The battles of the Mark-Dintel Line
click on map to enlarge advance to Moerdijk
click on map to enlarge Mark-Dintel Line
The German troups, dislodged from Breda, retired to the North behind the Mark-Dintel line, a line of defence, consisting of the river Mark, the river Dintel, the Markcanal and the Wilhelminacanal.
A line of waterways which was easy to defend. On October 30 already the Reconnaissance Regiment of the 1st Polish Armoured Division (10. P.S.K.) went out to look for a place where they could break this waterline.
The first attempt to cross the river Mark was undertaken near Beek, north of Breda. Because of the strong wind and the tidal difference it proved impossible to build a Baileybridge. Afterwards they tried to cross the river with rafts, but the German artillery succeeded in torpeding all these rafts, because their observers from churchspires led the firing. The crossing became a disaster and on the 1st of November they decided to cansel the operation.
Neither the American nor English troups saw a chance to cross the river Mark in more western direction.
On November 3 the Poles undertook a new attempt. They tried to cross the Markcanal in 2 places more in eastern direction, between Oosterhout and Terheijden. After a day of heavy fights with many casualties a Baileybridge had been built at the end of the day. More than 30 Poles, 3 Englishmen and a Norwegian airman lost their lives. The march to the North could begin.
Success bridge ready for use 3 november 1944
On the 4th of November the villages of Terheyden and Made were liberated, followed by Geertruidenberg, Zevenbergschenhoek and Hooge en Lage Zwaluwe on November the 5th.
On retiring the Germans offered resistance, but near Moerdijk the Poles met a wall of concrete pill-boxes, protected by the enemy with anti-tankartillery.
Hitler had personally given orders to the German soldiers there, to defend the bridgehead of Moerdijk up to the last man.
Not before November 8 they gained their objective: the Poles stood at the Hollands Diep, in which the river Maas emptied itself.
The 1st Polish Armoured Division had to guard and to defend this line till Good Friday 1945. See [Winter on the Maas]
In the Dutch language:
"3 NOVEMBER 1944" author Jos van Alphen, the battle of the Markcanal.
"De bevrijding van Hooge en Lage Zwaluwe" Author: Dr. J. Buitkanp
"Moerdijk van bezetting tot bevrijding" Author: Jan Buitkamp.
In K. Jamar's book (in the English language), titled "With the tanks of the 1st Polish Armoured Division" you'll find a report about this battles.
This book was in 1946 published by H.L. Smit & Zn. at Hengelo, the Netherlands.