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What went wrong with Operation Market Garden?


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#1 tovarisch

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 10:23 AM

Operation Market Garden. I want know all about it. What went wrong? I'm not an expert on the subject, and barely know about it, only general stuff.

What I learned was that it was a high-risk operation that failed. And that it was the largest airborne operation attempted at the time (Or maybe still is the largest airborne operation).

Why did it fail? Why was it high-risk? What were the casualties? (I know I could find this on Wikipedia, but info about casualties is always controversial) Why did the Allies favour the parachute forces, instead of, say, the marines or infantry?

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#2 sniper1946

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 10:32 AM

heres a view from this website tovarisch,ray..

Market Garden

#3 tovarisch

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 11:01 AM

cheers for the link, it all seems pretty well organised on that site. I suppose most of the member's views would correlate with the ones expressed there? Or am I wrong.

#4 sniper1946

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 12:33 PM

I dont know to be fair,but it runs on a theme..

#5 Volga Boatman

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 12:53 PM

Three basic reasons...

1/ Supply was dictated by TIME. "Market Garden" had a window of opportunity as the number one destination for scarce supplies. Gen. Montgomery had been given "the nod" by SHAEF and had to make his plan work within a certain time-period, or his supplies would be allocated elsewhere.
2/ British intelligence saw what it wanted to see in regard to German dispositions, and in estimating the recovery time that German units would need after Falaise.
3/ The offensive was essentially an airborne "carpet", laid down over a single road. The timetable depended on the ability of the airborne units to hold the ground taken. Airborne forces, whilst well trained and supported, have a limited amount of combat time before ammunition and other vital resources begin to make in-roads on the 'combat power' of the units concerned.

Market-Garden planning did not take into account these logistical difficulties, the fault of which had borne fruit from the assumption that the airborne forces would be dropping into essentially un-covered ground (ie. no opposition, or minimal opposition)

Once XXX corps started to roll forward, the axis of advance was along a single highway, and as German oppositon started to scramble the pre-set plan, the airborne forces, only meant to conduct a "hold" operation, found themselves having to conduct their operations in a manner they were not suited for, and for far longer than they should have.

Market-Garden followed the old rule of Napolean...."No plan survives first contact."

It was a rigid time-table that ran short, leaving airborne troops in a situation that their equipment and supplies could barely cope with.

Hope this helps clarify....One must understand the overall policy of the Allied Western effort, ("Broad Front"), the supply situation, the plan itself and the narrow frontage. All conspired to make MG a failure, or as Monty put it, "90% successful".

One should also remember that for the airborne forces, there were 11 straight operations that had been cancelled since the D-Day landing. They had a "go" attitude, and swept aside objections in the name of getting into action before the war ended. One of the chief problems with elite forces is that they tend to see themselves as being able to overcome most difficulties. Sometimes, their better training and motivation than regular "line" troops can work against them when planning operations.

Market-Garden was just such an operation.

Edited by Volga Boatman, 02 February 2010 - 01:04 PM.


#6 Heinrich

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 01:01 PM

No , i dont fully agree to whats in the article .That just describes the actual battle .


It doesnt show that Germans already knew market garden was coming by a Dutch doubleagent in London called King Kong (C.Lindemans).. its also known as the 'England Spiel' were Germans captured one after the other dropped secret agents and forced them to work for German intel.
Even though many agents tried to warn London by deliberate errors in the sent messages it wasnt picked up ...a very tragic game wich ended in the drama of Arnhem .

Another known fact is is the finding of the full allied battleplans in a crashed WACO glider the first day ..

Parachutes was the only way to reach Arnhem from English airfields ..in 1944 Holland was still fully occupied so no way it could be reached over land without first having to break German lines out of Belgium wich would have cost many thousands of lives ... besides the important bridge over the rhine river would have been blown bfore it was reached , so it needed to be captured by surprise .

Nasty thing is Montgomery blamed Polish HERO!! Gen Sosabowski as a coward afterwards wich was highly unfair as the Polish forces fought like lions and suffered dearly ..Dutch people today still highly admire their bravery !

Market Garden was a huge and unnecessary mistake ..its aftermath was even more tragic as it led also to what we call the hungerwinter too . The large cities in the west were left without any food and many civilian people died of starvation during the cold winter to follow . If you ask older Dutch people what they think the worst period of the second worldwar was I bet they'll tell you it was the hungerwinter //surviving on grass and tulip bulbs ,eating leather shoes etc !!! (cats,dogs,budgies and other pets had been snacked way earlier already..)

Futhermore there was a lack of proper communications devices and brits had great difficulty setting up radio connections to the other Para groups and to London .. I ve read somewhere there was just one long range WS19 set that survived the drop and 'was still functional , but it couldn't establish a contact to london .

Edited by Heinrich, 02 February 2010 - 03:16 PM.

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#7 sniper1946

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 01:07 PM

Germans already knew market garden was coming by a Dutch doubleagent in London called King Kong (C.Lindemans).. its also known as the England Spiel .


taken from axis history ..

King Kong was the codename for the Dutch traitor Chris Lindemans.
C. Lindemans had succesfully infiltrated the Dutch resistance movement for the Abwehr.
He was first a legitimate resistance member but in early 1944 he started to work for the Abwehr.
In his previous honest resistance work he smuggled another Dutch resistance member to Spain, that resistance member he smuggled to Spain was a member of the staff of the Dutch prince Bernhard, this member of staff told his superiors that C.Lindemans could be trusted.
Through this contact C.Lindemans (King Kong) on 15 September 1944 got to know details about operation "Market-Garden" and he gave this information to his Abwehr contacts in Driebergen, who then contacted the German army command in Holland.
It has to be said that they didn't trust this information that came from King Kong and didn't pass it on to general Model.
The letter with the information of King Kong was kept on the HQ in Oosterbeek (just the place were the airborn operation took place).

I believe Chris Lindemans was caught after the war and executed.

a book covers this called "betrayal at arnhem" by anne laurens..

#8 Heinrich

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 01:38 PM

The Germans did trust Lindemans ..Agent after agent was dropped straight into German hands so they very well knew KingKong was trustworthy.. Remember Prince Bernhard was an ex SSman too .. Many people think Bernhard was the real source ..as he was the one to have acces to everything .. Offcoure the info was sent to Model ..why do you think there was a whole panzer group waiting for them ?? No coincidence ..treason ! Lindemans was to be shot by an execution squad like many collaboraters but killed himself before it came to that . .
Berhard is considered a war hero .. well .. the truth about him will propably never come outin the open ...but just remember he loved trips to Argentina after the war ..for the SKIing is sooo nice in Bariloche ..:cool:

Edited by Heinrich, 02 February 2010 - 01:55 PM.

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#9 sniper1946

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 01:45 PM

you could be correct heinrich..

MI5 files reveal how 'King Kong' betrayed Allies - This Britain, UK - The Independent

#10 Heinrich

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 02:38 PM

I know its like that Ray .
Dutch TV made a very extensive documentary about the England spiel in the nineties too , but ive been told some things first hand by an old radio amateur friend who was a (good) undercover agent in the war in the Amsterdam/Haarlem area . He actually knew many of the people who were caught by Lindemans treason and told me he tried to relay radio messages from arnhem to england during market garden and couldn't do it either because of bad radioconditions at the time .
My friend has passed away many years ago now , but I still own his hallicrafters receiver .
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#11 sniper1946

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 02:42 PM

thats cool heinrich,obviously the conflicting location given must have had a bearing on the way things turned out,do you think....

#12 sniper1946

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 03:01 PM

dont know if this has any value,but you can see,ray..

Military Maps of Second World War from Osprey Publishing books

#13 Heinrich

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 03:02 PM

Its the quality of the radio sets that was the main reason why the different para groups could not communicate well on the ground and got dispersed all fighting separately the first two days .the germans were able to quickly drive a blocking force between them to make it worse ..took too long to regroup and then it was too late already.. That due to the weatherconditions most heavy arms didnt arrive was bad already but having no direct communications must have been a nightmare..

problem with radio connections is that youre dependable on good atmospheric conditions to be able to send long distances with only little transmitting power .
Holland lies very low ,below sea level actually , I guess the only way they could have established good connections is by a 40 or 80 meter longwire antenna hung up horizontally above water or very wet ground so the set had a good radio ground/counterpoise and the signal would have bounced off the wet surface at an angle .. it would make a hop instead of sending straight to the horizon as i think theyve tried to do .

Had several types of WS sets and found most transmitters to be utter rubbish ..they receive okay but were accident proneand only transmitted to the corner of the street and thats it ..display purpouses only :-)

Edited by Heinrich, 02 February 2010 - 03:41 PM.

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#14 sniper1946

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 03:07 PM

as in a bridge too far,so for want of good reception/radio's,all was lost so to speak...

#15 sniper1946

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 03:38 PM

some now and then pics.. Battledetective Now and Then

#16 sniper1946

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 03:44 PM

Operation Market Garden Logistics - World War II Forums
Chester Wilmot in his 1952 book The Struggle for Europe stated that just before Op Market Garden 1400 British 3-ton trucks were off the road due to faulty ...
ww2f.com/battle.../13496-operation-market-garden-logistics.html -

#17 Heinrich

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 04:01 PM

sorry . misunderstood article and removed post //please remove?

Edited by Heinrich, 02 February 2010 - 04:08 PM.

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#18 Martin Bull

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 04:28 PM

Amazing guys, the Germans....the remnants of 9th SS Pz Division were in place West of Arnhem by September 8th, handing over their vehicles to 10th SS Pz on September 10th.

By that token , they must have known about Market Garden before the Allies did, and certainly before 'King Kong' delivered his warning.
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#19 Heinrich

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 04:42 PM

the englandspiel had been going on over a few years already then..its not just a single event and not just KingKong but an open leak that has been open a long time ...so propably yes ..
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#20 urqh

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 11:00 AM

The radio network setup was planned to work in a way envisaged that as Volga states didnt survive the first shot. The setup would have worked fine with battalion to brigade and further up the line if and only if the objectives were met by the footmen on the ground in the way envisaged by the intial plan. Thus the so called radio failure was one of planning rather than equipment. The equipment was to be used in relation to the objectives taken on day one two three etc. It was not envisaged the blokes would not be able to get to their planned objective to bring the net on line as it should be and would work as planned for the few days envisaged before xxx corps arrived. The radios may not have helped much in the ensuing disaster but that was never thought to be an option in the planning of the radio net anyway. So once bullets flew and first contact went wrong the intitial radio net plan went to pot. Not so much kit as plan as with rest of Arnhem.

And as Martin succintly points out....The Germans...what of the Germans.

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#21 Heinrich

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 01:11 PM

One thing about working of radiocommunications at Arnhem at local level ,maybe there was communication between english groups and to he americans at Nijmegen ,but between Polish and English were no communications at first at all . So one may seriously doubt if any of their radios were operative . Ive seen a dutch documentary about gen sosiabowski ,believe it was only on the second day he managed with great losses to get a few people over the water to establish some form of communication .

As there was already a german blocking force ready ,that gave the germans the time to get their block on the right spot in time ..with good communications that might have been different story , could have gotten the allies just that much extra time in which weather was clearing and more supplies and reinforcements might have been dropped etc..
I understood thats the reason too why Montgomery was upset about the poles as they couldn't achieve their orders, but it wasn't cowardry why Sosiabowski couldn't do it ,he took huge losses already just trying to make contact .

Offcourse its all Iffy history now , there wouldn't have been more gratefull people than the dutch if the operation had succeeded , as it would have meant the end of German occupation for a large part of the Netherlands immediately ...

What is upsetting is that our queen Wilhelmina after the war personally had ordered to decorate all Polish forces and Gen Sosiabowski too,
but that our gouvernment refused to do that because of very strong diplomatic pressure applied from London ...Those are facts that all came out quite recently after the dead of prince Bernhard and many official documents became public . Dont know if the official english viewpoint on that case has been changed today ,but it might explain why english sources have a different view about these first days .
BTW ..I think allied historians seem to underestimate the seriousness of what the 'England Spiel' reveals ..there has been an open leak directly from Bernhards quarters and SOE
to german intel for years , reveiling not just Market garden but many more ops .
Started from 1942 onwards till the end of the war .
Amazed so little people here seem to know about it ..



This article mentions some things related to market garden too :
Special Operations Executive, Series 1, Parts 1 to 5

Edited by Heinrich, 04 February 2010 - 12:07 AM.

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#22 brndirt1

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 06:38 PM

Here is a pretty good seven page article from World War II magazine on Operation Market-Garden:

See:

Operation Market Garden Reconsidered » HistoryNet


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#23 Spaniard

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 06:14 PM

Op Comet Revised as Op Market Garden AKA A Bridge to Far, had bad weather, logistical and supply problems.
To assume your going to reach certain objectives by the allotted time as underestimating your opponents capabilities
or resistance was some of the reasons things went so horribly wrong.

Op Market Garden lacked C3, command, control and communications, as the key to a successful operation.
As trying to bite off more then you can chew.

Edited by Spaniard, 16 February 2010 - 11:53 PM.


#24 urqh

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 08:51 PM

Spaniard has it in one...No plan ever survives initial contact, or seldom in any.
Over confidence in planning and command usually will lead to that.
The radio net plan was thought sufficient for the overall operation and indeed probably would have been, had the initial movements aka the original plan had succeeded.

However, even with perfect communications, 2 para main were at the bridge when Kraft held up another battalion on the move...the last battalion were on their own way according to the initial plan. If they had been brought down to assist even good radio network would not have forced kraft away from his position in those first few hours...and why would Urquhart even if in contact with all his 3 para bns, even think of ordering the other battalion down when the one in contact with kraaft should have been sufficient..Which general in the dark on contact to advance even today would order his last spare battalion of the day, already on march to its target off its path on the account of a contact by another battalion on route to their objective?
No the problem was with the initial plan, no radio contact would have got all 3 bns needed to the bridge on night one. Generals dont just order changes to their plans on the first contact basis without proper evaluation by which time even then with or without radios the battle was lost on night one.

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#25 Kruska

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 10:09 PM

Hello Heinrich,

two things in your forwardings I do not understand.

1. In what way did OMG in September cause a hungerwinter ?

2. unfortunatley he is no more alive, (He used to cut my hair real nice) but this gentleman was a Feld or Oberfeldwebel in the German paras. When we used to talk to him about OMG (I think he was around Eindhoven) he never gave the impression that they knew about this coming operation.

Regards
Kruska
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