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Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/11/2020 8:20:37 PM   
rkr1958


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I read the book, "A Bridge Too Far" by Corenelius Ryan and saw the movie by the same title for the first time back when I was in college in the late '70s.

I've re-watched the move probably two or three times since then. Probably once a decade or so. The latest re-watch was last evening. Actually last evening and the previous one. I had to split it up over two evening as this is a long movie (almost 3-hours) and I started it too late the first evening to finish. Not as young as I once was.

I digress. Over the years since the book and movie first came out my knowledge of history has matured. As best as I can recall the movie follows the book closely. I've only read the book once and that was over 40-years ago. My question, which I promise I'll get to, never really struck me until last night near the end.

So to set the scene and question: Lt. General Horrocks (commander XXX corps), Brig. General Gavin (commander 82nd airborne), Major General Sosabowski (commander Polish airborne brigade) and Lt. Colonel Vandeleur (battalion commander of XXX corps spearhead) are at the top of church tower looking at the bridge at Arnhem just over a mile away. Brig. General Gavin and Lt. Col Vandeleur are urging Lt. General Horrocks to make a dash to the bridge, breakthrough and link up with Lt. Col Frost (battalion commander British 1st airborne) holding the Rhine side of the bridge. However, Lt. General Horrocks concedes that its a lost cause and that we now need to organize the evacuation of the what can be saved of the British 1st airborne. But of course this didn't include Lt. Col Frost and his men, who were soon to surrender. Again, I digress.

My questions are simple really ... why didn't XXX corps make a push to breakthrough that last mile?

It wasn't until 7 month later in April 1945 that the allies liberate Arnhem. Why? If this route into the Rhur was so critical why didn't the allies regroup and try to capture the bridge before then?




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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/11/2020 8:47:16 PM   
rkr1958


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Also, fun fact. This movie definitely included an all-star cast.

Didn't notice/remember this actor until I saw him last night being in the movie. While this actor is probably familiar to a lot of folks he isn't ultra-famous as a lot of the cast is. John Ratzenberger, who played Cliff in Cheers, plays a 1st Lt. in the 82nd. He's killed in the river crossing by two platoons of the 82nd to help take the bridge at Nijmegen.

Robert Redford played the major who led that assault. Interestingly, I understood that they actually filmed bridge assault part of that scene at the Nijmegen bridge. They had 1 hour to film it and if they didn't finish they'd have to come back at it would cost an additional 1 million dollars in salaries and in cost having to close the bridge (again) for an hour to local traffic. Not sure what 1 million dollars in 1977 equates to now ... but that's one expensive hour.



< Message edited by rkr1958 -- 9/11/2020 8:48:45 PM >


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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/12/2020 12:09:12 AM   
TheeWarLord


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I too had read the book, seen the film, and actually been to the battle site at Arnhem. I think you captured the scenario yourself. The element of surprise was
over, casualties were high, two German SS panzers divisions were operating in the area, the goal of dashing across the Rhein, and enveloping the Ruhr region unobtainable. So, at this point evacuate those you can, lick your wounds, and consolidate your gains. The remnants of the 1st. British Airborne Division still at Arnhem were a essentially a spent non-ooerational force.

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/12/2020 2:33:30 AM   
Neilster


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I found this...





Attachment (1)

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/12/2020 10:46:32 AM   
Joseignacio


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Neilster

I found this...






Problem is that all these calculations are made according to official inflation rates which have nothing to do with real inflation rates.

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/12/2020 12:29:09 PM   
Walloc

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: rkr1958

I read the book, "A Bridge Too Far" by Corenelius Ryan and saw the movie by the same title for the first time back when I was in college in the late '70s.

So to set the scene and question: Lt. General Horrocks (commander XXX corps), Brig. General Gavin (commander 82nd airborne), Major General Sosabowski (commander Polish airborne brigade) and Lt. Colonel Vandeleur (battalion commander of XXX corps spearhead) are at the top of church tower looking at the bridge at Arnhem just over a mile away. Brig. General Gavin and Lt. Col Vandeleur are urging Lt. General Horrocks to make a dash to the bridge, breakthrough and link up with Lt. Col Frost (battalion commander British 1st airborne) holding the Rhine side of the bridge. However, Lt. General Horrocks concedes that its a lost cause and that we now need to organize the evacuation of the what can be saved of the British 1st airborne. But of course this didn't include Lt. Col Frost and his men, who were soon to surrender. Again, I digress.

My questions are simple really ... why didn't XXX corps make a push to breakthrough that last mile?

It wasn't until 7 month later in April 1945 that the allies liberate Arnhem. Why? If this route into the Rhur was so critical why didn't the allies regroup and try to capture the bridge before then?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Market_Garden#Arnhem_bridge

If you look at the dates of the 20th and 21st and the action of those days it answers your first question. The hint of the day is creative license.

Second question. The asumption was and correctly so, that direct assault on the bridge would mean it would be blown up. So the Rhine is the answer. Having no control of bridges meant you had to do a cross river assault of one of the largest European rivers, to boot in this case against a build up area perfect for defense. The Rhine could be crossed at other places more suitable/increased chances of succes for an assault. Look up Operation Plunder for more info on the scope of doing such an assault.

Kind regards,
Rasmus

< Message edited by Walloc -- 9/12/2020 12:47:57 PM >

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/12/2020 9:34:11 PM   
Centuur


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quote:

ORIGINAL: rkr1958

I read the book, "A Bridge Too Far" by Corenelius Ryan and saw the movie by the same title for the first time back when I was in college in the late '70s.

I've re-watched the move probably two or three times since then. Probably once a decade or so. The latest re-watch was last evening. Actually last evening and the previous one. I had to split it up over two evening as this is a long movie (almost 3-hours) and I started it too late the first evening to finish. Not as young as I once was.

I digress. Over the years since the book and movie first came out my knowledge of history has matured. As best as I can recall the movie follows the book closely. I've only read the book once and that was over 40-years ago. My question, which I promise I'll get to, never really struck me until last night near the end.

So to set the scene and question: Lt. General Horrocks (commander XXX corps), Brig. General Gavin (commander 82nd airborne), Major General Sosabowski (commander Polish airborne brigade) and Lt. Colonel Vandeleur (battalion commander of XXX corps spearhead) are at the top of church tower looking at the bridge at Arnhem just over a mile away. Brig. General Gavin and Lt. Col Vandeleur are urging Lt. General Horrocks to make a dash to the bridge, breakthrough and link up with Lt. Col Frost (battalion commander British 1st airborne) holding the Rhine side of the bridge. However, Lt. General Horrocks concedes that its a lost cause and that we now need to organize the evacuation of the what can be saved of the British 1st airborne. But of course this didn't include Lt. Col Frost and his men, who were soon to surrender. Again, I digress.

My questions are simple really ... why didn't XXX corps make a push to breakthrough that last mile?

It wasn't until 7 month later in April 1945 that the allies liberate Arnhem. Why? If this route into the Rhur was so critical why didn't the allies regroup and try to capture the bridge before then?





They looked out of the church tower in the village of Elden, which is about two miles from the bridge. From there the road went on to the bridge. After the last house of the village, there was about 1.500 meters of flat land, with only a couple of trees to cover any advancing troops. German troops were seen in entrenchments, the road was heavily blocked and a couple of smaller bridges across small canals were already blown, making it difficult for tanks to cross those canals. But most important: the number of troops available for XXX corps at Elden was simply not enough. There was heavy fighting going on around the approaches of XXX corps, between Eindhoven and Grave (the Maas bridge), with heavy German counterattacks taking place from the east and the west. A couple of times the German forces (especially at night) got within a couple of miles from the road which XXX corps needed to get supplies to the spearhead.

With not enough troops available and supplies often being diverted to other units to keep the road open, it was decided to evacuate the British para's.

Where "a bridge too far" is considered to be a very good movie abroad, here in the Netherlands people were a little disappointed.
A couple of examples: in the movie at Nijmegen, the "St. Stephen Church" can be seen. Problem is, that the church was lying in ruins at that time, due to a US bombardment early that year (the US were on the way to the German city of Kleve (20 miles further east) but dropped the bombs on Nijmegen). In the movie, the church was shown to be completely intact...
The movie was shot at the town of Deventer (since the city of Arnhem did cross the river in the '70's already, so that the bridge there didn't give the same view anymore. At Deventer the bridge was of the same type and there wasn't a lot of building across the river).
However, a lot of things were not corrected to the situation in the 1940's. Dutch viewers did see a lot of things which simply couldn't be there. Things like numbers of houses (modern signs in stead of old ones), streetsigns (clearly modern ones) and even worse: the weapon of the Dutch Royal house indicating a "Royal House supplier" were shown in the movie. That particular sign was "verboten" in the Netherlands during the war...


< Message edited by Centuur -- 9/12/2020 9:35:46 PM >


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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/12/2020 10:01:16 PM   
rkr1958


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Thanks guys ... I really do appreciate the different perspectives ...

What I found interesting in watching the movie this time is how "civilized" the SS is portrayed versus more modern day adaptions of WW2 battles. What struck me this time is that the SS conduct was portrayed similar to what I would expect to see from regular Wehrmacht troops.

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/12/2020 11:19:23 PM   
brian brian

 

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I just skimmed the applicable portions of Rick Anderson’s relatively recent “Guns At Last Light” which does focus on American experiences.

By the time XXX Corps had Arnhem within visual range, the British lodgement at the base of the bridge on downtown Armhem had already been squeezed out by the SS troops. XXX Corps and the Polish paratroopers could only assist in the withdrawal of the rest of 6th Airborne back across the Rhine to the west, where XXX Corps did reach the river.

Atkinson’s book included a quote from 6th Airborne’s Colonel Frost, the commander at the bridge (captured), that the SS did fight fairly out of respect for the tenacity of the British paras, including one final temporary cease fire for removal of wounded from the surrounded pocket. The SS did execute any Dutch civilians found assisting the British however.

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/13/2020 12:28:03 AM   
rkr1958


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quote:

ORIGINAL: brian brian

I just skimmed the applicable portions of Rick Anderson’s relatively recent “Guns At Last Light” which does focus on American experiences.

By the time XXX Corps had Arnhem within visual range, the British lodgement at the base of the bridge on downtown Armhem had already been squeezed out by the SS troops. XXX Corps and the Polish paratroopers could only assist in the withdrawal of the rest of 6th Airborne back across the Rhine to the west, where XXX Corps did reach the river.

Atkinson’s book included a quote from 6th Airborne’s Colonel Frost, the commander at the bridge (captured), that the SS did fight fairly out of respect for the tenacity of the British paras, including one final temporary cease fire for removal of wounded from the surrounded pocket. The SS did execute any Dutch civilians found assisting the British however.
Brian, I got the book "Command Missions" by Lucian K. Truscott, published in 1954 for my Nook for around $3 or $4. I wasn't sure how much I'd like it or find it interesting. But, I've been pleasantly surprised. Personally, I think it fits very well with Atkinson's trilogy which I have and have read. I find it a very interesting read from a man who was there in North Africa, Sicily, Anzio and Northern Italy. I'm been very impressed by Truscott's organizational and staff skills. I've reached a point in the book where he's been given command of the US 3rd infantry division and they're on the eve of Husky.


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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/13/2020 12:31:58 AM   
Neilster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Joseignacio


quote:

ORIGINAL: Neilster

I found this...






Problem is that all these calculations are made according to official inflation rates which have nothing to do with real inflation rates.

How do you know that site hasn't used the real rates? Even if what you are saying is correct, how much different would the figure be?

Edit: I checked and that site uses historical inflation data.

https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/historical-inflation-rates/


< Message edited by Neilster -- 9/13/2020 3:52:12 AM >


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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/13/2020 12:45:38 AM   
brian brian

 

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If I luck into the vicinity of a good book store (rare for me), I will probably start in on Atkinson’s new trilogy on the American Revolution.


My historical WWII question lately is - whatever happened to the eastern flank of Operation Dragoon? Did the Allies even try cracking through the Alps there? Sure that would favor the defender - but so did operations in the spine of Italy.

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/13/2020 6:19:09 PM   
rkr1958


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quote:

ORIGINAL: brian brian

If I luck into the vicinity of a good book store (rare for me), I will probably start in on Atkinson’s new trilogy on the American Revolution.


My historical WWII question lately is - whatever happened to the eastern flank of Operation Dragoon? Did the Allies even try cracking through the Alps there? Sure that would favor the defender - but so did operations in the spine of Italy.
From what I've read Operation Dragoon was suppose to be launched simultaneously with Overlord. But the allies didn't have the lift capacity to carry out both at the same time. So Dragoon went on 15 August, more than two months after the D-day landings on June 6th. Interestingly, and I haven't got this far yet in my book, but Truscott's VI corps, which he took over during Anzio, makes the amphibious lands. I surmise looking at the attached map of the advance that the objective was to liberate southern France and link up with the allied forces breaking out of Normandy. The date for the operation that I found as 15 August - 14 September 1944. Interestingly the end date is 3 days prior to the launch of Operation Market Garden on 17 September.

To get back to your original question as to why they didn't push into northern Italy. If Truscott covers that in his book I'll follow up with that info. Currently where I am in the book is that Truscott is commander of the 3rd inf division and they're about to invade Sicily. In fact, the allied naval bombardment has just began.




Attachment (1)

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/14/2020 8:29:48 PM   
Courtenay


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I am dubious about parts of that map. In particular, the bit that says "Dijon 37 miles". They meant Lyon. Dijon is one hundred miles farther north. If they can't get that right, what else do they have wrong?

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 9/14/2020 10:34:10 PM   
eouellet


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Back to the original question:
My questions are simple really ... why didn't XXX corps make a push to breakthrough that last mile?

The XXX corps was advancing mostly along a narrow axis, essentially along the road leading to Arnhem. Because the corridor was narrow, the front division, the Armored Guards, could only have a frontage of one brigade at a time. The Germans engaged them in a series of ambushes, and by the time the Guards division was near Arnhem they had enough losses and spent much supply that it would have been suicidal trying to take Arnhem at that point. In MWIF terms, the XXX corps was stopped because it was moving in an enemy ZOC.

< Message edited by eouellet -- 9/14/2020 10:54:29 PM >

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 10/12/2020 6:30:58 PM   
rkr1958


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Not a question but something I just learned from reading Truscott's book, "Command Decisions". Probably something that most of you all ready know and I should know. Anyway,

Not surprisingly the allies (decided) to treat Germany after the war as a conquered nation (I knew this :) ). However, and this is what I learned, they decided to treat Austria as a liberated nation.

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 10/13/2020 1:09:11 PM   
Centuur


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quote:

ORIGINAL: rkr1958

Not a question but something I just learned from reading Truscott's book, "Command Decisions". Probably something that most of you all ready know and I should know. Anyway,

Not surprisingly the allies (decided) to treat Germany after the war as a conquered nation (I knew this :) ). However, and this is what I learned, they decided to treat Austria as a liberated nation.


That's not the case at all. Especially the Soviet occupation of the north-eastern parts of Austria was exactly the same as they did in Eastern Germany after the war. The KGB and secret police everywhere. Stalin really put the hammer on the population.
The fact that the Allies decided to allow the Austrians to become a neutral independent country again, was very surprising to the population in the eastern part of Austria. The Austrians still don't know why Chroesjtsjov gave the richest part of the country away in 1956.

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 10/13/2020 7:44:54 PM   
brian brian

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: eouellet

Back to the original question:
My questions are simple really ... why didn't XXX corps make a push to breakthrough that last mile?

The XXX corps was advancing mostly along a narrow axis, essentially along the road leading to Arnhem. Because the corridor was narrow, the front division, the Armored Guards, could only have a frontage of one brigade at a time. The Germans engaged them in a series of ambushes, and by the time the Guards division was near Arnhem they had enough losses and spent much supply that it would have been suicidal trying to take Arnhem at that point. In MWIF terms, the XXX corps was stopped because it was moving in an enemy ZOC.


Or perhaps a CW ARM + MOT + mot division + USA PARA attacked a single German MIL on the blitz table and the result was a 1/1 with no breakthrough and an attacker flip. While the British para div landed on an SS mech div (flipped after rail movement) and the valiant Red Devils piece was eliminated. The poor roll by the CW player reflected the intelligence failure that did not detect the presence of the SS units refitting near Arnhem; while the roll for the XXX corps attack was just average but reflected the reality of a narrow front / weak flank support / one hex attack.

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RE: Off Topic. Historical Question(s). - 10/15/2020 11:39:37 PM   
rkr1958


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quote:

ORIGINAL: brian brian


quote:

ORIGINAL: eouellet

Back to the original question:
My questions are simple really ... why didn't XXX corps make a push to breakthrough that last mile?

The XXX corps was advancing mostly along a narrow axis, essentially along the road leading to Arnhem. Because the corridor was narrow, the front division, the Armored Guards, could only have a frontage of one brigade at a time. The Germans engaged them in a series of ambushes, and by the time the Guards division was near Arnhem they had enough losses and spent much supply that it would have been suicidal trying to take Arnhem at that point. In MWIF terms, the XXX corps was stopped because it was moving in an enemy ZOC.


Or perhaps a CW ARM + MOT + mot division + USA PARA attacked a single German MIL on the blitz table and the result was a 1/1 with no breakthrough and an attacker flip. While the British para div landed on an SS mech div (flipped after rail movement) and the valiant Red Devils piece was eliminated. The poor roll by the CW player reflected the intelligence failure that did not detect the presence of the SS units refitting near Arnhem; while the roll for the XXX corps attack was just average but reflected the reality of a narrow front / weak flank support / one hex attack.
A very interesting way to look at it and explaining it in WiF game turns.


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