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A Walk In The Park: The Battle For Hunner Park

Market Garden (FW112) Bridge By Bridge (FW113)

A Walk In The Park:
The Battle For Hunner Park
with Mike Haught

Everyone, Axis and Allied, knew the importance of Nijmegen. It is placed between Arnhem and Eindhoven and it had the only major crossing point over the Waal River. A fight there was inevitable as both sides crammed as much as they could into the city to control its two vital bridges.

Learn more about Market Garden here and Bridge By Bridge here...

Operation Market Garden relied swiftly capturing several vital crossings over rivers and canals from the Belgian border to Arnhem. Four major waterways cut across the Allied route of advance and so capturing these crossings was critical to the success of the mission. The Allies deployed their paratroopers against them to grab them as quickly as possible, however the two most formidable of these, the Rhine, south of Arnhem, and the Waal River, north of Nijmegen, proved to be quite challenging.

Nijmegen and its bridges were the responsibility of the US 82nd Airborne Division. General James Gavin, the division’s commander, decided to focus first on securing his flanks before making a move on the city’s bridges. Gavin had no way of knowing that Nijmegen was only thinly held by a few small units that his paratroopers could have easily swept aside, but this controversial decision bought the Germans time to rush elements of the 10. SS-Panzerdivision (10th SS-Armoured Division) to man the defences of the bridges.

A Walk In The Park: The Battle For Hunner Park
The first to arrive were SS-Untersturmführer (SS-Lieutenant) Werner Baumgaertel’s company from the 10. SS-Panzerpionier Abteilung (10th SS-Armoured Pioneer Battalion). The engineers set to work preparing
the defences and making sure that the Nijmegen bridges were rigged for demolition.

Next came SS-Kampfgruppe Euling, fresh from Arnhem after having skirmished with Lieutenant Colonel John Frost’s British paratroopers of the 2nd Parachute Battalion. Euling deployed his battalion from the 22. SS-Panzergrenadierregiment (22nd SS-Armoured Infantry Regiment) as a Sperrverband (blocking force) in the positions prepared by Baumgaertel’s pioneers. He also took four Jagdpanzer IV tank-hunters under command and dug them into pits, incorporating them into his defences.

The main road span over the Waal River at Nijmegen was protected by Euling’s men. Engineers, infantry, anti-tank guns, self-propelled anti-tank, and the infamous ‘88’s were well entrenched in Hunner Park just south of the Nijmegen road bridge. One of these heavy antiaircraft guns was placed in the Keizer Karelplein traffic circle for an all-round field of fire.

A Walk In The Park: The Battle For Hunner Park
The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne had attempted to force Euling’s positions, but were driven back. The paratroopers pulled back and waited for 30 Corps’ tanks to arrive.

The job of taking the bridge fell to the infantry of the King’s and No. 4 Companies of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, supported by tanks of No. 1 Squadron of the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. As the Grenadier Sherman tanks poured into the area, the 8.8cm FlaK36 gun emplaced in the traffic circle engaged and destroyed several British tanks before finally being knocked out.

The Grenadiers and US paratroopers pushed through Euling’s outer defences, but the SS troops just fell back and continued the fight closer tot he bridge. Only after several hard-fought hours did the Allies finally breach Euling’s final perimeter and forced themselves across the bridge.

The Grenadier Guards lost 130 men during Market Garden with most of those in this battle, but by the end of the battle, No. 4 Company (who called themselves the ‘SOB’—‘Shit or Bust’ Company) of the Fighting First had opened the way for Sergeant Robinson of No. 1 Squadron to cross the bridge before the Jerries could blow it.

Euling’s men never gave up and even managed to escape capture during the middle of the night, reaching safetly of the opposite bank of the Waal. For his actions at Nijmegen, Euling was awarded the Knight’s Cross.


~ Mike.
Download a PDF version of the Hunner Park Scenario here (2.3MB)...
A Walk In The Park: The Battle For Hunner Park


Last Updated On Wednesday, May 08, 2013 by Blake at Battlefront