22 SEPTEMBER 1944, Page 1


Tweek has seen another of the war's swift turns, with the 1 sudden advance of General Dempsey's British Second Ar from the Escaut Canal, just inside the southern frontier of to the Waal, the Dutch stretch of the Rhine, at Nijmege distance covered was close on forty miles and the revolution in the military situation was made possible by the spectacular of the Allied Air-borne Army on Sunday, with reinforce following each day since. The success of the operation was all complete, though it had no doubt been hoped that the air-bor forces would have been able to hold Nijmegen and its vital bridge over the Waal till General Dempsey's force coming up from the south could link up with them ; that would have enabled the ground troops to push ahead to Arnhem on the Lek, the last remaining river- barrier, which the air-borne troops were, and • are still, holding. That, perhaps, was too much to expect. The Germans,- with what- ever formations they have still intact, reinforced by a variety of detached battle-groups, have put up a strong defence at Nijmegen, where the fighting is described as fiercer than any since Caen. The defence will no doubt soon be broken down, but so may the bridges over the 50o-yard wide river at Nijmegen. That will inevitably cause delay and enable further German defences to be organised to the north and west. But the operation has been a daring achieve- ment crowned with brilliant success, and if the air-borne force at Arnhem cannot be immediately reinforced by land it can and will be by air. Our air-borne army, indeed, gives the Allies a mobility totally beyond the Germans' powers. Supply is no doubt still a problem, but the difficulties ahead are much less than the difficulties alieady overcome. The capture of Brest may not ease the problem much, in view of the distance of that port from the fighting fronts, but the capture of Boulogne, and the impending clearance of the Scheldt mouth opposite Antwerp, will assist substantially. At' Boulogne demolitions are no doubt comprehensive ; Antwerp is intact. Mean- while the Air Forces, which today can turn their hands to anything, are making their own substantial contribution to the- transport of supplies.


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