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You've probably beaten Market Garden to death here

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by squidly the octopus, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. Terry D

    Terry D Well-Known Member

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    Entirely appropriate for MARKET-GARDEN, though.
     
  2. Frank Natoli

    Frank Natoli Member

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    If one reads Horrocks own autobio, one finds a map, that clearly shows three separate roads converging on Nijmegen, yet his orders were to use the center road only, which of course permitted the Germans to converge on XXX Corps.
    Everything depended on XXX Corps getting to British Airborne in Arnhem ASAP, which would never happen up one road.
    I believe it was Roger Cirillo's PhD thesis on Market Garden that noted that Brereton's insistence on dropping American airborne as divisions, not in individual battle groups on individual objectives, pretty much guaranteed the Americans would not reach those objectives until either the Germans blew them up or met them with enough force to slow the capture of those objectives, thus severely delaying XXX Corps up that one road.
    It was a Charlie Foxtrot in many, many ways. HorrocksMarketGarden.jpg
     
  3. lodestar

    lodestar recruit

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    Hi to one and all.
    I’m very new to posting on this forum, even though I see I joined back in 2010!
    Just didn’t get to posting here because as I explained in my New Members intro I was busy posting on the old ‘Armchair General (ACG) forum for around 14years.

    Many topics that were on ACG are of course still being discussed here.
    Very interesting to see some different ‘takes’ on various issues and controversies.
    Thought I might start by presenting a few of my own ideas and posts from my material on ACG.

    I posted something last week on an old discussion about Operation Jubilee (the Aug 1942 attack on Dieppe by the 2nd Canadian Division and support units) but then realised yesterday that the poster I was addressing had last been ‘active’ on this forum about nine years ago!
    Anyway, enough of my rambling prologue.

    I note that the Arnhem/ Operation Market Garden / Monty as commander controversy is still a fairly ‘hot-button’ issue here.

    Years ago on ACG, I posted the following about these matters, I’d be interested in what posters here think.
    My post read as follows:

    Monty has to be held ultimately accountable for the failure at Arnhem for the simple reason that it was his show if you will, run by the army he had essentially created in his way, fighting in his style if you will.
    The best short analysis of the operation is in ‘Brute Force - Allied strategy and tactics in the 2nd World War’ by John Ellis(Andre Deutsch ltd 1990).
    Ellis concludes about Market Garden in his chapter called ‘Inching to Victory’:

    A plan conceived in haste and thus riddled with flaws, an absentee commander with his finger noticeably off the pulse of the battle, an inability to cope with a constricted axis of advance, troops of ranks almost congenitally unsuited to mobile operations of this kind – given all this, one increasingly wonders how anyone could ever have supposed that Montgomery and his army would suddenly change their spots and become the sort of force capable of conducting a fast, concentrated, fully mobile thrust into the heart of Germany.

    The Panzer Armies of 1940-42 had been able to bring off operations of this kind because they were led by generals able to think on their feet and who would take risks when the potential rewards were great enough.. Moreover, these generals commanded subordinates imbued with these same ideas, and who were quite prepared to act on their own initiative when necessary.
    The army Montgomery claimed he could lead to Berlin was quite different, because he had created it in his own ponderous and ever-cautious image. To change it would have been the work of years

    Quite a demolition job hey!
    He then produces he ultimate slap-down about the so-called narrow vs broad front strategy discussion:

    There are then two main reasons why the ‘debate’ over the narrow thrust versus broad front strategy has always been somewhat artificial. For one thing, the narrow thrust advocated by Montgomery was totally unacceptable to the Americans purely in terms of national prestige.
    For the other, even if Montgomery had been given his cherished opportunity, it is extremely unlikely that he and his army could have properly seized it.

    There was, therefore, no real alternative to Eisenhower’s broad front advance and the North-West European campaign settled into a familiar rut, the slow but remorseless application of overwhelming preponderance.

    In other words the British at Arnhem were clearly out of their depth.
    The Germans just as clearly, even at this late stage and even with an army gutted by the war in the east were not.

    Fair call?
    Lodestar’s stupidity and ignorance amazed virtually everyone: for the first twenty years of his life, he believed a Manilla Folder referred to a Pilipino contortionist!!

    Cheers Lodestar
     
    Riter likes this.
  4. Riter

    Riter Well-Known Member

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    I recently finished reading Monty's Memoirs and he was a long time advocate of a narrow thrust at the expense of Americans. We saw the same thing from Monty in Tunisia and Sicily. Long before reaching the German border, Monty proposed his narrow thrust to Ike with Bradley and Patton securing his flanks.

    Not being a nationalist, but I think if we had given Patton the fuel the war could have ended sooner. Diverting fuel to support Monty came at the expense of American advance. Even after the Ludenendorf bridge was captured by the US 9th Armored Divison (Hodges First Army), Brad limited the advance to 5 miles a day which was just enough to keep the Germans from stabilizing and fortifying their lines. This was so as not to take the momentum away from Monty's crossing of the Rhine in Operation Plunder/Varsity. Then Patton crossed and all the glory was taken from Monty. Plunder/Varsity was a brilliant success but its significance was overshadowed by Hodges and Patton.

    Only Monty's popularity kept Ike from sacking him. Alexander, IMO, would have been a better team player.
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Not just Montgomery. From Eisenhower's Crusade in Europe, concerning the September 10 meeting with Monty:

    "I instructed him that what I did want in the north was Antwerp working, and I also wanted a line covering that port. Beyond that I believed it was possible that we might with airborne assistance seize a bridgehead over the Rhine in the Arnhem region......Montgomery was therefore authorized to defer the clearing out of the Antwerp approaches in an effort to seize the bridgehead I wanted."

    Nor was it just Eisenhower. As I mentioned in #53 above, the whole chain of command was looking for an opportunity to use the airborne army.

    1st Allied Airborne Army staff had been planning airborne operations for weeks, some seventeen in all, culminating with Operation Comet, a smaller version of Market, featuring landings at Arnhem, Nijmegen, and Grave, which facilitated the planning for Market.

    The key decisions which doomed M-G were made by the airborne and air transport staffs, most notably the refusal to land assault forces close to the bridges as had been done successfully at Pegasus Bridge in Normandy. This one change would likely have made the operation a success; Guards Armoured could have been striking north from Nijmegen to Arnhem on the morning of the 19th, day three. I've posted the details several times if folks are interested.

    As noted in #74, Montgomery asked if a second lift could be flown on day one and was told it could not. It would certainly have been difficult to stage another set of gliders, but it might have been possible to load paratroopers and fly a repeat of the morning mission.
     

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