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

A quick summing up. Market Garden was never going to work because:-

1. Leigh Mallory refused to adopt the best drop and landing zones because of a fear of casualties.

2. 1 Para Bde should have been dropped at both ends of the bridge (see 1).

3. The RAF air support plan was bizarre (see 1).

4. Urquart was an inexperienced airborne division commander.

5. The various HQs from Monty down to Browning refused to accept the intelligence reports regarding II SS Panzer Corps.

6. The RCS chain of command issued radios (22 sets I think) designed for amphibious warfare, not fighting in and around woods.

7. Browning was determined to be in on the act, on the ground, using gliders that would have been better flying in a fighting unit.

8. There were too many objectives for the two US airborne divisions to cover adequately.

9. The ground relief operation was restricted to one road for significant parts of its path.

10. Patton had stolen a significant fraction of the petrol and some other stores allocated to VIII Corps and 1st US Army for the right flank operations.

There are surely more that I've forgotten.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
A quick summing up. Market Garden was never going to work because:-

1. Leigh Mallory refused to adopt the best drop and landing zones because of a fear of casualties.

2. 1 Para Bde should have been dropped at both ends of the bridge (see 1).

3. The RAF air support plan was bizarre (see 1).

4. Urquart was an inexperienced airborne division commander.

5. The various HQs from Monty down to Browning refused to accept the intelligence reports regarding II SS Panzer Corps.

6. The RCS chain of command issued radios (22 sets I think) designed for amphibious warfare, not fighting in and around woods.

7. Browning was determined to be in on the act, on the ground, using gliders that would have been better flying in a fighting unit.

8. There were too many objectives for the two US airborne divisions to cover adequately.

9. The ground relief operation was restricted to one road for significant parts of its path.

10. Patton had stolen a significant fraction of the petrol and some other stores allocated to VIII Corps and 1st US Army for the right flank operations.

There are surely more that I've forgotten.

11. The operational plan for Arnhem, as well as Browning and Gavin's approach at Nijmegen, completely ignored the requirement "to seize the bridges with thunderclap surprise".
 

Ex-Ten

War Hero
11. The operational plan for Arnhem, as well as Browning and Gavin's approach at Nijmegen, completely ignored the requirement "to seize the bridges with thunderclap surprise".
Spot on, they were mincing about on the Groesbeek Heights looking for non existent panzers when they should have been getting on with real job!
 

SpiderFox

Old-Salt
A quick summing up. Market Garden was never going to work because:-

1. Leigh Mallory refused to adopt the best drop and landing zones because of a fear of casualties.

2. 1 Para Bde should have been dropped at both ends of the bridge (see 1).

3. The RAF air support plan was bizarre (see 1).

4. Urquart was an inexperienced airborne division commander.

5. The various HQs from Monty down to Browning refused to accept the intelligence reports regarding II SS Panzer Corps.

6. The RCS chain of command issued radios (22 sets I think) designed for amphibious warfare, not fighting in and around woods.

7. Browning was determined to be in on the act, on the ground, using gliders that would have been better flying in a fighting unit.

8. There were too many objectives for the two US airborne divisions to cover adequately.

9. The ground relief operation was restricted to one road for significant parts of its path.

10. Patton had stolen a significant fraction of the petrol and some other stores allocated to VIII Corps and 1st US Army for the right flank operations.

There are surely more that I've forgotten.
ALL of 1st Airborne Div should have been dropped on the first day, including the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, even if it took 2 lifts.

ETA - Two lifts should have been seriously considered anyway, in spite of the difficulties.
 
11. The operational plan for Arnhem, as well as Browning and Gavin's approach at Nijmegen, completely ignored the requirement "to seize the bridges with thunderclap surprise".
12. Every major airborne operation to date, despite months of planning, had gone wrong to some extent with unexpected losses and unachieved objectives (Husky, Neptune). It was going to go better done on the fly..?
 
ALL of 1st Airborne Div should have been dropped on the first day, including the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, even if it took 2 lifts.

ETA - Two lifts should have been seriously considered anyway, in spite of the difficulties.
Two lifts in a single day was NOT an option.

I detailed why earlier in the thread.
 
A quick summing up. Market Garden was never going to work because:-

1. Leigh Mallory refused to adopt the best drop and landing zones because of a fear of casualties.

2. 1 Para Bde should have been dropped at both ends of the bridge (see 1).

3. The RAF air support plan was bizarre (see 1).

4. Urquart was an inexperienced airborne division commander.

5. The various HQs from Monty down to Browning refused to accept the intelligence reports regarding II SS Panzer Corps.

6. The RCS chain of command issued radios (22 sets I think) designed for amphibious warfare, not fighting in and around woods.

7. Browning was determined to be in on the act, on the ground, using gliders that would have been better flying in a fighting unit.

8. There were too many objectives for the two US airborne divisions to cover adequately.

9. The ground relief operation was restricted to one road for significant parts of its path.

10. Patton had stolen a significant fraction of the petrol and some other stores allocated to VIII Corps and 1st US Army for the right flank operations.

There are surely more that I've forgotten.
I don't think Leigh-Mallory was responsible for the Air Plan for Arnhem/Oosterbeek. I think it was Grp Cpt Hollingshurst(?), (Jeremey Kemp played him in A.B.T.F).

I'm not too sure about the ll SS PanzerKorps because they were in a shocking state after their savaging in Normandy.

There were a fairly large number of Training/Replacement Units in the Arnhem Area as well as the Germans reinforcing the area faster than 1st Airborne could build up their own strength.
 
12. Every major airborne operation to date, despite months of planning, had gone wrong to some extent with unexpected losses and unachieved objectives (Husky, Neptune). It was going to go better done on the fly..?

In recent times l have wondered (when all is taken into account) was disaster at Arnhem/Oosterbeek inevitable?
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
In recent times l have wondered (when all is taken into account) was disaster at Arnhem/Oosterbeek inevitable?

Over the years several million armchair generals, on this site alone, have highlighted how it could have been successful.
 
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There were a fairly large number of Training/Replacement Units in the Arnhem Area as well as the Germans reinforcing the area faster than 1st Airborne could build up their own strength.
German reinforcements continued to arrive throughout the battle, including a substantial contingent from the Officer Cadet Training battalion in Bielefeld.

That reinforcements were fed into the (remnants) of the German Panzerdivision but had no prior training or experience of Inf/ Armour cooperation is one of the few advantages the Paras had in their favour, esp. around the Perimeter.
 
I was listening to one of the "We have ways" podcasts on this subject and from one of the readings of one of the British memoirs, the Germans were equally confused, were feeding units (cobbled together from passing leavegoers, walking wounded, rear echelon types, unshipped sailors, dismounted aircrew and so on) and shoving them against dug-in paras, with inevitable results. They also seemed to have a continual bad habit of walking about or forming up under observation from the British and getting picked off as a result. The German mortaring and use of 20mm (and bigger) anti aircraft guns in direct fire and relentless sniping seemed to have had the most effect, doing considerable damage to housing and rendering evacuation of wounded and general movement very difficult. The SS appeared to press their attacks home with recklessness and suffered as a result ( by not making better tactical use of the ground and their firepower).
With regard to the presence of tanks, it appears that the initial presence of the SS in rebuild was well known before hand, courtesy of aerial photography and photo interpretation but they were discounted as being shattered formations and the ability of the Germans to reinforce via rail appears to have been entirely discounted. One account has it that the Germans shifted a Tiger unit in via rail as a "Blitztransport", which apparently had a priority level matching that of a V2 transport, so everything else on rails was pushed into sidings until the Tigers had passed through.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Would you not consider Op TONGA to have been a success ?

One of the unintended consequences of the large numbers of troops dropped well away from target areas was that the Germans were completely baffled as to where to send troops.

One idea is that if all had landed where they were meant to be then the Germans would have been able to concentrate what forces they had for far more successful counter attacks.
 
One of the unintended consequences of the large numbers of troops dropped well away from target areas was that the Germans were completely baffled as to where to send troops.

One idea is that if all had landed where they were meant to be then the Germans would have been able to concentrate what forces they had for far more successful counter attacks.
That is true, particularly in the American Sector of Normandy.

However, thousands of thoroughly trained Paratroops, priceless equipment and expensive Gliders, were scattered/missing all over Normandy.

The two American Airborne Divisions were unable to complete any of their major objectives that night.

It was the resulting shambles of the Night Drops over Normandy that made Allied Planners rule out a Night Drop for Market Garden which coupled with the shortage of Transport Aircraft meant that the three Airborne Divisions could not deploy in one lift/drop on the first day.
 
One of the unintended consequences of the large numbers of troops dropped well away from target areas was that the Germans were completely baffled as to where to send troops.

One idea is that if all had landed where they were meant to be then the Germans would have been able to concentrate what forces they had for far more successful counter attacks.
Very true. The only significant armoured unit in the GOLD/OMAHA area of operations was Kampfgruppe Meyer of the 346th Infantry Division, consisting of a company of StuG III (the divisional mobile AT asset) and a battalion of partly-motorised infantry. they spent the early hours of D-Day heading down to St Lo, looking for 'Ruperts' and only made it back to the actual invasion area late in the day, just in time to meet 4/7 DGs exiting the southern end of Creully. They stopped 4/7 DGs' advance, but night was already falling and the bridgehead was nearly ten miles deep at that point!

(the other half of KGr Meyer went to the northern end of Bayeux (the chateau that's now a Michelin-starred restaurant that I've forgotten the name of...) and clashed with 5 RTR early on 7th June before retreating).
 
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Re II. SS Panzer-Korps: It's already been discussed, but the oft-repeated 'ignoring intelligence' trope is a red herring. Aside from a pair of flakpanzers and some light armour from the remnants of two recce battalions, not a single panzer from that corps fought in Arnhem or Oosterbeek apart from two Pz IVs that were dragooned by Training Panzer Company Mielke as they passed through their depot (and were immediately KOd north of the bridge by Airborne 6pdrs).

As Molders said, the panzer opposition at Arnhem and Oosterbeek came from panzers that had been shipped in by rail from Germany (or marched on their tracks from Amsterdam) after the battle had started: Stug-Brigade 280 (StuG IIIG & StuH), Panzer Training Company Mielke (Pz III), Heavy Panzer Company Hummel (Tiger I), Panzer Company 224 (FlammPz B2(f)) and the headquarters and 1st company of 506th Heavy Panzer Battalion (Tiger II).
 
One account has it that the Germans shifted a Tiger unit in via rail as a "Blitztransport", which apparently had a priority level matching that of a V2 transport, so everything else on rails was pushed into sidings until the Tigers had passed through.
I am hugely sceptical, given the very small numbers of Tiger tanks on the Western Front, and the fact that Arnhem was the lowest priority for the Hermans, of all the bridges under allied threat during Op MG.

I cannot recall a single instance of Tigers at Arnhem being recorded in anything I have ever read about the fighting at Arnhem, nor was any mention made of them by any of the veterans or historians of the battle who guided my Staff College course about the place in 1989.
 
I am hugely sceptical, given the very small numbers of Tiger tanks on the Western Front, and the fact that Arnhem was the lowest priority for the Hermans, of all the bridges under allied threat during Op MG.

I cannot recall a single instance of Tigers at Arnhem being recorded in anything I have ever read about the fighting at Arnhem, nor was any mention made of them by any of the veterans or historians of the battle who guided my Staff College course about the place in 1989

I am hugely sceptical, given the very small numbers of Tiger tanks on the Western Front, and the fact that Arnhem was the lowest priority for the Hermans, of all the bridges under allied threat during Op MG.

I cannot recall a single instance of Tigers at Arnhem being recorded in anything I have ever read about the fighting at Arnhem, nor was any mention made of them by any of the veterans or historians of the battle who guided my Staff College course about the place in 1989.
According to this book, Two Tigers attacked Frost' positions at the Northern End of the Bridge on the 19th of September but we're damaged/driven off.

After repairs they were then taken under command of KG Knaust and were used to blast the remaining Paratroops out of their buildings on September 21st.

Thereafter they were sent South to Elst to hold up the advance XXX Corps.
 

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Would you not consider Op TONGA to have been a success ?

Yes but the landings were scattered all over the shop... the Merville battery was asssaulted with a quarter of the envisaged force and without support weapons... We took 75 casualties the Germans 44 two of the guns were back operational the same day and the position was active until the Germans abandoned it in mid August.
 

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