In September 1944, the river Rhine was a serious barrier to the advancing Allied armies in the West who were intent on charging Berlin and ending the war. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery decided to utilise the First Allied Airborne Army, consisting of British, American and Polish troops. Codenamed Operation Market Garden, 40,000 paratroopers were dropped behind enemy lines while ground forces linked to relieve them. But, due to bad weather and German resistance, the operation failed. In March 1945, a second attempt was planned: Operation Varsity Plunder. Again Montgomery led the assault and ground troops were employed to make the river crossing while paratroopers dropped to secure the east bank of the Rhine. This time the plan worked. Despite extremely heavy fighting, the combined airborne and ground forces achieved their objectives, cracking the German line.
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group