The Battle of the Bridges: The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Operation Market Garden. By Frank van Lunteren. Philadelphia: Casemate, 2014. Maps. Illustrations. Notes. Photographs. Appendices. Bibliography. Index. Pp. 334. $ 32.95 ISBN: 978-1-61200-232-3
Band of Brothers--both the book by Stephen Ambrose and the mini series-made the fabled Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), and, by extension, the paratroops of World War II, almost household names. These soldiers have a justly deserved reputation for fierceness and bravery seldom equaled. Their efforts in Sicily, Normandy, and Operation Market Garden showed them to be tough, disciplined fighters able and willing to take on the most difficult challenges. This book is one of a planned series covering the exploits of the 504th PIR and the 82nd Airborne Division in Northern Europe in World War II.
A Dutchman, van Lunteren has an abiding interest in the men who helped liberate his country--especially the first to find their way into his hometown, the 504th PIR. His family lived in the area discussed in the book, and his father witnessed many of the events related. Van Lunteren was initially fascinated by the story of Ted Bachenheimer, a scout and sergeant in that unit who disappeared during Operation Market Garden. As he researched Bachenheimer and his fellow paratroopers, he conceived the idea of expanding this research into a full blown history. This book is the first result.
Van Lunteren is an amateur historian who lives in Arnhem and is active in the town's historical society. He started by publishing articles on Market Garden and the 504th and eventually collected enough information to pursue a book. His methods are thorough and his research impressive. He interviewed 504th veterans, attended unit reunions, and read unpublished survivors' manuscripts. Where possible, he also interviewed veterans from other Allied and German forces involved. With all of...