On this website you will find links to websites I have constructed over the years. Each of them focuses on an operation and/or battle of World War 2. For each website I have received contributions of veterans from around the world. For that I thank them. Their recollections and personal photos and documents are helping to keep the memories alive. If you have questions, remarks or additions?
Please contact me at: [email protected]
On June 6, 1944 after many months of preparations the allies finally landed on the coast of France and breached the Atlantic wall. The second front where the people in Western Europe had been waiting for during four years of occupation was finally there. Cornelius Ryan named his book which describes this day, the longest day, after a quote from the German Fieldmarshall Rommel, who was commanding the defenses at the Western Coast. For the allied soldiers that landed on the French beaches that day, the memories of that day remained vivid for the rest of their lives.
Begin September 1944 the Nazis where retreating faster than the Allies could advance. The Western front had practically collapsed in Belgium and Holland. Field Marschall Montgomery created a plan to lay a carpet of airborne troops in Southern Holland through which the British second army would make a rampid advance. The Airborne forces needed to capture the many bridges prior to the advance of the ground forces. When the operation started on 17th the panic under the German troops had disappeared and the British and American troops met heavy resistance. The Germans managed to organize their troops in a quick counter attack. The Germans had the advantage that their had heavy armor in the area which happened to be resting near Arnhem. The Arnhem bridge proved to be a bridge to far.
On December 16, 1944. The Germans launched an attack through the Luxembourg and Belgian Ardennes which took the Americans by surprise. The frontline had been streched due to the rapid advance. The troops defending the line where mostly new arrivals like the 106th Infantry Division or Units licking their wounds from the costly attacks in the Hurtgen forest which had taken place not long before. The attack in the Adrennes was Hitlers personal plan. It was designed to drive a wedge between the US and British forces and to capture the port of Antwerp in an attempt to cut the Allied supply lines.
Aided by the bad weather which neutralized the Allied supriority in the air the German pantzers initially made a rapid advance creating a bulge in the US defense lines. The battle would later be known as the "Battle of the bulge".
During the winter of 1944, the Western part of Holland had been deprived of food. This winter is now known as the Hunger winter. There was a food and fuel shortage due to the Allied advance as well as due to reprissals from the Nazi's for the Dutch railway strike that had been ordered from London by the Dutch government in excile in an attempt to back the Allied airborne landings around Arnhem in September 1944. Allied bombers dropped food at low altitude for the starving Dutch in the closing days of the war. The RAF named this mission Operation Manna, the USAAF called it's contribution Operation Chowhound.
My name is Eric Heijink. In the past years I have corresponded with many veterans and civilians who have told me their experiences of events that where often traumatic. Post-traumatic stress was not yet known at that time an many of them had to move on without being able to talk about their experiences. They started talking about these events in the later part of their lives.
By giving these people a platform on my websites to share their stories I am trying to contribute to the awareness that the events of WWII should never happen again. Given the tensions on the political level at the moment this is a message that is more relevant now than it has been in a long time. If you have questions or additions for the website. Don't hesitate to contact me.