As an important part of the Second World War, the battle of Arnhem symbolises the effort with which the Allies fought for the liberation of Europe from the Hitler regime. We went to the Airborne Museum Hartenstein near Arnhem to learn more about this part of the war.
|British Sherman Firefly Tank @ Arnhem|
The building which houses the museum was a hotel during the war, accommodating the German commanders. After operation “Market Garden” took place the British and Polish troops gathered here to fight the Germans.
|Airborne Museum Hartenstein|
Operation “Market Garden” was the brainchild of Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery and strongly supported by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. The objective was to create a 103 km salient into German territory with a bridgehead over the River Rhine, creating an Allied invasion route into northern Germany. Taking place in September 1994 it was the largest airborne operation up to that point in World War II.
The museum told the story of many individuals involved in the battle which gave a very personal view of the drama which took place around Arnhem.
|Polish radio communication officer part of the operation “Market Garden”|
Eight thousand young soldiers risked their life here to fight the Germans. Six thousand of them were wounded or died during this battle, every one of them telling their individual story. Injured soldiers and medical staff were captured and taken prisoners of war by the Germans after the battle was lost.
The museum presents all aspects of this battle very well, and the information with audio guides was excellent. We were already really impressed when we thought we had seen all of it, but we still had the most impressive part in front of us. In the basement, you are guided through different rooms, simulating that you are one of the soldiers on a military glider departing from Great Britain and landing in the Netherlands to conquer the bridge over the Rhein at Arnhem to open a fast route for the Allied troops into Germany.
|Bridge of Arnhem – the target of the Allies|