1st Airborne, Market Garden 1944...

...a Past and Present series title from Casemate Books

Title:  1st Airborne, Market Garden 1944

Author: Simon Forty and Tom Timmermans

Publisher: Casemate Books

ISBN:  978-1-61200-540-9

The fourth in the most recent batch of new Past & Present series title from Casemate Books, and this one looking at the scene of one of the most famous airborne forces operations, the jump of the British 1st Airborne Division into Arnhem as part of Operation Market Garden in 1944.  The division had been part of operation in Italy though been in reserve when 6th Airborne had gone into action in Normandy.

The book gives an overview of the plan, and uses maps and archive photos, plus the order of battle for the division.  It goes on to look at the first three days of the action, the time it took for all the landings to be made, and with maps showing where the landings took place, and how far they would have to travel to reach their objectives.  It goes on to consider the German response, the initial success of John Frost's unit which did get through to the bridge itself, and then the subsequent defensive battle for Oosterbeek before the final stages when the Polish parachute troops were dropped in, though in some confusion and too late. before the withdrawal of survivors back across the river.  The inclusion of a number of detail maps are also very helpful to explain the story.

The book is well illustrated throughout, with a mix of archive photos, some very well known, and modern day comparisons.  These include some interesting aerial shots as the area around the bridge in particular has been much altered since the destruction of the battle.  There are numerous memorials to be found today, the Airborne Museum which is housed in the old Hartenstein Hotel, which had been used as the headquarters  building during the battle and of course the distinctive shape of the modern John Frost Bridge.  The main CWGC Cemetery at Oosterbeek is also included, one of the sites I visited on my own trip to Arnhem back in 2005.

Another good addition to the series, useful and handy enough to carry with you if you plan to visit the area and good value at an RRP of £9.99.

Thanks to Casemate Books for our review copy.

Robin