Market Garden - Plans for Crossing the Ijssel

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by smdarby, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. smdarby

    smdarby Well-Known Member

    Visited a few sites north of Arnhem at the weekend, including Deventer on the Ijssel. The Ijssel is a big river, probably just as wide if not wider than the Rhine at Arnhem. It occurred to me that even if Market Garden had succeeded in capturing the Arnhem bridge, there was still the Ijssel to cross to get into Germany. Did the Market Garden operation foresee this, or was it just restricted to advancing to the Ijsselmere? If not, couldn't it be argued that the plan to advance into Germany via this route was flawed?

    Apologies if this has been discussed before, or if I am missing something obvious, but it's a question I have not seen answered in the admittedly few books I've read about Market Garden.
  2. Sapper D.

    Sapper D. Member

    Interesting question.
    I know 3 div's where supposed to pass through 1st Airborne: Gd Armd, 43rd Div and (airlifted) 52nd Div. They were supposed to line up nose-to-tail from Arnhem to the (then) Zuiderzee. Obviously a 'right turn'' was on the cards but I can only recall seeing an arrow, directly from Arnhem to the east, as the planned route of advance. This was the cunning plan to go around the Siegfried Line. Logically one assumes that they planned to cross the IJssel at varous places and advance into Germany,
  3. Sapper D.

    Sapper D. Member

    You know that the bridge at Deventer was used for "A bridge too far"?
  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The IJssel might have figured in the plans of 52 Div who were due to fly in to Deelen once everything else was sorted?
  5. smdarby

    smdarby Well-Known Member

    Forgot A Bridge Too Far was filmed at Deventer - good job I took a photo! Next to the bridge is a PAK 36 gun. The final photo below was taken near Wilp on the other side of the Ijssel where the Canadians crossed in April 1945 during Operation Cannonshot. As you can see - the river is a formidable obstacle.

    DSCF3449.JPG DSCF3447.JPG DSCF3487.JPG
  6. smdarby

    smdarby Well-Known Member

    idler - just had a quick look at Mountain & Flood (History of 52nd), but no info on what the division's task was once airlifted to Deelen. Shame dear old Joe Brown isn't still here to ask.
  7. Sapper D.

    Sapper D. Member

    Found it! (All in the day's march - Maj-Gen David Belchem)
    "Montgomery's concept was that a co-ordinated attack by 21 Army Group from Nijmegen with the left flank on the Rhine, and by First US Army from the south, directed on Cologne and Dusseldorf.
    This movement "would commence by 10 October 1944.
  8. idler

    idler GeneralList

    That sounds like post-MG thinking - 'can't get over the Rhine so we'll clear the Meuse-Rhine corridor'.

    John Sliz (JohnS of this parish) might be the man to ask as there ought to have been some planning for the IJssel by the sappers.

    Conscious of the fact that the V2 campaign may have swung the balance in favour of MG, was the IJssel actually seen as more of a firm flank, or rear, while we dealt with Western Holland rather than the Ruhr - get to Arnhem and turn left, not right? In fact, as the V2s were being launched from the Hook of Holland area, presumably Arnhem's on the main E-W rail link in that neck of the woods?
  9. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    Sapper D is correct when he states that the invasion of the Ruhr was the main objective of which Market Garden was a part, as you will see from the attached

    Attached Files:

  10. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    From the 21 Army Group Directive of 14 Sep:

    "Second British Army

    15. The first task of the Army is to operate Northwards and secure the crossings over the RHINE and MEUSE in the general area ARNHEM – NIJMEGEN – GRAVE. An airborne Corps of three divisions is placed under command Second Army for these operations.

    16. The Army will then establish itself in strength on the general line ZWOLLE – DEVENTER – ARNHEM, facing east, with deep bridgeheads to the east side of the IJSSEL river.

    From this position it will be prepared to advance eastwards to the general area RHEINE – OSNABRUCK – HAMM – MUNSTER."

    I'm pretty sure that the first brigade group of 50 Division was meant to send off battalion groups to capture the Ijssel bridgeheads. I'll see if I can find some more information and post here.


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  11. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    It was planned that the 50th (Northumbrian) Division would:

    1. Follow in the wake of Guards Armoured and 43rd (Wessex) Division, as XXX Corps reserve.
    2. Send a detachment to secure a crossing over the River Ijssel at Doesburg, about 12 miles north east of Arnhem.
    3. Secure the high ground north of Arnhem and keep in contact with the northern most British Airborne troops.

    Indents 2 and 3 presumed that Arnhem would have already been secured.

    Various book based sources, principally 'The Path Of The 50th' (Ewart Clay).
    smdarby likes this.
  12. smdarby

    smdarby Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the information everyone. Sorry for the late reply - was on holiday and then obviously the forum was down.

    Sending "a detachment to secure a crossing over the River Ijssel at Doesburg" seems very optimistic, especially as a whole airborne division was tasked with capturing the bridge (or bridges) at Arnhem.

    Also, it brings up the question of what forces would be used to exploit the bridgehead over the Ijssel? XXX Corps would have had its job cut out protecting the corridor and area between Arnhem and the Ijsselmeer. XII Corps would have been occupied protecting the left flank and XIII Corps the right (and clearing the area to the Maas).

    It seems more and more to me that the idea of entering Germany this way and supposedly ending the war by the end of 1944 was not a realistic concept.
  13. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Don't forget that there were plans to also fly the 52nd (Lowland) Division in if Arnhem was secured. Any such success would have been reinforced.

    Monty had already been trying to get American troops under command. He had been nagging Ike to put his full backing behind the northern thrust, including American troops, for some time without success, but as you know Ike did back Market Garden and did release the 82nd and 101st Airborne to the operation.

    Also worthy of note is that Monty didn't actually want to go to Arnhem. He wanted to cross the Rhine at Wesel, but the RAF refused on the grounds that German AA defences there were too heavy. However, Monty was determined to go for the northern thrust; hence the Bridge Too Far.

    Ironic that Wesel and its surrounds is exactly where Monty crossed the Rhine a few months later, with the US 9th Army and US 17th Airborne Div under his command.
  14. Sli-Ben

    Sli-Ben New Member


    The 43rd Division was to also "send detachments to secure crossing over R Ijssel at Deventer and Zutphen." By detachment I presume reinforced Brigades?

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