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D Minus 1
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This is a book and if you’ve not been following along or are unfamiliar with the key players, this portion may not make sense. If you go to the pinned tweet at the top of this account, you will find all of the material we’ve released to date.
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So, this was the eve of battle. 76 years ago today, a Saturday, Sir Brian Horrocks gathered his XXX Corps in the movie theater in their garrison town of Leopoldsburg, Belgium to present the plan to his men.
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Horrocks’ briefing to his men is captured in “A Bridge Too Far.” In an attempt to ease tensions, Horrocks did, in fact, open with: “This next operation will give you enough to bore your grandchildren for the rest of your lives.” [This according to Horrocks’ account]
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Meanwhile, back in England British, Polish, and American paras were also briefed on the plan. They were told that they should all be home by Christmas if things went well. Many hoped this would be their final mission of the war.
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Many were relieved to hear that the drop would go in daylight, given the chaos of the nighttime drops in Normandy, Salerno and Sicily where they were scattered and missed the drop zones.
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Now, the paras knew they would be more vulnerable to ground fire on the descent, but they knew that the advantages of control and assembly in daytime outweighed this risk.
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The troops were sequestered in airfields to prepare for the next day’s operation. Meanwhile, the generals meet at Browning’s Moor Park mansion for a final review and back brief.
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Just about all of general understanding of what was said in that meeting is based on what Gavin, Brereton, and Urquhart wrote after the fact.
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Jim Gavin had been in command of the 82nd Airborne Division for just over a month by this time. He’d performed admirably as the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment commander, but this was his first test as division commander.
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Gavin’s division was required to seize the vital bridges from Grave to Nijmegen, while at the same time holding the Groesbeek heights, the only high ground in all of the Netherlands.
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The 82nd’s 508th Regiment was to hold the high ground at Berg en Dal near Groesebeek while also sending his 1st Battalion into Nijmegen to take the key road bridge.
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Now, we’re going to come back to this, so please keep this in mind: the 508th – just given these two backbreaking tasks – was commanded by Roy Lindquist. Roy had a reputation for slow, methodical leadership.
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Also keep in mind that this high ground was not well-suited for lightly-armed Airborne forces.
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Nonetheless, without capture of the Groesebeek heights, there would be no point in holding the bridges. From those heights, German artillery could pound the hell out of the bridges.
16 of 19:

Browning stressed that control of this high ground was key to the entire operation.
17 of 19:

After Gavin, Roy Urquhart (remember, he commanded the 1st British Airborne Division) briefed his to plan to drop his paras 6 – 8 miles away from their prime objective.
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It’s unclear how the leaders in the room reacted to Roy, although Gavin later claimed to have raised objections.

Nonetheless, there was no turning back. At around 7PM Central European Time, Louie Brereton (remember, he commanded the 1st Allied Airborne Army) made the call. Operation Market Garden was on.

• • •

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More from @18airbornecorps

20 Sep
1 of 67:

Wednesday, 20 September 1944



[Given the amount of activity on this day, the number of characters we're introducing here, & the length of this thread, this is the only content we'll release today]

#WaalRiverCrossing Image
2 of 67:

The morning opens to light rain and overcast skies and, for the civilians remaining in Arnhem, flames. Image
3 of 67:

Parts of Arnhem remain on fire from the previous night’s bombing. A local man noted that the towers of the church of St. Walburgis “looked like great columns of fire.” Image
Read 67 tweets
19 Sep
1 of 20:

Gavin vs Cook Image
2 of 20:

One of the more memorable scenes in the film “A Bridge Too Far” is the confrontation between Jim Gavin (played by Ryan O’Neal) and Julian Cook (played by Robert Redford) in which Gavin gives the order for the Waal River crossing. Here’s that scene.
3 of 20:

In the film, Gavin gives Julian the order on the afternoon of September 20th, directing him to cross the river that same evening. Image
Read 20 tweets
19 Sep
1 of 38:

Tuesday, September 19th 1944


Keep in mind, the operation is now more than a day and a half behind schedule. Image
2 of 38:

Early morning: excitement at Son as the sappers of the 14th Field Squadron, Royal Engineers finish the Bailey bridge over the Wilhelemina Canal. [Bailey bridge = a portable, pre-fabricated military bridge] [this is a representation of a Bailey bridge] Image
3 of 38:

An enormous convoy of XXX Corps vehicles, held up all night with the bridge out, comes to life and begins crossing the Bailey Bridge. The column starts moving out at a good pace [speed was always essential here] Image
Read 38 tweets
18 Sep
1 of 15:

D + 1

Monday, 18 September 1944

2 of 15:

Morning: The 506th PIR moves out to Eindhoven. The advance is slow due to German counterattacks & 88mm guns [pic: German-speaking Tech-5 Joseph Liebgott, Jr., Easy Company translator, #OTD in ’44 in Eindhoven. He's played by Ross McCall in Band of Brothers]
3 of 15:

The 506th destroys two 88mm guns and captured some German soldiers (including these four) as they continue toward their objectives.
Read 15 tweets
18 Sep
1 of 9:

Ok, so let’s end the day with a recap of D Day of Market. Sep 17, 1944 #MarketGarden76 #OTD #MilitaryHistory Image
2 of 9:

9:30 AM - Allied B-17s of the Eighth Air Force begin to make runs on their respective targets, knocking out anti-aircraft guns deep into Holland. Unfortunately, the bombers also caused some collateral damage, hitting houses, a power plant near the Waal river. Image
3 of 9:

The bombing runs were complete by 11:30 after the Eight Air Force dropped a stunning 2,917 tons of bombs. Image
Read 9 tweets
17 Sep
1 of 31:

D-Day: Operation Market Garden
2 of 31:

On 17 September 1944, with approval granted by General Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, OPERATION MARKET GARDEN commenced.
3 of 31:

The weather was clear. It was a perfect day for a jump. We should note, however, that jumping in daylight and landing so far from the objectives took away the element of surprise that would ideally benefit airborne operations.
Read 31 tweets

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