The Netherlands / Story

The failure of Operation Market Garden




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.

Operation Market Garden, the campaign to outflank the German defenses along the Rhine (the Westwall) and ensure a swift advance into heartland Germany, came to sobering conclusion on 25 September 1944. With the failure to capture the bridge over the Rhine in Arnhem the operation fell short of its main objective. The last part of the operation was the unhoped-for evacuation of the remaining British and Polish paratroopers, stuck in desperate positions on the northern bank of the Rhine.

In the night of 25 September 2.398 British and Polish soldiers withdrew across the river and back into friendly territory. Operation Market Garden had been a highly ambitious operation. In the end it failed due to weather conditions, communication problems and the surprisingly strong German opposition near Arnhem. The seemingly broken German army, forced to retreat from France in a hurry, had by September 1944 managed to regain itself and establish a robust line of defense along the Rhine in Germany and The Netherlands. As a consequence the Allied forces were left with no other option than a frontal and costly assault on the German border defenses.

This attack would take place in February 1945 under the code name of Operation Veritable, part of the Rhineland Offensive. The operation was launched from the Nijmegen-Groesbeek area and the province of Limburg, both bordering on Germany and captured by the Allies in September 1944.

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