Arnhem - Battle of the Oosterbeek Perimeter: Market Garden Collection (DVD)
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With 2 Para isolated at the Arnhem Bridge and both 1 and 4 Para Brigades thwarted in their attempts to fight their way into Arnhem and falling back, what became the Oosterbeek Perimeter started to form around Divisional HQ at the Hartenstein Hotel. Beaten but not defeated, the remnants of 1st Airborne Division fought a grim battle with the SS supported by reinforcements and armour rushed to Oosterbeek from all over the West. Veterans and experienced battlefield guides vividly relate their experiences and take the viewer to the scene of the action.
The seven days of grim and bloody fighting in the Oosterbeek Perimeter was amongst the hardest fought of all the battles in the West. It was one that the SS veterans of the Eastern Front in the Hohenstaufen Division christened the Hexenkessel or “Witches Cauldron”. All the while the the airborne soldiers were waiting for XXX Corps to arrive from the south, with the enemy pressing ever closer.
Harrowing tales of determined flying by the RAF and the award of the Victoria Cross to Flight Lieutenant Lord are told by men who fought at the limits of human endurance, making this a startlingly vivid production, with many stories that the veterans have self censored over the years adding to the mix.
A part of the superb Operation Market Garden series, this episode charts the gradual formation of the Oosterbeek Perimeter by the 1st Airborne Division, from Tuesday 19th to Friday 22nd September. It starts by summarising the withdrawal, thoroughly described in previous chapters, of the threadbare elements of the 1st and 4th Parachute Brigades, and looks in detail at the key engagements of the first few days at Oosterbeek, particularly around the critical Westerbouwing Heights and Lonsdale Force areas. In the process it draws attention to the command and control problems, not just the well-documented ones of the British, but the lesser known German difficulties as well. Moving further afield, the courageous efforts of the RAF to drop supplies are included, as is the landing of the Polish Brigade at Driel and the attempts of XXX Corps to reach them as they advanced beyond the Nijmegen bridgehead against increasingly stubborn resistance. As with all Battlefield History TV documentaries, highly informed historians walk the ground and, with the assistance of several veterans, re-enactors and archive footage, discuss each phase of the Battle as it unfolded, all of which helps to give a vivid sense of the ferocious, close-quarters fighting which took place.Pegasus Archive - Mark Hickaman