Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Operation Market Garden Battlefield Tour, The Netherlands

Operation Market Garden was the largest airbone offensive conducted by the allies and its biggest military defeat. Tha plan, devised by Montgomery, was to take the main bridges in the Netherlands (under German occupation) in order to cross the Rhine and reach Germany.

It was carried out from 17 to 25 September 1944. Despite that  the first bridges were succesfully captured they couldn't take the last one in Arnhem. On the map of the operation we can see the progress of Allied troops and the German defensive positions.


The operation was located in the Netherlands , near the German border. To visit the battlefields you can start from Arnhem . It is best to fly to any of the nearest airports and once there, rent a car or take a train.

View of the River Rhine at Arnhem.

The airports with the best access to the battlefields are the Amsterdam's and the Düsseldorf's .

  • From the airport of Amsterdam to Arnhem. There are direct trains for about 15 euros. The trip takes 1h15min.
  • From Düsseldorf Airport you can take a train changing at the Central Station in the city for about 30 euros. Travel time is approximately 1h20min.

Once in Arnhem you can rent a car or follow the route by train. To check the ticket prices and the train times:

Railway Network Netherlands: https://www.ns.nl/  
German Red train to get from Düsseldorf: http :/ / www.bahn.com/  


See Market Garden in a larger map

+ Eindhoven: 
On September 18, 1944 the 506th Parachute Regime of the 101st Airborne Division after losing the bridge were moved to the city of Eindhoven, which was released. In the picture we see the entrance of the British XXX Corps on September 19.

Today we can find numerous plaques and memorials to remember the liberation of the city.

 (See location )

Memorial of the release . (See location )
101st Division memorial. (See location )

Very near Eindhoven, in Best, we can find the Wings of the Liberation museum containing exhibitions with vehicles, objects and information about Market Garden. Consult information .

 (See location )
Also a few miles away, in Son, we can find numerous memorials, most of them of the 101st Airborne and we can walk the memory pad, the same that made this division.

(See location )

+ The Bridge Heumen: 

This bridge was taken on September 17 by the American 82nd Division. It  took few hours and it was one of their first successes. At present there is no bridge but we can visit the old location. We can visit too a small memorial that stands where in 1944 a temporary cemetery was installed for the operation's fallen allies.
The place where the bridge was . (See location )
Memorial Cemetery . (See location )

+ Grave:

On September 17, the 82nd Division and the XXX Corps liberated  Grave. They managed to cross the river Meuse taking the bridge despite the German defense. The bridge was renamed in 2004 to the John S. Thompson-Brug in honor of Thompson's platoon's capture.

Bridge today. (See Location )

Nearby we can find several bunkers dating from 1936 and 1940. These bunkers were taken by German troops during the occupation. Some of them  remain open as a museum. Consult information .

+ Nijmegen:
Nijmegen was the center of Operation Market Garden. The bridge over the river Waal was vital to reach Arnhem. To capture the bridge and the city the 82nd Division had to cross the river in boats and assaulting the northern part. Part of the bridge was destroyed by the German defense, and later rebuilt.

The XXX Corps cross the Nijmegen Bridge.
Today the bridge is called James Gavin because Lieutenant General of the United States who participated in making the front of the 82nd Division.
View of the bridge today. (See location )

At one side of the bridge we can find the remainder of a German tank used for the defense of the bridge.

+ Oosterbeek:

Oosterbeek, a few kilometers from Arnhem, was the refuge of the soldiers of the 1st Division. The few survivors of the 156th Parachute Battalion and the 4th Brigade managed to reach Oosterbeek too. On September 21, after the taking of the Arnhem bridge by the Germans the battle of the nord moved to Oosterbeek where the British remained retired. The city was devastated. 

Nowadays the city hosts the Hartenstein Airborne Museum, located in the 19th century mansion where was the headquarters of the  British Airborne Division during the Battle of Arnhem. Consult information.

Defending Hartenstein, September 1944.

The museum today.
+ Arnhem : 

The Battle of Arnhem is probably the most mentioned one in books and movies of the entire operation. It was the great failure of the allies. They didn't get to take the bridge and finally on September 25 they had to announce his retirement. The bridge, which was given the name of John Frost in honor of the British military who participated as a lieutenant in command of the 1st Division, was rebuilt after the war.

The bridge today . (See location )

Photos: Wikimedia Commons


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