The BHTV team is responsible for producing some fine battlefield documentaries, using a number of former soldiers, battlefield guides and military historians who work well together, their skills complementing each other, to produce an authoritative account of the major battles and campaigns of the last two hundred years and earlier. This DVD in the Operation Market Garden series is well up to the high standard BHTV has set in its other DVDs.
NAME: Operation Market Garden, Arnhem, Battle of the Woods
CLASSIFICATION: Video, DVD, reviews
PRESENTER(S): Tom Dormer, Tim Saunders, Mike Peters, Jo Hook, John Greenacre, Richard Home, Bob Hilton
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword Digital
FORMAT: Dual layer
RUNTIME: 75 minutes
PLAYERS: Personal Computer, Mac Computer, DVD Player
SUBJECT: airborne forces, paratroops, assault gliders, transport gliders, WWII, advance into Germany, SS Panzers
DESCRIPTION: The BHTV team is responsible for producing some fine battlefield documentaries, using a number of former soldiers, battlefield guides and military historians who work well together, their skills complementing each other, to produce an authoritative account of the major battles and campaigns of the last two hundred years and earlier. This DVD in the Operation Market Garden series is well up to the high standard BHTV has set in its other DVDs.
Market Garden was an operation of two parts. Market was a ground advance by XXX Corps from its start line, breaking out from ‘Joe’s Bridge’ and heading to Arnhem where it was intended to cross that final bridge and head into Germany to bring the war to a speedy conclusion. Ahead of XXX Corps, Garden, the paratroops and assault gliders of the Allied airborne forces had to drop onto the key bridges and hold them until relieved by XXX Corps. The operation came very close to complete success but many historians have followed folk law and concentrated on the ‘failure’ of the British paratroops at Arnhem.
In the second DVD of the series, the BHTV team cut through the myth and legend to take a professional look at The Battle of the Woods, when the 4th British Parachute Brigade jumped in a drop zone ten miles from Arnhem on the second day, with little information about how 1 Para Brigade had faired on the first day.
In war there is usually only one winner, even where the victory is so costly that the victor is unable to fight further. Market Garden saw all objectives achieved except for the final objective at Arnhem. That has given license for some historians to claim the whole operation was a disaster and a complete failure. This DVD goes a long way to correcting those accepted myths. Together with the other DVDs in the series, it provides a clear perspective, setting history straight and explaining what really took place.
The planners always recognized that Arnhem represented significant challenges. The ground conditions meant that the airborne force would have to drop and land at Drop Zones away from the bridge that was their primary objective. It was also known that the drop should take place on the same day but there were insufficient aircraft to carry all of the paratroops and tow all of the gliders in a single assault. The result was that 1 Para Brigade was followed on the second day by 4 Para Brigade and this second drop was followed the Polish Airborne Force. This meant that three major drops were separated by time and geography, with what turned out to be inadequate radio communications. The flawed plan would almost certainly have succeeded had it not been for the presence of a strong SS Panzer force that was in the area to repair and reform. The contention has therefore been formed by claims that reconnaissance was inadequate, or that senior Allied commanders knew of the special threat and the flaws in the planning, but perversely went ahead with the assault.
In considering success or failure, the British paratroops dropping at Arnhem did secure the bridge and they did hold it longer than the time specified in their objectives. In that respect it was an outstanding success. XXX Corps were unable to arrive as scheduled and this was a combination of factors, some recognized before the battle and some evolving during the action when the armour took longer to fight along an exposed and narrow road and where the Germans blew one bridge that had to be replaced by a temporary structure. Even when faced with an unequal battle against heavy armour, the lightly armed British paratroopers and glider troops fought magnificently at Arnhem, holding out far longer than anyone could have reasonably hoped.