The Netherlands / Fortification
Members of the Red Horse, an American reconnaissance unit of the 113th Cavalry Group, had been spotted at the casemate on the Via Regia in the Maastricht district of Malpertuis as early as 9 September 1944, five days before the liberation of the western part of the city. The patrol came from the vicinity of the Albert Canal near Vroenhoven, which they had reached a day earlier. Their after-action report of 9 September stated the following: “The 113th Cavalry Group entered Holland near Maastricht”. This made the reconnaissance unit the first Americans to set foot (temporarily) on Dutch soil.
The American reconnaissance unit was part of the 30th Division (Old Hickory) of the 1st Army. In the late afternoon of 13 September 1944, units of the Old Hickory Division, coming from Gronsveld in the south, entered the Maastricht district of Wyck on the right bank of the river Meuse. One day later, the liberation of the left bank of the Meuse followed. After exactly four years, four months and four days, the capital of Limburg was the first city in the Netherlands to be liberated.
Casemate 43 is of the porcupine type and was part of the Delay Line of the Geul Line built in 1939, shortly before the German invasion in May 1940. The crew had to guard the road to the Belgian town of Veldwezelt.