Most books on Market Garden focus either on the fighting at Arnhem or the troops that were fighting their way along the single highway to try and reach the bridge. Here we look at one of the units that was involved in other parts of the battle - in this case the capture the capture of Eindhoven, the battle to defend the highway once it had been captured, the prolonged fighting on the 'Island' (between the Rijn and the Waal) and one of the attempts to rescue the survivors of the British airborne forces.
The 506th Parachute Infantry was part of the 101st Airborne Division, and fought in some of the most famous battles in north-western Europe, including the D-Day campaign, Market-Garden and the defence of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Gardner is the co-author of Tonight We Die as Men, a look at the same battalion during the D-Day campaign, and hopefully a sequel looking at the battle of the Bulge will follow.
One of the nice features of the book is that Gardner doesn’t just focus on the American and German troops, but also provides some fascinating material on the Dutch civilians who were caught up in the battle. This includes a section on the area before the war, the impact of the German occupation and the evolution of a resistance movement in the area, as well as the direct impact of the battle and the role the Dutch played in the fighting.
The result is an interesting book that scores highly in three areas - as a detailed history of a fairly small unit, as a contribution to the literature on Market-Garden and for its examination of the Dutch role in the battle.
1 - 'Tell everyone I said hello' - Rebuilding the battalion - August 1944
2 - 'Circle of fire' - The German invasion and occupation of the Netherlands
3 - 'All leave cancelled' - Prepare for action - September 14, 1944
4 - 'A parade ground jump' - September 17, 1944
5 - 'Road to Eindhoven' - September 17-18, 1944
6 - 'A city in chains' - The liberation of Eindhoven - September 18, 1944
7 - 'The burning sky' - The bombing of Eindhoven - September 19, 1944
8 - 'No time to bled' - Hell's Highway - September 21-October 1, 1944
9 - 'Life and Death on the island' - surviving the nightmare
10 - 'Quiet as a church' - Opheusden - October 5-7 1944
11 - 'Welcome to the meat grinder' - the battle of 'the Island' - October 1944
12 - 'Operation Pegasus I' - The rescue of the British Paras - October 22, 1944
13 - 'Our work is nearly done' - Driel - October 26-November 27, 1944
14 - 'Club Mocambo' - Camp Chalons - November 28-December 20, 1944
Author: Ian Gardner