The MARKET GARDEN Campaign : Allied operational command in northwest Europe, 1944
This dissertation examines in detail, the planning, conduct, and context of Allied Operational Command during the period from the Normandy Invasion to the end of Operation MARKET GARDEN, the airborne invasion of Holland. These campaigns were influenced by several factors: the nature of the Allied Coalition, the differing views and approach to battle of the separate services and the different nationalities within the coalition, and the actual conduct of battle within the context of a larger effort, the military campaign. The 1944c ampaignw as uniquei n that it representedth e two year evolution of a political-military coalition, whose campaign conduct in the field was overseen by a fully integratedh eadquartersa nd whose staff was composedo f memberso f both the individual services and separaten ationalities. While this headquartersp resenteda united front behind its admired commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. its competence to plan and control operations in anything but the broadest sense was challengeda t every turn by the air and ground commandersta skedt o fight the actual campaign. This dissertation concludes that the "oversight" provided by the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, SHAEF, and its Supreme Commander. was not in tune with both operational realities and practices. and was not capable of seizing opportunity and conducting a campaign of maneuver. During the actual execution of MARKET GARDEN, the Allied Command system functioned poorly causing the operation to fail by the narrowest margins. While MARKET GARDEN has often been portrayed as a failure of one man, of intelligence, or of poor planning, the coalition system and the men who ran it were not capable of fighting a complicated battle efficiently because of their inability to function as a team, rather than as a band of brothers, the creation of which was the responsibility of the Supreme Commander.