Maps

The 1st Airborne's defensive positions around Oosterbeek

Pictures

One of the Light Regiment's 75mm guns in action

One of the Light Regiment's 75mm Pack Howitzers in action

Two German self-propelled guns advance along the Weverstraat

A disabled Tiger Tank on the Weverstraat, in the southern half of the Oosterbeek Perimeter

A German assault gun on the Weverstraat

Oosterbeek Church after the battle

Inside the church

A spoilt Jeep and other equipment which had to be left behind when the Division withdrew

Abandoned and wrecked Jeeps in a woodland clearing

 

Shortly after 06:00 on the morning of Monday the 25th, Urquhart was presented with a letter from Major-General Thomas of the 43rd Wessex Division, informing him that XXX Corps had abandoned hope of reinforcing the 1st Airborne and that he should, therefore, withdraw his Division back across the Rhine at a time of his choosing. With the Perimeter showing definite signs of strain, Urquhart considered this for two hours before contacting Thomas and telling him that they would pull out that night.

 

The fighting at Oosterbeek, however, was not yet over. During the night, the Light Regiment had intercepted German radio communications and learned that a heavy attack against the Lonsdale Force (Map Ref 2), in the south-eastern corner of the Perimeter, was imminent. Specifically, the blow was to fall on the Glider Pilots of "G" Squadron and the 2nd South Staffordshires, and its object was to break through the British lines and sever the Division from the riverbank; a move that would doom any prospect of a withdrawal. 

 

The attacks came throughout the day and were mounted by two battlegroups of veteran SS soldiers, Kampfgruppe's Von Allworden and Harder. The first assault succeeded in slipping through the front line defences to attack the Light Regiment's positions around Oosterbeek Church. Their guns desperately tried to engage the accompanying Tiger tanks, however several of the Regiment's positions were overrun and the attack penetrated deep into the Perimeter before it lost momentum and was finally broken up by a heavy bombardment from the 64th Medium Regiment, firing their shells inside the British lines.

 

The 2nd South Staffords suffered similarly harshly from these attacks and their line came close to breaking. In one area, they became involved in what was described as a snowball fight with grenades against the German troops who had taken control of a wrecked building directly on the front line. The situation was brought to an abrupt end when one of the Light Regiment's guns, at point blank range, demolished what was left of the building and killed all but one of the attackers.

 

Further assaults were made on positions all around the Perimeter, but everywhere the line held.