Operation Pegasus

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Operation Pegasus was an Allied action in World War II as a consequence of the failure of Operation Market Garden. Some surviving soldiers from the 1st Airborne Division had avoided capture and sought shelter in the forests to the west around Ede. Operation Pegasus was the effort to bring these soldiers across the Rhine on October 22 and October 23 1944.

The Allies held Nijmegen and the land north between the Waal and the Rhine. Lieutenant-Colonel Dobie commanded the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment and was captured when he tried to bring relief forces to the besieged 2nd Battalion at Arnhem Bridge. He escaped and was hidden by the Dutch resistance. Dobie swam the river and made contact with the Allies to plan the escape of the trapped British airborne men. The Dutch Resistance escorted the men from Ede to the bank of the Rhine west of Renkum. Just after midnight on October 23 men of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (United States) 101st Airborne Division and the Royal Canadian Engineers took assault boats across the river to gather these men. The operation was ready to begin at 2300 hours October 22 just to be sure, however the operation did not start until midnight on October 23. In a little over an hour, 140 men were recovered, including Brigadier Gerald Lathbury. The official report claims 138 men were rescued, 120 airborne, the remainder one American 82nd airborne man, Allied aircrew[1] and Dutch resistance men amongst whom was Lt. Charles Douw van der Krap, a Dutch naval lieutenant who was kept at Oflag IV-C (Colditz) as a POW and later escaped. A further operation in November to rescue soldiers further east at Heteren failed and the soldiers awaiting rescue were intercepted and killed or captured. The evacuation was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Dobie. All those rescued were transported by air back to England.

This operation is depicted in the fifth episode of Band of Brothers, "Crossroads".

External links and references

References

  1. ^ Martin Middlebrook Arnhem 1944 page 438