The Classic History of The Greatest Battle of World War II
by Cornelius Ryan, endorsed by Major General James M. Gavin
On 17th September 1944, the 82nd Airborne Division was carried by aircraft within the mightiest airborne force in history. Their destination was a point in Holland that was 64 miles behind the German lines.
Field-Marshal Montgomery's plan was to seize the Rhine bridges at Arnhem and Nijmegen to open the door to an Allied thrust into the industrial heart of Germany.
The Allied armies south of the Rhine were due to reinforce the airborne troops once the bridges had been captured. When Lt-General "Boy" Browning, the Deputy Commander of the First Allied Airborne Army, asked Montgomery how long it would take for the reinforcements to reach the bridges, he was told that it would be two days. "Sir", replied Browning, "I think we may be going a bridge too far".
Today, Cornelius Ryan's account of the tragic miscalculations at Arnhem and the valor of the troops on either side is a classic. Over 17,000 British, Polish and American troops became casualties - more than on D-Day - but Arnhem remains a beacon of heroism in the annals of military endeavor.