World War Two: Gilberts and Marshals (8); Makin Taken

The plan for the capture of Makin, though divided into three phases, was a continuing process that involved no major regroupings offerees. After the establishment of the beachheads on Butaritari the first objective had been the reduction of the West Tank Barrier, and this was followed by a drive to the east and pursuit of the enemy to outlying islands. The West Tank Barrier had been reduced during the first day’s action. The second day would see—in addition to the mopping up of the area around the West Tank Barrier and of the western end of Butaritari—the beginning of the drive to the east. The situation at Tarawa had prevented General Ralph Smith from moving the 3rd Battalion, 165th Infantry, to Kuma Island early on the morning of the second day, a move that would have eliminated much of the need for the third phase of the operation. He dispatched that morning, however, a small party under Major Jacob H. Herzog, assistant intelligence officer of the division, with orders to investigate Kuma for the presence of Japanese forces. Also, air observers were instructed to keep a close watch for any signs of a large enemy movement to the outlying islands. (It was possible for troops to move to Kuma from Butaritari along the reef at low tide without recourse to boats.)With these precautions, the main attention of the 165th Regimental Combat Team was centered during the second day on the drive to the eastern end of Butaritari.

The Main Action of the Second Day

The plan of attack for the second day provided that Company E and attached elements should immediately push eastward from positions of the night before while Company F should remain in reserve near Yellow Beach. General Smith’s order, sent out the previous evening, had set the jump-off hour at 0700, following an intense artillery preparation. ( 27th Inf Div G-3 Msg File, 20 Nov 43, Msg 92. Note: In spite of this order clearly specifying 0700 as jump-off hour, Captain Ryan, Company E’s commander, was under the impression that the renewed attack “was slated for 0800.” Interv, Captain Ryan, Marshall Intervs, pp. 38-41.) Colonel McDonough, however, elected to defer the advance of the infantry until the medium tanks were ready, and these were delayed until enough fuel could be brought forward.

During the interim aircraft pounded the area in front of the 2nd Battalion. At 0843 the air liaison party attached to McDonough’s battalion requested bombing and strafing of the zone ahead of Company E as far as the East Tank Barrier. This was complied with. As soon as McDonough had ascertained that the tanks would be fueled by 1045 he ordered the attack to jump off at 1100. Meanwhile, at 1026 he radioed to his supporting aircraft that “tanks and troops are moving forward” and that all bombing and strafing should cease. Although this cancellation was acknowledged and confirmed, the air columns formed for the bombing runs kept coming in as originally ordered. Fortunately, Captain Ryan, Company E’s commander, exercised firm control over his troops and was able to hold back their advance until the air attacks had ceased. Thus the faulty air-ground co-ordination caused no damage beyond delaying the attack even longer.

By 1110 the attack was at last in progress. Ten medium tanks had been refueled and had moved into position to support the troops, and Colonel McDonough chose to rely exclusively on these vehicles to support his infantry. Although both the forward observer and the liaison officer from the artillery battalion repeatedly suggested that fire be placed well in advance of the front line to soften up the enemy, the infantry commander declined it. He even refused to allow the forward observer to register the artillery battalion until after the day’s action had ceased. Although the 105-mm. pieces on Ukiangong Point fired a total of twenty-one missions early in the morning, not a single howitzer was fired after 0630.

On the extreme left was Detachment Z of the 105th Infantry. Next to it came the 1st Platoon, Company G, which had reinforced the 3rd Platoon, Company E, throughout the night. In the center was the 1st Platoon and on the right the 2nd Platoon of Company E. All units moved forward in a skirmish line. Fifty yards to the rear, mopping up Japanese stragglers, was a second formation consisting of the 3rd Platoon, Company E, the 2nd and 3rd Platoons, Company G, and a detail of marines consisting of the 4th Platoon of the V Amphibious Reconnaissance Company.

[NOTE-1010GMr: V Phib Corps GALVANIC Rpt, Incl G, G-2 Rpt, Incl D, Rpt of 1st Lt Harvey C. Weeks, USMCR, p. 2; Interv, Capt Ryan, Marshall Intervs, pp. 38-41. These marines had been part of the reinforced 2nd Platoon of Company G, which had been landed from Neville at Kotabu and Tukerere Islands on D Day. Having reconnoitered the tiny islets and discovered no opposition, they had returned to their ship the same day and were subsequently landed on Butaritari.]

The line advanced steadily, though slowly, averaging about three yards a minute. 1st Sergeant Thomas E. Valentine of the front echelon of Company E described the opposition encountered: On the second day we did not allow sniper fire to deter us. We had already found that the snipers were used more as a nuisance than an obstacle. They would fire, but we noted little effect by way of casualties. We learned that by taking careful cover and moving rapidly from one concealment to another we could minimize the sniper threat. Moreover, we knew that our reserves would get them if we did not. So we contented ourselves with firing at a tree when we thought a shot had come from it and we continued to move on. West of the tunnel that had been taken during the previous afternoon but subsequently relinquished, the enemy fell back again. In the next 200 yards, from the tunnel to the road crossing the island from the base of King’s Wharf, the stiffest resistance of the day was encountered.

From an enemy seaplane beached on the reef, machine gun and rifle fire struck at the left flank and in toward the center of the line. To allay this nuisance, four of the medium tanks finally pumped enough shells from their primary weapons at close range to annihilate the eighteen occupants concealed in the plane’s body and wings.

On the right an emplacement, intended mainly for defense against landings from the ocean, contained three dual-purpose 3-inch guns. Farther on, at the ocean end of the cross-island road, a twin-barreled, 13-mm. dual-purpose machine gun also covered part of the zone of advance.

In the center, about thirty yards beyond the tunnel, there was a large underground shelter, and about thirty yards farther on, six rifle pits connected by a trench. Squarely across the King’s Wharf road, a little south of the middle of the island, was a longer trench with eleven rifle pits.

Between noon and 1400 the advance passed through one of the most heavily defended areas on the island. On the lagoon shore at the base of King’s Wharf, along the east-west highway, and along King’s Wharf road were buildings and tons of fuel and ammunition used by Japanese aviation personnel. A group of hospital buildings was situated near the lagoon at the base of the wharf. Under coconut trees along the ocean shore at the right were four machine gun emplacements supported by ten rifle pits, the whole group being protected on the east and west flanks by double-apron wire running inland from the water across the ocean-shore road.

One after another, all of these positions were overrun. On the left Detachment Z of the 105th Infantry moved steadily along the lagoon shore, wiping out trenches and emplacements with the help of one medium tank. Combat engineers using TNT blocks were also employed. By the close of the day the detachment unit had advanced from six to seven hundred yards east of King’s Wharf, suffering only six casualties.

In the center and on the right of the line, Company E met with equal success. Moving slowly but steadily forward, by 1700 it had pushed some 1,000 yards east of Yellow Beach. Tank-infantry co-ordination was much improved over that of the previous day. Infantry troops pointed out enemy strong points to their supporting tanks, covered them as the tanks moved in for close-range fire, and mopped up the positions once the tanks had withdrawn or moved forward. Meanwhile, in the rear areas, Company A joined Company Fat 1300 in the vicinity of the West Tank Barrier and proceeded to mop up stranded enemy riflemen in that area.

The day’s advance had wrested from the Japanese their long-range radio receiving station, a heavily revetted, seventy-eight by thirty-three foot underground building at the south edge of a cleared rectangular area east of King’s Wharf.

Other installations captured or destroyed left the main area of enemy military positions entirely in American hands. When action ceased about 1700, all Japanese resistance from Red Beaches to Stone Pier had been eliminated with the exception of a few isolated snipers. Total U.S. casualties for the day were even fewer than on the previous day—eighteen killed and fifteen seriously wounded. Still ahead lay the East Tank Barrier system, resembling that on the west and designed primarily to stop an assault from the east.

The job of continuing the next morning’s attack would not fall to McDonough’s battalion, which had carried the main burden of advance from Yellow Beach to Stone Pier. Shortly after the day’s fighting had ceased, the 2nd Battalion was ordered into reserve by General Ralph Smith. At the same time, Colonel Hart’s 3rd Battalion was ordered to relieve the 2nd, commencing at daylight on 22 November, and to attack eastward vigorously, commencing at 0800. Hart was directed to employ, as the situation dictated, Companies A and C of the 193rd Tank Battalion, the 105th Field Artillery Battalion, and whatever naval gunfire and aerial support he required. This relief was approved by General Holland Smith, who had by that time come ashore and was with the division commander.

The Second Night

As night closed down on the second day’s fighting on Butaritari, the supply situation was still unsatisfactory. Earlier in the afternoon Colonel Ferris, the 27th Division’s supply officer, had reconnoitered Yellow Beach and discovered that only amphibian tractors could negotiate the reef, that vehicles were being drowned out when they struck potholes created in the reef shelf by naval shells, and that pallets were being dunked as they were pulled off landing craft at the edge of the beach.

Also, the beachhead itself was so cluttered with foxholes, tree trunks, and other obstacles that it was highly unsatisfactory as a point of supply. Meanwhile, Admiral Turner had ordered all ships excepting Pierce to unload on Yellow Beach, with the result that many landing craft that might otherwise have been unloaded on Red Beaches were tied up in the lagoon unable to dump their loads because of adverse hydrographic and beach conditions. Ferris consulted with Admiral Turner late in the afternoon on board the flagship Pennsylvania, and the admiral approved using Red Beaches as much as possible until conditions on Yellow Beach had improved. A request to permit night unloading was denied since Turner had already ordered his ships to put to sea during the hours of darkness.

Ashore, Company A was ordered to relieve at 1630 the advanced elements of Company E and Company G on the front line. The latter withdrew to the lagoon shore west of Company A and dug in. A little later Company E retired to a line about 300 yards west of the Stone Pier road. In the center of the forward line Company A established its perimeter and to the north, along the lagoon shore, was Detachment Z, 105th Infantry.

To the rear, Company B spread out to cover the West Tank Barrier. In an effort to prevent the indiscriminate firing that had characterized the previous night, orders were passed out to the troops to use hand grenades instead of rifles. About a hundred grenades in all were thrown from Company B’s perimeter during the night. Next morning five dead Japanese were found lying beyond the perimeter, all apparently killed by grenade fire. Then, just before the men withdrew from their foxholes, they killed two more Japanese by machine gun fire directed at surrounding tree tops.

Early in the morning hours a sentry on the lagoon shore threw the troops in that area into a brief fright by reporting the approach of landing craft carrying Japanese reinforcements. “There are 200 Japs out there,” he claimed as he aroused Colonel Durand and Colonel McDonough in their foxholes. The two officers got up and reconnoitered the beach, talking in loud voices to avoid being shot by their own men. The boats proved to be American, and the “200 Japs” an illusion.

The Third Day: Capture of the East Tank Barrier

Well before nightfall on the second day of fighting General Ralph Smith had requested permission to use the 3rd Battalion, 165th Regiment, which was still held in reserve against the possibility of being employed at Tarawa. Since the situation on that island had improved considerably during the day, his request was granted at 1705. The 27th Division commander immediately ordered Colonel Hart to leave his reserve area at daylight on the 22nd and move to the relief of the 2nd Battalion facing the East Tank Barrier system.

At 0800 the 3rd Battalion, aided by light and medium tanks as well as artillery, naval gunfire, and carrier-based air support, was to attack vigorously to the east. All command posts were to be moved forward to a point near Yellow Beach where closer control could be exercised.

In conjunction with the continuation of the drive eastward, an expedition under Major Herzog would set out in LVT’s early in the morning for Kuma Island to intercept any Japanese who might seek refuge there. Another party was to attempt an amphibious encirclement, going through the lagoon to a point east of the front line and establishing there a strong barrier line across the narrowest part of the island to stop any Japanese fleeing eastward from the pressure of the 3rd Battalion. Meanwhile, harassing artillery fire was to be directed into the eastern end of the island from time to time.

Commencing at 0600, 22 November, the 3rd Battalion moved along the island highway in column of companies toward Yellow Beach. Elements of Company K led the column, followed by a platoon of tanks. Company I, the battalion’s antitank platoon, the headquarters and headquarters company, two platoons of Company M, medical units, and Company L followed in that order. As the column passed along Yellow Beach, approximately thirteen medium and light tanks and some engineer units fell in. Beyond King’s Wharf, Company K swung to the right as far as the ocean, while Company I filled the area at the left to the lagoon. Together they moved ahead in a skirmish line, all other elements being in reserve.

At 0700 artillery on Ukiangong Point commenced shelling the East Tank Barrier, while Company A and Detachment Z, 105th Infantry, withdrew. From then until 0820 artillery fired a total of almost 900 rounds. The 3rd Battalion’s line moved swiftly ahead across the area taken on the previous afternoon but abandoned during the night. At 0820, as the artillery preparation was lifted, the tanks and infantry moved against the enemy. By 0915 the first 250 yards had been traversed with only light opposition, but resistance became more stubborn as the forces reached the road running south from Stone Pier.

The first mission of the tanks was to shell the buildings ahead of them while the infantry grenaded surface installations and small shelters. The infantry-tank tactics that had been developed in the two preceding days for the reduction of large shelters were employed. As the infantry approached air raid shelters, tanks opened up with their 75-mm. guns, knocking the shelters out as the infantry line continued on. Surface structures and smaller shelters were disposed of with hand grenades. At the ocean end of the Stone Pier road, and along the shore east of it, Company K came upon a series of rifle pits and machine gun nests with one 70-mm. howitzer position, all abandoned by the enemy.

At 0945, as the barrier defenses came within range of the tanks, field artillery resumed its fire, first on the clearing and then to the east of it. After twenty-five minutes the shelling from Ukiangong Point ceased. The 105th Field Artillery Battalion then began moving forward to a new position closer to the front while tanks and troops entered the zone just shelled.

With the 3rd Battalion’s attack moving steadily eastward, Colonel Hart, as previously planned, sent a special detachment to cut off the enemy from retreat to the eastern end of Butaritari. For this mission two reinforced platoons of Company A, which had only that morning been relieved from its position in the line, were sent with additional reinforcement of one section of light machine guns and one platoon of heavy machine guns from Company D. This detail, under command of Captain O’Brien, embarked at 1100 in six LVT’s on a three-mile run across the lagoon to a point on the north shore well to the east of the East Tank Barrier. Around noon Captain O’Brien’s men landed without opposition and set up a line across the island. Ten natives encountered near the beach informed the captain that the remaining Japanese were fleeing eastward across the reef to Kuma.

The longer U.S. amphibious move to Kuma Island was made by a detail under Major Bradt. This group, in ten LVT’s, was guided to Kuma by Major Herzog, who had reconnoitered that island the day before. At 1400 nine of the amphtracks landed without opposition in the vicinity of Keuea, about a mile from the southwestern tip of the island. The enemy on Butaritari was now entirely cut off from retreat.

Meanwhile, tanks and infantry were moving upon and through the East Tank Barrier. Although more heavily fortified than the West Tank Barrier, this strong defensive system offered no opposition whatever. The enemy had apparently abandoned the barrier during the night. Only a few dead Japanese were found, evidently killed by earlier bombardment, in the barrier system.

The Advance Beyond the East Tank Barrier

After passing through the tank barrier system, troops of the 3rd Battalion did not pause, but pushed eastward. Tanks were operating 200 to 300 yards east of the barrier in the barracks area between the highway and the lagoon as early as 1042. Two hours later, while men from Company A were forming a line across the island neck, tanks had reached a clearing about 800 yards short of that line, and the two forces were in communication.

It was believed that the Japanese remaining between these two forces would be trapped. In fact, no such event took place. By the time the 3rd Battalion had reached Company A’s barricade line at 1330, they had encountered no opposition.

Either the enemy remnants had evaded discovery or had slipped east of the island’s neck before noon when Company A had landed from its LVT’s. The only sign of life in that area occurred shortly after the junction of forces when about three hundred natives emerged to be taken under custody by the American soldiers and escorted outside of the line of advance. After a short rest the 3rd Battalion pressed forward again, while the Company A platoons and their attached units went to the rear.

At this point General Ralph Smith, in pursuance of the original plans, assumed full command of the island forces at 1510. Shortly thereafter he was ordered to re-embark the 1st and 2nd Battalions, all medium tanks, all except five light tanks, and all naval gunfire and air liaison parties the next morning (23 November). Beyond the narrow neck of the island where they had joined forces with the Company A detachment, the 3rd Battalion advanced some 2,100 yards, stopping about 1645. With Company I on the right, Company K on the left, and Company L in the rear, the battalion dug in for the night in perimeter defense.

Ahead lay about 5,000 yards of Butaritari Island still unsecured by the attacking forces. The escape of any enemy that might remain in that area across the reef to Kuma was barred by Major Bradt’s detachment on that island. From his positions at the southwestern end of Kuma he could effectively cover any crossing and in fact did repulse two enemy attempts to land on Kuma during the night.

The day’s activity had been easy, except for the heat and the tangled tropical growth through which the 3rd Battalion had had to advance. Enemy resistance in the area of the East Tank Barrier and eastward had been nominal. At the day’s end Admiral Turner announced the capture of Makin “though with minor resistance remaining” and congratulated General Ralph Smith and his troops. All that seemed to remain was to mop up a now thoroughly disorganized enemy trapped in the extreme northeastern tip of Butaritari.

The Last Night

After a wearisome but generally unopposed day’s advance, the 3rd Battalion dug in in a series of separate company perimeters, stretching across the width of the island in a line of about 300 yards in length. At the north Company I covered the lagoon shore, the main highway, and about one half of the island’s width. In an oval clearing in the center of the island two small ponds intervened between Company I and Company K, which set up a perimeter covering the distance from there to the ocean shore. West of these two companies in a long, narrow oval running all the way across the island was Company L, facing west. Spaced along this entire position were the light machine guns of the various company weapons platoons, and the heavy machine guns of Company M. The battalion antitank guns were placed at the point where the lines of defensive positions crossed the highway. One pair faced to the west along the road while the second pair faced to the east. The two antitank gun batteries were covered by heavy machine guns of the antitank platoon and a few riflemen. The men from Company M covered their own guns, while riflemen from the three rifle companies protected the remainder.

No very serious effort was made to establish a strong perimeter. No thorough reconnaissance of the ground just ahead was made, although about an hour and a half elapsed between the time the battalion began to dig in (1645) and sunset (1818) and another hour and a quarter remained before total darkness set in (1931). During the heat of the day’s activity most of the men had dropped their packs to the rear, including their entrenching tools. Foxholes were therefore shallower than usual. In some cases men did not even bother with them. Instead, they dragged coconut logs into place and built themselves barricades above ground. The truth is that very few, if any, of either officers or men entertained serious notions that there was much danger from the remnant of Japanese facing them. This opinion was most succinctly expressed by 1st Lieutenant Robert Wilson who later said, “Many of us had the idea there were no Japs left; when the firing began, I didn’t believe it was the real thing.

The first effort of the enemy to penetrate the perimeter occurred shortly after dark. Following close on the heels of a party of natives who had safely made their way into the American lines, a group of Japanese advanced close to the line, imitating baby cries as they came. The ruse was recognized by a member of the engineer detachment, who opened fire with his machine gun killing about ten Japanese. Thereafter until dawn, the night was broken by intermittent fire fights, infiltrations, and individual attacks on the American positions.

This was no organized counterattack or banzai charge such as occurred later on Saipan. Rather, it was a series of un-coordinated small unit, sometimes individual, fights. In an effort to unnerve the Americans, the Japanese periodically set up a tom-tom-like beating all over the front of the perimeter. Periodically, also, they would yell or sing, apparently under the influence of sake. They came on sometimes in groups and sometimes singly. A number of them filtered into the American lines, and their fire engaged the perimeter from both sides. The brunt of the attack fell on a few machine gun and heavy weapons positions that were covering the front from the right and left of the line. To the crews of these weapons the attack naturally appeared formidable indeed.

Actually, although from three to four hundred men of the battalion were under Japanese mortar, machine gun, rifle, and grenade fire from time to time, the enemy onslaught broke and disintegrated around these relatively few positions held down by the heavy weapons and machine guns on the front. Those who were only slightly to the rear of the guns were in the position of uneasy onlookers, bound by the character of the defense to take relatively little hand in the repulse given the enemy.

When daylight finally came it was apparent that the night’s attack had been both less massive and less deadly than it had seemed while it was going on. Fifty-one enemy dead were counted in front of American guns, although more were later found east of these positions. Some or all of these may have been wounded during the night’s activity and dragged themselves away from the perimeter to die. American casualties for the night came to three killed and twenty-five wounded.

A few of the enemy also had tried to escape from Butaritari over the reef to Kuma. At midnight about ten came upon the defense line set up by Major Bradt’s detail from the 105th Infantry and were either killed or wounded while making an effort to cross it. Unless some had previously escaped beyond Kuma to the other northern islets of the atoll, the last remnants of the original Japanese forces were destined to be pinched off on 23 November, D plus 3.

Mop-Up

The sixty-odd Japanese killed during the night represented the bulk of the remaining enemy soldiers on Butaritari. All that was left to be secured was the eastern extremity of the island, including Tanimaiaki Village, and the few scattered enemy left here were mostly labor troops and airmen.

The American attack was launched at 0715 with Company I in the advance. As many men as possible rode on the five light and sixteen medium tanks that had been sent up earlier to spearhead the drive. Behind them, Company K on the left and Company L on the right formed a skirmish line across the island. Still farther to the rear came the men of Company B from the 1st Battalion, as reserve support. With the left flank rode a special detail equipped with loudspeakers through which nisei interpreters were to broadcast appeals for surrender to whatever enemy troops might be left in Tanimaiaki Village. About 1015 it was discovered that some Japanese had moved across the rear of the advance unit and cut its wire. Colonel Marshall, who was in temporary command of the Nisei detail, was ordered to return to the rear with a message requesting Colonel McDonough to get his support element forward. As his jeep started back from the front line it ran into an ambush that the Japanese had set up for about 300 yards along the road, somewhat more than a half a mile to the rear. At that point a support element making its way forward arrived on the scene and cleared out the ambush in a short, sharp fight. This was the last tactical encounter on Makin.

By 1030 advanced elements of the 3rd Battalion had reached the tip of Butaritari, and organized resistance was declared to be over. Only a few Japanese had been encountered on the way and these had been quickly silenced. An hour later General Smith radioed to Admiral Turner, “Makin Taken! Recommend command pass to Commander Garrison Force.” Except for minor mopping-up activities, the operation was over.

At 1400 the 2nd Battalion under Colonel McDonough started to board Pierce from Red Beach 2. At 1630 Admiral Turner ordered General Smith to turn over command of the island to the garrison force commander, Colonel Clesen H. Tenney, the following day at 0800. From 1900 to 2120 that evening and again during the next morning, the 27th Division staff and the improvised staff of Colonel Tenney conferred. It was decided to leave on the island a considerable quantity of communications equipment already in operation, with the personnel to operate it. All the LVT’s were left, and with them a Navy boat pool of nine officers and 1,943 enlisted men. Many of the trucks, bulldozers, and jeeps were also to remain.

During the morning Major Mahoney’s 1st Battalion went aboard Calvert, while other detachments embarked on other transports. At noon the special detail returned from Kuma and began to board Leonard Wood, following the headquarters staff. The 3rd Battalion under Colonel Hart was left behind to assist and protect the construction forces. Also remaining for the time being on the island were Battery C, 105th Field Artillery; one platoon of Company C, 193rd Tank Battalion; the LVT detachment from Headquarters Company, 193rd Tank Battalion; the Collecting Platoon and the Clearing Company and surgical team, 102nd Medical Battalion; Company C, 102nd Engineers; the 152nd Engineers; Batteries K and L, 93rd Coast Artillery (AA); Batteries A, B, C, and D, 98th Coast Artillery (AA); and the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon, 165th Infantry.

The remainder of the troops that had fought on Butaritari were boated and ready to sail by noon of 24 November. A short delay caused by the report of nearby enemy planes held up the convoy until 1400, but at that time the ships finally shoved off for the more inviting shores of Oahu. The capture of Makin was history.

Profit and Loss

Reckoned in terms of the casualties sustained by the 27th Division, the seizure of Makin at first glance appears to have been cheap. Total battle casualties came to 218, of which 58 were killed in action and 8 died of wounds. Of the 152 wounded in action and the 35 who suffered non-battle casualties, 57 were returned to duty while action was going on. At the end of the fighting, enemy casualties were estimated to come to 550 including 105 prisoners of war, all but one of whom were labor troops. Later mopping-up activities accounted for still more, and in the end the total enemy garrison, none of whom escaped, was either captured or killed. Thus, a total of about 300 combat troops and 500 laborers was accounted for at Makin.

In view of the tremendous superiority of American ground forces to those of the enemy and the comparatively weak state of Japanese defenses, the ratio of American combat casualties to those of Japanese combat troops was remarkably high—about two to three. In other words, for every three Japanese fighters killed, two Americans were either killed or wounded.

Thus the cost of taking Makin was not quite so low as it had first seemed. Naval casualties incident to the capture of Butaritari were much higher than those of the ground forces. During the preliminary naval bombardment on 20 November, the battleship Mississippi had a turret explosion resulting in the death of forty-three men and the wounding of nineteen others. More important was the sinking of the escort carrier Liscome Bay. On the morning of 24 November she was operating about twenty miles southwest of Butaritari in company with two other escort carriers, all under command of Rear Admiral Henry M. Mullinix, USN. At 0513 Liscome Bay was hit amid-ship by one or more torpedoes fired from an undetected enemy submarine. Her bombs and ammunition exploded and within twenty-three minutes she sank. Fifty-three officers, including Admiral Mullinix, and 591 enlisted men were lost and many others seriously wounded and burned.

This sinking, occurring on D plus 4, gave point to an argument repeatedly put forth in naval circles that in amphibious operations time was of the essence, that ground operations prolonged beyond the time compelled by absolute necessity constituted an unacceptable risk to naval shipping and to the lives of naval personnel. Liscome Bay when torpedoed was standing by to furnish air cover for Admiral Turner’s attack force on its voyage back to Oahu. Had the capture of Makin been conducted more expeditiously, she would have departed the danger area before 24 November, the morning of the disaster.

General Holland Smith was later of the opinion that the capture of Makin was “infuriatingly slow.” Considering the size of the atoll, the nature of the enemy’s defenses, and the great superiority offeree enjoyed by the attacking troops, his criticism seems justified. It is all the more so when to the cost of tardiness is added the loss of a valuable escort aircraft carrier with more than half the hands aboard.

SOURCE: Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls: BY; Philip A. Crowl, & Edmund G. Love

World War Two: Gilberts and Marshalls (9); Tarawa

World War Two: Gilberts and Marshalls(7); Makin-Consolidating the Beachhead

Advertisements

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Feb. 6: THE MAN OF SIGNS (ZODIAC MAN)

THE MAN OF SIGNS (ZODIAC MAN)

PARTS OF THE BODY EACH ZODIAC SIGN AFFECTS
Ancient astrologers believed that each astrological sign influenced a specific part of the body.

In every edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac is a short astrology section with the Secrets of the Zodiac and The Man of Signs.

The first sign of the zodiac—Aries—was attributed to the head, with the rest of the signs moving down the body, ending with Pisces at the feet.

Many readers use the Man of Signs to determine the best days for gardening, setting eggs, and even having surgery (however, the Almanac does not give medical advice).

MAN OF THE SIGNS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE MOON’S ASTROLOGICAL PLACE

A table of the Moon’s Astrological Place can be found in the annual print and digital editions of The Old Farmer’s Almanac!

 

Source:

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

 

 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Feb. 6: MERCURY RETROGRADE AND ZODIAC SIGNS

MERCURY RETROGRADE AND ZODIAC SIGNS

WHAT TO WATCH FOR BY SIGN WITH MERCURY IN RETROGRADE
When Mercury is in retrograde, its influence depends on which of the 12 zodiac signs the planet is in when it goes retrograde. Below is a brief look at what to expect.

MERCURY RETROGRADE AND THE ZODIAC SIGNS

IN AQUARIUS (Jan 20–Feb 18): With Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, the sign 
that governs relationships, 
friendships are put at risk. Petty 
squabbles, misunderstandings, and miscommunications abound. Know who your friends are.

IN PISCES (Feb 19–Mar 20): Foggy thinking,
 daydreams, and escapism are 
the norm; day-to-day realities
 confound otherwise clear heads
 when Mercury, the planet that rules logic, is in Pisces, which governs illusion. Practice creative pursuits—writing, dancing, photography, film, or painting.

IN ARIES (Mar 21–Apr 19): Expect to be frustrated and frazzled. Assertive,
 impulsive Aries wants to move
 ahead, and all of the energy is going backward. Watch what you say and how you say it. Pay attention to what people say to you; you might be pleasantly surprised.

IN TAURUS (Apr 20–May 20): Take time to formulate your thoughts. Taurus, an unhurried sign, slows down the 
mental processes. He also governs banking, so delay money matters. Review financial matters, and position yourself for growth.

IN GEMINI (May 21–Jun 20): Because Gemini 
rules communications, be prepared for miscommunications
 when Mercury is in this sign. Expect lots of phone calls or none, and lost or misplaced mail. You may not articulate clearly, and gossip abounds. Old friends may reconnect.

IN CANCER (Jun 21–Jul 22): Expect annoyances 
at home with baking, gardening,
 and household duties under domesticated Cancer. Complete repair projects that weren’t finished or done correctly.

IN LEO (Jul 23–Aug 22): Avoid speculative investments. It is not a good time to
 buy and sell or do any trading.
 Instead, analyze your investment
 portfolio. Use your know-how and advisory skills to help friends and associates.

IN VIRGO (Aug 23–Sep 22): Challenging situations arise, especially in the 
workplace. Expect product delays and equipment breakdowns,
 as well as crankiness among coworkers under finicky, detail-oriented Virgo. Double-check your work before you call it finished.

IN LIBRA (Sep 23–Oct 22: Accept your physical
 attributes; do not have a makeover. Indecision reigns, so limit
 purchases—or risk returning
 them. Libra, representing beauty, grace, charm, and diplomacy, is out of balance. Refresh, relax, and rejuvenate.

IN SCORPIO (Oct 23–Nov 21): Emotions rule—not common sense—so beware.
 Avoid affairs of the heart. Passionate Scorpio is also secretive, 
and your secrets may seep out. Keep them in a diary.

IN SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22–Dec 21): It is not a time 
to travel, so reschedule or expect
 delays, lines, and lost directions.
 Instead, take care of local affairs.
 Patience and a sense of humor are needed.

IN CAPRICORN (Dec 22–Jan 19): Avoid buying, 
selling, or renting real estate un
der Capricorn, the sign that governs property matters. Expect
 problems with paperwork, packing, and movers. Reunite with family or vacation at home.

For our Astrological Moon’s Sign Calendar, pick up a copy of The Old Farmer’s Almanacor download the digital chart here.

A MAN WITH A MESSAGE

Mercury comes from the Latin word merx, or mercator, which means merchant. Mercury is the name given by the ancient Romans to the Greek mythological god Hermes.

Mercury is depicted as a male figure having winged sandals and a winged hat, indicating the ability to travel quickly. He was the official messenger of the ancient gods and goddesses and, as such, governed communications.

In 1782, Mercury became the first symbol of the United States’ fledgling postal service. Today, he is recognized as an icon of an international floral delivery service as well as the official symbol of the postal service of Greece.

In astrology, all of the planet’s attributes are rooted in ancient Greek and Roman mythology. In that context, Mercury is the god of travelers, literature, poetry, merchants, and thieves. He is cunning and clever and witty at a moment’s notice. But he is also recognized as a trickster and thief, prone to misbehavior.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Feb. 6: ZODIAC SIGN PROFILES

ZODIAC SIGN PROFILES

Your Zodiac Sign Profile starts with your birth month. Here are the 12 Zodiac signs and the personality profiles associated with each sign.

In Aries: Expect to be frustrated and frazzled. Assertive, impulsive Aries wants to move ahead, and all of the energy is going backwards. Watch what you say and how you say it. Pay attention to what people say to you; you might be pleasantly surprised.

In Taurus: Take time to formulate your thoughts. Taurus, an unhurried sign, slows down the mental processes. He also governs banking, so delay money matters. Review financial matters, and position yourself for growth.

In Gemini: Because Gemini rules communications, be prepared for miscommunications. Expect lots of phone calls or none, and lost or misplaced mail. You may not articulate clearly. At the same time, old friends may reconnect.

In Cancer: Expect annoyances at home with baking, gardening, and household duties under domesticated Cancer. Complete repair projects that weren’t finished or done correctly.

In Leo: Avoid speculative investments. It is not a good time to buy or sell or do any trading. Instead, analyze your investment portfolio. Use your know-how and advisory skills to help friends and associates.

In Virgo: Challenging situations arise, especially in the workplace. Expect product delays and equipment breakdowns, as well as crankiness among coworkers under finicky, detailed Virgo. Double-check your work before you call it finished.

In Libra: Accept your physical attributes; do not have a makeover. Indecision resigns, so limit purchases—or risk returning them. Libra, representing beauty, grace, charm, and diplomacy, is out of balance. Refresh, relax, and rejuvenate.

In Scorpio: Emotions rule—not common sense—so beware. Avoid affairs of the heart. Passionate Scorpio is also secretive, and your secrets may seep out. Keep them in a diary.

In Sagittarius: It is not a time to travel, so reschedule or just expect delays, lines, and lost directions. Instead, take care of local affairs. Patience and a sense of humor are needed.

In Capricorn: Avoid buying, selling, or renting real estate under Capricorn, the sign that governs property matters. Expect problems with paperwork, packing, and movers. Reunite with family or vacation at home.

In Aquarius: With Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, the sign that governs relationships, friendships are put at a risk. Petty squabbles, misunderstandings, and miscommunications abound. Know who your friends are.

In Pisces: Foggy thinking, daydreams, and escapism are the norm; day-to-day realities confound otherwise clear heads when Mercury, the planet that rules logic, is in Pisces, which governs illusion. Practice creative pursuits—writing, dancing, photography, film, or painting.

 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Holidays Around The World for Feb. 6: Waitangi Day

Waitangi Day

A national public holiday in New Zealand, February 6 commemorates the signing of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, in which the Maori natives agreed to coexist peacefully with the European settlers. Although it was first declared a national day of commemoration in 1960, Waitangi Day was not observed as a public holiday outside the North Island until it became New Zealand Day in 1973. It was observed as such until 1976, when it again became known as Waitangi Day.

The town of Waitangi is located on the Bay of Islands at the northern end of the North Island, and the day on which the treaty was signed is observed there by the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Maoris each year.

Because of continued discrimination against them, some Maoris protested the occasion during the 1980s. In 1988 the New Zealand government cancelled the national commemoration ceremonies and has attempted to reorganize the observance in later years. But the protests continued through the 1990s and early 2000s.

CONTACTS:
Ministry for Culture and Heritage
History and Heritage Units
P.O. Box 5364
Wellington, New Zealand
61-4-471-4027; fax: 61-4-499-4490
http://www.nzhistory.net.nz
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of New Zealand
Level 7, MED Bldg., 33 Bowen St.
P.O. Box 5640
Wellington, New Zealand
64-4-498-7440; fax: 64-4-498-7445
http://www.govt.nz
Waitangi Tribunal
Level 3, 110 Featherston St.
P.O. Box 5022
Wellington Central, New Zealand
64-4-914-3000; fax: 64-4-914-3001
http://www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 22
DictDays-1988, p. 127
NatlHolWrld-1968, p. 24

This Day in History Feb. 6: The Munich Air Disaster (1958)

The Munich Air Disaster (1958)

The Munich air disaster occurred on 6 February 1958 when British European Airways Flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport, West Germany. On the plane was the Manchester United footballteam, nicknamed the “Busby Babes”, along with supporters and journalists.[1] Twenty of the 44 on the aircraft died at the scene. The injured, some unconscious, were taken to the Rechts der Isar Hospital in Munich where three more died, resulting in 23 fatalities with 21 survivors.

The team was returning from a European Cup match in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, having eliminated Red Star Belgrade to advance to the semi-finals of the competition. The flight stopped to refuel in Munich because a non-stop flight from Belgrade to Manchester was beyond the “Elizabethan”-class Airspeed Ambassador’s range. After refuelling, pilots James Thain and Kenneth Raymenttwice abandoned take-off because of boost surging in the left engine. Fearing they would get too far behind schedule, Captain Thain rejected an overnight stay in Munich in favour of a third take-off attempt. By then, snow was falling, causing a layer of slush to form at the end of the runway. After the aircraft hit the slush, it ploughed through a fence beyond the end of the runway and the left wing was torn off after hitting a house. Fearing the aircraft might explode, Thain began evacuating passengers while Manchester United goalkeeper Harry Gregg helped pull survivors from the wreckage.

An investigation by West German airport authorities originally blamed Thain, saying he did not de-ice the aircraft’s wings, despite eyewitness statements to the contrary. It was later established that the crash was caused by the slush on the runway, which slowed the plane too much to take off. Thain was cleared in 1968, ten years after the incident.

Manchester United were trying to become the third club to win three successive English league titles; they were six points behind League leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers with 14 games to go. They also held the Charity Shield and had just advanced into their second successive European Cup semi-finals. The team had not been beaten for 11 matches. The crash not only derailed their title ambitions that year but also virtually destroyed the nucleus of what promised to be one of the greatest generations of players in English football history. It took 10 years for the club to recover, with Busby rebuilding the team and winning the European Cup in 1968 with a new generation of “Babes”.

Background

In April 1955, UEFA established the European Cup, a football competition for the champion clubs of UEFA-affiliated nations, to begin in the 1955–56 season;[2] however, the English league winners, Chelsea, were denied entry by the Football League’s secretary, Alan Hardaker, who believed not participating was best for English football.[3] The following season, the English league was won by Manchester United, managed by Matt Busby. The Football League again denied their champions entry, but Busby and his chairman, Harold Hardman, with the help of the Football Association’s chairman Stanley Rous, defied the league and United became the first English team to play in Europe.[4]

The team – known as the “Busby Babes” for their youth – reached the semi-finals, beaten there by the eventual winners, Real Madrid. Winning the First Division title again that season meant qualification for the 1957–58 tournament, and their cup run in 1956–57 meant they were one of the favourites to win. Domestic league matches were on Saturdays and European matches midweek, so, although air travel was risky, it was the only choice if United were to fulfil their league fixtures,[5] which they would have to do if they were to avoid proving Alan Hardaker right.[4]

After overcoming Shamrock Rovers and Dukla Prague in the preliminary and first round respectively, United were drawn with Red Star Belgrade of Yugoslavia for the quarter-finals. After beating them 2–1 at Old Trafford on 14 January 1958, the club was to travel to Yugoslavia for the return leg on 5 February. On the way back from Prague in the previous round, fog over England prevented the team from flying back to Manchester, so they flew to Amsterdam before taking the ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwichand then the train to Manchester. The trip took its toll on the players and they drew 3–3 with Birmingham City at St Andrew’s three days later.[6]

Eager not to miss Football League fixtures, and not to have a difficult trip again, the club chartered a British European Airways plane from Manchester to Belgrade for the away leg against Red Star.[7] The match was drawn 3–3 but it was enough to send United to the semi-finals.[8] The takeoff from Belgrade was delayed for an hour after outside rightJohnny Berry lost his passport,[9] and the plane landed in Munich for refuelling at 13:15 GMT.[10][11]

Aircraft and crew

The aircraft was a six-year-old Airspeed Ambassador 2, built in 1952 and delivered to BEA the same year.[12]

The pilot, Captain James Thain, was a former RAF flight lieutenant. Originally a sergeant (later a warrant officer), he was given an emergency commission in the RAF as an acting pilot officer on probation in April 1944,[13] and promoted to pilot officer on probation in September that year.[14] He was promoted to flight lieutenant in May 1948,[15] and received a permanent commission in the same rank in 1952.[16] He retired from the RAF to join BEA.

The co-pilot, Captain Kenneth Rayment, was also a former RAF flight lieutenant and a Second World War flying ace. After joining the RAF in 1940, he was promoted to sergeant in September 1941.[17] He was commissioned as a war substantive pilot officer a year later,[18] and promoted to war substantive flying officer in May 1943.[19] He shot down five German fighters, one Italian plane and a V-1 flying bomb. He was awarded the DFC in July 1943,[20] and promoted to flight lieutenant in September 1943.[21] After leaving the RAF in 1945, he joined BOAC in Cairo, before joining BEA in 1947. He had had experience with Vikings, Dakotas and the Ambassador “Elizabethan” class.[22]

Crash

Thain had flown the “Elizabethan”-class Airspeed Ambassador (registration G-ALZU) to Belgrade but handed the controls to Rayment for the return.[23] At 14:19 GMT, the control tower at Munich was told the plane was ready to take off and gave clearance for take-off, expiring at 14:31.[24] Rayment abandoned the take-off after Thain noticed the port boost pressure gauge fluctuating as the plane reached full power and the engine sounded odd while accelerating.[25] A second attempt was made three minutes later, but called off 40 seconds into the attempt[26] because the engines were running on an over-rich mixture, causing them to over-accelerate, a common problem for the “Elizabethan”.[25] After the second failure, passengers retreated to the airport lounge.[27] By then, it had started to snow heavily, and it looked unlikely that the plane would be making the return journey that day. Manchester United’s Duncan Edwards sent a telegram to his landlady in Manchester. It read: “All flights cancelled, flying tomorrow. Duncan.”[28]

Thain told the station engineer, Bill Black, about the problem with the boost surging in the port engine, and Black suggested that since opening the throttle more slowly had not worked, the only option was to hold the plane overnight for retuning. Thain was anxious to stay on schedule and suggested opening the throttle even more slowly would suffice. This would mean that the plane would not achieve take-off velocity until further down the runway, but with the runway almost 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) long, he believed this would not be a problem. The passengers were called back to the plane 15 minutes after leaving it.[29]

A few of the players were not confident fliers, particularly Liam Whelan, who said, “This may be death, but I’m ready”. Others, including Duncan Edwards, Tommy Taylor, Mark Jones, Eddie Colman and Frank Swift, moved to the back of the plane, believing it safer.[11] Once everyone was on board, Thain and Rayment got the plane moving again at 14:56.[30] At 14:59, they reached the runway holding point, where they received clearance to line up ready for take-off.[31] On the runway, they made final cockpit checks and at 15:02, they were told their take-off clearance would expire at 15:04.[32] The pilots agreed to attempt take-off, but that they would watch the instruments for surging in the engines. At 15:03, they told the control tower of their decision.[32]

Rayment moved the throttle forward slowly and released the brakes; the plane began to accelerate, and radio officer Bill Rodgers radioed the control tower with the message “Zulu Uniform rolling”.[33] The plane threw up slush as it gathered speed, and Thain called out the plane’s velocity in 10-knot increments.[33] At 85 knots, the port engine began to surge again, and he pulled back marginally on the port throttle before pushing it forward again.[33] Once the plane reached 117 knots (217 km/h), he announced “V1”, at which it was no longer safe to abort take-off, and Rayment listened for the call of “V2” (119 knots (220 km/h)), the minimum required to get off the ground.[34] Thain expected the speed to rise, but it fluctuated around 117 knots before suddenly dropping to 112 knots (207 km/h), and then 105 knots (194 km/h).[35] Rayment shouted “Christ, we won’t make it!”,[35] as Thain looked up to see what lay ahead.[36]

The plane skidded off the end of the runway, crashed into the fence surrounding the airport and across a road before its port wing was torn off as it caught a house, home to a family of six.[37] The father and eldest daughter were away and the mother and the other three children escaped as the house caught fire.[38] Part of the plane’s tail was torn off before the left side of the cockpit hit a tree.[38] The right side of the fuselage hit a wooden hut, inside which was a truck filled with tyres and fuel, which exploded.[39] Twenty passengers died on board, and three died later in hospital.

On seeing flames around the cockpit, Thain feared that the aircraft would explode and told his crew to evacuate the area. The stewardesses, Rosemary Cheverton and Margaret Bellis, were the first to leave through a blown-out emergency window in the galley, followed by radio officer Bill Rodgers.[40] Rayment was trapped in his seat by the crumpled fuselage and told Thain to go without him. Thain clambered out of the galley window.[40] On reaching the ground, he saw flames growing under the starboard wing, which held 500 imperial gallons (2,300 L) of fuel. He shouted to his crew to get away and climbed back into the aircraft to retrieve two handheld fire extinguishers, stopping to tell Rayment he would be back when the fires had been dealt with.[40]

Meanwhile, in the cabin, goalkeeper Harry Gregg was regaining consciousness, thinking that he was dead.[41] He felt blood on his face and “didn’t dare put [his] hand up. [He] thought the top of [his] head had been taken off, like a hard boiled egg.”[42] Just above him, light shone into the cabin, so Gregg kicked the hole wide enough for him to escape. He also managed to save some passengers.

Read More….

World War Two: Europe (2-8); Operation MARKET-GARDEN-Decision on the Ground

Those Germans who were barring the way at Nijmegen and who subsequently might oppose the ground column between Nijmegen and Arnhem obviously held the key to the outcome of Operation MARKETGARDEN. Should they continue to deny a crossing of the Waal, the Red Devils near Arnhem might be systematically annihilated. Spearheading the 30 Corps ground column, reconnaissance troops of the Guards Armoured Division linked with Colonel Tucker’s 504th Parachute Infantry at Grave at 0820 the morning of D plus 2, 19 September.

 Major formations of the British armor were not far behind. From that point priority of objectives within the sector of the 82nd Airborne Division shifted unquestionably in the direction of the bridge at Nijmegen Already at least thirty three hours behind schedule because of earlier delays south of Eindhoven and at Zon, the ground column had to have a way to get across the Waal.

Developments on D Plus 2 (19 September)

Holding the objectives the 82nd Airborne Division already had taken would be facilitated by the artillery and antitank strength that arrived with the ground column. In keeping with this new situation, General Gavin adjusted his units.

Part of the 504th Parachute Infantry relieved the battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry at Hatert and enabled this battalion to reinforce its parent regiment in defending the ridge line near Hotel Berg en Dal. Reducing defensive strength at the Maas bridge near Grave, General Gavin designated one battalion of the 504th as a new division reserve. The former reserve, the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry, which had been located in the woods west of Groesbeek, was to drive for the Nijmegen highway bridge.

In early afternoon of D plus 2, 19 September, General Gavin met the commander of the British ground column, General Horrocks, and told him his plan to take the Nijmegen bridge. He intended immediately to commit the 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel B. H. Vandervoort, against the south end of the bridge and “as quickly as possible” to send another force across the Waal in boats to seize the north end. Since the paratroopers had not found any civilian boats to use, the British offered thirty-three canvas assault boats which were being carried in their engineer train and should be available early the next morning. In the meantime, the attack against the south end of the bridge was to begin. To assist the 2nd Battalion, 505th, the British provided a company of infantry and a battalion of tanks of the Guards Armoured Division. Artillery of both the Guards Armoured and 82nd Airborne Divisions lent support.

A small component of this force fought toward the south end of the railroad bridge over the Waal. Men of Company D, 505th Parachute Infantry, commanded by 1st Lieutenant Oliver B. Carr, Jr., climbed aboard five British tanks and five other armored vehicles and at 1500 struck direct for the bridge through the western fringe of Nijmegen. They moved unopposed until hit by sporadic rifle fire in the railroad marshaling yards about a thousand yards south of the railroad bridge. Dismounting, Lieutenant Carr’s men continued under cover of fire from the British guns until, at a point less than 500 yards short of the bridge, small arms and 20-mm. fire in serious proportions blazed from a common off the right flank between the station and the railroad bridge. Though the infantry and tanks tried together through the rest of the afternoon, they could make no progress. At last an enemy 88 knocked out the lead British tank. The first attempt to take the railroad bridge had failed.

The main attack against the south end of the highway bridge had begun concurrently. Following generally the same route through the eastern fringe of Nijmegen taken the day before by Captain Novak’s Company G, the paratroopers, British infantry, and tanks met no resistance at first. Then the story became merely a variation on what had happened to Captain Novak and his men.

Approaching within 300 yards of the small traffic circle at the edge of Hunner Park, the force split. One American company and several British tanks veered to the left; the British infantry, the remaining American paratroopers, and the rest of the tanks to the right. At about the same time, the Germans at the traffic circle began to react. Each street radiating from the traffic circle became a deadly field of fire. Bullets and shells interlocked at street intersections.

On the left, Company F under Captain Hubert S. Bass inched toward the park through incessant fire until at last stymied by a log barricade which the British tanks could not pass. On the right, the British infantry, the rest of the tanks, and Company E under 1st Lieutenant James J. Smith ploughed through deadly fire to come within a hundred yards of the circle.

Here an antitank gun knocked out the lead tank. The fire grew more intense. When three more tanks were hit, the remaining armor and the infantry had to pull back. Though they tried other maneuvers through the afternoon-including blasting a path through buildings and advancing from rooftop to rooftop, the paratroopers could not negotiate the last few yards to the traffic circle. Night came. Firing on both sides gradually died down. The fourth try for the south end of the highway bridge had failed.

The afternoon of fighting in Nijmegen prompted the 82nd Airborne Division’s intelligence section to revise upward earlier estimates of German strength in the city. The G-2 believed now that about 500 top-quality SS troops held the highway bridge alone. They had support, he estimated, from an 88-mm. gun on the traffic circle, a 37-mm. and four 47-mm. guns in Hunner Park, a number of mortars, and considerable artillery north of the Waal.

Elsewhere in the 82nd Airborne Division’s sector, D plus 2 was “a quieter day.” 3 Through most of the day the enemy had nothing in the Reichswald but Corps Feldt’s 406th (Landesschuetzen) Division with but four battalions totaling about 500 men combat strength.

When concentrated against an isolated outpost or in defense of a strong natural position, these Germans nevertheless could make a stiff fight of it. To this men of Company A, 508th Parachute Infantry, could attest after fighting through the afternoon to secure an eminence called Devil’s Hil1. This was Hill 75.9, a high point east of Hotel Berg en Dal overlooking the Kleve-Nijmegen highway. In a determined charge covering 200 yards, Company A drove the Germans from the summit, but the enemy recovered on the slopes and counterattacked repeatedly with the support of eight machine guns. By nightfall Company A controlled the hill at a cost of seven wounded and ten killed, but so persistently did the Germans infiltrate during the night that another company had to flush the area the next morning.

In the meantime, Company B had less difficulty securing the village of Wyler, a mile and a half to the southeast. At the end of D plus 2, the 508th Parachute Infantry had firm control of the Kleve-Nijmegen highway at three points: Wyler, Devil’s Hill, and Beek.

Another event on D plus 2 that bore heavily upon the fighting was continued bad weather. So inclement was the weather that little resupply could be effected and the 325th Glider Infantry, scheduled to arrive on D plus 2, could not be flown in. This situation was to prevail for several days. Since General Gavin now was diverting much of his strength to Nijmegen, the lack of the glider regiment left an acute shortage of infantry that was heightened by the casualties the parachute battalions had incurred in three days of fighting. Company A, 508th, for example, in the attack on Devil’s Hill had but 2 officers and 42 men. The commanders even moved 450 glider pilots into the line, a measure that to many of the paratroopers underscored the shortage of infantry.

During the night General Gavin designated Colonel Tucker’s 504th Parachute Infantry, less two companies defending bridges over the Maas and the Maas-Waal Canal, to make the amphibious assault across the Waal River upon which the main hope for getting a bridge at Nijmegen rested. Because the canvas assault boats were not expected to arrive before noon the next day, D plus 3, 20th. Although quick to give credit to the glider pilots as pilots and to many as individual ground fighters, neither the 82nd nor 101st Airborne Divisions had any real praise for the pilots acting collectively in tactical ground units.

September, the crossing was set for 1400. In the meantime, in early morning of D plus 3, the 504th Parachute Infantry and two squadrons of tanks from the Guards Armoured Division set out to clear the south bank of the Waal in the vicinity of the designated crossing site. This was near the juncture of the Maas-Waal Canal and the ‘Vaal about a mile northwest of the Nijmegen railway bridge. This maneuver was in process and Colonel Vandervoort’s battalion had renewed the attack toward the south end of the Nijmegen highway bridge when the Reichswald suddenly developed into something of what it had been supposed to be. The fighting that ensued threatened for a time to upset the scheduled events at Nijmegen.

The change in the status of the Reichswald had begun during the preceding night with arrival of the first units of General Meindl’s II Parachute Corps, which eventually was to assume control of the Nijmegen fighting from the German side. These first arrivals consisted of a Luftwaffe battalion and six battalions made up of heterogeneous elements banded together under the II Parachute Corps, plus a smattering of armor. The strongest of these were two understrength battalions which had been training under the banner of the 6th Parachute Division. Although American intelligence thought these two battalions the precursors of the entire 6th Parachute Division, this division actually had been destroyed in Normandy and was not to be reconstituted until October and would see no action until November.

The addition of these heterogeneous troops to those battalions operating under Corps Feldt nevertheless marked a sizable increase in German strength when measured against the five understrength parachute battalions responsible for holding almost twelve miles of front from Nijmegen to Wyler, thence southwest through Groesbeek to Riethorst and Mook. If concentrated adroitly, the Germans might attain a dangerous superiority in numbers, if not in fighting ability. The German plan was to gain control of the high ground by means of two concentric attacks converging upon Groesbeek.

Those battalions under Corps Feldt were to strike from the north and northeast against the ridge line near Hotel Berg en Dal and Wyler, while those under the II Parachute Corps attacked from the south and southeast in the vicinity of Mook and Riethorst. A barrage from 88’s, Nebelwerfer, and mortars at about 1100 on 20 September signaled the start of the German attack at Riethorst and Mook. Because the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry (Major Talton W. Long), was responsible for more than two miles of front in this vicinity, neither of these villages was defended by more than two platoons. By using one of the training battalions of the 6th Parachute Division at each village, the Germans attained a marked numerical superiority.

At Riethorst close support from ten 75-mm. pack howitzers enabled two platoons of Company B to stall the first German thrust. A second attack in midafternoon, featured by fire from a German tank that riddled American dugouts and machine gun positions, could not be repelled. Eventually the two platoons had to fall back on other positions on the high ground of the Kiekberg, north of the village. Here mortar fire and grenades rolled down the steep slopes helped to turn back every thrust.

At Mook the situation prompted more concern because of the proximity of the village to the bridge over the Maas-Waal Canal at Heumen, the bridge which was being used in the northward movement of the British ground column. By 1500 the Germans had overrun the outposts at Mook. When General Gavin arrived on the scene, he could detect little barring the way between Mook and the vital Heumen bridge. He hurriedly sent a messenger for help to the Guards Armoured Division’s Coldstream Guards Group, a unit which had been designated as a reserve for the airborne division. 10 Apparently unknown to General Gavin, however, the battalion commander, Major Long, already had committed his battalion reserve, two platoons of infantry that even then were approaching Mook from the north. In late afternoon six British tanks joined these infantry platoons in a counterattack that gradually drove the Germans out of the village. By nightfall Mook again was in hand, and the Heumen bridge was safe. In the short-lived but intense action, Major Long’s battalion had incurred casualties totaling 20 killed, 54 wounded, and 7 missing. A German withdrawal during the night and the next day facilitated re-establishment of roadblocks in Riethorst. The combat was none the less intense in the north where the Germans concentrated their efforts at Wyler and Beek.

Despite close artillery support that broke up early strikes, two platoons of the 508th Parachute Infantry eventually had to abandon Wyler. This withdrawal posed no special concern, however, because of other positions on higher ground to the west. The point of real concern was at Beek where in early evening the Germans, in battalion strength, forced two platoons of parachute infantry to fall back up the hill toward Hotel Berg en Dal.

General Gavin arrived here at the height of the crisis. “By shifting one platoon from one place to another, and disengaging it and shifting it again,” General Gavin recalled later, “Colonel Mendez managed to contain the attack. If the Germans had had the wit to move even several hundred yards to the right they could have walked into the outskirts of Nijmegen almost unmolested ….

The fighting for Beek was to continue through most of the next day (D plus 4, 21 September) as the 508th Parachute Infantry sought to regain its positions. At times it looked as if the Germans might push beyond the village onto the high ground at Hotel Berg en Dal, but the paratroopers by nightfall had reoccupied Beck, not to relinquish it again.

The Fight for the Nijmegen Bridges

In stemming the counterattacks from the Reichswald, the paratroopers had been protecting a on current operation by their comrades in arms at Nijmegen that was one of the most daring and heroic in all the MARKET-GARDEN fighting. This was the 504th Parachute Infantry’s assault crossing of the 400-yard width of the Waal River in order to get at the north ends of the rail and road bridges at Nijmegen 13 To provide more time for preparation, H Hour eventually was set back an hour to 1500 (D plus 3, 20 September). At this time the 504th’S 3rd Battalion under Major Julian A. Cook was to cross the river in thirty-three plywood and canvas assault boats from a point near a power plant a mile northwest of the Nijmegen railway bridge. Two squadrons of British tanks, a portion of another battalion of the 504th Parachute Infantry, and approximately 100 American and British artillery pieces were to provide fire support.

The artillery was to lay down a fifteen-minute preparation, including a smoke screen on the north bank which was to be filled in where necessary by the tank guns firing white phosphorus. British planes were to bomb and strafe for thirty minutes before H-Hour. As soon as the 3rd Battalion had crossed, the 1st Battalion under Major Harrison was to follow.

As assault crossing of the Waal would have been fraught with difficulties even had it not been so hastily contrived. Not only is the river wide, but the current is swift, running eight to ten miles an hour. The terrain on the south bank is flat, exposed to observation not only from the opposite bank but from Nijmegen and towering girders of the railroad bridge.

Though General Gavin had intended that the boats be loaded from a concealed position within the mouth of the Maas-Waal Canal, the current was so swift that boats launched at this point would have been carried too far downstream. The paratroopers would have to embark on the south bank of the river, east of the canal, in full view of the enemy.

Just what strength the Germans had on the north bank of the Waal, no one on the Allied side knew with any assurance. In reality, not long after General Gavin had ordered an assault crossing, Field Marshal Model had directed reinforcement of the SS troops in and north of Nijmegen with “additional forces and all available antitank weapons” sent south from Arnhem. This was to have been accomplished during the night of 19 September in time for a counterattack to be launched at dawn the next day, D plus 3. The Germans en route to Nijmegen had to cross the Neder Rijn by the ferry near Huissen, because Colonel Frost’s little band of British paratroopers still held the north end of the Arnhem bridge.

Just how many “additional forces” arrived by this method was indefinite. In any event, the counterattack scheduled for dawn on D plus 3 never came off. On the Allied side, tension rose as H Hour for the assault crossing neared.

Boat assault across the Waal

The British boats were delayed. Not until twenty minutes before H-Hour, almost at the time the artillery preparation was to begin and even as rocket-firing Typhoons pummeled the north bank, did the paratroopers get their first look at the frail little craft. They were nineteen feet in length, of canvas with a reinforced plywood bottom. There were not thirty-three as expected; only twenty-six. To get all the men of the first-wave companies into the boats required dangerous overloading. Three engineers went along in each boat in order to paddle it back to the south bank for another load. Fifteen minutes before H-Hour, the artillery began to pound the north bank.

After ten minutes, the artillerymen changed from high explosive shells to white phosphorus, but an erratic wind generally denied an effective smoke screen. As the paratroopers struggled toward the water’s edge with the assault craft on their shoulders, the launching site lay naked to German observation. German shellfire began to fall. Allied artillerymen shifted again to ten minutes of high explosive fire. The British tanks churned forward to blast the north bank with overhead fire. Mortars of the parachute regiment began to cough. The assault was on.

Almost from the start the crossing of the sprawling Waal was a nightmare. Because the water close to the south bank was shallow, the paratroopers had to wade far into the stream. Sometimes they climbed aboard where the water still was too shallow, then had to debark and push into deeper water. One boat pulled away, leaving a man standing behind, stuck in mud. As the man extricated himself, the current swept him into deep water. The commander of Company H, Captain Carl W. Kappel, threw off his own heavy equipment, dived into the water to drag the man to safety, then regained his own boat.

Once the boats moved into deep water, the strong current seized them. Unfamiliar with the craft and buffeted by the current, the engineers and paratroopers could do little but point the boats toward the far shore and pray that the current would carry them across. At least one boat whirled crazily for a while in a dizzy circle. Any hope of maintaining unit organization upon touching the far shore was quickly dispelled.

All the while German fire rained upon the hapless craft. The bullets and shell fragments hitting the water reminded one man of “a school of mackerel on the feed.” It was primarily fire from machine guns on the north bank and machine guns and 20-mm. antiaircraft guns on and near the railway bridge, but occasionally artillery fire from the north bank tormented the water. Bullets and shell fragments ripped the thin canvas on the assault boats. Some boats sank. One that was hit by mortar fire capsized only about twenty yards from the north bank, spilling its occupants into the water. Loaded down by an automatic rifle and heavy ammunition, Private Joseph Jedlicka sank to the bottom in about eight feet of water. Holding his breath, he walked ashore without loss of equipment.

Almost incredibly, half of the boats made it. Exhausted, dizzy from the circum-gyrations, some of the men were vomiting. They had gained the north bank, but only thirteen of the twenty-six boats remained to make the return trip for the next wave.

Virtually devoid of unit organization, the paratroopers rallied individually to the occasion. Killing more than fifty Germans near where the boats touched ground, the men dashed across an open field exposed to grazing fire to gain a diked road about 800 yards from the water’s edge. Here they flushed Germans with bayonets, knocked out machine guns with hand grenades, and forged a temporary defensive line to await arrival of succeeding waves.

Still subject to German fire, engineers with the thirteen remaining assault boats started back to the south bank. Eleven boats made it. Through the course of the afternoon, engineers and paratroopers manning these eleven boats made six crossings of the Waal, bringing first the remainder of Major Cook’s 3rd Battalion and then Major Harrison’s 1st Battalion.

The operations on the north bank developed in a series of courageous small unit actions by squads and individuals belonging to different units. The companies had assigned objectives: Company H, for example, was to bypass an old Dutch fortress, Fort Hof van Holland, seize the juncture of the railroad and the Nijmegen-Arnhem highway, then drive southeast down the highway to take the north end of the highway bridge.

Company I was to defend against enemy counteraction from the northwest and north and, if possible, take the north end of the railway bridge. Yet accomplishment of few of the missions could be attributed to one unit alone. The crossing of the Waal had been a hopper that had scrambled the men almost inextricably. The commander of Company G, for example, discovered in late afternoon that in addition to many of his own men he was commanding much of Company H, a platoon of Company I, and parts of the battalion communications and medical sections.

This handicap appeared to work little hardship on these veteran troops. The men saw jobs to be done and tried to do them. A platoon of Company H, scheduled to bypass Fort Hof van Holland, saw an opportunity to take the fort and silence machine guns and 20-mm. antiaircraft guns that were firing from its towers.

Sergeant Leroy Richmond swam underwater to get across a moat surrounding the fort, then signaled his companions to follow across a narrow causeway. Small groups of both Companies H and I converged on the north end of the railway bridge where they set up BAR’s to play fire on the bridge until reinforcements arrived from Company G and the 1st Battalion. Parts of Companies H and I also fought together toward the highway bridge. This vital prize still was intact.

In the meantime, in Nijmegen, Colonel Vandervoort’s battalion of the 505th Parachute Infantry, augmented by British infantry and tanks, at last had begun to wear down the defenders of the south end of the highway bridge. A tank-infantry assault at 1620 by both British and Americans against the traffic circle south of Hunner Park finally began to produce results. Advancing through and on top of buildings and up fire-raked streets and alleys, the infantry charged. This time they made it. Bolstered by the British tanks, they plunged on almost without pause into Hunner Park. The fight neared an end.

The impending success in Nijmegen began to make trouble for the handful of Americans that were raking the north end of the railway bridge with fire, for the Germans began to retreat in wholesale numbers across the railway bridge. Not until the next day was it finally cleared of all enemy. Armament on this bridge alone totaled 34 machine guns, 2 20-mm. antiaircraft guns, and 1 88-mm. dual-purpose gun.

In Nijmegen, as the British tankers approached the south end of the highway bridge, they spotted an American flag floating atop what they took to be the north end of the bridge. This the British assumed to be an American signal that the tanks could cross. In reality, the paratroopers still were a few steps from the highway bridge; the flag was flying from the north end of the railroad span. Spraying shells and machine gun bullets into the girders, the British tankers nevertheless raced onto the bridge. Three tanks reached the far end. Three privates from Companies H and I, 504th Parachute Infantry, got on the north end of the bridge at almost the same moment. The time was 1910.

A lot of hard fighting remained before the toehold across the Waal could be deemed secure but as night fell on 20 September the fact was that the daring maneuver to gain the Waal bridges had succeeded. How and why in the light of all the obstacles could be explained only by the resourcefulness and courage of the men who did the job.

The cost had been high. During the afternoon, Major Cook’s 3rd Battalion alone lost 28 men killed, 1 missing, and 78 wounded. Total losses for the two battalions which crossed the Waal and Colonel Vandervoort’s battalion in Nijmegen probably were about 200.

Yet German losses must have been considerably more severe. On the railway bridge on 21 September, near a Dutch fortress northeast of the highway bridge, a bazooka man from the 504th Parachute Infantry, Private John R. Towle, rushed beyond his company’s outposts to intercept a German attack that was supported by two tanks and a half-track. He was instrumental in breaking up the thrust before falling mortally wounded from enemy mortar fire. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Alone the paratroopers subsequently counted 267 German dead.

Why the Germans failed to blow either the railway or highway bridge was a matter of some conjecture. Looking at it from the viewpoint of German commanders, the answer lay in German reluctance to admit until too late that these bridges-vital to taking effective countermeasures against the Allied landings-could not be held. Field Marshal Model himself had ordered that neither the bridges over the Waal nor those over the Neder Rijn were to be destroyed.

Not until almost midnight on D plus 3, 20 September, after the Allies held the Nijmegen bridges, had Model relented. “It is necessary to hold, and if necessary to blow up the highway bridge at Nijmegen,” Model’s chief of staff notified General Bittrich, commander of the II Panzer Corps. General Bittrich replied that the word had come too late. For two hours, he said, he had heard nothing from the Nijmegen garrison and assumed that the German units there had been destroyed.

Despite this indication that the Allies were in control at Nijmegen, Model’s chief of staff early the next morning, 21 September, again brought up the subject of the bridges. “The Waal bridges will be destroyed in the face of enemy pressure,” he directed. This may have been a belated attempt to cover Model’s tracks in the expectation that failure to destroy the bridges would bring repercussion from superiors. Indeed, only a few hours later, OKW began to press the matter. Model’s chief of staff admitted that hindsight did reveal that “demolition would have been indicated. However,” he said, “on account of the enemy attack from both sides on the [highway] bridge, the responsible commander was not able to blow up the bridge on his own authority.”

This coincided to a large degree with the opinion of the 82nd Airborne Division commander, General Gavin. He later attributed German failure to demolish the highway bridge to three factors: (1) the assault from both ends, (2) destruction of the alleged demolition control mechanism in the post office, and (3) the cooperation of the Dutch underground in keeping the bridge under fire so that the Germans could not work on the demolitions. “In my opinion, at this time,” General Gavin wrote later, “the capture of the bridge intact, like the other bridges in the area, was the result of careful study and planning on the part of the parachutists of the 82nd Airborne Division who were assigned the task, and the careful carrying out of those plans by everyone regardless of his grade or position who was associated with the task. The underground played a major part in getting this done and they deserve a lion’s share of the credit for saving the big bridge at Nijmegen.”

Regardless of who or what saved the Nijmegen bridge, the contributions of the Dutch underground not only to the operations of the 82nd Airborne Division but to those of other Allied units as well cannot be ignored. Known officially as the Netherlands Interior Forces, the Dutch underground was one of the most highly organized and efficient resistance units in all Europe. Hardly any who fought in Holland were not affected in some manner by help from these intrepid, shadowy figures who moved by night.

Dutch civilians were a constant source of intelligence on the enemy. Countless parachutists and glider-men who landed off the beaten track owed their safe return to the fearless assistance of the underground. Many times the Dutch assembled equipment and resupply bundles at central points where the soldiers could get at them easily. Many a Dutchman went hungry because he shared his meager rations with paratroopers whose resupply had been cut short by adverse weather.

An officer who had visited frequently in the Netherlands before the war, Captain Arie D. Bestebreurtje, jumped with the 82nd Airborne Division as commander of a three-man Special Forces team and coordinated the activities of the Netherlands Interior Forces at Nijmegen In response to a Dutch request for weapons, General Gavin authorized Captain Bestebreurtje to dispense the weapons from American dead and wounded. General Gavin termed the conduct of the underground “exemplary.” “Sleep, I have no time for sleep,” a fatigued Dutch boy said when denied a request to fight in the line. “For four years I have been waiting for this. No, this is not the time for sleep.”

Some evidence indicates that at least one German commander was slow to move his troops in early stages of the airborne attack for fear of general Dutch uprisings. The Allied attack clearly benefited from the fact that it took place in a country where the population was unquestionably and often openly hostile to the enemy.

First Attempts To Drive on Arnhem

Counting from the time of first contact between the British ground column and the 504th Parachute Infantry at Grave at 0820 on D plus 2, 19 September, until the Nijmegen bridge was taken at 1910 on D plus 3, 20 September, a case could be made to show that the ground column was delayed at Nijmegen for almost thirty-five hours. Yet this would be to ignore the facts that first arrivals of the ground column represented no more than a forward reconnaissance screen and that several hours elapsed before sizable British units began to arrive. Indeed, almost another twenty-four hours would elapse after capture of the Nijmegen bridge before the British would renew the drive on Arnhem.

At nightfall on D plus 3, the British had at Nijmegen only the Guards Armoured Division. Because inclement weather continued to deny arrival of the 82nd Airborne Division’s glider infantry, the Guards Armoured’s Coldstream Guards Group still was needed as a reserve for the airborne division. This left but two armored groups to go across the Waal. Even these did not make it until the next day (D plus 4, 21 September), primarily because of die-hard German defenders who had to be ferreted from the superstructure and underpinnings of the bridge. Once on the north bank, much of the British armor and infantry was used to help hold and improve the bridgehead that the two battalions of the 504th Parachute Infantry had forged.

British commanders must have been aware of the necessity to get quickly to Arnhem. Although few details on the situation north of the Neder Rijn had emerged, some sketchy information had filtered back during the day through intermittent radio communication with General Urquhart’s headquarters. Though garbled by distance and inadequate airborne radio sets, these fragmentary messages had basically confirmed the cursory Dutch communication of two days before. Yet the new details provided no occasion for despair. The report was that Colonel Frost and his little band still held the north end of the Arnhem bridge.

Though under constant pressure, the rest of the Red Devils in the perimeter at Oosterbeek still controlled the north end of the Heveadorp ferry. If the ground column could break through quickly, the Red Devils-and possibly the entire MARKET-GARDEN operation-still might be saved.

For all the concern that must have existed about getting to Arnhem, only a small part of the British armor was freed late on D plus 4, 21 September, to start the northward drive. As the attack began, British commanders saw every apprehension confirmed. The ground off the main roads was low-lying, soggy bottomland, denying employment of tanks.

A few determined enemy bolstered with antitank guns might delay even a large force. Contrary to the information that had been received, Colonel Frost and his men had been driven away from the north end of the Arnhem bridge the afternoon before, so that since the preceding night the bridge had been open to German traffic. At the village of Ressen, less than three miles north of Nijmegen, the Germans had erected an effective screen composed of an SS battalion reinforced with 11 tanks, another infantry battalion, 2 batteries of 88-mm. guns, 20 20-mm. antiaircraft guns, and survivors of earlier fighting at Nijmegen, all operating under General Bittrich’s II SS Panzer Corps.

 Arnhem lay seven miles north of this screen. The British could not pass. Not until near nightfall on D plus 4 did another British division arrive at Nijmegen, the 43rd Infantry Division. Because of severe traffic congestion on the lone highway extending from the Dutch-Belgian border to Nijmegen, it had taken three days for this division to travel sixty miles. The infantry would not attack until the next day, D plus 5, 22 September.

Only one other possibility did the Allies have for helping the Red Devils at Arnhem on 21 September. By 1400 cloud above air bases in England at last had cleared sufficiently to enable parachutists of the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade to take to the air. Under a new plan, the Poles were to drop close to the village of Driel, near the southern terminus of the Heveadorp ferry. During the night they were to cross the river by ferry in order to strengthen the British perimeter on the north bank until the 30 Corps might break through.

Polish Brigade arrives

Unfortunately, weather over the Continent had not cleared. Of 110 planes, only 53 dropped their loads. Those who jumped included the brigade commander, Major General S. Sosabowski, and the equivalent of two weak battalions, a total of 750 men. After overcoming minor opposition on the drop zone, General Sosabowski made the disheartening discovery that but a short while earlier the Germans had driven the British from the north end of the ferry site and sunk the ferry boat. Although General Urquhart radioed that his Red Devils would attack immediately to regain the site, the theory that the weakened, closely confined British could recapture it was, no matter how admirable, wholly chimerical.

By now the Red Devils had been confined to a perimeter at Oosterbeek less than half a mile wide and a mile and a half deep. In that perimeter the day (21 September) had brought no brighter developments than it had outside. The Germans the day before had captured the British hospital; the plight of the wounded now was pitiful because of both a dearth of medical supplies and a lack of food and water. The inexorable pounding of enemy guns set the ammunition depot on fire. The only bright spot came in late afternoon when an artillery observation unit at last established firm radio contact with an artillery regiment of 30 Corps.

The news to be reported from Colonel Frost and his men at the Arnhem bridge was not good. By daylight of D plus 3, 20 September, the British paratroopers had retained control of only a few buildings near the bridge. During the afternoon of D plus 3 they had been driven by point-blank tank fire from the last of these. Some 140 able-bodied men still had refused to give up, but about 50 of these had fallen during the night. At dawn on D plus 4, 21 September, the order had been given to break into small parties and try to escape. None had made it.

Keeping the Corridor Open

For all the adversities north of the Neder Rijn, hope still existed as daylight came on D plus 5, 22 September, that the 43rd Infantry Division might break through at Ressen, relieve the British paratroopers, and bring over-all success to Operation MARKET-GARDEN. The 30 Corps commander, General Horrocks, ordered the division “to take all risks to effect relief today.”

Yet, almost coincident with this hope, another major threat to the success of the operation was developing to the south in the sector of General Taylor’s 101st Airborne Division. Despite an aggressive defense designed to prevent the enemy from concentrating at anyone crucial spot to cut Hell’s Highway, General Taylor on 22 September was faced with report after report from Dutch sources of largescale German movements against the narrow corridor from both east and west.

At a time when the 30 Corps needed everything possible in order to break through to the Red Devils, severance of the vital lifeline could prove disastrous. One reason the 101st Airborne Division still faced a major task in holding open the corridor was the slow progress of the attacks of the 8 and 12 British Corps on either flank of the corridor. West of the corridor, the 12 Corps, controlling three divisions, had begun to attack during the evening of D-Day, 17 September; but by D plus 5, when the reports of German concentration began to give General Taylor genuine concern, the 12 Corps still was several miles south and southwest of Best. East of the corridor, the numerically weaker 8 Corps had begun to attack before daylight on D plus 2, 19 September, but by D plus 5 still was southeast of Eindhoven. Both corps had run into stanch resistance and had found the marshy terrain an obstacle of major proportions. As Field Marshal Montgomery was to put it later, progress was “depressingly slow.”

The 101st Airborne Division commander, General Taylor, had recognized since late on D plus 2, 19 September, when his command post and the Bailey bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal at Zon had almost fallen to the first strike of the 107th Panzer Brigade, that his division had entered a second and more difficult phase of the fighting. The point’ was underscored in the morning mist of D plus 3, 20 September, when the 107th Panzer Brigade struck again at the Zon bridge. Though a reinforced battalion of infantry had been disposed to guard the bridge, German tank guns soon controlled the bridge by fire. The bridge might have fallen to the Germans had not ten British tanks belatedly responded to an SOS dating from the crisis of the night before. Knocking out four German tanks, the British forced the enemy back.

Recognizing that he had not the strength to maintain a static defense along the 15-mile length of Hell’s Highway, General Taylor on D plus 3 chose the alternative. He would keep the Germans surprised and off balance with limited offensive thrusts of his own.

Perhaps the most successful of these was a maneuver on D plus 3 by Colonel Kinnard’s battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry. Although Colonel Kinnard had a company outposting the village of Heeswi jk, four and a half miles northwest of Veghel, the Germans had infiltrated in some strength along the Willems Canal between Heeswijk and Veghel. Using the bulk of his battalion, Colonel Kinnard drove northwest alongside the canal to sweep these Germans into Heeswijk, where the outpost company played the role of a dust pan. It was a classic maneuver, a little Cannae, which by the end of the day had accounted for about 500 Germans, including 4I8 prisoners.

On D plus 4, 21 September, a reconnaissance by a company of Colonel Michaelis’ 502nd Parachute Infantry encountered stiff resistance near the village of Schijndel, four and one half miles northwest of St. Oedenrode. This coincided with civilian reports that the Germans were concentrating south of Schijndel for a counterattack upon St. Oedenrode. Impressed by Colonel Kinnard’s successful maneuver the day before, Michaelis and the commander of the 501st Parachute Infantry, Colonel Johnson, decided to press the Germans near Schijndel between them. Two battalions of Johnson’s regiment were to take Schijndel from the north. Thereupon two of Michaelis’ battalions were to attack northward against the German force that was south of the village.

In a swift move after dark on D plus 4, Colonel Johnson took Schijndel not long after midnight (21 September) . Although a surprise counterattack against the village at dawn delayed start of the second phase of the planned maneuver, Colonel Michaelis’ two battalions were able to begin their role by midmorning (D plus 5,22 September). Progressing smoothly, the attack gave promise of bountiful success. Then, abruptly, at 1430, an urgent message from General Taylor forced a halt.

While these four battalions had fought near Schijndel, General Taylor had learned that the Germans were concentrating for a major blow to sever Hell’s Highway. During the morning, a drive on Nuenen, southeast of Zon, had revealed that a German column contacted there the day before had gone elsewhere. This coincided with report after report from the Dutch of enemy movements both east and west of the Allied corridor. Indications were that the Germans intended a convergent attack in the vicinity of Veghel and Uden. Lying five miles northeast of Veghel astride Hell’s Highway, Uden heretofore had been ignored by the Germans and unoccupied by the Americans.

General Taylor had ample reason for concern. A strong convergent attack upon Veghel was, in reality, the German plan. The plan had emerged from orders issued by Field Marshal Model the day before (D plus 4, 21 September) . While General Bittrich’s II SS Panzer Corps and General Meindl’s II Parachute Corps stepped up their operations against the British at Arnhem and the Americans at Nijmegen, General Student’s First Parachute Army was to sever the Allied corridor farther south.

The spot Field Marshal Model chose was Veghel. Pushed back by the British ground attack on D-Day and by the subsequent drive of the XII British Corps, General Reinhard’s LXXXVIII Corps now was located west of Veghel and might mount an attack from that direction. On the east the attack was to be mounted by a headquarters new to the fighting, the LXXXVI Corps under General der Infanterie Hans von Obstfelder.

This headquarters Model had moved up hurriedly on D plus I to assume control of Division Erdmann and the 176th Division in order that General Student might give undivided attention to other units more directly involved against the Allied airborne operation. General von Obstfelder now was to assume a more active role.

In the attack from the east, Obstfelder was to employ a force thrown together under Colonel Walther, who earlier had commanded a Kampfgruppe along the Meuse-Escaut Canal. The new Kampfgruppe Walther would control Major von Maltzahn’s 107th Panzer Brigade, a small contingent of the 10th SS Panzer Division (Kampfgruppe Heinke) that had earlier been used against the XIX U.S. Corps east of Maastricht, an artillery battalion with three howitzer batteries (105’S and 150’S), and an infantry battalion of the 180th Division, the last an advance contingent of a replacement division which had been scraped together hurriedly by Wehrkreis X.

 From the west, General Reinhard’s LXXXVIII Corps was to employ a regimental combat team of the 59th Division that had been shored up with replacements after a disastrous initial commitment at Best. Commanded by Major Huber, this force included three infantry battalions, a battalion of 105-mm. howitzers, a battery of 150-mm. howitzers, a battery of 20-mm. antiaircraft guns, seven antitank guns, and four Panther tanks. The axis of attack for Kampfgruppe Huber was from Schijndel through the villages of Wijbosch and Eerde to Veghel. Kampfgruppe Walther was to strike from Gernert through the village of Erp, three miles southeast of Veghel.

On the American side, the maneuver near Schijndel during the morning of 22 September was occupying the bulk of Colonel Johnson’s 501st Parachute Infantry, but one battalion of that regiment still was in defensive positions in Veghel. Yet not a man was in Uden, the other place which the Americans believed the Germans would strike. To Uden General Taylor turned his attention first.

The job of defending U den General Taylor gave to Colonel Sink’s 506th Parachute Infantry, which was becoming available as British ground troops took over farther south around Eindhoven and Zon. Upon first word of the threat, Colonel Sink hurriedly collected about 150 men from a rifle platoon and his regimental headquarters company and rushed them northward by truck. At 1100, 22 September, they reached Uden. Only a few minutes later the Germans appeared.

For the remainder of D plus 5 and into the next day, the men of this little force dashed from house to house in Uden to spread their fire and give an impression of strength. They were fortunate that the Germans were concentrating instead upon Veghel.

In the mam attack, Kampfgruppe Walther advanced through the village of Erp against Veghel shortly before noon. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Robert A. Ballard, the lone American battalion in Veghel waited in houses and foxholes along the Erp road. In a stint of furious fighting, Colonel Ballard’s men warded off the first German blow, but they could see part of the German column sideslip to the northwest. Unopposed m this direction, Kampfgruppe Walther with tanks of the l07th Panzer Brigade in the lead readily cut Hell’s Highway between Veghel and Uden. Then the tanks turned down the highway toward Veghel.

Had it not been for the warnings of the Dutch underground, Kampfgruppe Walther might have found in Veghel only Colonel Ballard’s battalion and surprised British truck drivers who were trapped by the cutting of the highway. But upon receipt of Dutch warnings, General Taylor had acted swiftly. In addition to alerting Colonel Sink’s 506th Parachute Infantry to move to Uden, he told the commander of the 327th Glider Infantry, Colonel Harper, to release a battalion from defense of the glider landing zone and send it to Veghel. Two battalions of infantry thus were advancing toward Veghel even as the German tanks turned toward the town.

Having come into Veghel during the morning to select a new division command post, the 101st Airborne Division’s artillery commander, Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe, was at hand to co-ordinate the defense. Spotting a 57-mm. antitank gun of the 81st Airborne Antiaircraft Battalion, General McAuliffe yelled to get the gun forward.

Divining the urgency of the situation, Colonel Harper meantime had intercepted his glider infantry battalion that was moving over back roads in deference to British priority on the main highway. He directed the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Ray C. Allen, to ignore the ban on travel on the main road. At the same time he told Colonel Allen’s motorized antitank platoon to thread through traffic that was coagulating along the highway and race at full speed into Veghel. Almost simultaneously, the 57-mm. antitank gun and the antitank platoon from the 327th Glider Infantry arrived at the northeastern fringe of Veghel. A dispute was to arise later between crews of these guns as to which fired the first shot, but what mattered at the moment was that the first round struck the leading Mark V squarely and set it afire. Faced with what they could not recognize immediately as only a make shift defense, the other German tankers backed away.

The delay thus imposed gave General McAuliffe time to get set. He directed the battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry into position astride Hell’s Highway in the northeast. Colonel Allen’s battalion of the 327th Glider Infantry he ordered to defend in the north near a railroad bridge over the Aa River. General McAuliffe requested air support, but unfavorable weather denied any substantial assistance from that quarter.

Though the timely arrival of antitank guns had stymied Kampfgruppe Walther temporarily, this was but half of the German strength. Kampfgruppe Huber was even then striking toward Veghel from the west.

Because the Americans had taken Schijndel the night before, Major Huber had had to alter his plan of attack. Diverting an infantry battalion as a screen against Schijndel, he had advanced with the rest of his force along back roads and trails to Eerde, thence along a highway to Veghel. About 1400 (22 September) Major Huber’s tanks and artillery brought fire to bear upon the bridge over the Willems Canal at Veghel.

Once again General McAuliffe could thank the fortuitous arrival of fresh troops. General Taylor’s order to the 506th Parachute Infantry to move to Uden was paying off, not in the defense of Uden but of Veghel. Even as the Germans took the bridge under fire, another battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry arrived from the south in company with a squadron of British tanks. Discouraged, Major Huber’s tanks and infantry recoiled.

If he could not get to Veghel, Major Huber must have reasoned, still he might cut Hell’s Highway. Rallying his men quickly, he side slipped to the south. Advance elements actually had crossed the highway when once again American reinforcements arrived, this time the two remaining battalions of Colonel Harper’s 327th Glider Infantry. Using marching fire, the glidermen quickly drove the Germans back.

It was Major Huber’s attack at 1400 that had prompted the message to Colonel Johnson at Schijndel which in effect ended American attempts to eliminate the Germans south of that village. Although the message directed only that he release a squadron of attached British tanks to move to Veghel, Colonel Johnson did not stop there. Aware that defense of Veghel was his responsibility, he called off the maneuver at Schijndel and directed both his battalions to Veghel.

By the time these two battalions had fought through rear elements of Kampfgruppe Huber to reach the villages of Wijbosch and Eerde, General McAuliffe already had obtained sufficient strength for defending Veghel. Colonel Johnson therefore directed one battalion to defend at Wijbosch, the other at Eerde. These two battalions thus became the western segment of the Veghel defensive arc. In the process they in effect cut off Kampfgruppe Huber. Only a fraction of Major Huber’s infantry escaped.

Through the rest of the afternoon of 22 September, German artillery pounded Veghel, and Kampfgruppe Walther launched one strong attack and several probing thrusts. Yet the enemy would have to show greater strength if he were to succeed at Veghel, for General McAuliffe now had in defense of the town a total of eight infantry battalions. These included two battalions of the 506th Parachute Infantry, all of the 501st Parachute Infantry, and all of the 327th Glider Infantry. Some guns of the airborne artillery, some British pieces gathered from the highway, and two squadrons of British tanks also had been included within the perimeter.

No matter how sanguine General McAuliffe might be about defending Veghel, the task was not so much holding the village as it was reopening Hell’s Highway to the northeast in the direction of Uden. Already trucks, tanks, and supply vehicles so sorely needed at Nijmegen and Arnhem clogged the highway for miles, cruelly exposed to enemy attack along some other portion of the road.

General McAuliffe found his impending task eased by the fact that radio communications with the 30 Corps at Nijmegen had remained constant. The 30 Corps commander, General Horrocks, promised to send his 32nd Guards Brigade to attack south the next day to assist in opening the road. General McAuliffe also received another assist from the British: during 22 September the VIII British Corps, which was advancing along the right flank of the corridor, had forced two crossings of the Willems Canal to the east of Eindhoven at Helmond and Asten. Even as Kampfgruppe Walther continued to fight, Colonel Walther had to keep one eye cocked to the southeast. A sudden spurt by the 8 Corps might sever his line of communications.

Early the next day, D plus 6, 23 September, Kampfgruppe Walther nevertheless resumed the attack against Veghel, while General Reinhard’s LXXXVIII Corps tried to co-operate with a complementary thrust from the west. Unlike Colonel Walther, General Reinhard had no real concern about British advances, for west of the corridor his troops had held the XII British Corps in the vicinity of Best. Yet because Kampfgruppe Huber had been mauled severely, General Reinhard had to turn elsewhere to find troops with which to attack. During the night he had moved up Colonel von der Heydte’s 6th Parachute Regiment) which as a part of Kampfgmppe Chill had fought along the Meuse-Escaut Canal.

In order to co-ordinate with the renewed thrust of Kampfgruppe Walther) Colonel von der Heydte had to attack immediately after arrival, even though his troops were exhausted from two nights of marching. Moreover, one of the 6th Parachute Regiment’s organic battalions had been left behind. In its stead von der Heydte had a battalion of the 2nd Parachute Regiment) a rotten apple,” an outfit poorly led and poorly disciplined.

To add to the problems, the command situation left something to be desired, As a component of Kampfgruppe Chill) the 6th Parachute Regiment received tactical orders from that source, but the regiment had to depend for supply upon the 59th Division. Faced with these conditions, the colonel understandably had little faith in the prospects of his attack.

He was right. Scheduled to attack at 0700 (23 September), the 6th Parachute Regiment did not get going until an hour and a half later. Striking toward Veghel along the same route taken the day before by Kampfgruppe Huber) von der Heydte’s paratroopers ran into Colonel Johnson’s parachute infantry at Wijbosch and Eerde. They could get nowhere. Soon after noon von der Heydte told his men to defend the line they had reached. In the drive against Veghel from the east, Kampfgruppe Walther found the going equally tough. Apparently in recognition of the threat posed by continued advance of the 8 British Corps, Kampfgruppe Walther by noon had begun to fall back.

When at 1300 General McAuliffe seized the initiative to send two battalions of the 506th Parachute Infantry to break Kampfgruppe Walther’s stranglehold on Hell’s Highway between Veghel and Uden, the paratroopers found only a shell of German defenders remaining. They advanced quickly more than a mile to a juncture with the British armor driving southwest from Uden. As soon as tanks and bulldozers could nose damaged vehicles aside, traffic once again rolled on Hell’s Highway.

Even as fighting continued at Veghel, the 101st Airborne Division’s last glider serial was arriving at the glider landing zone. Blessed by genuinely favorable weather for the first time since D Day, this lift on 23 September arrived almost without incident. Included was the 907th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, whose 105-mm. howitzers had been turned back by adverse weather on D plus 2. When the division’s seaborne tail arrived during the night of D plus 5 and on D plus 6, General Taylor at last could count his entire division present.

The Germans were convinced that these new landings were designed primarily to alleviate German pressure at Veghel. Indeed, they in part attributed Kampfgruppe Walther’s failure to hold onto Hell’s Highway to an erroneous belief that fresh Allied paratroopers had landed at Uden. The Germans were concerned even more about new Allied landings on this date at Nijmegen, where General Gavin at last received his 325th Glider Infantry.

Despite the reinforcement of Corps Feldt by seven battalions under the II Parachute Corps; the Germans had been thrown on the defensive in this sector after their short-lived successes at Mook, Riethorst, Wyler, and Beek on D plus 3, 20 September. To provide greater security for the Waal bridges at Nijmegen, General Gavin had ordered an attack to clear the flatlands between the ridge and the Waal as far as three miles east of Nijmegen Parts of the 504th and 508th Parachute Regiments had begun to attack late on D plus 4, 21 September, as soon as Beek had been retaken. By nightfall of D plus 6, 23 September, the 82nd Airborne Division’s new line in this sector ran from the foot of Devil’s Hill (Hill 75.9) northeast to the Waal near Erlekom. With the arrival of the 325th Glider Infantry (Lieutenant Colonel Charles Billingslea) on 23 September the Germans at the southern end of the high ground also came under attack. Relieving the 505th Parachute Infantry, the glider-men began to clear a patch of woods on lower slopes of the Kiekberg (Hill 77.2).

Perhaps as a corollary to the concern that grew from the new Allied landings, Field Marshal Model on 23 September reorganized his command in hope of a simpler and more effective arrangement.

He in effect drew an imaginary line along the west boundary of the corridor the Allies had carved. All forces to the west of this line came under General von Zangen’s Fifteenth Army. Relieving the Armed Forces Commander Netherlands and Wehrkreis VI of their unorthodox tactical responsibilities, Model assigned the First Parachute Army the following forces: General Bittrich’s II SS Panzer Corps (plus Division von Tettau ), General Meindl’s II Parachute Corps, General von Obstfelder’s LXXXVI Corps, Corps Feldt, and a new corps headquarters that was scheduled to arrive within a few days. With these forces, General Student was to execute the main effort against the Allied corridor.

In the wake of this reorganization, a renewal of the attack by Colonel von der Heydte’s 6th Parachute Regiment near Veghel on 24 September was made under the auspices of the Fifteenth Army rather than the First Parachute Army. Yet the pattern of the action was much the same as the day before. This time the fighting occurred only at Eerde, where a battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry under Colonel Cassidy fought a courageous, hand-to-hand engagement for possession of local observation advantage in a range of sand dunes near the village. As German success appeared imminent, another battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Julian J. Ewell and a squadron of British tanks arrived.

Thereupon Colonel Cassidy counterattacked to drive von der Heydte’s paratroopers from the dunes. The fight might have ended in unequivocal American success had not the Germans committed alongside von der Heydte’s south flank a newly arrived unit, a Battalion JungwIrth. Advancing southeast down a secondary road, Battalion Jungwirth surprisingly found no Americans barring the way. As nightfall neared, the Germans approached the hamlet of Koevering, located astride Hell’s Highway a little more than a third of the distance from St. Oedenrode to Veghel and heretofore unoccupied by the Americans.

When outposts reported this movement, the commander of the 502nd Parachute Infantry at St. Oedenrode sent two companies racing toward Koevering. Arriving minutes ahead of the Germans, these companies denied the village; but they could not prevent Battalion Jungwirth from cutting Hell’s Highway a few hundred yards to the northeast. Scarcely more than twenty-four hours after the Allies had reopened the highway between Veghel and Uden, the Germans had cut it again.

Through the night airborne and British artillery pounded the point of German penetration in an attempt to prevent reinforcement. The 807th Glider Field Artillery Battalion in firing positions only 400 yards from the Germans laid the guns of one battery for direct fire, operated the others with skeleton crews, and put the rest of the artillerymen in foxholes as riflemen. Yet Colonel von der Heydte still managed to redeploy a portion of his 6th Parachute Regiment to the point of penetration.

Marching during the night from Uden in a heavy rain, Colonel Sink’s 506th Parachute Infantry attacked at 0830 the next morning (D plus 8, 25 September) to squeeze the Germans from the northeast. A regiment of the 50th British Infantry Division and a reinforced battalion of the 502nd Parachute Infantry pressed at the same time from the direction of St. Oedenrode. As the day wore on, Battalion Jungwirth and reinforcements from the 6th Parachute Regiment held firm. By nightfall the Allies had drawn a noose about the Germans on three sides, but a small segment of Hell’s Highway still was in German hands.

During the night Battalion Jungwirth withdrew in apparent recognition of the tenuous nature of the position. The Germans nevertheless had held the penetration long enough to mine the highway extensively. Not until well into the day of D plus 9, 26 September, did engineers finally clear the road and open Hell’s Highway again to traffic.

The elimination of this break near Koevering marked the stabilization of the 101st Airborne Division’s front. Although the Germans struck time after time in varying strength at various positions along the road, never again were they to cut it. Actually, General Reinhard’s LXXXVIII Corps to the west of the highway concentrated primarily upon interfering with Allied movements through artillery fire, and General von Obstfelder’s LXXXVI Corps to the east was too concerned with advance of the 8 British Corps to pay much more attention to Hell’s Highway. Indeed, by nightfall of 25 September patrols of the VIII Corps had contacted contingents of the 30 Corps at St. Antonis, south of Nijmegen, thereby presaging quick formation of a solid line along the east flank of the corridor. Both General Taylor’s 101st Airborne Division and General Gavin’s 82nd Airborne Division now might hold basically in place while the British tried to make the best of what had been happening at Arnhem.

The Outcome at Arnhem

The day the Germans first cut Hell’s Highway at Veghel, D plus 5, 22 September, a new attack by the British ground column to break through to the hard pressed paratroopers north of the Neder Rijn began auspiciously. Just after dawn, patrols in armored cars utilized a heavy mist to sneak past the west flank of the German line via Valburg. Taking circuitous back roads and trails, the patrols in a matter of a few hours reached General Sosabowski’s Polish troops at Driel, across the river from the British perimeter at Oosterbeek.

When the main body of the 43rd Infantry Division attacked, the story was different. During the night the Germans had reinforced their defensive screen with a headquarters infantry battalion and a company of Panther tanks. After a minor advance to a point well southwest of Elst, still not halfway to Arnhem, the British infantry despaired of breaking through.

The British had one trick remaining. Mounting on tanks, a battalion of infantry traced the route of the armored cars over back roads to the northwest and reached Driel before nightfall. The column included DUKW’s loaded with ammunition and supplies for the Red Devils. During the night, the Polish paratroopers were to cross the Neder Rijn in these craft. The need for reinforcement and resupply north of the river grew more urgent by the hour, for on 22 September perhaps the worst weather of the operation had denied air resupply of any kind.

Unfortunately, the DUKW’s could not make it. Mud along the south bank of the Neder Rijn was too deep. During the night of 22 September, only about fifty Poles riding makeshift rafts managed to cross.

The break in the weather on D plus 6, 23 September, permitted a degree of assistance for the Red Devils. Typhoons of the 2nd Tactical Air Force and P-47’s of the Eighth Air Force struck enemy positions all along the corridor, particularly around the perimeter at Oosterbeek. This was the day when the last serials of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions arrived.

Upon order of General Browning, the remainder of the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade landed on the secure drop zone of the 82nd Airborne Division near Grave instead of at Driel and became a reserve for the American division. Thereupon, the Coldstream Guards Group reverted to the Guards Armoured Division.

Now that the British had reached Driel, radio communication with the Red Devils at last was constant. As a consequence, General Horrocks and General Browning no longer anticipated recapture of the Arnhem bridge. At last the hard fact was evident that even should the ground column take the bridge, the Red Devils were too weak to help establish a bridgehead at Arnhem. The two commanders agreed that the best chance of reinforcing or relieving the British airborne troops was through Driel. The 43rd Infantry Division therefore concentrated upon strengthening the forces at Driel and upon clearing Elst, in order to open more direct secondary roads to Driel.

By nightfall of D plus 6, 23 September, a brigade had fought into the outskirts of Elst, while another brigade had built up about Driel. To Driel went a small number of assault boats for putting the rest of the Polish paratroopers across the river during the night; for General Horrocks still hoped to turn the British perimeter into a secure bridgehead. But the Germans continued to control the north bank of the river, so that during the night only a modicum of ammunition and supplies and some 150 Polish paratroopers got across.

This continued inability to reinforce the British at Oosterbeek brought the first formal recognition that Operation MARKET-GARDEN might have passed the point of saving. Even though the Allies controlled a grass landing field near Grave where planes could land the 52nd Lowland Division (Air-portable), the Second Army commander, General Dempsey, radioed during the evening of 23 September that this division was not to be flown in without his approval. He obviously was reluctant to throw additional airborne troops into the fray unless he could find more positive indication of eventual success.

Apparently with the concurrence of General Brereton and Field Marshal Montgomery, he gave authority to withdraw the 1st British Airborne Division from north of the Neder Rijn, “if the position so warranted.”

For a time, however, General Horrocks refused to give up without at least one more attempt to establish a bridgehead beyond the Neder Rijn. He directed that during the night of D plus 7, 24 September, the rest of the Polish paratroopers be ferried across. Nearby, two companies of the 43rd Division’s Dorsetshire Regiment were to cross, a first step in projected eventual commitment of the entire 43rd Division beyond the river.

Once again success hinged on whether sufficient troops could cross the river during the night. Using the limited number of assault boats available, the two companies of the Dorsetshire Regiment paddled over, but daylight came before the Poles could cross. Because of German fire, even the Dorsets failed to assemble in cohesive units on the north bank. Few of them reached the British perimeter. Only about seventy-five of 400 Dorsets to cross over made their way back to the south bank.

If judged against German expectations, General Horrocks’ hope that even at this late stage he still might establish a secure bridgehead was not unreasonable. The German commander, Field Marshal Model, was convinced that the airborne landings the day before presaged a renewed Allied effort. In regard to the over-all situation, Model was pessimistic. “The situation of Army Group B’s northern wing,” he reported on 24 September, “has continued to deteriorate . . .. In the bitter fighting of the past week we were able merely to delay the enemy in achieving his strategic objective….The renewed large airborne operation of 23 September … is bound to result in highly critical developments . . ..” He needed, the Army Group B commander reported, “minimum reinforcements” of one infantry and one panzer division, a panzer brigade, two assault gun brigades, increased supplies of artillery ammunition, and increased infantry replacements.

For a few hours longer, General Horrocks’ optimism continued to match Model’s apparent pessimism. The British corps commander still wanted one more try at establishing a bridgehead before conceding defeat. Reasoning that he might force a bridgehead elsewhere while the Germans were occupied with the Red Devils at Oosterbeek, he directed the 43rd Infantry Division to prepare to cross a few miles to the west at Renkum, where a British armored brigade, driving west and northwest from Valburg, had built up along the south bilnk of the river. Yet hardly had General Horrocks issued this order when he admitted his plan was illusory. A short while later he rescinded the order.

Operation MARKET-GARDEN was almost over. At 0930 on D plus 8, 25 September, General Horrocks and General Browning agreed to withdraw the survivors of the British airborne division from the north bank. Hungry, thirsty, heavy-eyed, utterly fatigued, and reduced to a shell of a division after nine days of fighting, the Red Devils wrapped their muddy boots in rags to muffle the sound of their footsteps and began at 2145 on 25 September to run a gantlet of German patrols to the water’s edge. The night was mercifully dark. A heavy rain fell. Thundering almost constantly, guns of the 30 Corps lowered a protective curtain about the periphery of the British position. In groups of fourteen to match capacity of the boats, the men inched toward the river. They had to leave their wounded behind.

Patient despite nervousness, fatigue, and the cold rain, the men queued for an empty boat. As dawn approached and many remained to be ferried, all who could do so braved the current to swim across. Not all of them made it. As daylight called a halt to the withdrawal, some 300 men remained on the north bank. A few of these hid out to make their way south on subsequent nights, but most probably were captured.

Guides led the weary soldiers to a reception point south of Driel where friendly hands plied them with rum, hot food, and tea. The survivors included 1,741 officers and men of the 1st Airborne Division, 422 British glider pilots, 160 men of the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade, and 75 of the Dorsetshire Regiment, a total of 2,398. These were all that remained of approximately 9,000 who had fought on the north bank. Judging from German reports, these men who wore the jaunty red berets had inflicted upon their enemy approximately 3,300 casualties, including 1,100 dead. Speaking for his troops, General Urquhart said: “We have no regrets.”

The Achievements and the Cost

Operation MARKET-GARDEN accomplished much of what it had been designed to accomplish. Nevertheless, by the merciless logic of war, MARKET-GARDEN was a failure. The Allies had trained their sights on far-reaching objectives. These they had not attained. On the credit side, MARKET-GARDEN had gained bridgeheads over five major water obstacles, including the formidable Maas and Waal Rivers. The bridgehead beyond the Maas was to prove a decided advantage in February 1945 when the 21 Army Group launched a drive to clear the west bank of the Rhine opposite the Ruhr. The bridgehead beyond the Waal was to pose a constant threat of an Allied thrust northward, through the Germans subsequently lessened the threat by a program of widespread inundation. Operation MARKET-GARDEN also had forged a salient sixty-five miles deep into enemy territory, had liberated many square miles of the Netherlands, and had gained some valuable airfields. It also had drawn some German formations from other sectors of the Western Front and had imposed upon these forces a high rate of attrition.

On the debit side, some might maintain that the cardinal point was the failure to precipitate a German collapse. Although the enemy’s collapse was hardly a formal objective of the operation, few would deny that many Allied commanders had nurtured the hope. In regard to more immediate and clearly defined objectives, the operation had failed to secure a bridgehead beyond the Neder Rijn, had not effectively turned the north flank of the West Wall, had not cut off the enemy’s Fifteenth Army, and had not positioned the 21 Army Group for a drive around the north flank of the Ruhr. The hope of attaining these objectives had prompted the ambition and daring that went into Operation MARKET-GARDEN. Not to have realized them could mean only that the operation had failed.

The cost was high. In what may be called the “airborne phase,” lasting from D-Day until withdrawal from north of the Neder Rijn on 25 September, the British airborne troops, including glider pilots and headquarters of the British Airborne Corps, lost 7,212 men killed, wounded, and missing. The 82nd Airborne Division lost 1,432; the 101st Airborne Division, 2,110. Casualties among the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade totaled 378; among American glider pilots, 122. British and American air transport units lost 596 pilots. Including airborne troops, glider pilots, and transport aircraft pilots, the airborne phase cost 11,850 casualties. To this total belong those casualties incurred by the 30 Corps, an estimated 1,480 through 25 September. In addition, the 30 Corps lost some 70 tanks, and together the Americans and British lost 144 transport aircraft.

More far-reaching ramifications, to condemn the entire plan as a mistake is to show no appreciation for imagination and daring in military planning and is to ignore the climate of Allied intelligence reports that existed at the time. While reasons advanced for the failure range from adverse weather (Field Marshal Montgomery) and delay of the British ground column south of Eindhoven (General Brereton) to faulty intelligence (the Germans) , few criticisms have been leveled at the plan itself. In light of Allied limitations in transport, supplies, and troops for supporting the thrust, in light of General Eisenhower’s commitment to a broad-front policy, and in light of the true condition of the German army in the West, perhaps the only real fault of the plan was over ambition.

Field Marshal Montgomery has written: “We had undertaken a difficult operation, attended by considerable risks. It was justified because, had good weather obtained, there was no doubt that we should have attained full success.” Whether one can ascribe everything to weather in this manner is problematical, for other delays and difficulties not attributable to adverse weather developed. Certainly the vagaries of weather played a major role. Weather delayed arrival of the 1st British Airborne Division’s second lift on D plus 1 for five hours, thwarted all but a smattering of resupply north of the Neder Rijn, and delayed arrival of the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade for two days.

Bad weather also delayed arrival of the 82nd Airborne Division’s glider infantry regiment and a battalion of the 101st Airborne Division’s artillery for four days and helped deny any really substantial contribution after D-Day from tactical aircraft. The major adversities attributable to unfavorable weather might have been avoided had sufficient aircraft been available to transport the entire airborne force on D-Day. Yet to have hoped for that many aircraft at this stage of the war would have been to presume the millenium. As it was, more transport aircraft were employed in Operation MARKET than in any other operation up to that time.

In the matter of intelligence, the Allies sinned markedly. In particular, they expected greatest opposition at those points closest to the German front line, that is, near Eindhoven, and failed to detect (or to make adjustments for) the presence of the II SS Panzer Corps near Arnhem, the 59th Division in transit near Tilburg, two SS battalions in the line opposite the 30 Corps, and the proximity of Student’s and Model’s headquarters to the drop zones. The celerity of German reaction certainly owed much to the presence of Model and Student on the scene, as well as to the blunder of some American officer who went into battle with a copy of the operational order. Faulty intelligence indicating German armor in the Reichswald bore heavily upon General Gavin’s disposition of his battalions.

Allied intelligence also erred in estimates of the terrain and enemy flak near Arnhem, thereby prompting location of British drop and landing zones far from the primary objective of the Arnhem bridge. Yet all these handicaps possibly could have been overcome had the British ground column been able to advance as rapidly as General Horrocks had hoped. Perhaps the real fault was dependence upon but one road. In any event, the ground troops were delayed for varying amounts of time south of Eindhoven, at the demolished bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal at Zon, and at the Waal bridge in Nijmegen Had these delays been avoided, the Germans conceivably could not have seriously deterred the advance between the Waal and the Neder Rijn, for this would have put the ground column north of the Waal by D plus 2 at the latest. Not until the night of D plus 3 were the Germans able to use the Arnhem bridge to get tanks and other reinforcements south of the Neder Rijn in order to form the defensive screen that in the end constituted the greatest delay of all.

Perhaps the most portentous conclusion to be drawn from the failure of Operation MARKET-GARDEN was the fact that for some time to come there could be no major thrust into the heart of Germany. Combined with the kind of resistance the Americans had been experiencing at Metz and Aachen, MARKET-GARDEN proved that the Germans in the West might be down but they were not out.

To many commanders, the outcome meant that all efforts now must be turned toward opening Antwerp to shipping and toward building a reserve of supplies sufficient for supporting a major offensive. As for settling the great debate of broad front versus narrow front, the outcome of this operation proved nothing. To some partisans, it merely demonstrated that Field Marshal Montgomery had been wrong in insisting on his drive in the north. To others, it showed that General Eisenhower had erred in deciding to advance along a broad front, that when committing a strategic reserve a commander should be prepared to support it adequately.

Release of the U. S. Divisions

Before the two U.S. divisions jumped in Operation MARKET, General Eisenhower had approved their participation with the stipulation that they be released as soon as ground forces could pass the positions they had seized and occupied. This had led to an expectation that at least one of the divisions might be released as early as forty-eight hours after the jump. Nevertheless, when the British Red Devils withdrew from north of the Neder Rijn to signal the end of the airborne phase, both American divisions still were in the line.

The Americans would be sorely needed; the Germans would see to that. The airborne phase might have ended, but the fighting had. not. No lesser person than Hitler himself during the night of 24 September had commanded that the Allied corridor be wiped out with simultaneous attacks from Veghel northward.

This was imperative, Hitler had warned, because the Allies had sufficient units to stage additional airborne landings in conjunction with seaborne landings in the western or northern parts of the Netherlands, “and perhaps even on German soil . . ..” Hitler had ordered that Student’s First Parachute Army be given a fresh panzer brigade, an antitank battalion, a battalion of Tiger tanks, and both the 9th and 116th Panzer Divisions, these last two as soon as they could be refitted after their fight with the First U.S. Army at Aachen.

Even though the order came from Hitler, it was to encounter tough sledding from the start. Pointing to the “total exhaustion” of the forces immediately at his disposal, Field Marshal Model promptly notified his superior, Rundstedt, that “a simultaneous accomplishment of the missions ordered is unfortunately impossible …. ” Noting that reinforcement by the 9th and 116th Panzer Divisions was but an empty gesture in light of the condition of these divisions, Model reiterated an earlier plea for genuine assistance. In particular, he pleaded for the 363rd Volks Grenadier Division, afresh unit whose impending availability Model had watched covetously for some time.

Although subsequently promised the 363rd Volks Grenadier Division, Model found his plans to carry out the Hitler order hamstrung by delays in troop movements. Not until 29 September could he see any chance of launching even a preliminary attack, which involved in effect no more than local efforts to gain desired lines of departure. In the long run, he did intend to carry out an ambitious plan. With the 9th and 116th Panzer Divisions attached, General Bittrich’s II SS Panzer Corps was to make the main effort against Allied forces between the Waal and the Neder Rijn. A new corps headquarters, the XII SS Corps (ObergruppenFührer und General der Waffen-SS Curt von Gottberg) was slated to command the 363rd Volks Grenadier Division in a supporting attack along General Bittrich’s west flank. At the same time General Meindl’s II Parachute Corps was to strike from the Reichswald against the high ground in the vicinity of Groesbeek, while a relatively fresh infantry division of the Fifteenth Army launched a supporting attack from the west against Grave.

It was, in fact, not until 1October that the First Parachute Army was able to mount any kind of attack other than a few operations befehle local stabs. Even then General Student had to attack without either the 9th and 116th Panzer Divisions, which would require several days more to assemble, or the fresh 363rd Volks Grenadier Division. The latter would not become available until the middle of October.

This is not to say that German pressure was not keenly felt by the British and Americans who had to fight it. Indeed, the Germans launched powerful but isolated attacks well into October. By this time the VIII and XII Corps had built up on either flank of the Allied corridor in such strength that the 101st Airborne Division could be spared from the defense of Veghel to move north of the Waal River and reinforce the 30 Corps. Entering the line on 5 October in this sector, which the men called “the island,” General Taylor’s division was subjected to intense fighting and ever-mounting casualties; but in the process the 363rd Volks Grenadier Division, which Model had awaited so eagerly, merely smashed itself to pieces and gained no ground to show for it. Coincidentally, the 82nd Airborne Division was successfully repulsing all attempts by the II Parachute Corps to take the high ground around Groesbeek.

The only real success General Student could report occurred at the Nijmegen bridges over the Waal. On two separate days the Germans struck at the bridges from the air, once with approximately forty planes, and each time scored one hit on the highway bridge. Both hits damaged the bridge but failed to halt traffic. Before daylight on 29 September, German swimmers slipped through the darkness to place submarine charges against buttresses of both the rail and road bridges. For a day neither bridge could be used, though by 1 October engineers had repaired the road bridge to permit one-way traffic and restored it subsequently to full capacity.

On 9 October General Browning’s British Airborne Corps headquarters took leave of its adopted American divisions to return to England. Already the 1st British Airborne Division and the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade, both so severely battered that their value in the defensive battles was negligible, had left the combat zone. Also by this time headquarters of both the XII and XXX Corps were in the vicinity of Nijmegen so that any need there for General Browning’s command post had passed.

By this date, 9 October, the British had widened the waist of the corridor to about twenty-four miles. Thereupon, the XII Corps assumed responsibility for the “island” between the Waal and the Neder Rijn in order to free the 30 Corps for a projected drive against the Ruhr. Field Marshal Montgomery intended to strike southeast from Nijmegen in order to clear the west bank of the Rhine and the western face of the Ruhr and converge with a renewal of First Army’s push against Cologne.

Even as October drew to an end and enemy pressure against the MARKET-GARDEN salient diminished, no release came for the two U.S. divisions. Like the 101st Airborne Division, part of General Gavin’s 82nd moved northward onto the “island.” Here the men huddled in shallow foxholes dug no more than three feet deep lest they fill with water seepage.

In an attempt to deceive the Germans into believing the Allies planned another thrust northward, patrol after patrol probed the enemy lines. One patrol, composed of six men of the 101st Airborne Division under Lieutenant Hugo Sims, Jr., crossed the Neder Rijn and roamed several miles behind the German positions for longer than twenty-four hours. The patrol returned with thirty-two prisoners.

This practice of keeping the two American divisions in the line long after they were to have been released became more and more a source of “grave concern” to the First Allied Airborne Army commander, General Brereton. “Keeping airborne soldiers in the front lines as infantry,” General Brereton noted, “is a violation of the cardinal rules of airborne employment.” In protesting their continued employment to General Eisenhower, Brereton wrote that unless the divisions were withdrawn immediately, he could not meet a ready date for a proposed airborne operation to assist the 12th Army Group. “Further combat,” he warned, “will deplete them of trained men beyond replacement capacity.”

Reminding Field Marshal Montgomery of the conditions under which use of the U.S. divisions had been granted, General Eisenhower pointed out that the maintenance of the divisions had been based on that plan and that he contemplated using the two divisions about the middle of November. “To enable this to be done,” he said “at least one of these divisions should be released without delay, and the second one within a reasonably short time thereafter.”

This was on 2 October. Yet the days and the weeks and more artillery fire and more patrolling and more British rations and British cigarettes passed, and still the Americans stayed in the line. Even the British rum ration failed to act as a real palliative.

To condemn the British for failing to give up the divisions is to show no appreciation of the manpower problems that plagued the 21st Army Group at the time. The British recognized the “accepted principle” that, because of specialist training and equipment and the difficulty of replacing casualties, airborne troops should be relieved as soon as possible from normal ground operations. The British Airborne Corps noted, however, “It is also a fact that they cannot be released until the major tactical or strategical situation allows them to be spared or replaced by other troops.” The simple fact was that Field Marshal Montgomery had a lot of jobs to do in light of the number of men he had to do them with.

Even before creation of the MARKET-GARDEN salient, the 21st Army Group front had extended from near Ostend on the Channel coast to the boundary with the 12th Army Group near Hasselt, a distance of more than 150 miles. In addition, German garrisons in the Channel ports of Boulogne, Calais, and Dunkerque had to be either annihilated or contained. Upon creation of the MARKET-GARDEN salient, about 130 miles of front had been added to British responsibility, almost double the original length.

The need to hold the salient was obvious. It also was a big assignment that occupied most of the Second British Army. Neither could the necessity to secure the seaward approaches to Antwerp be denied. To that task Field Marshal Montgomery assigned the First Canadian Army, but the Canadians had to assume two other major tasks as well: (1) capture completely two of the Channel ports and contain a third, and (2) attack northward from the Meuse-Escaut Canal both to complement the drive to open Antwerp and to relieve the Second Army of long frontage on the west flank of the MARKET-GARDEN salient.

Still remaining was a task that General Eisenhower had assigned jointly to the 21st Army Group and the First U.S. Army and had called “the main effort of the present phase of operations.” This was the conquest of the Ruhr. The First Army already was preparing to put another corps through the West Wall north of Aachen, seize Aachen, and renew the drive toward the Ruhr. The British shared responsibility for the drive on the Ruhr. To converge with the First Army along the west bank of the Rhine by driving southeast from Nijmegen became the “major task” of the Second British Army. The job would require at least two corps. Yet the emphasis on this task removed none of the Second Army’s responsibility for holding the MARKET-GARDEN corridor. There could be no doubt about it: Field Marshal Montgomery needed men.

Despite the letter of 2 October urging quick release of the American airborne divisions, General Eisenhower was not unsympathetic to the British manpower problem. He knew that British Empire troops available in the United Kingdom had long since been absorbed and that only in reinforcement from the Mediterranean Theater, a long-range project, did the British have a hope of strengthening themselves. Even after Montgomery decided in early October that his commitments were too great and enemy strength too imposing to permit an immediate drive on the Ruhr, General Eisenhower did not press the issue of the airborne divisions.

Though relieved temporarily of the Ruhr offensive, the British had to attack westward to help the Canadians open Antwerp. General Eisenhower had not underestimated the desirability of relieving the airborne troops; rather, he saw from his vantage point as Supreme Commander the more critical need of the 21st Army Group. At a conference with his top commanders on I8 October in Brussels, he gave tacit approval to the continued employment of the two U.S. divisions. They were to be released, he said, when the Second Army completed its part in clearing the approaches to Antwerp.

As the fighting went on, figures in the day-by-day journal entries of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions continued to rise: D plus 30, D plus 40, D plus 50. Then, at last, on 11 November, D plus 55, the first units of the 82nd Airborne Division began to move out of the line. Two days later, on D plus 57, the last of General Gavin’s troops pulled back.

Still the ordeal did not end for the 101st Airborne Division. Not until 25 November, 69 days after the first parachutes had blossomed near Zon, did the first troops of General Taylor’s division begin to withdraw. Two days later, on 27 November, D plus 71, the last American paratroopers pulled off the dreaded “island” north of the Waal.

The defensive phase had been rough. Casualty figures alone would show that. In the airborne phase, the 101st Airborne Division had lost 2,110 men killed, wounded, and missing. In the defensive phase, the division lost 1,682. The 82nd had incurred 1,432 casualties in the first phase, 1,912 in the second. The cost of each of the two phases was approximately the same.

In withdrawing after relief, the American divisions moved back by truck along the route of their landings. The Dutch people turned out en masse. In Nijmegen, Grave, Veghel, St. Oedenrode, Zon, and Eindhoven, the Dutch set up a roar. “September 17!” the people shouted. “September 17 !

SOURCE: THE SIEGFRIED LINE CAMPAIGN; by: Charles B. MacDonald (United States Army Center of Military History)

World War Two: Europe (2-7); Operation MARKET-GARDEN-Invasion From the Sky

Inspiration for the Day for Feb. 6: Being Hard On Ourselves

 

 

 

Being Hard On Ourselves

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

When we are hard on ourselves, we send our bodies the message that we are not good enough.

One of the key components of human consciousness that most of us need to address and change is our tendency to be hard on ourselves. We do this in ways that are both overt and subtle, and half the work sometimes is recognizing that we are doing it at all. For example, if we find it difficult to graciously accept compliments, this is probably a sign that we tend to be hard on ourselves. Other ways in which we express this tendency include never feeling satisfied with a job well done, always wanting to be and do better, and getting mad at ourselves for getting sick. Getting mad at ourselves at all indicates that we need to rescue ourselves from our learned ability to be unkind to ourselves.

In essence, when we are hard on ourselves, we send our bodies the message that we are not good enough. Whenever we do this, we do damage that will need to be addressed later, and we sap our systems of much-needed energy. Being hard on ourselves is a waste of precious time and energy that we could use in positive ways. To begin to understand how this works, we can think about times when someone made us feel that we weren’t good enough. Even just thinking about it will create an effect in our bodies that doesn’t feel good. We may be used to the feeling, but when we really tune into it, we instinctively know that it is not good for us on any level.

Like any bad habit, being hard on ourselves can be a challenging one to release, but the more we feel the burden it places on us, the more motivated we will be to change. At first, just noticing when we are doing it and how it makes us feel is enough. As our awareness increases, our innate impulse toward health and well-being will be activated, moving us out of danger and into a more positive and more natural relationship with ourselves.

–Daily OM

FEBRUARY 2019 PET HOROSCOPES

FEBRUARY 2019 PET HOROSCOPES

By Jennifer Angel

ARIES Pet Scope:
With the influence of the new Moon, your Aries pet is likely to be to be friends with everyone this month, even those people and pets on the walk that he or she has previously snubbed. But make sure they look great, because they can be a little vain during February.

TAURUS Pet Scope:
Your normal predictable Taurus pet can surprise you this month, so don’t assume anything. With Mars, the planet of action, moving to their sign mid-month you will need to watch them carefully and take note of any uncharacteristic behavior.

GEMINI Pet Scope:
Your Gemini pet can be in their mind sorting out what mischief they can get up to. Anything really just to get your attention. And they can be very inventive about it, particularly as Mercury, their ruler, will enter their area of getting down to business mid-month.

CANCER Pet Scope:
Your Cancer pet is a lover but with so much activity occurring in their relationship zone, they can seem a little needy at times and at other times aloof. Really, they are in control, not you, just in case you hadn’t figured that out, as yet.

LEO Pet Scope:
The new Moon opposite Leo, in the area of relationships, signifies the beginning of a new attitude, but the energy of the full Moon can make your little lion self conscious. Give them plenty of reassurance that they are loved, and make sure you come home when you say you will.

VIRGO Pet Scope:
Busy, busy, busy, a Virgo pet always seems to have something to do; they’re on a mission, even if it is hiding their treats in a safe place for later. But the full Moon in their sign this month can have them feeling a little out of sorts, so be careful of accidents.

LIBRA Pet Scope:
Home comforts are always important to Libra, but more so this month with the influence of Venus, so make sure you keep your pet’s bed and safe place cozy and comfy for them. And with the energy of the full Moon, they will easily sense any disharmony, which can unsettle them.

SCORPIO Pet Scope:
With Mars energy, your pet will be busy this month just doing what they need to do to make sure their daily routine is accomplished. They are also likely to be talkative, so listen and watch carefully as they attempt to communicate with you.

SAGITTARIUS Pet Scope:
Your usually confident Sagittarian pet may need extra reassurance this month to let them know how fabulous and adorable they are, and of course, that they really are still your best friend. Don’t hold back, they deserve it.

CAPRICORN Pet Scope:
An abundance of planets and activity in and around your Capricorn pet’s sign can be unnerving, so keep a close eye on them and pay attention to anything that is out of character. Don’t make assumptions; even a Capricorn can surprise you at times.

AQUARIUS Pet Scope:
New Moon energy can have your Aquarian pet jumping for joy. However, they may also seem a little emotional in the way of needing extra attention, or they can seem deep in pet-thought as they snooze the day away, so be mindful to give them some space.

PISCES Pet Scope:
Sometimes your Pisces pet is happy to just be alone and get lost in pet dreamland, but this month, it’s more likely that they will want to mix and mingle, both with humans and other pets. Make time to spend with your best friend and they will appreciate it.