Chapter 7


1. Boeree, The Truth About the Supposed Spy at Arnhem, provides an informative, well-documented trip around various German headquarters at the time of the Allied strike.

2. MS # B-717 (Student). German clock time was an hour behind the British Summer Time used by the Allies.

3. MSS # T-121, T-122 (Zimmermann et al.).

4. Minutes of Hitler Conferences, 17 Sep 44 (Fragment NO. 42). Copy of transcribed notes in OCMH.

5. MS # T-122 (Zimmermann et al.).

6. Tel Conv, G-3 OB WEST to G-3 A Gp B, 1905, 18 Sep 44, in A Gp B KTB (Text) (Rommel Papers).

7. MS # B-717 (Student). Though no confirmation of this event is to be found in American records, there appears no reason to question Student's recollection.

8. Order, A Gp B to First Prcht Army, 2315, 17 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Operationsbefehle.

9. OB WEST KTB (Text), 15 and 16 Sep 44.

10. Order, A Gp B to Wehrkreis VI, 2315, 17 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Operationsbefehle; OB WEST KTB (Text), 17 Sep 44.

11. Orders, A Gp B to Armed Forces Comdr Netherlands, 2215, and II SS Pz Corps, 2315, 17 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Operationsbefehle; answers by Bittrich to questionnaire prepared by Colonel Boeree, 1955, copy in OCMH through courtesy of Colonel Boeree (hereafter cited as Bittrich Questionnaire). Bittrich notes that Model's orders to the II SS Panzer Corps were merely in confirmation of measures which he himself already had taken.

12. Strength of these two divisions on 17 September is a matter of some conjecture. Neither of the usual sources (records of the General Inspekteur der Panzertruppen and OKH, Zustandberichte, SS-Verbaende-Strength Reports of SS units) is rewarding in this instance. Figures given are based upon the Bittrich Questionnaire, copy in OCMH. Wilmot, The Struggle for Europe, page 532 and 532n, says the divisions each had the "the strength of a brigade plus some thirty tanks and assault guns." Although Wilmot provides no direct source for this information, he notes that Rundstedt's chief of staff (Westphal) "was as surprised as the Allies to find that II SS Panzer Corps had so much armor."

13. MS # P-069 (Kreipe).

14. The Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division saw their first combat on D Day in Normandy. Before Operation MARKET, the division's three organic parachute regiments had been augmented by attachment of the 506th Parachute Infantry. Unless otherwise noted, this account is based on official unit records and extensive combat interviews; on Rapport and Northwood, Rendezvous With Destiny; and on two preliminary manuscripts at a small unit level prepared by Col S. L. A. Marshall, Parachute Battalion in Holland and Parachute Infantry at Best. Copies in OCMH.

15. Another glider narrowly escaped a crash. When flak knocked out both pilot and copilot, Cpl. James L. Evans, a passenger unfamiliar with the controls and himself wounded by flak, steadied the ship until he could rouse the dazed pilot.

16. The story of the ground attack is from Combat Interv with Renfro; Br Abn Corps, Allied Abn Opns in Holland; 21 A Gp, Opn MARKET GARDEN. Wilmot, The Struggle for Europe, provides a lucid account.

17. Mng, Noon, and Evng Sitreps, A Gp B, 1000, 1530, and 2000, 18 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Letzte Meldung.

18. Ibid.

19. Private Mann was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The Dutch have erected a memorial in his honor in the Zonsche Forest.

20. Cpl. Daniel L. Corman played dead by falling across what he thought was the corpse of his foxhole mate. Unmoving, Corman stayed there until late afternoon when other paratroopers at last arrived. Then he found that the man he had been lying on still had a breath of life in him.

21. Like all glider regiments, the 327th Glider Infantry had but two organic rifle battalions. In informal reorganization between actions in Sicily and Normandy, the glider regiments of both the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions had gained a third battalion by splitting between them another regiment, the 401st. Thus, the 1st Battalion, 401st Glider Infantry, while retaining formal status as an independent unit, normally functioned as the 3d Battalion, 327th Glider Infantry.

22. Evng Sitrep, A Gp B, 19 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Letzte Meldung.

23. Greater detail on this and other German air operations against Operation MARKET may be found in Hq, AAF, Airborne Assault on Holland, an Interim Report, Wings at War Series, No. 4, pp. 37-39.

24. FAAA, Opns in Holland. See also Rapport and Northwood, Rendezvous With Destiny, pp. 312-13.

25. The 82d "All-American" Airborne Division made a first combat jump in Sicily, then reinforced the Fifth Army at Salerno. When the division returned to England, one regiment remained behind to fight at Anzio and missed the Normandy jump but later rejoined the division. Attachment of the 508th Parachute Infantry provided the division with a fourth infantry regiment. Unless otherwise noted, the story of the 82d in Operation MARKET is based upon official unit records and combat interviews. A unit history, Saga of the All-American, compiled and edited by W. Forrest Dawson (Atlanta, Albert Love Enterprises, 1946), is largely pictorial. As noted, because of sketchy records, considerable reliance has had to be placed upon postwar observations.

26. General Gavin was promoted to major general during the course of this operation.

27. Ltr, Gavin to Capt John G. Westover, Hist Off, 25 Jul 45, in reply to questions submitted by Westover to CofS, 82d Abn Div, 82d Abn Div Combat Interv file.

28. Ibid., and Ltr, Gavin to OCMH, 17 Jan 54.

29. Ltr, Winton to OCMH, 8 Mar 54, OCMH; Intelligence Trace No. 5 in Hq, Troop Carrier Forces FO No. 4, 13 Sep 44; 505th Prcht Inf AAR.

30. Gavin, Ltr to OCMH.

31. Ibid.; Maj. Gen. James M. Gavin, Airborne Warfare (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1947), p. 75.

32. Hq Br Abn Corps, Opn Instr No. 1, Allied Abn Opns in Holland. General Browning was to recall later: "I personally gave an order to Jim Gavin that, although every effort should be made to effect the capture of the Grave and Nijmegen Bridges as soon as possible, it was essential that he should capture the Groesbeek Ridge and hold it—for ... painfully obvious reasons .... If this ground had been lost to the enemy the operations of the 2nd Army would have been dangerously prejudiced as its advance across the Waal and Neder Rhein would have been immediately outflanked. Even the initial advance of the Guards Armoured Division would have been prejudiced and on them the final outcome of the battle had to depend." Ltr, Browning to Maj Gen G. E. Prier-Palmer, British Joint Services Mission, Washington, D.C., 25 Jan 55, excerpt in OCMH.

33. 82d Abn Div CofS Jnl, entry of 0700, 19 Sep 44, referring to conf, Gavin with Browning,
1530, 18 Sep 44. See also Gavin Ltr to OCMH.

34. Gavin Ltr to Westover; Gavin Ltr to OCMH.

35. The Honinghutje bridge was not mentioned in 82d Abn Div FO 11, 13 Sep 44, which listed assignments. General Gavin in his letter to OCMH says that the 504th and 508th Parachute Infantry Regiments together were to take the bridge. The task "was to depend upon the development of the fight once the landings were accomplished." Presumably the same was true of rail bridges over both the Maas and the Waal.

36. Msg, G-2 to CO Base Echelon, 17 Sep, in 82d Abn Div G-2 Jnl, 17-21 Sep 44; 508th Prcht Inf AAR and other regtl AARs; Gavin Ltr to OCMH.

37. Combat Interv with personnel of Co E, 504th Prcht Inf.

38. Gavin letter to OCMH, citing an account of the event written by Lieutenant Thompson.

39. 82d Abn Div, Annex 3 to G-2 Rpt 91, Translation of Captured Document 15 Sep 44.

40. General Gavin recalls that the division Reconnaissance Platoon approached the east side of the bridge late in the afternoon. Gavin Ltr to OCMH.

41. Combat Interv with personnel of 1st Bn, 504th Prcht Inf.

42. 505th Prcht Inf AAR.

43. 508th Prcht Inf AAR.

44. Although extensive combat interviews were conducted with personnel of the 508th Parachute Infantry, they are inexplicably missing from Department of the Army files. The story has been reconstructed from unit records; Gavin's letters to Westover and OCMH; letters to OCMH from Colonel Warren, 3 July 1955, Colonel Lindquist, 9 September 1955, Col. Thomas J. B. Shanley formerly Executive Officer, 508th Parachute Infantry, 2 Sep 55, and Rev. Bestebreurtje, 25 Oct 56; a postwar interview with Colonel Lindquist by Westover, 14 Sep 45, copy in 82d Airborne Division Combat Interview file; and Westover, The American Divisions in Operation MARKET, a preliminary narrative written in the European theater shortly after the war, copy in OCMH. Captain Westover had access to all the combat interviews when writing his narrative.

45. Gavin Ltr to Westover.

46. Lindquist Ltr to OCMH. See also letters from Shanley, Warren, and Bestebreurtje.

47. 508th Prcht Inf AAR.

48. Warren Ltr to OCMH.

49. Ibid. See also Shanley Ltr to OCMH.

50. Gavin Ltr to OCMH. See also letters from Lindquist and Shanley.

51. Warren Ltr to OCMH.

52. Msg, Harness Red to CO (no time signed, but sent to div hq at 2315, 17 Sep), 508th Prcht Inf Jnl file, 17 Sep-16 Oct 44.

53. 82d Abn Div G-2 to Br Abn Corps G-2 1810, 17 Sep 44, 82d Abn Div G-2 Jnl file, 17-21 Sep 44.

54. Mng Sitrep, A Gp B, 0400, 18 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Letzte Meldung; Minutes of Hitler Conference, 17 Sep 44 (Fragment No. 42); Bittrich Questionnaire, OCMH.

55. Ibid.

56. Gavin Ltr to Westover.

57. Gavin Ltr to OCMH. Colonel Mendez recalled after the war that he directed Company G's attack "on his own responsibility." Statement by CO, 3d Bn, 508th Prcht Inf, to Hist Off, 8 Sep 44, as cited by Westover, The American Divisions in Operation MARKET, Ch III, p. 38.

58. 82d Abn Div G-3 to CO 508, 18 Sep (no time signed, but msg entered in jnl file at 1150), 508th Prcht Inf Jnl file, 17 Sep-16 Oct 44. See also Shanley Ltr to OCMH.

59. To anyone following progress of the fight for the bridge in the 82d Airborne Division G-2 Journal, withdrawal must have come as something of a surprise. Three separate entries in the journal early on 18 September—all erroneous—reported "patrols on Nijmegen bridge."

60. Reconnaissance patrols were to move toward both bridges during the night of D plus 1. 82d Abn Div G-2 Jnl file, 19 Sep 44.

61. Evng Sitrep, A Gp B, 2000, 18 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Letzte Meldung; 82d Abn Div G-2 Rpt 92 and Jnl, 18 Sep 44.

62. 508th Prcht Inf AAR.

63. Minutes of Hitler Conference, 17 Sep 44 (Fragment No. 42).

64. 82d Abn Div G-2 Rpt 92, 18 Sep 44.

65. Ibid.; 504th and 505th Prcht Inf AARs; 508th Prcht Inf Jnl file, 17 Sep-16 Oct 44.

66. 82d Abn Div CofS Jnl, 0700, 19 Sep 44, reporting a conf held at 1530, 18 Sep 44. See also Ltr, Gavin to OCMH, 8 Jul 55.

67. Ibid.

68. S-1 Jnl, 2040, 17 Sep, in 505th Prcht Inf AAR.

69. 82d Abn Div G-2 Rpt 92, 18 Sep 44.

70. 82d Abn Div G-2 Jnl, 17-18 Sep 44.

71. Ltr, Gavin to OCMH, 8 Jul 55. General Gavin's recollection is supported by Bestebreurtje, letter to OCMH, 25 October 1956.

72. 82d Abn Div G-2 Jnl, entry dtd 0515, 18 Sep 44.

73. A detailed analysis of tactical air support in Operation MARKET may be found in Weapons Systems Evaluation Group, A Historical Study of Some World War II Airborne Operations, WSEG Staff Study No. 3, pp. 160-64, copy in OCMH files. The incident on D plus 1 was one of the few instances, other than on D Day, when tactical air made any substantial contribution to direct support of U.S. troops on the ground in this operation. Adverse weather was partly responsible. Also, technical problems prevented aircraft of the 2d Tactical Air Force from operating while Eighth Air Force fighters were escorting the various lifts of airborne troops and supplies. The effect of these two factors resulted on occasion in a local German air superiority, a surprising paradox in view of Allied air superiority in the theater.

74. See 504th Prcht Inf S-3 Jnl, 18 Sep 44.

75. Ltr, Gavin to OCMH, 17 Jan 54.

76. 82d Abn Div G-2 Jul, entry dtd 1040, 18 Sep 44; Ltr, Bestebreurtje to OCMH.

77. This account is based primarily on 1st Abn Div, Rpt on Opn MARKET, Pt. I. See also FAAA, Opns in Holland; Hq Br Abn Corps, Allied Abn Opns in Holland; Boeree, The Truth About the Supposed Spy at Arnhem; Boeree, correspondence with the author, in OCMH files; and a colorful account in By Air to Battle, the Official Account of the British Airborne Divisions (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1945), pp. 93.

78. By Air to Battle, p. 102.

79. Daily Sitrep, A Gp B, 0200, 19 Sep 44, A Gp B KTB, Tagesmeldungen.

80. With one encircled group was the brigade commander, Brig. G. W. Lathbury. Seriously wounded, he had to be left behind. Many days later, after having been treated for wounds at a German-controlled hospital, Brigadier Lathbury escaped and eventually led some 120 Red Devils through enemy lines to gain the south bank of the Neder Rijn. See By Air to Battle, pp. 130-131.

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