h 16 cm x w 26 cm
On the morning of 11 May 1940, 23,000 German soldiers launched an attack on the Grebbeberg, a strategic hill near the Dutch town of Rhenen. The German army was far superior to the inexperienced and poorly armed 2,500 Dutch soldiers of the 8th Regiment Infantry (8 R.I.).
Yet, for three long days, the Dutch Army waged a fierce and bloody battle. Under constant artillery fire, from his command post in a trench, Major J.H.A. Jacometti of the 2nd Battalion, 8th R.I. tried to keep up the morale of his men. But on 12 May, at the point of launching a counterattack against the Germans, he was killed in action. A day later, on 13 May, the Dutch army was forced to give up the fight. The battle for the Grebbeberg was lost: 382 Dutch soldiers died.
This pickaxe, part of a combat engineer's military gear, was unearthed in 2011 during an archaeological excavation in Major Jacometti’s command post.