After the German armoured penetration into the south of Rotterdam, the Dutch troops that had remained unharmed on the German flanks, formed a new front. The remainders of the Light Division found itself back in the Alblasserwaard to form the Merwede-front. The western extremity was given shape by the forces around Alblasserdam. The other units of the Division took positions along the Merwede river from Alblasserdam to Sliedrecht. In Sliedrecht the railway bridge to the Island of Dordrecht was blown up at 1100 hours.
With the troops deployed as such a continued front was formed with the 3rd Corps [that had been evacuated from Brabant on 10 and 11 May] to the east. The 3rd Corps had to reorganise its troops due to the evacuation of the Grebbeline. They now had to form the link between the Waterline [southern extremity] and the Merwede-front, which they did.
Lieutenant-Colonel Mussert assassinated
During this re-deployment along the Merwede-front, a bizarre incident took place. Earlier we addressed the awkward behaviour of the garrison commander of the city of Dordrecht, Lieutenant-Colonel Mussert. After he had left Dordrecht with the last standing Dutch forces there, he had set-up a CP in Sliedrecht. Many Dutch officers had been over-frustrated about the developments as they unfolded during the battle of Dordrecht. Mussert's name was constantly connected with treason and the defeat of the Light Division in Dordrecht.
In the morning of the 14th a Lieutenant was sent on patrol in order to verify reports about crossing boats [on the Merwede] with German infantry onboard. During his patrol the Lieutenant accidentally ran into Mussert. The Lieutenant was shocked to meet the traitor of Dordrecht in person. Soon after his meeting with the Lieutenant-Colonel he reported to his superior - a Captain who was the responsible sector commander - that the traitor of Dordrecht was currently in his sector. He suggested arresting him. Both men - in the meantime accompanied by an ordinary police officer - went to the CP of Mussert.
The latter was just having a meeting with his officers, as the three men entered the room. The Captain held a pistol in his hand and ordered the Lieutenant-Colonel to put up his hands and follow him into custody. Mussert refused, stood firm and replied that no Captain could arrest him. The Captain felt intimidated and hesitated. Then the Lieutenant stepped forward and summoned Mussert to obey. Mussert apparently lowered his hands [according to the Lieutenant to grab his pistol], but before he could even grab a weapon, the Lieutenant had fired four shots at him. The Lieutenant-Colonel fell, mortally wounded. Mussert would die at 2230 hours that same day, in a hospital nearby. The Lieutenant would later claim that he had acted in defence. An unbelievable claim, because firing four rounds at gun point range could hardly be addressed as 'self defence'. The event had all clear characteristics of plain assassination.
It has never been proven that Mussert had betrayed his men or the Dutch cause in general. In fact any clue that would lead to such a conclusion is missing. Even on the 14th the Lieutenant-Colonel had instructed some engineers to flood large portions of land, sothat the Germans would find a spoilt area once they would occupy it. A clear show of just patriotism, not of betrayel.
The discussion about this very unfortunate matter continues up until this very day. It is a fact that Mussert was all but a good officer. He did not posses what it takes to be a good officer and a fine leader. He also lacked the training as a field-officer, being a technical specialist, and possessed no natural military qualities. But the Dutch had plenty of officers matching that poor military profile. It seems that the man became more of a victim of his harsh character and his contaminated family-name [one will remember that his brother was the leader of the Dutch fascist movement] than anything else.
The Lieutenant-assassinator would however not have heard the last of it. Quite soon after the capitulation the Germans prosecuted both officers involved. The Lieutenant was enprisoned for the duration of the war. Nevertheless he was rehabilitated by the Dutch army after the liberation, and promoted Captain. His case was not reopened, but when he was hired in the personal staff of HRH Prince Bernhard, he felt rehabilitated nevertheless. He would later make a carreer as senior civilian staff member at the Ministry of Defence. An odd matter. The Netherlands after the war were not ready - not prepared - to look into the case of the assassinated Mussert, who's brother being the fascist leader of the country, had put the burden of treason on the entire family, thus preventing a fair judgement over Lieutenant-Colonel Mussert. A sad personal tragedy ...
Last skirmishes on the Southfront
With the new Merwede-front in place, only some skirmishes north of Dordrecht would be noted along this streched frontline during the last day of the war in Holland. The Dutch on the north bank of the river exchanged some volleys with the Germans [254.ID] on the south bank. A very modest German attempt to man some ships was immediately countered by Dutch mortar fire. Those were the last shots fired at this front.
To the west of the German penetration the Dutch had moved back to a position west of the Spui. No enemy would be spotted anymore and the troops would enjoy the lull in the fighting after they had been engaged in battle and air raids during four consecutive days before.