Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To the Bridge at Arnhem

At 9am the Citroen CV3 scout car was poised on the Dutch/Belgian border ready for the advance on Arnhem.

According to Madame GPS it was 102km to the objective.  The advance was somewhat hampered by heavy unarmoured convoys, sappers on the roads, rain, an abundance of traffic lights, stops for pics and of course Dutch people prematurely celebrating their liberation.  It was 12.30 before the objective was reached.

The first obvious dominant feature of the terrain was the total absence of hills.  I didn't see a hill anywhere between Brugge & Arnhem and back (on another road).  But it was far from open country - lots of woods, rows of trees, crops hedges and towns to hide Germans in.

The second main terrain feature was what it was all about.  The rivers are huge and so are the canals.  This is the bridge at Nijmegan.  Not the original, but must be the same size.

The bridge at Arnhem.

The viaduct on the north side of the bridge.  The bridge & viaduct have been rebuilt as have all the houses on the battlefield.  So in some ways it's a disapointing battlefield - the ground is featureless apart from man-made stuff that has generally been replaced - no hills, basically only the rivers are original.   But it's the journey up the road past all those familar place names giving one a sense of the scale that makes it worthwhile.

And just up the road from the bridge is Spelkwartier - possibly the best located FOW shop on the planet.  The bloke there said they do a roaring trade in the Bridge Too Far book series.  I already had them, so I got a copy of Casino as my souvenier of Arnhem.


Anonymous said...

Obviously no german counter attacks due to the at home soccor matches

Anonymous said...

must have been all home games.No away games in the budesliga