Operation Market Garden

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Operation Market Garden


Operation Market Garden (September 17-September 25, 1944) was an Allied military operation in World War II. Its tactical objectives were to secure a series of bridges over the main rivers of the German-occupied Netherlands by large-scale use of airborne forces together with a rapid advance by armoured units along the connecting roads, for the strategic purpose of allowing an Allied crossing of the Rhine river, the last major natural barrier to an advance into Germany.

The operation was initially successful with the capture of the Waal bridge at Nijmegen on 20 September, but was a failure overall as the final Rhine bridge at Arnhem was never taken and a German counter-offensive destroyed the British 1st Airborne Division. The Rhine would remain a barrier to the Allied advance until March 1945. The defeat of Allied forces at Arnhem is considered the last major German victory of the Western Campaign.

Market would employ three of the five divisions of the 1st Airborne army.
The US 101st Airborne Division, under Major General Maxwell D. Taylor, would drop in two locations just north of the XXX Corps to take the bridges northwest of Eindhoven at Son and Veghel. The 82nd Airborne Division, under brigadier General James M. Gavin, would drop quite a bit northeast of them to take the bridges at Grave and Nijmegen, and finally the British 1st Airborne Division, under General Roy Urquhart and Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade would drop at the extreme north end of the route, to take the road bridge at Arnhem and rail bridge at Oosterbeek.

Market would be the largest airborne operation in history, delivering over 34,876 men of the 101st, 82nd, 1st and the Polish Brigade. The lack of sufficient aircraft meant that the drops had to be be scheduled over several days. The Deputy Commander of the 1st Airborne Army, "Boy" Browning, added his own HQ to the first lift so that he could command from the front. 13,781 troops were transported by gliders, 20,190 by parachute, and 905 by aeroplane on a prepared landing strip. Gliders also brought in 1,689 vehicles, 290 howitzers and 1,259 tons of ammunition and other supplies.


Anton Withagen

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Anton Withagen, “Operation Market Garden,” Special Operations History Foundation, accessed January 20, 2019, http://specialoperationshistory.com/items/show/103.

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