Dutch Operation of 1944

Dutch Operation of 1944


an offensive operation of Anglo-American troops between Sept. 17 and Nov. 10, 1944, during World War II. Having landed in Normandy in June 1944, the Allied troops reached the borders of Germany in August. Unable to overcome the German fortified Siegfried Line, they attempted to bypass it from the north, through the Netherlands. For this they used the Twenty-first Army Group (British Second and Canadian First armies) under the command of Field Marshal B. Montgomery and a separate airborne corps (one British and two American divisions and a Polish brigade). Facing them on a line to the northeast of Brugge and to the north of Antwerp and the Albert Canal (Kampen Canal) were the Fifteenth and First Parachute armies of the German Army Group B commanded by Field Marshal W. Model.

The plan for the operation envisioned capturing a bridgehead on the lower Rhine and clearing the enemy from the maritime approaches to Antwerp. The main attack was delivered by the British Second Army (XXX Corps) and the airborne corps (the Market-Garden operation) with the objective of capturing the major crossings over the Maas, Waal, and Neder Rijn rivers in the regions of Grave, Nijmegen, and Arnhem and, to the north, reaching the shore of the Zuider Zee, isolating German troops in the Netherlands, and creating advantageous conditions for the invasion into Germany. About 650 aircraft were enlisted for air support, and 880 guns and infantry mortars (136 per kilometer of front) were allocated for artillery preparation and accompaniment of the attack of the XXX corps.

At 1300 on September 17, after preparatory air bombardment, parachute forces were dropped (the Market operation). Although they did not land in the planned zones but were scattered over a large area, they performed their mission. Encountering weak enemy resistance, the US 101st Airborne Division captured the bridge over the canal at Veghel, the US 82nd Airborne Division took the bridge over the Maas at Grave, and the British 1st Airborne Division and the Polish brigade captured the northern part of the bridge over the Neder Rijn at Arnhem. At 1435 the XXX Corps passed to the offensive (the Garden operation) and, following a rolling barrage (on a front 1.5 km long and 3 km deep) by a tank penetration force with powerful air support, broke through the enemy’s defense. The armored division moved along a narrow front, followed by two infantry divisions, one after the other. Soon the advance units of the XXX Corps joined with the 101st Division and then with the 82nd Division, and on September 20 reached Nijmegen and forced the Waal River. Taking advantage of the indecisive action of the Canadian First Army to the north of Antwerp and of the US First Army in the vicinity of Aachen, the fascist German command delivered powerful thrusts against the base of the narrow salient and against the advance units. The attacking forces were surrounded, and the British First Airborne Division was routed. With the help of aggressive air action and an attack by flanking corps, the British Second Army was able to restore the situation. Because of the slow advance of the Canadians, the British Second Army halted the offensive and, after regrouping, on October 22 struck a blow from an area to the southeast of Grawe at Breda in the rear of the German Fifteenth Army and forced it to retreat. The Canadian First Army, having landed parties on Walcheren and South Beve-land islands, went over to pursuing the enemy. By November 10 the troops of the Twenty-first Army Group had cleared the mouth of the Scheldt River and reached the Maas from Grawe to the mouth. On the whole the Dutch operation remained incomplete. In 55 days the Allied troops advanced 45–90 km along a 200-km front.


Kulish, V. M. Vtoroi front. Moscow, 1960