The Battle of Arnhem and an evening in Nijmegen with Tauck
Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports
This morning, those of us aboard Tauck’s new ms Inspire were able to kick back and enjoy an unexpected second cup of coffee. Owing to heavy congestion at the locks in our path, our arrival into the Dutch city of Arnhem was delayed from 9:00a.m. to 9:45a.m..
However, this had no impact on our touring schedule, other than putting it slightly behind. But Tauck Cruise Director Steve kept everyone constantly appraised of the situation, particularly as it became apparent that, after 20 minutes of waiting, we’d be stopped at the lock for a long time.
Once we cleared it, however, Arnhem was an easy five minutes away. We came alongside, the coaches reversed down the pier (an impressive move I first saw Tauck perform in Regensburg a few years ago) and pulled up next to the ship. Another fifteen minutes, and we were on our way.
To understand Arnhem and the Battle of Arnhem – which was the basis for the movie A Bridge Too Far – here’s the situation, summarized: in 1944, the Allies were searching for a route that would allow them to continue their aggressive expansion east and into the heart of Germany. The solution was Operation Market Garden, which was put into effect on 17 September 1944.
The battle was not a success. British and Canadian forces were overwhelmed by the unusually-strong German response, and the majority of divisions were never able to fight their way out of the Arnhem city limits. Inadequate intelligence had led the British to believe the operation would be a cakewalk, when in fact the Dutch Resistance had been warning of a strong German presence in and around Arnhem.
By Monday, 25 September 1944, a rescue mission was underway.