Having fought their way up fifty miles of Hell’s Highway and through Nijmegen, XXX Corps was just ten miles from Arnhem and 1st British Airborne Division.
The Island is flat land between the Waal at Nijmegen and the Rhine at Arnhem. The situation was increasingly bad with the remainder of II SS Panzer Corps in the area and German counter attacks on Hell’s Highway preventing the Allies applying their material superiority.
The Guards Armoured and then 43rd Wessex Infantry Division took turns to lead before reaching the Rhine opposite the paratroopers in the Oosterbeek Perimeter.
Attempts to cross the Rhine by the Polish Paras and the Dorset Regiment had little success but, meanwhile, the guns of XXX Corps ensured the survival of the Perimeter.
After some desperate fighting on the island, 43 Wessex Division evacuated just two thousand members of the elite Airborne Division who had landed eight days earlier.
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