Frank van Lunteren
The Battle Of The Bridges tells the story of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) in the battle for the River Waal crossings at Nijmegen. The overall plan for Operation Market Garden was to seize river crossings over the Maas , Waal and Lower Rhine rivers and pass XXX Corps 60 miles to the Rhine and directly threaten the German heartland whilst securing the supply port of Antwerp.

504 PIR were given just under a week to prepare for an airborne assault between the Waal and Mass rivers in order to capture the 2 river Maas bridge as well as 4 canal bridges, they would deny them to the enemy until relieved by XXX Corps. Their division was also tasked with capturing the main Nijmegen bridges to the North.

The regiment was dropped in daylight on Sept 17th and unlike Normandy landed on their correct DZ. The author weaves overviews of the battle with extracts of survivors recollections , official histories and research. The overall effect is a readable but informative book, probably aimed at the military reader or anyone interested in Market Garden. The text is supplemented by well chosen maps and illustrations, the latter are on matt paper but of good quality. The main text is 278 pages with an interesting postscript and comprehensive notes and index for the researcher or serious reader. Casemate have published a useful addition to the Market Garden operation and the author acknowledges the earlier writers .The book is priced at £14.99 (Kindle £11.27) and there are new copies from £7.16 on Amazon with hardback starting from £13.64. Be careful ordering on line as there is another very similar title by WF Buckingham

Footnote: As the young men of the 82nd Airborne pass through Fort Bragg they sometimes see the old men entering the museum on Ardennes Street, their numbers fade. the hair greys and the photographs fade a little more each year, but they were the first of the Airborne forces , raised in early 1942 they paved the way. The Germans called them “The devils in baggy pants“
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