Operation Veritable - Bridge across the Niers at Gennep now 'Highlander Bridge'

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by stolpi, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Today, as part of the 70-year commemorations of Operation Veritable, the bridge at Gennep was renamed "Highlander Bridge". Gennep and its crossing point over the river Niers, a small tributary of the Meuse river, were captured by the 51st Highland Division at the start of Operation Veritable. Gennep was important because it controlled the main road south of the Reichswald leading from Mook to Hekkens and on to Goch.

    Two veterans of the 51st Highland Division were present. Tom Renouf, who saw action in the fight for the small town of Gennep as an infantryman in the 5th Black Watch, officially opened the renamed bridge in the presence of the town Mayor and the Governor of the Province of Limburg.

    The path of the 51st Highland Division to Goch:
    001a.jpg


    Some impressions:

    011a.jpg

    The Niers bridge nowadays
    IMG_3068.JPG

    Pontoon%20bridge%20across%20Niers.jpg
    The bridge then ... a pontoon bridge, built under heavy enemy shellfire by the RE's, replaced the original bridge which was blown by the Germans as the Highlanders approached the town. The photograph was taken with a view away from the town. The town itself was defended by elements of the 7th Parachute Division, who fiercely resisted till the end. The Reichswald Forest is in the far background.


    Rememberance plaque next to the bridge for the men who fell in the fight for Gennep:
    IMG_3072a.jpg

    Some impressions of the opening ceremony:
    007a.jpg

    008a.jpg

    013a.jpg

    015a.jpg

    016a.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
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  2. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Thanks for reminding us of events from 70 years ago.
    A nice bit of Highway Decorating too .
     
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  3. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day stolpi.very senior member.yesterday,01:43 pm.re:eek:peration veritable-bridge across the neirs at gennep now the
    "highlander bridge"a great post.excellent photo's thank you for posting.regards bernard85
     
  4. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Stolpi,

    Very good to see Tom Renouf front and center. I had the pleasure of meeting him with you three years ago.
     
  5. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    I can't help thinking that the waterway crossed by the Bailey Bridge looks to be a whole lot wider than that crossed by the modern bridge, but maybe this something to do with the camera angle.

    Chris
     
  6. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Correct, the Niers was much wider: The river at the time was swollen due to melting snow and the rainy weather. The whole river bed was filled and the water stood at the dikes. The river bed, the light, frozen area above the town, is visible on this aerial from Dec 1944:

    Gennep%20centrum%2031-12-1944.jpg

    The river dikes are visible on the attached pictures.
    IMG_3070a.jpg IMG_3074a.jpg

    In the background the windmill of Ottersum. Which also features in another well known photograph. The road to Venlo/Maastricht, turn to the right, leads up to the bridge site. The route straight on leads from Ottersum to Hekkens, the small crossroad settlement on the southern edge of the Reichswald:

    Ottersum%20POWs.jpg

    IMG_3067.JPG
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
  7. Nijmegen

    Nijmegen Member

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  8. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The night of 10/11 February 1945 the 5th Black Watch cross the Niers in assault boats downstream from Gennep and attack the town from the NW. They enter the town in the early hours of the 11th.

    Tom Renouf's story of the capture of Gennep, taken from his book 'Black Watch' (courtesy of Renouf):
    Renouf%20%20007a.jpg Renouf%20%20008a.jpg Renouf%20%20009a.jpg Renouf%20%20011a.jpg Renouf%20%20012a.jpg Renouf%20%20013a.jpg Renouf%20%20014a.jpg Renouf%20%20015a.jpg Renouf%20%20016a.jpg

    026a.jpg
    Image of the swollen Niers river taken near the crossing site of the Black Watch (courtesy Arensbergen).
    s-l1600 2c.jpg

    Wartime map of Gennep:
    1944%20kaart%201-25000%20WOII%20sectie.jpg


    51st Highland Division in combat in Gennep 1945 (Dutch spoken docu on You Tube):

     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
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  9. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    .. restored this one too ... :salut:

    BTW I received news that, unfortunately, Tom Renouf passed away not long after the Gennep commemoration, in June 2015.

    May he RIP.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  10. m kenny

    m kenny Senior Member

    Tried several times over a number of days to reply to you tank location photo but the forum will not let me post it as a reply.
    This is where the original photo came from

    Axis WWII Discussion Group: Jens: That Bad Pussy, AKA Panther "821"(?), etc...
    and the photo also appears in 'Panzerwrecks 9' page 31 and 'Panther External Appearance and Design Changes' page 230.
    Location said to be Uedem-Xanten road Feb 1945 and Panther from 3/Lehr Pz Rg 130

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
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  11. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The file somehow got corrupted in the upload ... thanks for your response this is very helpful :).

    This must be near the Goch-Calcar road since the only attack of KG Hauser of the Panzer Lehr took place against the positions of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry near the Schwanenhof; added the picture to: VERITABLE: the Canadian finale (Moyland Wood & Goch-Calcar road)
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
  12. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Around 1500 on February 10th - as the 5/7 Gordon Highlanders prepared to rush the bridge - an Archer SP commanded by a Sergeant Vousden of 61st Anti-Tank Regiment drove into the open in an area "swept by fire" and neutralized several Spandau posts with A.P. and H.E. (A.P. would be used to shake up a structure or create holes first). He ended up getting a MM for this.

    I'm a bit perplexed that the medal citation reads "His cool courage and energetic use of his gun and the added fire of small arms from his detachment contributed in no small measure to the success our infantry had in this attack" since I gather the Germans blew the bridge, and thus the attack did not really succeed? Can anyone fill in what happened on February 10th?
     
  13. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    From a 5/7 veteran:
    "On 10 February we began clearing the road from Mook to Gennep, only to find that the Germans had blown the bridge over the River Niers before we could get into Gennep. It was 13 February before we entered Gennep, after heavy fighting and the loss of 31 killed and wounded."



     
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