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Operation Market Garden......Mission Impossible?

Would the Germans fight harder for Hitler than for the Kaiser when the outcome was obvious? With hindsight the Germans would fight to the bitter end for the Nazi regime. But that wasn't known in August 1944.
The Nazis were helped immensley in strenghening German resistance by the Morgenthau plan, which aimed to eliminate German industry post war and reduce it to an agricultural country. Goebels got hold of a copy and made great propaganda out of it. With the Russians on one front, the Germans felt that they had nothing to lose and so kept on fighting bitterly to the end.

Morganthau Plan

Journalist Drew Pearson publicized the plan on 21 September 1944, although Pearson himself was sympathetic to it. More critical stories in the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal quickly followed. Joseph Goebbels used the Morgenthau Plan in his propaganda. Goebbels said that "The Jew Morgenthau" wanted to make Germany into a giant potato patch. The headline of the Völkischer Beobachter stated, "Roosevelt and Churchill Agree to Jewish Murder Plan!"[7]

The Washington Post urged a stop to helping Dr. Goebbels: if the Germans suspect that nothing but complete destruction lies ahead, then they will fight on.[29] The Republican presidential candidate Thomas Dewey complained in his campaign that the Germans had been terrified by the plan into fanatical resistance, "Now they are fighting with the frenzy of despair."[30]

General George Marshall complained to Morgenthau that German resistance had strengthened.[31] Hoping to get Morgenthau to relent on his plan for Germany, President Roosevelt's son-in-law Lt. Colonel John Boettiger who worked in the War Department explained to Morgenthau how the American troops who had had to fight for five weeks against fierce German resistance to capture the city of Aachen had complained to him that the Morgenthau Plan was "worth thirty divisions to the Germans." Morgenthau refused to relent.[32]

On 11 December 1944, OSS operative William Donovan sent Roosevelt a telegraph message from Bern, warning him of the consequences that the knowledge of the Morgenthau plan had had on German resistance.[33] The message was a translation of a recent article in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

So far, the Allies have not offered the opposition any serious encouragement. On the contrary, they have again and again welded together the people and the Nazis by statements published, either out of indifference or with a purpose. To take a recent example, the Morgenthau plan gave Dr. Goebbels the best possible chance. He was able to prove to his countrymen, in black and white, that the enemy planned the enslavement of Germany. The conviction that Germany had nothing to expect from defeat but oppression and exploitation still prevails, and that accounts for the fact that the Germans continue to fight. It is not a question of a regime, but of the homeland itself, and to save that, every German is bound to obey the call, whether he be Nazi or member of the opposition
 
I think we can agree that Browning was a Staff Officer and not a Field Commander......the latter is what the fledgling British Airborne Corps needed most.
The only thing I can add to this is that my father, who was a staff officer in the 1st Brigade, and who had met Browning on numerous occasions said that he was held in very high regard by the troops.
 
And hindsight is a wonderful thng.
Fvck hindsight: close scrutiny of "leaders" under pressure is more informative.

Browning's operational experience post 1939 is hardly impressive, and anyone can be a popular boss when backs aren't against the wall.

He'd a singular talent for ingratiating himself, it would seem.

He was no warrior.
 
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Fvck hindsight: close scrutiny of "leaders" under pressure is more informative.

Browning's operational experience post 1939 is hardly impressive, and anyone can be a popular boss when bake aren't against the wall.

He'd a singular talent for ingratiating himself, it would seem.

He was no warrior.
A DSO as a Lieutenant, and a citation that reads like this qualifies him in my book as a warrior.

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He took command of three companies whose officers had all become casualties, reorganised them, and proceeded to consolidate. Exposing himself to very heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, in two hours he had placed the front line in a strong state of defence. The conduct of this officer, both in the assault and more especially afterwards, was beyond all praise, and the successful handing over of the front to the relieving unit as an entrenched and strongly fortified position was entirely due to his energy and skill"
 
A DSO as a Lieutenant, and a citation that reads like this qualifies him in my book as a warrior.

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He took command of three companies whose officers had all become casualties, reorganised them, and proceeded to consolidate. Exposing himself to very heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, in two hours he had placed the front line in a strong state of defence. The conduct of this officer, both in the assault and more especially afterwards, was beyond all praise, and the successful handing over of the front to the relieving unit as an entrenched and strongly fortified position was entirely due to his energy and skill"
As a Lieutenant, in a war fought 2 decades earlier*

Fast forward to 1939-45, what is there?

We'll ignore his 1933 grandstanding as Adjutant RMAS, riding his horse up the Old College steps at Sovereign's Parade, thereby (a) Establishing an 'instant tradition', and (b) Upstaging all the officer cadets whose success after months of bloody hard work should have been the sole focus of the event.

Shallow, vain, attention seeking . . .

I'm sorry if my view differs from that of your forebear, but the historical facts point to him being grossly over promoted.
*E.T.A. If Wikipedia has it right, the scrap in which he copped his DSO might actually have neen the last time he had command of troops under fire, prior to MARKET GARDEN, half-a-decade into the biggest conflict the world has ever seen.

He was an ace pilot of mahogany bombers, not a warrior.
 
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exMercian

Old-Salt
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my questions. You replies were pretty informative and useful. I am fanatical about Op Market Garden, and have visited the site's many times and read a multitude of books covering most aspects of the OP.

I've been debating with myself whether to mention this to you, as you are obviously highly educated, and I am but self taught. Please forgive me if I'm wrong. I got the feeling that you thought the Recce were shy of getting into the fight, after their initial re-buff by Kraffts line. Quote "The precise reason for the Squadron’s lack of application is unclear, but its commander had previously expressed serious misgivings about the mission and this may have been shared by the unit as a whole".

I would say that this was only confusion after the initial contact, and then subsequent harassments by Kraffts men on the 17th. The situation wasn't helped by Gough leaving (never to return) to find Urquhart.

As you've mentioned the Spindler blocking line was in place by the 18th including the Den Brink heights, which controlled the western edge of the route into Arnhem and this prevented the sqn and others from carrying out their optimum task.

If you haven't already read it the book REMEMBER ARNHEM by John Fairley gives a very detailed reference to the fight the Recce troops put up during the whole of the OP.
Ref Remember Arnhem, yes an excellent book and a mine of information which I cite frequently. Ref the stuff about confusion, sorry but I disagree, based on evidence from Remember Arnhem and the Recce Squadron War Diary. I don't think the Recce Squadron was shy of getting into a fight per se, as their record over the rest of the battle clearly shows. However, the evidence also clearly shows that they did not make any effort to outflank and bypass Krafft's outpost (which they would not have bumped if they had left the the landing area more quickly, as Krafft's ambush only moved into place on the railside road literally minutes before the lead Recce Troop drove into it) and push on with their mission to secure the bridge before Gough was called away, and they then abandoned the mission when Gough did not return and quietly pulled back to the landing area.

Gough was on the record complaining that his Squadron was neither trained or configured for the coup-de-main mission and he tried to get Lathbury to change his mission to scouting ahead of the 1st Parachute Brigade advance to the Arnhem bridges as they were trained to do but Lathbury refused. I assume the rest of the Squadron were aware of and shared Gough's misgivings and that was why they abandoned the mission; I haven't seen any other explanation for them returning to the landing area in the evening of 17 September and I am unaware of any orders telling them to do so.

exMercian (V)
 

exMercian

Old-Salt
The only thing I can add to this is that my father, who was a staff officer in the 1st Brigade, and who had met Browning on numerous occasions said that he was held in very high regard by the troops.
Leaving aside that officers usually have little idea what the troops actually think, I wonder how high that regard would have been had the survivors of the 1st Parachute Brigade been aware Browning was sleeping in a comfortable bed in his silk jim jams on the night of 25-26 September 1944 while they were fighting and dying in the evacuation over the Lower Rhine.

exMercian (V)
 

exMercian

Old-Salt
I think we can agree that Browning was a Staff Officer and not a Field Commander......the latter is what the fledgling British Airborne Corps needed most.
Quite right, the Airborne Force needed a military politician to fight the Airborne corner in Whitehall, which is why Browning got the job of commanding the 1st Airborne Division in its initial incarnation as an administrative entity.

What it didn't need was a manipulative empire builder who turned British Airborne Forces into a personal fiefdom, directly interfered in operational matters at Bruneval and Arnhem, deliberately suppressed intelligence for personal reasons and twice saddled the operational 1st Airborne Division with inept commanders because he valued pliability and obedience over competence.

exMercian (V)
 

Penfold

Swinger
Many thanks to exMercian for the excellent information in his posts.

I have often wondered why the three British & Polish lifts had not staged from the continent for the shorter flight turnaround: I had been thinking along the lines of BoB fighters refuel, rearm & multiple, albeit shorter, flights per day. The practical reason behind the single lift requirement clearly shows that there was more than 1 logistical ball attached to the chain for this cobbled together operation.
 
Many thanks to exMercian for the excellent information in his posts.

I have often wondered why the three British & Polish lifts had not staged from the continent for the shorter flight turnaround: I had been thinking along the lines of BoB fighters refuel, rearm & multiple, albeit shorter, flights per day. The practical reason behind the single lift requirement clearly shows that there was more than 1 logistical ball attached to the chain for this cobbled together operation.

I would think finding enough airfield space would have been a challenge.
 
Quite right, the Airborne Force needed a military politician to fight the Airborne corner in Whitehall, which is why Browning got the job of commanding the 1st Airborne Division in its initial incarnation as an administrative entity.

What it didn't need was a manipulative empire builder who turned British Airborne Forces into a personal fiefdom, directly interfered in operational matters at Bruneval and Arnhem, deliberately suppressed intelligence for personal reasons and twice saddled the operational 1st Airborne Division with inept commanders because he valued pliability and obedience over competence.

exMercian (V)
As Billy Connolly once said:

"Once they start designing their own uniforms you're in deep shit."

 
As Billy Connolly once said:

"Once they start designing their own uniforms you're in deep shit."

Drifting a little further - rank insignia embroidered on the epaulettes? An indication that he considered that he'd reached his rank ceiling?
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Drifting a little further - rank insignia embroidered on the epaulettes? An indication that he considered that he'd reached his rank ceiling?

Or wealthy enough that a new rank means a new uniform
 

Seadog

ADC
Given Krafft's poor "exchange rate" of men, vehicles and arms lost in the fight against the Paras, it's a wonder that his superiors took his claims seriously. You'd wonder if there is an extant criticism of him from the German side.
In Beevor's book, General Bittrich is asked about Krafft;

"Who? Never heard of the chap", he says...in German over 40 years ago.
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
Fvck hindsight: close scrutiny of "leaders" under pressure is more informative.

Browning's operational experience post 1939 is hardly impressive, and anyone can be a popular boss when backs aren't against the wall.

He'd a singular talent for ingratiating himself, it would seem.

He was no warrior.
No warrior?.
This is the citation for Brownings DSO awarded as a Lieutenant

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He took command of three companies whose officers had all become casualties, reorganised them, and proceeded to consolidate. Exposing himself to very heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, in two hours he had placed the front line in a strong state of defence. The conduct of this officer, both in the assault and more especially afterwards, was beyond all praise, and the successful handing over of the front to the relieving unit as an entrenched and strongly fortified position was entirely due to his energy and skill.[13]

One problem the British army had in 1944 was that they had limited opportunities to expose and test their middle ranking commanders. Browning had a very distinguished career as a regimental soldier in 1917-18. Aftewrn then he had no operational command. He commanded a battalion in the 1930s, two brigades in Home Forces and then the 1st Airborne Division.

He devoted energy to promoting the value of airborne forces and getting them into battle. He had flair and style and established the red beret as a mark of the para. This is the flip side to the accusations of empire building. If you are or have been a para you should be grateful for his efforts.
 
As Billy Connolly once said:

"Once they start designing their own uniforms you're in deep shit."

Buttons, snap fasteners, zips, button cuffs, more wool barathea than would be required for a Gds service dress tunic . . . . .

Good to know the Boy was fully invested in the notion of wartime austerity . . .​
. . . the posing cvnt.​
 

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