Case File # 2             

Case Title: Battle of Kloosterdreef

Subject: Capture of two German 88mm canons by "F" Co/506th

Date: September 18th, 1944

Location: Eindhoven, Holland

Introduction: The capture of two German 88 millimeter canons on the Eindhoven streets named Klooster Dreef and Woenselsche Straat has been well documented in the history books as well as in the 101st Airborne Division's After Action Reports. The location of this battle, decisive for the liberation of the Southern Dutch city has changed beyond recognition over the years. Battle detectives reconstructed the battlefield.
 

(click on the images to enlarge)

  Eindhoven, September 18th 1944

Paratoopers of 2nd Bn have taken an alternative route South and are now circling North towards the two 88mm guns that hold op the main advance. At the corner of Kloosterdreef they pause to regroup.

 

  Eindhoven, September 18th 1944

At the same corner they gather some POW's and wait until a substantial force is ready to move North towards the guns.

 

  Eindhoven, winter of 1943-1944

A civilian photographer took this picture of what the German crew of the Southern most 88 mm wouls see a few months later when they looked East on Klooster Dreef.

 

  Eindhoven, September 18th 1944

The Northernmost 88 mm gun. The German crew blew the breech when faced with paratroopers from both sides. The "X" on the street in the "Now"-picture seems to mark the spot where the gun stood.

 

  Eindhoven, September 18th 1944

A wounded German Luftwaffe gun crew member lies wounded on the curb after the Battle of Kloosterdreef is over.

  Eindhoven, September 18th, 1944

After "F"-Co./506th took out the two 88mm guns that slowed down the Regiment's advance into Eindhoven, citizens take a look at the gun on Kloosterdreef.

 

  Eindhoven, September 18th 1944

After the link-up between the U.S. paratroopers and the British Guards Armoured Division, a scout car stops on Woenselsestraat, just North of the captured 88mm guns.

Woensel, the North-Eindhoven suburb, has changed drastically since 1944 as the above comparison of

a period and a contemporary aerial photograph shows.

 

This is a comparison of the block where the battle took place in detail:

 

(roll mouse over image to see the changes)


Nevertheless, by analyzing After Action Reports, photographs and maps

from archives and interviews with eyewitnesses, Battledetective was able to reconstruct the scene of

 the Battle of Kloosterdreef. This just a preview as the complete Case File # 2 is being drawn up at this time.

 

(Click on the image to enlarge)

Reconstruction of the block as it was in September 1944

As the above aerial photographs prove, many houses on Klooster Dreef and Woenselse Straat were

demolished after the war, to create the wide Europa Laan and Dr. Berlage Laan.

We have, however, obtained archived photographs of all the destroyed houses. Also we took photo-

graphs of the houses that are still there. We have categorized the photographs by street name and

residency number.

Roll mouse over the thumbnails for descriptions of the images.

 

(Click on the images to enlarge)

   

August, 2008 Update:

NEW PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE!

Until now, we have always assumed that the Southern-most 88 millimeter gun 'only' damaged the Wilberts'
butcher shop. Recently, we received a copy of a picture of the residences on Klooster Dreefnumbers 2 A & B
from Petra Wenstedt-Pulles. The gables of these houses have been damaged by at least two rounds fired by
the 88 aiming at SGT Taylor's squad. Below is the photograph. The house on the right is Klooster Dreef 2A.
The Karel Family lived there. Fortunately, the Karels's were not in the house when it was damaged.
Next door was number 2B of the Van den Heuvel Family. It is unknown to us, if they were inside their home
when it was hit.
This image sheds new light on the intensity of the Battle of Klooster Dreef.

                                                          (Click on the image for a high resolution version)
 

March, 2009 Update:

Original Klooster Dreef bricks surface from underneath asphalt street top!

The City of Eindhoven has hired road construction contractors to add a new asphalt top on several of its streets. Also the tops of Klooster Dreef and its stretch which today is named Europa Laan, needed a new layer of black tarmac.

After the old cracked top was removed, the original brick road which once was Klooster Dreef saw daylight again. A piece of fine urban archeology from a team of orange clad construction workers.

With our camera-phone we took this snapshot on March 17th, right after workmen left the last stretch of unearthed brick road exposed (note sun setting low):

It shows the original brick road so characteristic for Klooster Dreef during the battle described in this Case File. At the base of the tall building in the upper right corner of the photograph was the position of the Southern 88. The butcher shop behind which SGT Taylor took cover was near the bicycle at right. The damaged house in our August, 2008 Update is right behind the white van at top left.

The next day we returned with a better camera only to find the original bricks buried again:

    

This is the same corner in a Now&Then comparison:

(click on the image for a larger picture)

With the new asphalt top in place, not a single clue is left that this was the same bend in Klooster Dreef

When we arrived on Klooster Dreef, the construction men where just finishing the new black top near the old Dr. Goyart's house:
     

We did find some chips of the old brick road next to the brand new, steaming hot road:

        

(click on the thumbnails for a larger picture)

Our battledetectives did, however, talk to Mr. J. Hermans, one of the foremen of the construction company and explained our interest in this stretch of Europa Laan. Hermans turned out to have an interest in old road construction techniques. He had taken several photographs of the old brick pavement in Europa Laan and Kloosterdreef in the previous days. E-mail addresses were exchanged and several days later we received a complete pictorial report of the road deck reconstruction project. This is a selection:

(click on the thumbnails for larger pictures)

    

June 4th, 2009 Update:

Battledetectives pose with an 88 millimeter canon

On the grounds of the Dead Manís Corner Museum near Sainte-CŰme-du-Mont in Normandy we found this 88 millimeter canon:


Battle detective Tom poses next to the aiming devices of the canon

It is a Spanish made artillery piece produced in 1948:      
                
 

Nevertheless it is an almost exact replica of the 88 millimeter dual purpose (both anti-aircraft and anti-tank) canons that "F"-Co/506th put out of action as described in this Case File. It gives a good impression of the size of the guns.


Battle detectives Ivo and Tom 'man' the 88

June 12th, 2009 Update
Through our contact form we received some comments on the photographs used in this Case File. Dutchman Hans van Melis explained that a photograph - of which we captioned it as being taken into Wezel Straat - is in fact 'shot' into Kroenehoef Straat. Hans wrote:
"Wonderful page and foto's ONE error:" and included this comprehensive diagram:

In a subsequent e-mail Hans also explained this about "The lone paratrooper":

[He] Walks from east to west on the Kloosterdreef see:


(section of the aerial photograph with house numbers)

De Kuster [Family] lived on Kloosterdreef 16. The house on the right is Kloosterdreef 9.
Some of the pictures on the site are from the 
'ouwwoensel' website, taken by Eugene de Vries.


In the back [is] his grandfatherís house where the 88 was positioned[.]
The grey wall left is:

We thank Mr. van Melis for sharing this much appreciated knowledge.

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