The Netherlands / Story

The Poles near Driel




On September 21st 1944, Polish troops landed near Driel. Only a small part of the troops managed to reach the perimeter, but their support was vital.

On the south side of the Rhine, near the church tower, lies the village of Driel. On 21 September, over 1.000 Polish paratroopers landed here. The Polish soldiers, led by general Sosabowski, had to cross the Rhine to support the British troops in the perimeter.  

The Polish brigade had been promised a ferry with which they could cross the Rhine to reach the British. Once in the Netherlands, however, the ferry proved to be unavailable. During the evening, the Polish troops attempted to reach the other side with a few rubber boats. The crossing was dangerous. The boats came under heavy German fire and the operation had to be abandoned. Only 150 soldiers managed to reach the other side. 

Although only a small part of the Polish brigade could actually support the British troops, their presence was of great importance. The dropping of the Poles south of the Rhine caused the Germans to split their forces, not only to attack the perimeter but also to defend the road from Arnhem to Nijmegen. In addition, the Polish troops who managed to reach the perimeter provided much-needed relief and reinforcement.