A Magnificent Disaster

The Failure of Market Garden, the Arnhem Operation September 1944. David Bennett

A Magnificent Disaster

About the Book

 

Market Garden, the Arnhem Operation, is usually seen as a British attempt to gain a foothold across the Rhine, assisted by American and Polish airborne forces. So it was ; but David Bennet shows that the British effort was one arm of a proposed grand envelopment of the Ruhr industrial region, the other calling for a further crossing of the Rhine to the south by the US 1st Army. There has been much complaint that the Arnhem Operation was a costly distraction from the campaign to clear the Sheldt Estuary and the great port of Antwerp to Allied supply ships. In an entirely new interpretation, David Bennet argues that no one made an issue of the Sheldt Estuary in September 1944 and, in particular there was no great mistake in allowing the German Fifteenth Army to escape from its positions along the Sheldt. It was not a good idea to lock the Germans in the Sheldt Islands, and in any case, they had no intentions of escaping to the mainland. Operation Market Garden was a far greater proposition than the mere capture of a Rhine bridgehead suggests. The British aimed to go further and cut off the western Netherlands with its V-2 rocket sites and sizeable garrison. In doing this, they used all three corps of their Second Army, not just the Paratroopers and the famous XXX Corps under General Brian Horrocks. The story of the two flanking corps, XII and VIII, in Market Garden is told in detail, again for the first time, including the terrible losses sustained by the former and the impressive territorial gains made by the latter. It has long been known that the Polish paratroop commander Sosabowski, was shabbily treated by the British. Bennett's research shows, conclusively, that Sosabowski and his valliant brigade, in a campaign of men-dacious hostillity, were blamed for the failure to reinforce the British airborne division cut off north of the Rhine, and how the British botched the relief efforts while claiming afterward that they should have adopted Sosabowski's plan, which at the time, angrily rejected. In the end, the 2, 400 British paratroopers who escaped were evacuated by a single company of Canadian engineers, a staggering achievement which has been almost totally hidden from history. "A magnificent disaster" Arnhem certainly was. Need it have been ? Did the Allies truly try to go "a Bridge too far"? In a consideration of logistics, communications, intelligence and military culture, as well as leadership and tactical enterprise, David Bennett supplies some intriguing conclusions.

 

Format: Hardcover

 

Pages: 352

 

Size: 23cm x 15cm x 2cm

 

Our Price: £15.99 plus P+P

 

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