Operation Market-Garden was one of the strangest battles of World War II. A bold stroke to win the war early engineered by a General for whom bold strokes were anathema, poorly planned, poorly executed, well fought by the men who had to try and win the battle for the glory-hound who planned it. It was, frankly, a mess, brought about because Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery did wanted to allow Lt. General George S. Patton the ‘glory’ of crossing the Rhine River before he did, a feat Patton would have achieved had he been given the supplies that Montgomery requisitioned for Market-Garden.
Montgomery was known for set-piece battles, not improvisational ones planned in a hurry, in other words he was not Patton, and so the Commander of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, General Dwight Eisenhower, should have known better than to endorse Monty’s plan. But Eisenhower made a number of crucial and historic mistakes during the war, and this was one of them.
The battle was memorialized in the outstanding war film ‘A Bridge Too Far’, but of necessity it concentrated on the British contribution, since it was a British operation and the British 6th Airborne Division was almost wiped out as a result. The American side of things has been neglected, but not now.
The American Side of a Bridge Too Far
John C. McManus – Author
ISBN 9780451237064 | 512 pages | 05 Jun 2012 | NAL | 9.25 x 6.25in | 18 – AND UP
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In September Hope, acclaimed historian John C. McManus explores World War II’s most ambitious invasion, an immense, daring offensive to defeat Nazi Germany before the end of 1944. Operation Market-Garden is one of the war’s most famous, but least understood, battles, and McManus tells the story of the American contribution to this crucial phase of the war in Europe.August 1944 saw the Allies achieve more significant victories than in any other month over the course of the war. Soviet armies annihilated more than twenty German divisions and pushed the hated enemy from Russia to deep inside Poland. General Eisenhower’s D-Day Invasion led to the liberation of France. Encouraged by these triumphs, British, Canadian and American armored columns plunged into Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. The Germans were in disarray, overwhelmed on all fronts, losing soldiers by the thousands as Allied bombers pulverized their cities. For the Third Reich it seemed the end was near. Rumors swirled that the war would soon be over and that everyone would be home for Christmas.Then came September, and Holland.On September 17, the largest airborne drop in military history commenced—including two entire American divisions, the 101st and the 82nd. Their mission was to secure key bridges at such places as Son, Eindhoven, Grave and Nijmegen until British armored forces could relieve them. The armor would slash northeast, breech the Rhine and go wild on the north German plains. However, the Germans were much stronger than the Allies anticipated. In eight days of ferocious combat, they mauled the airborne, stymied the tanks and prevented the Allies from crossing the Rhine. For the first time, using never-before-seen sources and countless personal interviews, September Hope reveals the American perspective on one of the most famous and decisive battles of World War II.