Ancient history

The Wehrmacht supplied by the R.A.F.

Still, Hackett had done what he could to try to put some order in this situation and when, at last, Urquhart, having managed to escape from his attic, came to resume his post, he too could not manage to put an end to the mess
Frost's men, he was told, bravely continued their fight on the bridge in the face of increasing pressure, while detachments of four battalions struggled to force their way through the German positions of the town to come and extricate them. Three other battalions, under Hackett's orders, had gone north and it was possible—but nothing was less certain—that they would enter. in the city on this side. The division's 9th battalion, finally, was the only one left in the CP sector
Dark Tuesday! All the attacks mounted in the city had failed; moreover, they had been very expensive. Hackett's battalions, grappling with German forces which were being reinforced hour by hour, had had to fall back south of the railway. The only battalion remaining in the P'C' sector of the division then suffered an which almost cut him off from the rest of the troops. The retreat was fiercely energetic, but it cost a lot of people and vehicles. Even before it was completely finished, the men, on the verge of exhaustion, could see with dismay the R.A.F planes, in the middle of an intense Flak, dropping their supply containers exactly on the planned locations. .' but these were still in enemy hands!

As night fell, the British were still fighting in the city with as much energy and drive, but amid worsening confusion, as their comrades fell back. In each of the battalions fighting in town, the colonel had been wounded and the loss of officers was severe. Finally, the exhausted men of Frost could no longer be expected to resist for a long time.
Yet they had to hold out for a whole day and a whole night. Without food, without water, out of ammunition, they had settled the wounded and the dying in the dark cellars of destroyed or burning buildings and seemed well now, amid the dust, smoke and blood-spattered ruins, realizing that all hope of victory had to be abandoned. However, when the final assault was launched by the Germans on Thursday morning, one of the attackers had to admit:"The battle was incredibly violent. It was raging on the floors, on the stairs houses' Grenades were flying in all directions' And every building had to be conquered in this way. At 9 a.m. it was over.

As for the rest of the division, it had been installed in positions which formed approximately a horseshoe, to the west of Oosterbeek and to the north of the Heveadorp ferry. Urquhart had hoped that, if he could hold out, he'd have a chance to see the army coming after
they had crossed the river, even if Frost couldn't hold his grip at the north end of the bridge.
It was all going to depend on how fast the 2nd Army could advance. When news reached the British that the Americans and the Guards Division had seized the Nijmegen bridges, only ten miles away, they could believe that deliverance was not far off. In fact, at dawn Friday, Urquhart received this message from the 30th Corps:'The 43rd Division has been ordered to do their utmost to extricate you today. »
But these 16 kilometers, the Germans were going to defend them with a fierce determination, with a lot of skill too, taking advantage of all the advantages that the terrain could offer them, using a side road where their vehicles and armor
passed unnoticed while British armor could only move along one narrow axis due to the dykes and irrigation ditches that limited it on either side' , the only usable road lay under the fire of the artillery and infantry of Model's army, which grew every moment stronger and more effective; the flow of traffic on this road was most irregular; the ammunition remained blocked in the obstructions, and when it was necessary to request the intervention of the planes, it was noticed that the only two radio sets available were out of order! We understand that the advance of the 30' corps was slower than expected.

Distressed by the state of his division—“a series of individual resistances,” he believed—Urquhart told himself that “the impossible was perhaps not attempted” by those who came to rescue him and, at as the hours passed, he found that his positions on the north bank were weakening dangerously. All along his line of defense and in the interior area constantly subjected to artillery bombardment (the Germans called it the cauldron), his men could find neither rest nor sleep. Food and ammunition were at their lowest; water and medicines practically non-existent. The enemy's tanks, his infantry patrols, his snipers, his assault guns throwing phosphorus shells constantly infiltrated through the thin line of English outposts and caused enormous casualties to the exhausted men, dying of hunger and thirst, even more furious to see the English and American planes sinking with determination into the middle of the Flak barrages to throw their supplies at the Germans!
Some men 'collapsed completely, but most continued to fight stubbornly.
After bloody fighting, the Border Regiment of Hicks' Brigade was driven from the heights of Westerbouwing commanding the Heveadorp Ferry and when , finally, the good weather made it possible to blow up the Sosabowski brigade south of the river, near Driel, the British had been repulsed from the northern wharf. The ferry was destroyed and the passage under the fire of German artillery. /P>

Despite the enormous dangers and the immense difficulties of the enterprise, the Poles attempted to cross the river on Friday night. But when the bombardment of the cauldron resumed at dawn on Saturday, only fifty Poles had succeeded in crossing ' Another attempt was made on Saturday night by the 4th Battalion of the Dorset Regiment, one of the lead units of the 30th Corps which had at last reached the Lower Rhine' This attempt too was to fail, most of the men having been killed in their boats which, however, carried away by the current, drifted well beyond the British positions.
This attempted crossing by the men of Dorset was not so much intended the airborne division; it was rather intended to allow its evacuation. Indeed, it had just been decided that the fragile northern bridgehead could no longer be held and that what remained of the airborne division had to be withdrawn.
On the following Monday night the evacuation began. The Germans, who at first had not reacted, quickly realized what was happening and, from midnight, took the maneuver under the fire of their machine guns and their heavy cannons installed on the heights of Westerbouwing.
Then their tanks began to approach the British defense lines. For the first time in a week, they encountered no resistance.'
More than 300 wounded were taken prisoner inside the perimeter. There were about
ten times as many in German aid stations and Dutch hospitals. Among the latter, the local Resistance helped them to escape by the hundreds, but for many others there was no longer any question of returning. At least 1,200 British soldiers had been killed; more than 3,400 German soldiers, killed or wounded.

One can find several reasons for this failure. The easiest is that the bad
weather conditions prevented supplies and reinforcements from arriving, and served the Germans. But there are other explanations.
Undoubtedly, the action of leaders like Model, Student and Bittrich on the scene
of the landings themselves was unpredictable; likewise, it was difficult to foresee the incredible rapidity of their reaction; but the fact remains that the British landed at Arnhem with very little intelligence as to any resistance they might encounter.
The signals weren't much better. Reports indicate that
brigade and division radios had insufficient range. Throughout the battle, radio transmissions were, if not non-existent, at least intermittent. , and,
until the last day, it was impossible to request close fire support by radio
aircraft' This failure is explained by the limited number of planes and gliders available; to carry heavier or bulkier radio sets, it would have been necessary to reduce the number of men.
The limitation of the number of aircraft engaged was also, in part, the cause of the failure;
it was even, according to the Germans, the main cause because the airborne division was never at its maximum strength due to the spread of transport over three days.
However, by nightfall on September 22, it was evident that the
However, in itself, the design of the maneuver had not been a mistake:if
"Market Garden" had succeeded quickly ent, then had been followed by another operation on the German defenses of the Scheldt to clear Antwerp, it is certain that the consequences would have been incalculable. Churchill said it well:“We had a great opportunity at hand. »
All the same, the "Market Garden" operation was not a total failure. The
passages of the Meuse and the Waal had now been created and the Allies had what General Student was to call "an excellent springboard for launching the final assault on Germany"