THE ALLIED CAPTURE OF HANNOVER - Karel Margry tells us how on April 10, 1945, the US 84th Infantry Division attacked the German city of Hannover. The operation formed part of the last Allied offensive of the war in the West, the mighty sweep from the Rhine to the Elbe. The battle for Hannover is exceptional because it was the only large German city where the Kampfkommandant (Combat Commander), duty bound by Hitler to hold on till the last bullet, decided to act differently. In the early morning of the 10th, as the troops of the ‘Railsplitters’ Division were beginning their advance into the city, he decided that a further stand was hopeless and ordered his troops to stop fighting, giving them a choice between surrendering or making their way out of the city. Thus the Americans were able to clear the city — a prime centre of armaments production — in just 18 hours, an altogether different experience compared to what happened in cities like Aachen, Cologne, Frankfurt, Magdeburg or Leipzig.
Murder at RAF Beccles - During the war, dances were held everywhere, especially forming a regular feature of service life where officers and other ranks could mix freely. At RAF Beccles, two members stationed at the airfield attended two different dances on the same night. Wednesday, November 8, was cold with the threat of snow . . . and was a day that ended in the death of a young WAAF servicewoman and the subsequent execution for the airman who murdered her. The story is described by Detective Chief Superintendent Edward Greeno.
The Fate of the Surviving U-Boats - Derek Waller tells us how the Potsdam Agreement and the decisions of the associated Tripartite Naval Commission (TNC) were critical elements in the story of the disposal and destruction of the Kriegsmarine after the end of the war in Europe, as they formed the basis of the actions that led to the ultimate fate of all the U-Boats that survived the war and surrendered at the end of it.
From the Editor - My Mother's War - Having been your Editor for over 20 years and a collaborator of After the Battle for more than 30, I have sometimes spoken about myself but always been reticent about my family’s personal experiences during the war. Yet, the war years were a defining period, particularly for my mother, Marijke Margry-Roes. A member of the Dutch resistance during the German occupation of the Netherlands, she was arrested together with others of her group in March 1945, and spent the remaining months of the war incarcerated in the Gestapo prison at Scheveningen, known to the Dutch as the ‘Oranjehotel’ (Orange Hotel) due to the large numbers of resistance patriots held there. Even worse, while she was in jail, the four men of her group with whom she had been arrested - among them her 21-year-old fiancé Tom Beiten - were taken away to Rotterdam and, together with 16 others, summarily executed by the Germans as a reprisal measure. The loss of her first love stayed with my mother for the rest of her life. This story is a tribute to her courage and resilience.