Military history

A NOTE ON CASUALTIES

Allied forces suffered more casualties in Market-Garden than in the mammoth invasion of Normandy. Most historians agree that in the twenty-four-hour period of D Day, June 6, 1944, total Allied losses reached an estimated 10,000-12,000. In the nine days of Market-Garden combined losses—airborne and ground forces—in killed, wounded and missing amounted to more than 17,000.

British casualties were the highest: 13,226. Urquhart’s division was almost completely destroyed. In the 10,005 Arnhem force, which includes the Poles and glider pilots, casualties totaled 7,578. In addition to this figure RAF pilot and crew losses came to another 294, making a total in wounded, dead and missing of 7,872. Horrocks’ XXX Corps lost 1,480 and the British 8th and 12th Corps another 3,874.

American losses, including glider pilots and IX Troop Carrier Command, are put at 3,974. General Gavins 82nd Airborne Division had 1,432; General Taylors 101st, 2,118; and air crew losses 424.

Complete German figures remain unknown but in Arnhem and Oosterbeek admitted casualties came to 3,300 including 1,300 dead. However, in the entire Market-Garden battle area, Model’s losses were much higher. While no figure breakdown is available for the number of enemy killed, wounded and missing, from the breakout at Neerpelt, then along the corridor in battles at Nijmegen, Grave, Veghel, Best and Eindhoven, after interviewing German commanders I would conservatively estimate that Army Group B lost at least another 7,500-10,000 men, of which perhaps a quarter were killed.

What were Dutch civilian casualties? No one can say. Deaths in Arnhem and Oosterbeek are said to have been low, less than 500, but no one knows with any certainty. I have heard casualty figures—that is, dead, wounded or missing—given as high as 10,000 in the entire Operation Market-Garden campaign and as a result of the forcible evacuation of the Arnhem sector together with deprivation and starvation in the terrible winter that followed the attack.

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