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
In the opening post-invasion scenes, shot in black and white and matted, a column of A27M Cromwell tanks, one of the more effective British armored vehicles of the Second World War, is briefly shown. Elements of the Cromwell's design were incorporated within the later A34 Comet, arguably the best British tank of the Second World War. "A Bridge Too Far" may have been both the cinematic debut and sole appearance of the A27M in a major post-1945 war film production. See more »
In the scene showing the arrival of Allied troops in Eindhoven, some members of the cheering crowd can be seen waving miniature 50-star American flags. See more »
[Stout and Vanderleur are discussing how to get the Bailey bridge through town]
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur:
When you refer to Bailey crap I take it you mean that glorious, precision-made, British-built bridge which is the envy of the civilized world?
[looks at the crowd of Dutch civilians]
Lt. Colonel J.O.E. Vandeleur:
I don't know how you're going to get it through this crowd.
Col. Robert Stout:
No sweat. I got a back way staked out that will avoid all this. American ingenuity.
Col. Joe. Vanderleur:
Col. Robert Stout:
Actually, I was born in Yugoslavia, but what the hell.
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This video portrays with great precision in an almost acted documentary way the failed attempt in September 1944 to end WWII early based on the plan conceived by Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery of El-Alemain (with Eisenhower's approval).The Allies by this time had advanced deep into Belgium almost to The Dutch border but the advance suddenly slowed due to their out-running lines of supply and their inability to take a servicable port intact nearer their front line.Supplies were still being transported from the won Normandy beachheads a distance of over 500miles.
The Plan involved dropping British, American and Polish paratroopers at strategic bridges in the Netherlands such as The Son, The Grave, Nijmegen, to be taken by the American 82nd and 101st Airborne and the prize, Arnhem to be taken and held by British paratroops.Once all these bridges were captured and held, The British 1st Army would drive up the road linking them, thus giving the Allies a springboard to the Rhine and Germany.It was code-named "Operation Market Garden", Market being the airborne drop and Garden the drive up the road.That was the theory. The planners overlooked,by ignoring seemingly on purpose aerial reconnaisance photos which indicated that Dieter's SS Panzers were resting and re-equipping in the Arnhem area. The Allies' communications equipment had not been tested thoroughly enough e.g. "walkie-talkies" worked in open country but what about in built-up areas?Did they have the right sort of crystals fitted?The daily air drops to re-supply lightly armed paratroops could not work if the paras were not in their coded/designated drop zones. Amazingly after the strategic withdrawal from Arnhem, Montgomery is purported to have said it was "90% successful"!
This film, directed by Richard Attenborough, was made in 1977 with a galaxy of well known stars i.e.:Dirk Bogarde as General Boy Browning,Lawrence Olivier, Liv Uhlman,Ryan O'Neal, James Caan, Robert Redford, Gene Hackman,Anthony Hopkins, Sean Connery and Michael Caine.They all play historical figures but for me the most effective was Edward Fox playing General Sir Brian Horrocks.The latter presented a UK TV series on WWII in the 1960's and Fox's mannerisms and speech patterns were unerringly similar.Please bear in mind that since the recent film "The Saving of Private Ryan", special effects in war films have gone up a quantum leap, e.g. the havoc that bullets/bombs/morters etc can wreak on the human body.So you are looking at 1977 special effects.Nevertheless the equipment including the DC3's and filming of the actual paratroopers drop into The Netherlands was most impressive.Sometimes the dialogue is a little stilted to modern tastes but this is or should be speech patterns from 1944.It was General Boy Browning who stated "...but sir, I think we may be going a bridge too far" when he met with the Allied top brass to oversee the plan which he had to execute.This is certainly one of the seminal WWII war films and the only one which concentrates on this failed strategy to liberate the Low Countries.
If you can forget the famous actors and get into their characters and have a sense of modern history, this long film will stimulate you.
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