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350px|left|82nd Airborne Division dropped near Grave]]
Operation Market Garden, launched in September 1944, was an unsuccessful Allied offensive mainly fought in the Netherlands. It was the largest airborne operation in history up to that time. The operation was a daring one, and it was the brainchild of the British General Bernard Montgomery. This operation was even the subject of the 1977 star-studded movie <i>[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0792839730/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0792839730&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=9a43d7d4c531bad29c0c0e65b6ce2267 A Bridge Too Far]</i> directed by Richard Attenborough. He intended the airborne offensive to allow the allies to break into the German heartland and to end the war quickly. However, this was not the case. The allied offensive was to prove to be a costly failure and may have even delayed their victory in Europe. Why did this operation fail? Was it Montgomery's over-optimistic planning, poor strategy, poor leadership, German resistance, or the terrain?
== Why were the Allied advances grinding to half before Market Garden? ==
[[File: Montgomery E010786478-v8.jpg|thumbnail|
200px|left|General Bernard Montgomery (1944)]]
The Allies had landed in Normandy on the 6th of June 1944. After establishing several beachheads in Normandy, the Allies managed to push forward into the Normandy countryside.<ref>Harclerode, Peter, ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0297846825/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0297846825&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=4d838669f1b185bdbb1d8898e27add71 Wings Of War: Airborne Warfare 1918–1945]'' (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2005), p. 45</ref> The Germans initially managed to slow the Allies advance. However, a brilliant piece of Allied strategy resulted in the encirclement of a large part of the German army in the Falaise Pocket.
== What was Montgomery's Strategy for Operation Market Garden? ==
[[File:British paratroopers in Oosterbeek.jpg|thumbnail|
350px|left|British paratroopers at Arnhem (1944) during Operation Market Garden]]
The allies needed to break the Germans' resistance and cross the Rhine in the Low Countries. General Bernard Montgomery, the hero of the British victory at El Alamein, proposed a daring plan. As recounted in his memoirs, field Marshal Montgomery’s goal was to invade Germany by securing the bridges over the Lower Rhine in the Netherlands.<ref> Montgomery, Bernard Law. ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007J1BXO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0007J1BXO&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=1ed80a46adf53fbeae6a37e7dbcb15e2 Normandy to the Baltic]'' (Hutchinson & Co. London, 1947), p. 157</ref> This idea had several advantages such as by-passing the Siegfried Line. Montgomery wanted an airborne assault in the Netherlands to secure key bridges over the Lower Rhine. This would allow the Allies to enter into the Northern German plains, where there were no natural barriers, to their advance to Berlin.<ref>Burgett, p. 117</ref>
== What Happened during Operation Market Garden? ==
275px|Irish Guard Sherman tanks advance on September 17, 1944, during Operation Market Garden]]
Operation Market Garden began on the 17th of September 1944. It was a coordinated action by American, British a Polish Airborne, and mainly British forces. The operation began with heavy air raids to weaken any resistance. The paratroopers began landing at 13.00hrs around targets in the Netherlands, chiefly Eindhoven, Arnhem, and Nijmegen.<ref> Devlin, Gerard M.. ''[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0860510689/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0860510689&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=649bb9080e6f13f739965427274aedcb Paratrooper: The Saga Of Parachute And Glider Combat Troops During World War II]'' Robson Books, NY, 1979), p. 117</ref>. The paratroopers had the advantage of surprise, and they achieved their objectives. The Germans had been taken completely by surprise. The initial phase of the operation was a total success. It had been feared that the Germans would blow up the bridges, which would mean that the plan would have to be aborted. The rapid capture of the bridges meant that the ground forces would be able to reach the landing zones and support the paratroopers.<ref>Devlin, p. 119</ref>
== What were the Consequences of the failure of Operation Market Garden? ==
The operation was not a total failure as it led to the liberation of large southern Netherlands areas and gained hold of several strategic bridges. However, it failed to secure the key bridge at Arnhem, which would have allowed the Allies to cross the Rhine. The failure at Arnhem meant that any planned invasion of Germany had to be delayed. The Germans, although they had lost ground, we're able to establish a strong defensive line. In total, the Allies had suffered some 15,000 casualties and had many thousands more taken prisoner. The Germans had also lost equipment and vehicles that they could ill-afford to use. An unintended consequence of the offensive was a serious famine in the Netherlands. The Dutch railways stopped during the battle to stop German reinforcements from getting to the front line. In revenge, the Germans forbade the transportation of food, by train and in the following winter, there were serious food shortages throughout the Netherland’s and thousands died of starvation or malnutrition.<ref>Ryan, p. 378</ref>