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"Arnhem 1944" Topic

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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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WARGAMESBUFF11 Aug 2019 1:36 a.m. PST

Arnhem 1944 by christer Bergstrom
Vol 1
ISBN # 9789188331485

Hihighly recommended and well worth the £25.00 GBP

Vol 1 deal with the breakthought at joes bridge until the Armour arrives in Nimkmegen. A lot or material I have not seen before and also a few eye openers.
Awaiting volume 2 with glee.


forrester13 Aug 2019 10:03 p.m. PST

I'd be interested to hear more about this, and if it really does achieve the stated goal of cutting through the myths.

WARGAMESBUFF14 Aug 2019 12:28 a.m. PST

I have just ordered volume 2 some very interesting facts about failures on both sides.
example 1; 1 & 3 pare btln orderd to hold over night due to confusion, no confusion the bridge is there go!
exmample 2; Total failure of 82 airborne to secure the Nijmegen bridge even though a para platoon was there but not supported and no enemy.
example 3; the guards halting at Valkenswaard when montgomery's order were to push fast and hard for Nijmegen.

just a taster Forrester.

vol 2 is about the victory that was denied and that is the effort into october.

Starfury Rider14 Aug 2019 9:31 a.m. PST

2nd (Armoured) Battalion, Irish Guards War Diary entries for 15th to 17th September 1944 (transcribed by 'dbf' at ww2talk) –

15 September 1944

The Brigadier gave orders for the break out from the bridge head and the advance N to the ZUIDER ZEE. 5 GDS ARMD BDE would lead the Division and the IRISH GUARDS GROUP lead the Brigade. In support there would be 10 Fd and 3 Medium and 1 Heavy Regts RA, and Typhoons flying overhead and available on call. We were close advance N up the main road to link up with the AMERICAN and BRITISH AIRBORNE DIVISIONS at EINDHOVEN, GRAVE, NIJMEGEN and ARNHEM and then push ton to the ZUIDER ZEE at NUNSPEET consolidate and wait for the rest of SECOND ARMY to arrive. The next advance would then be on MUNSTER to cut off the RUHR. D' Day was 17 Sep, and the Airborne Corps would be dropped probably at 13.00hrs. The whole operation was called MARKET GARDEN.

The Commanding Officer addressed all ranks, thanked them for their fine efforts and congratulated them on the successes gained. Afterwards religious services were held in memory of those who had been killed during the advance.

The Commanding Officer gave out preliminary orders for MARKET GARDEN, but as yet no details.

16 September 1944

The Brigade Commander held a final conference for MARKET GARDEN. H hour for us would be 14.35hrs and the S.L. the F.D.L/s some 2000 yds N of the canal. A heavy barrage lifting at 200 yds a minute, the first half Field, the second half medium guns, would lead us up through the difficult wooded country as far as a small bridge S of VALKENSWAARD. This bridge caused some anxiety a no-one knew its capacity, so a bulldozer was given us to push in the banks of the stream and make a rough crossing if necessary. A "contact man" from the 101 AMERICAN AIRBORNE DIV and the wireless vehicle controlling the Typhoons would join us as soon as possible. Enemy opposition was estimated at 3 Battalions with some A Tk guns.

Lt.-Col. J.O.E. VANDELEUR held a combined O' Group at our HQ. No. 3 Sqn was to lead without infantry, and its main task was to reach the small bridge, report on it and seize it for the rest of the Battalions to pass through. The RE Recce party and bulldozer would travel with Sqn HQ. Then would come No. 1 Sqn with No. 1 Coy on "tank back", combined HQ, a Squadron of HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY REGT, No. 2 Sqn with No. 4 Coy, and finally No. 2 and No. 3 Coys in T.C.Ls.

The "contact man" with his wireless set and the Typhoon control vehicle and two Liaison officers from the RAF reported to Bn HQ, and were put in the picture. They were to travel immediately to the Commanding Officer's Scout Car.

17 September 1944

We received confirmation of the timings and news that the AIRBORNE CORPS was on its way.

The Bn formed up ready to move with Air recognition strips prominently displayed.

The leading Sqn passed over JOE's bridge up to the S.L.

The counter battery and preparatory bombardment came down.

Medium and heavy barrage lifting at 200 yds a minute covered the road from HOEK to VALKENSWAARD.

The Heavy mortars of 50 Div fired on known enemy localities to our front and flanks.

The 240 Field guns put down a concentration 1000 yds N of the S.L. and then lifted at 200 yds a minute till 14.55hrs.

No. 3 Sqn moved up to the S.L. waiting for the barrage to begin.

The Battalion advanced, keeping as close behind the barrage as possible. The clouds of dust raised made this difficult, but the leading tank managed to follow some 300 yds behind the shell bursts. For 10 minutes all went well, but suddenly the rear of No. 3 and head of No. 1 Sqns were attacked by infantry with Bazookas and Anti-Tk guns, and 9 tks were knocked out in two minutes. The remainder halted and got into defensive positions as best they could, spraying the edges of the wood and ditches with Browning and firing HE at any suspicious place. L/Sjt COWAN, No. 2 Sqn, saw a Self-Propelled gun and knocked it out, made the crew climb on the back of his tank and point out their friends positions, which they did gladly in return, as they thought, for their lives. Meanwhile Typhoons, were called for and answered immediately. In the next hour 230 sorties were flown and very low and accurate attacks made on the enemy. Our tanks burnt yellow smoke abundantly and though the rockets landed within 100 yds of them, there was never any likelihood of a mistake, so sure was the pilots' aim. It is only true to say that but for the Typhoon Squadrons' support, our advance could not have continued.

The effect of the rockets, combined with the aggressiveness of our tanks and infantry, was almost instantaneous. Enemy came running out of the trenches trembling with fright and were sent doubling down the road in very quick time. All were still running when they passed Div HQ a mile the other side of the bridge. The 4th Bn DEVONS which had followed us up, clearing each side of the road, also dug a number of enemy out of trenches near Bn HQ with great vigour and relieved us from tiresome sniping. Interrogation showed the enemy to be mainly 6 PARA REGT with some REGT HOFFMAN. Most were new and ignorant recruits, others good fighters who had survived NORMANDY and the retreat. One DR acting as escort made his party travel at motor cycle pace. The MO enrolled others as unwilling stretcher bearers.

The medium barrage was ordered again after No. 3 Sqn had withdrawn 500 yds for safety. Some difficulty was experienced in turning around the bulldozer and it was 16.30hrs before firing could begin.

The advance continued, with Typhoons still overhead and attacking some 88 guns they had seen well in front. Prisoners were still being taken. One warrant Officer from an Anti-Tank Coy said he had owned 10 7.62 Russian guns before the battle but none were now left working and very few of his crews alive. He could not decided which was the worse, the rockets or the Browning and was sent weeping down the road. We actually saw only 4 of the guns, but no more fired, so presumably he spoke the truth.

The bridge was reported clear, intact and fit to carry tanks. No. 3 Sqn accordingly took up positions guarding it and No. 2 Sqn and No. 4 Coy were ordered to pass through them and capture VALKENSWAARD and No. 1 Sqn to mount No. 1 Coy again on tank back. Preliminary "stonks" also came down on the likely points of resistance in the town.

4 88mm guns with their crews and towing vehicles were captured. They were from 602 Heavy AA Bn, and the crews in a great state of fear. Lt. B.C. ISITT in trying to destroy one gun, managed to fire it, thereby greatly alarming Bn HQ. The enemy trucks as usual were packed with loot. Enemy opposition had not completely given in, and all the while there was quite a deal of sniping. Both the Commanding Officer and Major D.M.L. GORDON-WATSON MC, had burst of Spandau just beside them, but no Germans came so near the mark as Lt. B.C. ISITT.

The re-shuffling of the GROUP and crossing of the small bridge took some considerable time. Also the leading Sqn had to approach the town very cautiously, and it was dusk before Major E. . TYLER reported his Sqn in position covering the N exits. Again the only light was from houses set on fire by the shelling. The rest of the GROUP's soon came up and harboured around the central square, blocking all roads, Some 30 prisoners of all sorts were taken including two bicyclist scouts just back from EINDHOVEN who reported to us instead of their own commander. They were lodged for the night under the municipal bandstand, guarded by the Resistance. A German half-track later drove in – a welcome addition to the 3rd Bn's transport. A Dutch civilian reported to Bn HQ from the resistance in EINDHOVEN. He was agreeable and informative, so we took him on strength of the Bn and gave him a seat in a HONEY with which he was well pleased.

The Mayor's clerk came running in to Bn HQ with a message telephoned by the German Commander in EINDHOVEN to his subordinate whom he thought to be still holding VALKENSWAARD. This unknown officer was to defend the town to the last man, with the assurance that reinforcements were on the way. Many very rude answers were given the clerk to send back. By arrangement with the girl in the Post Office, however, we kept contact with her counterpart in EINDHOVEN until 05.00hrs next morning when the line was cut. All she could tell us though was that the enemy were still there, and no sign had been seen of the AMERICAN AIRBORNE FORCES.

Orders were issued for the advance at 07.00hrs next morning – the only difference being that HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY REGT Sqn would lead. The Bn then went to sleep. The day's fighting cost us in all 9 tanks with 8 men killed and several wounded, including SSM PARKES killed and Lt. D. LAMPARD and Lt. B.P. QUINAN wounded.


(includes all entries for the Bn in Europe during 1944)

There is a difference between 'halting' as a voluntary measure and 'being halted' to engage enemy troops who are aiming to 'halt' your advance. Does the author make this distinction, as the action detailed above would suggest the Bn had a somewhat busy time?



WARGAMESBUFF14 Aug 2019 11:04 p.m. PST

HI Gary, the point is Monty told all unit s to go like hell!
im just reading his memoires now very very interesteing.

He tells as it is and did not suffer people who were not up to the job. be interesting when I get to the Arnhem bit. in fact ill jump to that today to see what he says.

catavar17 Aug 2019 12:37 p.m. PST

I have several books on this subject, some older and some new, and therefore feel I'm somewhat familiar with this campaign. With that in mind would you still recommend that I read it?


WARGAMESBUFF05 Sep 2019 2:30 a.m. PST

Hi Cavatar sorry delayed yes both volumes are very interesting.

And pretty well firms up and confirms whose fault Arnhem really was. a hint not Montogomery's :) … !!!

catavar05 Sep 2019 4:31 p.m. PST

Thanks. I'm looking forward to reading it.

uglyfatbloke06 Sep 2019 1:13 a.m. PST

How does he rate Lathbury's Brigade plan and Urquhart's Divisional Plan?

WARGAMESBUFF06 Sep 2019 5:22 a.m. PST

Being Dutch he has no axe to grind so he is very subjective.

He points out lots of chance errors the plan was good, i just bought a map of XXX Holland 1:10000 scale with grids the glider landing are where they are for a good reason.

As to plans all military plans go out the window at the first reverse. Biggest mistakes.
1. Para's holding at Hartenstein for one night and not pushing on.
2. American Air general not allowing a day and a night drop.
3. Eisenhower not stopping Patton running into a dead end at Metz thus drawing critical stores for four weeks.
4. 7th US Armoured failing dismally on VIII Corps right flank.
5. Gavin for no taking the Nijmegen bridge, if they had XXX corps would have been into Arnhem in time and night going house to house.

IF… they had stuck to the origonal Montgomery plan we would have captured the Rhur end Sept Oct and thus saved many lives. But SHAEF changed it.

catavar06 Sep 2019 3:50 p.m. PST

I won't be reading this for a while yet, but I'm curious to know what he writes about much of the 15th Army's escape from the Scheldt?

As I wrote on another thread it's my understanding that Browning's orders, before and after landing in Holland, were that the area around Groesbeek was the priority target; not the bridge. Seems to me that Gavin did as he was told. Still it's always interesting to read another's take on the subject.

WARGAMESBUFF08 Sep 2019 2:47 a.m. PST

Yes Catavar Browning did say take the heights through a fear of counter attack but not taking the Bridge was unforgivable, IMAO.

15th Army is covered in Volume 2, yes a big mistake, maybe we could have used the royal Marines and 6 Para div for that task, cut 15th Army off and secure the left flank that way by taking the two ferries.

Richard Baber08 Sep 2019 4:04 a.m. PST

Major Cook (the 82nd officer who commanded the river assault at Nijmegen bridge) later said if his commander had been Maxwell Taylor and not Gavin his own paratroops would have gone on from Nijmegen towards Arnheim supporting the British armour (who stopped and waited for their infantry still fighting in Nijmegen).

Maxwell Taylor (again according to Cook) had a much more aggressive and less by the book command style than Gavin.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2019 4:37 a.m. PST

But if the road behind them is closed, what happens when they run out of fuel?

Also it was not just the British fighting for the bridge approaches in Nijmegen. Cook's was not the entire 82nd paddling over the river. It was a very small lightly equipped unit, as expected for airborne.

Brownand08 Sep 2019 10:08 p.m. PST

bergstrom is swedish, not dutch

WARGAMESBUFF10 Sep 2019 4:04 a.m. PST

Hi deadhead.
there were no german on nijmegen bdidge on day 1.
If they had taken the bridge there would have been no fighting at that bridge and XXX corps would have linked up.

WARGAMESBUFF10 Sep 2019 4:05 a.m. PST

brownand yep sorry I know hes Swedish sorry typo.

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