Master Box “Rigid Landing and Where's the Bridge?”: British Paratroopers, Market Garden in 1/35th Scale
These are two very interesting sets that cover the same time frame, so I decided to review them together.
The Allied Airborne Army comprised of four divisions; two British and two American. Linked to it was the Polish Independent Parachute Brigade lead by Major-General Sosabowski. The two most senior American commanders were Major-General Gavin of the 101st Division and Major-General Maxwell Taylor of the 82nd Division. Both men were knowledgeable in airborne warfare. The British First Airborne Division was lead by Major-General Urquhart. He was an unusual choice to lead the Airborne Division as he had never parachuted before, never participated in a glider landing and got air sick. He, himself, expressed his surprise when he was appointed commander of the division.
The First Division was given the task of capturing the bridge at Arnhem and holding it. The 101st Division was to capture the Zuid Willems Vaart Canal at Veghel and the Wilhelmina Canal at Son. The 82nd Division was to capture the bridges at Grave and at Nijmegen.
Operation Market Garden began on Sunday morning, September 17th, 1944. Luftwaffe fighters bases had been attacked as had German barracks based near the drop zones. 1,000 American and British fighter planes gave cover as the gliders and their 'tugs' crossed the North Sea and headed over mainland Europe. The greatest fear was from flak and Intelligence estimated that the loss of gliders and transport craft could be up to 40%. As it was, very few of the 1,545 aircraft and 478 gliders were lost.
At Arnhem, the British met much stiffer opposition than they had been lead to believe. The IX and X SS Panzer Divisions had re-grouped at Arnhem - as Dutch resistance had warned. Both groups comprised of 8,500 men lead by General Willi Bittich. These were not the poorly equipped German troops low in morale that British Intelligence had claimed were stationed at Arnhem. Bittich - a highly regarded general in the Waffen SS - sent the IX SS Devision to the British landing zones immediately. The X Division was ordered to Nijmegen to stop the 2nd Army group advancing on Arnhem. Bittich was confident of success:
The men from the IX Division quickly created a formidable defensive line to stop the British advancing to Arnhem. The British faced a number of serious problems in the landing zone. Nearly all the vehicles used by the Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron were lost when the gliders carrying them failed to land. Therefore the advance into Arnhem itself was delayed but also had to be done almost entirely on foot. The job of the Reconnaissance Squadron was to move off in jeeps etc. in advance and secure bridges and roads. This they could not do after the loss of their vehicles. The maps issued to officers also proved to be less than accurate.
The British paratroopers came under German fire. Only the 2nd Battalion lead by Lt. Col. Frost moved forward with relative ease but even they were occasionally halted by German fire. Frost's men were the most southerly of the British units and the Germans had covered their route to Arnhem less well than the other routes the British were to use. When Frost got to the bridge at Arnhem, he only had about 500 men. He secured the northern end of the bridge and the buildings around it but he remained heavily exposed to a German attack across the bridge as the British had failed to secure the southern end of the bridge. Around Arnhem, British troops, engaged in combat with the SS, took heavy casualties. By now, the Germans were being reinforced with Tiger tanks.
The Rigid Landing Kit:
Contains 1 sprue with 40 pieces that have no flash.
It has four figures: Three Glider troopers (one injured and two medics) and one Glider Pilot (wounded).
The headgear, uniforms and equipment look accurate but only the medics have sidearms.
The “Where's the Bridge” Kit:
Contains 1 sprue with 63 pieces that have no flash.
It has four figures: Three British Paratroopers and one (what appears to be a local games keeper or hunter). Although I'm sure that the Germans didn't allow the Dutch to have guns, (It would appear that he would be a British Games Keeper. Check out the phone booth in the back ground, during the training they did prior to going into Holland). He is really cool anyways and could easily be converted into a doctor or local Partisan.
The weapons, headgear, uniforms and equipment look accurate and the games keeper has a double barrel shotgun which is really cool.
It appears that Master Box has another couple of great looking kits that give you the chance to make endless diorama's.
The uniforms and equipment are covered in numerous books, so information on these units should not be too hard to find.
My “Build Review” should follow in a few months Overall these should build into an outstanding replica of both the British Para's and Glider bourne troops who heroically defended their bridge. I highly recommend both these kits for anyone who enjoys figures. I would like to thank Alexander Surzhenko of Master Box Models for the review kit.