1. Was erstwhile (MG) James M. Gavin the highest-ranking US general officer?

  2. Please see the question's title. I know that U.K. soldiers parachuted, but don't know if any Canadians, Polish did.

Gavin assumed command of the 82nd Airborne Division on August 8, 1944, and was promoted to major general in October.[9] For the first time, Gavin would lead the 82nd Airborne into combat. On Sunday, September 17, Operation Market Garden took off. Market Garden, devised by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, consisted of an airborne attack of three British and American airborne divisions. The 82nd was to take the bridge across the Maas river in Grave, seize at least one of four bridges across the Maas-Waal canal, and the bridge across the Waal river in Nijmegen. The 82nd was also to take control of the high grounds in the vicinity of Groesbeek, a small Dutch town near the German border. The ultimate objective of the offensive was Arnhem.

In the drop into the Netherlands, Gavin landed on hard pavement instead of grass, injuring his back. He had it inspected by a doctor a few days later, who claimed that his back was fine, and so Gavin continued normally throughout the entirety of the war. Five years later, he had his back examined at Walter Reed Hospital, where he learned that he had, in fact, fractured two discs in the jump.[10]


Overall Command

  • Lieutenant General Browning glided in near Nijmegen the first day commanding British I Airborne Corps and deputy commander of 1st Allied Airborne Army, to be tactical (on the ground) commander for all Allied airborne forces in Operation Market (the airborne component of Market Garden).

82nd Airborne

  • Brigadier General James M. Gavin parachuted in commanding U.S. 82nd Airborne, not being promoted to Major General until October 1944, a month after Market Garden.

101st Airborne (US)

  • Major General Maxwell D. Taylor landed commanding the 101st Airborne but I am not sure yet whether he parachuted or glided in.

    However Taylor was a trained and accomplished parachutist, having successfully jumped into Normandy 6 months earlier as commander of the 101st, so I have no reason to doubt that he again jumped into battle as commander of the 101st during Market Garden.

1st Airborne (British)

  • Major General Roy Urquhart glided in commanding British 1st Airborne.

  • Brigadier General Hicks was his deputy commander and commander of British 1st Airlanding Brigade, and also arrived that day at Arnhem by glider.

  • I have not yet identified the commanding officers of the two component airborne brigades, 1st and 4th, both of whom would have parachuted in.

Polish Brigade

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    @Tom: Thanks for the catch. Corrected. – Pieter Geerkens Dec 17 '19 at 14:14
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    1st Parachute Brigade - Brigadier Gerald Lathbury, 4th Parachute Brigade - Brigadier John W. Hackett - Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – wawa Jan 3 '20 at 12:22

There is already an answer for the Allies. You might want to note that Major General Urquhart had never parachuted nor landed before.

On the German side, there is Model, a former Eastern Front commander, Student, former airborne troops commander who said "If only I had such means" when he saw Allied airborne troops during Market Garden, and the SS general Bittrich.

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