Airborne Carpet Operation Market Garden by Anthony Farrar Hockley

By Anthony Farrar Hockley

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The Field-Marshal flew back to his headquarters assured of support to mount the airborne operation, determined in his own heart to strike into and through the Ruhr. At the time of his appointment to command the airborne army, General Brereton had a wide range of experience in his profession. Originally a naval officer, he transferred to the United States Army and its infant flying section prior to the First World War. As an aviator, he flew against the Germans when the American Expeditionary Force came to France in 1917.

It was not that they did not take their preparations seriously; simply that their recent experience suggested that they might well be indulging in another theoretical exercise. The commanders of the 82nd and 101st were less inhibited. Though they had also planned numerous operations without execution, they had operated as recently as June and the memories of what had gone well, what had gone badly were more sharply etched on their professional minds. Jim Gavin and Browning had close discussions concerning the high ground immediately south-east of Nijmegen.

All troops in this sector were ordered to withdraw during darkness behind the Meuse-Escaut line. At this time, Model's apprehensions of a strong British advance from Antwerp were diminishing. On the coast, Zangen had been ordered to send eastward whatever troops of Fifteenth Army he could spare from the defence of the Scheldt estuary. The First Parachute Army had several further canals and the rivers Maas, Waal and Rhine on which to deny the approach to Germany through Holland. Behind these, the military commander in Holland had been ordered to improvise further defences.

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