The Battle for ‘s-Hertogenbosch from the German perspective
Documents for 22-10-44
B. Outcome of the fought battle.
22.10.44 After in the early morning heavy fire was only received in the sector
south of G.R.732 (Grenadier Regiment), this heave fire increased shortly after
06.00 hrs and expanded up to the Div. Command post. The sector of G.R.745
however received no artillery fire, which made the Division believe that it could
expect a big offensive on both sides of the Zuid-Willemsvaart shortly.
At 06.00 hrs, after a heavy pre artillery bombardment, the enemy advanced along
both sides of the road Veghel-Berlicum to attack with 2 company’s of Infantry
and 12 – 15 tanks. The attack haltered after combined artillery fire in which also
the left side of the Artillery section of the 59.I.D. took part in, from the main
of resistance positioned near the advanced secure boundaries. The tanks were
deployed shortly after.
At 07.10 hrs the enemy advanced over a wider front after a half
artillery bombardment and attacked the sector of Fusilier-Btl.712 between the
road ‘s-Hertogenbosch-Hees and the railway line ‘s-Hertogenbosch-Nijmegen and
with 50 independent performing officers of counted armored vehicles with amongst
them numeral flam throwing tanks they attacked. As a result of the poor visibility
it was difficult to execute a joined artillery attack especially after the tremendous
pre bombardment that damaged the communication equipment – the phone line
network in the area was also almost entirely destroyed.
It was not surprising that the 50 armored vehicles were able
infiltrate the front, but the MLR (Main Line of Resistance) held out. It was only
after hours that the enemy was able to, after systematically smoking out dug in
anti tank measures, force a gap in the lines at Nuland. The enemy however lost
at least 6 tanks in this sector because of the fearlessness of numerous of soldiers
equipped with panzerfaust and medium Pak. Because the battle area was very
favorable for usage of panzerfausts it can be accepted that the losses were
probably a lot higher though the division has no proof for this logical assumption
seen the loyalty of these soldiers that kept to their assignment and posts and
defended them selves – the greatest part though should be considered killed in
The Division decided to keep the ongoing build up of the main
resistance line by the deployed III./G.R.732 (G.R. Grenadier Regiment) with the
use of hundreds of civilians intact and not to shrink the number of troops here and
not consider this a position to fall back on, even when poorly manned keeping this
position existing over a
7 km wide front with 250 men, of which 40% recruits. For this, Luftwaffe-Btl.Ewald
was alarmed (without the recruit company), that was placed under
‘s-Hertogenbosch incase of a airborne assault and for the reassurance of the Battle
commander, and brought in. Also the Gren.Rgt.745 (Rgt, Regiment) was ordered to
let one battle ready reserve company, Btl.Wittstock, that occupied a line of
resistance at the hamlet Bruggen, occupy the so-called 2nd line of resistance
south-west of Nuland.
At 09.30 hrs the enemy commenced an attacked again on the south
wing with support of several tanks and simultaneously attacked I./G.R.732 at
Nieuwekampen. During this attack our own artillery-fire was destroyed. I./G.R.732
reported that the tanks at Nieuwekampen were allegedly advancing behind German
prisoners of war that were used as shields. As a result of this act, the both here
deployed medium Pak did not attack and were killed.
At Fusilier-Btl.712 the enemy used the same trick but here the
evidently “German prisoners” opened fire just in front of the MLR so it became
clear that it was considering a shameful deception of British soldiers in German
Around 11.00 hrs the enemy was ready to break out of the gap
Nuland, that temporarily was closed again by a counterattack of the battalions;
Btl.Stabes, Fus.Btl.712 and I./Fus.Btl.712 at about 12.00 hrs, but the enemy
broke trough and after a pre bombardment lasting about half an hour attacked
with at least 2 Btl. of Infantry and about 40 tanks on both sides along the
railway line. The enemy was engaged in bitter fighting at the local defensive
positions but it could not be prevented - the artillery was not able anymore to
give support by using the desirable loads of ammunition – that the enemy
advanced until the defensive position and even crossed it north of the railway.
In heroic close combat against enemy armor the Regiment command post G.R.745
held on until the last men.
There were further enemy attacks between 11.00 – 16.00 hrs at
multiple places varying from 2 companies up to battalion size, regularly supported
by 5 – 8 tanks. In one occasion 3 tanks had broken trough at the street from
Veghel to Berlicum with the infantry split in two and heavy casualties inflicted
amongst the infantry along the MLR by own defensive fire. At Doornhoek and
south of the woods at Hooge Heide a bigger breakthrough had taken place.
The there deployed 8,8cm Pak were simultaneous attacked by 5 tanks and
destroyed. this part of the MLR is apparently, except from a few soldiers that were
still fighting totally destroyed. At Nieuwe Kampen the enemy also succeeded with
5 – 6 tanks to push trough until south of the command post of I./G.R.732 so the
connection with the in the middle of the woods positioned 1./G.R.732 was cut off.
Further north the MRL stayed intact until the edge of the woods 800m south-west
of Nuland were the line bend several hundred meters further faced to the north.
Here the brave Fusilier-Btl. lead by Hptm. Siebecker (Hauptmann, Captain) held
the line until 23.10 hrs, 04.00 hrs until the withdrawal order was given to the
defensive position (new MLR).
It was completely lacking the Div. of counterattack and mobile
tank weapons to close the gap in the MLR so the Div. was forced to conclude that
the defensive position should be considered now as the MLR.
The Engineers were already deployed during the morning to create
roadblocks with fallen trees and booby-traps and other obstacles with the little
reserve of mines that were left.
Because of counterattacks of Btl.Ewald along the defensive position
in the woods to the north and near the Divisions army school barracks from the
west the enemy, that had penetrated the defensive position into the west, was
forced to turn around. Btl.Wittstock has vacated the defensive position north from
Kruisstraat after enemy pressure, no forces are at hand to close this gap.
At the railroad crossing 1 km south of the Kruisstraat, infantry
supported by 6 tanks was spotted east-west of the defensive position adjacent the
woods. One shock troop attack during the night, supported by artillery failed with
heavy losses to own troops.
The Division was able to fight back this first day of heavy
attacks on the defensive position in the evening against a strong British Armored
Division. With a full Infantry Division with own troops together counting about
25 – 30 Batteries, div. and regular army artillery from every caliber it was doubted
that these more or less unorganized troops were able to hold the new Main Line of
Resistance during another day of heavy battle. Sadly it was noted that the Division
was out of Pak. The North wing north of Kruisstraat was opened wide. The artillery
ammunition is becoming scarce. The Division is expecting a concentrated attack on
the area Berlicum and Rosmalen concentrated on both sides of the rail line.
It has become clear that our troops inflicted heavy bloody losses
the enemy after their first attacks, and also on this day 15 enemy tanks and a
armored reconnaissance vehicle have been destroyed. Also our own losses were
considerable. The overall mass of the battalions of the Division stayed occupying
their positions and fulfilled their assignments and defended these to the last men.
Map of the battle by the 53 Welsh and 7th Armoured Div. for 22-10-44.
(click on the map to enlarge)