Battle of Arnhem, Day 9 (Operation Berlin or Arnhem Rescue)
Overnight a copy of the withdrawal plan was sent across the river for Urquhart's consideration.
Despite the obviously frustrating content, Urquhart knew there was little other choice and radioed Thomas at 8am to agree to the plan on the condition it went ahead that night. Meanwhile the Airborne forces would need to endure another day in their perimeter. More men were evacuated from the aid posts throughout the day but there was no official truce and this was sometimes done under fire.
At 10am the Germans began their most successful assault on the perimeter, attacking the southeastern end with infantry supported by newly arrived Tiger tanks. This assault pushed through the defenders' outer lines and threatened to isolate the bulk of the division from the river. Strong counter attacks from the mixed defenders and concentrated shellfire from south of the river eventually repelled the Germans.
Urquhart formulated his withdrawal plan on the successful method used in the evacuation of Gallipoli during the First World War. The northernmost units would fall back first, moving through the more southerly groups who would then follow behind. The Glider Pilots would organise the routes to the river and the whole operation would be covered by an intense artillery barrage from XXX Corps. South of the river the evacuation was organised and staffed by men of the Royal Engineers of 43rd Division and Royal Canadian Engineers, using rafts and storm boats. In order to prevent the Germans from learning about the operation, the plan was not announced until the afternoon and some men (mainly wounded) would remain to lay covering fire through the night. Men were ordered to muffle their boots and weapons to help them bypass known German incursions into the perimeter. Some men took the opportunity to shave before withdrawing, providing quite a morale boost.
Major-General Urquhart based his withdrawal plan upon the excellent evacuation carried out at Gallipoli during the Great War. The main feature of the plan, Operation Berlin, was to convince the enemy that the British were still holding their positions in Oosterbeek and intended to carry on fighting. Urquhart was quite certain that if the Germans suspected that the Division was pulling out then they would launch an immediate and violent assault along the River in an attempt to cut them off.