosterbeek became untenable and it was decided to pull the 1st Airborne Division back over the Rhine. On the night of 25 to 26 September, they withdrew across the Rhine during Operation Berlin. 

It was cloudy that night, it was raining and there was a strong wind: the ideal conditions for retreating in secret. Soldiers wrapped their boots in cloths to move as silently as possible and followed the white ribbons from their position in the perimeter to the Old Church near the Rhine. They moved in small groups so as not to be noticed.  

From Nijmegen, there was heavy artillery fire on the German positions to drown out the sound of the evacuation and force the German troops to take cover. The crossing started at half past nine in the evening. In small boats or even swimming, the soldiers tried to reach the other side. It was only in the early morning that the German troops realized what was going on and took the boats under fire. This caused the crossing to be halted at five o'clock in the morning. Some 2,400 men had managed to reach the south bank of the Rhine, but many had drowned during the evacuation. 

Not everyone was able to evacuate. The wounded men and the medical personnel, among others, stayed behind and were made prisoners of war.