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

Ten Hamilcars carrying bulldozers, cranes, graders and engineering stores of the US 878th Airfield Construction Battalion were slated to land on 19th September. The lift was delayed and was finally binned on the 21st. As you say, I think it was very much a case of trying to get all the toys out of the box. I expect that Deelen was considered to be the better option, but the plan was there.

Yes, 52 (L) Div were an interesting formation. Being Mountain troops, they were ideal for re-purposing as a light 'Air-Sea Deployable' Division. Their Recce Regiment even still had Valentine tanks, as they could be fitted into smaller and lighter classes of landing craft (and left in the UK when they finally deployed in a conventional role). I think it was Peter White who joked that having trained for mountain warfare, they first saw combat below sea level (on Walcheren). :)
 
52nd Lowland were finally launched into battle by landing craft as part of Op Infatuate (taking the heavily defended Walchern Island which controlled the mouth of the Scheldt), endured bitter and costly fighting across Holland in the most appalling winter weather conditions and fought all the way across Northern Germany to Bremen.

Lest we forget

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Did *any* of the Allied specialist mountain formations get to the mountains?

On the point about airfield engineers I think this might be another point in the bureaucracy story.
 
Did *any* of the Allied specialist mountain formations get to the mountains?

On the point about airfield engineers I think this might be another point in the bureaucracy story.
I think the highest 52 (L) Div got in action was when they got a 3.7-inch mountain howitzer into the attic of a Dutch house to engage a sniper in the attic of a house across the street. :)
 
Did *any* of the Allied specialist mountain formations get to the mountains?

On the point about airfield engineers I think this might be another point in the bureaucracy story.
US 10th Mountain fought in Italy.
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
By contrast, at this stage in the war, every Brit knew that victory was both inevitable, and none too far off in time. Add to that the recent re-badging of AA gunners (RAF as well as RA) to infantry, and the near-simultaneous widening of the UK age bracket for conscription (IIRC, by Sep '44 it spanned from 17yrs 6mths to 45 yrs of age), in response to unforeseen high losses in Normandy in Jul/Aug '44, and you can maybe begin to understand why a certain lack of 'gung ho' might have been detectable in Brit units/Fmns.

You could add to that an awareness that - whereas the Army that landed on D-Day had been training for 2 or 3 years for that day - the BCRS who made up much of the Brit force that was advancing on Arnhem had not been through anything remotely like as thorough prep as their D-Day predecessors (pre-deceasors?), whereas those who had fought and survived Normandy to take part in the 'pencil-like thrust' woulda been at least a little war-weary*.

Many of the Guardsmen at Nijmegen were re badged Gunners or RAF Regiment. This was a tough hard fought fight and the Guards acknowledge this with Nijmegen Company.

The infantry of the Guards Armoured Division were at 75% before Op Market Garden started. There had been an ongoing row about the number of Guards formations. Despite the Guards having a long heritage of excellence as infantry they were determined to have an Armoured Division and a separate armoured brigade even as the Guards struggled to man their infantry formations. IRRC Brooke recommended the disbandment of 6th Guards Armoured Brigade to be overruled by Churchill after lobbying by MPs.

My father was deeply underwhelmed by his encounter with the Guards. He warned a platoon commander that the road ahead was mined. The young officer's next orders were "fix bayonets and charge". The way he told the story was that there were no Germans in close proximity.
 

wild_moose

War Hero
Apologies if this has previously been answered in this thread (it's quite a lot to wade through) but I seem to recall reading somewhere that one of the scenarios in the pre-war Dutch staff college course was to plan an invasion of Holland and if you used the single tracked road, as Market Garden did, you failed due to its limitations which became all too evident.
 
IRRC the issue was not the condition of the road between Nijmegen and Arnhem but that this was a head on approach up a road between polders that could easily be stopped. Somehwere I read this was a pre war Dutch army TEWT. Take the direct route = fail. The DS solution was a left flanking approach which is that used by the Dorsets for their river crossing.
At least once @wild_moose.
 
Many of the Guardsmen at Nijmegen were re badged Gunners or RAF Regiment. This was a tough hard fought fight and the Guards acknowledge this with Nijmegen Company.

The infantry of the Guards Armoured Division were at 75% before Op Market Garden started. There had been an ongoing row about the number of Guards formations. Despite the Guards having a long heritage of excellence as infantry they were determined to have an Armoured Division and a separate armoured brigade even as the Guards struggled to man their infantry formations. IRRC Brooke recommended the disbandment of 6th Guards Armoured Brigade to be overruled by Churchill after lobbying by MPs.

My father was deeply underwhelmed by his encounter with the Guards. He warned a platoon commander that the road ahead was mined. The young officer's next orders were "fix bayonets and charge". The way he told the story was that there were no Germans in close proximity.
Yes, two of the three infantry battalions of GAD had been reduced from four to three rifle companies before the start of Market-Garden and the third followed suit immediately afterwards. One was then replaced completely during the winter due to losses.
 

Helm

MIA
Moderator
Book Reviewer
I think the highest 52 (L) Div got in action was when they got a 3.7-inch mountain howitzer into the attic of a Dutch house to engage a sniper in the attic of a house across the street. :)
I bet that came as a rather huge shock to said sniper
 
I bet that came as a rather huge shock to said sniper
ISTR that the USMC humped a recoiless gun(?) from one side of Dien Bien Phu Khe San to another to carry out a similar transaction.

Edited for dullardry.
 
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