"Operation Market Garden Tour – Best" Best by vichatherly

Best Travel Guide: 8 reviews and 75 photos

Operation Market Garden Tour – Best

After visiting the bridge at Son we travelled to Best to visit the Joe Mann Memorial and the Airborne Bridge. This was on the first afternoon of the first day of our three day road trip tour of the major bridges and landing zones of WWII Operation Market Garden.

This was Monty’s ambitious plan to end the war by Christmas and took place on 17th to the 25th September 1944.

I went on the trip with my brother-in-law Damian, who was also interested in going “A Bridge Too Far”. We were taking “Hell’s Highway” starting from Leopoldsburg and Lommel in Belgium and then into Holland and Eindhoven, Son, Best, Veghel,
Grave, Overasselt, Nijmegen, Groesbeek and then finally onto Oosterbeek and Arnhem.

Operation Market Garden Tour – Joe Mann Memorial

This memorial bears a photo of Joe Mann and the words “On 19 September 1944, Joe E Mann an American soldier sacrificed his young life at this spot to save the lives of his comrades”

There was heavy fighting at the bridge and Private Mann was so badly wounded that both arms were bandaged and tied to his sides. He saw a German grenade land among the men he was with. Unable to free his arms, Mann fell on the grenade, saving the others around him. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The memorial was unveiled by Joe’s sister, Irene Bennett-Mann in 1984.

Operation Market Garden Tour – Airborne Bridge

This bridge was the scene of some heavy fighting during "Operation Market Garden". Taking the bridge over the canal here was not one of the original tasks given to the 101st Airborne. General Maxwell Taylor, thinking that it would be wise to have an alternative route should the Son bridge be blown, sent H Company of the 502nd PIR to take it on 17th September 1944.

Unfortunately, elements of the German 15th Army were in the area and the action developed into a major and bloody confrontation involving over 1,000 German troops, American paratroopers and British armoured cars. Although the bridge at Son was blown up, the fighting here was too intense for the bridge to be used as an alternative route and even more so when it was also blown up by the Germans at noon on 18th September.

  • Last visit to Best: Sep 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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