What if Arnhem had been a Gliderborne operation?

#1
Would it have succeeded?

I have just posted on the subject of the Gliderborne assault on the Caen crossings that are now refered to as Pegasus Bridge. The operation was a total success with minimal initial casualties from 2nd OXF & BUCKS.

Now, if Market Garden had involved a coup de main assault party landing on / near the bridge, could it have worked?
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
You've read Pegasus Bridge by Stephen Ambrose. He makes that point, that D Coy Ox & bucks was a superbly trained unit for coup de main type operations, effectively almost an SF unit. After the success of the landings, the unit was put back into the line and suffered the same bocage fighting as the rest of the infantry.
 
#4
Fally

I considered that, but (naively ) hope not.

Chris - one of my copies of P Bridge is signed by Wally Parr and Dougie Allen, Nos 1 and 5 gliders respectievly.
 
#5
The Coup de Main at Benouville comprised of one Company while Arnhem bridge was defended by a heavily reinforced batallion (elements of 2 & 3 Para and Brigade HQ units (Engineers).

A better course of action would have been for one of the parachute brigades to have been dropped just south of the bridge, as the Polish brigade was originally planned to do. The reason why this didn't happen was because the divisional heavy gliders would not have able to land on the soft Polder area. This is the real reason why the Division was dropped so far from the objective. The idea was to keep as much of the division intact.

The reason Market Garden failed was because Gen Gavin & Gen Browning failed to give the Nijmegen bridge enough priority. The Guards Armoured Division had to take Nijmegen bridge when it should have been in the hands of 508 PIR, 82nd Airborne.
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
I think the fact that the relief force advanced along a single road had quite a lot to do with the failure of the operation,
 
#7
I think we just underestimated the tenacious defence of the German army. The fact that all the allied forces knew the war would soon be coming to a close also couldn't have helped. No one wants to die near the finish line.
 
#8
Thanks to all the misdropped Paras wondering around the French countryside causing havoc, the organized counter attack of Peggy Bridge was never a main effort for the Germans on the same scale as at Arnhem. The armour encountered at Peggy bridge was also minimal unlike at Arnhem. Neither Airborne or Airlanding troops can hold out against Armour for to long.
Peggy Bridge was also reinforced quite quickly by the Paras who started to turn up in strength within 3hrs of its initial capture by Oxs and Bucks. Im not sure the same could of happened so quickly at Arnhem without a revised DZ option for the Paras.
 
#9
Peggy Bridge was also reinforced quite quickly by the Paras who started to turn up in strength within 3hrs of its initial capture by Oxs and Bucks. Im not sure the same could of happened so quickly at Arnhem without a revised DZ option for the Paras.
The relief force (Welsh/Irish Guards) destined for Arnhem decided to lay up for the night due to fatigue which lost precious time, though whether it would have made a difference if they'd have pushed on can never be answered.
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
Montgomery,by this time of the war had his head well up his own exhaust pipe, and didn't give a **** about anybody other than himself, He just wanted to come out of the war as the darling of the press and to screw up Paton the whole Market Garden operation was a rushed poorly planed **** up, from start to finish
 
#11
Montgomery,by this time of the war had his head well up his own exhaust pipe, and didn't give a **** about anybody other than himself, He just wanted to come out of the war as the darling of the press and to screw up Paton the whole Market Garden operation was a rushed poorly planed **** up, from start to finish
I agree. Montgomery was after the glory had it succeded. Bloody Normans eh!
 
#12
Was there not a plan for gliders to land on the bridge itself?

Soft polder was the reason for drop zones being faraway.

SS-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 9 was decimated, when they drove over the bridge. Granted they were mostly wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles.
 
#13
Was there not a plan for gliders to land on the bridge itself?

Soft polder was the reason for drop zones being faraway.

SS-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 9 was decimated, when they drove over the bridge. Granted they were mostly wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles.
Indeed Graebners force was the most potent armoured threat of either panzer divisions in the early stages of the Arnhem landings. It was not until later on in the struggle for Oosterbeek that the reinforcement panzers turned up. In the first few days the only panzers were French Renaults used against the LZs west of Oosterbeek. The British airborne divison had a very potent anti-armour capability, at Divisional level, with their 17 pounders brought in by heavy gliders. The Germans were shocked that the British had brought the formidable 17 pounder in by glider! Unfortunately, the 17 pdr is not an assualt weapon and not suited to taking ground in an urban environment. They were very effective during the siege at Oosterbeek and took a hevy toll on the Tigers.
 
#14
The irony was that the SS Panzer Units (whose presence was known about but ignored) were only there temporarily and the landing could have been postponed to take this into account. As an SS officer said to a captured Para officer 'why did you attack now, in another 48 hours we would have been gone'.

Agreed about Montgomery, though, he let his feud with Patton get in the way of the bigger picture and did it again with the Rhine crossing in 1945 when the attacking force was routed over the Ruhr anti-aircraft defences - in daylight.
 
#15
Didn't the Germans also have a few flamethrower tanks? I remember reading an account of them near the heights being fairly effective. Afterwards the German propaganda photographers claimed they were used by the British.
 
#16
I do know that the SS, during a truce arranged to evacuate the wounded, used the time constructively to infiltrate buildings overlooking the Paras positions. Still, you wouldn't expect chivalry from the SS, would you?
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
I think we just underestimated the tenacious defence of the German army. The fact that all the allied forces knew the war would soon be coming to a close also couldn't have helped. No one wants to die near the finish line.
I'm just working my way through Armageddon by max hastings at the moment - he dissects the Arnhem operation at some length, and makes that point. no Allied leader wanted to needlessly waste lives under their command, so there was an element of caution in everything done on the Western side. (of course, the Germans and Russians had no such compunctions.) he does pose the question that if the allied leaders had been a bit more daring, would they have taken more casualties in the short term but managed to force a surrender earlier than may 1945?
 
#18
To be fair to Monty, he had just come off the back of a stunning victory in Normandy. His plan was to tie down the German armour around Cean allowing the Americans to breakout inthe West following the capture of Cherbourg. Aside from a few hiccups like not taking Cean early on he achieved this. In fact at one stage of the campaign there were 8 German Panzer divisions facing the British while the Americans faced just one.

Monty favoured a single thrust into Germany to finish the war. Bradley also favoured this approach but, naturaly, wanted his Armies to be the focus of the push. The launch of the V2 rockets from Holland forced the issue. Holland had to be liberated.
 
#19
I think we just underestimated the tenacious defence of the German army. The fact that all the allied forces knew the war would soon be coming to a close also couldn't have helped. No one wants to die near the finish line.
Wasn't there a report that wherever Allied forces encountered a German unit of equal size/composition it was likely to result in a loss for the Allied unit? One thing the Germans were good at was organization and reaction.
 
#20
Wasn't there a report that wherever Allied forces encountered a German unit of equal size/composition it was likely to result in a loss for the Allied unit? One thing the Germans were good at was organization and reaction.
Considering the poor quality of some of the German Whermach divisions I would say if such a report exists it was a complete fallacy.
 

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