The Netherlands / Battlefield
Rolling hills and green fields - the area between Nijmegen and Groesbeek seems like a haven of tranquillity. It is hard to imagine that this was once the site of the front line and months of fighting.
December 1944: Nijmegen and the area south of the river Waal had been liberated and the German border was now the front line. Most local residents had already been evacuated by then. The area had become home to soldiers, whose days consisted of waiting for orders, walking rounds, and defending the front line against German attacks. On the front line, soldiers alternated between waiting and fighting. For days on end, nothing would happen and then suddenly they would be locked in another life-or-death battle.
Beyond the rolling hills between Groesbeek and Wyler, you can see Germany, making it the perfect spot for reconnaissance missions. At the time, there were only a few farms that blocked the view and provided cover, including the Lammers family farm at Waldgraaf 12. On a quiet December day, German soldiers suddenly attacked the farm. As the shells hit, the Canadian soldiers patrolling the area only just managed to retreat to safety. The attack was not without casualties, however. As it gave them a good vantage point over the hills towards Groesbeek, the German soldiers took the farm and defended it.
Since the Canadians now knew what they were up against, they regrouped and reconquered the K-House, as they called the farm, and they managed to hold on to it this time.
This building is not the only one with a World War II story. A few houses down, at Waldgraaf 8, a US military transport aircraft crashed. After dropping fifteen paratroopers, the Dakota was hit over the Maas-Waal canal and came under fire a second time shortly after that. Today, a plaque recalls the story of the plane and the five crew members who lost their lives in the crash.
Canadian soldiers in the Rijk van Nijmegen
During Operation Market Garden, the Rijk van Nijmegen was liberated by the Allies. Yet the region was not safe: the region became frontline territory. In November 1944, the British and American soldiers stationed here were deployed elsewhere and the Canadians took over. Their task was to protect the bridges, the city and the region from German attacks and defend the front.
Waldgraaf 12, 6561 KT Groesbeek