Market Garden

2008, Photography

Sunday, 17 September 1944
The 4th Parachute Regiment of the 1st British Airborne Division landed without major incident on the Ginkel Heath just east of Ede with C-47 Dakota’s, CG-4A Waco gliders, Airspeed Horsas, and General Aircraft Hamilcars, as part of the largest airborne assault ever attempted.

Color version here

The drop zone on the Ginkel Heath was part of a larger plan of actions consisting of two operations. Airborne forces of General Brereton’s the First Allied Airborne Army were to seize bridges and other terrain, under tactical command of Lieutenant-General Browning, Market. And ground forces of the Second Army quickly had to move north spearheaded by XXX Corps under Lieutenant-General Brian Horrocks, Garden. There tactical objectives were to secure a series of bridges over the main rivers of the German-occupied Netherlands to allow rapid advance by armored units. The strategic purpose was to allow an Allied crossing of the Rhine river, the last major natural barrier to an advance into Germany. The planned rapid advance from the Dutch-Belgian border into northern Germany, across the Maas and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine), would have outflanked the Siegfried Line and made possible an encirclement of the Ruhr Area, Germany’s industrial heartland.

Color version here

Due to poor intelligence, bad planning, poor supplies, and personal ambitions the operation became a horrible failure. German remnants fought harder than expected. The allied forces were unable to seize the bridge over the river Rhine at Arnhem. On Monday, 25 September the 1st Airborne Division received orders to withdraw across the Rhine. By early next morning they had withdrawn 2,398 survivors. They left 300 men to surrender on the north bank, when German fire prevented their rescue. They paid a heavy toll. Of the 10,600 men of the 1st Airborne Division and other units who fought north of the Rhine, 1,485 had died and 6,414 were taken prisoner, of whom one third were wounded. It was a A Bridge Too Far. (source Wikipedia).

Saturday, 20 September 2008
Today, it was the 64th commemoration of Operation Market Garden. Large crowd and Dutch TV crews came to the Ginkel Heath, together with great amounts of old World War II army vehicles. British and Dutch forces would be dropped above the drop zone. Best of all is that some of the veterans were still able to come to the commemoration, despite their age and health.

Color version here

The young and the elder enjoyed the celebrations and the warm coffee. The veteran in the middle kept talking about the operation. On 17 September 1944, he was a young soldier who landed with a glider near Wolfheze 5 kilometers further to the east.

Color version here

Although the dropping is a spectacular part of the commemoration, the old World War II army vehicles and their owners in old army uniforms draw most of the attention.

Color version here

The photograph below seems evidence of a new way of ‘love and conquer‘, or ‘make love, not war‘, or ‘create your own army‘.

Color version here

After I made this photograph of the pin up art on her jacket, the man to the right told me a story about the name ‘Little Patches’. It is a name Americans gave to a B-17G-25-BO Flying Fortress (42-31678). She received heavy flak damage two weeks after delivery on a mission to Frankfurt, Germany. She was repaired with a lot of metal patches to the nose area, and then was named “Little Patches” by Lt. William Major. Eventually, she served three tour of duties during World War II.

Color version here

A lot of the owners of the old World War II army vehicles are members of Keep them Rolling. Their aim is to maintain military vehicles used during World War II. Some of this is really serious stuff.

Color version here

Most of these guys with their “willys” (Jeep) are wonderful characters. These leds were posted behind us. The Aussie with the hat was making gorgeously smelling ham and eggs too.

Color version here

In the end, we still commemorate the bravery and courage of the more than 10,000 soldiers who risked their lives for our freedom in Operation Market Garden. Freedom we preciously enjoy and cherish in a united Europe.

Color version here

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

I originally posted the photographs in color, but changed them to black and white versions later at night. At reviewing some of the photographs, the black and white versions just had so much more impact to me. For those interested in the color versions of the published photographs, there is a link below each posted photograph.

20 thoughts on “Market Garden

  1. Thank you so much for these, they are special. I have a blog friend who I’ve not heard from for a while, I hope I can find him, so he can see this post; his Dad was part of operation Market Garden

  2. That is so wonderful. Next year will be special. Than it 65 years ago that the operation took place. Despite the age of most of the veterans, many are expacted next year. There will be festivities, celebrations, commemorations, and memorial services in places like Oosterbeek, Arnhem, Renkum, Heelsum, Doorwerth, Driel, Nijmegen, Groesbeek, and Ede.

  3. Wouter, this is a fantastic series and has some of your best pictures in it. Some look like historical photographs, the processing was done very well. The accompanying text is great since it’s interesting and one can learn something.

    My favorite picture is the last one, the composition and processing are great. The 2nd and 4th are also amazing pictures, you captured the perfect moment in the 4th picture.

    It was the right decision to have it all in b&w, here I agree that color would not have had the same impact on me.

  4. Thank you all guys. Your comments means a lot to me. I love making landscape photographs, but the rewards of these more report and documentary like photographs are much greater to me.

  5. I preferred the colour (I came back today for a second look and found they’d gone B+W) it seemed, especially in the shots of the veterans, to place them, here, in the now and linked them to that history.

  6. I felt there was more consistency in the B&W photographs, without the intention to give the photographs an authentic look. I just like B&W photographs.

    For those who are interested, I added links below each photographs so you can see the color version as well.


  7. I didn´t see this series before leaving. It´s great work. Agree with Cristi; the last photo being my favorite, too. I think the B&W version is working better for the topic, although I also like the color images.
    The Willys jeeps are very popular in the Colombian coffee zone; they are kept rolling and rolling, transporting thousands of people to remote villages in the Andes – should be possible to keep them rolling in the Netherlands! 😉

  8. After viewing a part of the 64th Anniversary of the Market Garden 2008 Commemoration event, I became enthralled by the march music that was played by the massed pipes and drums bands. The tune was played during the journey acrossed the Arnhem bridge by several bands that took part in the ceremonies. I will like to know the title of the music or at least, obtain a printed score of it. You may quote any source where this score can be made available.
    Please advise.

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