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

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
the RA FOO attached to Frost had absolutely no problems in contacting 1 Abn Lt Regt , How often on exercise did we FOOs establish comms on identical sets to inf bns who could not ?
With pre digital radios a lot was down to good siting , clean aerial connections and all the boring bits drummed in by Sigs Wing at RSA , together with thoughts not dominated by the next 800 metres of ground
 
the RA FOO attached to Frost had absolutely no problems in contacting 1 Abn Lt Regt , How often on exercise did we FOOs establish comms on identical sets to inf bns who could not ?
With pre digital radios a lot was down to good siting , clean aerial connections and all the boring bits drummed in by Sigs Wing at RSA , together with thoughts not dominated by the next 800 metres of ground
And the same things apply with digital radios!
 
The plan was in the main sound and came so close to success. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, however no question that the operation was lost due to a failure to recognise the " schwerpunkt" - Nijmegen Bridge (which was well within the 82nds grasp on DDay).
Well I always said they went a bridge too far...
 
Well I always said they went a bridge too far...
Didn't take enough sandwiches for a picnic...

The trouble is the bravery of the airborne soldiers was futile - although some posters have said that they contributed to the destruction of German resistance - one could have wished that given their valour, they would have won through. RIP.
 
Didn't take enough sandwiches for a picnic...

The trouble is the bravery of the airborne soldiers was futile - although some posters have said that they contributed to the destruction of German resistance - one could have wished that given their valour, they would have won through. RIP.
Agreed.
I wonder why Arnhem catches the imagination so when there is no shortage of brave men in adversity before 1944? (I don't mean this in a revisionist sense; just wonder why that battle? - albeit it is very interesting and a clearly defined set piece offensive).
 
Agreed.
I wonder why Arnhem catches the imagination so when there is no shortage of brave men in adversity before 1944? (I don't mean this in a revisionist sense; just wonder why that battle? - albeit it is very interesting and a clearly defined set piece offensive).
And has perhaps become a victim of its own myth, by which a partially successful operation in 1944 became a "heroic defeat" by the time of "A Bridge Too Far".

It's also worth considering what would have happened had XXX Corps successfully reached Arnhem. It is probable that the Germans would have succeeded in containing the bridgehead at least long enough for the bulk of their Forces in Holland to escape east, shortening their lines and requiring the Allies to occupy the rest of the Netherlands, which would have taken time and scarce resources.

In short, as long as Germany had troops, she would resist. Until they were worn down, all the manoeuvre in the world would only have had empirical effect.
 

Ex-Ten

War Hero
IMHO the Op, with a bit of minor tweaking or a bit more luck, would have been an outstanding success.
Having read many of the histories I'd tend to agree, there were several points at which a change in fortune would have made a huge difference!

BTW, I shall be there this weekend. Hope to get to the Schoonoord on Saturday evening. If my cover is blown say the magic words "You are Ex-Ten and I claim my Heineken!"
:thumright:
 
A much respected member of my Veterans Association died almost two years ago at the age of 95.
Jack "Griff" Griffiths first flew when he was nine. After starting the war as a despatch rider, he became a member of The Glider Pilot Regiment & apart from being a Normandy veteran, flew a glider in the first wave at Arnhem.
He was captured at Oosterbeek & sent to a POW camp, but with two others, he escaped & they made their way to allied lines.
He went on to fly a DC3 during the Berlin airlift & was still flying with the Norfolk gliding club at 93 years old.
He was a true gentleman & a real hero & it was an honour to know him.
At his funeral, his coffin was carried by the Army Air Corps & as he was borne out of the church, two Apaches performed a fly past.
Slightly off thread, the son of one of the two survivors of the Le Paradis massacre is my local RBL President.
The Le Paradis massacre occurred during the withdrawal to Dunkirk when ninety nine soldiers (mainly Royal Norfolks) ran out of ammunition & surrendered. They were forced in front of a wall & machine gunned.
The two survivors played dead & were taken in by a French farmer.
In 1948 the SS Major who ordered the massacre was hung for war crimes.
We & the RBL are currently fund raising to enable a Memorial to these men to be placed in Norwch Cathedral.
The Association is also active in helping homeless veterans & those who need help in other ways.
I've posted about Griff previously on another thread, but thought that those arrse'rs who haven't read it before might find it interesting.
 
And has perhaps become a victim of its own myth, by which a partially successful operation in 1944 became a "heroic defeat" by the time of "A Bridge Too Far".

It's also worth considering what would have happened had XXX Corps successfully reached Arnhem. It is probable that the Germans would have succeeded in containing the bridgehead at least long enough for the bulk of their Forces in Holland to escape east, shortening their lines and requiring the Allies to occupy the rest of the Netherlands, which would have taken time and scarce resources.

In short, as long as Germany had troops, she would resist. Until they were worn down, all the manoeuvre in the world would only have had empirical effect.
Good points. I think Kershaw makes the point that holding the ground won/containing the allies, was a miserable experience for the men of both sides in late '44/early '45. And, while acknowledging the dangers of whatabout-ism, the Germans ought to have fired the charges on the bridge at Nijmegen earlier - it was that German error that allowed XXX Corps to get as far as it did. Considering that, the degree of risk to which the British Airborne forces were exposed is clear. And, as another poster noted earlier, the Germans cut the roads involved in the offensive on a regular basis. On that basic level, the Allied plan had too many moving parts.
 
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Having read many of the histories I'd tend to agree, there were several points at which a change in fortune would have made a huge difference!

BTW, I shall be there this weekend. Hope to get to the Schoonoord on Saturday evening. If my cover is blown say the magic words "You are Ex-Ten and I claim my Heineken!"
:thumright:

Sounds like you are going to Ginkelsheide on Saturday?

From 2016. Obviously, this is one of the Dakotas.
dak_20160917.JPG



And these bods are probably Dutch(?). Not LLPs at any rate.
DZ_20160917.JPG


I live over here now so expect to get there again also. Potentially several Arrsers will be about I suppose. Fingers crossed for the weather.

But Heineken?!?!?!?! Dear me . . .
 
The crossing of the Rhine in March 1945 hardly gets a mention in our history yet was a great success, largest ever para drop, river crossing similar in ways to DDay and a bridgehead rapidly opened up. Hardly any mention, no major Hollywood productions (OK few |Yanks involved and mostly in the air) and no library full of books discussing every shot and shell.
And beaten by Remagen (8 march) and Patton at Oppenheim one day before without aerial bombardment or use of airbourne divisions
 
The plan was in the main sound and came so close to success. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, however no question that the operation was lost due to a failure to recognise the " schwerpunkt" - Nijmegen Bridge (which was well within the 82nds grasp on DDay).
Browning of course took up needed gliders for geting his HQ there surely hindered the 82nd
 
Not really. There was a fundamentally different view of overall war strategy between the British (Monty) and the US. Broadly speaking, Monty was of the opinion that the allies should make a major thrust into Germany along one or two axis, encircle the Ruhr, and thus essentially eliminate the German means to wage war. The US instead wished to pursue a "broad front" approach, grinding away at the Germans from the North Sea to the Alps.

Politics and dispositions complicated this debate. The British and Canadians happened to be on the axis required for the manoeuvre approach, as they had happened to be on the left side of the original invasion. That meant Monty would have to lead the operation, but he had only recently relinquished overall command of allied forces, and the US were particularly keen to exert their new leadership of the alliance.

Market Garden was thus both a masterful implementation of a strike towards the Ruhr, but also part of a much higher level impetus for Britain (& Canada) to see the war out as an equal partner to the US (Churchill and other politicians already worried about the effect of the US agreeing a post-war settlement with the soviets).

Depending upon which source you read, its argued that this fundamental British/US strategic disagreement also contributed to the failure of Market Garden. Perhaps it should have been treated as the main thrust of the allied effort and supported as such (e.g. flank operations, logistics, air support, et al). In the event, it was treated by Eisenhower as "a British operation".

Also depending upon who you read, Eisenhower and most of his US generals later agreed that Monty's manoeuvre concept was correct, and that the US approach had led to a six-month delay in ending the German war.

Incidentally, the Germans mostly agreed that a successful Market Garden would have led to the quick capture of the Ruhr, as at that time they had no significant formations in place to prevent this.
Monty did level a lot of blame at Sosabowski even getting him sacked
 
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By the time of MG it was known in SOE that most if not all operations in Holland had been long compromised by the Germans. One of their rare counter-intelligence wins. It was one of the reasons that the Dutch underground wasn't consulted much trying to build a picture of the Arnhem area pre-operation. MG was an enlarged version of a previous cancelled op (IIRC Op Comet?) so the use of underground sources had been discussed & whilst not discounted, were not deemed reliable.
Didn’t SOE have a double agent that told the Germans the attack was coming
 
Re CAS - 1 Abn Div did have some airborne USAAF FAC parties with them, but I think the main problem was that most of 2 TAF was fogged in at its Belgian airfields from D+1.
US Air Support Signals Team - 306th Fighter Control Squadron
 
And beaten by Remagen (8 march) and Patton at Oppenheim one day before without aerial bombardment or use of airbourne divisions
Was it a competition?
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
And has perhaps become a victim of its own myth, by which a partially successful operation in 1944 became a "heroic defeat" by the time of "A Bridge Too Far".

It's also worth considering what would have happened had XXX Corps successfully reached Arnhem. It is probable that the Germans would have succeeded in containing the bridgehead at least long enough for the bulk of their Forces in Holland to escape east, shortening their lines and requiring the Allies to occupy the rest of the Netherlands, which would have taken time and scarce resources.

In short, as long as Germany had troops, she would resist. Until they were worn down, all the manoeuvre in the world would only have had empirical effect.
The removal of German forces from Holland would have ended V2 attacls on London .Also the Dutch ports would have been brought into use
 

ches

LE
Didn’t SOE have a double agent that told the Germans the attack was coming
No. SOE operations in Holland had been compromised a while earlier with barely any operatives working outside of German control. There was therefore no plan to use SOE assets as their reliability wasn't certain, neither was there a chance of dropping a fresh team in as no one knew how compromised the receiving committees were on the ground. For a detailed look at the SOE debacle in Holland see Between Silk & Cyanide - Leo Marks
 

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