units on Market Garden

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by sliben, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. sliben

    sliben Active Member

    The other day i found out that not all the units deployed in Market Garden were to their full of strength - units like the 21st Independent Parachute Company.

    Does anyone have the details for all the Units involved in MG and if they were to their full strength.
  2. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    Not details but my father inlaw was among the units coming up the congested road trying to get to Arnhem. He was with the 4th Durham Survey Regiment BQMS Hird C.E. and told the family that he heard the call from the paras over the radio asking for assistance and insisted that it was genuine and got it passed on.
  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Well I took part////..... But its a life time ago
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  4. Bedee

    Bedee Well-Known Member

    Take a look here


    Here you will find all the units (Order of Battle) are they all on full strenght..... i don't think so.
    I think you should be more specific with these kind of questions. AGAIN..... because it is not your first post.
  5. steelers708

    steelers708 Junior Member

    From the German side that is only a partial OOB as it lists the divisional units only and doesn't include smaller Kampfgruppe, Abteilungen and Kompanie units, nor other reinforcements sent to the area.
  6. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    21st went in at full battle strength, 186 officers and men as quoted in Leading the way to Arnhem, 156 Parachute battalion went in with 606 according to From Delhi To Arnhem, 11 Parachute battalion went in with 571 according to martin Middlebrooks excellent book Arnhem 1944 which is probably your best source for battalion-units strengths during the battle with a very good break down in the appendix.I notice that you are only 14 nice to have younger members taking an interest....perhaps members could consider this in their replies ;).This thread contains info on all books mentioned as well as many others. http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/13947-arnhem1st-british-airborne-divisionopmarket-garden-book-collection/?hl=%2Barnhem+%2Bbooks
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  7. sliben

    sliben Active Member


    Thank you for the link and the information. My interest on Market Garden begun when I visited Arnhem last year. It was great, seeing where John Frost and his men held out at the bridge and Hartenstein Hotel. Next Year I will be going back Market Garden and visiting all the sites because when I went last year all I knew was that Arnhem bridge was a important to Market Garden, but my knowledge has grown even bigger into Market Garden (im not saying Im mr know it all).
    CL1 and Owen like this.
  8. Brian Smith

    Brian Smith Junior Member

    Keep going with the research - it is amazing just what is out there.

    Also very refreshing to have someone with an interest in Arnhem and not claim to be a know it all.

  9. DPas

    DPas Member

    If you want a good book to give you an overview, try Middlebrook's Arnhem 1944. At the back of the book there is a list of 1st Airborne Division units and the size of each. You will find the same information on the Pegasus Archive Website.
    CL1 likes this.
  10. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Interested to read the composition of the Order of Battle.

    I was the Battalion Intelligence Officer of the 7th/9th (Highlanders) Battalion The Royal Scots, in 155 Infantry Brigade which was part of 52 (Lowland) Division, and can confirm we were briefed and standing-by at 24 hours notice to take part in Operation Market Garden ready to be flown over in Dakota aircraft once the airfield at Arnhem was secure and then ordered to reinforce the holding of the bridges

    In September 1944 we were stationed at Horncastle in Lincolnshire and had trained to undertake an air-transportable role as part of General Breton's Airborne Army, which included 82nd and 101st US Airborne Divisions and 1st and 6th British Airborne Divisions, Polish Parachute Brigade and two Infantry Brigades of 52nd (Lowland) Division air-transportable in Dakota aircraft.

    We were able to follow the progress of the battle at Battalion Headquarters but by D-Day+3 we were distressed that the Operation was going badly and the plan to commit us was abandoned. We had previously been involved in another planned operation to land south of the River Seine on an airstrip close to the Forest of Rambouillet, in the event of the Allied Armies being held up.

    Joe Brown.
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  11. Bedee

    Bedee Well-Known Member


    Interesting part of your life i think, ready to go to Arnhem and then the Disaster in Arnhem. For a soldier this i s not so easy.
    It is good that it is abandoned for friends and familiy, from the other side you can not help your commrades.

    And yes the start is when available the ORBAT when i read this message from you i also took the ORBAT from the Operation Veritable Feb 1945.
    This is my area of intresst because i live in that area.

    So i will read your Memoirs, and after that send back other questions.
    stolpi likes this.
  12. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member


    My Father's Battalion, the 2nd Bn South Staffordshires, had a War Establishment figure of 973 Other Ranks. On the 9th September it shows that they had a total of 971 troops on their strength with 3 Sergeants and 6 Corporals under strength and 7 Privates over strength. Of the 59 Officers in the War Establishment they had 58 on strength with 1 Lieutenant over strength and 2 2nd Lieutenants under strength. As such I am sure that you will agree that they were virtually at full strength

  13. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Given that the parachute and airlanding battalions would have been at or near full establishment, did they practice 'left out of battle' and drop/land with rifle coys at reduced establishments?
  14. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    It was always prudent and an order to leave a proportion of your establishment to be Left Out of Battle (LOB). When we made our assault crossing from Brekins to Flushing on 1st November 1944 we LOB 2 majors, 4 captains, and 5 lieutenants. One of the majors was the Battalion Second-in-Command.

    The four rifle Companies left behind 5 Sergeants, 4 corporals and 12 lance-corporals. A range of specialist NCOs and men from the Signals Platoon, Intelligence Section, Sniper Section, Mortar Platoon. All Company Quartermaster Sergeants and Storemen were also listed to remain out of battle.

    It was prudent because if you suffered a catastrophic number of casualties you had a nucleus to rebuild the Battalion with reinforcements.

    Joe Brown
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  15. idler

    idler GeneralList


    Thanks for the insight. LOB is a strange beast as it was definitely a policy, but I've not yet come across a mention of it in the wartime training manuals. Amongst all the other pre-battle administrative details, it seems an odd omission.

    What's particularly annoying is that I've read something very recently that addressed it from another angle: that the war establishment 8/9/10-man section was to be reduced to something like 1 NCO and 6 men for an attack because that was the limit for effective control. Of course, I have forgotten where I read it...

  16. Pompey Pal

    Pompey Pal Member

    Hear, hear, - good to see a youngster raising a query.
    wtid is right to point you towards Middlebrook which is the best account of the battle and has a useful appendix. The numbers though can only be taken as a guide. For instance Middlebrook lists 479 men for 156 Bn, whereas as seen above From Delhi has 606. Likewise Middlebrook has 1262, but Glider Pilots at Arnhem has 1284 GPR names and current lists have over 1300 names. The recent edition of Red Berets and Red Crosses also has many more medics than Middlebrook lists. The truth is that the manifests kept were not always accurate and there were last minute changes.
    As regards the South Staffs as John (Horsa Passenger) indicates they were close to full strength but more than 200 of there number did not fly to Arnhem.
    All of the units kept several men back in their UK bases and their various seaborne echelons contained hundreds of men.

    That being said, I would say the premise behind your question is right. The final numbers flown in to Arnhem were well below the full strength of the units involved and I dare say had there been more gliders, glider pilots and transport aircraft available, then the numbers landed might have been increased. As it was the operation stretched the GPR in particular to their limit.
  17. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I'm not convinced that this is where I read it, but Army Training Memorandum No.32 (May 1940) states:

    What I find particularly interesting is that the Left Out of Battle principle was also supposed to apply to defence, though it doesn't go so far as to suggest what should be done with the spare men. Administratively, wouldn't it have been easier to just have a fourth section in the platoon (4x7-man sections v 3x10-man) - one being LOB doing odd jobs until it has to be split to replace immediate casualties in the 'fighting' sections?
  18. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Some earlier references to LOB:

    Infantry Training, Volume I, 1932, Section 6.2.ix:

    Organization of the Infantry Battalion O.B./1919 40/Misc./2194 September 1918
    This confirms a section's fighting strength as 1 NCO plus 6 ORs against an establishment of 8-9 (it doesn't actually say). At this time, each platoon had two rifle sections and two light automatic sections.
    The most interesting thing is that each of the establishment tables includes columns for:
    - 'To be left behind for reconstruction when Bn. goes into action. Not available for reinforcements' and;
    - 'Surplus (if Bn. is up to W.E.) to be left behind on going into action. Available as reinforcements'
    Against a WE of 33 officers and 900 ORs, the theoretical 'LOB' (it's not a contemporary term) are 10 officers and 50 ORs, with 118 ORs available as immediate reinforcements.
    Does anyone know how much further back the principle goes?
  19. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Slilben raises an excellent thread…..and probably doesn't think his age of 15 precludes him with his 71 postings to your 48, from making the odd error as I am sure that in your

    48 postings that you have also made a few errors…..so give the lad some space…..

  20. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    As a PS to my above posting #19- you must understand that in September 1944 - the British Army had been fighting since late '39 - early '40 with tremendous losses in France with the BEF

    Norway - various Commando raids in Europe- the Desert - Greece - Crete - all across what is now Lybia - North Africa and Tunisia- Sicily - Italy as well as the Far East….and so by

    the D Day landings the Higher HQ's were aware that we were running short of manpower- the 8th Army in Italy were getting very few reinforcements as they were all needed in France...

    and so by the time Market Garden was scheduled - I was not too surprised to learn that SOME units were understrength as just after we liberated ROME - the Luftwaffe went off to protect

    Germany allowing the 8th Army to disband many AA - RAF - Naval units to feed the Infantry and Tank units -as MONTY was doing also…..

    Might be of interest in that on Sunday 17th September 1944 - I was lying on a Battlefield wounded, at Coriano in Italy from about 2:30 p.m. until way after dark- watching five

    Churchill Tanks blazing away having been knocked out by an 88mm gun - which we never did see, but I lost great deal of interest in the war at that point- not knowing about anything going

    on anywhere….


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