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The red devil and a bridge too far

From Sicily to the Baltic this uniform has become famous. But it is in Arnhem Holland that “The Red Devils” will definitely make a name for themselves in letters of Gold in today’s history books.

Operation "Market Garden" kicks off on September 17 1944, for the British Airborne Forces and the Independent Polish Airborne Brigade; it will be a tragedy for them.

In nine days and nights of continuous combat the history of the British Airborne forces will be written in blood, their mission was to capture a Bridge on the Rhine and to hold it until relieved. The Parachute and Airborne Battalions of 1st Airborne Division fought off attacks of major German forces (including fallshirmjagers, panzers and S.S) without any reinforcements, with no tactical air support and with little if any vital communication with the rear.

A bridge too far

The Airborne Division and the Polish Brigade were almost entirely destroyed. In spite of this, the individual courage of each Para has made the Airborne famous. Arnhem is a shining example to follow for Paras the world over. Indeed and at times, a defeat is as glory-filled as any victory.

This uniform (circa 1942) was worn by all ranks of British Airborne Divisions and by the men of the Glider Pilot Regiment (without the red beret).

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