The Netherlands / Story

Late liberation of Vaals




After several aborted attempts to take Aachen, the Americans prepared a new attack on the city from 7 October 1944. The centre of Vaals had found itself a strip of no man's land between the German and American forces since mid-September. The civilian population had nowhere to go and lived in fear and uncertainty.

German patrols appeared in the streets, gun battles broke out on the road to Aachen and wounded were brought into the Bloemendal Military Hospital. The renowned Catholic boarding school was used by the Germans as a field hospital.

There seemed to be no end to the stalemate. That only changed in the night of 18 October, when Vaals was startled by intense artillery fire intended to intimidate the Germans. The plan succeeded, and the next day the first American units entered Vaals. After more than a month of heavy fighting and substantial losses, the German defenders surrendered Aachen on 21 October.

Maastrichterlaan 27, Vaals