The Waal Crossing is the name of the operation involving the crossing of the Waal river by troops of the US 82nd Airborne Division on 20 September 1944 near Nijmegen, west of Lent. The main objective of the crossing was to capture the road bridge as well as the rail bridge north of the city of Nijmegen as part of Operation Market Garden.
Tanks of British XXX Corps crossing the road bridge.
At 15:00 on 20 September 1944, parachutists of 3rd Battalion, 504 Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) of the US 82nd Airborne Division crossed the river in boats made of canvas, led by Major Julian Cooke. 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 376th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion , 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, all units of the US 82nd Airborne Division, as well as the tanks of the Irish Guards of the British Guards Armoured Division, supported 504 PIR as it made the crossing. During the first crossing, more than half of the 260 troops involved were either wounded or killed. A total of 48 Allied soldiers lost their lives, but eventually the bridges were captured and the objective achieved. By midnight, both bridges had been taken and British XXX Corps was able to cross the river to establish a bridgehead