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 but 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.


(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:


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 Man’s Corner Museum near Sainte-Côme-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 grandfather’s house where the 88 was positioned[.]
The grey wall left is:

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

December 13th, 2022 UPDATE

Identification of German unit of the 88 millimeter canon crews
In the hardcover publication "Autum Gale / Herbststurm", Kampfgruppe Chill, schwere Heeres Panzer-jäger-Abteilung 559 and the German recovery in the autumn of 1944", by Jack Didden and Maarten Swarts, Zwaardvisch Publishers 2013, ISBN 978-90-800393-8-4 (,
on page 202- 203 of subchapter "The Screaming Eagles" we read:

"The 506th was partly successful that first day. Because they knew that time was at a premium Colonel Sink and the CO of his 1st Battalion, Major James L. LaPrade, decided to gather their men in groups of about twenty after landing and sending them on their way. After the 1st Battalion had taken the bridge at Son the rest of the 506th would cross and advance into Eindhoven. In order to surprise the German defences at the bridge LaPrade decided not to use the road, but move through the woods slightly to the west. Once he hit the Wilhelminakanaal he would turn left and take the defenders from the flank. He would never get that far. At Zonhoven he came upon two 8.8 cm Flak guns from 4./schwere Flak-Abteilung 428 which immediately and with deadly accuracy opened fire on his battalion (end note 741). Despite severe casualties the Paratroopers managed to take the position and move on. Meanwhile the 2nd and 3rd Battalions had reached Son via the main road. As they neared the bridge they, too, were fired upon by another 88 from 4./s.Fl.Abt. 428."

End note 741: KTB88 AK, 18.09.44 A 339 lists the locations and strengths of 428. At Son 4./428 it had six 8.8 cm and 3 2cm guns.

This is the original entry in the German 88th Army Corps War Diary about 4./428 on 18SEP1944:

Translation: 4./428 6/8.8 cm, 3/2 cm deployed canal bridge Son, fate unknown

The abbreviated unit designation translates as 4th Battery of the 428th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (German Air Force).

Page 217 of subchapter "The liberation of Eindhoven": The advance slowed down. The first real trouble occurred when the lead Paratroopers passed the first houses of Woensel at about nine a.m. Shells from what were obviously an 88 began to crash down. The Paratroopers spread out and found cover. In the distance they could just make out the Flak gun firing at them. Unknown to the Americans, there was a second gun slightly behind and to the left of the first one. Both were in fact part of Kampfgruppe Köppel.”

In the hardcover publication "Kampfgruppe Walther and Panzerbrigade 107, A thorn in the side of Market Garden", by Jack Didden and Maarten Swarts, Zwaardvisch Publishers 2016, ISBN 978-90-800393-9-1,
on pages 91 and 92 it is repeated that the 88 millimeter guns in Son belonged to 4./schwere Flak-Abteilung 428 and on pages 106 and 107 the authors again write that the 88 millimeter guns in Woensel belonged to Kampfgruppe Köppel.

Hand-drawn map of German artillery dispositions by Dutch resistance
On the website Eindhoven4044 we found a section about the Dutch Partizanen Actie Nederland resistance organization. For this organization see also this agency’s Battle Relic #3 article.
The website has published a handmade diagram of the gun positions in Son made by PAN-members:

(click to enlarge)

Source: on visited on 09DEC2022

We plotted the various guns seen on photos taken in Son and Eindhoven on 17 and 18SEP1944 on the diagram. It should be noted that the previous deployment locations of guns "E" and "F" in Son on Nieuwstraat and at the North canal bank east of the bridge are tentative and based on assumption.
From the PAN resistance organization map, the photos taken on 17 & 18 SEP1944 of the various 88 millimeter Flak guns in Son and Eindhoven, the information from the War Dairy of the German 88th Army Corps and the books "Autum Gale / Herbststurm" and "Kampfgruppe Walther and Panzerbrigade 107", it can be deduced that guns "E" and "F" on Woenselsestraat on 18SEP1944 belonged to 4./schwere Flak-Abteilung 428. The reason for listing their affiliation (also) to Kampfgruppe Köppel is presumably because this was how the Luftwaffe Flak-Brigade XVIII was indicated. It is assumed by this agency that schwere Flak-Abteilung 428 was part of that Brigade/Kampfgruppe.
In terms of "whodunit" detective investigations we are now able to identify who or rather, which German unit, wounded paratrooper Bill Galbraight and did damage to civilian property on Nieuwstraat in Son and on Kloosterdreef in Eindhoven on 17&18SEP1944.

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