(September 17-25, 1944) was an Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in World War II. It was the largest airborne operation of all time.
It made large-scale use of airborne forces whose tactical objectives were to secure a series of bridges over the main rivers of the German-occupied Netherlands to allow a rapid advance by armoured units from the Dutch-Belgian border into northern Germany, across the Maas (Meuse) and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine). This was intended to outflank the Siegfried Line and make possible an encirclement of the Ruhr Area, Germany's industrial heartland.
The operation was initially successful with the capture of the Waal bridge at Nijmegen on September 20, but it was a failure overall since the planned Allied advance across the Rhine at Arnhem had to be abandoned. The British 1st Airborne Division did not secure the bridge at Arnhem, and although they managed to hold out near the bridge far longer than planned, the British XXX Corps failed to relieve them. The Rhine remained a barrier to the Allied advance for six additional months, until the offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945. Due to the Allied defeat at Arnhem, the north of the Netherlands could not be liberated before winter and the Hongerwinter ('Hungerwinter') took tens of thousands of lives, particularly in the cities of the Randstad area.