Was "A bridge too far" a UK idiom before the book and movie popularized it or not?

“A Bridge Too Far” is both a book and movie based on the book. The phrase supposedly comes from a statement made by British Lieutenant-General Frederick Browning.

Did this exist prior to his statement as a British phrase meaning overreaching or did he coin it on the occasion?

According to Google Ngram it was first published in 1952: https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=a+bridge+too+far&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Ca%20bridge%20too%20far%3B%2Cc0#t1%3B%2Ca%20bridge%20too%20far%3B%2Cc1

Probably someone quoting Browning. It makes sense when you consider that Market Garden was intended to capture several bridges, but had problems, including supply, that made the capture of the bridge at Arnhem impossible. The phrase fit that situation only.

Trivia note: Browning’s daughter ended up marrying Montgomery’s son.

And Browning himself was married to the author Daphne Du Maurier… who was not happy with his portrayal in the film

The earliest hit in Google Books is the 1958 publication of the memoirs of Major General Robert Elliott “Roy” Urquhart. He was a senior aide who detailed the conversation.

I couldn’t find any earlier uses so, no, it doesn’t appear to be a British idiom.

It’s such a useful phrase you’d think something else preceded it …

eta: I suppose it’s akin to ‘over-egged the pudding’ but not quite the same.