In June 2019 I went on a few days’ trip in the Netherlands. I managed to visit the beautiful and calm city of Arnhem which I really enjoyed. During that day I had the opportunity to go to the famous Arnhem bridge (John Frost bridge) which was the site of the famous battle from World War Two in September 1944 between the British 1st Airborne Division the German forces in the city.
In September 1944 the Allies launched Operation Market Garden. The road bridge across the Lower Rhine should have been the final objective of the operation, and its capture was tasked to the British 1st Airborne Division. Unexpected German resistance in Arnhem meant that only a small force of some 740 men were able to reach the northern end of the bridge, commanded by Lt-Colonel John Frost. On the night of the 17 September the British attempted to take the southern end of the bridge, using a flame thrower to destroy German positions in the bridge’s towers. This accidentally ignited an ammunition store and the fresh paint on the bridge caught fire, illuminating the area for most of the night and forcing the British to abandon their attempt.
The German forces in Arnhem eventually overwhelmed Frost’s men, although this took several days. They had however succeeded in closing the bridge to German armour for some four days, twice as long as a whole division was expected to hold the bridge. The rest of the division held out at nearby Oosterbeek until 25 September before being evacuated across the river.
Although the bridge survived the battle, it was bombed and destroyed by B-26 Marauders of the 344th Bomb Group on 7 October 1944 to prevent the Germans from using it to send reinforcements south of the river.
John Frost Bridge on Wikipedia.