RGJ: Poor Show at Pegasus Bridge

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by HarrySmith95th, Jun 10, 2004.

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  1. This has been mentioned in passing already, but regardless.

    The RGJ, as you may know, do not have Colours in the form of standards as do the rest of the Army ( less Gurkhas ) but instead, carry 19 of them on their cap badge. The Regiment have a proud collection going back some 200 years. The latest one is "Pegasus Bridge", which by anyones standards, was a pretty superb action - the very first troops to land on D Day, first piece of land to be liberated, etc. One of which the RGJ are justifiably proud.

    I made another journey to Pegasus Bridge ( in mufti, it was the weekend ) . I particularly wanted to go this time as it will be tha last trip by the Normandy Veterans Association, and I reasoned that this would be my last chance to see the majority of the survivors of the landing. There where 15 of them all told, proud Old Soldiers in varying degrees of health.

    There was the whole of 1 PARA, a Company of Army Air Corps ( successors to The Glider Pilot Regiment ), Engineers, a French band, Prince Charles, big crowds.

    You would expect that the RGJ would have been there in force to pay their respects to the old boys who earned the battle honour carried by all RGJ.

    Nope. The official RGJ contingent was about 6 buglers and that was it. There where guys wandering around in civvies wearing berets, turned out to be serving or ex TA.

    The two Regular Battalions are deployed right now, but not exactly a million miles away ( to be sure ), but to me, such a pathetic showing was an insult to the veterans who outnumbered them.

    RHQ should have a good look at themselves. The showing for such a big occasion was disgraceful.
  2. agreed harry , where were the light div. band at the weekend???
    and i'm sure one of your training coys. would have jumped at the chance to go and meet the boys.
  3. I can understand that you are very upset about the turnout from the RGJ, and I am surprised that they didn't provide more support. But in todays climate of overstreatch and shortages and both battalions being on tours, there has to be a possibility that the six buglers were all that could be spared.

    I know the RGJ are fiercly proud of their history, the officers even more so, so there has to be a reason for the lack of soldiers present.
  4. I was watching a D-Day special on The History Channel here in the states last weekend. Part of this program covered the Pegasus Bridge action, and included some dramatic original aerial recon photos which were computer enhanced and turned into 3D. Quite impressive! Seems to me you Brits were the only ones able to land your gliders any where near your intended objectives, while some US units were inserted 5 miles or more from their intended drop zones.
  5. I don't think 5 miles away would have done the job. The pilots and troops were all specially trained for the operation with the pilots flying by instuments, turning at set points marked by a stopwatch. If the were released in the wrong place they would never have made it. Very impressive flying.

    The sad thing about the whole operation is that after the capture of the bridge and being relieved by the main ground forces, the Ox & Bucks LI were kept fighting on the front line suffering many many causualties.

    History might have been different if they had beed pulled out once their job had been done, given time to re-group and been ready for the next 'Coup de gras' operation. Would Arnheim have been any different if they were fresh and able to be used for an assault on the bridge? Nobody will ever know.
  6. Wasn't that a different british airborne division? And why should the airborne element rest in England while the remainder of the British Army continued to fight in Europe.
  7. Staff Sargeant Jim Wallwark landed his glider, 10 miles after being cast off, 47 meters from the bridge. Leigh-Mallory ( In charge of the RAF at the time ) rated this as one of the finest feats of flying on the war. All three landed within 100 metres, the actual positions being marked today by concrete plinths

    Jim Wallwark managed to make the trip to the 60th anniversary from Canada. Sadly I was not able to meet him, but I did have the honour of meeting some of the original Ox and Bucks that made the drop.

    Amazing, a lifetime memory.
  9. They could have been used in this role but what difference would it make the Para's at the bridge held out for as long as they were told to. The RAF didn't want to land where your suggesting and the ground element would have still struggled to reach them.

    The fight for Arnhem started in Sept 44 and it was finally liberated on 16th April 1945.
  10. HarrySmith95th ( top nom de plume, btw )

    The most annoying thing about your post is that it is so right.
  11. As it indicates he's a member of WFR (the successor to 29th, 36th, 45th and 95th Regiments of foot).
  12. I suspect its actually the Rifles, given his name and location - Harry Smith being a famous Jacket. Successor Regiment from that branch is (1) RGJ
  13. So what are you BB a "farmer" a "handbag" or a "cowboy"??
  14. The difference would have been that they may have held both sides of the bridge making it easier to defend. There could have been more troops dropped to the south of the bridge before the local German troops were able to form up into ad-hock units. The Division could have formed up and fought their way through the German resistance rather than having to make a mad dash at sub-unit level.

    With special glider troops of the caliber of those of the Ox & Bucks LI securing both ends of the bridge, even for only a day or so would have given the 1st Airborn Div time to get organized and fight their way to the bridge. Things may have gone more to schedfule and with the division as a complete unit, re-supply would not have been as much of a problem as it was with them spread all along the road from Heelsum to Arnhem.

    It could have been a lot different, but because the troops from Pegasus Bridge had not been saved.... the option to use them was no longer available. Arnhem turned out to be the 'Glorious Disaster' that it did.

    As a foot note, my uncle was at Arnhem and old and frail as he is, he's 10 foot tall in my eyes and always will be.
  15. i still think it's a remarkable feat of arms that they managed to gain what they did in the face of VERY good opposition , and hold on for as long as they did , it was always going to be a gamble linking up on as narrow a front as was planned , just a pity the brass didn't listen to their int briefs and decide to lob in anyway into the middle of 2 ss panzer divisions (i think)
    just back from normandy to refit.Light troops against armour is never a good set of odds but they gave a bloody good account of themselves .