The Largest Airborne Operation in History
Operation Market Garden was one of the largest Allied operations of the Second World War. It aimed to secure the bridges over the rivers Maas (Meuse), Waal and Rhine in the Netherlands in order to outflank the heavy German defences of the Siegfried Line and to insure a swift advance towards Berlin.
Operation Market Garden was one of the largest Allied operations of the Second World War. It took place in September 1944. The goal of the operation was to secure the key bridges over three wide rivers in the Netherlands (Maas/Meuse, Waal and Rhine, respectively) in order to outflank the heavy German defences of the Siegfried Line (Westwall) which protected heartland Germany beyond the Rhine. It was hoped that with a swift advance towards Berlin the war would be over before Christmas.
Market Garden was a risky plan of British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. It was executed by 41.628 English, American and Polish airborne troops and three divisions on the ground.
The operation consisted of two parts. Operation Market was the largest airborne operation in the history of warfare. Operation Garden was the campaign on the ground of the 30th Corps aimed at securing the bridges captured by the airborne forces.
The operation was highly ambitious and in the end it failed due to weather conditions and heavy German opposition, especially near Arnhem. But there were more causes of failure: The airborne drop zones were situated too far from the Nijmegen and Arnhem bridges. Combined with communication problems, the laborious advance of the ground troops and a few mistakes by the high commanders in the final days of the operation, they led to failure in the end. After the successful Battle of Nijmegen the Allies did not manage to take the last bridge in Arnhem: the proverbial ‘Bridge Too Far’.
Operation Market Garden managed to liberate a large part of the Netherlands, but failed in its main objective: outmaneuvering the Germans with a surprise crossing of the Rhine. The Nijmegen-Groesbeek area, conquered during Market Garden, remained in Allied hands and served as a springboard for the successful Rhineland Offensive in February 1945.
Bernard Montgomery was one of the most renowned Allied generals. He gained great popularity after his victories in North Africa (El Alamein). Thereafter Montgomery led the Allied ground operations in Normandy, The Netherlands and Northern Germany. His operational choices and
The Bridge over the Rhine at Arnhem was the last bridge that needed to be captured during Operation Market Garden. If the Allies could capture this bridge the road to Germany would lay open. The task of capturing the Rhine Bridge fell to the British 1st Airborne Division.
The Museum shows the course of events during the Battle of Arnhem. This took place in September 1944 in the area between Ede and Arnhem and formed part of the Operation Market Garden. British, American and Polish airborne troops were to take control of the river bridges from the Belgian border to Arnhem.
The Battle of Arnhem, the biggest airborne landing operation of the Second World War, took place in and around Arnhem in September 1944. It formed part of Operation Market Garden. The goal of the Operation was for Polish, British and American airborne forces to capture the important bridges across the Dutch rivers so that ground troops could advance via these bridges. But the Operation failed…
In the early hours of D-Day, the British 6th Airborne Division was dropped behind the German coastal defences. Its mission was to gain control of the area between the Orne and Dives rivers and to prevent German counter attacks against the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy. Despite difficult conditions, its objectives were already achieved at dawn.
To secure the strategic bridges captured earlier by airborne forces, the Allied ground troops of Operation Market Garden, created a narrow front along a two-lane road heading north. This made their advance vulnerable to counterattacks on both flanks. Soon they came under constant, murderous fire. Therefore this route became known as ‘Hell’s Highway’.
After September 1944 the Betuwe, the area between the Waal and Rhine rivers, became the fluid boundary between Allied and German territory. This half flooded no-man’s-land came to be known as ‘Men’s Island’ since almost all the women and children had been evacuated and the land was surrounded by water.
The city of Nijmegen played an important role in Operation Market Garden. With two bridges across the Waal river it was vital for the Allied advance towards Arnhem and Germany later on. On 20 September 1944 U.S. troops managed to capture both bridges and liberate the city.
To ensure the success of Operation Market Garden, the Allied forces had to capture the bridge in Arnhem. But the light-armed airborne forces stood no chance against two SS Panzer Divisions that happened to be in the area. After desperate fighting and many casualties the Arnhem bridge proved to be ‘a bridge too far’.
The final hurdle of the Rhineland Offensive was the Rhine itself. The crossing near Wesel (Operation Plunder) was one of several coordinated Rhine crossings. A million Allied soldiers participated. In support of the crossing, 14.000 paratroopers were dropped behind enemy lines (Operation Varsity). The operations were a complete success. Hitler’s days were numbered.
In September 1944 the Allies launched Operation Market Garden with the goal of capturing several bridges in the Netherlands and to secure a quick advance towards the heart of Germany. The bunker in Valkhofpark was part of the German defence system of the crucial bridge over the Waal river in Nijmegen.
This British war cemetery contains the graves of 1,754 Allied troops. Most of the soldiers who were killed during Operation Market Garden lie buried here.
The ‘Canadian War Cemetery Holten’ on the Holterberg is one of the most impressive reminders of the Second World War. In the spring of 1945, after five years of oppression, Canadian troops were principally responsible for the liberation of northern and eastern Netherlands. During the liberation operations, many Canadian liberators paid the ultimate price. In an historic setting, 1,394 military have found their final resting place at the Canadian Military Cemetery.
With a daring and modern concept, the Eyewitness visitor becomes a first-hand witness of the Second World War in Europe. Original attributes and life-sized mannequins are used to depict various wartime scenes in thirteen dioramas. Eyewitness also displays a number of prized objects that have rarely – if ever – been seen by the general public!
Margraten, the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is the only American military cemetery in the Netherlands. The U.S. 30th Infantry Division liberated this site on 13 September 1944. Here rest 8.301 American military dead.
Museum Vliegbasis Deelen is located on the road from Hoenderloo to Schaarsbergen. The former air base is a former German ‘Gefechtsstand’ and has recently been listed. The museum focuses on the Night Fight 1940-1945 and the air battle above the province of Gelderland. Scale-models, original footage, photos, finds and military objects (including a V1 replica with original interior) show the history of Vliegbasis Deelen during the Second World War.
In the British Military Cemetery in Mook, 322 soldiers are buried. Many of those lying here were killed in the Betuwe region (September/October 1944), and in Germany (February 1945). Nationalities of those interred here: Great Britain (297), Poland (11), Canada (10), Australia (3), and New Zealand (1).
The monument represents a 7 meter tall steel wing sticking out of the ploughed earth at an angle. It serves as a metaphor for the people that still have not been ´liberated´ from the war.
On September 24 1944, during the battle for Arnhem, the 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade parachuted on to a landing zone by the village of Driel. The Brigade was commanded by Major-General S. Sosabowski.
One of the main objectives of Operation Market Garden was to capture the two bridges across the Waal river in Nijmegen. This task proved to be difficult. In a desperate effort to maintain the momentum, U.S. paratroopers crossed the Waal in canvas boats. Attacking from both sides, they managed to capture the bridges intact.
The Airborne Monument on Ginkel Heath in Ede is a concrete pillar with a copper eagle at the top with its wings spread as if in full flight. The plinth is shaped like a crystal with the pillar emerging out of it like a prism. There are three copper symbols on the pillar. The first is a winged parachute wearing a crown. The second, is the emblem of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and the third, an image of a purple Pegasus (the mythological winged horse). At the foot of the pillar, there is a plaque made of natural stone and ten metres away, there is a large boulder with an inscription on it. The memorial is 3m high, 30cm wide and 30cm deep.
As during the Operation Market Garden in 1944, around 2000 paratroopers will be dropped out of planes above the Ginkelse Heide. The brave men who fought for freedom 76 years ago will be commemorated during the Airborne Air Landings and Commemoration on the 19th of September.
In September 1944 the main operation for the Netherlans of World War II occurs, Operation Market Garden, which eventually led to the liberation. In the Museum, the occupation, the oppression and the final liberation are extensively exposed. Travel in time with authentic military equipment and beautiful dioramas. Also explore the vehicles, displays, a 3D movie, pictures and experience how it feels like to be a pilot during a flight simulation!
From 1943 to 1945, the 82nd U.S. Airborne Division was deployed in all of the important operations in western Europe. It took part in military operations in Italy, France, the Netherlands and Belgium as well as on the territory of the German Reich. After the war it was stationed in Berlin as part of the occupying forces.
In the surroundings of the municipality of Landerd, you can meet eyewitnesses who tell about their personal experience of the Second World War. At 6 locations in Reek, Schaijk and Zeeland, you can find tall steel characters who tell a true story that took place at the location in question during the war.
In May 1940 the Netherlands was occupied by German forces. It would take five years before they could be ousted. The final drive to liberate the whole country was launched in February 1945 after the so-called ‘Hunger Winter’ had led to 20.000 fatalities in the still occupied territory.
Werner Krüger was a German soldier serving with the 9th SS-Panzerdivision Hohenstaufen. In September 1944 he and his tank crew were involved in the fighting around Arnhem and Oosterbeek during Operation Market Garden.
Karl-Heinz Kracht was a 19 year old German corporal, who first saw action during the Battle of Arnhem. He was the loader of a Panzer III tank, which took part in the attacks on the British positions at the north end of the Rhine bridge at Arnhem.
During the Second World War 6 million Jews were murdered across Europe by the German occupiers. Rose Jakobs was a Jewish girl who went into hiding during the occupation of the Netherlands. Like Anne Frank she wrote a diary. She was one of the few Jews that survived. Unfortunately she was killed by a bomb fragment just after the liberation of Nijmegen.