A Bridge Too Far: The true story of the Battle of Arnhem

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A Bridge Too Far: The true story of the Battle of Arnhem

A Bridge Too Far: The true story of the Battle of Arnhem

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Adegan favorit gue ada di akhir chapter buku ketika ketika Mayjen Urquhart setelah mundur dari Arnhem dan dalam perjalanan menuju Driel ia mampir dimarkas Jendral Thomas untuk meminjam jip untuk pulang. Ia menolak ketika dipersilakan masuk dan tetap berdiri tegak diluar dibawah guyuran hujan menunggu jip datang. Pun demikian ketika ia berada di markas Letjen Browning. Dengan sabar ia tetap berdiri sekian lama menunggu Browning yang sedang... molor! Dengan tegas ia menolak tawaran ajudan Browning untuk mengganti bajunya yang dekil, bau dan basah. "Tidak usah." tolak Urquhart, "Saya ingin menemui Browning dalam keadaan basah kuyup ini. Persis seperti keadaan kami yang sebenarnya." Ketika Browning bangun pembicaraan pun berlanjut. Gue embat dari adegan filmnya aja, kurang lebih sama sih ama yang dibuku. Urquhart dengan jantan meminta maaf atas kegagalannya. "I'm sorry about the way it worked out." Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Ryan documented his account of the 1944 battle with pictures and maps. He included a section on the survivors, "Soldiers and Civilians – What They Do Today". He married Kathryn Morgan (1925–1993), a novelist, and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1951. Tanggal 17 Sept 1944 sekitar jam 10 pagi, rakyat Inggris dikejutkan oleh suara yang menggemuruh dan mereka ternganga menyaksikan suatu pemandangan diudara sambil berdecak kagum. Suatu formasi yang sangat dahsyat, megah, mempesona sekaligus mengerikan terhampar di angkasa. Bagaimana tidak? Sekitar 5000 pesawat secara serentak lepas landas dari 24 pangkalan udara. 1.500 pesawat pembom Halifax, Albermarles, dan Stirlings terbang beriringan dengan lebih dari 2000 pesawat angkut C-47/Dakota dan 2500 pesawat Glider/Peluncur seperti Horsa, Waco dan Hamilcars yang membawa pasukan para, tank kecil, artileri, truk dan logistik lainnya. Diatas, dibawah dan samping kiri kanan formasi itu dikawal sekitar 1500 pesawat pemburu Inggris seperti Spitfire, Typhoon, Mosquito dan pesawat pemburu AS spt Thunderbolt, Lightning dan Mustang. Formasi dahsyat ini membentang di angkasa dalam tiga kolom raksasa dengan lebar sekitar 10 mil dan panjang sekitar 100 mil di udara. Masya Allah! Yang tidak diketahui rakyat Inggris saat itu adalah bahwa hari itu sebuah penyerbuan udara terbesar sepanjang sejarah militer tengah berlangsung. Yep! Operation Market Garden. A Bridge Too Far (1974) by Cornelius Ryan gives an account of Operation Market Garden, a failed Allied attempt to break through German lines at Arnhem by taking a series of bridges in the occupied Netherlands during World War II.

This work was followed by A Bridge Too Far (1974), which tells the story of Operation Market Garden, the ill-fated assault by allied airborne forces on the Netherlands culminating in the Battle of Arnhem. He initially covered the air war in Europe during WW II, flew along on fourteen bombing missions with the Eighth Air Force and Ninth Air Force United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), then joined General Patton's Third Third Army and covered its actions until the end of the European war. He transferred to the Pacific theater in 1945, and then to Jerusalem in 1946. When Dutch generals learned of the route that the Third Army proposed to take, they anxiously tried to discourage anyone who would listen, warning of the dangers of using the exposed dike roads. Problems arose almost immediately. The 1st Airborne Division landed some distance from its objectives and was met with unexpected resistance. Only a small British force was able to reach the Arnhem bridge, while the advance of the ground forces was stopped short in their attempt to relieve the airborne troops on schedule. After four days, the small force at the bridge was inevitably overwhelmed, leaving the rest of the division trapped north of the river. Attempts to reinforce the trapped paratroopers were largely unsuccessful, and attempts to provide supplies mostly fell into German hands. After nine days of fighting, the remnants of the division were forced to abort their mission and withdraw. The bridge at Arnhem was never captured and the inexperienced British 1st Airborne Division was decimated at Arnhem, losing nearly three quarters of its strength and did not see combat again. The failed operation meant the war would continue into 1945.Operation Market Garden was a bold plan that involved tremendous risk. Browning was not the only senior officer who thought Montgomery was “nuts” for even attempting this risky undertaking. Nevertheless, the plan moved ahead. The concerns of senior leaders, however, were not unwarranted. Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne operation in history, would prove to be one of the biggest disasters of the Allied war effort. Allied troops suffered more than 15,000 casualties and the loss of 88 tanks in Operation Market Garden. Nevertheless, Montgomery claimed that the campaign was “90 per cent successful.” In response, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, retorted: “My country can never again afford the luxury of another Montgomery success.” Many plans begin with the chilling phrase, "Home By Christmas." Well, this was the ultimate "Home By Christmas" plan and ended ingloriously. The book details the very pointed philosophy on Monty- get the troops behind German lines via paratroopers, then on the other side, crush them with armor. Sandwiched between the two sides, the Germans would be defeated in droves. The book then details the planning and the shear mass of the invasion- it was actually a bigger overall operation than D-Day. And it was as much a failure as D-Day was a success. Probably the best book written about a single operation in WWII, A Bridge Too Far chronicles the ambitious plan of Montgomery to airlift troops into Holland, capture the bridges and cross the Rhine, culminating in the defeat of the German Panzer units on the other side. It was and still is one of the greatest Allied defeats of World War II. My favorite war movie is "A Bridge Too Far." Made in the late 70's, it starred everyone and their cat from both sides of the pond: Michael Caine, Robert Redford, Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, Elliot Gould. The list goes on and on. Even Sir Lawrence Olivier is in it. The book also pulls no punches- this was, in part, a German success, but most notoriously an Allied failure. It had all the earmarks of a failure- too many troops, too many immediate objectives, too much considerations to commanders, too many troops fighting too many enemy troops with too many variables. The books paints a grand design in how all this went foul.

As others have pointed out before A Bridge Too Far was something of a ground-breaker. Operation Market-Garden was a forgotten battle in the annals of World War II. Forgotten by all except those who fought it in it (both sides) and those who survived it (soldiers and civilians). Yes there had been a few books and a couple films about the failed operation. In 1954 Clark Gable starred in a movie called Betrayed that blamed the failure on a traitor within the Dutch resistance which made for great drama, but wasn't the case. The Allies did it to themselves. You did all you could." kata Browning mencoba menghibur. Urquhart dengan dingin berkata, "Yes, but did every one else?"Kenyataannya? Operasi itu ternyata hanya megah diawal saja. Secara keseluruhan operasi itu bisa dianggap gagal total. Jembatan Arnhem yang merupakan sasaran utama gagal direbut. Operasi ini sendiri menelan korban sekitar 17.000 tentara di pihak Sekutu. Dua kali lipat korban Operasi Normandia yang mengerahkan sekitar satu juta tentara. Banyak aspek yang "mendalangi" kegagalan operasi tsb dan sampai sekarang masih sering diperdebatkan. Seperti perencanaan yang kurang matang, lemahnya intelijen, Divisi Angkatan Udara ke-1 Inggeris yang belum berpengalaman diturunkan terlalu jauh dari sasaran sehingga kehilangan daya pukul dan elemen kejutnya, radio yang tidak berfungsi, kegagalan Korps ke-30 menembus pertahanan Jerman yang bertarung habis-habisan dan macem-macem lagi dah. A classic. Required reading for every military person. What's amazing is how almost this exact plan was war-gamed prior to the war and failed exactly like the real plan failed. I've been looking into Airborne operations lately as I just wrote a scene where one of my characters parachutes into France on D-Day-- the biggest drop ever. I went through jump school a long time ago-- let's say I saw Alien in the post theater at Benning the night before my first jump-- and then served in the airborne in Special Forces and was a jump master. What is surprising is how unsuccessful large-scale airborne operations have been throughout history. The Germans took Crete but their losses were staggering. For Normandy, most point to the chaos and confusion sown by the chaotic and confusing drop. Some objectives were taken and the bravery of the men can't be denied. But it appears that no one really wanted to take a hard look at how it all worked. That's Eisenhower's first reaction and opinion upon hearing Montgomery's plan regarding Operation Market Garden.

Disini Ryan mendokumentasikan cerita ini dengan bagus. Dia menuliskannya dari perspektif Sekutu, Axis (bukan operator seluler, ya!) dan penduduk sipil. Kita seakan diajak berada dalam situasi chaos sebuah pertempuran yang mengerikan. Pertempuran jarak dekat ala koboy, diberondong ketika menyebrangi sungai, ikut merasakan kepedihan seorang Urquhart yang harus menyaksikan satu persatu anak buahnya kehilangan nyawa dibantai Jerman tanpa bisa berbuat apa-apa. Ikut menyaksikan perjuangan Kolonel John Frost bersama pasukannya yang berperang dengan heroik mempertahankan bagian utara jembatan Arnhem sampai titik darah penghabisan meski pada akhirnya mereka "disapu bersih" oleh Jerman.Kelak jembatan ini oleh pemerintah Belanda dinamakan "John Frost Bridge" untuk mengenang kepahlawanan Kolonel Frost dan anak buahnya. Divisi Angkatan Udara ke-1 Inggeris yang dipimpin Urquhart menjadi "tumbal" untuk operasi ini. Hanya sekitar 20 persen dari 10.000 anak buahnya yang selamat, sisanya tewas, hilang dan ditawan Jerman. Perintah awal mereka hanyalah ditugaskan merebut dan mempertahankan jembatan Arnhem selama dua hari (empat hari paling lama). Tapi kenyataannya mereka harus bertempur habis-habisan selama sembilan hari tanpa suplai makanan dan amunisi dalam posisi terkepung sampai akhirnya ada perintah dari Letjen Browning untuk mundur karena sampai hari ke sembilan Korps ke-30 masih tertahan di Nijmegen. Pemakaian bahasa nyeletuk yang bikin geli. Misalnya, jendral anu nyeletuk, Mayor anu nyeletuk. Kesannya mereka yang lagi berperang ini suka becanda deh, heheheRyan was awarded the French Legion of Honor, and an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Ohio University, where the Cornelius Ryan Collection is housed (Alden Library). He was diagnosed with cancer in 1970, and struggled to finish A Bridge Too Far during his illness. He died in Manhattan, while on tour promoting the book, A Bridge Too Far, only two months after publication. Ryan ignored that "Understanding" and wrote (in-depth) about the defeat. It was his last book and one that took an almost superhuman effort to finish because of the cancer that was killing him.

The result is that Ryan's last book is his best. He examined an Allied defeat using his detailed first hand account approach. He got those people who were involved in the campaign some long overdue recognition. As Ryan was writing the book he was also fighting Cancer and I believe that the sense of his impending end gives the book a sense of gravitas that his other two books (also excellent) didn't have. The sense of doom is almost palatable which is very appropriate considering the subject matter. His next work was Last Battle The Classic History of the Battle for Berlin (1966), about the Battle of Berlin. Baca edisi Indonesianya terus terang bikin geli. ada kalimat2 ato kata2 yang rada2 aneh didengernya. Misalnya, Edisi aslinya gue kasih bintang lima tapi untuk buku ini bintang empat aja deh. Semata-mata karena ini buku versi abridged dan unsur "fun" dalam gaya bahasa terjemahannya yang bikin nyengir. Kalo ini buku ini terbitnya tahun 2000an dijamin gue bakal ngasi bintang satu buat bahasa yang rada2 kacau balau:D Jadi inget review-nya buku perang yang laen dari seorang Jendral di rumah sebelah yang ngadat ngerasa dikibulin penerbit ampe dia minta duitnya dibalikin lagi , hihihihi *tiaraaaaaap ~ takut dilempar granat ama Jendral Pantouw*History if written without care can be terribly tedious. This person on this date at this time did this thing and that other person over at this place at another time did that thing etc. The author here does and excellent job connecting you to the people that went through the events he writes about. He puts it into context of the broader picture of the war and yet while understanding the big picture you feel what the man on the ground feels and experiences along with them in little stories scattered through the book. The logistics were a mess. The 82nd Airborne Division's initial success, with 89% of troopers hitting their drops, and 84% of gliders making it within 1,000 meters of their Landing Zone (LZ), proved to be the exception, rather than the rule. The 101st Airborne Paratroopers (below) had danger coming from all directions, including themselves. One Private, after dropping a match into an oil drum, was “the only member of the 101st jumping into Holland with no eyebrows.” How Eisenhower was talked into this disastrous invasion by Montgomery is dealt with early in the book, but is worth pondering. While it may be true that many unforeseen and unforeseeable events conspired to doom the invasion, still one wonders if Eisenhower was to some extent simply worn out by having to deal with Montgomery and finally gave in to him on this idea because it was the least bad of all that he had proposed so far. Certainly he never envisioned the actual result. Ryan emigrated to the United States in 1947 to work for Time magazine, where he reported on the postwar tests of atomic weapons carried out by the United States in the Pacific. This was followed by work for other magazines, including Collier's Weekly and Reader's Digest.

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