Operation Varsity Places nowadays

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by MoeA, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    Hey together,

    Im completely new here so I would like to introduce myself real quick, my friends call me Moe and im a 27 year old Soldier serving in the German military, Im half american and highly interested in all the actions that took place back in WW2 in the area where I live. Yeah well I live right in the middle of all the rhine crossings that happened near and around Wesel in Germany but my passion is all about the Airborne Operations which happend due to Operation Varsity around my old hometown Hamminkeln. I have a really good book about the whole Operation which is called "Der Krieg vor der eigenen Haustür", it explains all the Operations in really nice detail and has alot of pictures that I havent seen anywhere else yet. My plan is to visit most of the places that can be seen on the pictures and combine them with the old ones to have a direct comparison. If you walk through all the fields here you can actually still see some huge unevenesses which probably are from all the gliders and planes that crashed. I friend of mine who lives on a farm right in the middle of a landing zone digged a few holes on their fields the other days and found tons of wires (Any clue where they are from? Comms?).

    I basically just want to know if someone else lives in this area who can tell me a little bit more about it, Im also highly interested to know if there are any informations about crash sites in the "Disfordter Forest", according to the book alot of Transporters and Glides must have crashed inside the forest that day. I already looked up Google Earth and marked spots in the forest which are possible crash sites.

    I live a few minutes away from a british war cementry which burries alot of aircrews and I want to know where exactly they crashed.

    Thanks in advance, I highly appreciate your guys work in here, I read through a few things and its amazing.
  2. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Also have a look at these books:

    J.H. Nitrowski. Die Luftlandung. Das Kriegsende der Städte Hamminkeln und Wesel. Stadt Hamminkeln. 1997/2010 Neuauflage zum 65. Jahrestag der Luftlandung

    Tim Saunders. Operation Plunder Rhine Crossing: The British & Canadian Operations

    Stephen L. Wright. The Last Drop: Operation Varsity, March 24-25, 1945
  3. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Moe,

    There are quite number of threads on Operation Varsity which can be found using the search function. Here are just a few that might be of interest.

    Field Report Operation Varsity Landing Zone "N" - German AA

    Memorial to the Oxf & Bucks L.I : Operation Varsity

    Operation Varsity - how should it be viewed?

    Forum member Teckniker started off strong with promises of posting on site findings, but unfortunately didn't follow through. On another forum I came across a guy who had pretty much located all the landing sites of the American gliders. I'll see if I can find it if interested

    Regards ...
  4. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    Hey Cee, thanks for your fast reply and help, really appreciate that. I'm really interested in the crash sites, if you could find the threat on the other forum again, would be awesome.

    Thanks again.
  5. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    After researching the net and my book about Varsity and specially DZ/LZ-A Im a little irritated about the "Hingendahls Forest". Im currently marking stuff on Google Earth I want to research and visit since its justa few minutes away from me, Im trying to find out where exactly the Hingendahls Forest is at since it looks like most of the fighting was going on there and the germans had a artillery position there. I attached a file to clear things out, is the small box shaped forest above my marker the Hingendahls Forest?

    Thanks in advance,


    Attached Files:

    • LZ-A.jpg
      File size:
      147.8 KB
  6. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    I went through my bookmarks and I believe it's a thread that was entitled "7 Year Map Search Comes to an End" on the U.S. Militaria Forum. Frustratingly the link seems to be dead and I've had no luck tracking it down.


    You can contact Techniker by PM (private message) and it will go through to his email. I did save the one PDF he put up on the possible position of German AA guns near LZ "N" but I don't think I have the right to put it up here. Another local chap who also made a brief stop over on WW2Talk was reichswald2012 (Frank). He mentions Operation Varsity area, though I'm not sure of his specific interests there:

    New from the Lower Rhine

    I'll see if I can find anything more on the Hingendahls Forest.

    Regards ..
  7. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    Hey Cee,

    Thanks a lot for you big help here, I've sent you an email as mentioned in the PM. I will also look over at the other forum and contact the persons you just mentioned to get some more information. If you could find something regarding the hingendahls forest I would be more than happy. I also just order the book "last drop" hope it'll help me getting some more information.
  8. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Here's a map from Tim Saunder's book "Operation Varsity". It encompasses the area that the 3rd Brigade of the 6th Airborne were active in. You may have to turn it to see the connection with your map. Your tiny square of forest is said to be an enemy strong-point. It needs a bit of digging yet.

    Map- 3rd Brigade.jpeg

    Regards ...
  9. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    Thanks a lot this will definitely help!
  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    There's a Hingendahlshof farm mentioned in the "Tip of the Spear" by Bernd Horn. I'm not sure where it is other than it was on the western edge of of the drop zone.

    "1 Canadian Parachute Battalion was given the task of seizing the Hingendahlshof farm on the western edge of the drop zone and capturing the village of Bergerfurth, which was located south of the DZ. Within the larger framework, the Battalion was responsible for securing the central area of the Brigade’s front encompassing wooded areas near a road linking Wesel to Emmerich."

    Regards ...
  11. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Modern German map of the area with names of the farm buildings:

    Varsity Map.jpg
    The Hingendahlshof farm is situated along the main Wesel - Rees road.

    BTW the map fragment was taken from this link (bicycle tour planner): http://www.radroutenplaner.nrw.de/

    Varsity 3.jpg
    MoeA - The small square wood you're looking for is called Nakaths Wäldchen. Sketch map taken from Nitrowski's book.

    Varsity 2.jpg
    North edge of the Diersfordterwald as seen from the Poststrasse (view to the east)

    Varsity pic 1.jpg
    Hövelmannshof behind the treeline. Lt.Col Jeff Nicklin was killed in this operation. His body was later found hanging from one of the trees in Nakaths Wäldchen (the little square wood), for an image of the wood see post # 16.
    Capt.Sensible likes this.
  12. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    Thanks for the replies guys, now that the drop zone is a little clearer and I know where ally if stuff is situated I will possibly drive there tomorrow to take a closer look at the farm, forest and dropzone itself, I will report back as soon as I'm done with that.
  13. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    I went out today for a few hours to visit the LZ Alpha and take some pictures for my research, I also talked to a few local Farmers to locate the Staff and Fieldkitchen of the 3./FschArtRgt 7.

    The Landing Zone with all its points I have visited this day.

    LZ A.jpg

    A view over the LZ-A with the Hingendahls Forest and Nakaths Forest.


    The Movement of the 8th Battalion 3rd British Parachute Regiment, this Movement was lead by Maj. Kippin to attack the Enemy Strongpoints in the Hingendalhs Forest from behind, which was successful eventhough Maj. Kippin and Lt. Cox were killed.


    A few Foxholes / Possible Enemy Positions I have found to the right of Hingendahls Forest as mentioned on the map, I guess these Guys had no clue that the 8th where comming from behind, the Movement was almost invisible from this point. If you walk through the positions you will notice that alot of big trees are knocked down there whoever knows why.

    Foxhole 3.jpg



    After reading further through the Book I was interested in finding the House where the 3./FschArtRgt 7s. Staff and Fieldkitchen was located in, according to a local I have talked to and according to the conversation with his mother this must have been the building where it was at. So this means that German Soldiers had to go here in order to eat something (I dont know if they where supplied in the field though). The House is located at the Railroad between the Frietenweg and Bergrittenstraße to the east of the LZ-A just a half a mile away.

    mark abbott and stolpi like this.
  14. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    That's just excellent - I'm impressed. It certainly gives one a better sense of the area than can be got from reading and consulting maps. stolpi's maps and photos were great as well.

    Cheers ... :)
    stolpi likes this.
  15. MoeA

    MoeA Member

    My pleasure, I'll start working through the whole varsity story next week so that means that I'll also look through other landing and drop zones and work up a few more stories. The next thing I will work up is the schneppenberg which was a target after landing at LZ-A.
    JimHerriot likes this.
  16. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    MOeA - Here some additional pictures:

    Nicklin Wood.jpg
    Picture of Nakaths Wäldchen (aka Nicklin's Wood). Found the image over here https://www.facebook.com/107504282616981/photos/a.109450239089052.8801.107504282616981/547542291946509/?type=1&theater.

    Varsity 4.jpg
    An aerial from Nitrowski's book of Hingendahls Wäldchen (aka Axehandle Wood) taken in June 1945; the German trench system is clearly visible. According to the author the 3. Battery of the Fallschirm-Artillerie-Regt 7 (7th Fallschirm Division) under Oberleutnant Flotow, occupied the Hingendahls Wäldchen. Three of the four guns of the battery, captured Russian 7,62 mm howitsers, were in position on the western edge of the forest. The remaining gun of the battery was in position in Nakaths Wäldchen.
    JimHerriot likes this.
  17. Helen Arnold

    Helen Arnold Member

    Hi there. We are very sad to not have been able to come to Hamminkeln for the 75th anniversary a couple of weeks ago and to visit the war grave of Richard Tawn. He was in glider 347 which landed successfully away from the drop zone and his death is 25th March. He could have been captured along with the rest of the group or left for British medics. He was engaged to my mother in law who passed away last year aged 93.

    We found a wealth of information with all the gliders and occupants listed:
    The Rhine Crossing
    Not all the Co-ordinates for landings are correct and they need converting to modern day format here
    The "Coordinates Translator"

    We would like to find the location of where it landed. We also have the Co-ordinates of his original burial and he was moved to the nearby Commonwealth war grave after the war along with 5 others at that location.
    Any contact from you would be most welcome. We still plan to visit the area in the future.
    JimHerriot likes this.
  18. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Hi Helen,

    The problem you have right off the hop is the map reference for the landing location of CN 347. It is given as 17055200? with a question mark in the 53rd Al Lt Regt WD. I shortened it to 170520 to use in the Coordinate Translator and it is on or close to where grid lines 17 and 52 intersect. Google Maps gives this location.

    170520 - Google Maps

    According to the Grave Concentration Report his field grave was located at 169497 which today shows as a wooded area below the Mehrhooger Strabe. This is 2 kilometres south of where the glider allegedly landed.

    169497 - Google Maps

    The glider plot map for Op Varsity doesn't show a glider near 170520 (red circle). "X" marks Bdr Richard Tawn's field grave. Interestingly there is one near 170510 with several other gliders close by. I have no idea how accurate the plot map is with regard glider locations.

    Varsity Glider Plot - Crop.jpg

    Regards ....
    JimHerriot, stolpi and dbf like this.
  19. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Hi Helen.
    I have maps for the area which will match up with the grids given. Happy to help with ID locations as I’ve been over to the DZ’s and LZ’s a few times myself.
    I’ll send you a message and we can email?
    JimHerriot likes this.
  20. Alex1975uk

    Alex1975uk Well-Known Member

    Hi Cee.
    The plot map was put together from aerial photos so it should be accurate. this glider number is 53rd yeomanry isn’t it?

    JimHerriot likes this.

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