Arnhem/Oosterbeek III – The Bridge too Far
|St Elizabeth's Hospital today. Now apartments|
|St Elizabeth's Hospital during the battle with the destroyed German vehicles still outside.|
Once ensconced at the north end of the bridge and having failed to make a crossing, Frost’s force began a hard defence against increasing numbers of German troops. Again, it was a familiar sequence of diminishing numbers of Airborne troops and dwindling ammunition reserves with the necessarily shrinking perimeter becoming choked with dead and wounded. Frost’s force was an amalgam of troops from several formations who had managed to fight their way through to the bridge and it is a tribute to the Airborne that they held out for four days with only a fraction of the strength intended to defend the bridgehead. Nevertheless, defeat was inevitable given the relatively small number of unsupported, unsupplied, isolated soldiers. If the formations intended for this operation had arrived at the bridge as planned and it had included a coup de main attack at the south side of the river, then I think there’s little doubt that the bridge would have been held until the arrival of XXX Corps.