Airborne Assault on Holland by Center for Air Force History (U.S.)

By Center for Air Force History (U.S.)

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The next day, 19 September, General Brereton received the following message of congratulation from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower: "The initial major operation of the Allied Airborne Army has already proceeded sufficiently far to confirm the wisdom of the decision to organize all our airborne forces under single command. Individually your divisions have previously exhibited unexcelled skill, courage, and resolution. But the current operation marks the first attempt in warfare to utilize a number of airborne divisions against a single major objective.

Across the river the Dutch civilians had posted themselves at intersections and now directed us to the main body of troops. We got past the railroad station in the western part of Arnhem and were held up by heavy machine-gun fire. Lieutenant Farrell and I knocked out two machine guns with grenades, but we were still unable to go on. By this time it was dark. Since Lieutenant Farrell wanted to go to the ist Brigade and I was headed for division headquarters, we separated and I joined Lieutenant Heaps, a Canadian.

But to get back to the last day. Word of Evacuation That morning we had our usual mortar barrage. Between 0720 and 0805 we counted 133 shells exploding near division headquarters. This was not an unusual number; we just happened to count that morning for want of anything better to do. About 1500 we heard the news that we were evacuating that night. Then we got the news that there were xoo Germans, infantry with machine guns, in the woods to the south, between us and the river. We thought they must know our plans.

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