The Battle of Arnhem

To ensure the success of Operation Market Garden, the Allied forces had to capture the bridge in Arnhem. But the light-armed airborne forces stood no chance against two SS Panzer Divisions that happened to be in the area. After desperate fighting and many casualties the Arnhem bridge proved to be ‘a bridge too far’.

Operation Market Garden came to a stop in Arnhem. The bridge across the Rhine in this city was the last bridge the Allied forces needed to capture to ensure the success of the operation. It was also the farthest removed from the starting point of the British 30th Corps that was tasked with relieving the airborne forces. The paratroopers in Arnhem were expected to hold out for four days at the most. In the end they had to endure nine days of brutal fighting before retreating across the Rhine after the failure of Market Garden was inevitable.

The British and Polish paratroopers that were dropped near Arnhem faced many problems. Areas closer to the bridge were unsuited for airborne landings. The location that was chosen instead was more than 10 to 15 kilometres removed from the bridge. Furthermore the airborne units that were dropped at Arnhem had to be flown there in three waves due to a shortage of transport aircrafts. This meant that the first group to land had to capture the bridge as well as hold on to the landing site so that the follow up forces could land safely. This already troublesome situation was aggravated further by the presence of the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions that were stationed near Arnhem for rest after the fighting in Normandy. These problems proved to be too much for the valiant airborne forces. They suffered enormous appalling losses and were unable to achieve their goal in the end.

Nieuwe Kade 23, 6827 AA Arnhem, Pays-Bas