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  • #16
    508th PIR, the weakest link

    Originally posted by Col. Dyess View Post
    Based on what really happened the 1st AB would probably fail to reach there objectives at Nijmagen and the 82nd would be out on a limb at Arnhem even if they reach they capture there objectives.
    Also we must remember that the 82nd failed to capture the bridge at Nijmagen on time.
    They did capture it though. The Brit 1st AB could hardly say as much. The 82nd AB was in top form, battle hardened over 3 Combat Jumps, and experienced in fighting Armor with Paratroops. Seeing as 30th Corps was taking tea time (I know, they didn't have anything else to do) and the 101st and 82nd still cleared their objectives ahead of the armored thrust, it seems to me that the 82nd could have held out longer, and therefore averted disaster, by making the link.

    Monty Are you trying to get me thrown out? You know I want a piece of that "Lackluster" 82nd AB performance shot. I have to think you said that just to get a rise. There was nothing lackluster in the performance of the 504th PIR or the 505th PIR. If you mean the 3rd Battalion of the 508th PIR, yeah they floundered to a degree, but the had to many objectives, still un-quantified leadership, and yet they held the Groesbeek heights effectively.
    Last edited by Paul Mann III; 02 Jun 07, 13:07.
    "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

    BoRG

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Col. Dyess;
      ...Also we must remember that the 82nd failed to capture the bridge at Nijmagen on time.
      This was also noted in the MG thread elsewhere. The fact is two bridges were not taken on time or in enough strength to allow MG to suceed, Nijmegen and Arnhem. Had Nijmegen been in the hands of the US paras when Guards arrived it is possible that Frost may have been relieved.

      Of course, what the allies would have been able to do with the bridgehead is anybody's guess but I doubt a breakthrough into Germany would have been possible.
      The Purist

      Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by P.V. Mann III View Post
        Monty Are you trying to get me thrown out? You know I want a piece of that "Lackluster" 82nd AB performance shot. I have to think you said that just to get a rise. There was nothing lackluster in the performance of the 504th PIR or the 505th PIR. If you mean the 3rd Battalion of the 508th PIR, yeah they floundered to a degree, but the had to many objectives, still un-quantified leadership, and yet they held the Groesbeek heights effectively.
        Hmmmm, Gavin did want to take the blame for the mission's failure. He didn't think that they did as good a job as they could have done. But, note that I used the word 'relatively' when I said it was 'lacklustre' - as I said earlier, it was the 101st who performed best of the three airborne divisions, I regard 82nd's performance to have been lacklustre compared to that.
        Signing out.

        Comment


        • #19
          No lie, the 82nd Airborne gets the job done.

          Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
          Hmmmm, Gavin did want to take the blame for the mission's failure. He didn't think that they did as good a job as they could have done. But, note that I used the word 'relatively' when I said it was 'lacklustre' - as I said earlier, it was the 101st who performed best of the three airborne divisions, I regard 82nd's performance to have been lacklustre compared to that.
          Of course the 101st AB faired a little better, they had the easiest task. The fact that Gavin took the blame for the 508th PIR is true, he thought he assigned the bridge to the wrong PIR. He thought, in retrospect, that the 504th PIR was the right tool, but he had rotated their position, since they had already put in so much in the ETO. The 504th PIR, as you must know, eventually took the Bridge. The 82nd Airborne only failed to capture one bridge, and said bridge was not critical, as they had taken all of the others. Comparing the success of the two AB divisions is apples and oranges, much like the debate over swapping Brit 1st AB. I must disagree on performance however, if a formula coud be calculated, I'm sure the 82nd AB would score the higher marks for Operation Market Garden.

          Let's count Distinguished Service Cross awards between the two US Airborne outfits for Market Garden.
          "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

          BoRG

          Comment


          • #20
            We must also remember that Nijmegan bridge was the key to whole operation, not Arnhem. The Germans delaying action at Nijmegan bridge is what cause the Allied plan to collapse. The 82nd was right were it was supposed to be, I think. The plan just had to many problems to for it to work.

            Although I still think British 6th AB might have seized the objective quicker resulting in a different outcome of the battle, the British 1st AB must still be given credit for holding as long as they did considering that this was there first combat jump.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Col. Dyess View Post
              We must also remember that Nijmegan bridge was the key to whole operation, not Arnhem. The Germans delaying action at Nijmegan bridge is what cause the Allied plan to collapse. The 82nd was right were it was supposed to be, I think. The plan just had to many problems to for it to work.
              This is more true than one might think. In an operation such as this the most important bridge is 'the next bridge'. The priority begins in the south and works its way north, Eindhoven, Zon, Veghel, Grave, Nijmegen, Arnhem (to name the major ones. If any bridge to the south fails to be captured in time for the armour to roll over the "airborne carpet" then it makes little difference if the the next one up the chain is captured.

              Market-Garden failed at two points primarily: 1) 1st AB was dropped too far from its objective, and 2) The bridge at Nijmegen was not captured quickly enough.

              While the bridge did eventually fall it needs to be remembered that it took a combined arms river assault by two allied divisions to attack the bridge from both ends for this to be accomplished. Had 1st AB dropped a battalion south of the bridge at Arnhem and 82nd dropped a battalion north of the bridge at Nijmegen things might have worked out better. As it was, neither division moved quickly enough to secure their primary objectives and thus the operation failed.
              Last edited by The Purist; 03 Jun 07, 08:57.
              The Purist

              Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

              Comment


              • #22
                Laying the Carpet

                Originally posted by Col. Dyess View Post
                We must also remember that Nijmegan bridge was the key to whole operation, not Arnhem. The Germans delaying action at Nijmegan bridge is what cause the Allied plan to collapse. The 82nd was right were it was supposed to be, I think. The plan just had to many problems to for it to work...
                I disagree. Arhem was the "end of the road," so that is where I would use my best Airborne division, if I had to use this plan. The 82nd AB, in my opinion could have handled Arnhem, and still sent troops to Nijmagen for a "backfield" motion. If the Brit's hadn't written the plan, I presume Ridgway, Gavin, and Taylor would have laid the carpet as so;

                Arnhem: 82nd Airborne (with the 504th PIR in place of the Brit 1st Parachute Bde.)

                Nijmagen: 101st Airborne (using the 502nd PIR at Wyler to Nijmagen)

                Veghel/Eindhoven: British 1st Airborne (dropping Brit 1st PB at Zon) [motivates 30th Corps to move faster in the first 48 hours]
                "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                BoRG

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by P.V. Mann III View Post
                  I must disagree on performance however, if a formula coud be calculated, I'm sure the 82nd AB would score the higher marks for Operation Market Garden.
                  I doubt we'd agree on a satisfactory one. We'll just have to agree to differ.

                  Let's count Distinguished Service Cross awards between the two US Airborne outfits for Market Garden.
                  See 1st Airborne won plenty of medals at Arnhem, but individual acts of heroism in the face of adversity do not necessarily reflect on the overall performance of a unit.
                  Signing out.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by P.V. Mann III View Post
                    I disagree. Arhem was the "end of the road," so that is where I would use my best Airborne division, if I had to use this plan. The 82nd AB, in my opinion could have handled Arnhem, and still sent troops to Nijmagen for a "backfield" motion. If the Brit's hadn't written the plan, I presume Ridgway, Gavin, and Taylor would have laid the carpet as so;
                    If they'd managed to get the DZs closer to the objective then yes, but I'd argue that the same would be true of 1st Airborne.
                    Veghel/Eindhoven: British 1st Airborne (dropping Brit 1st PB at Zon) [motivates 30th Corps to move faster in the first 48 hours]
                    They didn't move particularly quickly once over the Nijmegen bridges so I don't agree with the motivational benefits here.
                    Signing out.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
                      If they'd managed to get the DZs closer to the objective then yes, but I'd argue that the same would be true of 1st Airborne.

                      They didn't move particularly quickly once over the Nijmegen bridges so I don't agree with the motivational benefits here.
                      My theory is based mostly on the combat experience, particularly at Biazza Ridge, and Salerno, where 82nd AB men fought armor, with parachutists. As far as the DZ's go, the 82nd also had experience in quick assembly in the field. They were overlooked, for a shot at Brit glory, after the large overlooking of the Brit contribution at Normandy.

                      I just got a new documentry that has vet interviews on the "Tea time" theory, most of them say that the Guards lagged because they couldn't contribute to the front significantly, and further more, they hadn't been called for with the urgency being felt in Arnhem.
                      "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                      BoRG

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                        Market-Garden failed at two points primarily: 1) 1st AB was dropped too far from its objective, and 2) The bridge at Nijmegen was not captured quickly enough.
                        I'd like to throw in a few more reasons for failure

                        It happened too late - there were plans for airborne assault from September 7 onwards, but delays in getting the jump-off positions and ground forces in place allowed the German defences to strengthen and stabilise

                        The ground forces were too weak - 8 & 12 Corps, which flanked 30 Corps did not attack at the same time, so 30 Corps ended up fighting an all-round battle, rather than focussing on the assault

                        Objectively, commanders should have seen that it was a very risky operation and cancelled it in favour of opening Antwerp, but no-one was brave enough to take that decision

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Aber
                          ...It happened too late - there were plans for airborne assault from September 7 onwards, but delays in getting the jump-off positions and ground forces in place allowed the German defences to strengthen and stabilise...
                          However, an operation by 3 parachute divisions does take time to organise. The fact that the operation was conceived, planned (even when borrowing from previous plans) and executed in some 10 days speaks volumes about the effeciency of the allied command structure by Sep 44. Also, while the German front was quite well defended up to some 8km up the main road, there were few troops between Eindhoven and Arnhem when the battle started the afternoon of the 17th. What the allies had not counted on, mainly because the had never really experienced it, was how quickly the Germans could move in reinforcements.

                          Originally posted by Aber
                          ...The ground forces were too weak - 8 & 12 Corps, which flanked 30 Corps did not attack at the same time, so 30 Corps ended up fighting an all-round battle, rather than focussing on the assault...Objectively, commanders should have seen that it was a very risky operation and cancelled it in favour of opening Antwerp, but no-one was brave enough to take that decision
                          The first point highlights the fact that allied logistics were becoming strained to the breaking point. Even with priority given to XXX and XVIIIth Corps the allies could only mount this limited offensive by some 6 out of 50 odd divisions. That being said, everyone from Eisenhower on down thought that "just one more push" would send the Germans reeling.

                          The argument for Antwerp relies too much on hinsight, in my opinion. Considering the mood of the day, stopping to open Antwerp would only have given the Germans more time to rebuild and strengthen the front. If they did not move *now*, so they believed, the opportunity to end the war early would be lost. The allied commanders were wrong, as we know, the opportunity had already passed,...but that reality had not sunk in with any of the allied headquarters at the time.
                          Last edited by The Purist; 03 Jun 07, 09:01.
                          The Purist

                          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by P.V. Mann III
                            I disagree. Arhem was the "end of the road," so that is where I would use my best Airborne division, if I had to use this plan....
                            Who is to say the 82nd was the 'best' of the allied divisions? It was elite, no question, but I have read nothing about its performance either before MG or afterwards that would make it any better than the other three allied divisions. Your own self-professed bias towards this division does not make the argument any stronger.


                            Originally posted by P.V. Mann III
                            Veghel/Eindhoven: British 1st Airborne (dropping Brit 1st PB at Zon) [motivates 30th Corps to move faster in the first 48 hours]
                            I believe your thinking on motivation is a bit ass-backward here, PV. If such a consideration were made, and I doubt such a cynical motive was involved, placing the British division at Arnhem would have provided more than enough incentive to keep moving to rescue "our countrymen".

                            There are three basic "physical" elements that delayed Guards Armoured from reaching Arnhem in time; i) German resistance throughout the afternoon of Sept 17th took longer to overcome (it was well passed 1:00 pm when XXX Corps attacked), ii) the bridge at Zon had been destroyed and needed to be replaced, and, iii) the bridge at Nijmegen was still in German hands when the Guards arrived.

                            Let's not forget that had the German's explosives not been faulty even the valiant river assault by the 82nd would have turned out to be a wasted effort. The allies were lucky, nothing more, that the Nijmegen bridge did not crash into the Waal....which would have meant the lose of the entire 1st Airborne Div and Polish Bde and the end of Market-Garden there and then.
                            Last edited by The Purist; 03 Jun 07, 19:12.
                            The Purist

                            Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by P.V. Mann III View Post
                              My theory is based mostly on the combat experience, particularly at Biazza Ridge, and Salerno, where 82nd AB men fought armor, with parachutists. As far as the DZ's go, the 82nd also had experience in quick assembly in the field. They were overlooked, for a shot at Brit glory, after the large overlooking of the Brit contribution at Normandy.
                              Well 1st Airborne, although a relatively new formation, contained a lot of experienced men. John Frost was one of the veterans who had participated in the Bruneval raid! The division was as capable as any of quick assembly but that wasn't the problem.

                              I just got a new documentry that has vet interviews on the "Tea time" theory, most of them say that the Guards lagged because they couldn't contribute to the front significantly, and further more, they hadn't been called for with the urgency being felt in Arnhem.
                              Following on from my previous paragraph, there really was no sense of urgency anywhere. The whole Operation was bedevilled with the complacency of men who believed that the war was as good as finished. The lacklustre performance of the units that participated can largely be explained by the fact that very few, if any, were prepared for the level of German resistance they encountered. At Arnhem, whilst the SS Panzer Corps itself was weak and ill-equipped for battle they were trained to respond quickly and aggressively Unlike Model, Bittrich quickly divined what the para's objectives were and within fifteen minutes had elements of his Corps moving. 82nd would have run into exactly the same problems that 1st Airborne did and I don't see any reason why they would have performed appreciably better.
                              Signing out.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                                Who is to say the 82nd was the 'best' of the allied divisions? It was elite, no question, but I have read nothing about its performance either before MG or afterwards that would make it any better than the other three allied divisions. Your own self-professed bias towards this division does not make the argument any stronger.
                                Perhaps you've noticed my Airborne enthusiasm? I consider myself fairly well educated on WWII US Airborne History, and my self-professed bias is not out of undue admiration. My "bias" is derived from research, and formulated consideration. Each of my Grandathers was from different Airborne Divisions, so my "bias" toward the 82nd AB is not skewed by relation, it simply the preference I maintain, due to my considerable intrest in the subject.
                                "This life..., you know, "the life." Youíre not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you donít shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                                BoRG

                                Comment

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