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Up Op Market (2) Op Market (3) Op Market (4)
 
Market Reflections (1 of 4)

HEADQUARTERS 82D AIRBORNE DIVISION
OFFICE OF TH DIVISION COMMANDER

5 July 1945

Dear Captain Westover:
 
     Your letter of July 17th to my Chief of Staff, regarding operation MARKET, has come to my attention. First, let me say that I am very glad to find the Theater Historian's Office taking a close interest in this operation. Those of us who participated in the operation consider it a model airborne show. I have had the good fortune to be present at the planning of most of our operations in the ETO and to have participated in four of them. The 82d Airborne Division's participation in MARKET was well conceived and very well planned considering the short time available (6 days). The mechanics of its execution were almost perfect. The entire operation was conducted on an extremely marginal scale. I do not believe that one battalion less could have done the job, and if the Germans had committed one good battalion more at any point of our perimeter we would have been in serious difficulty. We, therefore, appreciate your interest in the operation and any of my Staff will be only too glad to try to answer any questions you may have at any time.

     For the objective of the 82d Airborne Division, I advise you to check the Operations Order of the British Airborne Corps. I quote the 82d's mission:


"The 82d Airborne Division will seize and hold the bridges at Nijmegen and Grave (with sufficient bridgeheads to pass formations of the Second Army through). The capture and retention of the high ground between Nijmegen and Grosbeek is imperative in order to accomplish the division's task."

     This mission, of course, was discussed at great length with the British Airborne Corps Commander. About two weeks prior to receipt of the mission by the 82d Airborne Division, it had been planned that General Urquhart's British Airborne Div's  would do the job. They had, therefore, devoted considerable study to intelligence reports and to the terrain. The Nijmegen-Grosbeek high ground was the only high ground in all of the Netherlands. With it in German hands, physical possession of the bridges would be absolutely worthless, since it completely dominated the bridges and all the terrain around it. The understanding was therefore reached with British Corps Headquarters that it would be absolutely imperative that this high ground be seized. It is a basic concept of airborne tactics that an airhead must first be established from which further tactical operations can be conducted. This high ground-provided ideally such an area. I per­sonally considered it the key to the accomplishment of the entire mission and thought that even if we were driven off the low ground around the bridges, if the high ground could be held, ultimately the Second Army could accomplish its mission.

REPRODUCED AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES

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