WWII Netherlands Escape Lines

Discussion in 'Others' started by canuck, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    2 Resistance members died for for every downed Allied airman who evaded and returned to England.

    Ever since discovering that Dutch statistic I've been educating myself on this under appreciated aspect of the war. Without a uniform and left to organized themselves, these civilians accomplished many great deeds.

    This site contains many links to other resources and is a treasure trove of information on the subject.


    Belgian Crash sites
    crash sites.jpg
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  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    There are a number of other factors to mention. First of all - the "Englandspiel", Giske's penetration of the two largest SOE-networked resistance groups. For at leas two years, and the best part of another Giskes was effectively running the larger part of "Dutch" resistance, resulting in the betrayal of hundreds of Dutch resisters and the delivery of hundreds of tons of British arms and stores right into German hands!

    The flipside of this was....there were ALSO four very important Dutch resistance groups that had,,,,and remained...NOTHING to do with SOE, and were run by the Dutch government-in-exile. Two large "royalist" ones, and two smaller ones. These were very hard for the Germans to penetrate...as difficult/easy as any WWII resistance organisation...but remained independent of London control, had their own direct links to the Dutch government by radio and by re-joining the Holland-England telephone line that the Germans had broken in 1940! These were the Dutch resisters who before during MARKET GARDEN ...after London became painfully aware of the "Englandspiel"....provided a large amount of reliable intelligence to the Allies, which was ignored on orders from Whitehall who had never trusted the "Dutch"-controlled networks, and continued to do so while they wasted time rebuilding their OWN long-compromised networks!

    And finally - Dutch "resistance" ALSO has to count the HUGE effort made by loyal Dutch in all walks of life to hide up to 250,000 drafted workers and their families who went underground, the Onderduikers, and remained hidden until Liberation! The size of this effort should never be underestimated compared to "normal" Resistance activites....as it meant providing identity and movement papers for 250,000 people, ration books etc. for loyal Dutch to provide FOOD for a quarter of a million hidden people...and of course the thousands of Dutch families who helped by hiding them.
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  3. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Additionally, many Canadian battle accounts have commented on the immense help received from the Dutch underground throughout the campaign to liberate the Netherlands. Primarily, they served as a source of current intelligence on German positions and acted as guides for Canadian troops. In some cases, as in the assault on Groningen, the Dutch Resistance actively participated in the battle along with the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. That was a difficult difficult urban assault on German, Belgian and Dutch SS troops holed up in the medieval fortress city.
    In many Dutch towns and specifically in Apeldoorn, resistance fighters prevented unnecessary shelling and casualties by crossing battle lines to inform Canadian troops of sudden German withdrawals.

    This same assistance was obviously also provided to British, Polish and American units.

    dutch.jpg dutch1.jpg dutch2.png dutch3.jpg dutch4.jpg dutch5.gif
  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Canuck - don't automatically assume the British readily accepted the assistance provided! During MARKET GARDEN they had been advised to ignore any offers of assistance....

    On the other hand, the Canadians' and Americans' attitudes to the Dutch Resistance wasn't coloured by any previous experiences...even formative experiences created by repeated failures in SOE's own security procedures!
  5. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    This Regt had a Dutch IO on RHQ staff for the whole Long Left Flank Campaign including Groningen.
    Although at this time they were part of the 2nd Can AGRA.

  6. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    "The surprising efficiency of the Dutch "underground" which flourished in the Netherlands despite Nazi attempts to root it out, is illustrated by the following narrative of Lieutenant Colonel Kelleher, of the 415th Infantry, concerning the discovery of secret documents of incalculable importance to the First Canadian Army:
    On October 27, 1944 1 entered the town of Achtenwaal (Achtmaal) with the advance guard of the 3d Battalion of the 415th Infantry (Regiment). At first the town seemed deserted. At the main intersection a uniformed man came out to meet us. He identified himself as a Dutch police officer and asked for the senior allied commander. When I made myself known he asked me for identification and then showed me his identification which was operator (No. -) of the Dutch underground. He then brought me into a house. In the living room on the ground floor he shoved back a stove which hung on a hinge. Where the stove had been was a concrete slab. This he removed and brought out a large neatly wrapped bundle of papers which had been given to him by Dutch underground operator with orders to turn them over to the first Allied officer he met. I immediately sent these back to the Division.
    The "papers" upon inspection proved to be two bulky volumes of maps, overlays, and logistical data, which detailed town by town, the entire defense system of the Nazis in Holland. This priceless find was rushed by G-2 to First Canadian Army Headquarters on the outskirts of Antwerp, where the data saved many lives and insured the success of the final British drive through the Netherlands seven months later."

  7. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    "Readily" is a subjective term.
    There are numerous references to the British 49th (West Riding) Division also having active liaison with various Dutch resistance units. They were attached to the 1st Canadian Army at the time. I've seen no references as to that assistance being willingly or reluctantly accepted.
    Many Dutch resistance units served through the campaign were organized into light infantry battalions. In the battle for Flushing the Dutch resistance actively participated in the battle along with 4th Commando and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

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