Seventy-one years ago last Thursday, the airborne landings commenced just west of the city of Arnhem in eastern Holland. On 17 September 1944, the Allied forces had been on campaign through western Europe for 3 months, after the successful landings in Normandy on 6 June. Airborne troops were parachuted into the area between Ede and Arnhem to engage the Nazi-German forces, which were occupying Holland at the time. Although the Allies managed to penetrate into Arnhem, they failed to seize the Rhine bridge there. Fierce fighting in the city dislodged them from forward positions. Poor communications as well as a stronger resistance than anticipated forced a withdrawal south across the River Rhine.
and Oosterbeek were evacuated, and looted by the Nazis. Holland north
of the Rhine remained occupied until the early spring of 1945. In the
wake of the failed action at Arnhem, the Netherlands' railway network in
the occupied sectors went on indefinite strike. This caused major
problems for the Nazi forces, but also for food supplies - by the spring
of 1945, many people in the major conurbations in western
Holland had starved to death. Others survived by eating flower bulbs.
The Allies finally managed to cross the river at Remagen, between
Cologne and Koblenz, in February 1945.
Reposted and modified from an original posting in 2009