Operation Market Garden 1944 in 37 Photographs

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Operation Market Garden (17–25 September 1944) was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time.

Field Marshal Montgomery’s goal was to force an entry into Germany over the Lower Rhine. He wanted to circumvent the northern end of the Siegfried Line and this required the operation to seize the bridges across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine) as well as several smaller canals and tributaries. Crossing the Lower Rhine would allow the Allies to encircle Germany’s industrial heartland in the Ruhr from the north. It made large-scale use of airborne forces, whose tactical objectives were to secure the bridges and allow a rapid advance by armored units into Northern Germany.

Several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured at the beginning of the operation but Lieutenant-General Brian Horrocks’ XXX Corps ground force advance was delayed by the demolition of a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal, an extremely overstretched supply line at Son, and failure to capture the main road bridge over the river Waal before 20 September. At Arnhem, the British 1st Airborne Division encountered far stronger resistance than anticipated. In the ensuing battle, only a small force managed to hold one end of the Arnhem road bridge and after the ground forces failed to relieve them, they were overrun on 21 September. The rest of the division, trapped in a small pocket west of the bridge, had to be evacuated on 25 September. The Allies had failed to cross the Rhine in sufficient force and the river remained a barrier to their advance until offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945. The failure of Market Garden ended Allied expectations of finishing the war by Christmas 1944. (Source)

Operation Market Garden

A fleet of Allied aircraft flies overhead as paratroopers of the Allied Airborne Command float groundward in the invasion of the Netherlands, still another step towards the liberation of Europe. September 17, 1944. Tischler, Air Transport Command. (Army)A fleet of Allied aircraft flies overhead as paratroopers of the Allied Airborne Command float groundward in the invasion of the Netherlands, still another step towards the liberation of Europe. September 17, 1944. Tischler, Air Transport Command. (Army)

American C-47 aircraft flying over Geel in Belgium on their way to Holland for Operation Market Garden, 17 September 1944.American C-47 aircraft flying over Geel in Belgium on their way to Holland for Operation Market Garden, 17 September 1944.

"Operation Market I": the airborne operation to seize bridges between Arnhem and Eindhoven, Holland, (part of Operation Market Garden).“Operation Market I”: the airborne operation to seize bridges between Arnhem and Eindhoven, Holland, (part of Operation Market Garden). Oblique photographic-reconnaissance aerial showing Douglas Dakotas dropping paratroops of 1st Airborne Brigade on to Dropping Zone (DZ) ‘X’, at Renkum, west of Arnhem.

101st Airborne Division troops that landed behind German lines in Holland examine what is left of one of the gliders that "cracked up."101st Airborne Division troops that landed behind German lines in Holland examine what is left of one of the gliders that “cracked up.”

1st Airborne soldiers use parachutes to signal to Allied supply aircraft from the grounds of 1st Airborne Division's HQ at the Hartenstein Hotel in Oosterbeek, Arnhem, 23 September 1944.1st Airborne soldiers use parachutes to signal to Allied supply aircraft from the grounds of 1st Airborne Division’s HQ at the Hartenstein Hotel in Oosterbeek, Arnhem, 23 September 1944.

The first two gliders to touch down, their wing tips interlocked after colliding on landing. In the foreground are the Headquarters Artillery Group.The first two gliders to touch down, their wing tips interlocked after colliding on landing. In the foreground are the Headquarters Artillery Group. Nearly all the vehicles of the 1st Airlanding Reconnaissance Squadron (whose task it was to lead the race for the road and railway bridges) were lost on route as several gliders broke their tow ropes.

Four men of the 1st Paratroop Battalion, 1st (British) Airborne Division, take cover in a shell hole outside Arnhem. 17 September 1944.Four men of the 1st Paratroop Battalion, 1st (British) Airborne Division, take cover in a shell hole outside Arnhem. 17 September 1944.

German soldiers at Arnhem walking through ditches in September 1944.German soldiers at Arnhem walking through ditches in September 1944.

Sherman tanks of the Irish Guards Group advance past others which were knocked out earlier during Operation Market Garden (17 September 1944).Sherman tanks of the Irish Guards Group advance past others which were knocked out earlier during Operation Market Garden (17 September 1944).

Four Waffen-SS troopers taken prisoner from 9th SS Reconnaissance Battalion at Arnhem Bridge, one is a seventeen years old. All of them are wearing the camouflage uniforms that were peculiar to the Waffen-SS.Four Waffen-SS troopers taken prisoner from 9th SS Reconnaissance Battalion at Arnhem Bridge, one is a seventeen years old. All of them are wearing the camouflage uniforms that were peculiar to the Waffen-SS.

Four British paratroopers moving through a shell-damaged house in Oosterbeek to which they had retreated after being driven out of Arnhem.Four British paratroopers moving through a shell-damaged house in Oosterbeek to which they had retreated after being driven out of Arnhem.

British POWs at Arnhem in September 1944.British POWs at Arnhem in September 1944.

A Dutch school damaged by mortar fire, being searched for German snipers by Sergeant J Whawell and Sergeant J Turrell of the Glider Pilot Regiment.A Dutch school damaged by mortar fire, being searched for German snipers by Sergeant J Whawell and Sergeant J Turrell of the Glider Pilot Regiment. An empty weapons supply cannister lies open on the ground in the doorway of the school. 20 September 1944

Bren Gun Carrier (Universal/Windsor) brings in a batch of German prisoners during 158 Brigade's attack. Bren Gun Carrier (Universal/Windsor) brings in a batch of German prisoners during 158 Brigade’s attack. 158 Brigade (53 Division) was tasked to cross the Escaut Canal near Lommel in order to continue the advance into Holland. The Brigade’s night attack was launched on 17 – 18 September 1944 and met fierce resistance from the German parachutist defenders.

German photograph of a British dead after the battle, Operation Market Garden, September 1944.German photograph of a British dead after the battle, Operation Market Garden, September 1944.

The grave of a British airborne soldier killed during the battle of Arnhem in September 1944, photographed by liberating forces on 15 April 1945. On the cross is written in German „Unknown British soldier“.The grave of a British airborne soldier killed during the battle of Arnhem in September 1944, photographed by liberating forces on 15 April 1945. On the cross is written in German „Unknown British soldier“.

Major General Friedrich Kussin, in charge of German units in the Arnhem area, lies dead in his car after being ambushed by No. 5 Platoon, 'B' Company, 3rd Parachute Battalion, 1st Airborne Division, on 17 September 1944.Major General Friedrich Kussin, in charge of German units in the Arnhem area, lies dead in his car after being ambushed by No. 5 Platoon, ‘B’ Company, 3rd Parachute Battalion, 1st Airborne Division, on 17 September 1944.

Cromwell tanks of Guard's Armoured Division drive along 'Hell's Highway' towards Nijmegen during Operation 'Market-Garden', 20 September 1944Cromwell tanks of Guard’s Armoured Division drive along ‘Hell’s Highway’ towards Nijmegen during Operation ‘Market-Garden’, 20 September 1944

Squadron Sergeant Major William John Parkes of No. 3 Squadron, 2nd (Armoured) Irish Guards, killed when his Sherman tank was knocked out during the advance towards Eindhoven as part of Operation 'Market GardenSquadron Sergeant Major William John Parkes of No. 3 Squadron, 2nd (Armoured) Irish Guards, killed when his Sherman tank was knocked out during the advance towards Eindhoven as part of Operation ‘Market Garden’. Killed in action on 17 September 1944 aged 33, he was a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland and was later buried in Grave II.B.8 at Valkenswaard War Cemetery, situated approx 10kms south of Eindhoven and close to the Belgian border.

A soldier crouches near a German PzKpfw III tank of Panzer-Kompanie Mielke, Kampfgruppe Knaust (knocked out by No. 1 Squadron, Welsh Guards), in Oosterhout near Nijmegen, 24 September 1944.A soldier crouches near a German PzKpfw III tank of Panzer-Kompanie Mielke, Kampfgruppe Knaust (knocked out by No. 1 Squadron, Welsh Guards), in Oosterhout near Nijmegen, 24 September 1944.

DUKWs transport supplies across the River Waal at Nijmegen, below the railway bridge whose central span was broken by German frogmen using floating mines, 30 September 1944.DUKWs transport supplies across the River Waal at Nijmegen, below the railway bridge whose central span was broken by German frogmen using floating mines, 30 September 1944.

Nijmegen and Grave 17 - 20 September 1944: British engineers removing the charge which the Germans had set in readiness to blow the Nijmegen bridge.Nijmegen and Grave 17 – 20 September 1944: British engineers removing the charge which the Germans had set in readiness to blow the Nijmegen bridge.

American C-47 aircraft flying over Gheel in Belgium on their way to Holland for Operation 'Market-Garden', 17 September 1944. In the foreground is a knocked-out German Jagdpanther tank destroyer.American C-47 aircraft flying over Gheel in Belgium on their way to Holland for Operation ‘Market-Garden’, 17 September 1944. In the foreground is a knocked-out German Jagdpanther tank destroyer.

Bedford MWD trucks and other vehicles of the 4th Wiltshire Regiment, 43rd Division, in Valkenswaard, Netherlands.Bedford MWD trucks and other vehicles of the 4th Wiltshire Regiment, 43rd Division, in Valkenswaard, Netherlands.

Major-General Roy Urquhart DSO and Bar (leader of the 1st British Airborne Division during the Arnhem Operation) plants the Airborne flag outside his headquarters (Hotel Hartenstein), the last British stronghold in the Arnhem area before the evacuation.Major-General Roy Urquhart DSO and Bar (leader of the 1st British Airborne Division during the Arnhem Operation) plants the Airborne flag outside his headquarters (Hotel Hartenstein), the last British stronghold in the Arnhem area before the evacuation.

Two British Airborne troops dug in, holding the Brigade Headquarters. 18 September 1944, Operation 'MARKET GARDEN' (Battle for Arnhem).Two British Airborne troops dug in, holding the Brigade Headquarters. 18 September 1944, Operation ‘MARKET GARDEN’ (Battle for Arnhem).

17-pdr anti-tank gun of the 21st Anti-Tank Regiment, Guards Armoured Division, guards the approaches to Nijmegen Bridge.17-pdr anti-tank gun of the 21st Anti-Tank Regiment, Guards Armoured Division, guards the approaches to Nijmegen Bridge.

Tanks and infantry approaching Asten in Holland, 24 September 1944.Tanks and infantry approaching Asten in Holland, 24 September 1944.

Infantry ride on Sherman tanks in Holland, 24 September 1944Infantry ride on Sherman tanks in Holland, 24 September 194475mm howitzer of 'D' Troop, 2nd Battery, 1st Airlanding Light Regiment, 1st Airborne Division in the Oosterbeek perimeter, 20 September 1944.75mm howitzer of ‘D’ Troop, 2nd Battery, 1st Airlanding Light Regiment, 1st Airborne Division in the Oosterbeek perimeter, 20 September 1944.

British paratroops being marched away by their German captors. Some 6,400 of the 10,000 British paratroops who landed at Arnhem were taken prisoner, a further 1,100 had been killed.British paratroops being marched away by their German captors. Some 6,400 of the 10,000 British paratroops who landed at Arnhem were taken prisoner, a further 1,100 had been killed.

Captured British Paratroopers in Arnhem, 1944.Captured British Paratroopers in Arnhem, 1944.

German Waffen-SS Officer in Arnhem, 1944.

German Waffen-SS NCO or Officer in Arnhem, 1944.

Men of C Company 1st Battalion, Border Regiment, waiting in ditches beside the road, ready to repulse an attack by the enemy who were barely 100 yards away.Men of C Company 1st Battalion, Border Regiment, waiting in ditches beside the road, ready to repulse an attack by the enemy who were barely 100 yards away.

Captured British Soldiers in Oosterbeek, Arnhem - 1944.Captured British Soldiers in Oosterbeek, Arnhem – 1944.

German 2 cm FlaK in Arnhem, 1944.German 2 cm FlaK in Arnhem, 1944.

Credits: Imperial War Museum, Bundesarchiv and US Army Signal Corps. 

Have you seen the shortfilm “What Manner of Men”? When Flight Sergeant Richard Brown bails out over the Arnhem battlefield during Operation Market Garden, he finds himself in brutal fight on the ground, fighting a losing battle against superior German opposition. Can he persuade a stubborn handful of Airborne soldiers to surrender before it is too late?

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9 Comments

  1. The strategic objective of Operation Market Garden was forming a bridgehead between Arnhem and the IJsselmeer. You mention the direction of advance. Troops did not land in Holland, but in the eastern part of The Netherlands.

  2. Some good photos, slight correction to one of the captions however, that photo of the four SS prisoners specifically. The photo was taken by a British AFPU photographer called Smith on the 18th September. He was never anywhere near the bridge, AFAIK none of the British photographers got there. The photograph was probably taken somewhere in the Oosterbeek/Wolfheze area where Smith spent most of that day (perhaps near the Hartenstein where a POW cage was set up). The SS soldiers are from Krafft’s command which wasn’t part of 9th SS. His men formed part of the early blocking line between the drop zones and Arnhem.

  3. About the photo with the caption “A soldier crouches near a German PzKpfw III tank of Panzer-Kompanie Mielke, Kampfgruppe Knaust (knocked out by No. 1 Squadron, Welsh Guards), in Oosterhout near Nijmegen, 24 September 1944”: Oosterhout is nowhere near Nijmegen. Oosterhout wasn’t even anywhere near the Operation Market Garden route or frontlines. Either the caption is wrong, or the photo has nothing to do with Operation Market Garden.

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