German commanders opposing Montgomery had discussed the possibility of an airborne operation, but dismissed it as being to bold for Monty. Field Marshall Walther Model, commanding Army Group B, located his headquarters in Oosterbeek, between the British drop zone and Arnhem.  Model and his subordinates were trying to cobble together a defense and expected the Allies would concentrate on clearing Antwerp.[63]  In response to rapid Allied advances Colonel-General Kurt Student’s 1stParachute Army was formed on September 4, and assumed responsibility for the chaotic section of the western front directly in the path of Market-Garden.  Field Marshall Model said to Student: “I will tell you this, unless by a miracle we have a few days for preparations, there will be nothing to stop the English from motoring past our headquarters into Holland.”[64]  Few intact units had survived the rout in France, but commanders rallied whatever troops they could into battlegroups. Student managed to bring some order out of chaos and Army Group B received a slow but steady stream of men and equipment from Germany.

SS Lieutenant General Wilhelm Bittrich’s II SS Panzer Corps, actually at brigade strength, arriving from France, was sent to rest and refit in the Arnhem area.  It was assigned to Armed Forces Command Netherlands, rather than Army Group B, and told to prepare its two “divisions” for movement to Germany.  Vehicles were loaded on railcars, but departure was delayed by requests to have the units stay in Holland, allied bombing, and Dutch underground attacks on railways.[65]



[63]Greiss, 358; Badsey, 30.

[64]Farrar-Hockley, Student, 137.

[65]Badsey, 30; Farrar-Hockley, Airborne Carpet, 61, 70.