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World War II: Operation Market-Garden

A Bridge Too Far

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Market-Garden Fails

On Sunday, the German severed the road south of Veghel and established defensive positions. Though efforts continued to reinforce Oosterbeek, the Allied high command decided to abandon efforts to take Arnhem and to establish a new defensive line at Nijmegen. At dawn on Monday September 25, the remnants of the British 1st Airborne were ordered to withdraw across the river to Driel. Having to wait until nightfall, they endured severe German attacks through the day. At 10:00 PM, they began crossing with all but 300 reaching the south bank by dawn.

Aftermath of Market-Garden

The largest airborne operation ever mounted, Market-Garden cost the Allies between 15,130 and 17,200 killed, wounded, and captured. The bulk of these occurred in the British 1st Airborne Division which began the battle with 10,600 men and saw 1,485 killed and 6,414 captured. German losses numbered between 7,500 and 10,000. Having failed to capture the bridge over the Lower Rhine at Arnhem, the operation was deemed a failure as the subsequent offensive into Germany could not proceed. Also, as a result of the operation, a narrow corridor in the German lines, dubbed the Nijmegen Salient, had to be defended. From this salient, efforts were launched to clear the Schledt in October and, in February 1945, attack into Germany. The failure of Market-Garden has been attributed to a multitude of factors ranging from intelligence failures, overly optimistic planning, poor weather, and the lack of tactical initiative on the part of commanders. Despite its failure, Montgomery remained an advocate of the plan calling it "90% successful."

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