"Sixteen consecutive drops have been cancelled...."

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by phylo_roadking, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    "Boy" Browning's comment in A Bridge Too Far, of course...

    I'd heard it before, and remember simmilar comments about U.S. Airborne drops in Band Of Brothers...

    So often events moved SO fast on the ground with the Allied dash up through France that the ground forces simply overran the planned objectives on the ground before planning and preparation was finished, or the overall strategic situation removed the need for them.

    But does anyone have a list of these "sixteen drops"???
  2. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    One was against the River Seine. I photographed the file, but can't find it at present.
  3. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA Patron

    Found the file and shown below are the first few pages (there are 18 pages in total:-



  4. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Thanks for that!

    Just 15 to go.... :)
  5. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    The operation above looks like "Axehead" which was followed by Linnet 1 and 2, Infatuate, Comet and finally Market. Quite often the operations were being planned so quickly that they weren't allocated operation names. Operation Comet was originally known on the planning papers as "Operation Fifteen" and Operation Market as "Operation Sixteen"
  6. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    So in reality Arnhem was the 16th, and there were 15 earlier concelled ones...?
  7. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    Correct although I would phrase it as there were at least 15 earlier operations.
  8. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron


    Here's a footnote taken from Blockwell's 'Diary of a Red Devil' referring to Otway's book. No dates unfortunately or area of operation. The Otway book may go into more detail?

    Otway Operation List.JPG

    Also a shorter incomplete list compiled from a couple of American sources, Warren's 'Airborne Ops in WW2 European Theatre' and Ingrisano's 'Valor Without Arms'. The dates are for final cancellation and hardly definitive in what was a very fluid and evolving situation.

    Wildoats - Caen - June 17
    Transfigure - Rambouillet - Aug 18
    Boxer- Boulogne area - Aug 25
    Linnet I - Tournai - Sept. 2
    Linnet II - Meuse (North of Liege) - Sept 3
    Comet- Nijmegen-Arnhem - Sept 10
    Unnamed - Walcheren Islands - Sept 10
    Market Garden - Nijmegen-Arnhem

    Regards ...
  9. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    I think I remember Omar Bradley mentioning some of the drops in his book A Soldier's Story. It's been a good 20 years since I read it

    You might try looking there.
  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

    From memory, TUXEDO and WASTAGE were contingencies for D-Day. 4 Para Bde were on standby for deployment as necessary IIRC.
  11. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Remember the planning for a landing in Rambouillet, close to the summer residence of the French President. I was Battalion Intelligence Officer of the 7/9 Royal Scots [155 Infantry Brigade, 52 (Lowland)Division] having been quickly converted to the role of air-transportable troops which involved planning payloads for the movement of the battalion in Dakota aircraft. We knew we were part of the Airborne Army being commanded by General Bereton, who had under his command 82nd and 101st US Airborne Divisions, 1st and 6th British Airborne Divisions, Polish Parachute Brigade with two Infantry Brigades of the 52 (Lowland) Division.

    We built a mock plane to practice embarking and disembarking men and equipment off Dakotas. It was to be carried out assuming the Allies were held up at the Seine. However, the ground troops moved over the River Seine without undue resistance and we then swung on to the planning of another op but that quickly set aside to concentrate on Arnhem.

    Once a landing-strip had been taken, our task was to take over the defence of the bridges and hold them. We were not committed to the battle when the initial stages of the operation ran into difficulties.

    Joe Brown.
  12. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    Well, I've put one back into the list, and found some cursory details for them all the list presently looks like this...

    1. Op TUXEDO - DDay backup, 4th Para Bde as an indepedent formation
    2. Op WASTAGE - DDay backup, 1st Para Div as a whole
    3. Op REINFORCEMENT - Reinforcement of 82nd Airborne west of St Saveur-le-Vicomte
    4. Op WILD OATS - Caen/Carpiquet airfield
    5. Op BENEFICIARY - St Malo
    6. Op LUCKY STRIKE - Seine bridges at Rouen
    7. Op SWORD HILT - isolate Brest, destroy Morlaix viaduct.
    8. Op HANDS-UP - Belle-isle to neutralize German coastal guns in Quiberon Bay, part of CHASTITY
    9. Op TRANSFIGURE - Rambouillet
    10. Op BOXER - Boulogne, and V1 sites
    11. Op AXEHEAD - Seine crossings
    12. Op LINNET - Tournai and the crossings over the Escaut
    13. Op LINNET 2 - crossings over the Meuse
    14. Op INFATUATE - Scheldt Estuary (Walcheren?)
    15. Op COMET - Grave-Nimegen-Arnhem, British only
    16. Op MARKET GARDEN - Son-Grave-Nijmegen-Arnhem
  13. idler

    idler GeneralList

    In its final iteration, WILD OATS was directed at the Evrecy area, not Caen itself. The Caen reference might be a hangover from the proposed airborne role in the original COSSAC plan.

Share This Page