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Arnhem: The Complete Story of Operation Market Garden 17-25 September 1944

Arnhem: The Complete Story of Operation Market Garden 17-25 September 1944

untallguy

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untallguy submitted a new resource:

Arnhem: The Complete Story of Operation Market Garden 17-25 September 1944 - A new history of Operation Market Garden

Arnhem by William F. Buckingham is an in-depth history of Operation Market Garden. The operation is well-placed in its context and the author describes it well.

Buckingham knows his business and given that he lectures in history at the University of Glasgow, I’d expect him to! He has retold the Arnhem story (which has been told many times and this is my third review on an Arnhem history) impressively, drawing together numerous sources from both sides of the battle which provide a...

Read more about this resource...
 

Auld-Yin

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I read this book also and agree with a very good review.

Especially the bits where Buckingham's almost visceral dislike of Browning starts to cloud the actual story. Not only that but the book reads like US Airborne good at all they do, British Airborne can't do anything right.

Taking the story down to the men in the trenches was very well done and the author having taken on a huge task has covered events very well. There were times when I thought he was being too pedantic but it must have been a hell of a job for him to reduce the book to the size it is.

This edition apparently is a re-write of his original 2001 books with new additional material. If you can overlook the author's opinions on the British high command (you can read the book and make your own mind up) then you will find a really good description of a highly charged battle.
 
I read this book also and agree with a very good review.

Especially the bits where Buckingham's almost visceral dislike of Browning starts to cloud the actual story. Not only that but the book reads like US Airborne good at all they do, British Airborne can't do anything right.

Taking the story down to the men in the trenches was very well done and the author having taken on a huge task has covered events very well. There were times when I thought he was being too pedantic but it must have been a hell of a job for him to reduce the book to the size it is.

This edition apparently is a re-write of his original 2001 books with new additional material. If you can overlook the author's opinions on the British high command (you can read the book and make your own mind up) then you will find a really good description of a highly charged battle.

Interested in your opinion on a comparison with 'It Never Snows in September'?
 

Auld-Yin

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I have not read INSIS unfortunately.

I'd certainly recommend it. Although written by a Brit, with it's German slant it provides a good juxtaposition to Cornelius Ryan.
 
I read this book also and agree with a very good review.

You might be interested to know that the author is an ARRSE member... and a "last seen" of yesterday, so not sure whether to blow his cover :)

Might be worth rereading this thread, it got quite interesting in places...

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/what-if-arnhem-had-been-a-gliderborne-operation.154971

Actually, a bit of a search reveals that he's already admitted to writing it, twelve years ago...

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/arnhem-1944-by-f-buckingham.64708/

Paging @exMercian :)
 
Last edited:

Auld-Yin

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I'd certainly recommend it. Although written by a Brit, with it's German slant it provides a good juxtaposition to Cornelius Ryan.
I had a look on Amazon and it is £24.50 so I think I will wait till I find a copy in a charity shop. The used copies were even more expensive when p&p is added!
 

exMercian

Old-Salt
Hi all,

in belated answer to Gravelbelly's paging, I've just seen this review & thread flagged up after dipping a toe into the MG thread in the Int Cell. Thank you all for the kind words which are much appreciated. A couple of points:

@ untallguy, to address some of your points, my apologies about the font size, paper and maps, all of which were out of my hands. The maps are actually tidied up versions of hand sketches I did because the publisher wasn't willing to shell out for proper maps, same with the photos which were again done on the cheap as I was unwilling and indeed unable to afford paying £60 plus per pic. Ref the bit about being frustrated in your search for positive comments re the British Airborne chain of command, has it occurred to you that I looked and genuinely could not find any, at least in this instance? ;)

@ Auld-Yin, it actually took me the better part of ten years to write with a year out to do another book, and with the level of detail the original publisher wanted it just grew & grew, so that going back to trim down what was already there would likely have been more work than finishing it as started. Ref your criticisms, fair enough but just for the record I don't harbour a 'visceral hatred for Browning or anyone else in the book, I'm an academically-trained historian and on that basis I tell it as I see it based on verifiable evidence, no more and no less; you've read the book and you've seen the references. That is what underpins my assessment of Browning et al and my personal preferences don't come into it, I searched through the evidence and related what I found in as an objective manner as the evidence permitted. If you have some additional evidence that says different I'd be happy to take it on board, as I looked and simply did not find any. :)

Way back when I did my first book on Arnhem I came at it from the usual standpoint that MG failed because the 1st Airborne Division landed on top of two SS Panzer Divisions and because the Yanks and especially Gavin didn't do their end, but my research very soon said different. On researching for this second book I did much more digging and everything I found not only reinforced my original findings, but also showed the British top brass performance was even worse than I had imagined, and included the GARDEN ground element too. In short and at risk of coming over as a tinfoil hat wearer, the popular version of MG was significantly at odds with the easily verifiable facts, it had been allowed to stand as it provided convenient camouflage for the real reasons for the failure, and I thought the men who fought and died there deserved better. To echo my comment to untallguy, mebbe it looks the way it does because that was how it actually was, including my supposed lauding of the US Airborne effort in comparison with the British. :)

exMercian
 

Auld-Yin

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Thanks for coming back @exMercian and explaining where you came from. I am no fan of Browning either and believe he was out of his depth running MG, or at least the M bit.
 

JJWRacing

Clanker
Browning should have never taken his HQ and hence 35 gliders, and 82nd should have done their job, my reasoning was and still is, given to me by the soldiers who were there, and before their memory faded that I spoken too, including Maj Gen Deane-Drummond the most decorated soldier in my Units history. I served with the 82nd several times and spoke to vets who were there, not just grunts but Officer Corps too. There my conclusion stands and remains, Browning made a huge error and the 82nd compounded it.
 

exMercian

Old-Salt
Browning should have never taken his HQ and hence 35 gliders, and 82nd should have done their job, my reasoning was and still is, given to me by the soldiers who were there, and before their memory faded that I spoken too, including Maj Gen Deane-Drummond the most decorated soldier in my Units history. I served with the 82nd several times and spoke to vets who were there, not just grunts but Officer Corps too. There my conclusion stands and remains, Browning made a huge error and the 82nd compounded it.
Agreed about Browning snaffling the gliders although I thought it was thirty-eight. Those machines would permitted putting the 2nd South Staffords in in its entirety in the first lift, and it's the more egregious given that Browning contributed precisely nothing by being on the ground in Holland apart from mebbe picking out a nice big house for the Advanced Airborne Corps HQ Officer's Mess.

Ref the rest, I'm quite aware of who then-Major Deane-Drummond was and what he did but I'm not sure what insights he could give on what happened at Nijmegen, given that he was two rivers and ten miles away on the north bank of the Lower Rhine. Similarly, you are quite at liberty to stand your conclusion where and on what you please. All I can tell you is that your conclusion runs 180 degrees counter to the verifiable evidence and I would point out that my contrary conclusion is based on participant testimony and more importantly, personal accounts by a number of then-platoon and company commanders from across the 82nd Airborne Division about their role in the fighting at Nijmegen; they were written as part of the qualification for the Advanced Infantry Officers Course in the late 1940s. I'd also be interested to know if you made you conclusion that the 82nd Airborne compounded Browning's error known to the veterans and serving personnel you mention; my money is on you didn't.

IME Gavin's detractors are usually unaware that his original Division plan specifically factored in seizing the Nijmegen bridges over the River Waal immediately on landing, or that when he revealed this at the first brief-back at 1 Airborne Corps HQ at Moor Park on 14 September, Browning specifically ordered him NOT to move on the Nijmegen bridges until the whole of the Groesbeek Heights had been secured. Gavin accepted this but personally put together a route from the north edge of the Heights through the streets of Nijmegen to the road bridge which he personally gave to the commander of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Col. Roy Lindquist, along with a verbal order to ‘…commit his first battalion against the Nijmegen bridge without delay on landing'. In the event Lindquist does not appear to have been the sharpest tool in the box and he did not take the hint but despatched a reinforced platoon patrol toward the bridge instead; when Gavin discovered at c.18:00 he ordered Lindquist to despatch his 1st Battalion to the bridge immediately but it was just too late and the lead US elements actually heard SS Panzer Pionier Bataillon 10 disembarking from trucks on the opposite side of the traffic island at the south end of the road bridge. Gavin's men finally captured the Nijmegen bridges after several days intense house-to-house fighting on the south bank and the epic assault river crossing by the 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and they also rebuffed significant armoured attacks from the east and south-east of their Division perimeter as well as seizing and holding three of the five other bridges they were tasked to secure.

Given all that I'd argue that the fighting in and around Nijmegen was no less intense than that at the Arnhem road bridge and on the Oosterbeek perimeter, and I'm really not sure how you can equate any of that with compounding Browning's error.

exMercian (V)
 

JJWRacing

Clanker
Thank you for your very detailed reply.

Operation MG is very dear to my heart as us as Para Sigs have taken the brunt of the failure for years and still do. My first meeting with the vets was in 1985 and ever since to present day, less those that have of course passed away.

D-D like all soldiers spoke to others who were in different locations, I didn't fight with the UK Division in GW1 but with the Americans, but I still knew what happen with my parent unit, likewise I didn't fight in Basra but Al Amarah but I knew what went on there because I asked.

4 of our vets fought with the 82nd there because they were dropped in the wrong place, still happens now, on my very last Ex I had 4 Blokes from 1 Para with me as they were in the wrong place, and in GW2 I have 2 x Abrams tanks with me for 6 weeks as they were lost. These 4 bloke said if the Yanks had stopped Mincing around and got on with it, (I had to change the words as you not allowed to swear in this site) the bridge would have been taken and held

In 1996, when were with 82nd we had a vets visit, by the way they do those in style and we had a very detailed briefing from them, and they all agree had 82nd taken the bridge at that point very lightly defended, as you will know holding ground is far easier than taking it. As the Germans found out in Arnhem. Mission Command is vital in a fluid situation, had that bridge taken would have speeded up the process of getting more firepower to Arnhem, and if the 30+ gliders were used for fighting troops then the outcome would have been closer, not saying we would have won, but a score draw

As for Browning, he is guilty for his dithering and lack of leadership, which the Vets have time and time said, I thought it was 32, some say 35 and you said 38, lets just say over 30+. He suffered from the fact the war was nearly over and he hadn't commanded a major formation into any sort of battle. This still happens, on one particular Op in 2001, we had manpower of 249, but seemed to feed over 300, once we had a complete nominal role the extras were Officers who wanted a medal!!! ie an Op insert for running a desk in the field etc etc

We will clearly disagree, however, the book was very interesting though
 

exMercian

Old-Salt
Thank you for your very detailed reply.

Operation MG is very dear to my heart as us as Para Sigs have taken the brunt of the failure for years and still do. My first meeting with the vets was in 1985 and ever since to present day, less those that have of course passed away.

D-D like all soldiers spoke to others who were in different locations, I didn't fight with the UK Division in GW1 but with the Americans, but I still knew what happen with my parent unit, likewise I didn't fight in Basra but Al Amarah but I knew what went on there because I asked.

4 of our vets fought with the 82nd there because they were dropped in the wrong place, still happens now, on my very last Ex I had 4 Blokes from 1 Para with me as they were in the wrong place, and in GW2 I have 2 x Abrams tanks with me for 6 weeks as they were lost. These 4 bloke said if the Yanks had stopped Mincing around and got on with it, (I had to change the words as you not allowed to swear in this site) the bridge would have been taken and held

In 1996, when were with 82nd we had a vets visit, by the way they do those in style and we had a very detailed briefing from them, and they all agree had 82nd taken the bridge at that point very lightly defended, as you will know holding ground is far easier than taking it. As the Germans found out in Arnhem. Mission Command is vital in a fluid situation, had that bridge taken would have speeded up the process of getting more firepower to Arnhem, and if the 30+ gliders were used for fighting troops then the outcome would have been closer, not saying we would have won, but a score draw

As for Browning, he is guilty for his dithering and lack of leadership, which the Vets have time and time said, I thought it was 32, some say 35 and you said 38, lets just say over 30+. He suffered from the fact the war was nearly over and he hadn't commanded a major formation into any sort of battle. This still happens, on one particular Op in 2001, we had manpower of 249, but seemed to feed over 300, once we had a complete nominal role the extras were Officers who wanted a medal!!! ie an Op insert for running a desk in the field etc etc

We will clearly disagree, however, the book was very interesting though
Well we don't disagree about Browning at least. ;) I'd be interested to know exactly where your four blokes were in the 82nd Airborne's perimeter, as it covered a fair chunk of ground. FWIW I also don't think the failure at Arnhem had anything to do with signals, that is just one of the red herrings used as camouflage to conceal what really went wrong and where the blame really lay.

exMercian (V)
 

JJWRacing

Clanker
Unfortunately I cannot ask them, as all our Veterans have finally passed away, the last been Lol Martin, (he was in the right place at Arnhem) who I am sure you would have spoken too. Had we known each other earlier I would have invited you to Caythorpe the spiritual home of the Airborne Signals, we actually have our own church there, complete with the Arnhem Aisle. Caythorpe, Lincolnshire - Arnhem Aisle Tablet& Carpet - War Memorials Online
We jump on the DZ that our predecessors used before they deployed to Arnhem, its just behind the village. As for the Signals, we do get the blame and still do from the Regt, some of it might be friendly banter but it still sticks in our throats to this day.
 

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