The Netherlands / Fortification

German defence line




Shortly after the Allied airborne landings near Arnhem and Nijmegen on Sunday 17 September 1944 (part of Operation Market Garden), heavy fighting broke out near Groesbeek and Plasmolen between American paratroopers and strong German units. The German defenders eventually retreated to higher ground near Milsbeek for tactical reasons. They built a new line of defence in the woods near the Kreupelpad.

Although the frontline fluctuated slightly from 17 September 1944, it hardly moved until the liberation in February 1945. The village of Middelaar was situated in no man's land and German troops occupied the depopulated village of Milsbeek.

The Germans established a line of defence between Middelaar and Milsbeek, near the wooded dunes of the river Meuse. A large bunker was erected there, surrounded by battlements, trenches and foxholes. Minefields were also laid. Wheelbarrows and carts were used to transport the many dead and wounded to a nearby farm that served as an emergency dressing station. From here, they were moved on trolleys to a hospital or cemetery. A stronger line of defence was built directly east of Milsbeek, at Kroonbeek.

Bloemenstraat – Kreupelpad, Milsbeek