The Road to the Rhine by Robert Taylor features Dakota C-47s of the 439th Troop Carrier Group.
On Sunday 17 September 1944, C-47 Dakotas dropped thousands of paratroopers from the US 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions into Holland, a hundred and fifty miles behind enemy lines. The mission of the airborne forces was to capture vital bridges in the Allies' push towards the Rhine, and the final liberation of Europe.
As the Allied armies dashed across France after victory in Normandy, they remained reliant on one thing - supplies. With Cherbourg the only port in use, everything depended on trucks to deliver enough fuel, food and ammunition to keep the momentum going. But there was a problem. Too few trucks, and too few drivers. The invasion was in danger of stalling, and if it did, the Germans might just regain the initiative. Action was needed, and quickly. Montgomery argued that all resources be channelled into a single, powerful thrust into Germany, but Eisenhower disagreed. The Allies would advance on a broad front. But he did give Montgomery the First Allied Airborne Army to try and capture the major bridges in Holland on the road to the Rhine, ahead of the Allies advance.
For the men of the 101st Airborne, the 'Screaming Eagles', their task was to seize the bridges at Eindhoven. The 82nd would do the same at Nijmegan, and the British 1st Airborne would capture the farthest bridge, at Arnhem. On the ground the British 30th Corps would advance northwards and link up with them, and, if successful, turn the German flank on the Rhine.
On 17 September 1944 the plan was put into action. The 101st quickly securing all of its objectives, and the 82nd capturing one bridge. The British 1st Airborne fought its way into Arnhem and seized the bridge over the Rhine. Now all they had to do was hold out until 30th Corps arrived. But 30th Corps was making slow progress, and although the men of the 101st and the 82nd held out until relieved, in Arnhem it was too late to save the British 1st Airborne. Battle-weary, without ammunition or supplies, only a few survivors escaped back across the Rhine. Of the 10,000 men who had landed, just 2,000 made it out.
If the operation had succeeded the war in Europe might have been over by Christmas 1944, instead hostilities would continue through the bitter winter. Robert Taylor's awe-inspiring masterpiece, the first in a new series to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of D-Day, pays tribute to all the Allied Airborne forces that took part in the liberation of Europe. Specially chosen to symbolise the bravery of these airborne warriors, Robert's majestic painting portrays the scene on Sunday 17 September 1944, as C-47 Dakotas of the 439th Troop Carrier Group drop the US 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions into Holland at the start of Operation Market Garden.
To represent all of the Airborne forces who took part in the liberation of Europe, including D-Day, Operation Market Garden, and Bastogne, the print editions have been signed by veterans of one of the most famous Airborne Divisions, the 101st Airborne, to make this a true collector's gem.
Each print in Robert Taylor’s Limited Edition, The Road to the Rhine, has been signed by the following veterans of E Company:
HERB 'Jr' SUERTH
34 x 25 inches overall including borders.
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