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Finally, the flat, treeless terrain was unsuitable for guerrilla operations because it offered no means for the teams to conceal themselves. Numerous canals and streams restricted ground travel to roadways, which the Germans found easy to control. Consequently, the Jedburghs spent much of their time burrowed into barns and hiding in attics, rather than carrying out their missions.

The intelligence flaws were pretty much across the board. For instance, in pre-jump briefings, British paratroopers were told that the German defenders were “nothing more than second-rate troops - old men and boys, mostly.” The reverse proved true.

In the end, more Allied soldiers and airmen died in Market-Garden than died on D-Day during the Normandy invasion. Of the nine Jedburghs who penetrated deepest behind German lines, three were killed, three were wounded, and two were captured (one spending seven months starving in POW camps before he escaped). The lack of spectacular success does not detract from their valor.

Joseph C. Goulden is a Washington writer. His e-mail is