Why Arnhem? While numerous books have been written about the battle of Arnhem, very little discussion has taken place about why in fact the battle took place at Arnhem. A quick look at a map shows clearly that from the position of Allies in September 1944,the most direct route to the Ruhr, the centre of the German armaments industry, was via Wesel. Various reasons have been put forward as to why this route was not chosen, not least that there were very intensive anti-aircraft defences in that area.However at that stage of the war the Allies had almost total air superiority and one feels that that could have been dealt with.Could the real reason have been that, as suggested in Richard Lamb’s excellent book “Montgomery in Europe 1943-45”,put forward by Brigadier Williams, that going via Wesel would have meant Monty sharing the follow-up assaults with the Americans on his right flank? The problem for Monty was that there was no overriding reason for going via Arnhem.Perhaps the arrival of the V2 gave him the excuse he needed. On the 8th September the first V2 landed on London and a cable was sent from the War Office asking if anything could be done about the launching points for this new weapon in Holland. Perhaps Monty now had his justification for going to Arnhem. At the time of the battle Freddie de Guingand,Monty’s chief of staff was in hospital in England and his Acting Chief of Staff was Brigadier(later Major-General) David Belchem. In a note dated January 1981, attached to an unpublished manuscript about the battle, David Belchem wrote “ All I can personally affirm is that up to about 1900 hrs on the 9th September,we were definitely going to Wesel, because I overheard Monty speaking on the beamed radio telephone link with Eisenhower. Wesel was obviously being discussed, but there was no mention whatever of Arnhem.That evening Monty never mentioned Arnhem to me, then Acting Chief of Staff. But around 08.00 on the 10th September,when Generals Dempsey and Browning arrived at Monty’s command post with their maps and planning notes for an attack on Wesel, Monty greeted them on the steps of his caravan with the simple statement “We are going to Arnhem”.The look on our faces can well be imagined! No-one of any consequence wanted to go anywhere near Arnhem. Nevertheless at the time of writing,in spite of very diligent research,no record or hint has been found about the switch from Wesel to Arnhem,nor about the authority responsible for it.” After the war (when David Belchem was Monty’s Chief of Staff) he wrote” When we were living together in Fontainbleau, I tried to get Monty to discuss the subject,without success”. Tragically after the war in a French television programme in which David Belchem took part with German Generals Westphal and von Manteuffel, they agreed with his view that “21st Army Group could have cycled to Wesel”.