Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Bridge too far...

Operation Market Garden. The largest airborne operation of all time. Also, a miserable failure.

For those who don't know, the operation plan's strategic context required the seizure of bridges across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine in Netherlands in World War 2. This was supposed to be achieved by the surprise dropping of around 40,000 airborne troops deep into Nazi-occupied Netherlands in September 1944, and the rapid advance of an entire armored division, brigade and 2 infantry divisions through these bridges. What could have been the most successful allied operation during the WW2 soon turned into mayhem when the paratroopers were overrun and the bridges re-occupied by the Germans, and also because the armored drive encountered a lot more resistance than expected. The operation had to be ditched and the survivors evacuated.

The phrase "A bridge too far" comes from a comment made by British Lt. Gen. Frederick Browning, deputy commander of the First Allied Airborne Army, who told Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery before the operation, "I think we may be going a bridge too far." It has come to signify any "act of overreaching".

1 comment:

  1. Well this very failure of Allied forces boosted up the German morale and what followed in December 16th is the major German offensive called "die Ardennenoffensive" famous as Von Rundstedt Offensive or as the Brits call it.. "Battle of the Bulge"!
    Allied suffered heavy loses both men and machines and this is where the German Grossdeutschland or the mighty 12th Panzer division proved their might.
    But after the fall of Italy, Hitler lost his brains :P :P and what followed is a series of incorrect strategies and finally German fell in April 1945.