By Joseph S. Covais On September 17, 1944, a massive but hastily planned airborne invasion of the Netherlands was launched. Codenamed Market-Garden, the operation called for three Allied airborne divisions (British 1st and American 82nd and 101st) to land along a narrow corridor reaching from advanced positions along the Dutch-Belgian border to a bridgehead on the northern bank of the Rhine River at Arnhem. It was a bold move and would yield tremendous results as long as everything unfolded just right. But Arnhem was about 70 miles behind German lines, and that was farther into enemy-occupied territory than any large-scale airborne drop that had been attempted up to that time. Nonetheless, as it was conceived by British Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery, the plan could immediately place American and British forces within striking distance of the German industrial heartland. As the world now knows, things did not go as planned. Unbeknownst to the Allied command, two rehabilitated SS divisions, along with a strong contingent of German paratroopers, were coincidently in the vicinity, refitting close to the Allied drop zones, making resistance was far greater than the operation’s planners were expecting. Moreover, the British armored column that was tasked with racing through the two American airborne divisions to join the British paratroopers at Arnhem proceeded cautiously, fell far behind schedule, and left its countrymen beleaguered on the north bank of the Rhine. By


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