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Operation Market Garden

September 17, 2010 6:00 am

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C-47 Skytrains carrying elements of the 101st Airborne during operation Market Garden. (Jack Cook Collection)

Operation Market Garden (September 17–25, 1944) was an Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in World War II. It was the largest airborne operation of all time.

The operation plan’s strategic context required the seizure of bridges across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine) as well as several smaller canals and tributaries. Crossing the Lower Rhine would allow the Allies to outflank the Siegfried Line and encircle the Ruhr, Germany’s industrial heartland. It made large-scale use of airborne forces whose tactical objectives were to secure a series of bridges over the main rivers of the German-occupied Netherlands and allow a rapid advance by armoured units into Northern Germany.

Initially the operation was successful and several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured. However the ground force’s advance was delayed by the demolition of a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal at Son, delaying the capture of the main road bridge over the Meuse until September 20. At Arnhem the British 1st Airborne Division encountered far stronger resistance than anticipated. In the ensuing battle only a small force managed to hold one end of the Arnhem road bridge and after the ground forces failed to relieve them they were overrun on the 21st. The rest of the division, trapped in a small pocket west of the bridge, had to be evacuated on the 25th. The Allies had failed to cross the Rhine in sufficient force, and the Rhine remained a barrier to their advance until the offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945.

FMI: Operation Market Garden

Christmas Eve 1944

December 24, 2009 7:00 am

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The date was December 24th, 1944-Christmas Eve. The 453rd Bomb Group was playing host to more than 1,250 British children who ranged in age from four to fourteen-many orphaned by the London Blitz. Someone had the idea of making toys for the children of Paris, children who had never experienced the joy and excitement of a child’s Christmas. The idea spread very quickly between the officers and airmen; even the neighboring children began donating their own toys or made new ones. Wooden toys, rag dolls, and thousands of Christmas cards were given with cheerful abandon to the young French allies.
Three hundred children were chosen by The American Red Cross to receive gifts on Christmas Day at the ARC Club at Rainbow Corner in Paris. The Group received special permission to fly the gifts to Paris. An all French-speaking crew was chosen to ferry them over the Channel. T/Sgt Reuben Brockway was selected to portray Santa Claus, uniform and all, but without the traditional big belly!
A B-24 replaced the traditional sleigh and reindeer. Base personnel contributed PX rations for stocking stuffers for the small guests. The Aero was transformed with an eclectic array of Christmas decorations made from whatever was available.
Soon, children began to arrive in GI trucks where they were grouped according to age. Those four to seven were entertained at the Aero Club where they received their toy and candy filled stockings. Santa served them ice cream and coca-cola to their heart’s content. Those seven to eleven went to the flight line and were shown through the planes. Then came the big show.
The procession walked to an area where a huge platform had been erected alongside one of the giant airships. It was the un-named B-24H that was to carry the gifts so cheerfully donated to their little French friends. An 11 year-old orphan of the Blitz, Judith McDavid, christened the ship "Liberty Run".
The "Liberty Run" was later shot down over Germany.

Photo and Info: Jack Cook Collection

Abused Jugs, Part I

December 16, 2009 6:00 am

To the victors go the spoils….

December 13, 2009 7:00 am

H2X “Mickey” Radar

December 12, 2009 6:00 am

Panama Patrol

December 11, 2009 6:00 am

B-24H flying high

December 10, 2009 6:00 am

Francis bombers abandoned

December 9, 2009 6:00 am

Abandoned Betty, Clark Field, PI

December 8, 2009 6:00 am

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A Mitsubishi G4M Betty lies abandoned at Clark Field, Philipine Islands.

The Mitsubishi G4M or 一式陸攻 Ichishiki rikujō kōgeki ki, Isshikirikkō (“Type 1 land-based attack aircraft”) was the main twin-engine, land-based bomber used by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service in World War II. The Allies gave the G4M the identification name of Betty.

FMI:
Imperial Japanese Aviation Resource Center
Wikipedia

Photo Source:
Jack Cook Collection

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

December 7, 2009 7:00 am

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A Aichi D3A Val is removed from its crash site during the cleanup after the Pearl Harbor attack.

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, which is observed annually on December 7, commemorates the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, in Oahu. Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. Many men and women were killed or injured during this attack that brought the United States into World War II. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is also referred to as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day or Pearl Harbor Day.

Photo: Jack Cook collection

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