Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines. However, mismanagement and poor planning result in its failure.
The true story of Operation Market Garden, the Allies attempt, in September 1944, to hasten the end of WW2 by driving through Belgium and Holland into Germany. The idea was for US airborne divisions to take the towns of Eindhoven and Nijmegen and a British airborne division, reinforced by a Polish airborne brigade, to take the town of Arnhem. They would be reinforced, in due course and in turn, by the British XXX Corps, land-based and driving up from the British lines in the south. The key to the operation was the bridges, as if the Germans held or blew them, the paratroopers could not be relieved. Faulty intelligence, Allied high command hubris and stubborn German resistance would ensure that Arnhem was a bridge too far. Written by
After the initial attempt by XXX Corps to break out, there is a scene of a wrecked M24 Chaffee being pushed of the road. There is also a burning M10 'Wolverine' Tank Destroyer among the wrecks. Not only are these vehicles not visible in the initial advance or fighting scenes, but neither were used by the British Army. The M10 Wolverine might pass for an M10 'Achilles' with its 17-pounder. There are also Shermans with 76mm guns (they have a distinctive muzzle break) and wide HVSS tracks/suspensions, something only the US troops had. The Commonwealth units used duckbills to widen their tracks, and the 17-pounder 'Firefly' gun with its spherical muzzle break. Some Shermans can also be seen with a 'stepped' barrel - these were older 105mm guns, with a cosmetic 'extension' to make it appear as a 17-pounder 'Firefly' gun. See more »
The movie is a cut above most cinematic portrayals of historical events, likely due to it's being based on historian Cornelius Ryan's excellent book, and it's not as overproduced or staged as the film version of another of his books, The Longest Day. The producer admits to crediting one assault to the Americans, when in the event the British were first to attack, but overall the movie relates a good sense of history and geography, and respects the timeline of the actual events. It shows the national and class tensions affecting the Allied leadership, and gives a sense of the character of the participants. The writing gives the plethora of good actors something to work with despite no single leading role (and it's fun to watch so many actors in a single film.) Relevant information is included in the character's dialogue rather than through narration. The editing adds to the flow of events, balancing the suspense borne by the individuals involved with interest and action for the viewer. Add in the Intelligent direction by Richard Attenborough, and it makes this one of my favorite World War Two films.
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