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17 Sep, 18 tweets, 8 min read
#Arnhem76
Day One.
Sunday 17th September 1944.
A thread about 6 Platoon of B Company, 2nd Parachute Battalion.
The 2nd Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Frost dropped on DZ X with the rest of the 1st Parachute Brigade at approximately 1350hrs and moved off from their RV point at around 1500hrs.
The 2nd Battalion took the lower route (highlighted in yellow), codenamed ‘Lion’, towards the Arnhem Road Bridge (circled in Pink).
The order of march was A Company leading and then B Company with C Company bringing up the rear. Major Dover's C Company was tasked with securing the Railway Bridge (seen here from 'Lion Route') and then moving east along the southern bank of the river towards the Road Bridge.
As 9 Platoon of C Company under Lieutenant Peter Barry approached the Railway Bridge it was demolished by the Germans. Lieutenant Colonel Frost’s plan for the capture of the Road Bridge from both ends was thwarted.
Returning to the map you can see circled in Black a Railway underpass at which point the 2nd Battalion met the first serious, organised resistance to their march east towards the Road Bridge.
The leading Company, commanded by Major Tatham-Warter came under machine gun fire from two 9th SS Panzer Division Sd.Kfz.250/9 half-tracks, both fitted with a 20mm gun as they cleared the underpass.
The first photo is taken on the road just ahead of where the half-tracks were firing on the 2nd Battalion. The second photo displays evidence that remains to this day of the level of fire Frost's men were subjected to at the underpass.
With A Company stopped in their tracks, Frost called forward support from Major Crawley's B Company following behind. 6 Platoon under Lt. Peter Cane were ordered to outflank the German position as seen in this map. The red line through the back gardens traces their exact route.
As you can see on the map they were going to loop north around what was the Oosterbeek-Laag station house which is now a private home as seen here in these photos.
One of the the men from the leading section of 6 Platoon was this man, Private Thomas Gronert. As his section went forward they encountered SS Soldiers coming down the railway line from the north towards them who opened fire.
Tommy Gronert was hit and fell on the Railway line. The following section were close behind and came under the same heavy fire. One of those hit was Lieutenant Peter Cane. Another was Tommy’s twin Brother, Claude Gronert (pictured), who was going to Tommy’s aid.
6 Platoon were pinned down under heavy fire until the Germans, having run out of ammunition were forced to withdraw. Lieutenant Peter Cane, Corporal Edgar Rogers and the Gronert twins, Tommy and Claude, lay dead.
Lieutenant Peter Cane is seated centre in this photo of 6 Platoon. The Gronert Twins are stood at the far ends of the photo. Claude at the extreme left and Tommy likewise to the right.
The rest of 6 Platoon withdrew under the cover of smoke. With an increasing level of return fire coming from the 2nd Battalion, the two half-tracks withdrew and with the road clear, the advance eastwards to the Road Bridge continued.
To this day the twins are not forgotten around the spot where they fell. The garden of the station house has since surrendered the evidence of the fighting on this day 76 years ago.
I was lucky enough to be invited in to the Station House along with a couple of friends who served with the Regiment in the Falklands War. At the Station House the men of 1982 paid homage to those of 1944.
Privates Thomas and Claude Gronert are buried today together at the immaculate @CWGC Arnhem-Oosterbeek Cemetery alongside Corporal Edgar Rogers. Their Platoon Commander, Lieutenant Peter Cane is just a few metres away from his men.
Remembered on this day.
#UtrinqueParatus

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More from @3468marsh

2 Jun
A thread on the massacre of unarmed civilians at the Village of Kondomari on this day, 2 June in 1941 by men of the Luflande-Sturm-Regiment commanded by Oberleutnant Horst Trebes from a ‘then and now’ perspective.
As shown on this map, III Battalion Sturmregiment had dropped around Kondomari on 20 May 1941 on top of the NZ 22nd Battalion. Many of the FJR were killed before or just as they hit the ground and their corpses, lying out in the sun for 10 days had rapidly decomposed...
...as well as been picked at by Buzzards. This man, Hauptmann Horst Trebes (shown on the right) was of the opinion that a high number of the mutilated corpses in the area were in a large part due to the local population, hence his decision to carry out reprisals.
Read 18 tweets
1 Jun
A thread in collaboration with @Dunkirk_1940 looking at the fighting on this morning 80 years ago, 1 June 1940 on the Dunkirk Perimeter involving 2/Coldstream Guards. Our focus is on 15 Platoon of No.3 Company commanded by Lt. Jimmy Langley.
While by 1 June No.3 Coy had a strength of just 37 men they were heavily armed. The inventory read 12 x Bren Guns, 3 x Lewis Guns, 1 x Boys Anti-Tank Rifle, 22 x Mills Grenades and 30,000 rounds of .303 ammunition.
The German attack began at dawn on 1 June 1940. Langley and his men were in around this cottage on the Bank of the Bergues-Furnes Canal. When around 100 Germans were 600 yards from the cottage Langley's men let rip from it's roof space with the Bren Guns and broke up the attack.
Read 14 tweets
27 May
A thread with @Dunkirk_1940 on the massacre at Le Paradis.
On 27 May 1940 Units of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) were desperately fighting to hold open a 'corridor' so the bulk of the BEF could move unimpeded back towards the coast around Dunkirk and evacuation.
On this map you can see the strongpoints manned by the BEF on the western flank of that corridor. E.g Hazebrouck, Cassel, Wormhoudt etc.
Le Paradis is a small village located near Merville (circled)
Holding the line in this area on the River Lys against the 2nd Infantry Regiment of the SS Totenkopf Division was the British 4th Infantry Brigade consisting of 2/Royal Norfolk, 1/Royal Scots and 1/8th Lancashire Fusiliers.
Read 24 tweets
23 Jan
A thread on Lance Corporal Eric Harden VC. The only RAMC recipient of the Victoria Cross in the Second World War. He was killed in action on this day in 1945 in Brachterbeek, a small town on the banks of the River Maas in the Netherlands.
Eric was a Medic attached to 45 Royal Marine Commando. After his section were pinned down in this field by German MG fire, Eric went out, unarmed, on three separate occasions to bring in the wounded. Despite wearing the Red Cross armband he came under fire on each occasion.
On the 2nd occasion, Eric carried in Marine Fred Wales. Unbeknown to anyone else he was hit bringing Marine Wales in to safety. Sadly, Fred Wales succumbed to his wounds and is buried in Nederweert @cwgc cemetery. His grave marker in 1945 (centre) and the grave today.
Read 14 tweets

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