From: Florahduh, yea that state.
came from this book.
"ISLAND, THE: Nijmegen to Arnhem (Battleground Europe. Operation Market Garden)"
Even readers familiar with the tragic events of Operation Market-Garden in September 1944 can learn quite a bit from this thin Battleground Europe volume entitled The Island. Betwe Island was located between the Rhine and Waal Rivers in Holland and had the final stretch of highway that led from Nijmegen to Arnhem. The island was the scene of intense fighting in the final stages of Market-Garden as the British XXX Corps frantically tried to batter its way through the German units that were threatening to overwhelm the British 1st Airborne Division located on the north bank of the Rhine. Tim Saunders, a veteran Battleground Europe author, brings his usual flair for battle narrative and military analysis to this account. The strength of this volume lies in its coverage of many important but oft-neglected facets of actions that contributed to the Allied failure in Market-Garden. Since Saunders covers events on the island between 21 September and 7 October 1944, it also demonstrates that the fighting in this area did not cease with the evacuation of the British 1st Airborne.
The Island consists of ten narrative chapters, beginning with a short background to the Operation Market-Garden plan. Chapter two covers the failed effort by the Irish Guards to reach Arnhem on 21 September. Chapter three covers the Polish parachute drop near Driel and XXX Corps fire support to the 1st Airborne on 21 September. Chapter four covers the 43rd Wessex Division attack on Oosterhout and the "dash to Driel" on 22 September. Chapter five covers the various efforts on 23-24 September to reinforce 1st Airborne across the Rhine, including the disastrous crossing of the 4th Dorsets. The evacuation of the 1st Airborne is covered in the sixth chapter. Chapter seven covers the "high water mark" of XXX Corps, with the final attacks on Elst on 23-24 September. Chapter eight covers the German bridgehead on the island at Randwijk and subsequent British counterattacks during 27 September - 10 October. Chapter nine covers the Battle of Aam-Bemmel, the final British 50th Division attacks on 4-5 October. The final chapter covers the activities of the US 101st Airborne Division on the island during the period 4-7 October, including the Battle of Opheusden. A short section on touring the battlefield follows the campaign narrative. Saunders provides an order of battle for the British XXX Corps and the US 101st Airborne, but not for the Germans.
Saunders does a great job showing how the British were unable to exploit the spectacular American capture of the Nijmegen Bridge on 21 September and sprint the final distance to Arnhem. The British spearhead - the Guards Armored Division - had become a very blunt instrument by this phase of the operation due to logistic problems and the diversion of forces to deal with German counterattacks on the exposed flanks of the salient. In modern terms, XXX Corps culminated at Nijmegen and had insufficient combat power remaining to accomplish its mission. Nor was the Allied failure only the fault of the ground forces; it was the collapse of Allied air support and artillery support at the critical point that doomed the breakthrough to Arnhem. Indeed, Allied air superiority had so deteriorated that the Germans were able to ferry 20 tanks on to the island and Saunders notes that, "it is a measure of the loss of air superiority, which the Allies had enjoyed since D-Day, that the Germans were able to move in daylight without being attacked by fighter-bombers." However, the Allies did get one lucky break in an operation otherwise plagued by chronic misfortune: the 1st Airborne fire support officers were able to contact and direct XXX Corps artillery despite the lack of proper code books. It was this artillery support that helped to discourage German attacks on the encircled 1st Airborne and probably prevented a massacre of that unit.
After a deliberate attack on a German blocking position at Oosterhout, the British were finally able to slip some units around the German flank and reach the south bank of the Rhine opposite the 1st Airborne. One interesting action rarely covered in other books is the German armored counterattack against the 5th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry on the evening of 22 September. Five German Tiger tanks were knocked out by a combination of mines and light anti-tank weapons and Saunders notes that, "this incident reveals how a few determined infantry can destroy what would be during full daylight, an overwhelmingly powerful force." However, by the time that XXX Corps reached the Rhine, the position of the 1st Airborne was so precarious that evacuation was the only viable course of action.
Most accounts of Market-Garden stop once the British 1st Airborne is evacuated, but the fact that Saunder's account continues for two more weeks adds great value to this volume. Yet the fighting was not over and Saunders shows that both sides committed new resources to attempt to gain full control over the island. Indeed, flushed with victory at Arnhem, the Germans hoped to launch a major counterattack that would push the Allies all the way back across the Waal River. American readers should also note that the chapter on US 101st Airborne operations on the island highlights the lack of research in Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers. In BoB, Ambrose claims that the efforts of E Company, 506th PIR were decisive in stopping the German counterattack on 5 October, but this version is an insult to the men of the 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 506th PIR who did the bulk of the fighting (with British tank support). Overall, The Island does an admirable job filling in many of the important details usually omitted from standard Market-Garden accounts. The author's skillful narrative, combined with excellent maps, makes this volume a first-rate piece of military history writing