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Part II: Overschie


Overschie was still occupied by a force of almost 1,000 German airlanding troops. Modest and ill organised Dutch attacks on this German stronghold had all been rejected, some easier than others. The one promising and well organised action had been intervened by the top brass on the verge of the all out attack. The troops had been recalled to Delft in order to form the newly organised defence line between The Hague - Leiden and Amsterdam.

But late on the 13th the GHQ had instructed the commander Fortress Holland that the German pocket at Overschie had to be dealt with, even if it would take a large force.

The major Dutch assault at Overschie

In the early morning of the 14th, Lieutenant-General Van Andel - commander of the Fortress Holland - ordered a full scale attack on Overschie. 

The assault-plan that was designed would be executed by no less than three battalions. One battalion would advance along the old main road to Rotterdam [along the river Schie]. A second battalion was ordered to follow the new motorway and a third battalion would come from the north-east. The battalions were accompanied by a number of anti-tank guns, infantry guns and some sections heavy machineguns. Also two armoured cars [M-39 DAF] would be assigned to support the troops. Ten pieces of 7,5 cm artillery were divided over the troops for direct heavy support. All together a considerable force of about 2,250 men and as such clearly the most significant attempt to take out the Germans in Overschie. Lieutenant-Colonel Scherpenhuijzen - commander of the Dutch Regiment Jagers ["Jagers" can be translated as "riflemen"] was assigned with the general command over the operation.

At 0900 hours the operation was finally launched. Slowly the battalions went forward. The men had to cover themselves time and again for Luftwaffe planes that kept on roaming through the skies overhead. Also, many obstacles were in their way. Many German transporters had crashed or made emergency landings along the roads and fields. They had to be inspected for hidden Germans [of which indeed a number were found and taken prisoner]. It was already after 1200 hours before the battalions reached the vicinity of Overschie.

Next the battalion-commanders had to establish each other's position [no radios were available]. When the three battalions proceeded hereafter, they witnessed the dramatic bombardment of Rotterdam. The show of force by the Luftwaffe paralysed the troops. Although all these units had been engaged in battle before and many had shown their determination and courage [at Ockenburg and Ypenburg], they were shocked to witness the devastating bombardment of Rotterdam. The battalion commanders were however capable enough to remobilise the troops. The battalion that came from the north-east were themselves treated on some Luftwaffe bombs, but soon proceeded as if nothing had happened. A little later they reached the outskirts of Overschie and the Germans opened fire.

The battle then really unfolded. The first major action developed around a mill and factory at the northern part of Overschie. The Dutch received some assistance from a civilian who could reproduce the exact German positions. Mortars, heavy machineguns and an armoured car were deployed. The mill was then sprayed with lead. A direct hit caused 17 Germans to be hit [in fact all got wounded, of which 6 only suffered minor wounds]. Next the Dutch charged the terrain of the mill and the factory, covered by mortar and machinegun fire. Unfortunately a direct hit in the mill by one of their own armoured cars killed two Dutch soldiers and shocked the rest of the squad. Still, the terrain was captured. The remaining Germans had retreated to the village centre.

The battalion at the main road had been pinned down by German MG fire - including the fire that had come from the mill. Two infantry guns, some field guns and two armoured cars supported this battalion. They took aim at everything that moved and blew up German barricades. The Lieutenant-Colonel, who monitored the fight in front, was early in the battle hit by a bullet in the neck and when he was replaced by a Major the latter was wounded in no time by a German bullet in the head too. Then a Captain took charge of the battalion. The assault went on and gradually the Dutch gained ground.

In the meantime the other two battalions were also able to gain some terrain and the Dutch claw around the village was about to close when the message of the capitulation reached the men. If it wouldn't have been for the capitulation the Germans would have had a very hard time resisting the powerful Dutch assault. The battle at Overschie had ended indefinetly.


The Dutch had paid a high price for letting take the Germans such a firm stand in Overschie over the first three days of the war. No less than 45 men had been killed trying to retake Overschie between the 11th and the 14th.

On the 11th 2 KIA, the 12th 15 KIA including a Major, on the 13th 8 KIA and the last all out attack had cost the most with 20 KIA. The German records show only 7 KIA in Overschie, but most likely quite a number of casualties were listed under Ypenburg and Delft.