1 of 30:

Wonder Weapon
2 of 30:

In describing the reasons Market Garden was approved despite its obvious flaws, the V-2 rocket deserves attention. To that end, let’s travel back in time to 1926 Germany.
3 of 30:

That year, a 14-year-old German prodigy named Wernher von Braun received a copy of Hermann Oberth's book, Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen (The Rocket into Interplanetary Space).
4 of 30:

Oberth’s book describes the basic equations of rocketry. Wernher was intrigued and began the development of a rocket-fueled weapons system.
5 of 30:

In 1932, at age 20, Wernher began developing liquid-fueled rockets for the German Army. The next year, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany and expedited Wernher’s program.
6 of 30:

In the late 1930s, Wernher, working in a secret lab in Peenemünde, an island off Germany’s Baltic coast, began developing the V-2 rocket -- a 46-foot-long liquid-fueled missile weighing 27,000 pounds.
7 of 30:

“V” is for Vergeltungswaffen (German: "retaliatory weapons").
8 of 30:

Powered by a rocket engine burning a mix of alcohol-water and liquid oxygen, the V2 blasts its way to the edge of space, before falling back to Earth at supersonic speed.
9 of 30:

This is a terrifying weapon. When used against a city, it is almost a weapon of mass destruction.
10 of 30:

The secret V-2 (and its prototype, V-1) are referred to by Nazi propaganda as “Wunderwaffe” (“Wonder weapon”). Inside Germany, it’s considered a revolutionary weapon.
11 of 30:

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the V-2 (and V-1) were manufactured by slave labor. Tens of thousands of civilians from occupied Europe were subjected to a brutal regime of starvation, torture, and frequent executions while working for the Nazis.
12 of 30:

An estimated 20,000 died as a result of this treatment. (That’s Wernher in the black suit.)
13 of 30:

Today, Wernher von Braun is considered a hero of the US space program. His statue sits outside NASA’s US Space and Rocket Center despite the horror inflicted on so many to build a weapon he designed that was used against European cities.
14 of 30:

Wernher von Braun is now considered an American hero. The atrocities inflicted upon slave laborers to build a rocket used to terrorize European civilians are largely overlooked in any discussion of his life. Perhaps it shouldn’t be.
15 of 30:

Back to the story: Wernher successfully tested his rocket in Peenemünde in October of 1942.
16 of 30:

Hitler was impressed with the V-2, but at that moment he didn’t want to use it.
17 of 30:

The Wehrmacht ground forces were making progress and the German bombers were reaching their goal. As Hitler saw it, there was no real need for expensive, resource-guzzling experiments.
18 of 30:

However, by September 1944, the odds were stacked against them and the German troops were in retreat across Europe. Now, Hitler felt, the V-2 will show its real value.
19 of 30:

True to its nickname, the V-2 was to serve as retaliation for the Allied bombings that killed thousands of people in German cities, such as Lübeck and Hamburg.
20 of 30:

Within the Wehrmacht, some leaders thought the rocket would change the situation on the ground. Now was the time for the Wonder Weapon.
21 of 30:

September 8th, as the Allies were finalizing Operation Market Garden plans, the first German V-2 strike was fired from the area of Rotterdam and Amsterdam and it hit London.
22 of 30:

The strike filled London with horror. The rocket achieved the psychological effect Hitler hoped for.
23 of 30:

The sudden appearance of the V-2s provided Monty with an opportunity to mount another internal political campaign to have his way with ground strategy.
24 of 30:

You see, some within the Allied command, notably British Second Army commander General Sir Miles Dempsey, expressed grave doubts about Operation Market Garden. Eisenhower was undecided on its approval.
25 of 30:

But, the V-2 strike provided Monty with political momentum. His new argument: something had to be done before this new rocket destroyed major English cities.
26 of 30:

Operation Market Garden would rope off the coastal area contained by Antwerp-Utrecht-Rotterdam (the point of origin for the V-2 strike on London).
27 of 30:

As discussed earlier today, on September 10th, Monty went to see Eisenhower aboard his B-25 transport at Brussels airport (the Supreme Allied Commander had injured his knee and was practically immobile).
28 of 30:

In a meeting inside the converted bomber, the Brit urgently explained his new imperative. ‘I told him about the V-2 rockets and whence they came,’ he recalled in his memoirs. Ike relented.
29 of 30:

Monty’s aid noted that he emerged from the meeting with a smile.
Final:

September 8th, Monty wrote a single sentence in his diary:

“The operation will go forward as planned.”

• • •

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More from @18airbornecorps

29 Sep
1 of 18:

The #WWII #Canadian Loan Program

An Operation Market Garden thread in 22 Tweets. #OMG Image
2 of 18:

Many people know about the #American and #British forces committed to Operation Market Garden. Some know about the #Irish Guards and the #Polish Brigade. But many don’t know about the #Canadians who fought during the operation. Image
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At the time of Market Garden, Canadian forces were advancing from #Belgium to the #Netherlands. While Canadian units were not involved in the Battle of #Arnhem, a number of Canadian Officers, like this one Ashton Kerr, were. Image
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28 Sep
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We’ve read more than 6,000 pages of contemporary and reflective accounts from Operation Market Garden. We’ve probably read more than a thousand individual stories from that operation.
2 of 84:

One of the most emotional stories we’ve ever heard and one appropriate for #YomKippur.
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It’s a truly American story, one filled with inspiration for all of us. It’s a tale that we should all hear, particularly in these divided times.
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27 Sep
1 of 31:

“My Place is Here: The Ballad of Delbert Kuehl”

This is the unforgettable story of a Chaplain under fire.

#SundayMorning Image
2 of 31:

We’ve observed some ugly leadership trends during Operation Market Garden: ambition, ego, personal gain.

The story of Chaplain Delbert Kuehl follows a different path. Delbert’s story is one of love, courage, and selflessness. Image
3 of 31:

His story forms around a biological urge to answer a call to help. To help his Nation at war. To help his men in spiritual distress. To help his men cross a river into the teeth of determined German forces.

Let's get started. Image
Read 31 tweets
25 Sep
Summing up on our livestream: the 82nd was given an extremely difficult mission that required land not well-suited for airborne forces. Gavin understood the 508 had the largest & toughest area. His instructions to Roy LIndquist, the 508 CDR were clear: seize the bridge.
By 4PM on D Day, the 82nd commanders were overwhelmed with the physical immensity & lack of defensible terrain (combined with limited assets).
The fact is the 508th was grossly over-stretched just on the outposts. On Sep 17, Gavin was all over the AO and could have easily directed Lindquist to seize the bridge but chose not to do so. Gavin was most concerned about just hanging on & holding the perimeter.
Read 4 tweets
24 Sep
1 of 10:

In many US accounts of Operation Market Garden, the Brit Montgomery is the reason for failure. In a certain telling, an overly-ambitious Monty, seeking a power grab after his demotion from control of all Allied forces, sets in motion an operation w/ no chance of success
2 of 10:

In this account, Jim Gavin, the courageous, "lead from the front" commander of the @82ndABNDiv, inspires his men to fight through impossible odds, cross the Waal River & almost salvage the mission. He is an exemplar of combat leadership while Monty is a reviled figure.
3 of 10:

But there's another telling of this history out there, one that has a truth all its own, in which Monty established a bold strike to bring the war to an end & Gavin, an immature division commander, was the cause of failure. So, here is a simplified version of that story
Read 10 tweets
22 Sep
1 of 12:

Friday, September 22, 1944

D+5

The landing of the @82ndABNDiv’s 325 Glider Infantry Regiment, scheduled to land near Overasselt on Sep 19th, was postponed, for the fourth time, due to bad weather in England (couldn’t take off)
2 of 12:

More of the 30 Corps tanks reached Nijmegen, allowing for reinforcement of defenses along 82d held ground. One British recce troop managed to reach the Poles at Driel. A double axis advance by two battalions, met heavy resistance.
3 of 12:

The German troops were still attacking The Corridor around Nijmegen, but they had thus far been unsuccessful in cutting The Corridor or completely stopping the American advance toward Arnhem.
Read 12 tweets

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