Operation Comet

This was a British unrealised plan for the use of Major General R. E. Urquhart’s 1st Airborne Division to land and seize crossing points over the Nederrijn river near Arnhem (September 1944).

In the plan, which was suggested by General Sir Bernard Montgomery, commander of the Allied 21st Army Group, on 2 September, each of the 1st Airborne Division’s three brigades, with support from Generał brygady Stanisław Sosabowski’s Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, was to take a bridge and thus speed the advance of Lieutenant General Sir Miles Dempsey’s 2nd Army toward the northern Netherlands and into the north German plain.

The divisional headquarters, Brigadier P. H. W. Hicks’s 1st Airlanding Brigade and the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade were to land at Nijmegen, Brigadier G. W. Lathbury’s 1st Parachute Brigade was to land at Arnhem, and Brigadier J. W. Hackett’s 4th Parachute Brigade was to land at Grave. Several days of poor weather and his concerns over increasing levels of German resistance then persuaded Montgomery to postpone the operation and then finally to cancel it on 10 September.

The plan was rapidly evolved into the definitive ‘Market’.