Arnhem: A disaster in the planning

Market Garden, the ill-fated Allied operation to break through the German defences in the Netherlands in September 1944, is often portrayed as a risky yet worthy gamble. In truth, argues Antony Beevor, it was a flawed idea from the start, more driven by ego than practical considerations

The wrecked remains of an Allied glider that participated in Market Garden

This article was first published in the June 2018 edition of BBC History Magazine

There are many myths about the battle for Arnhem and Operation Market Garden. Historians of the battle have often been tempted into the ‘if-only’ trap. If only this, or if only that, had been different, then it would all have turned out to be a brilliant success. This cherry-picking of faults is a grave distraction from the harsh fact that Market Garden was a perfect example of how not to plan an airborne operation.

Want to read more?

Become a BBC History Magazine subscriber today to unlock all premium articles in The Library

Unlock now