Late start Market Garden and time schedule

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W. Tadellöser
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Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by W. Tadellöser » 20 Oct 2021 12:37

Why did Market Garden start so late in the day? There is still a lot to do about the fact that 30 Corps did not reach Eindhoven on the 17 September 1944 but had to spend the night in Valkenswaard. In my opinion this is the result of the late start of the attack, in case of 30 Corps at 14:35 (sundown is at 18:50). Why was that? I have heard that the reason was that little tactical air support was available and it was used first to eliminate targets around drop zones and other locations. But they could have done that at first light (sun is up at 6:20). You do not have to be a genius to realise that in large military operations every minute of daylight counts and so it is wise to start as early as possible. This was not the case in Market Garden and there must be a reason for this.
Also, I have been trying for some time to find out what the timetable was for 30 Corps. It is always said that the 'slow' advance of 30 Corps was one of the reasons for the failure of Market Garden. But that is actually not so bad, on the morning of the 19th elements had reached Nijmegen (but the Waalbridge was still in German hands, not the fault of 30 Corps, that was supposed to be the job of the 82nd Airborne) Was there a time schedule for 30 Corps; at this time in Eindhoven, at this time in Veghel, etc?

ps . about the times I have given here. Sources are not always clear if they give real time or summer-time (or whatever) so I could be of by an hour.

Gooner1
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Gooner1 » 21 Oct 2021 12:45

in 'Corps Commander' by Sir Brian Horrocks, he states in the outline of 'Orders for Arnhem', which he gave out verbally at the Bourg-Leopold cinema on 16th September.
"Administration
(d) Speed absolutely vital, as we must reach the lightly equipped 1st British Airborne Division if possible in forty eight hours. [I emphasised this several times over.]
(e) Zero Hour: I will give Zero Hour as soon as I know for sure the Airborne Divisions are on their way. Timings must therefore depend on weather. There will be a 30-minute concentration from our artillery on known enemy gun positions before the Irish Guards tanks start to advance."
Later in the chapter
"Suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, hundreds of aircraft were overhead, many transport planes, some towing gliders, with fighter cover swarming everywhere as the Armada flew steadily northwards.
I ordered Zero Hour for 1435 hours. At 1400 hours exactly there was a roar overhead as our 350 guns, hidden in the woods behind, opened up."

That struck me as a bit odd. First Horrocks says he would give the order to start when he knows the Airborne divisions are on their way, but in reality he waited until the Airborne divisions had already passed/were passing overhead before setting the start time.

Even so I think it possible that Guards Armoured Division could have got to Arnhem in 48 hours if the bridge at Son could have been captured intact as well as the Nijmegen bridge(s).

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 21 Oct 2021 19:24

Gooner1 wrote:
21 Oct 2021 12:45
That struck me as a bit odd. First Horrocks says he would give the order to start when he knows the Airborne divisions are on their way, but in reality he waited until the Airborne divisions had already passed/were passing overhead before setting the start time.
This is what I have on the subject:

From WO171/376 - HQ Gds Armd Div
8. Timings

(a) ‘D’ Day is the day on which ops ‘MARKET’ and ‘GARDEN’ begin.

(b) ‘H’ hr is the time at which tps taking part in op ‘MARKET’ first drop.

‘H’ hr has been fixed provisionally for 1300 A hrs 17 Sep. This will be confirmed.

Postponement will be for periods of 24 hrs.

(c) ‘Z’ hr is the time at which leading tps of the Div taking part in op ‘GARDEN’ will adv. ‘Z’ hr is likely to be the same as ‘H’ hr and will in any case not be earlier. The exact time of ‘Z’ hr will be notified later.
From WO171/341 - HQ 30 Corps
SIGNAL MESSAGE 16[2309?]B

From: ‘G’ 30 Corps

To: Gds Armd Div 11 Armd Div 43 Div 50 Div
8 Armd Bde R Netherlands Bde 15/19 H
SRY 44 R Tks

Info: Tac Second Army Main Second Army 12 Corps
XIX US Corps

O/701. TOPSEC. Tasks of fmns 17 Sep 44. ONE. Operations GARDEN and MARKET start 17 Sep. H Hour for MARKET is 1300A hrs. TWO. A. 50 (N) Div will take over responsibility for Gds Armd Div bridgehead over MEUSE-ESCAUT Canal by 170800A. This is in addition to present flank protection tasks of 50 (N) Div. B. 50 (N) Div will assume responsibility for protection of 30 Corps Main axis of advance as far North as VALKSWAARDEN [sic] by moving fwd units as required. Timings for these moves and for assumption of responsibility to be by mutual agreement Guards Armd Div and 50 (N) Div.

In CIPHER ONLY
EMERGENCY OPS to Addressees
IMPORTANT to remainder
Distribution:
ADC BGS G(SD) GSI G(Air) CCRA
CE CSO DAQMG Phantom
From WO171/208 - 2nd Army 'G' Signal Log for 17 Sep 44:
From Main Army – TOO 162225B – TOR 170030B – Ref GO 164.
RENEGADE. Confirmed timing of first drop 171300A.
From 30 Corps – TOR 171315A
30 Corps zero hr 1435 hrs.
I think I've also seen reference to a signal from the UK saying that the MARKET forces were on their way. I'll see if I can dig it out.

Regards

Tom

Gooner1
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Gooner1 » 22 Oct 2021 12:23

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
21 Oct 2021 19:24
8. Timings

(a) ‘D’ Day is the day on which ops ‘MARKET’ and ‘GARDEN’ begin.

(b) ‘H’ hr is the time at which tps taking part in op ‘MARKET’ first drop.

‘H’ hr has been fixed provisionally for 1300 A hrs 17 Sep. This will be confirmed.

Postponement will be for periods of 24 hrs.

(c) ‘Z’ hr is the time at which leading tps of the Div taking part in op ‘GARDEN’ will adv. ‘Z’ hr is likely to be the same as ‘H’ hr and will in any case not be earlier. The exact time of ‘Z’ hr will be notified later.

Great. As I understand it 'H' hr - when the first airborne drops began - was around 1300 hrs "and by shortly after two o'clock on that Sunday afternoon the last plane had released its load and turned for home" VITW V.II.

No real reason therefore that Guards Armoured could not have started an hour or an hour and a half earlier.

Not that it would have made a lot of difference if they had. Probably 5th Guards Brigade could have advanced beyond Valkenswaard, perhaps even as far as Eindhoven, but with the bridge blown at Son they still would have been starting from there on the morning of the 19th.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 22 Oct 2021 12:43

Gooner1 wrote:
22 Oct 2021 12:23
Great. As I understand it 'H' hr - when the first airborne drops began - was around 1300 hrs "and by shortly after two o'clock on that Sunday afternoon the last plane had released its load and turned for home" VITW V.II.
From 1st Airborne Division's HQ war diary:
1300 onwards - Landings of 1 Air Ldg Bde, Div H.Q. and Div Tps by glider started, followed by 1 Para Bde drop at 1440 hrs, both eminently successful on correct L.Zs. and D.Zs. Flak slight.
And from HQ 1 Airborne Corps war diary:
1358 GROESBEEK, Holland - 768544
First glider of Corps HQ containing Corps Comd landed in field alongside rd running into GROESBEEK 768544.
No flak encountered over LZ. A perfect landing. Other gliders followed immediately and landed in a good conc. No opposition met on LZ. One mishap in landing – 2 glider pilots injured. 12 enemy surrendered without a fight when gliders landed.
Regards

Tom

Delta Tank
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Delta Tank » 22 Oct 2021 12:56

To All,

I read this book last year, “Arnhem: The Complete Story of Operation Market Garden 17-25 September 1944”. March 1, 2020 by William F. Buckingham (Author). It is very detailed and I can’t imagine anyone will ever write a more definitive account.

IIRC, the reason why 30 Corps did not get to Eindhoven and beyond is because it was Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) to stop at night and that is what they did. The SOP on stopping at darkness was not rescinded until the second or third day of the operation. I don’t have my copy near by.

Also, the British Army had a tremendous amount of bridging equipment just in case some of the bridges were destroyed.

Timings for an attack can be difficult to decide especially when using airborne forces. I think this operation is very difficult because there are more factors to consider than a “normal” attack. Attacking too early may alert enemy forces up and down the corridor and that may hurt the “surprise” factor of the airborne assault.

Mike

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 22 Oct 2021 16:26

Delta Tank wrote:
22 Oct 2021 12:56
IIRC, the reason why 30 Corps did not get to Eindhoven and beyond is because it was Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) to stop at night and that is what they did. The SOP on stopping at darkness was not rescinded until the second or third day of the operation.
Hi Mike,

5 Gds Armd Bde intention as expressed on 15 Sep 44 (WO171/605):
INTENTION
1. To reach area NORTH of EINDHOVEN 4321 before dark 17th preparatory for adv at first light next day, 18th.
That suggests German resistance may also have had something to do with it! :idea:

Regards

Tom

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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Sheldrake » 22 Oct 2021 16:47

Delta Tank wrote:
22 Oct 2021 12:56
IIRC, the reason why 30 Corps did not get to Eindhoven and beyond is because it was Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) to stop at night and that is what they did. The SOP on stopping at darkness was not rescinded until the second or third day of the operation. I don’t have my copy near by.

Also, the British Army had a tremendous amount of bridging equipment just in case some of the bridges were destroyed.

Timings for an attack can be difficult to decide especially when using airborne forces. I think this operation is very difficult because there are more factors to consider than a “normal” attack. Attacking too early may alert enemy forces up and down the corridor and that may hurt the “surprise” factor of the airborne assault.

Mike
The stop when it gets dark SOP could be and was ignored when convenient. Horrock's 30 Corps advanced through the night in the break out from the Seine to seize the crossings over the Somme at Amiens.

There was not one single problem with Op Market Garden that could have been put right with a change of H hour. Almost everyone involved in making decisions was switched off. They had spent the last month chasing the Germans and being greeted as liberators. Lots of people thought the was almost over. The operation was planned in anticipation that it might be cancelled, like the previous fifteen planned airborne operations.

About ten years ago I found an insight into Op market Garden from the subversive world of ARRSE. This offered an explanation using the unauthorised language of the implicit counter productive doctrine within British and American forces. My interpretation of Op Market Garden is on post #4 on this thread.
https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threa ... bs.166064/

I have not pasted the argument as this unauthorised doctrine makes heavy use of the eerr "military adjective." :D

Aber
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Aber » 22 Oct 2021 19:13

W. Tadellöser wrote:
20 Oct 2021 12:37
Why did Market Garden start so late in the day? There is still a lot to do about the fact that 30 Corps did not reach Eindhoven on the 17 September 1944 but had to spend the night in Valkenswaard. In my opinion this is the result of the late start of the attack, in case of 30 Corps at 14:35 (sundown is at 18:50). Why was that? I have heard that the reason was that little tactical air support was available and it was used first to eliminate targets around drop zones and other locations.
From memory, a cascade of reasons:

Ground attack will trigger German alerts, so cannot start earlier as airborne forces need the element of surprise

Air force planners want a clean drop, so need to avoid aircraft taking off in the dark or early morning fog

Air forces planners do not want mixed forces in the area, so tactical airforces can only be used after the drop has been completed

Ground forces need tactical airforces in close support as will move out of artillery support range

US airborne were given control over their drop zones; 82nd airborne decided on a single large drop zone - original proposal below
Will seize the following on the Second Army's main axis to ensure the speedy pass through of that Army to the GRAVE, NIJMEGEN and ARNHEM crossings.
a. Canal crossing 3596 [DE GROOT, Junction de' la Meuse a L'Escaut, timber decking on steel trestles*]
b. WALKENSWARD
c. EINDHOVEN
d. Bridge in square 4425 [Wilhelmina Canal, ZON, a 2-span steel girder swing bridge*]
e. ST OEDENRODE
f. VEGHEL
g UDEN
Overall a series of logical decisions, but with a poor result

Delta Tank
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Delta Tank » 22 Oct 2021 21:28

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
22 Oct 2021 16:26
Delta Tank wrote:
22 Oct 2021 12:56
IIRC, the reason why 30 Corps did not get to Eindhoven and beyond is because it was Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) to stop at night and that is what they did. The SOP on stopping at darkness was not rescinded until the second or third day of the operation.
Hi Mike,

5 Gds Armd Bde intention as expressed on 15 Sep 44 (WO171/605):
INTENTION
1. To reach area NORTH of EINDHOVEN 4321 before dark 17th preparatory for adv at first light next day, 18th.
That suggests German resistance may also have had something to do with it! :idea:

Regards

Tom
Tom,
Currently in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at a World War II Conference. You need to get the book I posted above, it was not German resistance according to Buckingham. The intention in the OPORD should of said “we will not stop until we get to Arnhem and relieve the British Paratroopers”. So, even in the portion you posted they planned to lager at night!! Amazing!! I guess speed really was not that important to the leading ground elements.

Mike

W. Tadellöser
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by W. Tadellöser » 22 Oct 2021 23:12

From memory, a cascade of reasons:

Ground attack will trigger German alerts, so cannot start earlier as airborne forces need the element of surprise

Air force planners want a clean drop, so need to avoid aircraft taking off in the dark or early morning fog

Air forces planners do not want mixed forces in the area, so tactical airforces can only be used after the drop has been completed

Ground forces need tactical airforces in close support as will move out of artillery support range

US airborne were given control over their drop zones; 82nd airborne decided on a single large drop zone - original proposal below
Thank you for your comment.

Yes, these might have been the real reasons for a late start, one could of course argue whether these are convincing. Just to pick out the first two: I am not sure if the ground-attack started a few hours early would have spoiled the surprise for the airborne landings. Avoiding the dark for aircraft taking off still gives you the chance to start at first light six o'clock in the morning. Avoiding early morning fog is of course a bit of a gamble. However, during the later airborne Operation Varsity (24 March 1945) chances for early morning fog were probably about as high as in mid September and the aircraft started shortly after sunrise. As a result the first drops were just before ten o'clock in the morning.

W. Tadellöser
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by W. Tadellöser » 22 Oct 2021 23:15

To all the people who have commented so far; thank you for your contribution.

Aber
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Aber » 23 Oct 2021 06:59

Delta Tank wrote:
22 Oct 2021 21:28
it was not German resistance according to Buckingham. The intention in the OPORD should of said “we will not stop until we get to Arnhem and relieve the British Paratroopers”.
Well, Buckingham is squarely on the airborne side of the dispute.

A reminder that the original commanders intention was that Guards Armoured should advance over "an airborne carpet" - in theory they should not have had to do any fighting until they were past Arnhem. Arnhem was not the objective of the whole operation, but a river crossing needed for the advance to the Ijssel.

Aber
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Aber » 23 Oct 2021 07:08

W. Tadellöser wrote:
22 Oct 2021 23:12
However, during the later airborne Operation Varsity (24 March 1945) chances for early morning fog were probably about as high as in mid September and the aircraft started shortly after sunrise.
Key difference with Varsity is the amount of planning time available.

For Market Garden the first airborne planning conference was on the evening of the 10th and the final plan was confirmed on the afternoon of the 13th, with headquarters scattered across UK and Belgium. There was not enough time to perfect the plan, just enough to write a plan that everyone thought was workable.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 23 Oct 2021 09:44

Delta Tank wrote:
22 Oct 2021 21:28
Tom,
Currently in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at a World War II Conference. You need to get the book I posted above, it was not German resistance according to Buckingham. The intention in the OPORD should of said “we will not stop until we get to Arnhem and relieve the British Paratroopers”. So, even in the portion you posted they planned to lager at night!! Amazing!! I guess speed really was not that important to the leading ground elements.

Mike
Hi Mike,

Good to hear from you, I hope all is good with you.

That conference sounds intriguing - can you give any more details about it?

Rather than buying yet another book about Arnhem (on some direct advice from my wife :lol: ), I've been collecting primary sources from the ground forces involved. I also have many of the regimental histories of the ground forces and the thing that always stands out to me is that for the ground forces this was just another of a long line of often-difficult, sometimes disastrous, seldom totally successful operations en route from Normandy to northern Germany. The historical fascination with Operation MARKET completely distorts the picture for the forces involved in GARDEN.

The purpose of the airborne drops (MARKET) was to aid the advance of 2nd Army (GARDEN) - the operation was not meant to consist of 2nd Army (GARDEN) rescuing the airborne forces (MARKET)!
Delta Tank wrote:
22 Oct 2021 21:28
So, even in the portion you posted they planned to lager at night!! Amazing!! I guess speed really was not that important to the leading ground elements.
I imagine that "the leading ground elements" were mainly concentrating on getting the job done and staying alive during the process. We can't all be heroes. :wink:

Regards

Tom

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