The Netherlands / Battlefield

Like devils over a bridge




On Saturday 14 April 1945, the Canadians prepare to capture the Herebrug in Groningen. By 7pm they try to get over it. Two men, who almost succeeded in the first attack wave, are hit by enemy fire. After this, so-called Kangaroo tanks of the 1st Canadian Armored Carrier Regiment are thrown into the battle. This allows eleven lightly armed infantrymen to be transported.

But first the Canadian artillery fires on the German positions and then four tanks race over the bridge towards the Hereplein. They manage to reach the Hereplein where they come under heavy fire. The attack damages the Herebrug. Meanwhile, the Canadian intelligence service reports that Dutch SS and NSB men are active in civilian clothes. The Canadians are offered poisoned wine and gin. They also shoot at the liberators from all kinds of ambushes with machine guns and armored fists”.

Despite being under heavy fire, the Canadians are able to hold their position. Soon the Canadian tanks also arrive. Before crossing the bridge, two crew members climb out of their tank and lay the body of a fallen German soldier, lying on the roadway, on the side of the road.

There is also heavy fighting on the other side of the bridge, especially on the Heresingel. At 11 p.m., no progress has been made yet. To increase visibility, floodlights, also known as Monty's Moonlight, are used.

The Canadian Major Bergeron distinguishes himself by his brave demeanor. When he wants to report to regimental headquarters the next morning on Sunday 15 April, he is shot dead by a German sniper. Posthumously, at the end of April 1945, he received the Dutch award, the Bronze Lion. At dawn, the companies of the French-speaking Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal have crossed the bridge, which means that the attack on the center of the city of Groningen can begin.