Field Marshal Montgomery & Market Garden

Apr 2014
201
New York, U.S.
Agreed.



Gavin had far more forces available at landing; 9 or 10 battalions (9 airborne infantry battalions, + 307th airborne engineer battalion) compared to the British Airborne, who on the first day had just a single brigade (3 battalions) to secure Arnhem & Oosterbeck.

When the 82nd landed there were literally just about a dozen German bridge guards, it wasn't until at least 2 - 3 hours later that an SS battalion arrived on the north end of the bridge, having driven south across the Arnhem bridge a couple hours earlier.

There was some confusion between Lindquist (508th regiment CO) and Gen. Gavin, who was under the impression that the 508th would immediatly move to secure the bridge.

With three full regiments of airborne, common sense would have suggested that Gavin assign one regiment to secure the Nijmegen Waal bridge & the canal bridge south of Nijmegen, the second regiment to secure the Maas bridges at Grave & Heumen (both basically undefended), while the third regiment secures the Grosbeek heights.

Allied intelligence correctly predicted that the Germans wouldn't have more than a couple of low quality Landwehr battalions East of Grosbeek for the first 36 hours, so the Americans would face minimal opposition in that time.
I agree that Lindquist should have moved faster but I am not sure that it would have made a difference.
The problem for the 82nd and 1st Para was that German forces that should not have been present were, in fact, in position to thwart the initial airborne assaults on the bridges at Nijmegen and Arnhem.
Eisenhower had received Information via Ultra intercepts that two Panzer divisions had moved into the area. This was passed on to Montgomery who ignored the intel. Browning had also ignored intel from aerial reconnaissance that there was armored units in the area.
 
Apr 2014
411
Istanbul Turkey
Neither Eisenhower nor Montgomery received intelligence info that 2nd Panzer Corps was in Arnhem area till 16th September (24 hours before start of operation and too late to change things since enemy was still perceived weak and in flux , not entrenched) That intelligence went straight to 1st Airborne Army HQ in England and but planners of "Market" (airborne part) mainly General Browning , General Brereton ignored it , and assuming (actually quite rightly initially) that both panzer divisions were mere skeleton units and were quite finished in Normandy Campaign and drive from Seine to Netherlands. Which was true , on 17th September whwen Market Garden was initiated both 9th SS Panzer and 10th SS Panzer Division had together less than 50 tanks and 8.000 personnel total which were spread out from Arnhem to south to Valkenswaard. What Market planners in 1st Airborne Army underestimated , disregarded or willfully ignored so not to miss 15th cancelled jump operation since June 1944 was German mission oriented operational method of combat to seize initiative without losing time in case of emergencies (which a suprise airborne landing was) and kampfgruppe organisational approach which enabled local German commanders to form up temporary battlegroups from whatever available troops and detachments around , grafting them into main units and quickly bringing them up to strength , not cohesively and all efficiently but they were still lethal enough and Army Group B HQ which had witnessed landings from Oosterbeek quickly , rallied further north and organised all reinforcements in theater to be sent straight to Arnhem without delay. (and Ruhr , main German war industry production was mere 100 km away , so replacing previously lost weapons , guns , panzers was less a problem for Germans)
 
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Apr 2014
201
New York, U.S.
There's been a number of threads wander off topic into discussions of Market Garden and the inevitable Monty bashing ;)
So I'll consolidate it here, to avoid dragging the other threads off topic.
While many history discussions have a few squeaky wheels of bad information, with Market Garden it's more like a train wreck. :confused:

Here are 12 common misconceptions, and 12 key factors that contributed to the failure to secure the Rhine crossing.

Twelve purported "facts" that people THINK they know - all FALSE.

1. Monty was in overall command of Market Garden
2. Monty planned the airborne operation "Market"
3. Monty threw a tantrum, so IKE reluctantly agreed to approve Market Garden to keep him happy.
4. Monty ignored orders to clear the Scheldt and instead launched Market Garden
5. Monty dropped lightly armed paratroopers on top of two Panzer divisions
6. Monty ignored the intelligence of two Panzer divisions near Arnhem

7. The British Airborne were mauled by those same SS Panzers, stationed at Arnhem
8. The British armoured forces advanced up a single road
9. The British tanks advancing to link up with the paras drove on top of a single raised road and were decimated by German AT guns.
10. Monty demanded control of all troops & supplies to run M-G.
11. British tanks were slow, they arrived 36 hours late at Nijmegen, and therefore doomed 1st Airborne.
12. After capturing Nijmegen bridge, there was an open road to Arnhem, but the British tanks stopped for tea.




And the factors that contributed to the failure to hold the Rhine bridghead.

13. Lack of clear and competant command structure for 1st Allied Airborne army..
14. Failure to secure classified documents.
15. Failure to prioritize/(rectify) bridge capture.
16. Failure to identify/secure the "Island" for supply drops and failure to establish a sufficient perimter in the Rijn/Waal area.
17. Failure to plan and utilize the 52nd Airlanding division
18. Rejection of "coup de main" at Arnhem bridge

19. For an operation that depended on "Thunderclap surprise", the choice to airlift troops over more than FIVE DAYS is unfathomable.
20. Failure to test/provide functional radios
21. Rejection of 2nd drop on day one, and choice of a midday drop.
22. Refusal to authorize "piggyback" glider missions and failure to secure enough glider tugs.
23. Brereton's decision to authorize only a single British brigade to attempt to secure Arnhem on day one was appallingly insufficient.
24. Lack of clear mission directives in the event of problems.



View attachment 24923
Misconceptions 5,6,7
Eisenhower had received Ultra intercepts that 9th and 10th SS Panzer divisions were in the area. He forwarded this info to Montgomery on September 10, a full week before MG was to commence. Monty chose to ignore the information.
Misconceptions 8,9
The British did not make use of Dutch resistance intel. The British believed that the Dutch resistance had been penetrated by the Germans and did not accept information about the presence of German armored units in the area or incorporate alternative routes that 30th Corps could have used in it’s advance.
Misconception 10
Monty did want more supplies for MG and both supplies and supply trucks were diverted from American units.
Misconception 10
The British armor did not attack right away since they wanted to wait for infantry units to help in the assault.The “factors” that contributed to failure will be discussed in a follow up post.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,900
Stockport Cheshire UK
Misconceptions 5,6,7
Eisenhower had received Ultra intercepts that 9th and 10th SS Panzer divisions were in the area. He forwarded this info to Montgomery on September 10, a full week before MG was to commence. Monty chose to ignore the information.
Misconceptions 8,9
The British did not make use of Dutch resistance intel. The British believed that the Dutch resistance had been penetrated by the Germans and did not accept information about the presence of German armored units in the area or incorporate alternative routes that 30th Corps could have used in it’s advance.
Misconception 10
They were discounted because these divisions were a shell of their former strength, 9th Panzer had a tank complement of 8 French Renault tanks of 1940 vintage, while 10th Panzer had 3 serviceable Panther tanks, the two divisions also had a total of only 20 Assault and SP Artillery guns between the two of them.
The vast majority of the German tanks that saw combat in the battle were rushed to the area after the landings
Misconception 10
The British armor did not attack right away since they wanted to wait for infantry units to help in the assault.The “factors” that contributed to failure will be discussed in a follow up post.
Need a time and place for this claim, though it must be stated that tanks that attack built up areas without infantry support are not going to last very long at all.
 
Apr 2014
201
New York, U.S.
And the factors that contributed to the failure to hold the Rhine bridghead.

13. Lack of clear and competant command structure for 1st Allied Airborne army..
14. Failure to secure classified documents.
15. Failure to prioritize/(rectify) bridge capture.
16. Failure to identify/secure the "Island" for supply drops and failure to establish a sufficient perimter in the Rijn/Waal area.
17. Failure to plan and utilize the 52nd Airlanding division
18. Rejection of "coup de main" at Arnhem bridge

19. For an operation that depended on "Thunderclap surprise", the choice to airlift troops over more than FIVE DAYS is unfathomable.
20. Failure to test/provide functional radios
21. Rejection of 2nd drop on day one, and choice of a midday drop.
22. Refusal to authorize "piggyback" glider missions and failure to secure enough glider tugs.
23. Brereton's decision to authorize only a single British brigade to attempt to secure Arnhem on day one was appallingly insufficient.
24. Lack of clear mission directives in the event of problems.



View attachment 24923
Factors that lead to failure:
I am surprised that you did not include inclement weather in your list. This was the one variable that the planners had no control over. If the weather had been good on day 2and 3 then we would not be trashing Brereton.Ultimately, this proved to be the biggest problem.
Also, the presence of German units that weren’t supposed to be there. On day 1 and 2 this proved to be a crucial factor.

#13 Pretty general statement. Could you be more specific?
#15 The airborne units knew their objectives.
#16 If the weather had cooperated then this would not have been a problem.
#18 Please explain the meaning of that point.
#19 The drops were supposed to be for three days. Brereton had been told that he had four days of clear weather. The weather did not cooperate and since Brereton was not God nothing could be done to change the situation.
The bad weather also prevented close air support for the 82nd which definitely could have used help.
#21 Two drops in one day? You make it sound so simple. The reality is that there were only 12 hours of daylight. But you assert that you could have a morning drop, then fly back and reload the Dakotas and load the gliders, and then fly back to the landing zones while there was sufficient daylight for an optimal drop. Add on that RAF bombers were being used as glider tugs and they would not be capable of handling two drops.
# 22 Since the Dakotas were being used for the paratroopers, RAF bombers were being used as glider tugs. Since the bomber crews had no training in this type of operation, hauling two gliders was most likely deemed too dangerous.
#23 Priority was given to the American divisions because they had to capture the bridges leading to Arnhem. And it appears that the British choice to land 8 miles from Arnhem (because of the fear of flak) was the biggest problem for the force available.
#24 Explain how you can have “clear mission directives in case of problems”. That statement seems to be contradictory.
 
Apr 2014
201
New York, U.S.
They were discounted because these divisions were a shell of their former strength, 9th Panzer had a tank complement of 8 French Renault tanks of 1940 vintage, while 10th Panzer had 3 serviceable Panther tanks, the two divisions also had a total of only 20 Assault and SP Artillery guns between the two of them.
The vast majority of the German tanks that saw combat in the battle were rushed to the area after the landings
And yet the fact is that these depleted German units, fighting on the defensive on a very narrow front, did thwart the efforts of the 82nd and 1st Para on days 1and 2.

Need a time and place for this claim, though it must be stated that tanks that attack built up areas without infantry support are not going to last very long at all.
Exactly. The time was the evening when the Nijmegen bridge was captured. As it turned out, when the British armor did attack they ran into heavy anti tank fire and the use of panzerfausts. A real horror show. The best that they could accomplish was to develop a salient but did not go further since the situation at Arnhem had already deteriorated to a point that withdrawal was the only option.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,900
Stockport Cheshire UK
And yet the fact is that these depleted German units, fighting on the defensive on a very narrow front, did thwart the efforts of the 82nd and 1st Para on days 1and 2.
Fighting as infantry.


]Exactly. The time was the evening when the Nijmegen bridge was captured. As it turned out, when the British armor did attack they ran into heavy anti tank fire and the use of panzerfausts. A real horror show. The best that they could accomplish was to develop a salient but did not go further since the situation at Arnhem had already deteriorated to a point that withdrawal was the only option.
Only 4 British tanks made it over the bridge as night fell, the rest of the Corps was still involved in the fighting in the town, the idea that 4 British tanks on there own in the dark advancing the several miles to Arnhem could have altered the situation is far fetched to say the least.
However, it was already too late. The German’s from late afternoon of the same day were already advancing down the road from Arnhem with a couple of battalions of Panzer Grenadiers and several Tiger tanks.
 
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