Alblasserdam - German bombers bombed positions around the Bridge over the North and the nearby town of Alblasserdam this morning and this afternoon. Dozens of people died and nearly two hundred houses were destroyed in the bombing. The German army initially knew nothing about the existence of the Bridge over the North

Alblasserdam was bombarded up to four times: if 10:00 uur, 12:40 uur, 14:00 en 14:10 uur. Several fires are raging in the village. The devastation is enormous.

Light division

The target of the German bombardment was a Dutch light division on the east side of the bridge, who is trying to steam up to Rotterdam. Both the Dutch and the German army command were unaware that the bridge was already in use. The bridge was therefore not drawn in the staff maps of both armies.

Yesterday, on the day of the start of the German invasion, several German paratroopers landed on the island of IJsselmonde. They were commissioned to help occupy the bridges at Dordrecht and Rotterdam. To their great surprise, they saw the new bridge connection across the North to Alblasserdam at Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht.

Staff map area Alblasserdam (without a bridge over the North) forget that. 1937

Impasse

When the first German scouts reached the bridge reported, it was decided to bridge (the bridge watchman's house was on Alblasserdamse side) to raise the bridge deck.

The first Dutch ones appeared in the course of the evening soldiers of the Light Division on bicycles in Alblasserdam. They had like order to support troops at the Waalhaven in Rotterdam.

Several Dutch attempts to cross the river by ship with troops failed. Attempts were also made to lower the bridge deck, in order to cross the water, but it also failed, because of heavy German machine gun fire.

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First Bombs

The Germans respond with a bombshell. The first bombs fell just east of the bridge. In addition, the cars of the Light Division destroyed.

Three hours later, the dive bombers noticed the bombs the village center of Alblasserdam. They fell on the Dam and surroundings. Moments later incendiary bombs also fell on the village. Fire broke out in dozens of homes.

Several fires broke out in the center. Alblasserdammers, who had sought refuge in a bomb shelter, died just there.

Ravage on the Polderstraat in Alblasserdam after the bombardment

The planes returned two more times, but aimed then again mainly on the military pose at the bridge. Still, too possible strategic locations in the village under attack. Not with bombs this time, but with machine gun fire.

A stream of refugees has meanwhile arrived from Alblasserdam has started. Most residents have sought refuge in the open polder landscape.

The Dutch troops have, despite the brutal violence of the Germans, the ramp of the Bridge over the North still in hands.


Hoe ging het verder?

The troops of the Light Division were not much later removed from the bridge and taken to Dordrecht, wherever the situation may be was very dire.

Alblasserdam, later on the day, officially vacated. The same applied to Kinderdijk. It caused many evacuees in the polder ended up. Not only from Alblasserdam, but also from the east of it River land. People from the Betuwe, Wageningen and Rhenen left for the West, for the fighting between the Germans and the Dutch.

The death toll from the bombing of Alblasserdam is officially on 28. There went 180 homes and shops on fire.

One of the Dutch soldiers who died in the fighting to the bridge, Johann Jonges, later received the Bronze Lion posthumously. That is the second except one highest military award.

He had been on the bridge from a barely sheltered position the Germans under attack with his machine gun, so his comrades in arms could take cover. Boys did not survive this brave act. He is lying now buried in the field of honor at the Grebbeberg.

A few days later, another place in the Alblasserwaard was bombarded with bombs: Bleskensgraaf.

Bombing Bleskensgraaf. Foto: Regional Archives Dordrecht. Picture Collection Graafstroom

read more: Decision Dutch army will be placed Bleskensgraaf expensive

Alblasserdam now has several monuments that remember to the bombing of 11 mei 1940.

Sources:

Zuidfront Holland 1940 – Alblasserwaard 1st phase

Alblasserdamnet – Bridge yielded 11 mei 1940 war to Alblasserdam