The Battle of Arnhem was part of Operation Market Garden. With this, the Allies wanted to conquer the bridges over a number of Dutch waterways.
This allowed them to break through from the Belgian border to the north and then to the east, into Germany. In this way they wanted to try to end World War II before the end of the year.
In September 1944 nearly twelve thousand British and Polish airborne troops landed at Renkum, Wolfheze, Driel and Ede. Then they fought there and in Arnhem, Oosterbeek and surroundings against units deployed by the Germans. The 1st British Airborne Division was tasked with capturing the Rhine Bridge near Arnhem. Only 750 of them managed to reach the bridge on Sunday, September 17.
The order of the main force was to hold this bridge for two days, until the intended reinforcement of the ground army from the south reached them. But the German resistance was much stronger than expected and the ground army was stranded earlier. Heavy fighting on the advance route from Oosterbeek, towards the bridge in Arnhem, was the result.
On Thursday morning, September 21, 1944, the lightly armed troops at the road bridge (commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John Frost, commander of the 2nd Parachute Battalion) had to stop fighting against the growing German superiority. During these heavy fighting, the area in the immediate vicinity of the road bridge was almost completely destroyed.
The allied soldiers who fought in Arnhem wore an emblem on their upper arm with a winged horse with rider. That mythological figure, the Pegasus, was the symbol of the 1st British Airborne Division. This symbol is applied to the special Freedom Trail Arnhem tiles, which have been placed at 35 locations. These are connected by a ribbon of regular tiles. The route has a total length of approximately 8 km.
Reading tip! The war history of Gelderland
The Arnhem Nijmegen region played a decisive role in the liberation of the Netherlands during the Second World War. Read more about the liberation campaign in Gelderland and the traces from the past that can still be found in this region in the article \\\ 'Stories from wartime in Gelderland'
Looking for fascinating stories, beautiful routes or nice places for a break in Gelderland? Read more here.