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  1. #81
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard_in_wales View Post
    It may have made a big difference but the Germans were pulling supprises out of the hat until pretty much the very end. The idea of XXX (30) Corps pushing up that length of road in the timescale given was optimistic to say the least, Dutch and RAF reports of armour in the area were all but ignored or brushed off as were intercepteed radio communications, the communication failure due to wrong crystals fitted to sets should have been sorted out etc etc. Montgomery claimed Market garden a 80 or 90% success (can't remember the exact percentage he quoted) and a member of the Dutch government in exile (IIRC) commented words to the effect that "Holland cannot afford anymore of Montgomery's successes"
    The Dutch underground was ignored because it was known to be heavily infiltrated in certain areas. That's a shame because they not only provided the evidence for the panzers in the area, they also offered a solution to the problem with the radios - the telephones were still working in the area.

    The Dutch military used to do a similar exercise to that involved in Market Garden. If you suggested moving all your troops along that one road then you failed the test. They knew from experience that it was too hard to move large bodies of troops along that one road and that it was too easy to block.

    But despite all the problems the operation brought for the Dutch civilians in the area, all the death & destruction while it was going on and the "hunger winter" reprisals afterwards, they were still generally in favour of it - because it was an indication that the long occupation was coming to an end.

    The ceremonies in the military cemeteries at Oosterbeek is most moving. Not a dry eye in the house.

    In the summer of 1945 several hundred veterans of the battle were detached from operations in Norway and returned to Arnhem to take part in filming for the war movie Theirs Is the Glory. While there they attended the first commemorative event at the cemetery. This event continued every year, and was attended by veterans, local residents and over 1000 school children who laid flowers on the graves of the dead. After the 25th anniversary in 1969, the Parachute Regiment approached Dutch organisers to suggest ending the ceremony, believing the battle to have passed sufficiently into history. The Dutch were vehemently and emotionally opposed to the idea and thus the ceremony continues to be held annually.

    Steve

  2. #82
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markrgv View Post
    That may be so. But a number of them were. A bridge was destroyed and this immediately caused a huge delay that they ultimately never recovered from.They were later delayed again at Nijmegen. It meant men further up the chain were cut off from the support they were going to receive from XXX Corps.

    The regiment that held out until over-run at Arnhem did an incredible job - what should have been hours turning into days.
    It wasn't even a full regiment, it was hardly a brigade.

    The bridge was meant to be held by the majority of the 1st Airborne Division, about 9,000 men plus artillery and vehicles and it was only meant to be held for two days until XXX Corps got there.

    Instead, John Frost and a rag-tag collection of 7-800 men made it to the bridge and held it for 3 days and 4 nights.

    Yes, the destruction of the Son bridge and the delays at Nijmegen held up XXX Corps. But so did the counter attacks which almost broke the line a few times. There was also the problem with dropping the Paras so far away and dropping them over two days. The loss of the Arnhem railway bridge which meant that Frost couldn't attack both end of the road bridge at once. The infamous problem with the radios & with the resupply drops, the failures of intelligence, the decision by "Boy" Browning to move his HQ out onto the field when he would have done better to stay at home.

    There were many errors and many things that just didn't work out as planned.

    Steve

  3. #83
    Senior Member Country: Wales
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    "The Dutch underground was ignored because it was known to be heavily infiltrated in certain areas" Your being too kind, it was to all intent and purpose run by the Germans, however ariel photo's showed heavy armour in the area.

    I have been to Oosterbeek/Arnhem area several times over the years, its a sobering place to visit. Sadly our veterans are now thinning out as time passes.

    I started watching Band Of Brothers again yesterday, very well made series.

  4. #84
    Senior Member Country: United States TimR's Avatar
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    The Eagle Has Landed is a terrific film. There are plenty of small things to criticize - but why bother? The cast is a treat and the story is exciting and the direction is very good. It also offers Jean Marsh, Jenny Agutter and Judy Geeson together in one film - as far as I know for the only time.

    And it has Anthony Quayle who played Canaris. I had forgotten that.

  5. #85
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard_in_wales View Post
    "The Dutch underground was ignored because it was known to be heavily infiltrated in certain areas" Your being too kind, it was to all intent and purpose run by the Germans, however ariel photo's showed heavy armour in the area.
    Only the majority of it, not all of it


    I have been to Oosterbeek/Arnhem area several times over the years, its a sobering place to visit. Sadly our veterans are now thinning out as time passes.

    I started watching Band Of Brothers again yesterday, very well made series.
    Band of People Arguing a Lot. Why don't they just get on with it instead of debating every decision? Democracy is a great idea, but not in the armed forces when you're in the middle of combat

    ISTR I enjoyed seeing Dexter Fletcher in it, playing yet another American.

    Steve


    Steve

  6. #86
    Senior Member Country: England cassidy's Avatar
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    Sad to hear that Jean Marsh was taken ill last week. I'm sure we all wish her well.
    Quote Originally Posted by TimR View Post
    The Eagle Has Landed is a terrific film. There are plenty of small things to criticize - but why bother? The cast is a treat and the story is exciting and the direction is very good. It also offers Jean Marsh, Jenny Agutter and Judy Geeson together in one film - as far as I know for the only time.

    And it has Anthony Quayle who played Canaris. I had forgotten that.

  7. #87
    Senior Member Country: Scotland
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    The irony of Market Garden is that the original idea (Op Comet) would have had the Poles taking Nijmegen and the British taking Arnhem.

    As Steve pointed out, the forgotten element was the constant counterattacking by the Germans up and down the line from Eindhoven to Elst. The British VIII and XII Corps are the completely forgotten units of Sept 1944, as they were the flank corps for Market Garden, protecting XXX Corps. And frankly they failed.

    The failure of the twin-Vickers machine gun jeeps to land safely was crucial, as they could have and were supposed to race to Arnhem, take both ends of the bridge and hold them and the ground to the south. The inability of the British and Poles to use the ferry was also crucial.

    Postwar, Urquhart stated in his biography that whilst stuck in that house for 24 hrs, had he known how isolated Frost was, hed have ordered everyone back to hold Oosterbeek as early as the 19th, which would have meant a larger and stronger pocket, with the ferry intact. XXX Corps could have then crossed and the bridgehead gradually expanded and British armour could have driven the Germans north of Arnhem, which would have also meant they disengaged south of Arnhem bridge at Elst, which could have allowed the British to push into Arnhem from the south as the 'Urquhart pocket' of Paras and XXX Corps pushed east and north into the town.

  8. #88
    Senior Member Country: Scotland
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    Yes, the destruction of the Son bridge and the delays at Nijmegen held up XXX Corps. But so did the counter attacks which almost broke the line a few times. There was also the problem with dropping the Paras so far away and dropping them over two days. The loss of the Arnhem railway bridge which meant that Frost couldn't attack both end of the road bridge at once. The infamous problem with the radios & with the resupply drops, the failures of intelligence, the decision by "Boy" Browning to move his HQ out onto the field when he would have done better to stay at home.
    True. Urquhart was quite happy to take some initial casualties on softer ground near Driel, but the RAF overstated the problems. In retrospect, 'Roy' was correct, probably only a few gliders would have been lost, but you would have been landing just south-west of the bridge anyway. It could have been taken on foot and the jeeps if safe would be a bonus.

    The Paras lost a railway bridge, a ferry and the chance as well to use Deelen airfield (intended for the landing of the 52nd Lowland Scottish which had been trained as a glider borne infantry unit).

  9. #89
    Senior Member Country: Scotland
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    Montgomery claimed Market garden a 80 or 90% success (can't remember the exact percentage he quoted) and a member of the Dutch government in exile (IIRC) commented words to the effect that "Holland cannot afford anymore of Montgomery's successes"
    Ironically, the one military great who to his death in 1978 championed Market-Garden was German Paratroop legend Kurt Student, who thought despite its failures, gave a better 'jump off' point for the Allies in Holland/the Rhine than we would have had if we had simply ground our way up through the Netherlands.

    Montgomery's biggest failure was not Arnhem, as public myth has it.

    It was the failure to take Antwerp.

  10. #90
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ayrshireman View Post
    The irony of Market Garden is that the original idea (Op Comet) would have had the Poles taking Nijmegen and the British taking Arnhem.
    Ah, but then would we have had the river assault by Major Julian Cook of the 82nd Airborne (Robert Redford in the film). That was one of the most outstanding actions of the whole operation if not the whole campaign.

    Yes, they really did do a river crossing in daylight against entrenched and armoured opposition. What's more they did it in boats that they weren't familiar with and that didn't have many paddles. The casualties were high, but they took the bridge.

    Steve

  11. #91
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    Cook would have had no chance if Hitler had seized this opportunity

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIYJD...eature=related

  12. #92
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    Ah, but then would we have had the river assault by Major Julian Cook of the 82nd Airborne (Robert Redford in the film). That was one of the most outstanding actions of the whole operation if not the whole campaign.

    Yes, they really did do a river crossing in daylight against entrenched and armoured opposition. What's more they did it in boats that they weren't familiar with and that didn't have many paddles. The casualties were high, but they took the bridge.

    Steve
    The British bit of that scene is great filmically, but complete nonsense.

  13. #93
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ayrshireman View Post
    The British bit of that scene is great filmically, but complete nonsense.
    How do you mean? What is nonsense?

    Steve

  14. #94
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    How do you mean? What is nonsense?

    Steve
    The Shermans were faced with two 88's at the end of the bridge, they blasted those. As opposed to the thrilling but untrue scene in the film where they simply come across machine gunning Germans on the bridge.

  15. #95
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ayrshireman View Post
    The Shermans were faced with two 88's at the end of the bridge, they blasted those. As opposed to the thrilling but untrue scene in the film where they simply come across machine gunning Germans on the bridge.
    Oh, that. A minor bit of dramatic licence that gave them another chance to play the theme tune.

    I thought you might have meant the stopping for tea afterwards
    That did happen, but for sensible military reasons. Tanks without infantry and air support up that road wouldn't have lasted long. It wasn't just because they wanted a cup of tea

    Steve

  16. #96
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    I thought you might have meant the stopping for tea afterwards [IMG]http://vbpullzone.**************dna-cdn.com/images/smilies/laugh.gif[/IMG]
    That did happen, but for sensible military reasons. Tanks without infantry and air support up that road wouldn't have lasted long. It wasn't just because they wanted a cup of tea
    FIVE tanks took the bridge. Five. The rest were still in town mopping up the Germans.
    One of the tanks was commanded by a young man who would in later life be better known as Lord Carrington.
    And still is, god bless him, at the age of 92.
    He won the MC for his role in taking the bridge.

  17. #97
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ayrshireman View Post
    FIVE tanks took the bridge. Five. The rest were still in town mopping up the Germans.
    One of the tanks was commanded by a young man who would in later life be better known as Lord Carrington.
    And still is, god bless him, at the age of 92.
    He won the MC for his role in taking the bridge.
    Plus Major Cook and the lads from the 82nd airborne

    Steve

  18. #98
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    You seem to have a soft spot for the Americans Steve, is it the uniform

  19. #99
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard_in_wales View Post
    You seem to have a soft spot for the Americans Steve, is it the uniform
    It's that one action in particular. It's not an easy river to cross at the best of times. It's much harder when there are lots of people shooting at you and trying to blow up your boats. It tends to get lost amongst the other actions in that operation but it really should be celebrated more

    Steve

  20. #100
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    Indeed, being shot at does tend to focus ones attention to matters in hand.

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