21 September, 2011

21 September 1944


438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
21 September, 1944        1730
Dearest sweetheart –

A busy day today – and I forgot to tell you yesterday that I am again visiting – or inspecting, and this time D battery. I stepped around all day today from early morning on – but I’ll be able to take it easy tomorrow. I got no mail here yesterday, but it’s possible there was some for me at battalion. I asked the mail clerk here to ask for my mail today. It was kind of lonesome here yesterday – not being with battalion and not hearing from you and it getting dark so early – etc. I do miss you awfully these long nights, sweetheart – possibly because we climb into our tents so early and have that much more time to realize what we’re missing. I don’t know what I’d do without this radio I just bought and despite the fact that it’s working fine – I’m waiting anxiously for my Dad to send me one. I’ll then sell this one and start off with a new one.

Incidentally – darling – a little news – about Pete. He has taken over C battery and if he stays with them – he will be battery commander and therefore will be eligible for a captaincy. I hope he does it. All for now, dearest – except I love you more each day, and never forget that! Love to the folks and to you –

My deepest love


about "A Bridge Too Far"
Operation Market Garden - Part V

The story of the fifth day of Operation Market Garden continues from the web site "Remember September '44"

British 1st Airborne Division
The 2nd Battalion, or what was left of them, no longer could hold their position and surrendered in the morning. Some men tried to escape to Oosterbeek, but only a few made it. All the German forces had concentrated on the 'perimeter' at Oosterbeek. German reinforcements arrived, which only made things worse. But despite heavy German attacks, the British troops’ position hardly changed though they suffered severe losses. Supplies still didn't arrive on the correct side of the bridge. Although the British had changed the drop zone for supplies, poor radio communications meant the RAF was not informed. German anti-aircraft guns also caused some losses. Maj. Gen. Stanislaw Sosabowsk’s 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade was dropped two days later than scheduled. They were dropped on the other side of the river near the village Driel. Their intended drop zone was south of the Traffic Bridge, but since the bridge was in German hands another drop zone was chosen. In addition to being late, bad weather forced some C-47s to return to their bases, so that not all of the 1st Para-battalion jumped. And the planes that did make it to Arnhem were attacked heavily by German anti-aircraft guns.

Maybe the worst part was the German's taking the ferry over the river which the Poles intended to use to reach the British. Instead, the Poles were stuck on the far side of the river and could do practically nothing other than wait. On the plus side, the Germans now had to pay attention to both the British and the Poles, giving some relief to the 'perimeter' troops. The British finally made radio contact with the XXX Corps at Nijmegen, although much later than planned. Now the British could count on artillery support from Nijmegen. From this day on, the British at Oosterbeek passed on the positions of the Germans so the artillery could start shelling them. This was a welcome support!

U.S. 82nd Airborne Division
The 504th defended the bridge in Nijgemen and held the area along the riverside. Although the Germans lost the bridges, they kept on attacking. The 508th Regiment was still embroiled in the fight against the Germans in Beek, which started on September the 20th. The first attempt to liberate the town failed, but a second was successful. In the evening, after intense fighting, Beek was in American hands again. The XXX Corps could have continued their advance towards Arnhem now that the bridge was in Allied hands, but instead they stopped. The Americans were baffled…and furious. They had expected the British armor would rush to Arnhem to relieve the British 1st Airborne Division, but, as Colonel Reuben Tucker of the 504th Regiment said, "all they seem to be doing is brewing tea". Actually, Horrocks of the XXX Corps wanted to wait until the infantry arrived to make his tanks less vulnerable. Many of the Allies didn't appreciate his cautious stance. The majority of the supplies dropped were recovered with help from the local people. However, the reinforcements were still grounded.

U.S. 101st Airborne Division
The 1st Battalion of the 501st Regiment crossed the Zuid-Willemsvaart canal near Dinther, the village they had liberated the day before. They headed for Schijndel, a village west of Veghel. Late in the afternoon, Schijndel was reached and an attack was launched. Only a part of the village was liberated. The 3rd Battalion reached the road between Schijndel and St. Oedenrode. The Germans launched an attack on St. Oedenrode, but the men of the 502nd Regiment withstood the assault. The 506th Regiment, with British XXX Corps’ tanks, continued their assault on the Germans near Nederwetten. Finally, the Germans retreated and the corridor was open again.

British 44th Royal Tank Regiment retains control of Hell's Highway
in support of the American 101st Airborne Division
in the village of Veghel on September 21, 1944.

British XXX Corps
Horrocks, the XXX Corps’ commander, wouldn’t continue his tanks' advance towards Arnhem until supporting British infantry arrived, even though they hadn’t even reached Grave yet. Although given priority, this division made slow progress. The constant shelling of the corridor by the Germans delayed them several times.

From "Operation Market Garden" on Amazing Planet's web site:

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