Was any air power brought to bear in support of the men at Arnhem? If
yes, then elaborate, otherwise why not?
In the post-mortem following the failure of Operation Market Garden,
the lack of air support was identified as contributory factor. The
main reason was that the plan required good weather. For the first
four days of the operation bad weather over England, France and South
Holland prevented the take-off of many aircraft, while the Luftwaffe
were able to take-off from their airfields. This was obviously at a
critical stage of the operation. Once the weather cleared, air support
was provided, but by that time the troops were weary, suffering from
lack of supplies, and the German counter-attacks were too strong.
There was also criticism of the lack of communications (liaison and
faulty new radios) and command decisions concerning air support.
These are quotes from two excellent web sites which tell the story of
the Operation. They are fully sourced so that you can follow them up
if you wish.
Military History on the web
"The predictions from the Allied Meteorologists proved optimistic and
on Monday 18th September, the weather effectively disrupted much of
the air operations and the take-off of the second wave in England was
delayed. The air support planned for the operation was drastically
curtailed thanks in part to the weather but also to Browning's failure
to arrange RAF and USAAF liaison officers for British I Airborne Corps
and Brereton's insistence that aircraft in Belgium remain grounded
while his were flying. In Germany and northern Holland, the weather
cleared just in time for the Luftwaffe's full effort to begin. Market
Garden was the only battle in the campaign for Northwest Europe to be
fought with Allied air inferiority, much of it self-inflicted."
Airborne Operations as part of Combined Arms Operations
Operation "Market Garden
".....no more than one lift mission per day would be attempted. This
meant that at least three days would be needed to complete delivery of
the airborne divisions and 1stPolish Airborne Brigade (attached to
1stAirborne Division). This presumed three days of good flying weather
would coincide with the operation, something experienced aviators
could have hoped for, but not planned on."
"Beginning the night of September 16 and over the course of the next
day over a thousand Allied planes attacked German airfields and
"....September 18th opened with heavy fog closing down airbases in
England, France and Belgium, followed by rain lasting most of the
afternoon and into the night. This, combined with Brereton?s
insistence that planes in Belgium remain on the ground while his
transports were airborne, reduced Allied air support to a trickle.
German airfields were clear however, and Luftwaffefighters flew 190
"....Weather on the 19th was no better. Due to ground fog and rain,
only a few of the flights from England were able to take of, and those
were late. 1stAllied Airborne Army failed to inform 2nd Tactical Air
Force of the changes, and no close air support was flown for
Browning?s forces in Holland. The Germans continued to receive
effective air support however. The Luftwaffewas so bold as to raid
Eindhoven with 120 bombers, killing or wounding 1,000 civilians...."
".....September 20th was the last of the four days Browning had
promised Montgomery. It dawned to the same poor weather as the two
previous days, allowing only supply missions to be flown. Although
82ndAirborne received 80 percent of its supplies, the British
recovered only 13 percent of 1st Airborne?s...."
"....Weather began to lift on September 22, but no supply flights were
flown. Allied fighters dominated the skies everywhere except Arnhem
and Nijmegen, where the Germans continued to get Luftwaffe ground
What happened to the Polish 1st Airborne Brigade?
The Polish Brigade?s take-off was delayed by the bad weather. When it
did depart some had to turn back because of the bad weather, others
were lost to enemy fighters. Some did get through and they managed to
land 750 men. Following the collapse of the Operation some were
rescued, some captured and some were later smuggled out of the area by
the Dutch resistance.
"The Poles finally took off from England but some forty-one out of 114
Dakotas had to turn back or land (almost the entire 1st Battalion) due
to the weather and over a hundred Luftwaffe fighters were in the air
to greet them as they approached the landing zone. A number broke
through the fighter screen and claimed several more Dakotas, however
Major General S Sosabowski landed with over 750 men, but with no heavy
equipment (which had been lost in the gliders two days previous)..."
".....10,300 troops of the British 1st Airborne Division and Polish
1st Independent Parachute Brigade had landed at Arnhem, some 2,587
escaping (1,741 from British 1st Airborne, 422 from the Glider Pilot
Regiment, 160 Poles and 75 from the Dorset Regiment) in Operation
'Berlin' and some 240 later with the help of the Dutch resistance. The
Germans claimed to have taken 6,450 men prisoner. The Poles took 378
casualties, with 101st Airborne suffering 2,110 and 82nd Airborne
".....1st Polish Parachute Brigade?s main body finally got airborne,
but bad weather forced 44 of the 114 Dakotas to turn back. The
Luftwaffemet the air caravan with more than 100 fighters, 25 of which
got through the escort to claim thirteen transports. Aircraft carrying
Urquhart?s supplies also ran into German fighters, losing 23 planes to
enemy fighters and flak, and delivering only 41 tons of supply to the
British. The Poles secured a small perimeter near Driel and along the
south bank of the Rhine, opposite 1st Airborne. They were unable,
however, to conduct any crossing due to a lack of boats."
"....The last elements of 82ndand 101stAirborne and Polish Brigade
were lifted in, and river crossing equipment finally reached the Poles
at Driel. That night 200 of Sosabowski?s men ferried across the Rhine
to reinforce Urquhart."
I recommend that you visit this comprehensive web site on the Battle of Arnhem.
It contains full details of the battle and points out that there were
many other causes of the failure of this Operation.
There is also the Polish Battalion history and a roll of hour for the
Polish Brigade as well as all the other units which took part in the
There are numerous links to other sites as well
Other web sites used in this research
I hope this answers your question. If it does not, or the answer is
unclear, then please ask for clarification of this research before
rating the answer. I shall respond to the clarification request as
soon as I receive it.
arnhem "air support"
arnhem polish brigade