By Center for Air Force History (U.S.)
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Extra resources for Airborne Assault on Holland
Report on Arnhem Operation, 18-25 September 1944 Originally, Lt. J. E. Bice and I were ordered to take part in the Arnhem airborne operations as GCI controllers, but this was later canceled, since the air cooperation and night fighters were to be all RAF. W/C Clarence Brown, 38 Group Operations, who was in charge of the two GCI teams, explained that our verbal orders were 45 that we could go in voluntarily, but that we were no longer ordered to do so. In case American fighters were used, and also in the hope of setting up an offensive day fighter control center, I decided to go "along.
Weather was doubtless the deciding factor in limiting these efforts. Night fighters were out in strength only on the second night (i8/x9), on free-lance patrol over Holland, evidently anticipating the dropping of reinforcements and supplies by night. There is no evidence that they were employed on ground-strafing operations either by day or by night. An unusual feature was the use of a small number of twin-engine fighters on night reconnaissance of the southern North Sea. Presumably the purpose of this was to obtain early information of any attempt to supplement the air landings by a seaborne invasion of the Netherlands islands.
Operations were identified on only 2 nights out of the 7, namely, i8-19 and 19-20. On the 18th about 50 sorties were flown and bombs were dropped in the Escaut Canal sector. Whether this was directed against the airborne landings is not clear, for the area of attack lay well to the west of the main landing zones. As these bombers had been idle for the preceding 2 weeks, it is reasonable to suppose that their sudden reappearance was a direct result of the landings. The following night about ioo 38 bombers operated, the main target being Eindhoven.