Airborne Assault on Holland by Center for Air Force History (U.S.)

By Center for Air Force History (U.S.)

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How the signal section kept their radios and their telephone lines in will probably never be known, but it was nothing less than miraculous. I do know that they suffered heavy casualties in doing so. The Arnhem operation was a series of constant crises, and if communications had been knocked out for as much as 2 hours of the entire siege we should have been lost. The medical corps, as usual, continued to go and get the wounded no matter how heavy the barrage. The Germans respected the Red Cross flag every time an evacuation party went out, but of course there were no Red Cross flags during the barrages.

General Urquhart had the wounded taken across first; then his party got aboard. And then the last straw-the darned engine wouldn't start, and the current was too swift to paddle across. After much struggling and swearing, the engine finally started, and we got across unmolested. We walked about 3! miles to a place where a rest point had been set up. There we were given hot tea, biscuits, rum, and cigarettes; but something had gone wrong--we could eat and drink very little, but we couldn't smoke enough to satisfy us.

Shell. After that day, Tuesday, the days were all jammed together and I cannot remember which day was which. There was an HF set in the attic at headquarters, directed by a British lieutenant from the headquarters section. The attic was full of chair cushions, with which we padded the radio all around, since the walls and roof were too thin to stop 88-mm. shrapnel. Even so, the radio was knqcked out four times by near bursts from 88's and mortars, but the mechanic always managed to keep it going.

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