506-PIR in Eindhoven 1944

During the morning of September 19, defensive positions were improved, and extensive patrolling was conducted east and west of the city. At about 1400 hours, the Dutch underground reported that an enemy force was headed toward Eindhoven from the vicinity of Helmond. The 2nd Battalion with one squadron of 15/19 Hussars, which was attached to the regiment earlier in the day, was dispatched to intercept this enemy and clear Helmond. This force did not contact the reported enemy as it was ordered to return to Eindhoven before reaching Helmond. This later proved to be quite an assignment as it required the greater part of the British 8th Corps to clear Helmond (Lt Col Charles H. Chase). At about 1500 hours, the 3rd Battalion was ordered to proceed west some six or eight miles and secure an emergency landing strip in the vicinity of Wintelre.

Both battalions (2/506 and 3/506) had cleared the city and were well on their way to their objectives when a message was received from the Division requesting the 1st Battalion be sent to Zon immediately to assist in the defense of the bridge as the enemy was now attacking it from the east. The 1st Battalion was ordered to proceed to Zon without delay thus leaving the defense of Eindhoven to the Regimental Command Post personnel and elements of the Guards Armored Division en route to Arnhem. At about 2000 hours, an enemy plane flew over the city and dropped flares over the main thoroughfare along which the British column was moving. Immediately following this plane was a flight of enemy bombers, estimated at 10 to 20, which bombed this part of the city with extreme accuracy. This bombing caught the British supply vehicles moving through and quite a bit of damage was done.

Due to the three battalions being out of the city, the regiment suffered only thirteen casualties from the enemy bombs. Had the battalions been in positions previously occupied casualties would have no doubt been severe. Just as the bombing attack was over the Division notified the regiment that the enemy attack at Zon had been beaten off but the enemy was expected to attack Eindhoven. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions were ordered to return to town and occupy the positions from which they had departed. Both battalions had closed in town by midnight. Neither battalion had made contact with the enemy while out of town. The expected attack on Eindhoven did not develop. The 2nd Battalion and the 15/19 Hussars were ordered to attack enemy forces in the vicinity of Nunen on the morning of September 20. As this force approached Nunen the enemy was observed moving to attack the Zon bridge, the 2nd Battalion, and Hussars immediately engaged the enemy from the rear. Finding himself opposed from two directions, the enemy withdrew northeast and after the contact was lost, the 2nd Battalion and the Hussars returned to the vicinity of Eindhoven.

(Veghel) Destroyed trucks at Koevering after the corridor has been reopened

The 1st Battalion arrived at Zon during the night and was in defensive positions by 0600 hours on September 20. The enemy launched an attack here at about 0630 hours by an estimated force of one battalion of infantry supported by one company of tanks. This attack was repelled by the men of the 1st Battalion, elements of the 387th Glider Infantry Regiment, and one company of the 326th Airborne Engineer Battalion. This was the enemy which withdrew when the 2nd Battalion and Hussars attacked its rear. The 1st Battalion continued to defend the Zon bridge for the period of September 20-21. The 2nd Battalion and 15/19 Hussars attacked the enemy in the vicinity of Nederwetten on the morning of September 21. The enemy withdrew in the face of this attack and at 1200 hours contact was lost.

The 2nd Battalion and the Hussars went into defensive positions in the vicinity of Tongelre for the night of September 21-22. During this period the 3rd Battalion occupied positions in Eindhoven and constituted the regimental reserve. On September 21, the 3rd Battalion was ordered to St Oedenrode, a distance of approximately eleven miles, as Division reserve. The battalion cleared Eindhoven at 1700 hours. During the evening of September 21, the regiment received a warning order to be prepared to move north to Uden, a distance of approximately twenty-one miles, on September 22.


The 3rd Battalion closed in the St Oedenrode Area at about 0300 hours on September 22. At about 0600 hours, the regiment including the 3rd Battalion was ordered to move to the Uden Area where it would be charged with the defense upon closing in the area. Due to the lack of transportation, this move would have to be made by marching and by using the few available trucks. The 3rd Battalion began its move from St Oedenrode by marching at 0900 hours. The remainder of the regiment would move by marching and the use of whatever transportation was at hand, during the day. The regimental advance party consisting of reconnaissance parties, communications personnel, and two platoons of Easy Co departed Eindhoven at 0900 hours on September 22. This force cleared Veghel at approximately 1100 hours. Immediately after passing through Veghel the enemy cut the main highway between Veghel and Uden, thus isolating the advance party.

Elements of the 101-A/B (502-PIR) moving to the front - Holland September 1944


The enemy, after breaking contact with the 2nd Battalion and the Husssars in the vicinity of Nederwetten on September 21, had moved under cover of darkness to the vicinity of Erp and was now launching an all-out attack to seize Veghel and destroy the bridges there. This enemy force was estimated at three battalions of Waffen SS troops supported by thirty or forty tanks. The 2nd Battalion, minus elements in Uden, reached Veghel at about 1400 hours and, was immediately deployed astride the VeghelUden highway facing northeast in conjunction with the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. With the assistance of the British artillery that happened to be passing through Veghel at the time the attack was repulsed by dark. At about the same time, the enemy attack came from the southeast, and another enemy force attacked Veghel astride the Willelm Vaart Canal from the northwest. One company of the 1st Battalion, having been detached earlier in the day and sent to the northern part of Veghel, reached the bridge as the enemy launched his attack from the northwest. This company detrucked, turned around, and deployed near the bridge, and with the assistance of the elements of the British 44th Tank Regiment repulsed the attack. Later in the afternoon, the enemy attacked the town from the north. Elements of the 3rd Battalion, in conjunction with the 2/501-PIR, halted this attack just short of the railroad bridge. By dark on September 22, the regiment, less the detachment in Uden and the remainder of the 1st Battalion at the Zon bridge was in defensive positions in the vicinity of Veghel.

Wounded Paratrooper - Holland 1944


Upon reaching Uden the advance party dispatched patrols east and west of the town. No enemy was contacted west of the town, however, east of the town enemy patrols were contacted in the vicinity of Vokel. Civilians in Vokel reported enemy tanks and infantry in Boekel. As a result of this report, the detachment commander contacted the commander of a British Engineer unit which was waiting in Uden to repair an Airfield located in the vicinity of Beokel to effect some sort of defense of the town for the expected attack. At about 1600 hours, the regiment notified the detachment in Uden that a Brigade of British Armor was being recalled from the Nijmegen area and would arrive sometime during the night. This brigade arrived about 2030 hours and went into defensive positions in the town.


During the night of September 22-23, the regiment planned an attack to clear the enemy from the Veghel-Uden Highway. The plan called for the 2nd Battalion to attack from their present positions toward Uden. The Division arranged to have the British Armored Brigade, now located in Uden, to attack Veghel in conjunction with the 2nd Battalion. This attack jumped off at about 0800 hours, on September 23, and by 1700 hours the 2nd Battalion and the Armored Brigade from Uden had made contact. The road was again open to traffic.

Infantry ride on Sherman tanks in Holland, 24 September 1944


At about 1200 hours, on September 23, a flight of C-47 Skytrain transport planes was observed headed north, towing two gliders each. As the flight approached Uden the tug ships commenced to release their gliders. A total of seventeen gliders were released before the pilots realized this was not their release point. Upon contacting the glider personnel it was learned that this flight was the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division, scheduled to land just north of the Grave bridge, approximately ten miles north of Uden. The released gliders landed just east of the battle now being waged by the 2nd Battalion and British Armored Brigade to clear the highway. Some gliders were fired on by the enemy as they landed but suffered no casualties.


After having made contact with the British Armor and completed the clearing of the highway, the 2nd Battalion pulled back to its position from which the attack was launched, for the night. The 3rd Battalion and one company of the 1st Battalion had occupied defensive positions in the vicinity of Veghel during the day and night of September 23.


On September 24, the 1st Battalion was returned to regimental control and relieved of the responsibility of the Zon bridge. The regiment, with the 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion and Battery B, of the 81st Glider AA Battalion attached, was again ordered to Uden to take over the defense of that area. The regiment plus attachments closed in the area at about 1430 hours. Upon reaching Uden, the 3rd Battalion was ordered to send patrols to Erp in an attempt to contact the enemy that had withdrawn in that direction the day before. These patrols reported no enemy in the area. Apparently, the enemy force that cut the highway on September 22 had withdrawn from the area completely.

Waco CG-4A Gliders Landing


Just before dark on September 24, an enemy force estimated at two companies of infantry supported by tanks and self-propelled guns cut the highway south of Veghel in the vicinity of Koevering. The regimental trains (sea and land tail) consisting of twenty-two vehicles happened to be moving along the highway at the point where the enemy cut it. The convoy managed to turn around and return toward Zon with the loss of only two vehicles.


During the night of September 24-25, the regiment, with attachments, was ordered to return to Veghel and clear the enemy from the highway in the vicinity of Kovering. The movement commenced at 0300 hours and by daylight on September 25, the leading elements had reached Veghel. At this point, a squadron of the 44th Tank Regiment was attached to the regiment. Shortly after, the tanks were attached to the regiment and were ordered to attack Kovering and clear the highway. This attack jumped off at about 1000 hours along the west side of the highway with the 1st and 3rd Battalion’s echelon left, the 3rd Battalion leading. The battalions had advanced about 8000 yards when they came under very heavy small arms, artillery, and tank fire – the tanks being dug in along the road. The battalions were stopped cold. At this time the 2nd Battalion was ordered to make a wide envelopment east of the highway in an attempt to hit the enemy’s flank. The movement commenced about 1400 hours and by dark, the battalion had reached a point just south of the enemy’s position where It came under the direct tank and self-propelled gunfire. All battalions were ordered to hold fast in present positions for the night and be prepared to continue the attack at daylight on September 26. The attack jumped off at 0530 hours on September 26, and by 0900 hours the enemy was driven northwest of the highway opening the road to traffic again. The regiment was pinched out of the attack by other elements of the division, and the 44th Tank squadron was detached.


At 1300 hours, the regiment with original attachments was ordered to return to Uden. This move was completed by 1700 hours and once again the regiment was defending Uden.


The regiment and attachments remained in defensive positions in the vicinity of Uden until September 30, at which time it was ordered to move to the vicinity of Nijmegen, a distance of approximately twenty miles. The move commenced on the morning of October 1, and by night the regiment and attachments were closed in an assembly area on the east side of Nijmegen. The only enemy action encountered during this move was caused by a lone enemy plane bombing the column as the troops were detrucking at the assembly area. No damage was done by this plane.

Cromwell tanks of 2nd Welsh Guards crossing the bridge at Nijmegen, 21 September 1944

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