Photo of Christiaan Lindemans (King kong) after his arrest. (Photo: Wikipedia.)

Myth: “Operation Market Garden was betrayed by King Kong”

in Myths

There are still many myths circulating about the Battle of Arnhem for so many decades afterwards. One of those myths is the “betrayal” by King Kong. King Kong was the nickname of Christiaan Lindemans, a Dutch double agent.

Immediately after the loss of the Battle of Arnhem, it was rumored that the plans for Operation Market Garden had been betrayed. What was otherwise the reason the German Field Marshal Walter Model was in Oosterbeek? And why did the Germans have dozens of tanks in Arnhem? Well?

That betrayal would have been committed by Christiaan Lindemans, better known by his nickname King Kong because of his tall stature. Lindemans was a member of the resistance in the Netherlands during the Second World War.

He helped with an escape route to get downed allied pilots to the British again. Lindemans, however, was recruited by the German spy service, the Abwehr.

German Major Hermann Giskes, the chief of counter-espionage in the Netherlands, pressured Lindemans to work for the Germans. Lindemans’ brother had been arrested by the Sicherheitspolizei and the Germans threaten to execute him if Lindemans did not work for them.

Lindemans agreed, on the condition that his brother and his pregnant wife would be released. Lindemans meanwhile remained active within the resistance. In that capacity he was in circles around Prince Bernhard in September 1944.

Lindemans was informed of the plans of Operation Market Garden. According to documents from the British secret service MI5, he was sent to the occupied Netherlands a few days before the start of Operation Market Garden, together with the Belgian resistance fighter Lucien de Ness.

Lindemans and De Ness had been given the task of informing the resistance in the Netherlands about Market Garden. The two were escorted to the front line by the British. There, however, they faced mortar fire. De Ness was hit and died a short time later in a German field hospital.

Lindemans reached the occupied Netherlands. He reported to the German general Kurt Student in Vught, who forwarded him to Driebergen, to the headquarters of the Abwehr. There Lindemans reported that a major Allied operation would begin.

With 300 tanks, the British would push through to Eindhoven, Lindemans reported to the Germans. Arnhem was never mentioned by Lindemans, and the information Lindemans passed on to the Germans was in no way of value to influence the course of the battle.

Completely surprised
It is noteworthy that there are still many people who think that the Germans were fully aware of Operation Market Garden’s allied plans.

After the war, all German parties involved declared that they were completely surprised by the German airborne landings. The German Field Marshal Walter Model and the 9th and 10th Armored Division were located in the vicinity of Arnhem. But that was precisely because no fights were expected in the vicinity of Arnhem.

The German armored divisions had just withdrawn from the front to recover from the fighting and to be equipped again.

Field Marshal Model thought he could safely lead the German troops on the border with Belgium behind three large rivers and more than 100 kilometers from the front. Model had to leave his headquarters in De Tafelberg in Oosterbeek head over heels when the first British paratroopers landed a few miles away.

Model initially thought that the British had landed to capture him, the highest German soldier in the region. That the purpose of the Allied airborne landings was to occupy the bridges in Arnhem had not yet occurred to Model.

And King Kong? In October 1944, a month after Operation Market Garden failed, Christiaan Lindemans was arrested. Lindemans had been betrayed by another Abwehr agent nicknamed ‘Nelis’.

Before his trial, Lindemans committed suicide in 1946 in Scheveningen prison.

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