Operation Pegasus 1



After the dramatic end of Operation Market Garden, about 300 allied soldiers in the German-occupied territory, north of the Rhine, managed to obviate war captivity by the Germans. These paratroopers (para's) were taken under the wing of the local resistance as much as possible. For various reasons these paratroopers had to cross the river Rhine as soon as possible. In collaboration with the local resistance, the Allies prepared for a mass escape.

On the night of October 22nd to October 23rd 1944 aprox.130 Allied soldiers (about 120 man airborne troops, supplemented by flight crews) and eighteen Dutch civilians from occupied territory succeeded in crossing the Rhine near Renkum. This operation became known as Operation Pegasus 1. According to Major Airey Neave, at that time, as head of the British Military Intelligence (MI9) assigned to "escape and evasion" in Western Europe and therefore partly responsible for the various Pegasus operations, Pegasus 1 was the largest escape from occupied territory during the Second World War.

A few months later (November 18th) an attempt was made to take the remaining Allied troops across the Rhine. Again in this escape, local resistance was deeply involved in this escape. This operation turned out to be a big failure, due to several reasons. First the Germans were more alert and next, a large uninhabited area had to be traversed. Only seven out of about hundred soldiers, who participated in Operation Pegasus 2, managed to reach the south bank of the Rhine.


Cooperation of the people with the occupying forces, more generally spoken the term for individuals who cooperate with the occupying force is collaborator.
Airborne Division. Military specialized in parachute landings.
Resistance against the enemy. Often also with armed resources.

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Insignia of the Britsh air borne troops: a blue Pegasus, ridden by Bellerophon, against a purple background
(Source: www.wikipedia.org)


Translated by:
Chrit Houben
Article by:
David Izelaar
Published on:
Last edit on:
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