Archive for Netherlands

Despite the fact that it was technically formed in July 1940, the SOE (Special Operations Executive) had been created in 1938 with the merger of 3 existing, key sections just after Germany annexed Austria. Churchill’s Secret Army was told to “Set Europe Ablaze”.

SOE agents were directed to many different Nazi occupied countries to both cause havoc behind German lines and at the same time make an effort to come across local resistance groups they would quite possibly work with as the occasion for invasion was here. Theatres of Operation included France, Belgium, Poland, Germany, Yugoslavia, Greece, Hungary, Albania, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Denmark, Romania, Abyssinia and the Far East.

As agents had to operate deep in Nazi held nations and they were chosen from a range of social class and background. The primary criteria was that the probable operative had exhaustive understanding of the region they would operate in and would pass as a native of that country. That is why, operatives in possession of dual nationality were highly sought-after.

The renowned airplane utilised by the Special Operations Executives in France was the Westland Lysander. It was a small airplane which meant it was so much more tough to see and was strong enough to land on makeshift landing strips. It was used to transport operatives to and from the United Kingdom together with lifting individuals who had to be debriefed in London. Airmen who had been shot down were also at times brought back to the Britain by Lysander.

Amid the Special Operations Executive group were a number of female agents and around 30% of the female agents routed into France from Section F, did not come back. The types of missions in each region were wide ranging. For example, in Poland, there was little need to encourage the local population as there was already general hate of the Germans. This was in contrast to areas such as Vichy France which worked with with the occupying forces and the possibility of SOE agents being betrayed was greatly increased.

For the duration of World War II, the SOE had utilised around 13,000 people who directly backed or provided somewhere in the region of 1 million agents.

The TV mini series Band of Brothers is regarded as one of the recommended war motion pictures ever created. Based upon the book by Stephen Ambrose, the 10 parts follow the history from the soldiers of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Regiment of the American 101st Airborne. Episode one starts off with Easy Companies basic training at Toccoa, Georgia before being transferred to the United Kingdom while they prepare for a part with the D-Day Assault in Northern France.

Each episode gets going by filming original soldiers of Easy. The veterans discuss their war time ordeals that the episode relates to however at this stage, the men are not revealed. While the veterans aren’t identified, the episodes familiarizes you with the people early on and the actors are superbly cast making it uncomplicated to connect with them from the very start.

Even if the action scenes are filmed brilliantly, why Band of Brothers stand out from various different war movies is the fact that it brings forth the individual stories so effectively. As an example, in episode two simply prior to Easy Company are set to leap into Northern France, without doubt one of the soldiers, Bill Guarnere, learns his brother was killed at Montecassino.

The 10 episodes show the stories of Easy Company beginning with their basic training just before heading into battle in Northern France and to the village of Carentan. Episode four sees the introduction of replacement men into Easy and illustrates the difficulty they have being accepted by the Normandy veterans as Easy Company take part in Operation Market Garden.

The following two episodes cover the run up along with the fighting at Bastogne for the duration of the Battle of the Bulge. By now several of Easy Company are at breaking point and this is actually the topic of episode 7. While the war in Europe nears the conclusion, there is a final patrol for Easy Company. The horrors of war are brought to the forefront the moment the men locate a concentration camp. The final episode sees Easy Company head into Austria where they capture the Eagle’s Nest high in the mountains at Berchtesgaden.

The series finishes with interviews with the men of Easy Company and eventually identifies the men that audiences have learned to know throughout the 10 episodes of Band of Brothers.


Introductin to the City of Arnhem

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The Dutch city of Arnhem lies in in Eastern Holland on the banks of the river Nederrijn while the mighty river Rhine is a little further south. Arnhem was first referred to in the late 9th century nonetheless there is an abundance of evidence to suggest human settlements were in the region roughly 70,000 years ago.

The city itself was founded in the 13th century and until it became part of the Seven United Provinces of the Netherlands in 1585, it had already been the scene of a number of power struggles. The French were next to have aspirations of Arnhem and it wasn’t right until the mid 19th century that calmness came to Arnhem. The city and surrounding region was known as a idyllic region of Holland.

In the course of World War II, Arnhem was the stage of a legendary showdown as the advancing Allies tried to get a breakthrough into Germany. In June 1944, Allied Forces had came ashore on the beaches in Northern France and were heading in the direction of their ultimate aim of Berlin. Arnhem and the immediate vicinity had a number of significant bridges traversing the Rhine which if captured undamaged, would enable the Allies a path into Germany.

Operation Market Garden was an airbourne attack in September 1944, to capture the bridges but the mission was unsuccessful. The city was finally liberated by Canadian soldiers in April 1945.

Nowadays, Arnhem is a major railway centre with trains operating to places as far away as Moscow. The Burgers Zoo is one of the most popular in Holland and there the National Heritage Museum is located on the outskirts of the town.

The Gelredome is the home of Vitesse Arnhem and was the 1st football stadium to feature a slide out pitch. This grants more air and natural light to get to the grass.

For the visitor, lodgings in Arnhem isn’t usually a burden with everything from camp sites to deluxe hotels being offered. There are an abundance of dining establishments and going out to restaurants is fairly typical for locals as well as tourists.

Categories : Arnhem, Europe, Netherlands
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