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

....apart from the river valleys between them...
Without valleys, there can be no mountains, , Grasshopper.

And O By The Way - name for me, if you'd be so kind, a single infantry division (of any nation) with a title along the lines of [X] River Valley Infantry Division.​
Foolish youth :roll:
 

XPara Mugg

War Hero
Without valleys, there can be no mountains, , Grasshopper.

And O By The Way - name for me, if you'd be so kind, a single infantry division (of any nation) with a title along the lines of [X] River Valley Infantry Division.​
Foolish youth :roll:

Hehemm. (polite cough)

Mobile Riverine Force US Army/Navy [link]

The 2nd (Riverine) Brigade of the U.S. 9th Infantry Division was assigned to work with these units. A fixed land base was created by dredging a portion of the Song Ham Luong near My Tho and was named "Đồng Tâm." This became the administrative headquarters of the MRF.

OK, not quite a Division but a Brigade task group whose method of operation defined the shape of Divisional operations in a riverine AOR. Two brigades were in this role with the third air-mobile for vertical envelopment and reinforcement.

9th Infantry Division [Link]

Edited to emphasise the 'Riverine' and Infantry Division i.e. US Army. Just in case readers can't bring themselves to open links.
 
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Without valleys, there can be no mountains, , Grasshopper.

And O By The Way - name for me, if you'd be so kind, a single infantry division (of any nation) with a title along the lines of [X] River Valley Infantry Division.​
Foolish youth :roll:
Well the Welsh division are mostly from the valleys....

See you boyo
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
Without valleys, there can be no mountains, , Grasshopper.

And O By The Way - name for me, if you'd be so kind, a single infantry division (of any nation) with a title along the lines of [X] River Valley Infantry Division.​
Foolish youth :roll:
Easy.
52nd LOWLAND Division..... ;)

Plenty of higher formations
British Army of the Rhine x 2
US Union Armies of the Potomac, Shenandoah, Mississippi, James , Cumberland and Tennessee.
German Army Groups Don, Upper Rhine and Vistula
Napoleon's Grande Armee was formed by renaming the L'Armée des côtes de l'Océan (Army of the Ocean Coasts) The French also had the armies of the Rhin, Var, Sambre et Meuse, Danube and Moselle
 
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Easy.
52nd LOWLAND Division..... ;)

Plenty of higher formation
British Army of the RHINE x 2
US Army of the POTOMAC and the CUMBERLAND
German Army Groups Don, Upper Rhine and Vistula
Napoleon's Grande Armee was formed by renaming the L'Armée des côtes de l'Océan (Army of the Ocean Coasts) The French also had the armies of the Rhin, Var, Sambre et Meuse, Danube and Moselle
Also the Army of Observation of the Elbe in 1813. And a brigade-sized group; the Vistula Legion and a regiment; the Tirailleurs du Po. :)
 
Without valleys, there can be no mountains, , Grasshopper.

And O By The Way - name for me, if you'd be so kind, a single infantry division (of any nation) with a title along the lines of [X] River Valley Infantry Division.​
Foolish youth :roll:
Jubal Early's Confederate Army of the Valley
 
Easy.
52nd LOWLAND Division..... ;)

Plenty of higher formations
British Army of the Rhine x 2
US Union Armies of the Potomac, Shenandoah, Mississippi, James , Cumberland and Tennessee.
German Army Groups Don, Upper Rhine and Vistula
Napoleon's Grande Armee was formed by renaming the L'Armée des côtes de l'Océan (Army of the Ocean Coasts) The French also had the armies of the Rhin, Var, Sambre et Meuse, Danube and Moselle
None of which titles defined a particular tactical expertise, but rather the general area of their deployment as defined by natural terrain features, except (in the case of the Jocks) where it relates to the recruitment region with which they were associated.
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
None of which titles defined a particular tactical expertise, but rather the general area of their deployment as defined by natural terrain features, except (in the case of the Jocks) where it relates to the recruitment region with which they were associated.
lets get this out of the way W-A-H

You have a point. The default military organisation and tactics have been optimised to fight in river valleys - or at least somewhere flat and moderately open since ancient times. Partially, this is because it is the river valleys that what we call "civilisation" started - or even in a landscape created by farmers. So its where phalanxes of hoplites could skewer each other and where parade ground formations could blaze away with muskets, supported by cavalry charges. Warfare between "civilised" i.e. European armies evolved to fight each other in cultivated landscapes. The occasions where one might venture away from cultivated land were usually to wage a different kind of war against savages, highlanders or Pathans. Other conditions recognised by the British Army were mountains and jungles.

FSR 1935 assumed that we would never fight a "civilized" i.e. European enemy under these circumstances and made the unwise assumption that any European style army would suffer the same handicaps, which came as a nasty shock in 1940 in Norway and the Far east in 1941-42. During WW2 the British Infantry division was optimised for motorised operations in cultivated lands i.e. river valleys, but would also work well in deserts. The non standard was mountain and jungle. 49 and 52nd infantry divisions were trained for mountain warfare, while formations deployed to Burma did so on a jungle scale. The paradox, in typical British army fashion was that the formations trained to fight in mountains ended up fighting in the low countries.

The British Army was also tactically adaptable. The 4th Indian division managed to combine expertise in mechanised operations in the western desert with mountain warfare in the Keren, Tunisia and Italy. 21 Army group did adapt to the special conditions of the Rhine valley in Winter 1944-45 making great use of the DUKW and LVT Buffalo to provide tactical and logistic mobility in a flooded landscape.

Returning to Op Market Garden and the thread...

At the same time that Op Market Garden became a British led fiasco, The US First Army was trying to batter through the Siegfried Line. The Huertgen Forest fighting cost the US Army at least as many casualties as the allies lost in Op Market Garden. The US Army captured Aachen, not least because they had been studying the lessons of street fighting. However, they had a very tough time in the Huertgen Forest because they underestimated how different fighting in thick woods was from the norm. The US regulations FM 100-5 (?) 1941 did have a section on fighting in non standard conditions but this was "To be completed". A lot of US lessons learned material circulated during WW2 was divided between the ETO and PTO and few lessons seem to have been transferred.
 
52 (L) Div was assigned to 1 Airborne Army because as a Mountain Division it was already organised on a light scale of equipment. One of its three brigades (plus support) was then roled as air-transportable and a second brigade (plus support) was roled as sea-transportable, hence their involvement first in MARKET-GARDEN and then in INFATUATE. Immediately after Walcheren they quickly re-equipped as a standard infantry division.

Some other divisions were specialists. Best known of all were the three Assault Divisions for D-Day, who had a lot of specialist training, organisation and equipment for the landings. Less well-known is 43 (Wessex) Div, who were river-crossing specialists. However, a lot of that specialist knowledge and training (which would have come in bloody useful at Vernon and in M-G) died on Hill 112.
 
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.
No real need to hump it when you could drive one mounted to the dozens of M274 mules to a firing point at Khe Sanh
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
Less well-known is 43 (Wessex) Div, who were river-crossing specialists. However, a lot of that specialist knowledge and training (which would have come in bloody useful at Vernon and in M-G) died on Hill 112.
What specialist training did 43 Wessex Division do? They did carry out a very successful crossing at Vernon, but IRRC this was what gave them the reputation? The key expertise in this operation was with the REs and staff who were not disproportionately subject to attrition on Hill 112. The particularly clever feature of Op Neptune at Vernon operation was to plan the operation 30 miles away without a lot of the formal rigmarole beloved of British practice.
 
What specialist training did 43 Wessex Division do? They did carry out a very successful crossing at Vernon, but IRRC this was what gave them the reputation? The key expertise in this operation was with the REs and staff who were not disproportionately subject to attrition on Hill 112. The particularly clever feature of Op Neptune at Vernon operation was to plan the operation 30 miles away without a lot of the formal rigmarole beloved of British practice.
The reference comes from Horrocks:

"Commander, Major General G. I. Thomas, though a very difficult man, was an immensely able Divisional Commander, and nobody in the British Army had given more detailed thought to the problem of crossing rivers in the face of opposition. For two-and-a-half years before D-Day he had exercised his troops in this most exasperating and complex type of operation, including the crossing of the Medway, the Rother, and the aptly-named Reading Sewer, preferably in the tidal reaches and by night, in heavy rain and in mid-winter."

I'm not sure, but I think that 43 (W) Div's DUKWs were over and above the normal War Establishment for an infantry division (I don't have the WE docs to hand, sadly).

Fair point re the REs. I was thinking more of the infantry's experience of conducting such operations. They'd been bled white in JUPITER, BLACKCOCK and BLACKWATER before NEPTUNE, which while successful, was deeply flawed.

(Top Tip: Offer to take the wife to Monet's House at Giverny for maximum Brownie Points, but suggest getting a hotel in the nearest town while 'accidentally' packing a copy of Ken Ford's 'Assault Crossing' and Jary's '18 Platoon'...) ;)
 

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