The operation consisted of an airborne component (called 'Market'), undertaken by the First Allied Airborne Army (US, English, and Polish military personnel), and a land operation (called 'Garden') headed by XXX Corps of the British Second Army.
Market's goal aimed to drop airborne forces over multiple drop zones in occupied territory to quickly secure the bridges over key water crossings. In an orchestrated plan, the Garden troops would advance forward from liberated Belgium into the Netherlands at Lommel, help secure the bridges, and thus 'easily' push on towards Arnhem. This combined air and ground offensive was to create a 103 km (64 miles) long corridor for the Allied forces.
The narrow route north from the Belgian border went along a two-lane road and was at times very exposed. This made the advance of the ground forces slow as they were under constant and murderous fire by the defending forces that were well camouflaged and snuggly dug in.
The six major water obstacles were: the Wilhelmina Canal at Son en Breugel that measured 30 meters (100 feet) wide; the Zuid-Willems Canal at Veghel measuring 20 meters (80 feet); the Maas River at Grave with a full 240 meters (800 feet) and now known as the J.S. Thompson Bridge; the Maas-Waal Canal with 60 meters (200 feet) of length; the Waal River at Nijmegen with a stunning 260 meters (850 feet); and the Nederrijn at Arnhem with 90 meters (300 feet) and now known as the John Frost Bridge.