Operation Linnet I

This was an Allied unrealised plan for the use of airborne forces to capture and hold Tournai on the Escaut river in the western part of German-occupied Belgium (September 1944).

This strategically important town lay on the junction of General Sir Bernard Montgomery’s Allied 21st Army Group and General Omar N. Bradley’s US 12th Army Group, and the operation was based on the use of Lieutenant General Lewis H. Brereton’s Allied 1st Airborne Army centred on Major General R. E. Urquhart’s British 1st Airborne Division, Major General E. Hakewill-Smith’s British 52nd Division, Major General Maxwell D. Taylor’s US 101st Airborne Division, and Generał brygady Stanisław Sosabowski’s Polish 1st Parachute Brigade. The plan was rendered superfluous by the rapid advance of Lieutenant General B. G. Horrocks’s XXX Corps of Lieutenant General Sir Miles Dempsey’s 2nd Army, which took the corps past Tournai to Brussels by 3 September. The necessary airborne and air forces were also earmarked for ‘Market’.