Market Garden

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Dpalme01, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. missjoeri

    missjoeri Junior Member

    Something also overlooked was that intelligence from the Dutch resistance and the 'leader' of the resistance, Prince Bernhard, was ignored by Monty.
    Trough this intelligence the allies could have learned about German troop movement but also that some of the planned routes were simply un-useable due to the softness of the earth, etc.
    The resistance had detailed information about the area that 'could' have made a difference.
  2. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Would some one tell me what these blue rectangles with "Warn" alongside..againsy my postings? is this some sort of attempt to intmidate? If it is? dont bother...I do not intimidate, or perhaps it is some sort of warning because I tell the "Truth" about what went on 60 years ago, and not the popular drivel you get from books.
  3. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by sapper@May 22 2005, 12:55 PM
    Would some one tell me what these blue rectangles with "Warn" alongside..againsy my postings? is this some sort of attempt to intmidate? If it is? dont bother...I do not intimidate, or perhaps it is some sort of warning because I tell the "Truth" about what went on 60 years ago, and not the popular drivel you get from books.
    [post=34691]Quoted post[/post]

    Lee can explain this better than me, but it is a feature which comes with the software which allows "warnings" to be posted against people who break the rules. I am sure Lee has stated that a "warning" has never yet been issued on the forum.

    Now you know about as much as me about the subject.
  4. Field Marshal Rommel

    Field Marshal Rommel Junior Member

    I find it ironic that one of the few bold moves by Monty failed completly, especially on such a grand scale.
  5. Friedrich H

    Friedrich H Senior Member

    Something also overlooked was that intelligence from the Dutch resistance and the 'leader' of the resistance, Prince Bernhard, was ignored by Monty.
    Trough this intelligence the allies could have learned about German troop movement but also that some of the planned routes were simply un-useable due to the softness of the earth, etc.
    The resistance had detailed information about the area that 'could' have made a difference.

    You are forgetting WHY the Duthc resistance was 'ignored'. Because it had been INFILTRATED by the Germans and the British had realised just a few months before 'Market-Garden'. :rolleyes:
  6. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    o.k,why was the welsh guards not given a/the lead,as in the breakout from the seine,using cromwell tanks or b/the 11th armd div not chosen,afterall pip roberts was imo,the best aarmd c.o in 2nd army.even monty agreed roberts was the best he had.he had much more experience,1st alamein,22nd armd bde.yours,lee.
  7. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    This talk about stopping to have tea and socialise with the Dutch is utter rubbish. Evey time I hear this fairy tale, or see it posted. The writer continues to broaden what is a absolute pack of lies...It never bloody happened.
    I took part in Market Garden and crossed the Escaut canal in what can only be described as a blody nightmare of an assault crossing.

    Every soldier in that offensive, was acutely aware of the need for haste. That is why we took on a murderous assault at one in the morning. It is also the reason why we kept bashing Northwards, even though we had been cut off on the road behind, without food and cigarettes ,We lived off the food we captured and kept going.

    Those people here, and elsewhere that continue to spread this stupid tale about TEA are making a mockery of all those men that gave their lives on this vain attempt to get to Arnhem.

    Brave men died in the attempt STOP SELLING THEM SHORT!
  8. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I will go further. In war you win some, you lose some, I am often angered when I read comments that have been picked up from Books!
    Let me put it this way. You are a triumphant general that has beaten the living daylights out of the enemy. You surrounded them in their thousands. You created a slaughter area where you ground the enemy into a mess of burnt and mangled flesh.

    You chased the enemy headlong across France and Belgium your lines of service and your lines of communication and supply were extraordinary long.

    Now reading what is often written here It would seem that many of you want to stop and not take the chance of further advances. Do you stop when the enemy is running? Or do you put together a hastily prepared attack in the hope that it will succeed.
    The way many here write it was wrong to battle on despite the odds Funny way way to win a war.

    BY the way, I am always pleased to meet others but I must warn you! never come to my house with the lets stop for tea story, For there will be a very irate 15 and a half stone old Vet thirsting for blood.
  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I have heard of this stopping for tea business. My father gets angry about it - he lost a good mate on the 21 Sept. - blown up on the way to the fighting and he buried him beside the road himself.

    Also the suggestion earlier in the thread that the 2nd Bn were unprepared to accept losses. I find this a rather peculiar statement, given previous actions in which they participation. I G as a whole had already taken serious losses in other killing fields.

    I have posted this elsewhere on the site, but thought that I should do so again here.

    IG History - 21st September
    Pgs 505-507

    "Information about the British Airborne trickled in from more orthodox sources. Refugees reported that only a few parachutists were still fighting in Arnhem itself. The Germans had recaptured the whole of the town and were now fiercely attacking the Airborne’s remaining positions. An officer of the Airborne Engineers, who had swum the River Lek, and walked through the enemy lines, confirmed these reports. The resources of the Airborne Division were stretched to the uttermost, he said, and if it was to remain intact as a fighting force, it must be relieve within the next twenty-four hours. There was only one way to reach Arnhem in time, and only one formation available who could possibly do it. At midday on the 21st the Irish Group was ordered to break out of the bridgehead and advance up the main road to Arnhem

    About ten miles east of Nijmegen the River Rhine divides into two streams. The southern stream, form now on called the River Waal, flows due west through Nijmegen to the sea. The northern stream, the River Lek, or Northern Rhine, flows north-west to Arnhem some fifteen miles north of Nijmegen, and then turns west to the sea. The strip of land between the two rivers was known as the “Island.” The chemical formula for the Island is that of a patent medicine - 90 per cent. water. It was surrounded by water, based on water, criss-crossed by innumerable waterways, below water level and completely flat, so that if the rivers burst their dykes it was also under water. The soil was rich with river mud, excellent for fruit trees, which the Dutch farmers planted industriously, lining the main road to Arnhem with orchards. This road was embanked high above the surrounding fields and cut off from them by a deep drainage ditch on either side.

    When the 2nd Battalion returned to Nijmegen later in the winter they met an instructor at the Dutch Staff College who spoke good English with a sprinkling of Army jargon. He showed great professional interest in the plan of attack on Arnhem, which the officers explained o him as well they could. The Dutchman nodded gravely and then put a broad finger on the map. “You see the main road.” The Battalion has seen only too much of the main road. “You see the side roads.” The officers had not seen the side roads. “Well, I did my training at Arnhem. Every year this attack was set as a problem in the Colonel‘s promotion examination. It was the sack for those who went straight up the main road. If the officer decided to go left flank he got a Brigade. The attack up the main road is not on - certainly not with tanks.” One look at the country was enough to tell both battalions that it was unsuitable, if not impossible, for tanks. But so had been the country north of the Escaut Canal. Here, as there, everything depended on three factors: one constant, the fighting qualities of the Irish Group, and two fluctuating, the strength of the opposition and the support. Anyway, Colonel “JOE” Vandeleur, unlike the Dutch officer, was fighting a battle, not a Staff College exercise, and had orders which were based on the principle that whatever the difficulties and casualties, it was imperative to reach the Airborne, and the main road was the only one available to the Group.

    Just before dawn No. 1 Squadron had crossed the bridge and joined No. 4 Company. They saw no enemy, but knew there were plenty about for they were shelled and mortared all morning. The Americans, who were actually in contact with the Germans to the north and east, could not give much information either, except that the Germans seemed to be well established round Elst, a town halfway to Arnhem. A deserter from these Germans said that they had been ordered not to attack but to dig in and hold the road. The railway line to Arnhem runs parallel to the road a mile to the right-hand side. Half-way to Elst is Bessen station, connected with the main road by a low thickly hedged lane. On the map the station and lane were covered with the German conventional signs for anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns and the whole area was dotted with infantry positions. The optimism of the Intelligence was as firm as ever; the opposition would be slight, they said, and would anyway be disorganized by the Polish Parachute Brigade, who were to be dropped round Elst that afternoon.
    Colonel “Joe” Vandeleur, now recovered from his bilious attack, demanded all available artillery and Typhoon support. This did not amount to very much. The advance to Nijmegen had been so rapid that the majority of the guns had not yet caught up and there was not large reserve of ammunition. No more artillery could be brought up at short notice, as the road to the south was both threatened by the enemy and fully occupied by the 43rd Division moving up to Nijmegen. Worse still, there were as yet no advance landing grounds for the Tactical Air Force. Colonel Joe had to be content with a call on a limited number of Typhoons and the support of the only one of the Division’s Field Regiments, as the other one had gone south with the Coldstream Group to protect the supply route.

    Pgs 508 - 510

    Within an hour the Irish Group was lined up along the main road. No. 1 Squadron, without infantry, was in Lent, with its leading troop, Lieutenant T. Samuelson’s, under the railway bridge which was the Grenadiers’ forward outpost. Down the road stretched first No. 2 Squadron, carrying No. 22 Company on tank back, and then No. 3 Squadron with the rest of the 3rd Battalion, whose tail was in Nijmegen. An artillery concentration was ordered on the German positions marked on the captured map, but opinions differed as to where it came down, except for about twenty shells that definitely fell in the wrong place. At half-past one the Group advanced. For then minutes and two miles all went well, though the column was driving along an open road raised six feet above the surrounding countryside. The leading column reached a solitary farm surrounded by an orchard, an island in the bare open ground stretching south from the suspected enemy positions. They could see in front of them a line of trees at right-angles to the main road. Behind those trees ran the side road to Bessen. That was where the captured map marked the enemy guns. The map was right. Inside a minute the three tanks of the leading troop were in flames. The leading rifle company, No 2, under Major Hendry, dived straight off the tanks on which they had been riding into the ditches on either side. The column piled up behind the leading tank, so that the vehicles were packed head to tail in silhouette along the road. For some reason or other no armour-piercing shot was fired at the column. The Germans had seven French 75-mm guns which, as the Irish discovered later, could fire only high-explosive shells. The three leading Shermans were probably destroyed by one or two Tigers, whose tracks the Irish saw later. No one can understand why the Tigers did not knock off the remaining forty-nine tanks in a row. But they did not. German infantry in the ditches with Spandaus and “squeeze guns” kept firing down the middle and sides of the road - very noisy and uncomfortable for Captain R.S. Langton in the leading tank. The wounded crews of the leading troop were lying by their tanks in the middle of the road and could not be reached. The infantry companies found cover in the ditches and orchards. By great good fortune only one shell landed in the ditches, but that one caused fifteen casualties. On the other hand, the tanks and trucks stood up like coconuts at a cockshy for the German gunners to knock down. The deep ditches which saved the infantry were a curse to the tanks. Since they could not get off the road, the 2nd Battalion was force to fight on a one-tank front. Only the leading tank, if it was not hit, could fire forward; a few of the others - about seven - could fire to the flank at the houses and railway station, but most of them were masked by the orchards along the road. Both sides of the road were orchard, orchard all the way. Colonel “Joe” Vandeleur made every effort to get the Typhoon support which had been promised, but first the control set broke down and then a second set was sent forward, which also broke down, so there was no communication with aircraft. “The tanks lacked vital support at a critical moment of the battle,” said the official report, as if it was the sort of thing that might happen to anyone.

    A few minutes after the leading troop had been destroyed, Colonel Giles Vandeleur and Captain Eamon Fitzgerald drove up in a scout car to Captain Langton’s tank, now the leading element of the 2nd Army. The Germans greeted them with a hail of fire. It was easy enough to locate the Germans, particularly as everyone already knew where to look. It was intensely irritating for the observers in the ditches, under the smooth, bare tree-trunks, to be able to see the Krauts and yet to be unable to guide with accuracy the fire of the tanks, masked as they were by the bushy-topped trees. Colonel Giles decided that the tanks would obviously be murdered if they tried to attack, and that only the infantry had a chance. He crawled away down the ditch to report to his cousin, Colonel Joe. The only available artillery support was one regiment of field guns. Few as they were, they would be better than nothing. The Group was first disappointed and then very angry that no sound came from their guns. It was an hour before the first shells landed, but it was difficult to observe effects. The 3-inch mortar platoon under Lieutenant J. Compton and Sergeant Moran, however, opened fire inside ten minutes. The enemy gunners were active, and from a quarter to three o’clock until dark a steady stream of shells and mortar bombs came down on the line of the road.

    At half-past three Major J. Haslewood, the Company Commander detailed for the infantry to attack, rattled up the road in a carrier, being nearly killed en route. He joined Captain E. Fitzgerald in the ditch by Captain Langton’s tank and peered over the flat and singularly uninviting countryside. It was out of the question to bring his company up the ditch and strike right to the railway station; not a single Guardsman would have survived the walk across four hundred yards of open country. He reported to Colonel Joe that an attack to succeed, would have to go up both sides together, with the tanks supporting on the road and the guns pouring shells into the German positions. Colonel Joe fully agreed, but he could not get the artillery support. He ordered Major Haslewood to take his company and No. 3 Squadron and try to work round the right flank by the railway line. At the same time the Welsh Group were trying to loop round the left flank, but could make no progress and were engaged in heavy fighting a mile to the west.

    About five o’clock the Brigade Commander, Brigadier Norman Gwatkin, came up and urged Colonel Joe to try everything possible. He was already doing so. The feeble shelling of the enemy positions did nothing to “loosen” the situation. The anti-tank guns could not be “pin-pointed,” as anyone who went forward immediately came under heavy fire. The whole roadside was one long orchard, full of machine-gunners. No 4 Company and No. 3 Squadron cleared the orchards towards the railway, but as soon as they debouched on the open ground the tanks were accurately engaged and the infantry pinned down by machine-gun fire. It was and impasse. The attack never got under way. At seven o’clock, as night was falling, the Irish Group were told to make no more efforts as a whole division, the 43rd, [4 Bn Wiltshire Regt.] was being brought up to clear the road. The Group withdrew a thousand yards to harbour. They had done their best and suffered heavily, but on such ground, and without air or artillery support, tow battalions could not break on such strong defences. The 3rd Battalion had lost Lieutenants Wilson and Gordon-Shea wounded and now only had two platoon commanders left, Lieutenants Mahaffy and Harvey-Kelly. Rupert Mahaffy, sitting in a ditch, told Major Haslewood with gloomy satisfaction that, out of all the platoon commanders who had landed in Normandy, he was the sold survivor. The Medical Sergeant in his half-track ambulance made a gallant effort to reach the wounded up the road, but the Germans forced him back with bazooka fire. The wounded lay out till it was dark enough to send out patrols."

    I fail to see what could have been done by anyone else under the same circumstances... perhaps someone has a different opinion.

  10. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    i have also read these books and indeed the finne posts,i also understand brians posts,but why did the recon regt,the welsh guards in cromwell tanks not lead the advance of xxx corps,if need be with irish guards infantry.yours,lee.
  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I basically don't understand the reason for your question. :)

    Is this simply about the command decision not to use Roberts, or is this a preface to an argument for Cromwells v Shermans & WG v 2BnIG?

  12. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    it seems the guards a/d seem to fight not as any other british a/d.i do not entirely understand why it fought differently.armd recon regts by their makeup,reconoiter any division.was m.g any different.lee.
  13. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    is it not true the welsh guards,advanced 100miles in a day,perhaps they as armd recon may have found the enemy earlier,and then continud up to arnhem,leaving the rest of g.a.d to engage said german positions.lee.
  14. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    am in no way trying to undermine the irish guards achievements.but just looking back,trying to understand the tactics used and why 11tha/d,after crossing the seine,was indeed fighting in xxx corps under arguing meant either.yours,lee.
  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I just lost my reply and am having to retype it.
    No offence taken.

    I have no opinion to offer on the matter of WG - simply put I don't know. IG were given the honour by Horrocks...

    As for rushing ahead with Cromwells well I have plenty of opinion on that, but it boils down to this...I don't believe it would have changed anything.

  16. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    it seems the guards a/d fought differently than the others did.the armd bde of the div,usually had 3 armd regts,and a motorised inf battn eg.grenadier guards armd,coldstream guards armd and irish guards armd.the motor inf batt was the grenadier guards.the rest of the div would follow giving support.but in m.g both the 2nd armd irish gds and the 3rd irish gds,were up front.was it just because of a narrow front.lee.
  17. craftsmanx

    craftsmanx Junior Member

    Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing, The Market Garden plan was a risky one and no-one can dispute that but every plan is risky because unfortunately the enemy normally refuse to comply with ones plan. It is so easy to sit in front of a PC ,as most writers do, and disect operations but they always ignore "the fog od war". As an ex infantryman I can assure you that in most cases the men on the ground have little knowledge of what is happening anywhere that they can't see. The major problem with Market Garden was that the allies had a run of bad luck. Poor intelligence is in fact bad luck, one doesn't go to a supermarket and buy a bag of intelligence, normally intelligence is "bitty" and very often contradictory and someone had to make educated guesses as to which bits are correct and which bits aren't. All it would have needed for Market Garden to be a success was a bit of luck but unfortunately all the luck went the German's way. Playing computer games and reading old reports does not replicate war, in fact nothing replicates war.
    von Poop likes this.
  18. 4th wilts

    4th wilts Discharged

    do we know how the g.a.d fought in other battles dispositions,etc,goodwood perhaps,or the breakout after the rhine crossing,lee.
  19. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Bear with me am typing this from book..

    Operation Goodwood:
    History IG WWII, pg 373

    To 2Bn -
    "We are to leave our present harbour area - ST. Martin des Entrees - this evening, drive thirty miles east, halt about day-break to fill up with petrol, have breakfast and rest, cross bridges over the Orne about half-past ten and follow the 11th Armd Div to Cagny, where they lead straight on and we turn left. Within the GA Brigade, the 2nd Grenadiers will lead to Cagny, with the 1st Coldstream on the right and ourselves on the left behind them; from Cagny the 1st Coldstream will lead to Vimont with ourselves in support. Within the Bn, the order of march is No 3 Sqn, No 2 Sqn, HQ Sqn and No 1 Sqn. The 3 Bn will be just behind us at the beginning and will come up to join us when we have taken Vimont."

  20. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Lee your comments about the GAD recce unit make no sense. At the start of Market Garden, GAD were attacking an entrenched enemy; their dispositions were known, and it would require a Battle Group with air support to shift them. You don't use recce units to do that; by their nature that is not what they are there for.

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