The 1st British Airborne Division was under command of major-general Roy Urquhart. Because there were not enough planes and crew, this division should be taken to the Netherlands in three days. The first lift with paratroopers and supplies landed on September 17, 1944. They landed next to Wolfheze, far from the bridge in Arnhem because of the anti-aircraft guns.
Only one of the three battalions could, with a lot of difficulties, finally reach the bridge. They could only capture the drive to the bridge.
The other two battalions could reach the bridge the next day with heavy fighting. The second lift landed in the afternoon but they encountered strong German resistance. They arrived to the bridge at midnight.
Two battalions had to clear the road on September 19 for the landings of the Polish gliders later on that day. But the Germans cut off the road, so the battalions couldnít go back to the bridge and put up a defense at Oosterbeek.
The last battalion at the bridge lost more and more terrain. In the morning of the 21st they had to surrender. On this day there was finally contact between the XXX Corps and the two battalions at Oosterbeek. The Polish gliders finally came but they didnít land on the landings zone. Instead, they landed on the other side of the river Rhine. The Polish couldnít pass this big, wild river and werenít able to fight together against the Germans.
300 Polish succeeded to cross the river on the 25th and joined major-general Urquhart. One man carried a paper with permission to evacuate. This happened the next night. Most of the soldiers could cross the Rhine and only 300 had to stay.