Late start Market Garden and time schedule

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

Post by W. Tadellöser » 23 Oct 2021 10:42

Aber wrote:
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.
Indeed the planning of Market Garden was a rush job. More time would have given planners the chance to do some finetunning. Still I am not sure why an imperfect plan could not have started earlier then it did. Maybe not right at the start of the day but something better then just letting slip two-thirds (!) of available daylight before starting the attack. It makes you wonder what sort of timetable there was for all these other rush jobs (before Market garden) that where called off; Transfigure, Boxer, Axe head, Linnet I, Linnet II and especially Comet. Well, I found this about Comet (Clover) and the drop off times are between 8:00 and 8:32 (Air Movement Table – Form "A", Annex No. 2 to F.O No. 6, 1st Lift – "D" Day, dated 7 SEP 1944 of Headquarters 52nd Troop Carrier Wing, Page No. 1) https://www.battledetective.com/images/ ... ment_1.jpg

Aber
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Aber » 23 Oct 2021 11:04

W. Tadellöser wrote:
23 Oct 2021 10:42
Well, I found this about Comet (Clover) and the drop off times are between 8:00 and 8:32 (Air Movement Table – Form "A", Annex No. 2 to F.O No. 6, 1st Lift – "D" Day, dated 7 SEP 1944 of Headquarters 52nd Troop Carrier Wing, Page No. 1) https://www.battledetective.com/images/ ... ment_1.jpg
Agreed, although Comet had the same objectives it was a very different operation.

It assumed IIRC a starting position for the ground forces north of Eindhoven - probably including a bridgehead over the Wilhelmina Canal, so fewer objectives and a shorter distance for the ground forces.

It only used British/Polish airborne forces = 4 brigades, which simplified planning.

IIRC the dropzones were generally the same as Market Garden, but included a coup de main glider landing at Nijmegen north of the bridges to seize them quickly.

The earlier date and greater moonlight allowed drops earlier in the day and in particular the glider assault.

Delta Tank
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Delta Tank » 23 Oct 2021 12:06

Aber wrote:
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.
If that is what they expected why didn’t 30 Corps advance in trucks/lorries? (Tongue in cheek) Why did 30 Corps have enough bridging assets to bridge every water obstacle on the “airborne carpet”. I am glad you brought up the purpose of the operation was to get the British Army in position to envelop the Ruhr from the north, have you ever read that plan? I don’t think anyone did a plan other than a fat thumb on a very small map! How was the British Army going to logistically support this envelopment? In October at the earliest, with limited air support, with decreasing hours of daylight, etc.

In my most humble opinion, this was a stupid operation, it should never had been planned or executed. Opening Antwerp was delayed so we could do this!!?? Unbelievable!

Mike

EwenS
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by EwenS » 23 Oct 2021 17:55

Have you read any of the Octagon Conference Minutes? That took place 12-16 Sept in Quebec. There are a few documents in there that demonstrate the thinking throughout the Allied High Command structure, all the way up to and including the Combined Chiefs of Staff. It is against this background that the whole Market Garden operation needs to be viewed.

Start with the Report by the Combined Intelligence Committee dated 8th Sept (p98 of the linked .pdf). It finishes with this:-
....Unmistakeable signs of the imminence of collapse are unlikely to be apparent until the end of resistence is close at hand, but collapse, once begun, is likely to spread rapidly. We consider that organized resistance under the effective control of the German High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht) is unlikely to continue beyond 1 December 1944, and that it may be even sooner.
And this on p6 of Eisenhower's Report in the section on future intentions (page 20 of the .pdf file)
....At the moment and until we have developed the channel ports and the rail lines therefrom, our supply situation is stretched to the breaking point, and from this standpoint the advance across the Siegfried Line involves a gamble which I am prepared to take in order to take full advantage of the present disorganised state of the German armies in the west.....
So the whole feeling is that one good kick at the door of the German frontier and the whole house will come tumbling down and the war will be over by Christmas 1944. Problem was that German resistance was stiffening, something Eisenhower acknowledges in his Report (bottom of page 18 of the pdf), but they seem to have had no idea by just how much even though the signs were there in terms of the difficulties 21 Army Group were having advancing beyond Antwerp across the various canals in the area.

And they were not blind to the logistical position. In fact if you read the Minutes of the meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff for 12 Sept Alan Brooke, CIGS, specifically raised the issue. (See page 209 of the pdf)
Sir Alan Brooke said that while agreeing in general with General Eisenhower's appreciation (SCAF 78), the British Chiefs of Staff felt that sufficient emphasis had not been laid on two points: firstly, the importance of securing sea communications and the ports of Antwerp nad Rotterdam, and secondly, the importance of a strong attack being launched on the northern flank....The most energetic efforts should be made to secure and open the the port of Antwerp as a valuable base for future operations on the northern flank. In order to open the sea approaches to Antwerp, it seemed desireable to stage an airborne operation to capture the islands at the mouth of the Scheldt.
Note the order that those two points are placed in by Alan Brooke. First Antwerp and then the northern flank. But by the time the telegram to Eisenhower is sent on 12th Sept (see p23 of the pdf) those two points have been reversed.


Edit:- sorry guys but the links I'm trying to post aren't working and the pdf is too large to post to this site. A Google for "Minutes of the Octagon Conference" should produce a link to the pdf on the www.jcis.mil website

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

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 23 Oct 2021 19:29

W. Tadellöser wrote:
23 Oct 2021 10:42
Still I am not sure why an imperfect plan could not have started earlier then it did. Maybe not right at the start of the day but something better then just letting slip two-thirds (!) of available daylight before starting the attack.
According to the details in the British Official Historians account (CAB44/254):
(vi) Decision by Commander First Allied Airborne Army
General Brereton decided that the air support available was capable of neutralising the enemy opposition by day, provided the force did not fly into strong flak areas; he would therefore attack by day after air preparation, but the avoidance of flak would be a factor in the selection of dropping and landing zones.
So the late time of MARKET H hour was so that air forces could conduct anti-flak operations during the morning.
Delta Tank wrote:
23 Oct 2021 12:06
In my most humble opinion, this was a stupid operation, it should never had been planned or executed. Opening Antwerp was delayed so we could do this!!?? Unbelievable!
What was Eisenhower thinking? His directive of 13 September 1944:
The general plan, already explained, is to push our forces forward to the RHINE, securing bridgeheads over the river, seize the RUHR and concentrate our forces in preparation for a final non-stop drive into GERMANY. While this is going on we must secure bases as follows: Northern Group of Armies must promptly secure the approaches to ANTWERP or ROTTERDAM so that one of these ports and the lines of communication radiating therefrom can give adequate maintenance to the Northern Group of Armies deep into the heart of GERMANY.

The Northern Group of Armies must also secure additional channel ports.

The Central Group of Armies must quickly reduce BREST so that this place may be available to us for staging troops.
So, Eisenhower orders 21 Army Group to push forward to the Rhine, to secure a bridgehead over it, seize the RUHR (in conjunction with 1st US Army) and establish a supply base there ready to exploit into northern Germany. At the same time, also to secure additional Channel ports and the approaches to Antwerp or Rotterdam. Did he really think 21 Army Group was strong enough to achieve all that? Well he was certainly encouraging of 21 Army Group's plans, writing on 16 September that:
Your M.525 has just arrived here and I must say that it not only is designed to carry out most effectively my basic conception with respect to this campaign but is in exact accordance with all the understandings that we now have.
Indeed, Eisenhower's confidence at this point is best illustrated by his letter of 15 September:
OCT 370-31/Plans 15 September, 1944

Dear Bradley, Montgomery, Devers,

We shall soon, I hope, have achieved the objectives set forth in my last directive (FWD 13765) and shall then be in possession of the RUHR, the SAAR and the FRANKFURT area. I have been considering our next move.
Which matches nicely with his report to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that EwenS has kindly posted up:
EwenS wrote:
23 Oct 2021 17:55
....At the moment and until we have developed the channel ports and the rail lines therefrom, our supply situation is stretched to the breaking point, and from this standpoint the advance across the Siegfried Line involves a gamble which I am prepared to take in order to take full advantage of the present disorganised state of the German armies in the west.....
The Allies gambled and it didn't totally come off. Isn't that what happens in wars? Then the search for scapegoats begin. :D

Oh, and of course, the touchline coaching or arm-chair generalling. :lol:

Regards

Tom

Delta Tank
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Delta Tank » 23 Oct 2021 22:50

Tom,

Tom wrote: “ What was Eisenhower thinking?”

“The God of War”, “Master of the Battlefield”, Field Marshall Montgomery proposed this operation! What was the amateur from Kansas to do?

It was a stupid, stupid, stupid operation!! The objective is to encircle the Ruhr! You start your plan from there and work backwards. So, from the Ruhr, to the Zuiderzee, down to Arnhem, to Nijmegen, to Eindhoven, to “Joe’s Bridge”. The timeline? Logistics? Clear Western Holland?

So, all of that should of been figured out before the first plane was pulled from re-supplying 12 Army Group. Was it??

Mike

EwenS
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by EwenS » 24 Oct 2021 09:16

You are missing the point. Look at the bigger picture and Intelligence reports I quoted. There was plenty of opportunity for Eisenhower to be overruled by his superiors all the way to the Combined Chiefs and FDR/WSC. Everyone was expecting a German collapse. There was a risk that this wouldn’t happen. He even points that out to his superiors. Everyone accepted that. But it was a risk everyone felt worth taking.

Also, look at a map of the region. Antwerp is a long way from the North Sea. By seizing Antwerp a large German force was cut off in NW Belgium. But the Allies were unable to prevent their organised withdrawal across the Scheldt with their equipment. Some argue that a quick advance north would then have seen them cut off. But cut off where? On the north bank of the Scheldt in South Beveland. That doesn’t open up Antwerp’s port facilities. Would they have simply surrendered? Given stiffening resistance hindsight says no. IIRC some 80k escaped South Beveland historically. And resistance was still stiff when the Allies went in. Add those to the defenders and the fight would have been even harder.

And then look at the Allied position. 11th Armoured Div was relatively exposed sitting in Antwerp. The infantry were way back in France and logistics were strained bringing them forward. A fair chunk of Sept was spent clearing Germans from the rear of the leading Armoured divisions.

Having taken Antwerp, taking both sides of the Scheldt would not have been a walk in the park without a German collapse. And what was more likely to cause that? The conclusion was a strike towards the German border and the Ruhr.
Last edited by EwenS on 24 Oct 2021 11:58, edited 1 time in total.

EwenS
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by EwenS » 24 Oct 2021 10:58

I took part in a similar discussion about the the taking of Antwerp about 6 months ago on another site. Below I've posted links to various reseached posts I made at that time which may aid everyone's understanding of Antwerp's position and the British and Canadian troop and armour dispositions at that time, and the German withdrawal across the Scheldt.

Post #8 Situation of Antwerp on Scheldt and problems tackling its clearance to open the port
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/warship ... 43602.html

Post #29 Octagon papaers and comment similar to above
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/warship ... 2-s20.html

Post #110 Disposition and movements of 21st Army Group divisions in early Sept 1944
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/warship ... -s100.html

Post #111 Clearance of the French ports
Post #115 Importance of Antwerp to Allies
Post #116 German withdrawal across the Scheldt
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/warship ... -s110.html

Post #138 Link to article about Kamphgruppe Chill in Sept
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/warship ... -s130.html

It is also worth while for the non Europeans to take a close look at a map of the area and link that to Allied troop dispositions about this time. After the Great Swan across France and Belgium lead by 5 armoured divisions, the country changes in NW Belgium and to the east of Antwerp. Those areas are criss crossed with canals that lead to the heart of the Ruhr. These are not narrow features as we find in the UK. Effectively each becomes a river crossing and the advantage can shift rapidly to the defender. Those kind of assaults require infantry. And where are the infantry divisions when the tanks run into these features? Some days to the rear because the logistic tail can't support the whole of 21 Army Group advancing from Normandy.

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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Sheldrake » 24 Oct 2021 11:30

Delta Tank wrote:
23 Oct 2021 22:50
Tom,

Tom wrote: “ What was Eisenhower thinking?”

“The God of War”, “Master of the Battlefield”, Field Marshall Montgomery proposed this operation! What was the amateur from Kansas to do?

It was a stupid, stupid, stupid operation!! The objective is to encircle the Ruhr! You start your plan from there and work backwards. So, from the Ruhr, to the Zuiderzee, down to Arnhem, to Nijmegen, to Eindhoven, to “Joe’s Bridge”. The timeline? Logistics? Clear Western Holland?

So, all of that should of been figured out before the first plane was pulled from re-supplying 12 Army Group. Was it??

Mike
Op Market Garden was a calculated risk.

Contrary to the views of the ignorant, and unlike many of his more career minded contemporaries, Montgomery was willing to take risks and shoulder responsibility for his actions. Many of those who would have claimed and credit if the operation was successful were only to happy to allow Montgomery to carry the can.

Before D Day the western allies had expected to need about 100 well supplied divisions ashore to stand a chance of beat the German army in the West. The aim of Op Overlord was to establish a lodgment area by the 30ish divisions, which were the advance guard. A further 60+ divisions would then be landed directly from the USA to assemble this full strength army. This was based on the hard logic of logistics.

The collapse of the German Army in the West in the aftermath of their defeat by the allied forces was a big surprise to the allies. The allies had not expected to get much further than the Seine at this point. They certainly did not have the troops ashore, ports, supplies or transport infrastructure to overwhelm the Germans.

Op Market Garden was a gamble that the German moral might have been broken by defeat in France in the same way it had been in the fall of 1918. After all, Market Garden was only two months after the 20 July plot and by the Army. Germany had abandoned more territory, faster and with less resistance. The only way to find out whether the Germans would resist was to try to storm Germany. The imminent German v2 SSBM bombardment of London was a further reason to launch the operation. If successful the Germans would not be able to launch missiles from western Holland

Morale is a key but intangible factor.

Had Op Market Garden been launched two weeks earlier, immediately after the capture of the Bridge at Lommel on 10 September the Germans might not been able to resist and we would be celebrating the drive and initiative of the allied forces under Eisenhower's inspired leadership. His decisive decision to "lets go" would be forever quoted as evidence of his military judgement. (It would have to be Eisenhower's success. That over cautious over rated Britisher Montgomery was too cautious to be the main driver for such a risky venture.) :D

If it exists, I suspect Montgomery's spirit would be delighted to know that he annoys so many of the ill informed half a century after his death, and continues to do his bit to cement anglo-american relations...

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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Pips » 25 Oct 2021 01:04

Interesting to see mentioned that the SOP for the British Army is always to lager at night. Did that hold true throughout the war?
And what of the US Army? Was it's SOP also to halt attacks at night, preparatory to continuing the morrow?

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Sheldrake
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Sheldrake » 25 Oct 2021 23:36

Pips wrote:
25 Oct 2021 01:04
Interesting to see mentioned that the SOP for the British Army is always to lager at night. Did that hold true throughout the war?
And what of the US Army? Was it's SOP also to halt attacks at night, preparatory to continuing the morrow?
Armour was much less use at night. Engagement distances were reduced to at most a hundred metres, and while an infantryman can make use of sound at night, a tank crewman can hear nothing with the engine running. Tactical manouvre is fraught with navigation difficulties - check out Task Force Worthing ton in Op Totalize. The Germans may have been able to frighten Russians by mounted night assaults, but they failed miserably againts the Canadians in the nights following D Day,. on 7/8 and 8/9 June Night was the best time to rearm and replenish. That was true for all armies.

British armour habitually lagers/ leaguered/ laagered at night certainly as a western desert habit. As a tactical lifestyle it has much to commend it. A snort or two at an evening O Group on Zero Hotel at RHQ (*) Sneaking around at night is something best left to chippy infantrymen...

BUT when pushed, British armour could and operate at night in pursuit. So the pursuit after El Alamein continued night and day. 30 Corps drove through the night to seize the crossings over the Somme. Op Totalize was a massed armoured night attack to penetrate the Germans positions south of Caen.

Its a bit of a rock paper scissors game. If the armour presses ahead and the enemy is disorganised the armour win. If the armour presses ahed and hits an organised defence, the defenders win.

* Zero Hotel tac sign 0H was a 4 ton truck with a canvas awning manned by the mess staff of the Queens Royal Irish Hussars.)
Last edited by Sheldrake on 26 Oct 2021 09:06, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Pips » 26 Oct 2021 00:09

Thanks for that Sheldrake.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Sheldrake » 26 Oct 2021 09:12

Pips wrote:
26 Oct 2021 00:09
Thanks for that Sheldrake.
The tanks don''t operate at night lasted until the 1980s. The lagering activity piloried above was very much the norm in post war BAOR. Tanks always withdrew to a "hide. at night. The introduction of passive IR TOGS meant that tanks had the best night vision equipment in the battlegroup.

In 1985 I spent part of an exercise attached to a German panzer company. THey also had a hide, but deployed a Fuchs recce vehicle and one tank and my Op party as an outpost. The Leopard II crew mounted a ground sentry as well as having someone on radio watch in the turret. In nver saw British Armour bother to do that. That wasa job for Recce or the infantry.

Challenger

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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by EwenS » 26 Oct 2021 09:28

Going back to the OP I believe that the real driver for the timing must be the air support laid on from Britain which is often forgotten about.

892 B-17 and 147 P-51 from 8th AF from bases in East Anglia struck 117 installations, mostly flak batteries, along both routes to the drop zones between 09.30 and 11.30 being joined by 122 2nd TAF light and medium bombers based in Hampshire plus 85 Lancaster and 15 Mosquito aircraft to bomb Walcheren.

But what organisation went into putting those aircraft over the target at those times?

Sunrise was about 06.40. Assuming a USAAF Group was ready to go, briefed, bombed up, crews in aircraft etc, taxi and takeoff wouldn’t begin until then and that takes approx 30 mins. Then the Group has to climb and form up into its boxes in its designated areas over East Anglia and it needs daylight to do that. That usually took between 30-90 mins depending on many factors incl weather, crew experience etc. Let’s say 1 hour. The targets were 95 (Walcheren) to 175 (Eindhoven) miles from Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast, a common departure point for aircraft leaving to bomb Europe. The flight distance would be longer given evasive routing etc. A B-17 typically cruises at 150mph. So flight times to targets are at least 40-80 minutes.

You can begin to see why the first bombs didn’t fall until 09.30.

Then these aircraft have to return to base and be deconflicted from the paratroop and glider trains going out through some of the same airspace. So the takes offs of the airborne forces have to follow those of the support aircraft.

The 9th AF transport units began taking from about 10.00. Some of the RAF aircraft were based in Gloucestershire and Dorset, so had to cross most of England before getting to the English coast. Their routes were about 189-194 miles long from the English coast to the DZs. The max towing speed of the gliders was 150mph. So flight times of say 100 mins plus take off and form up time.

So taking all that into account you can begin to see why the airborne landings took place from around 13.00.

But could you do without the air support? The problem with that is that there were extensive flak positions in western Netherlands because that was the air route into the heart of Germany. Aircraft losses on Day 1 of Operation Market were low. Without the action against the flak positions they would no doubt have been heavier.

Map of the airborne routes flown.
https://amcmuseum.org/history/the-great ... d-holland/

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Re: Late start Market Garden and time schedule

Post by Gooner1 » 26 Oct 2021 11:10

Sheldrake wrote:
25 Oct 2021 23:36

BUT when pushed, British armour could and operate at night in pursuit. So the pursuit after El Alamein continued night and day. 30 Corps drove through the night to seize the crossings over the Somme. Op Totalize was a massed armoured night attack to penetrate the Germans positions south of Caen.

Its a bit of a rock paper scissors game. If the armour presses ahead and the enemy is disorganised the armour win. If the armour presses ahed and hits an organised defence, the defenders win.
Probably the only night it would have been worth the risk Guards Armoured Division advancing was the night of 20th/21st September.
Too late for Frost's men at the bridge already though.

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