Why BTA44? Much has been discussed and written in the past 70 years about the Battle of Arnhem, as part of Operation Market Garden. What struck me personally was the lack of interest in, and analysis of, the German actions in response to the landings and why the German units reacted as they did.
Given my military background I was taught always to look at both sides of an action to understand properly what has happened and to draw conclusions that may allow lessons to be learned. That is why, despite the several battlefield tours that are available around Arnhem, on my tour I want to highlight the situation of the German forces involved, including from an Allied viewpoint. In this way, by focussing on military tactical, operational, and possibly strategic considerations, I hope to give you a good picture and a sound understanding of what happened.
The BTA44 logo. The logo of BTA44 is a stylized representation in colours of the situation in September 1944. Clockwise and starting on the left: the para-red symbolizes the British and Polish parachute units, the green Veluwe in the north, the grey symbolizes the “feldgrau” of the German units and the blue the Rhine in the south. Above this is the road bridge in Arnhem, now known locally as the “John Frost Bridge”.
Who am I? During almost 39 years active service with the Royal Netherlands Army, I taught at various military institutes, including in Tactics at the Army Staff College and Operational Military Science at the Royal Military Academy; the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944 was always a topic of conversation. After my active service, now as a colonel and a veteran, I came to live in Arnhem and developed a keen interest in the Battle of Arnhem.
Since then I have discovered that I also have a personal relationship with the Battle. Samuel Swarts (photo right), a sergeant of the Dutch Domestic Forces, is a distant relative and one of only three Dutch people who have the honour of being buried at the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek. He died at 09.00 am on the morning of September 20, 1944 behind the wheel of a civilian car in front of Hotel Schoonoord. He was on his way to British Medical Dressing Stations at the Hotel Tafelberg with water in steel milk churns for the British wounded. The car was hit by a German mortar grenade. His co-driver was rescued by Colonel Warrick, the Divisional Medical Officer.
BATTLEFIELD TOURS ARNHEM 1944 is not liable for any damage to or loss of property (personal motor vehicles included) during tours organized and carried out by BTA44. In the case of transport hired by BTA44, an accident passenger insurance is always included.