Source: U.S. Army Atlas of the European Theatre in World War II
Our Expertise: the Rhine Campaign
Between September 1944 and March 1945 the Allies fought Nazi Germany for approximately 200 days at numerous locations west of the river Rhine. Battlefield Discovery specialises in this fascinating period of World War Two history.
Why? This period in time was the longest period of continuous fighting in North West Europe to obtain one specific goal: a bridgehead over the river Rhine. By September 1944 the Allies were confident they had beaten the German army. Hot on the heels of a retreating and depleted enemy the Allies followed them through France and Belgium. During this period everybody was optimistic that Nazi Germany had been defeated and the war was practically over.
However, early in September, the Allied advance ground to a halt whilst German opposition was increasing. Thus the Rhine crossing became unobtainable and any hopes of ending the war before Christmas were rapidly diminishing. After 200 days of intensive fighting the Allies would eventually cross the Rhine in strength. During those 200 days some of WW2’s largest and well-known battles were fought as well as countless smaller actions. Soldiers and civilians lived in both hope and fear and shared hardships. Numerous lives on both sides were claimed and various personal documents recount this long and bloody struggle.
There is always something new to discover
You can always learn something new and understand more about these events which shaped our lives so dramatically. What really happened? Where exactly was that? What did this location look like back then? What we the experiences of those directly involved? By critically researching official histories, personal stories, source materials, contemporary maps and pictures, and visiting these locations we learn something new each time.
Owner / Military historian / Guide
Edwin founded Battlefield Discovery in 2012 and has run the company since then. His interests are not only in military strategy and operations, but specifically in connections between events in 1944/45 and in the experience of war. Active in various areas of military history, Edwin is an all-round military historian and entrepreneur who is fluent in Dutch and English and is also proficient in German.
Edwin holds a Master degree in Military History from the University of Birmingham, UK. He is an accredited member of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides (badge nr. 93), a member of the Liberation Route Europe Guide Network, and a guide member of Airborne Region.
He has a broad experience in guiding and organising tours ranging from a few hours to multiple days. Edwin guides for private individuals, small groups and coach groups. He has experience guiding for people with a generic interest in WW2, veterans and families, school groups and military groups – battlefield studies and staff rides – both domestic and abroad. His services are hired by several tour operators. The most renowned one being the National World War Two Museum for whom he regularly guides on several of their tours, including their highly popular Easy Company: England to the Eagle’s Nest tour from The Netherlands to Austria.
Besides guiding, Edwin is also active as a historical consultant. In this capacity he has worked with tourist organisations, local governments, and media companies, providing them with historical content on projects or helping set up guide networks. He regularly delivers presentations or lectures. He made appearances in documentaries on Dutch television and on several WW2 related YouTube Channels such as WW2TV and Joel Stoppels Battlefield Tours, and has worked for international production companies on WW2 documentaries for Netflix, Yesterday Channel and Smithsonian Channel.
A discovery back in time!
A keen interest in history from an early age led Edwin to read numerous books and visit the locations surrounding the events that happened in 1944 to 1945 in North West Europe. As a result of this, from around 2003 he has been increasingly asked to accompany groups to these locations. This eventually led to the foundation of Battlefield Discovery in 2012. Many people with an interest in World War Two have used Battlefield Discovery to visit these locations, hear about the events and stories that unfolded during this time: Battlefield Discovery tours are not just a sight-seeing tour but a discovery back in time!
Military historian / Guide
Jo is an exceptional battlefield guide from Britain with broad experience in leading tours to both WW2 and WW1 battlefields. Working as an Independent Battlefield Guide, Jo is a frequently asked guide by many leading battlefield tour operators to accompany their guests to the battlefields and share her wide range of historical knowledge.
The daughter of a Second World War Soldier, Jo first became interested in military history when listening to her father talk of his wartime experiences in North Africa. In adult life, Jo worked for the MOD in Hong Kong. On her return to the UK, she enlisted in the Territorial Army as a Royal Signals soldier. It was at this stage that Jo first got involved in the planning and management of a series of Battlefield Studies for her unit. A move to Germany allowed her to study Operation Market Garden and to build up crucial experience as a guide, working for a Battlefield Tour Operator. Enthused by guiding, Jo joined the International Guild of Battlefield Guides in 2004. She gained accreditation status and was awarded her GBG Badge by the late Professor Richard Holmes in 2010 and holds badge number 48.
Equally at home touring the Western Front and Gallipoli, she also regularly leads tours over the WW2 battlefields of NW Europe. In 2017 Jo achieved a Masters Degree in military history from the University of Wolverhampton under the tutelage of Professor Gary Sheffield. She has also worked with Battlefield History TV in the production of a series of DVDs concentrating on Operation Market Garden, is a regular asked guest on WW1 and WW2 related Youtube channels and appears in WW2 documentaries on UK television. Jo is also a book reviewer and contributes articles to local newspapers and magazines.
An independent Battlefield Guide, Jo has extensive experience of working with student groups, the military and commercial tours with British and Australian groups.
Through the eyes of those who fought
Jo has wide ranging interests across numerous aspects of military history. Having served as a Royal Signals soldier on operations in Bosnia in 1995, she feels she has the ability to empathise with the men and women who fought during both world wars. It is the combination of her own personal experiences on operations, and her enthusiastic study of military history and battlefields that allow Jo to empathise with the soldiers of the past. On every tour Jo consistently does her utmost to help her group view the battlefields and the events that took place there, through the eyes of those who fought.
Author / Guide
Luuk Buist is a battlefield guide who specialises in bespoke battlefield tours on the Battle at Arnhem. Not limitied to strategic and operational aspects of this battle, Luuk also addresses the human side of it by sharing numerous personal stories. Born and raised in Oosterbeek, Luuk’s family who lived through this battle. His many contacts with Arnhem veterans and his enthusiastic involvement in Battle at Arnhem research groups, led him to be a much sought after specialist guide.
Luuk was born and raised in Oosterbeek and grew up surrounded by the memory of the Battle at Arnhem. Both his parents experienced the fighting as children and his grandfather sadly was one of many civilian victims. His passion was aroused when his father gave him an airborne helmet. Thereafter, Luuk started to read any book on Arnhem he could find and also started collecting memorabilia. He joined the Royal Dutch Army and served nine years as an NCO in the Signals Corps.
Luuk has organised battlefield tours for different types of groups for more than 30 years. These groups range from private groups, veterans, family and military groups. Luuk’s approach is to tailor each tour to the specific group he guides. This allows him to give each client a unique and personal experience. Luuk is an accredited member of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides holding badge number 85.
Luuk is the (co) author of two books on the Battle at Arnhem and has also contributed to more than 35 publications on the subject. Because of his expertise on the Glider Pilot Regiment and his work with groups of British Army Air Corps (AAC), Luuk has been rewarded with the AAC Association Bronze Medal. He is an honorary member of the AAC Association and in 1991 he also became an honorary member of the Glider Pilot Regimental Association.
WW2 may not be forgotten
The memory of World War Two in general and the memory of the Battle at Arnhem in particular may never be forgotten. This is Luuk’s firm belief. This drives his passion and enthusiasm in his tours and his research. By sharing the stories of his family and of the many veterans, Luuk guarantees that his guests will be given a lasting impression of the battle, keeping the memory alive.
YouTube filmer / Guide
Joris is a battlefield guide with a huge passion for World War Two history in general and for Operation Market Garden in particular. Apart from guiding, Joris is also active in different other ways, ranging from attending to his WW2 vintage vehicle to blogging regarding his travels to WW2 locations throughout Europe on YouTube.
Joris has been active as a battlefield guide since 2012. Since that time he has built up extensive experience in guiding individuals, school groups, small sized private groups, coach groups and military groups from The Netherlands and abroad. His tours vary from half-day walking or cycling tours to multiple day coach tours through Northwestern Europe. Joris is an expert on Operation Market Garden and guides in all three areas of operations – Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem. He also guide on the advance of British 30 Corps and frequently guides on the Easy Company: England to the Eagle’s Nest tour for the US National World War Two Museum.
His passion for military history is not limited to research or guiding. In 2006, Joris bought a WW2 military vehicle and a year later he became involved with historical re-enactment. He also volunteered for the Operation Market Garden 2014 and 2019 events, commemorating the 70th and 75th commemorations. In addition, he is also active on YouTube on which he posts videos of historical locations, battlefields and events. He has also written several articles on Market Garden for a variety of websites and club magazines.
Inspiring the next generation
Since he grew up, Joris has been heavily interested in the history of World War Two. Visiting Normandy for the first time in 1994, he visited many other places across Europe and beyond. Not being content with only learning about these places, he started sharing his knowledge with friends and family. This became his first tentative step to becoming a freelance battlefield guide. After a number of years Joris’ goal changed to passing on the stories of heroism and sacrifice which led to the liberation of The Netherlands. According to Joris: these stories must not be forgotten, we must pass along the torch of remembrance to the next generation.
Author / Guide
Robert Catsburg is an active battlefield tour guide covering the Scheldt Estuary. Spending his childhood in the Breskens pocket together with currently living in Steenbergen, he is one of the foremost experts on the Battle of the Scheldt. This, combined with his extensive library and archive material and a never ending passion for the topic guarantees every visitor a tailor made tour..
Robert was born in the ‘Breskens Pocket’ in Oostburg on November 7th 1969. Since his earliest childhood he has been fascinated by the war and especially by the Canadian liberators of the Scheldt area. After collecting military artifacts related to the Battle of the Scheldt for many years, his interest widened to include historical research. In his professional life he has a Bachelors and Masters degree in physical chemistry.
Besides guiding for a wide range of domestic and international clients, Robert has also privately published six historical studies about the Battle of the Scheldt and the involvement of both Canadian and British units. Several of his works have been translated into English and have been published in Canada.
In 2019, Robert initiated the first scientific symposium on the Battle of the Scheldt in cooperation with the Dutch Institute of Military History (NIMH). At this symposium he presented a paper entitled ‘Polder Fighting’. Also in 2019, he was hired as Research Associate with the Centre for the study of War, Atrocity and Genocide at Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario, Canada.
Attention to detail
Robert’s tours and books are known for their attention to detail. Because of his extensive research and his intimate knowledge of the area, Robert is able to create a very lively and highly detailed picture of the Battle of the Scheldt at the very places where these events happened in 1944. Guests visiting the battlefield with Robert get as close to the historical events as they possibly can and practically see the battle unfold in front of their eyes.
Author / Guide
Erik Jellema is a former officer in the Royal Dutch Army. During his career he frequently guided military groups to battlefields across Europe. Having served in the Dutch Air Mobile Brigade, Erik has enormous passion for and deep knowledge of the airborne operations in The Netherlands in 1944. But he also knows the battlefields of the Rhineland, the Ardennes and the Hürtgen Forest very well. His military background and experience not only allows Erik to cater military groups, but also allows him to explain what it is like for soldiers to be on operations and how airborne units have their specific esprit-the-corps.
Erik served for 40 years in the Royal Dutch Army in the infantry, mainly in command and staff roles at company, battalion and brigade level. His interest in World War Two started at the young age of thirteen when he received a booklet on the Battle of Arnhem. As a soldier he had the opportunity to see large parts of the world, ranging from northern Norway to the Falklands and from the USA to Afghanistan. During his career in the army Erik developed and organised numerous battlefield tours for military groups (staff rides). He led groups to the battlefields of Waterloo, Borodino, Kursk, Ypres, Normandy, the Ardennes, the Hürtgen Forest, the Scheldt Estuary, Market Garden and Varsity/Plunder. Now retired from the Royal Dutch Army, Erik is active a guide for the Friends of the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek.
Besides guiding, Erik is the co-author of two books: ‘First in’ on his operational tour to Srebrenica (1994), and ‘Tactics made understandable’. He also participated in television shows for local Gelderland-TV on several occasions, taking the presenter and the viewers to locations on the Battle of Arnhem and Operation Anger (crossing of the IJssel river in the Netherlands in 1945).
An extra dimension to your tour
Erik is the proud owner of an original 1944 Willy’s Jeep. Whenever it is possible, he likes to show his guests and family members of veterans around the battlefield in his jeep. This gives Erik’s tours an extra dimension, especially when following in the footsteps of a specific unit or soldier.
Battlefield Discovery cooperates closely with museums, travel and tourism organisations in both The Netherlands and abroad. Amongst others, we cooperate closely with:
Wings of Liberation Museum in Best, The Netherlands
War Museum Overloon in Overloon, The Netherlands
The National World War Two Museum in New Orleans, USA
Foundation Airborne Region in Arnhem, The Netherlands
Liberation Route Europe in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
International Guild of Battlefield Guides, United Kingdom.