Why did operation Market Garden fail?

Discussion in 'Command Ops Series' started by TMO, May 7, 2020.

  1. TMO

    TMO Member

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    Probably been debated on numerous sites but as we're all under lockdown thought it might be nice for people here to have a go.

    Some questions:

    1) The 'need' to use the expensive (especially in terms of elite personnel) airborne units before the war ends was compelling, otherwise why have them?.
    2) Why not two lifts in one day?
    3) Why land so far away from the objectives? Fear of Flack is always mentioned but why not attack the Flack towers etc with fighter bombers?
    4) Why did Gen Browning decide to land his HQ on the the Groesbeek Heights on the first day wasting a lot of transport that could have been used elsewhere.
    5) Why didn't Gen Gavin go for the Nijmegen bridge on the first day?
    6) Why no fighter bomber support to ground troops until it was too late?

    Food for thought. Keep safe everyone.

    Regards

    Tim
     
  2. TMO

    TMO Member

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    Oh, and sorry, as Gene Hackman says in his horrible 'Polish' accent, "But what about the Germans?".
     
    #2 TMO, May 7, 2020
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  3. jimcarravallah

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    1. I'm not certain the airborne units were used because otherwise they'd be wasted. By the time of Market Garden they had been rested and refitted after the battles in Normandy, and were available as combat units. Keep in mind, as far as expense, two months after Market Garden the US 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions were pulled out of rest and refit operations in France and pushed up into defensive positions to stall the Nazi Wacht Am Rhein advance..

    Montgomery proposed a ground push to breach the Nazi defenses and take the Western Allied battle into Germany. The bulk of the advance was with ground forces, but realizing the terrain for the northern thrust was cut by rivers and limited communication routes, proposed simultaneous seizure of critical river and road junctions to speed up the ground effort.

    Airborne units were to hold those junctions long enough for the XXX Corps to pass through and eventually breach the Rhine river.

    2. Moving significant elements of three divisions and sustaining them by air consumed virtually all of the available allied tactical air transport. I suspect the return time in flight from the dropzone to the air bases, the on ground turn around time for aircraft refilling, refitting and reloading and return flight time to drop zones left little daylight time for a second lift.

    It would probably have helped the British Airborne Troops had he full contingent for Arnhem been dropped on the first day, but the bulk of their support was expected to come from ground forces, and the XXX Corps was still significantly delayed in reaching the Arnhem crossing.

    The problem with combat in Arnhem was the surprise availability of two Nazi armored divisions thought to be refitting further from the town. Because the defensive reinforcements were close at hand, it disrupted the plan for securing the crossing more effectively.

    Give me some time to follow up. I want to find some details on the refit operations for tactical aircraft to support the answer to question 1.
     
  4. Stephen Phillips

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    All the bridges were captured, except one. Nijmegen. On the day of the drop there was literally no defenders. 82 under Gavin didn’t give it any priority. 30XXX are held up taking the bridge. Up to Nijmegen 30XXX was on time according to the plan and had I think about 8 miles to go Arnhem. Market Garden would have worked.
    There were many problems with the plan but failing to capture the Nijmegen bridge was the main cause of its failure. Arnhem bridge was taken and held for four days.
     
  5. Stephen Phillips

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  6. john connor

    john connor Member

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    Gavin followed his orders, I believe? The orders - especially if you've played the scenario in the game (the 9 day Maas-Rijn scenario) - are puzzling, because you're meant to hang onto a huge area (all of the Grosbeek heights and more), including follow-on drop zones, take many bridges and hold them, and you simply don't have the strength to do it. You learn that quite quickly playing the scenario. But, if you ignore the orders (let's say interpret their intent differently) and send everything you've got in the first day up to Nijmegen bridge it's very very far from a push over. I've ignored all bridges except Grave and Honighute (a Bn for each of those) and sent all the remaining units from Gavin's force to take one or other Nijmegen bridge and have usually managed to take both ends of one or other bridge, but I have rarely managed to hold both ends until XXX Corps' arrival. The Axis defence and counter-attack is strong, consisting of those 'surprise' Panzer units which are rushed across Arnhem bridge and down to Nijmegen in the first hours of the battle. So to stop those units getting to Nijmegen becomes essential, which means the Brits have to really get to Arnhem and block the bridge within a few hours, and that is also very hard to achieve in game.

    That scenario is the one I've played most of all CO2 scenarios. It's a great challenge. Paradoxically, it's easiest, I've found, to block the Arnhem bridge quickly, if you play on extreme orders delay. Not sure why.

    It's not true that Nijmegen bridge was entirely undefended at first, I believe. Though it's true that the armoured arrivals made a huge difference. But even if Gavin had stormed the bridge on day 1 I wonder if he could have held both ends until XXX Corps got there? The game - set up, I trust, in an historically accurate way - suggests that isn't so easy.
     
    #6 john connor, May 8, 2020
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  7. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Hey Tim, nice to see you around, I hope you are well.

    2) If I am not mistaken, the Allies did not have the airlift capacity to accomplish a single-day lift with single-towed gliders, as British and US paras had to be dropped. While they had amassed ~ 1,050 transport planes, they also had to provide tow planes for 516 (?) gliders. The Allies conducted almost 2,300 glider flights, so they had a sufficient number of gliders, obviously, but the number of tow planes was limited.

    Logistically, the organization of the first airlift was already even more complex than the (supposed) "1,000-bombers" attacks on German cities.
    Both columns - rather armadas - (2 routes) of the first lift's airborne contingent span across 150 km. While the first drops occured around noon on Day 1 (correct me if I am wrong), I am guessing that the last planes of the armada returned to England during late afternoon. A part of the 2nd wave would have ended up as a night drop (a no-no for the gliders). Some COs feared to replay Normandy experiences.

    Lt. General Brereton's opinion was instrumental, as he altered the Market Garden (MG) plan:

    The blueprint - the Linnet plan - had projected double-tow lifts (2 gliders pulled by 1 tow plane !), which would have doubled the size of the glider contingent on Day 1. He thought double-tow lifts to be too dangerous (AA, collisions).
    This deprived the paras of a subst. amount of heavy weapons.

    In fact, a less dangerous AA level could have been assumed, due to the element of surprise + because the Germans considered Nijmegen + Arnheim to be calm areas.

    3) US commanders criticized that the projected British DZs/LZs were too far from the objectives. The Nijmegen zones were also relatively far away from the main objectives, indeed.

    One of the reasons: the effectiveness of the German AA screen for Day 1 was completely overrated.

    Air cover + CAS:
    Around 370 fighters escorted the transport planes and glider combos on the Northern transport route, 548 fighter planes escorted the planes using the southern route.

    Before the paras were dropped, 212 Thunderbolts had attacked all identified AA installations - all over the theater. Additionally, 48 Mitchell and 24 Douglas bombers had been sent to hit military installations (bunkers, troop quarters, etc.) in Nijmegen, Deelen (airfield), Ede and Kleve (the German city "near" the Groesbeek Heights, which was known to hold training/recruitment centers).

    The lack of thorough aerial recon + occasional sophisticated camouflage reduced the effectiveness of those air strikes.

    Example: The Flak tower at the Grave bridge was camouflaged, I doubt that aerial recon had managed to identify the flak tower, and I don't think that particular tower was hit/attacked.
    Despite one misdrop (E Company) at grave, the 2nd Bn 504th (?) had to collect their troops first, before they could attack the town of Grave. The preliminary bridge assault itself turned out to be lucky/easy, according to Antony Beevor:

    The platoon that happened to be the closest plt. to the bridge didn't wait for the rest of the Coy + attacked the bridge. They were greeted by small arms fire, but the bridge was not blown up. 2 trucks turned up, w/ the co-drivers firing at the platoon, which looked like the trucks would spawn reinforcements any second, but the drivers were obv. instructed to save the vehicles + run.
    The platoon seized a building with a direct LoF on the flak tower's roof, sniped the 20-mm flak crew, manned the gun + used it to fire at the bunker on the other end of the bridge. That bunker's crew had either been killed or fled in the process.

    Since the rest of the Bn had to be scraped together, first, the 2nd Bn planned a night attack on Grave but got delayed by a lone German tank, which fired a few rounds + disappeared. Shortly after, a German recon car + a horse-drawn vehicle were smashed by US mines brought and laid by the Paras to protect the bridge. Another delay, as the troops had to ensure that the bridge defenses were reinforced again, first.


    While the Germans funneled clueless troops around Nijmegen, scores of citizens looted alcohol stocks (piled up in the Turmac factory) the Germans had stolen from Dutch companies and civilians. They ran to the factory randomly grabbing crates, bottles and random stuff, the whole ordeal looked like columns of busy ants throughout the surrounding streets.

    The Germans in and around the city almost panicked, as they were scared to lose control of the city + started to randomly send inf detachments through the city, where no Allies could be sighted, though, instead of reinforcing the bridge defenses.
    Model insisted not to blow the bridge (until it was too late).

    Meanwhile Gavin told Arie Dirk Bestebreurtje, the Dutch liaison officer (he had fled to England in 1940 and joined the Princess Irene Bde + then British SOE) who had been in the Nijmegen area before the 82nd dropped and who was tasked to advise the 82nd Airborne in Nijmegen, that "we are not interested in the bridge at this moment" (rough quote), which utterly frustrated the dutch officer, as he advised to use the current chaos to seize the bridge right away.

    Gavin expected a "hell of a (German) reaction" from the Reichswald vicinity (aiming at the Groesbeek heights), according to Bestebreurtje.
    Gavin had still dispatched 1 Bn of the 508th to move to Nijmegen + occupy a position where it could quickly assault the bridge when they got the signal that the Groesbeek Heights were ultimately secured.

    Gavin orderd the CO of the 508th, Lindquist, to make sure that the assault on the bridge would be commenced along the eastern river bank to avoid getting blocked by German elements inside the city. The Bn was ordered to move around Nijmegen to get to that FUP, explicitly. Instead, Lindquist agreed to some advice from a resistance fighter to enter the city from the southern main road. The ensuing firefights + chaos inside the city (during the night) created another vital delay + a no. of casualties.
    Meanwh., the Germans had pulled the main forces back across the river to defend the bridge from the northern bank.

    According to Beevor, Gavin asserted after the war, that he saw Lindquist as the least able rgt. commander in his Div, b/c he supp. lacked "the killer instinct" + the willingness to "go all-out". If true, then it puzzles me why he had sent Lindquist to overview the assault.

    Since Gavin was criticized a lot by historians after the war, this could have been some form of relativization/blame game, I don't know. Fact is, his decision contributed to the destruction of the British airborne.

    A chain of indiv. events + decisions piled up + created the massive delay in the sector.

    Lack of proper intel:

    Some recent infos - based on aerial photographs that were ordered to verify particular Dutch resistance reports - had indicated that SS units were parked in woods and camo'ed in positions near or around Arnheim, but these infos were held back by Monty, for quite a bit, and I am not sure if Eisenhower had been informed or how he had rated the presence of these units. If am not mistaken, Monty claimed that the operation couldn't be postponed/altered anymore anyways, and that 1 somewhat more punchy SS unit would not be able to change the outcome of this giant operation.

    Political disputes:
    The op. also had a political element: the British ET Command demanded to control a major offensive against Germany + grew tired of folks around Eisenhower, who stressed that the supply lines were overextended + that the US had to regroup before commencing their push across the Siegfried Line. Imho, Eisenhower gave in, in order to silence Monty. Instead of wasting resources on MG, an earlier clearing of the Scheld estuary could have made the harbor in Antwerpen available in early October already, which would have improved the supply situation earlier.

    Adverse events:
    With the captured territory (Nijmegen + Elst area, etc.), the Ardennes front had to be thinned out or manned with beat up units from the Hürtgen Forest theater, as the Germans still had to be pushed back to Kleve to the East, and pushed out of the towns s'-Hertogenbosch, Breda and Bergen and the Scheldt estuary.

    5) KG Heinke prevented the advance party of the 508th, which was dispatched to screen the Nijmegen bridge + its defenses, from reaching the ordered position. Afaik, Gavin had no intel regarding enemy forces just south east of the bridge (minor roads through polders) + right at the bridge.

    6) MG was the only WF op where the Germans had air superiority (Sept. 18/19). While 300 German fighter planes were put under Model's command, bad weather (GB/Be) + disputes betw. US + British COs prevented aerial support on September 18, even though the weather in the theater had completely cleared up. German AA + fighter bombers kicked in, even though the area's AA screen was in a deep slumber before the landings.

    Brereton insisted that all Allied CAS a/c in Belgium remained grounded on September 18, even though the weather in the MG theater offered perfect flying weather, while his planes resumed their missions. Pretty disturbing intervention, I wonder how he substantiated that request.

    He also prevented night drops (which would have created a powerful momentum if executed as preliminary night attack on the Nijmegen bridge (16th/17th of September)). His argument: dark moon.
     
    #7 GoodGuy, May 8, 2020
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  8. Stephen Phillips

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    I don’t think we should confuse the game and what happened historically. There are much better resources for that. A favourite is ‘it doesn’t snow in September’ very good account from the German perspective. Check the resources and both sides account. Plenty of people had some part in the failure. But I think it’s really important to remember we’re looking back with more information than they had at the time.

    You should also ask what was to happen after Arnhem and did it fit into the allied strategic plan? Arnhem wasn’t to be the end of the operation. It had much wider objectives. What was the consequences of its failure particularly for the Netherlands and its people?
     
  9. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    On a tactical level, he was right to defend the Heights, as he could have ended up in a pocket inside Nijmegen, if he would have sent the bulk of his forces to the city on Day 1.
    Alternatively, he could have placed a delaying/dummy force on the Heights and marched to the bridge right away. He could have then used the city boundaries to fend off Germans coming from the Reichswald.
    Problem: He didn't have enough AT/arty guns on Day 1 and the LZ - his only reinforcement source at the time - would have been overrun.

    Still, the numerous rather badly commanded (subordinates) and fruitless attacks on the bridge on Day 2 reduced the force pool and gave the Germans time to prepare the counterattack.
    I am not sure if Gavin had considered the strategical goal (ro reach Arnheim in time) sufficiently. Eisenhower could have intervened, here.
     
    #9 GoodGuy, May 8, 2020
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  10. Stephen Phillips

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    When I said it was not taking the bridge at Nijmegen that did not mean Gavin was solely to blame. He is only a Division commander. His plan was approved by the Corps commander, Browning. Gavin, as you mention shares a portion of the blame because his mission included taking the bridge. Ultimately Browning who is Corp Commander and Deputy 1st Allied Airborne Army takes the majority of the blame. He took responsibility for this and said he personally gave the order for that every effort should be made to capture the bridges over the Grave and Nijmegen bridges as soon as possible and that it was essential to capture the Groesbeek heights.
     
  11. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    A divisional CO still has to assess how many tasks his troops may be able to accomplish (with the forces at hand), and which task will have to be truncated, if necessary. No. 1 was already accomplished (Grave bridge), no. 2 (Heights) uncertain (due to the expected push from the Reichswald) and no. 3 (city) out of reach, as the force that was tasked with assaulting the bridge, eventually, kept using the unfeasible main road/city approach to get to the bridge and appeared to be too small to overrun the German defenses.
    While the US units on the Heights attracted the attention of the German paras (etc), 2 minor roads southeast of the bridge - leading through the polders - could be used by the Germans to bring in reinforcements to the city, in theory. The SS contingent that was tasked to counterattack had managed to get to the Nijmegen sector by ferry. With his orders, Browning insisted that the bulk of the forces would come from the Reichswald, which was a misjudgement that was partially caused by the lack of intel and Monty's cockiness: The presence of 1 reported SS division near Arnheim (where actually 2 resided in the theater) did not prompt the Allies to revise the plans.

    The Heights were not unimportant, but kind of overrated by Browning and maybe even by Gavin.
    Only the 2 bridges were important, and the relief column was on its way.
    I tend to think that Gavin thought that the appearance of the reinforcements that were scheduled for the lift on the following day would solve his dilemma, so he focused on securing what he had (at that moment): the LZ and the Grave bridge.

    Then Lindquist's move was another addition to the list of questionable decisions when he dumped Gavin's explicit orders (to bypass the city and assault the bridge).
    Lindquist basically used the German mission-type tactics approach, at a time when - in the main - US units still used order-based tactics, but then picked the least feasible approach. After Gavin had treated the N. bridge as a low priority target for quite a while, he then lost control of the actual efforts to take the bridge, when Linquist decided to use the main road, which completely killed the element of surprise. His troops were discovered on the streets by the civilians, and the word that the Allies had reached Nijmegen spread quickly. I wouldn't rule out that the resistance fighter (who came up with the idea) talked him into using that approach or that he aimed for an Eindhoven moment (where the population celebrates the liberators), or that Lindquist thought that he could/should trust the local's "expertise", or that Lindquist wanted to have his Eindhoven moment .
    I wonder what Lindquist had said after the war.
     
    #11 GoodGuy, May 8, 2020
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  12. TMO

    TMO Member

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    Hi Gunnar, great stuff as always. A couple of things. Can’t recall where I read this but I think the RAF agreed to a double drop, but this was put down (will have to research this because I’m really not sure) by Maj Gen Williams. Secondly, why XXX Corps ‘kick off’ so late? Also why is the drop so late? Around midday. Surely both XXX Corps and the airborne divisions would have been much better off going earlier. More time to reach the bridge and more time for XXX Corps to advance

    Regards

    Tim
     
  13. TMO

    TMO Member

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    Also Gunnar, regarding your comment about Gavin’s forces being caught in a pocket in Nijmegen if they went for the bridge hell for leather, well that’s exactly what happened to 1st Airborne. Gavin, however, would have been relieved in probably only a day or so. He should have gone for the bridge in my opinion.

    Regards

    Tim
     
    #13 TMO, May 8, 2020
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  14. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    The gliders started at 9:30 a.m. (hmm... local British time? This would have been 10:30 a.m. CET) and the transport planes with the paras started "afterwards". I am guessing that (some of) the para planes then passed the slower tow/glider combos during the trip, as the first paras had reached the DZ before the gliders (around noon CET).

    CET was GMT at the time (afaik), so only 2.5 hrs travel time for the paras (not the gliders).

    Vital question: when does the sun come up in September? According to Google: at 7:15 a.m. CET in Nijmegen (on September 17, 2020, at least) and at 7:39 CET in London.

    Basically, the Allies could have started 1 hr and 50 mins earlier.

    Travel time of the paras (not the gliders) 2.5 hrs.

    EDIT:
    Arrival of the last planes in England: ......... say 3.00 p.m.
    Refueling + boarding the 2nd wave,
    attaching new gliders: ................................ until 4.00 p.m
    Start of the 2nd wave: ..................................... ~ 4.15 p.m.
    Sunset at Nijmegen: ............................................ 7.46 p.m.

    Arrival of the first 2nd wave paras: ................... 6.45 p.m.
    The last gliders then prob. would
    have had to land right after sunset

    But with an early start (7:40 a.m.), the 2nd wave of paras AND the gliders could have been brought in way before sunset (arrival of the first para elements of the 2nd wave: 4.55 p.m). The gliders were slower, but all gliders should have made it.

    I hope that made sense.

    Comparison: The armada for Op. Varsity (March '45) was even bigger, it stretched across 322 km and it took the entire armada 2.5 hrs to pass any given obs point on the ground.
    Double-towing was trained for several months and found to be safe, so a number of C-47s then performed double-towing: 540 transports ferried the Para lead elements, but an additional number of 1,050 troop carriers then towed 1,350 gliders.
    It would be nice to get to know the reason for dropping a double-drop version. I did not know that the RAF had agreed to it.

    XXX halted one or another time, the armored spearheads stalled several times ( I am not sure about the reasons, locally unexpected resistance was one of the reasons, at least), they didn't seem to rush it early on, imho, then they rushed later on, when it was getting too late, already.
     
    #14 GoodGuy, May 8, 2020
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  15. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    That reminds me of Winter's reply in Band of Brothers:
    "We're paratroopers, we're supposed to be surrounded!"

    So yes, I agree. :)

    Actually, didn't the first tank units reach Grave around noon on September 19?
    That means that they could have started to clear a corridor to the outskirts a bit less than 2 days after a full-scale para attack on Nijmegen.
    One detail though, if the Germans would have focused on the Moelenhook/Mook perimeter, then the Heumen bridge could have been used for counterattacks on the XXX columns, if the perimeter was in German hands, so taking/holding both the Heumen bridge and the bridge up north (to Nijmegen) was important. This reduced the force pool that moved up to Nijmegen (2 Rgts?) eventually.
     
    #15 GoodGuy, May 8, 2020
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  16. Lobsterr

    Lobsterr Member

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    Primosole Bridge in Sicily was A Bridge Too Far v1.0 and it didn't work either. Stupid is as stupid does.

    Or Montgomery hated the Red Devils so he thought he would try and kill them off again.
     
  17. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    The newly formed 1st Allied Airborne Army command, led by Brereton, was responsible for the control of the IX Troop Carrier Command (which was controlled by the AEAF before). Brereton's conference on September 10 discussed, determined and assigned the needed amount of Para troops and transport wings - under the precondition (decided?/ordered by Brereton, not Monty) that MG would have to feature daylight landings, exclusively.

    The night landing on Sicily was a complete disaster, US paras were scattered all over the area, 47 gliders of the British Ladbroke operation ditched in the Mediterranean and a number of friendly naval units fired at transport planes and gliders alike because the corridor had not been cleared and naval units only marginally informed.
    Vital factor: Williams, the CO of the Troop Carrier Command was not up-to-date regarding the latest pathfinding technology (the less successful light beacons or the radar beacons), so he had neglected those possibilities completely.
    The 52nd Tropp Carrier Wing had trained to pull gliders, but now assigned to drop Paras, so it had little training in navigation for night drops, the 51st Wing had 0 XP with gliders but was now assigned to pull gliders.

    It basically took the Allies 2 years to get airborner operations right. Varsity was pretty much the journeyman's piece in that process.
     
  18. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    The SS KG, which actually consisted of 3 understrength KGs (not even full Bns), mainly had halftracks, only.
    The only tanks in that KG were a few JpPz IV/70 (5 or less, some sources indicate 2-3) that were attached to the KG's Recon Bn (Recon Bn 10 from the 10th SS "Frundsberg") and the remnants of a StuG III platoon (2 SPGs?) attached to the Grenadier Rgt 22 (10 SS) Kampfgruppe.

    These 3 units must have finished the ferry transfers over the Pannerdensch Canal (i think 2 ferry crossings were available) between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., iirc, but then still had to march to Lent. The lead elements might have reached Lent in the early evening (Day 1), but the available forces were not strong enough to conduct a push across the river shortly before nightfall, let alone a push past Nijmegen in a night operation. The Germans decided to pull all the main forces out of Nijmegen, anyways.
    Until late evening (Day 1), only single tanks were sighted (eg. 1 tank at Grave, one or another Recon car between Nijmegen and Grave, etc.), and these single units barely engaged, preferred to run/disappear, or even hit US AT mines.

    The Recon Bn had quite a few halftracks with the short 75-mm guns, so that unit must have been able to deliver quite some anti-personnel fire power when it fired from positions near the northern end of the bridge on Day 2. Even though Gavin collected all the glider pilots to form an ad-hoc Bn, to reinforce the groups attacking the bridge on Day 2, all attacks failed.
    The SS KG was instrumental in the successful defenses that day.

    Rushing the bridge on Day 1, using the bulk of 1 Rgt to secure a larger parameter around the northern end of the bridge, assigning 1 Bn each as defensive forces for the 2 vital bridges (Heumen + Honingh.) and placing the rest of the 2 Rgts to defend the Nijmegen outskirts and securing the road to the Honinghutje bridge might have been a better idea, imho.
    The citylimits then could have been declared to be the new drop zone for the supplies (instead of having to roam the Groesbeek area to search for dropped supplies).

    It wasn't undefended. But the situation for the local inf units was quite irritating. At first, they didn't know what was going on and when Lindquist entered the city some of the remaining Germans panicked after nightfall, others put up serious resistane, the ensuing street fights were quite chaotic. The US elements weren't better off, wounded paras were picked up from the streets by civilians who then took them in and provided medical attention, I am not even sure if Lindquist had established an HQ/aid station yet (most likely not).
     
    #18 GoodGuy, May 9, 2020
    Last edited: May 9, 2020
  19. GoodGuy

    GoodGuy Member

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    Exactly. A USAF study from 1956 ("Airborne operations in World War II, European Theater.", USAF Historical Division, Research Studies Institute, Air University, 1956) established that the 82nd retrieved less than 70% of the airdropped supplies (as the supplies were scattered all over the place near or behind Groesbeek), and this (rather poor) rate could only be achieved because Dutch civilians kept relaying infos about supply locations. Other sources claim that 80% could be retrieved. The 101st retrieved less than 50% of the airdropped supplies.
    According to the USAF study, Gavin stated that he would have had to employ a third of his men if he had tried/wanted to collect all of the supplies. Dropping the supplies over the city, providing that at least 2 Rgts would have secured its limits, would have been easier. Additional glider landings just west of the city could have delivered additional AT guns and artillery pieces on Day 3.
     
  20. TMO

    TMO Member

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    Been trying to find justification for my comment that the RAF agreed to fly in two lifts on 17 September. Geoffrey Powell “The Devils Birthday: The Bridges to Arnhem, 1944”, says Air-Vice Marshall Hollinghurst (commander 38 and 46 RAF groups) was fine with two drops on the 17th but was overruled by Maj-Gen Williams (air transport coordinator for the operation as a whole) who was worried about turn around times with, what he considered, too few properly trained ground crew. Regards. Tim.
     

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