Another fine account of Burgett's experiences fighting with the Screaming Eagles of Company A, 1st Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.
This time Burgett is in The Netherlands participating in Operation Market Garden, commencing 17 September 1944, as part of an airborne "carpet" to penetrate 60 miles into German lines to establish a bridgehead across the Rhine (or Neder Rijn as it is in Holland), in furtherance of Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery's promotion of a concentrated northern thrust into Germany led by him.
The operation ultimately failed, primarily because of a flawed British plan and poor execution by the British 2nd Army in displaying a perplexing yet marked lack of urgency in relieving the airborne forces.
The two United States airborne divisions involved (the other being the 82nd) performed brilliantly and were highly successful. The British 1st Airborne Division, however, was all but destroyed at Arnhem and the town with its vital bridges remained in German hands.
The reward for their success was that the two US airborne divisions, instead of being withdrawn after the operation was officially ended, were retained by Montgomery (with Eisenhower's acquiescence) to fight on under British command in the most appalling weather and mud in reclaimed land between the Waal and the Neder Rijn under. Subjected to almost continuous artillery and sniper fire, the two US divisions doubled their casualties from the end of Market Garden until their relief in November.
Burgett's account is gritty and graphic and, not surprisingly, tinged with bitterness at the heavy price paid by the 101st following Market Garden's end. It was no way to treat elite airborne troops and was a shameful waste of their considerable talents.
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