German frogmen beleaguer the bridges

The Netherlands





You could call the action of the German frogmen here a genuine act of daring. Putting their own lives in danger, they attempted in the dark of night to lay bombs around the pillars of the Nijmegen rail and road bridges. Would they succeed in remaining undetected and disable the bridges?

In September 1944, the divers of the German Marine Einsatzkommando MEK 65 were given the highly dangerous task of blowing up the river bridges in Nijmegen. Of the 12 frogmen involved in the operation to destroy these two bridges, ten were captured by the British. Three of these men later died of wounds sustained during their attack. Two frogmen of the first group, whose target was the railway bridge, managed to escape capture. In the fast-flowing waters of the river Waal, the men lost touch with each other. Around 6 o'clock in the morning, the two divers heard a huge explosion - it was the railway bridge. The divers were later awarded high military honours for this action.

The Germans charged to blow up the road bridge were less successful. The Waal river current was too powerful, and they were seen. Under heavy fire, they desperately tried to sink their bombs to the correct depth, and activate the detonator timing. They succeeded in the latter, but the bombs were too far out of position, and therefore only did minor damage. The frogmen, totally exhausted, floated to the banks of the river, where they were captured by the Allies.


Waalkade, Nijmegen