- Apr 2014
- New York, U.S.
I agree that Lindquist should have moved faster but I am not sure that it would have made a difference.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.
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.