Operation Varsity Case Study

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Towards the end of World War II Operation Varsity took place at Wessel, Germany which involved more than 16,000 paratroopers and several thousands of aircraft. The goal of this operation was to help secure multiple locations along the Northern portion of the Rhine River to allow the Allied forces to secure a foothold in Western Germany and then peruse Northern Germany. Operation Varsity was designed to assist the surface river assault troops cross the river with minimal impact on ground troops. The design of Operation Varsity was to air drop three divisions of U.S. XVIII Airborne Corps, the 13 Airborne Division, the British 6th, and the 17 Airborne Division, to secure essential locations and disrupt German forces. In doing this they would …show more content…

By 1345 the Division reported up that it had secured all of its objectives including to secure Schnappenberg. The 5th Parachute Battalion, 6th Airborne Division landed on drop Zone B but not as easily as the 8th Parachute Battalion due low visibility. They were also engage with shell fire and mortaring by German soldiers stationed nearby and located in nearby farms and homes. The 7th Parachute Battalion soon landed after that and cleared the drop zone of the opposition. The 12th and 13th Parachute Battalion landed and completed the rest of the objectives. They then moved east to secure a location close to Schnappenberg and engaged German forces. At 1530 they also had reported that they had secured their objectives. The 6th Air landing Brigade was tasked with landing in company sized groups and completing multiple objectives to include the town of Hamminkeln. They landed in in Landing Zones P, O, U and R and were engaged with heavy anti-aircraft fire in addition to heavy haze and smoke in the area. Due to this many of the planes either landed in the wrong areas or crashed however they still accomplished their mission of securing three bridges over the Issel …show more content…

All objectives of this operation had been met and were met within a 48 hour period. All together the Allied forces had 2700 casualties during the fight but claimed to have taken over 2000 prisoners of war. Because of Operation Varsity “by 27 March, twelve bridges suitable for heavy armor had been installed over the Rhine and the Allies had 14 divisions on the east bank of the river, penetrating up to 10 miles.” In hindsight the airborne operation would have had less causality if the operation had been conducted at night rather than in daylight. The other consideration that was taken into account is that the operation had been performed with on two thirds of the original troops which put them at a disadvantage due to a lack of

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