David Bennet: Airborne Communications in Operation Market Garden

Operation Market Garden, Field Marshal B.L.M. Montgomery’s grand attempt to end the war in 1944, has been ceaselessly analysed in an attempt to understand the reasons for its failure. Factors such as the distance of the drop zones from the objectives in Arnhem, the delay in resupply, the presence of strong German forces in the area, as well as the slow progress of XXX Corps in linking the airborne bridgeheads, are some of the main reasons cited for the failure of the operation. Another element often raised has to do with the failure of communications equipment at Arnhem. Peter Harclerode, in his book, Arnhem: A Tragedy of Errors, puts it bluntly: “Much of the blame for 1st Airborne Division’s demise has been laid at the door of signals failure as well as the unsuitability of the radio equipment issued to the division as well as its failure to work satisfactorily under the conditions in which it was employed

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