Just 'a Bridge Too Far'. Essay

1810 words - 7 pages

Just 'A Bridge Too Far'The purpose of this paper is to answer the question as to whether or not the strategy of "Market-Garden" was fatally flawed? It is easy to see the strategy of Market Garden as flawed, being that the operation did fail. However, the fact that it failed does not mean that the strategy behind Market Garden was fatally flawed. The fact the operation came as close to succeeding as it did, is testament to a successful strategy. Had the 1st Airborne not been dropped on top of two armored SS divisions the results probably would have been very different - this is proof of bad intelligence, not bad strategy.The successful invasion of Normandy commenced on D-Day, June 6th, 1944, and by September of that year the allied forces had captured the north of France and Belgium.Now two ideas of how to continue the battle existed. The Americans wanted to attack Germany on a broad front. The English Field-Marshal Montgomery wanted to advance through the Netherlands to the Dutch IJsselmeer and then turn to the east and march into Germany. Success of this plan would not only isolate the German forces in the west of Holland but also avoid the heavily reinforced Siegfried Line. After many discussions, Montgomery received the go-ahead for his plan, code-named "Operation Market Garden" .On September 17th, 1944 between 1.30 and 2.00 p.m. the airborne landings started. The American 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles" landed between Son and Veghel, the American 82nd Airborne Division "All American" near Grave and Nijmegen and the 1st British Airborne Division "Red Devils" near Arnhem. For a variety of reasons the operation did not go as planned. The advance of the British army from Neerpelt in Belgium was delayed by strong German resistance and the bridge over the Wilhelmina canal in Son was blown up in front of the advancing American paratroopers, necessitating the building of a Bailey bridge .By then the operation was already 36 hours behind schedule. Bad radio links prevented adequate communications, especially in the Arnhem area. Because of the bad weather, reinforcement troops and supplies could not be dropped in time. The presence of two SS divisions in the vicinity of Arnhem was fatal for the British troops.Finally the objective was not met. The bridge at Arnhem could not be captured and so the advance into Germany was not possible. However, the South of the Netherlands was liberated. The rest of the Netherlands had to wait for liberation until the next year, 1945.Market Garden was one of the boldest plans of the Second World War. Thirty thousand British and American airborne troops were to be flown behind enemy lines to capture eight bridges, which spanned the network of canals and rivers on the Dutch/German border. At the same time British tanks and infantry were to push up a narrow road leading from the Allied front line to these key bridges. They would relieve the airborne troops, and then cross the intact bridges.The plan of action...

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