Military History Q&A Series Q1

Not so long ago, a co-worker asked me a whole bunch of military history questions and wanted my opinion. Brett had watched Band of Brothers episode 4 called “Replacements” and featured Operation Market Garden where three paratrooper divisions were dropped in the Netherlands to capture three vital bridges that would take the Allies to northern Germany.

The short story is despite best efforts, the attack failed to capture the vital bridge at Arnhem. The British 1st Airborne Division dropped close to 10000 soldiers and left the battle 9 days later with only 2000.

Brett wanted to know: in my opinion,

Was it foolhardy from the start or was it poor execution that doomed it?

I answered and thus we began a Q&A series on military at work. I wrote everything down in a Google Doc “brain dump”.

My answer:

Foolhardy/ bad planning. They ignored vital intelligence both from the beginning and in the opening phases. here’s another book to read if you haven’t done so – Cornelius Ryan’s A Bridge Too Far. That book is probably *the book* to read because its scope contains British, American, Dutch and German perspectives.

Since Ryan’s book and Stephen Ambrose did all the work for me and I happen to agree with their opinions, I am not going to say much more. However,  Brett did ask other hypothetical questions like: What would Hitler had done if he had not invaded Russia? I’m going to limit posts to one question at at time.

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