Operation Market Garden, 1944
[The second poem on a war poetry series on WWII]
It is September, France is past, history was set at Normandy,
Now the time comes for the several thousand, who wear maroon and not burgundy.
The Allies said, strike again and end it with the capture of Berlin,
What eventually happens, they might need some magic of Merlin.
Monty laid his plans, thinking of Christmas and family to tell a tale,
Model, Bittrich and Student poised to repel and celebrate over a mug of ale.
All gallant men, lined up to their objective set to glide as per Market Garden,
So ferocious would become the fighting, their winning resolve would harden.
The Airborne warriors are to reach Arnhem, to capture and hold the bridge,
Their armour had to race over such terrain, not to worry of hills or ridges.
First, they are to take and hold Eindhoven and Nijmagen,
The Thirty Corps all ready, ammo loaded & their guns greased.
Horrocks and his tanks hull down, fighting and moving ever so slow,
The Germans are aiming for that one shot where armour is thin below.
The road is narrow, long and yet the destination seems to be nearing,
The allies know not, the enemy in hiding, fires upon from thicket or clearing.
It is but unfortunate the plans fell into German hands,
Now they would be better prepared not to yield an inch of land.
So vital is communication in battle, you need to direct your troops and talk,
As the British discover, when it breaks, they had to reach their own troops by walk.
The landing began on seventeen, the fighting rages until twenty-five,
The Ninth and Tenth SS attack, swarming like bees around a hive.
The brave Polish make a dash, contribute to the overall cause,
The British Airborne are exhausted but there is no pause.
Frost takes the bridge and holds on to the Northern end,
The Germans do all they can to bring his occupation to an end.
The British fight on until all ammunition is used and spent,
The German armour takes some hits, but not much is dent.
Arnhem was to be held by thousands for a day or two,
Just over seven hundred, held it for three and half days,
The Allies are halted, just a few miles from the bridge,
So close was the distance like spectacles sitting between eyes over the nose bridge.
Was it the maps, radio, or weather that caused such a tactical failure?
One can question the intelligence too, was it ignored earlier?
The battle was lost, allies are stopped, an objective they could not reach!
A bridge too far, taught at military schools, lest we forget.