British paratroopers pose together with Dutch civilians on a cart track near Wolfheze.

Another company of soldiers managed to reach the Rhine Bridge after the landings

in Arnhem/September 17

Many people are aware that the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion led by John Frost managed to reach the Rhine Bridge via a route along the Rhine on Sunday, September 17. Much less known is that approximately fifty British soldiers from the 3rd Battalion also arrived at the bridge on Sunday night.

Because the British were stopped at a German defense line between Wolfheze and Oosterbeek, the 3rd Battalion under Colonel Fitch made very slow progress. Fitch therefore instructed Major Peter Lewis to attempt to advance to Arnhem with C-Company via a slightly more northerly route.

Major Lewis and about a hundred soldiers advanced north via the Bredeweg. When they arrived at the railway line between Wolfheze and Arnhem, they followed the track to Arnhem. There was no major German resistance along the track at that time.

They had encountered a number of German vehicles and had killed several Germans. Their own losses at that time were small. It was now evening when C-Company entered Arnhem.

A German armored vehicle was destroyed by a so-called gammon bomb. In the dark, Major Lewis’s soldiers then managed to fool a large group of German soldiers by marching across the street and pretending to be a German unit.

Things still went wrong near the British positions at the Rhine Bridge when C-Company came across a German unit of the Reich Labor Service in the city center of Arnhem. It had just been equipped with old carbines and had been told by an SS-Obersturmführer that they had to attack via the city center of Arnhem towards the Rhine.

In the dark the German soldiers and the paratroopers of C-Company met each other. There was fierce fighting in hand-to-hand combat. About half of the German unit was killed. On the other hand, in the chaos of the battle, a third of the British had to surrender to soldiers of the SS Panzergrenadiers who had just arrived as reinforcements in Arnhem and were immediately thrown into the battle.

Together, about fifty soldiers from C-Company, the 3rd Battalion, managed to reach the British line at the Rhine Bridge. That was a welcome addition for Colonel John Frost, who was missing his own C-Company.

C-company, 2nd Battalion
After the railway bridge at Oosterbeek had been blown up, the C-Company of the 2nd Battalion headed for its second objective: the building of the German Ortskommandantur on the Nieuwe Plein. However, literally on the doorstep of the Elisabeth Gasthuis, the British had encountered two buses full of German soldiers who had just stopped there to see where the leading British paratroopers were.

It became a one-sided fight. The buses were set on fire and only five Germans managed to survive the firefight and were captured. A little further west of the Elisabeth Gasthuis, the British were still stopped by the first real defense line that the Germans had set up.

Soldiers from the reconnaissance battalion of the 9th SS Armored Division Frundsberg were equipped with mechanized artillery and heavy weapons. Although C-Company managed to take out an armored car, they had to withdraw.

The soldiers took up position in a house on Utrechtseweg, opposite the municipal museum. They were eventually surrounded, but managed to hold out for another sixteen hours until their ammunition ran out. A plaque on the facade commemorates the battles that took place here.

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