The perimeter was a horseshoe shaped defense line around Oosterbeek in which the Britsh and Polish troops retreated during the Battle of Arnhem. In this area, the Allies withstood the German forces’ attacks for nine days.
Landing of British paratroopers at landing zone X at Renkum on September 17th 1944. © Imperial War Museum
Aerial picture of the John Frostbrug in Arnhem, which was called the Rijnbrug back then. This bridge was one of the main targets of Operation Market Garden but this one appeared to be a bridge too far. © Imperial War Museum
The perimeter was a horseshoe shaped defense line around Oosterbeek in which the Britsh and Polish troops retreated during the Battle of Arnhem. In this area, the Allies withstood the German forces’ attacks for nine days. The perimeter route passes locations of fierce battles, heroic actions, old farmhouses, former emergency hospitals and testimonies of the war that are still visible in the landscape today.
Operation Market Garden was an Allied offensive, from September 17th until September 26th 1944, during the Second World War. Aerial troops had to capture and hold different bridges over rivers and canals in The Netherlands before they would be supported by ground troops. One of the targets was the Rijnbrug in Arnhem. The German resistance around Arnhem appeared to be much heavier than was expected and it was one of the reasons why the almost 12,000 British and Polish troops couldn’t conquer the bridge.
On the 20th of September, Allied troops had to retreat to Oosterbeek. In this village, the perimeter was formed: a horseshoe shaped defense line in and around the village, close to the river Rhine. In the following days, heavy fighting took place within the perimeter. It was difficult to supply the troops in the perimeter and therefore the soldiers faced a severe deficiency in food, medical supplies and ammunition. Lots of soldiers were wounded or had been killed in the ongoing battles. On September 25th, the supplies had run out completely and it became clear that the ground troops could not reach them on time anymore. The remaining troops had to retreat by crossing the river Rhine. 2,400 soldiers reached the safe area at the other side of the river, leaving the wounded and medical staff behind. 6,500 British and Polish troops were captured and taken as prisoners of war. About 1,900 men died.
The inhabitants of Oosterbeek had to hide in the cellars during these days in order to avoid the danger, but here too casualties were inevitable. After the battles, Oosterbeek was destroyed and the inhabitants had to be evacuated.