Operation Market Garden...

...September 1944, from Casemate Books

Title:  Operation Market Garden

Author: Simon Forty, Tom Timmermans

Publisher:  Casemate Publishing

ISBN:  978-1-61200-586-7

Another fine new book from Leo Marriott, Simon Forty and this time with Tom Timmermans, and a follow-on from their earlier books on D-Day, the Bocage and the Ardennes battle.  Once again they have come up with an excellent book which covers the subject in a very readable style, and mixed with a fine set of illustrations to back up the authoritative text.  I think it is important to say at this point that the book does cover all the aspects of Operation Market Garden, it doesn't just deal with Arnhem itself but all the stops along 'Hell's Highway' as well.  The up to date detail benefits from the work of Dutch historian Tom Timmermans who himself lives in Eindhoven.

The hardback book holds 192 pages packed with the detail and images.  Following an Introduction, the sequence of events are spread across 11 chapters, each one broken down into sub-sections which I think helps make such a large operation easier to understand and puts the various elements into their contextual place of the overall story.  It starts with the Air Plan and follows this with chapters on the US 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions, the British 1st Airborne and the ground forces of 30 Corps over the first 2/3 days.  Quite logically this leads to the German Reaction, especially of Panzer-Brigade 107 and Sturmgeschutz-Brigade 280. Then we get chapters on Arnhem (including what was happening at the bridge), Nijmegen and the ground forces engagements along Hell's Highway between D+3 and D+10.  Chapter 10 is simply entitled 'The End' and tells us about the Oosterbeek Perimeter, the involvement of the Polish 1st Independent Para Brigade, the Evacuation and finally the Aftermath.  The final chapter of the book considers Remembering the Dead, and features a number of cemeteries and memorials to be found in the area.

To accompany the historical story are over 500 illustrations which include plenty of archive photos, some more well known than others, and there are many modern Then and Now comparisons.  Add the modern aerial photos which are a special feature of this series of books plus maps with both large scale areas as well as detailed street layouts/dispositions.  Some years ago I visited Arnhem and recognise some of the places and memorials that are featured, while closer to home my old job took me regularly to the site of RAF Chilbolton, these days a farm, but then one of the airfields where gliders carrying troops of the 101st Airborne Division took off to play their part in the operation.  For the historian, maybe the fan of the film 'A Bridge Too Far' and especially for the battlefield visitor who wants to visit the area, then this would be an excellent book to have with you on your trip.

Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.