[Categories: TRAVEL, PHOTOGRAPHY, EUROPE, WWII]
(See previous posts for what this tour is about.) (As always, click on photos to enlarge or play movie.)
Today is a ‘simpler’ day than Dutch Remembrance Day. We do a driving tour past many battlefields of the 104th Infantry Division in Southern Holland. The farm land is flat, as it was similarly in Oct.-Nov. 1944, providing little if any cover for the advancing GI’s of the Timberwolves. Woods line the sides of many dikes and fields, providing cover for the Germans, whose troops often consisted of older seasoned veterans of the Russian front directing fanatical youth. We don’t analyze military strategies today. Freedom was hard-fought for and thankfully this is again a peaceful and beautiful land. Allies, Germans, and Dutch residents all paid a terrible price.
A good bit of today is spent visiting the Military Museum in Achtmaal (www.militairhistorischmuseumachtmaal.nl), largely devoted to the 104th Inantry Division, and the nearby Oostvogels home museum of military memorabilia. The website is mostly Dutch but you can browse and find English. The museum is definitely worth a visit by WWII historians.
While here those fine British gentlemen and their ladies from the 49th West Riding Infantry Division ‘Polar Bears’ stop by for a visit. These folks are the greatest. We all have lunch prepared from the working WWII field kitchen truck. (They have a LOT of working WWII vehicles.)
If a picture is worth a thousand words here are 50-100,000 words. When necessary I’ll add a photo caption, but not very often.
We leave Achtmaal and move on to Etten and Leur, now known as Etten-Leur. Can you match the old building pictures, mostly taken by a Timberwolf in 1944, to the buildings today? I’m not sayin’ they’re all right. Most are though.
In Etten-Leur we all pile out of the bus to a corner by a cafe where people are drinking on a sidewalk. For awhile I don’t even notice the blanket hanging on the side wall. It’s a new plaque dedication to the Timberwolves. We are treated to drinks and cake with Timberwolf decorations afterward.
Taps is played during the dedication by a Dutch man and boy (his son I would guess) as they did at the Zundert 104th monument earlier:
During the dedication the town council member says “We study history to remember what we have done.”
Remember what we have done indeed. ‘Lest we forget.’
We head back to Breda and have the rest of the day off, which consists of a walk and dinner in Breda.