. 505TH PIR .
PARACHUTE Infantry Regiment
505th PIR was created
6 July 1942 at Fort
initially commissioned by a
young lieutenant colonel, just
out of West Point, James M
Gavin. Formerly under
the command of General Lee, Lt
wrote a pamphlet, entitled "Instructional
Airborne Operations". These are
theories and observations on
airborne operations. They would
for the first time tested.
Unlike two or three regiment that were created before the 505th by expanding or dividing existing battalions, the 505th left nothing. Among the staff who were transferred initially was a large cadre of officers and NCOs from the Airborne Command. Another group came from the newly formed 503rd, 502nd or other of the 504th PIR. Most remained in the 505th and became the backbone of the regiment. But the vast majority of men and officers came directly from the parachute school at Fort Benning. Once the promotions were patented, they were sent en masse. So much so that when the regiment was sent to Alabama, October 1, 1942, he was ready to meet its normal complement for a regiment
<- Colonel James Gavin (here with his General uniform)
began immediately when the first men arrived in the "Frying Pan" and continued
at an accelerated pace. Each phase of training had a dual purpose. First to have
a knowledgeable and aggressive group of men who would fight would lead a team or
individually and would fight in shares of small units A third objective was to
eliminate the unfit.
The training included frequent jumps, most of night, and each jump was followed by a tactical exercise to improve the capacity to gather and move.
October 29, 1942, the regiment adopted the blue oval with a red border. In late January 1943, the regiment is complete. Several changes opera at that time. The Lt.Col. Gavin was promoted to colonel. The Lt.Col. Herbert F Batcheller succeeds Col. Haugen as second in command of the regiment. The Capt. Gray and Edward C Krauses are promoted Major and respectively take command of the 2nd and 3rd battalion.
On 8 February, the regiment moved to Camp Hoffman, renamed Camp Mackall, North Carolina to follow a tactical training. On 12 February, it was sent to Fort Bragg to be incorporated in the 82nd Airborne. This was the last of three regiments assigned at the time permanently. The regiment would learn maneuvered within a division.
On March 30, the 505th PIR effected the first jump of a regiment in the history of the U.S. Army. He was dropped on Fort Jackson near Camden, South Carolina. Before an audience of personality which British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
The 82nd Airborne Division was chosen as the fight to go across the Atlantic.
On 17 April, the first troops left Fort Bragg for Camp Edwards in Massachusetts followed by the rest of the regiment on April 20. Arrived at Camp April 21, the regiment spent a week inspection, injection of vaccines, lectures on safety and hygiene.
April 28 morning, the regiment returned by train in the afternoon was from the USS Monterey anchored in Staten Island, New York. On the morning of April 29 1943, tugs hauled the Monterey wharf and the ship sailed along the beaches of New Jersey to join the convoy. The 505th was on the road to the war.
<- Lt. Col. Herbert Batcheller
On May 10,
1943 appeared the coast and buildings from Casablanca, French Morocco. The men
were taken to a transit camp. After two nights spent in the camp, the regiment
started on May 12, a multi-day trip to his first permanent garrison overseas in
Oujda, French Morocco. Most made the journey by train to the famous French cars
40 & 8 (40 men – 8 horses)
Oujda, a dirty Arab village, a few kilometers from the Algerian border and a 50 km south shore of the Mediterranean, had only asset was to be located a few kilometers from a large airfield. This vast treeless plain was called the "dust bowl".
Many thought that Oujda, the training was completed, but no, he went and worse. Exercises took place 12 hours a day and benefit and as the temperature often reached 45 °, they essentially place at night. Of course it was too hot to sleep during the day, so that men do not sleep.
The June 3, facing the ground a political and military figure, the 3rd battalion of the 505th and 504th units with some extra jump and seized the airfield. Unfortunately, as the time approached the jump, a surface wind of about 50 km/h up. Normally, such a speed, the jump was canceled. But because of its political importance, it occurred. The result was about 90 damage per jump, 60 demanded hospitalization. A few were seriously injured if they were returned to the United States.
Hard and rocky terrain surrounding Oujda was unfavorable landing zone even in the absence of wind. They were minimized. But all the men made at least one or two. Experimental jumps were also tempted. Men carrying heavy equipment were dropped. Completely mounted machine guns, 60mm mortars, radios or other. But there were so many accidents as heavy equipment was packed in containers of parachuting.
Finally, it was all over and probably no regiment was in better frame of mind to go fight. Men have skipped on Berlin as they left Africa.
July 9, 1943, one year after its creation, the 505th PIR was on his first combat
jump. The invasion of Sicily landings plan included the southeastern tip of the
island, made by British and Canadian forces in the east and by U.S. forces in
the south. U.S. troops composed of 1st, 3rd and 45th Infantry Divisions take up
on beaches in the vicinity of Licata and Gela Scoglitti, Sicily. The
paratroopers of the 82nd would be dropped to inland from Gela to open the road
to the 1st Division Infantry as this sector was considered the most vulnerable
to an counter attack.
Half of the C-47 were assigned to the 1st British Airborne Division to tow his gliders. There remained 226 C-47 for American troops. It was barely enough for a regiment. General Ridgway preferred the 505th to 504th for the first jump. The 505th PIR was organized Regiment Combat Team by the attachment of the third battalion of the 504th PIR of Lt. Col. Charles Kouns, the 456th PFAB of the Lt. Col. Harrison Harden, B Company of the 307th AEB of Cpt. William H Johnson of the 82nd Signal Corps Detachment and the 307th Airborne Medical Company.
Plans for the 505th RCT indicated that the HQ of the 1st and 2nd Battalion of the 505th and batteries A and B of the 456th would land north of an important road junction, 12 km from Gela. They attack the enemy fortified points controlling the crossroads he held until the arrival of the 1st Inf. Div. The 3rd Battalion of the 505th and the C Battery of the 456th were dropped south of the same junction and occupy the land that dominated this intersection. The 3rd Battalion of the 504th was dropped south of Niscemi, he would establish and defend the dams on the road from south of Niscemi. Each element should be prepared to assist the 1st InfDiv and take the airfield to Ponte Olivo. Two smaller missions were also assigned to the 505th RCT. 3 sticks including one section of demolition would be dropped 8km east and destroy two bridges, a rail bridge, the other on the road bridge under Acate River. The company I would land below the DZ of the 3rd Battalion to eliminate an enemy strongpoint in this area and light a big fire to lead the men of the 1st InfDiv.
On July 1 and 2, the elements of the 505th RCT were sent on airfields near Kairouan, French Tunisia. There, living conditions were improved. This area being worn Axis bombers, it was the camp is as camouflaged as possible. Thus, the regiment bivouacked in a large olive grove. Finally in the shade.
The training was finally over, as the regiment was now in preparing the real fight. There were briefings detail all phases of the operation to come?
July 9 was a very active day. In the morning, the paratroopers received their equipping. Then they spent their time doing the latter, check their equipment, containers hang under the wings of C-47. The time came to embark 5h10pm. The first C-47 took their flights. At 9:16 p.m. all RCT was in the area, everything was for the best.
But it's not going to continue like that. Indeed, the Mediterranean, the storm rose. This caused the first major challenge. The previous bombing invasion and high winds had caused such clouds of dust that landmarks that were to guide the devices were no longer visible. The pilot approached the ground to see something; they were greeted by small arms fire and anti-aircraft. Most devices that remained in training parted.
All RCT was dispersed in Licata to Syracuse.
Some aircraft, with excellent navigation or by chance, jump off their sticks within two to five kilometers of DZ planned. These sticks were elements of the HQ Company of Regiment, HQ Company of 1st Battalion with Lt. Col. Gorham and half of Company A of Cpt. Edwin M Sayre, different sticks to other companies and some units of the 3rd Battalion of the 504th PIR. It was a chance because these mixed and dispersed groups were able to perform the main task of the entire RCT. 23 C-47 jump off their men in front of English and Canadian lines, most belong to the 1st Battalion. At least three C-47 did turn. Men from A Company and the 456th PFAB jumped the next day with the rest of the 504th.
Many men asked during that first night he was well in Sicily. Colonel Gavin spent the first day of fighting with only a few men of his own stick and some lost. The sight of lightning from the naval bombardment far southwest convinced them about what they were on the right island but obviously far from the DZ planned.
The biggest problem for most of the paratroopers during transport, it is the red lamp was lit too soon! Men were therefore standing when the devices were acrobatics to avoid flak or during the flight. They were relieved to see the green light come on, although there was on the ground!
But once in the air, strong storm swept the parachutes. There were many wounded men crashing against rocky hills, walls, buildings, trees.
It will never be what was the first paratroopers to killing in action but the first was undoubtedly Lieutenant Kurt Klee (medical staff of the 2nd Battalion) who lands in the wire just before an Italian fort. He was killed before he could get rid of his harness. Other certainly suffered the same direction. Still others were killed while they were still in the air.
Once on the ground, alone or in groups, even far from the objective, they were the only things: destroy the enemy wherever he is.
The wide dispersion of men made it impossible to attack organized. The first actions resembled the guerrillas while paratroopers were looking for their units or their objective. These actions would simply sabotage communication, taking some strongpoint. All this led to an almost complete paralysis of the coastal units. So much so that General Guzzoni, the Italian commander, estimated that 50,000 paratroopers were dropped on the island.
The dropped the most in the unit was two squads of 2nd Platoon, Company E under the command of Lt. William J Meddaugh and members of the demolition section under the command of Lt. Brock M Weir.
Their objective was to destroy two bridges to Ponte Dirillo on Acate River on the west of the crest of Biazza. But after the trip more eventful than they were dumped near an important bridge to the west of Syracuse in the UK sector. Since their mission was to demolish a bridge and a bridge looks like another section demolition mina it. But before they set fire to the charges, a section of British paratrooper arrived. It was then learned that the section it was a hundred kilometers of the planned bridge.
A larger group landed in the British sector. There were about 320 men for most of the first battalion. They landed near Avola and Noto. Once organized, they engaged in skirmishes with the Italian defenses. A small group of 75 men, under the command of Lt. Charles E 'Pinky' Sammon, S-2, 1st Battalion began to Avola from the west. He was well underway when they met British troops entering the town by the east. The British said: "What the hell are you doing here, Yankee?"
An unknown number of paratroopers were taken prisoner by the Italians. But things turn to their disadvantage, they went to their captives. A number of other men were less likely. Once captured, they were taken to two years in captivity in Germany.
A small group of men of the 1st Battalion landed near Noto, on top of a hill and its surroundings. After taking the city, supposing that he was the only Americans dropped in this area, they went immediately to Gela, using all means of transport they could find, borrow or steal. They finally caught up with the regiment on the road to Trapani.
5 sets of taking the RCT in Sicily, only one, the 61st Carrier Group carrying the 2nd Battalion of Major Mark J Alexander kept his training and therefore jump his sticks in a limited area. Despite intense small arms fire which caused some dispersion, it jump whole battalion (apart from a few aircraft that had lost the training) in an area of 3km diameter about 3km northeast of Marina di Ragusa.
Landing in a heavily defended area, the battalion suffered from landing enemy fire. But, as it was dropped very low, between 100 and 130 meters, the minimum risk was being shot into the air.
For cons, the landing was brutal. The battalion counted 25 serious injuries due to the rocky terrain and the many stone walls. With this, at 9:00 am, the battalion had gathered 400 men and at 12:00 there were 536, including 21 of the 456th PFAB artillery under the command of Colonel Harden. They recovered a 75mm howitzer and 30 rounds. During this action, they removed four major forts and all the Italian garrison of the sector.
One of the units went far enough north to dominate the airfield of Comiso. After they were done, they returned to where they had been dropped and joined a group that was preparing to attack a large bunker in the sector.
At 12:00, the battalion went to seize Marina Ragusa and after a brief struggle supported by the howitzer, the battalion took all coastal defenses with 150 prisoners. Colonel established a defensive position for the night.
To D+1, early the morning, the battalion set off again towards the lines of the 45th Infantry Division. There, they were able to contact the headquarters of the 82nd. General Ridgway sent trucks to get them. On the morning of D+2, he was with all the RCT.
Due to his actions, 2nd Battalion eliminated any resistance on the right flank of the 45th InfDiv.
3rd Battalion when it is dispersed in a wide area between Scoglitti and Vittoria around 5 km southeast of Acate. But luckily, the sector that was at the center of the device of the 45th InfDiv. 3rd Battalion eliminated most defenses which greatly facilitated the advance of it.
The most important groups of the 3rd battalion was collected by Major Krause who established his headquarters after 3 km south of Scoglitti sent patrols in all directions. Small groups could thus be collected, containers of equipment found. By mid afternoon, the contact was established with the 45th Infantry Division.
<- Major Krause - Lt. Col. Gorham ->
At 7:00pm, after several attempts to contact other units of RCT, Maj. Krause
decided to move the 180 men he had collected to the main road of Gela at
Vittoria with the intent to make their way into Gela. Arrived there, he met
Lt.Col. Batcheller who sent bivouac awaiting another order on the road to Gela
on 8km northwest of Vittoria.
A D+1, at 6:00 am, the battalion made contact with Colonel Gavin. Vittoria was liberated by 60 men of the 3rd Battalion under the command of the battalion S-3, Lt. William J Harris and three guns of 456th PFAB.
The last group to gather in the west was certainly not the least because if group, almost unaided, effected almost all the main mission of the Combat Team. This group, composed of 80 men of the 1st Battalion, primarily the Company A and Company headquarters under the command of Lt. Col. Gorham battalion commander, landed at 6 km and a half south of Niscemi and 4 km from the DZ planned.
The first action occurred upon landing. Capt. Edwin "Grandpa" Sayre, commander of Company A and 15 or 20 men stormed a strong point. Initially repulsed, the reinforced group eventually take the strongpoint making a hundred prisoners. Lt. Col. Gorham arrived shortly after with 30 men and decided to head south to the main road overlooking the grounds.
No sooner had they started they saw a column of armored from Niscemi. The fight ensued between them. When the Germans lost two tanks and two others damaged, they retreated. This was the first defeat of the Hermann Goering Panzer Division.
Colonel Gavin had the same problem as all the paratroopers. He was dropped off at DZ planned landing a few kilometers southwest of Vittoria. And like most of the paratroopers, the colonel was not even sure to be on the right island. He was the sound of naval guns reassured him. Accompanied by a small group of men including Major Benjamin H Vandervoort S-3 and the Captain W Ireland, S-2 of regiment, he headed west. D+1, about 8 km from Vittoria, they fell on the first elements of the 45th Infantry Division. The next day, they fell on Major Kraus. Gavin ordered at that time all of the airborne forces towards Gela. Later, Gavin learned that the Germans held the crest of Biazza.
He decided to dislodge. Despite the intense enemy fire, the Germans were repulsed. He gave orders to Major William J Hagan who took over the 3rd Battalion in place of Major Kraus (left seek backward) attack west on the road to Gela in Acate to stop to the river and wait for orders.
<- Major William J Hagan
The attack of the 3rd Battalion began at 10:00 am and after breaking the initial
resistance, the men advanced 1.5km while suffering heavy losses. Around 12:00,
the Germans attacked with tanks against. Although the 3rd Battalion held the
land taken and nailing ground infantry, paratroopers were helpless against Tiger
tanks. The 3rd Battalion suffered heavy losses because of them. The bazooka
rockets bounced off the armor. Maj. Hagan was among the injured. But there was
no wavering in command, Maj. Krause was back.
A howitzer brought by the 456th PFAB damaged tanks which dissuaded others to continue. Colonel Gavin ordered to hold the ridge at all costs.
Major Krause, slightly injured told him that the 3rd Battalion was on the verge of making it completely decimated. Fortunately, Captain Ireland came with a liaison team to a 155mm artillery battalion and a sign that was in contact with naval artillery. Having made contact with a destroyer and a cruiser off a shower of shells fell on the Germans to withdraw accommodating approximately 1 km. It seemed to regroup in preparation for a counter attack. An intense artillery barrage proved to the Americans. But the shooting prevented ships from attack. At 8:00 pm Lieutenant Swingler arrived with his group of Staff and engineering but also a tank company. At 8:45 pm, the paratroopers launched the offensive on German positions. And although the losses were high, 43 dead and a hundred wounded, they drove back the Germans.
That evening, July 11, most men were witness to the unfortunate jump the rest of the 504th.
The contact forces from the beaches theoretically ended the airborne phase of the Combat Team. But guerrilla actions such continued for more than a week, scattered paratroopers continued to harass the enemy while approaching the beaches.
July 12 was a quiet day, it went to bury the dead to rest and reorganize.
On July 13, the Combat Team began to move the regiment less units of the 1st Battalion who had returned to Africa, the battalion of the 504th returned to his unit, ditto for the 456th and the 307th.
Only B Company remained with the 307th.
On July 18, the 82nd Airborne was ordered to take the 3rd Infantry in the vicinity of Palma di Montechiaro and prepare to move forward. Going to start a movement that would be rather a continual attack, 240 km in 6 days.
The peak occurred in the regiment on July 23, when the 3rd Battalion was ordered to Trapani. It charged with fixed bayonets through the airfield. Most strokes Italian artillery fire fell behind because of the speed of the attack. Some 3,000 Italians surrendered.
Then, the regiment moved to four weeks in camp 2 km from Trapani.
On August 18, the conquest of Sicily was completed by taking Messina. On August 20, the regiment was sent to airfields in Castelvetrano and Barizzo. From there, the C-47 transported to Kerouan in North Africa. Although the mission did not go at all as planned, General Patton found that the parachute reduced by at least two days landing. General Kurt Student, the German airborne expert estimated that without him when the paratroopers, the Hermann Goering Panzer Division had pushed into the sea landed on the beaches forces.
As men thought, Africa was unfortunately not changed. They found the dust, heat
and flies. But on September 5, the regiment was back in Sicily. The battalions
bivouacked near the airfield. The first battalion in Barizzo with B Company,
307th AEB and the 2nd Battalion in Comiso and the 3rd Battalion in
Castelvetrano with the HQ.
On September 8, comes the news of the Italian capitulation. On September 9, the 5th US Army landed at Salerno in Italy under the command of General Mark Clark. Within 72 hours, Field Marshal Kesselring had to reject the assailant to the sea at this time that this program was the second combat jump of the 505th PIR.
On the night of September 14, 1943, about 2100 paratroopers jumped on the beachhead at Salerno Paestum. They followed the jump from 504th to 24 hours. Within 24 hours, these two units helped clear the Salerno beachhead. After the rally, trucks transported the 505th to positions on Mount Soprano where companies settled dams and defenses. Since there were not many enemies, no unit conducted a major action. Most activities were reduced to patrols and trying to make contact with the 8th British Army was happening in the south.
After contact with 8th British Army, September 19, the regiment was sent to a few kilometers east to the vicinity of Rocca d'Aspide. Again, the only activity consisted of combat patrols who visited all the small remote mountain villages for some men.
On September 28, a large part of the regiment boarded LCI and was transported to thirty kilometers further north on the coast. It landed in the coastal village of Maiori. The rest of the regiment, mostly units of the 3rd battalion preceded the landing by truck through the mountains.
On September 29, the 505th had occupied Castellammare and a large area on the plain of Sarno.
September 30, the 3rd Battalion advanced to the main road from Torre del Annunziata.
The next day, 1st October, in the morning, 3rd Battalion following the British units recognitions liberated Naples. The trucks that had transported the 3rd Battalion, did the same for the first and second so that in the middle of the afternoon the regiment was in Naples. For the first time since leaving the United States, the paratroopers had a roof over your head.
The regiment was intended to occupy the city to maintain order.
On October 4, the regiment was not yet definitively installed, the Colonel Gavin received a call asking him to send two battalions to North Naples to meet the 36th Infantry Division’s troops and join the 2nd British Armored Brigade to push to the small town of Arnone on the Volturno River.
Gavin sent the 1st and 2nd Battalion. At 10:00 am, the Lt. Col. Alexander (appointed to that rank from Sicily) took his second battalion to the Cappuccini airfield where trucks were waiting.
The paratroopers descended from the vehicle a few kilometers from Villa Liturno. The objective was taking five bridges over the canals of the town of Arnone and an intact bridge over the Volturno River.
The battalion started its attack at 2:50pm. At 9:00pm he took the first bridge
and was in contact with the Germans. After a hard fight, the second bridge was
taken. In the afternoon they still took three other bridge and finished their
races at the edge of Arnone.
For its part, the 1st Battalion left Naples on October 5, with the same trucks. They arrived at Villa Liturno at 8:30am. At 5:30pm, he joined positions covering both sides and the rear of the 2nd Battalion.
During the night of October 5 to 6, all companies of the 2nd Battalion sent patrols to identify the road to the river and crossing places possible.
Company F met with no resistance, at 9:00 am, it sent a platoon to Arnone. It found the place abandoned by the Germans.
F Company entered in the village along with the heavy weapons section of the general staff. But in 3:30 pm, all hell broke loose. After an intense artillery barrage, a German company attacked the village from the west, while a battalion tried to cross the river. Company F, courageously defended the river while Lt. Col. Alexander personally led the assault to protect the left flank.
The Germans crushed the village under a barrage of shells. Alexander decided to withdraw its two companies to less exposed positions.
During this action, Company A was shifted to the left, positions the Company E was abandoned.
While A and B companies supported the 2nd Battalion in the vicinity of Arnone, C Company was commissioned to cover the road to the west of the Villa Liturno – Arnone highway.
Aside from the gunfire still present on 7 October was pretty quiet. In the evening, the two battalions retreated, noted by the 46th Infantry Division, returned to Villa Liturno to bivouac.
At 10:00am, the two battalions were back in Naples.
October 10 marked the beginning of a new era for the 505th PIR. Colonel Gavin was promoted to Brigadier General and assumed command of the auxiliary division. At the head of the 505th PIR was Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Batcheller. Lt. Col. Alexander became his Command in second. Major Vandervoort, promoted in Sicily took the head of the second battalion.
During the rest of October and November, the regiment continued to maintain order in Naples.
On November 18, the regiment boarded the USS Frederick Funston.
On December 9, the ship docked in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Trucks carried the 505th PIR in Cookstown, a village west of Lough Neagh. On February 13, the regiment was moved up to Belfast where he embarked on a short crossing of the Irish Sea. He landed in a Scottish port and boarded a train that took him to Camp Quorn, in the small hamlet of Quorndon, Leicestershire, England.
The regiment lodged in pyramid tents. Shortly after they arrived, the men were again subjected to a rigorous training and thus integrate new recruits. The regiment again changed commanders: Lieutenant Colonel William Ekman assumed the leadership of 22 March 44 to the end of the war.
<- Lt. Col. William Ekman - Major Kellam ->
There was also
a change in the 1st Battalion,
Major Winton was transferred to
the Division, Major
Kellam took his place. Captain
McGinity was promoted to Major
and became his assistant.
From Salerno, the regiment had not bailed out, as soon as the weather improved, a night jump and mass was held. Everything went well while the C-47 was gathering over Leicester. But then there was chaos. First, the group flew a training British Bombardier, then they flew in a cloud layer. Some devices down to the ground for this spot, but when put together, they were alone.
In conclusion, the men of the 505th were scattered between Loughborough and London. It took one week for the group at Camp Quorn.
A week later, there was another jump happened smoothly. Other jumps were scheduled for small units. Especially for teams of Pathfinders.
For its part the general staff worked on plans for the future operation "NEPTUNE", the assault on Normandy.
During the month of May were organized laborers a day and a night in Nottingham Forest.
In late May, the 505th was recorded and was ordered to prepare to leave.
The morning of May 29, 1944, the men of the 505th PIR climbed into buses and
early afternoon, they were recorded on airfields. The 1st and 2nd Battalion at
Cottesmore, the 3rd and the staff at Spanhoe. Both airfields were located near
Grantham in Lincolnshire, 30 miles northeast of Leicester. The next day,
briefings began and continued until the day of departure. With the help of maps
and a sandbox, his mission was explained to him in detail.
3rd Battalion received the hardest regimental mission. This battalion was to take and hold the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise, a major hub within the land near Utah Beach.
The 2nd Battalion was to seize the village of Neuville-au-Plain, 3km north of Ste Mère, on the highway between Carentan and Cherbourg. There should install a barrier between the Merderet west and its junction with the 506th PIR in the vicinity of Baudienville.
The 1st Battalion formed the subject but it also was tasked with cleaning the landing area and the area between St. Mere Eglise and Merderet River. The Company A with Company B of the 307th AEB and teams of heavy weapons company HQ had orders to seize # 1 Bridge (bridge over the Merderet River on the road between St. Mere and Picauville.) To La Fiere mansion, to keep and to remove the demolition charges and if the bridge was destroyed, the fire had to rebuild it. The third mission of the 1st Battalion was to send a strong patrol Bridge # 2 Chef-du-Pont and to report on its condition and the presence of the enemy.
In addition to the briefings, the ammunition was distributed. Old acquaintances of the Mediterranean region, units of 52nd Troop Carriers Wing, were designed to carry the 505th in Normandy. The 316th Carriers Group, who led the regiment in Africa and carried out the drops on Sicily and Italy carried on the 2nd and 3rd battalion from Cottesmore.
The 315th Carrier Group was also based in Africa, but it was used for transport and had dropped paratroopers for exercises in May 1944. He carried the first battalion headquarters from Spanhoe.
Each battalion had to be transported by a total of 36 C-47. A Cottesmore, Col. Krause managed to add 10 men (with two guns and ammunition) from 456th PFAB normal loading N18 series carrying the 3rd Battalion.
The N17 series, carrying the 2nd Battalion would head all the units of the 82nd Airborne.
A Spanhoe, 48 C-47 were the N19 series. 36 C-47 carrying the 1st Battalion, 9 for the Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Company and three aircraft carrying the platoon of Company B of the 307th AEB and HQ Detachment of the 82nd Airborne.
Just before takeoff, an accident destroyed one C-47 of the HQ Company of the 1st Battalion but the series was maintained at 48 aircraft when General Ridgway changed plans at the last minute and decided to bail rather than landing in a glider.
In early afternoon of June 5, everything was ready. Last minute briefings were held. There were also meetings of all Jumpmaster and all other officers. Escape kits were distributed as well as the latest maps. Personal weapons were cleaned and greased as sharp knives and bayonets. Around 10:00pm, when the daylight began to fade, the order was given to adjust the harness parachutes.
A Spanhoe tragedy took place, a sound echoed off the airfield. The 505th suffered its first loss. In the HQ Company of the 1st Battalion, a Gammon grenade carried by one of the men exploded, killing Pfc Robert L Leaky, Pvt Pete Vah and Cpl. Kenneth A Vaught and firing the unit. All members of the stick were wounded, except the Cpl. Mervin J Fryer. The Pvt. Eddie O Meelberg did not seem seriously injured died in hospital later in the night.
Finally, 5 June 44, at 11:00pm, the 505th was in the air again.
Earlier, around 10:30pm, before the main force of thirty minutes, the Pathfinders took off from their airfield in North Witham, near Grantham where they had trained since March.
The teams of the 505th occupied three units, each carrying about 18 men, volunteers from three battalions. These paratroopers were trained intensively to install the Eureka and beacon holophane lamps with which they were to mark the DZ run. The commanders of the three teams were Lt. James J Smith (2nd), Lt. Hubert B Bales (3rd) and Lt. Michael C. Chester (1).
At 1:15 pm, 5 minutes ahead of schedule, the three teams were given the green light to the southern boundary of the DZ, almost opposite the center of it. Of all the teams that Pathfinders were dropped that day, one that marked the 505th landed and DZ exactly. The DZ O is large oval about 1.5 km long located 1.5 km North West of Ste Mere Eglise. DZ was easily recognizable by three clear landmarks: the railway line Paris Cherbourg to the west, the main road N-13 that passes through Ste Mere to the east and the road between Pont l'Abbé in Ste Mere to the south.
When the C-47 carrying the 505th PIR left England, they flew over the sea they went down to 160 meters or more to avoid detection by radar. After the last beacon ship, they went 500 meters to avoid the flak fire located on the Channel Islands.
A 6 or 8 miles inland from the coast, a large bank of cloud had formed extending over the peninsula over a distance of 20-25 km and that may cause a disaster. Until then, the devices had remained in training. But coming in the clouds, training began to break up. Speeding also stretched the sticks far beyond the normal distance and made more difficult the rally was already difficult because at some place hedges led to detours of 400 to 500 meters just to get to the or place the previous paragraph had landed.
Despite all these difficulties, the 2nd Battalion executed a good jump. Lt. Col. Vandervoort (promoted to that rank on the airfield) lands near the "T" green installed by Lt. JJ Smith and his team, and most of his battalion landed in his neighborhood. 27 of 36 sticks jumped on the DZ or within 1.5 km of it at around 1:45am, 6 June 44. Other sticks landed west of Merderet River near the DZ of the 508th PIR. Other still landed between 6 and 8 km southeast of the DZ near the small town of Forges crossroads near the DZ C of the 506th PIR.
Jump as "known" was that of Squad 2nd Platoon of Company F which devices exactly followed the planned route. This stick was the one who jumped directly to the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise and immortalized in the movie of C Ryan, "The Longest Day".
As we know, a fire was reported in a house and then spread to a barn south of the church square. What is most remarkable about this stick is the number of soldiers who landed on a small area at a distance of just 200 meters. Many will be killed before touching ground, at least one fell into the burning house (presumably Pvt Blankenship), two landed on the church, the Pvt. John M Steele and Pvt. Kenneth E Russell, Russell was able to win, Steele injured his foot by gunfire Flak, remained attached and was captured by the Germans.
The 3rd and 1st Battalion as the regimental headquarters were widely dispersed. There were some exceptions though, such as the neck. Col Krause who landed on the DZ. This was also true for more than half of the men of the 3rd Battalion. But most sticks dropped in the wrong place were not very far from the DZ.
A little after 2:00am, the regiment was on the ground. The sticks away from the dropped DZ begin their motion towards it. Among the paratroopers were removed Col. Ekman, who was dropped with his stick 3 km north of the DZ south of Fresville. In addition to the fact that it was dropped in the wrong place, this is the unconscious the Colonel hit the ground. The aircraft was flying so fast that the colonel was stunned by the shock of opening his parachute. When he regained consciousness, he was alone. After wandering for 2 hours, he met in first the Major Thomas of the 508th PIR was injured, then the Major John Norton, S-3 of the regiment. Thanks to French, they went to St. Mere Eglise. Along the way, they met Major Frederick C. Kellam and his teamof the 1st Battalion also dropped in the wrong place. Then, it was the Colonel Vandervoort and the 2nd Battalion. It is 8:00am when Colonel finally took command of his regiment.
Finally, some sticks were dropped near the DZ. 3 sticks of 3rd Battalion landed near Montebourg 10 km north of Sainte-Mere-Eglise. 3 sticks, probably Company I and H were dropped 20 km north of the DZ near Valognes. Several sticks were dropped in the area of the 101st Airborne. They fought alongside the division. Others were captured immediately because of the presence of an enemy artillery battalion in the region of the Ste Mere.
In conclusion, the 505th PIR affected the best jump of all Paratroopers.
In two hours, the 3rd Battalion had assembled a mixed group of about 180 men. Col. Krause organized his group two provisional companies, each under the command of Capt. Walter C. DeLong (H Co.) and the other under the command of Lt. Ivan F Woods. (G Co.)
The first company in mind, guided by French, they entered Ste Mere Eglise and began to clean the village of Germans still present. At 5:00am, the village is occupied and roadblocks set up. Col. Krause sent a messenger to the headquarters of the regiment. Meanwhile, other groups of 3rd Battalion converged to Ste Mère so that at mid-morning, most of the 3rd Battalion was unharmed and arranged for a hedgehog defense of the town.
The roadblock on the N-13 (Ste Mere Eglise / Carentan) controlled by the Company G, undergoes against German attack around 10:00am. This was rejected thanks to a 57 mm anti-tank gun.
Throughout the day, the German company G harassed by mortars, artillery and small arms.
After the attack against the collar. Krause ordered the company I to attack the hill from which the Germans had left, but it was rejected. Nevertheless, this attack persuaded the Germans that the American troops in Ste Mere are numerous. They retreated. At this point, as to convince even the enemy, Lt. William E Wilson, commander of the 81mm mortar platoon of the 2nd Battalion took the first 33 rounds in 1000 among his men were sent that day.
For the 3rd Battalion, therefore all went well. But events did not start sweating. The enemy artillery batteries located on the crest of Turqueville-Fauville opened fire on their positions. On the evening of D-Day, there were about 130 men hospitalized in Ste Mere Eglise and most of them suffered injuries during the shooting. Among them it was Col. Krause. He received his third injury of the day at 5:00 pm when a ball touched the left leg. Maj. Hagan took command until the next morning.
The 2nd Battalion gathered in a little over 2 hours. The Lt.Col. Vandervoort decided to accomplish its mission, the capture of Neuville-au-Plain and establish a line of defense to the north. But before the battalion makes movement, General Ridgway who had no new units of the division ordered the 2nd Battalion to stay put and resist the time to make the point. At 6:00am, the General was informed that the 3rd Battalion took care of Ste Mere Eglise. Through this time, Vandervoort can collect his battalion. This also helped to equip themselves with the discovery of containers equipment. Vandervoort also when ordered departure, the 2nd Battalion had over 600 men, almost fully equipped.
<- Lt. Col. Vandervoot - Lt. Turner Turnbull ->
Vandervoort was another problem, he broke his ankle during the jump and so he
could not move. He "persuaded" two sergeants of the 101st pulling a cart to
carry ammunition. Around 7:00am, he had almost reached their objective they met
Col. Ekman and Major Norton who joined the DZ. Col. Ekman knew nothing of the
3rd Battalion, he had enough strength to hold Ste Mere Eglise? He gave orders to
Vandervoort to get there and take the village if necessary and to organize the
defense with all the units present.
Col. Ekman was aware that the division needed a base to carry out its missions. He was also agreed that the primary mission was to take the town of Ste Mere Eglise, a rallying point for the entire division in case the landing forces will not succeed in creating a beachhead or junction tarried with them soon. Division expect over.
But before heading to Ste Mere, Lt. Col. Vandervoort took one of his best decisions of war. He sent the 3rd Platoon, B Co. under the command of Lt. Turner B Turnbull in Neuville-au-Plain to form a post before fight and hold out as long as possible.
Company B found the village defenseless. The small height which was built Neuville gave them the advantage of high ground.
For his part, Lt. Col. Vandervoort arrives at Ste Mere Eglise. There he met Lt. Col. Krause. They decided that the 2nd Battalion would support the defenses to the north and east. Shortly after his arrival in Ste Mere Eglise, Lt. Col. Vandervoort inherited a Willys jeep which allowed to release the two sergeants of the 101st. He also received two 57mm guns and use the 80th AAB. He put one gun at the dam in the north and the other he sent to Neuville-au-Plain to support the Lt. Turnbull’ platoon.
At 1:00pm, Lt. Col. Vandervoort came with the gun to Neuville. He remained there to discuss when Turnbull came a column of prisoners framed by "paras". Finding it suspicious, Lt. Col. Vandervoort gave the order to open fire. And then everything becomes clear, the column was followed by two half-track, which opened fire on the Americans. Turnbull's men blocked the German advance but not these vehicles. Finally a gun destroyed the first vehicles and second the second vehicles.
The Germans then detached small groups to take Paras pincer. Lt. Col. Vandervoort returned to Ste Mere Eglise promising to Lt. Turnbull send him reinforcements to help it emerge.
He sent the first platoon of Company E under the command of Lt. Teodoro L Peterson to cover the retreat of Turnbull. They reached Neuville-au-Plain to 4:00pm. They swooped right into the right flank of the Germans who had nearly surrounded the platoon Lt. Turnbull. Of the 43 men who had joined Neuville-au-Plain this morning, only 16 were able to withdraw.
After recalling the Turnbull’s platoon, the situation remained relatively calm around the northern perimeter, but observers signaled the concentration of enemy forces including with armored vehicles. Lt. Col. Vandervoort made the decision to fire guns in the U.S. Navy. With a Navy Lieutenant this, he pulled the USS Nevada. At 9:45 p.m. came the first salvo of 18 rounds. The shots Nevada eliminated the counter attack from the north to the rest of the D-Day.
On the evening of June 6, the paratroopers of the 505th observed a hard landing and even catastrophic for some gliders of the 82nd Airborne. The main task to retrieve the cargo fell to the 1st Platoon, Company E and to midnight their work was finished.
While the second and third battalion defended Ste Mere Eglise, events on Utah beaches will greatly modified plans. Even if the landing took place, the forces landed 1.5 km of planned outputs. At 12:00 on June 6, the forces would exceed the Ste Mere Eglise. It did not happen. The Staff of the VII Corps change its plans. The 8th Infantry Division continue northward helped by a short advance of the 505th PIR. For their part, the Germans embarked on a series of moves to isolate and destroy the airborne bridgehead. The D Company’s roadblock, northeast of Ste Mere Eglise was subjected to intense fire. But they fought back just as strongly discouraged in the first attackers to perform other attempts. The roadblock on the main road, guarded by the 1st Platoon, Company D of Lt. Oliver B Carr Jr, was the next. Although the Germans succeeded in penetrating the lines, they were repulsed by two .50 machine guns removed gliders. Given these failures, the Germans attempted a breakthrough in the West, to the barrage of H Company, without success either.
Discouraged, the Germans withdrew to reorganize and re-attack the next day. They launched the attack on the main road where the Company D. During this attack, a self-propelled gun penetrated up to fifty meters of HQ 2nd Battalion. The 57mm gun destroyed it, but the situation became critical. Lt. Col. Vandervoort commanded a platoon of D Company who was not committed to attack the German flank. They managed to restore the situation thanks to a precise 60mm mortar fire. The two battalions retreated in disorder leaving more than 50% of their staff in the field.
For its part, E Company, which still included one platoon was sent to perform a short attack and thus launched the offensive of the 8th Infantry. At the same time, the Germans also were preparing an attack against. This caused great confusion and contact with 8th Infantry was lost. The attack took place anyway. The Germans were brushed. What was the actual number of casualties suffered by the enemy, the 2nd Battalion of the 1058th Regiment ceased to exist. After the loss of a battalion over the decimation of three others in attacks on Ste Mere Eglise, the German HQ felt it no longer had the strength to take the city and eliminate the airborne bridge. The Battle of Sainte-Mere-Eglise was won, the success of the bridgehead Utah Beach insured.
Back to the 1st Battalion. Company A received the mission to ensure that the bridge on the La Fiere causeway was ok. When plans for the 82nd Airborne failed due to bad parachuting of 507th and 508th PIR, the bridge took a very important tactical value. This area became a defense of Ste Mere Eglise. A side of the bridge along the river stands a group of buildings, the Manoir de la Fiere. Serendipity was the only company of the 1st Battalion, A Co, under the command of Lt. John Dolan, who had a well-defined D-Day Mission lands in good order on the DZ. Lt. George W. "Wayne" Presnell, the first platoon's mission was to inspect the bridge lands 400m from the DZ. They went to the bridge and found intact. The squad was also assumed targeted by the Germans in the area. Around 7:00 am, Lt. Presnell saw his company approaching the bridge and took be targeted as well. It is at this moment as the Major. McGinity was killed by a bullet in the head by a sniper.
At about 9:00 am, Maj. Kellam arrived with the bulk of the 1st Battalion. Lt.
Dolan ordered his 3rd Platoon cleaning buildings Manor where isolated opened
fire on his men.
With most of his battalion on hand, Maj. Kellam organized a defensive position in depth with Company A cut near the bridge. It is well entrenched that the German paratroopers expected attack.
A barrage of artillery and mortar fell upon men, the German attack is coming. Leading the attack, two tanks. With the infantry, they were heading towards the bridge. These were grounded by shooting the paratroopers, but the tanks continued to advance. The 57mm gun placed in the first turn over the bridge opened fire. The lead tank shot him, killing and wounding the gunners.
At this point, bazookas teams placed near the bridge out of their cover and put out of harm's way both tanks. The German attack was repulsed. The enemy artillery and mortars continued to rain on the positions of the 1st Battalion, Maj. Kellam lost his life. Lt. Dolan, learning of the death of his battalion commander sent a message to HQ. Col. Mark J Alexander made the decision to go to the bridge. He received the General Gavin hand command of the 1st Battalion and all the forces in this sector.
That day, the Germans attempted nothing more. But the next day, around 2:00 a.m., the buzzing track was heard approaching. It was a tracked vehicle approaching the bridge alone. Sgt. William D Owens of A Co. took two Gammon grenades and threw them on the vehicle. It does not touch, but the explosion was folding the vehicle.
June 7 at 8:00am, intense artillery fire fell again on the lines of paratroopers. At 10:00am, four tanks came to new lines. The lead tank was shot by the 57mm gun and bazooka teams. Unlike yesterday, the soldiers could hide behind the carcasses of tanks. Again, Company A is attacked first. After 1h, the Germans asked for a truce to collect the dead and wounded.
A sporadic mortar fire continued to hit the positions of the 1st Battalion but the Germans after suffering two defeats are more tempted to attack by the way there.
Late at night, the 1st Battalion was relieved by the 507th PIR and moved to a reserve position west of Neuville-au-Plain. The 1st Battalion named the La Fiere bridge, the "Bridge Kellam" in honor of their commander.
On June 7, at 9:00 pm, the orders came to the regiment from the VII Corps. The 505th PIR is attached to the 4th Infantry Division for a push north to finally liberate Cherbourg. The 1st Battalion, which suffered heavy losses was reinforced by the 2nd Battalion of the 325th GIR and a platoon of Company C of the 746th Tank Battalion.
On June 8, shortly after midnight, the 505th PIR started with the 2nd and 3rd Battalion left to right. At 4:30 am, it crosses Neuville-au-Plain and established a starting line between Neuville and Merderet River. A Neuville-au-Plain, the second battalion of paratroopers found instead were released by tanks of Col. Hupfer.
With little or no resistance to him, Col. Ekman was eager to move on and
continue. But the wait for the other two regiment of the 4th Infantry Division
to join him. Late in the evening, the 505th PIR took the lead. At 11:00 pm, it
was increased by 2 km, 3rd Battalion seized Grainville, the second in front
Fresville when the regiment was stopped for the night.
The next day, June 9 at 5:30 am, the attack resumed. The 2nd Battalion left and the 2nd Battalion of the 325th GIR right. Already at 1:00 am, the 325th GIR had occupied Fresville, 2nd Battalion of the 505th PIR had captured the road bridge over the Merderet River west of Grainville.
The two battalion progressed well up to 1 km, then were stopped by strong enemy presence into a ridge. The Germans were reinforced by self-propelled guns. Col. Ekman tried to get a barrage but in vain. So he ordered the battalion to bury.
The offensive resumed the following day on June 10 to 2:00 pm. Preceded by an
artillery barrage, the 1st Battalion quickly crosses the line of the channel and
the stream was more long. After the channel, the 1st Battalion was to cross open
ground. Col. Alexander asked for a shot of smoke to hide his lead. Then he
launches his companies B and C front to sweep the Germans to the Montebourg rail
station. At the end, there were at 1st Bn about 250 men and officers.
The 2nd Battalion when it turned to the right after crossing the creek. It stopped southeast of Ham. During the night, the two battalions were counter-attack by forces of the size of a pack but each against attacks were repulsed.
June 11, Col. Ekman ordered the 2nd Battalion of the 325th GIR to Ham. Col. Ekman was fired a smoke screen to conceal his advance. At 6:00 pm, the town was taken. The three battalions were arrested and placed in defense. The 3rd Battalion left the area to clean Grainville few pockets of resistance and to patrol along the river to the south.
With this day, ends the offensive operations of the 505th in this area.
On June 13, the U.S. Army plans were reviewed in again. Resistance increasingly harsh north excluded rapid capture of Cherbourg. The 505th PIR returned to the 82nd Airborne. And the 2nd Battalion of the 325th GIR in his regiment. The paratroopers of the 505th left Ham to bivouac near Picauville. Just arrived, the paratroopers suffered the first real rain of the season. June 15 at 3:00 pm, the 505th attacked towards St Sauveur-le-Vicomte. The men crossed the lines of the 507th PIR. The 1st Battalion was to the right and the second left on the road.
The 2nd Battalion advanced 700 meters and was blocked by a concentration of German in Rosiers. Company D and E positioned themselves in defense, the company mortar bombed the Germans. But Lt. Col. Vandervoort break the deadlock by getting two tanks which was linked to the first battalion.
Then, the two companies departed ahead so fast that from the time, the men ran. At 7:00 pm, the two battalions were at the same height. Col. Ekman stopped for the night north of the village of Crosville.
General Ridgway complained to the Staff that his division could take St Saviour on the same day if the 9th Infantry Division had kept pace. He received permission to take the city the next day without the worry of it.
The next morning at 7:00 am, the offensive resumed, without encountering resistance. The main obstacle was the shelling that fell on the 1st and 2nd battalions.
June 16 at 11:30 am, the two battalions arrived on the heights of St Sauveur-le-Vicomte. Lt. Col. Alexander received artillery fire on some tanks he saw. For his part, Lt. Col. Vandervoort, a window of a castle observed that the main road through the city from north to south was full of horse-drawn vehicles retreating north. He opened fire of the divisional artillery asked only target.
General Ridgway accompanied by General Bradley came to see the show. They gave all the details to the VII Corps artillery. Since no target had at that time, solve all their shots this position. The power of the fire was such that observers thought it was two-thirds of St Saviour exploding. Everything disappeared in a cloud of dust.
The original plans of the VII Corps excluded crossing of the moat in St
Sauveur-le-Vicomte. But General Bradley changed plans. Therefore, the 2nd
Battalion attacked at the end of the dam. It entered to St Sauveur-le-Vicomte,
killing and being the last German prisoners present. The 1st Battalion went
after him and took position on the heights northwest.
While two battalions entered the city, Col. Ekman called his third battalion. In the middle of the afternoon, he took a position southeast. The battalion arrived to the railway track, but was blocked by enemy tanks. I Company managed to cross later on the other side. Lt. Isaacs, commander of Company G was slipped behind the I Co and took the Germans flank. This forced them to withdraw.
At 10:30pm, the 505th PIR had secured a bridgehead from 2000 to 3000 meters deep. General Ridgway was past two battalions of the 508th PIR south covering the highway St Sauveur-le-Vicomte / La Haye-du-Puits.
On June 17, the 505th expanding the bridgehead up to 3000 meters in all directions.
Once the 47th Infantry passed through their lines, the men had their first
real opportunity to rest, wash and eat. This is also the time they learned of
the death of their former commander, Colonel. Batcheller. His stick of 508th
PIR fell near St Saviour. He died in an attack against a machine gun position.
The 1st Battalion also lost its commander. Lt. Col. Mark J Alexander was temporarily transferred to the 508th PIR as second in command of the regiment.
During the next few days, there have been some changes. Col. Alexander had left 508th PIR. Gen. Ridgway temporarily sent Lt. Col. Winton as deputy regiment commander. Col. Ekman took a few permutations in his regiment. Including Maj. Hagan, who left the 3rd Battalion to take command of the first Bn.
On June 19, the 505th PIR was trucked to the vicinity of Etienville. He landed
and crossed the fluke for a camp south of Moitiers-in-Bauptois in the bridgehead
established by the 325th GIR. The 82nd Airborne was attached to VIII Corps of
Gen. Troy Middleton.
On June 20, the 3rd Battalion was ordered to clean the wood and Limors to position its western edge. The regiment was involved in the offensive to Haye-du-Puits. It was the most miserable was installed where the paratroopers place. When it was not raining, the trees dripping. And to add to the woes of men, the Germans held the hill 131 overlooking the area. Suffice to say that every move was greeted by a rain of shells. The regiment counted 293 men lost. This represents half of the losses of the entire Normandy campaign. In preparation for the attack, which was to begin on July 3, the large patrol was conducted.
On July 2, the regiment received its orders attacks. The objective was Hill 131 and the whole area between the hill, swampy grasslands north and the main road St Sauveur-le-Vicomte - Haye-du-Puits far west. An overall increase of 3 km. The next day the attack started at 6:30 am. The 2nd Battalion left, the first right and the third in reserve. Previous attack, the divisional artillery bombarded the enemy positions.
The 2nd Battalion encountering little resistance walked quickly to the crest of
the Dupinerie at 8:20 am. The first had more trouble, but with the help of a
mortar reached the same spot at 9:45 am. At 10:15 am, the assault resumed. The
2nd Battalion always walked so quickly. He reached the top of the hill 131 after
a brief skirmish at 12:25pm. It took prisoners including 3 officers.
The 1st Battalion was again harder. It suffered the enemy artillery fire from Hill 121. But at 2:00 pm it reaches the highway. The third battalion was in reserve was still the most difficult task, cleaning pockets of resistance. It took most of the day to get there.
The 505th then received additional orders. The 508th had difficulties in its sector. The 505th extended its sector on the southern slopes of the hill 131 to make contact with the 508th PIR. This contact made by the second battalion of the Blanchelande hamlet.
For the 2nd Battalion, the Battle of Normandy was over. It remains in these positions until the end of the war. 1st and 3rd battalions were ordered to the 508th participated in the capture of the hill 95 and the crest of the Pottery 1.5 km south of Hill 131. July 4 at 8:00 am, they drove off the attack and at 11:50 am, they had seized their objective. The regiment remained on site on 5 and 6 July. Then, the 6, the 2nd Battalion of the 508th PIR was violently attacked. The lines of the 505th PIR were still stretched to encompass the western slopes of the hill 95.
On July 7, they ended the enemy presence in this sector. It was the last battles of the 505th PIR in Normandy.
On July 8, the regiment went into reserve the VIII Corps and was relieved by the 8th Infantry Division. On July 11, it began to move to his return to England at Camp Quorn.
For this action, the entire division was awarded the French forage. The paratroopers jumped prior to the actual start of the invasion. Due to being the first to fight, the currency of the 505th PIR was "H-MINUS".
For their bravery, their courage during the invasion, the 505th PIR received a Presidential Unit Citation. (The equivalent for the unity of the Medal of Honor to a soldier)
The regiment left France aboard LST and landed at Southampton and was transported by train to Leicester before returning home to Quorn.
During the rest of period in England, the regiment absorbed new recruits. Changes in command fell. Col. Krause became second in command of the regiment. Maj. Kaiser took his place at the head of the 1st Battalion. Major Kaiser took his place at the head of the 1st Battalion. Major Long took the head of the 1st Battalion in place of Major Hagan victim of a road accident.
On 9 September 1944, the British Field Marshal Montgomery proposed a plan called
Market Garden intended to fix a bridgehead to the Rhine River.
The operation was a combination of an airborne assault to seize and hold key bridges and roads of Holland and a motorized advance.
Sunday, September 17 to 10:00am, the paratroopers of the 505th climbed aboard the C-47 for their last jump. According to plans, the 3rd Battalion who had the primary mission of capturing Groesbeek be the first to jump on the DZ "N" followed by the second battalion despite its reserve position had some tasks to perform and finally establish the first battalion the first line of defense to the southwest.
Several of the nine C-47 carrying the headquarters of the 82nd were part of the wave to jump with the 1st Battalion. General Gavin, the learner changed the order of the jump to be the first on the DZ.
The regiment took off two separate airfields. The 1st Battalion (and Division HQ) to Cottesmore airfield. The 2nd and 3rd of Folkingham airfield.
The series took off and regrouped at the top of their respective fields, and then went to the Netherlands.
Approaching the DZ, the sound of anti-aircraft gun sounded ominous. Nevertheless, none of the C-47 was not shot down.
The flight of the series of the 1st Battalion HQ and met a problem. They had to be diverted because when I arrived slightly above the DZ, Gen. Gavin attended the airdrops of paratroopers of the 3rd Battalion. Jumping on the 2nd and 3rd Battalion, there came a strange fact. The two battalions arrived at the same time on the DZ! The Col. Vandervoort made the decision to blow his second battalion a little further after the houses of Groesbeek. Once landed, the companies got together in record time. They headed to their first objective, hill 81.8. The Germans located in Groesbeek sectors were therefore took squeezed between the 2nd Battalion northeast and the third striker southwest.
The beginner jump around 1:00pm, 3 battalions were on the ground 12 minutes later.
Companies G and H commanded by Cpt. Isaacs and Maness invaded Groesbeek quickly with the help of the 2nd Battalion from the north-east. After that, the two battalions captured a hundred Germans.
3rd Battalion won the defensive perimeter was appointed, he extended Kamp at the junction with the 508th PIR and Horst south-east and then south to Bruuk a front near 3 km. Long before the night, all the main roads were blocked and strong points organized, the battalion moved to the night without incident.
<- Lt. Stanley Weinberg
The 1st Battalion received as a perimeter area starting from Bruuk with Company
I in junction and beyond to the south-west to Riethorst where a platoon of
Company B, commanded by Lt. Stanley Weinberg, a dam was installed road and take
the hill overlooking the main road between the dam and the west of the Meuse
The 2nd Battalion, which had landed in a half-dozen position of anti-aircraft guns. He destroyed what probably saved the jump of the 508th PIR. The Col. Vandervoort pointed observatory Molenberg as new rallying point. The building was turned into a complete anti-aircraft round. But when it was hit by a rocket of bazooka. The Germans quickly hoisted the white flag.
At 2:15 pm, the battalion gathered near the tower. Then he crossed to the north Groesbeek hill 81.8 about 1 km 1/2 west of the town. It stood as a reserve as it was intended.
The Germans were completely surprised this September 17. The day was generally calm. But on 18, they began to react.
For the first time, artillery and mortar fell on the lines of the 505th. They launched several attacks against to reduce the bridgehead without success. A Riethorst, 300 Germans attacked the platoon of the 1st Battalion. But they were turned away. Most companies signaled attacks but each time, the enemy was repulsed.
For cons, on the DZ, the situation became critical. It should be used as a landing area for 450 gliders. As there was a great distance between the 3rd Bn Bredeweg and 1st Bn to Riethorst the Germans had infiltrated during the night to the southern edge of the DZ. Beyond that, they fired on the teams involved in the recovery equipment containers. The Col. Ekman ordered the 1st Battalion to clean the DZ. Major Long told the mission two platoons of C Company who were held in reserve. The Germans fled to the Reichswald.
September 19 was much quieter. No unit signaled a significant attack. The men did not lack ammunition. For cons, the supply of food was a problem.
During the day, the Col. Ekman was removed a few road blocks on top positions and steps were taken to improve others.
That day also, the 2nd Battalion was attached to the British Armored Guards Division who was commissioned to make two bridges over the Waal River at Nijmegen. The 17 and 18, the 508th had three attempts all failed. The enemy force was estimated to be 500 SS.
In early afternoon, the 2nd Battalion climbed on tanks and an hour later they arrived at the outskirts of Nijmegen. Reaching a fork in the Groesbeekscheweg, force it split into two. The first group, consisting of five tanks and an infantry platoon of the 1st Grenadier and Company D of the 505th had a mission to seize the bridge rail. The second, comprising 20 to 30 tanks, an infantry company of the 1st Grenadier and the rest of the 2nd Battalion attacked the road bridge.
At 4:00 pm it sprang. Cooperation tanks / soldiers was perfect. Tanks destroyed strengths, infantry anti-tank cleaner positions.
At 7:00 pm they reached the last house overlooking Hunner Park and bridge approaches. Instead of launching the final assault, the British commander preferred to wait for the units located in the southwest do junction.
For the other group, everything went well also. At 4:00 pm, they were the railway bridge. But then they met strong resistance. At the close of the day, two tanks were destroyed and D Company took under machine gun fire.
September 20 was a crucial day for the whole regiment. The Germans launched a strong attack against including battalions of the 2nd Fallschirmjäger Korps. The aim of the Germans was to cut the road Nijmegen - Gave. Half of the enemy force attacked the positions of the 508th PIR in the vicinity of Wyler and Beek while the other party attacked the 1st Battalion of the 505th to Riethorst and Mook.
When the 508th was postponed to Wyler, the Germans turned against the 3rd Battalion at Groesbeek. At 10:00 am, almost all companies of the two battalions were engaged. At 12:00, despite the losses, the scope was pretty much stabilized.
However Riethorst and Mook, the situation became critical. A Mook, Company B was rejected. A Riethorst two platoons belonging to Company B and C will hold good even by the time they were completely surrounded.
Mook was a priority, where the regiment took the only intact bridge over the Maas-Waal Canal. It was the lifeline for the division but also for the British troops fighting in Nijmegen.
Col. Ekman took the situation in hand, with a tank platoon of the Coldstream Guards Division, he ordered the Lt. Dolan prepare two platoons of Company A and move to Mook.
He even went to Mook to organize against an attack consisting of a few tanks and a platoon of Company B. Within an hour, the situation was restored to Mook.
While his fighting took place, other important actions took place that had a considerable influence on the Market Garden operation. The British troops were decimated at Arnhem. Consequently, taken from the bridge of the main road on the Waal River in order to raise this division became vital!
Gen. Gavin worked out a plan of attack, the 504th PIR would cross the river by boat downstream of the bridge to the north end for a combined strength of the 2nd Battalion of the 505th and British troops seized the southern ends.
The greater part of the day of September 20 happened to take on positions of the Germans. Meanwhile, the paratroopers of the 504th received their canoes. At 3:00 pm, they launched the assault. At 5:00 pm, it had seized the north end. The 2nd Battalion launched its offensive on time. In less than 30 minutes the bridge was taken.
The day of September 21, was calm. Companies A and B complete cleaning Mook. There it met an enemy force that had crossed the Meuse River but rejected.
September 22 was the quietest day. The 2nd Battalion was relieved by the 504th PIR and returned to the regiment.
September 23 was the day to get the 325th GIR, which was delayed due to fog over England. He raised the 505th PIR who was sent to Nijmegen.
The period 24 to 30 lives little action other than patrols. HQ division, it was learned that the Germans regrouped for a counter attack. The 505th was ordered to make the bridge to the British and regain its former position. But fortunately for the regiment, the attack was launched against the above lines of the 325th and 508th. After spending 11 days in some of its old positions, the regiment moved increments up to a line along the river Nijmegen in Erlecom and then joined the Wyler-Nijmegen road at the northern end of Wyler Meer.
Normally at this time, the 82nd Airborne should have been raised. But the Field-Marshal Montgomery argued he needed to clean the unit Scheldt estuary and open the port of Antwerp.
So the division remained one month more in Holland.
Finally, on November 12, the regiment was relieved by units of the 3rd Canadian Corps. It went walk to Oss. There bivouacked 3 days. On November 16, the regiment boarded onto trucks. It still bivouacked one day in Belgium in Bourg-Leopold. On November 17, the 505th PIR arrives at its new home, Camp Suippes, located in the province of Champagne, near Reims, France. The camp consisted of a group of one floor barracks dating back to the first War. Most men hoped to return to Camp Quorn in England, but they learned that the camp was closed.
At the camp, some soldiers were given permissions. As there was no forecast for an airborne mission, the regiment had nothing else to do than the usual training.
December 16, 1944, the Germans launched an offensive in the Belgian Ardennes
surprising the Allies. On 17 December, the announcement is made to the BBC. Few
are made paratroopers attention. It is only when the lights came on and blow
whistles rang at 2:00 am the next day that all realized that they were going on
a few things. While all this was being prepared in the area of
regiment was the commotion well organized to gather all the winter clothes that
everyone could find and remove heavy weapons and ammunition, personal endowments
and fighting each one day rations K and D. Thanks to the foresight and
insistence Gen. Gavin, all these things were already in the supply depots of
companies, so that well before 9:00 am, the regiment had lunch, was equipped and
ready to go.
On December 18, at 10:00 am, all climbed in large truck trailers that were brought into the camp. The 82nd Airborne was sent to a village called Werbomont crossroads. Around midnight, the 505th came to and left the truck in the small town of Habiémont, 5km east of Werbomont, Belgium.
The regiment was ordered to note as the first units of the 119th Infantry Regiment (30th Division), occupying defensive positions to the stream until the situation becomes clearer.
Consequently, it was ordered to move to the right of the 504th PIR, occupied Lower Bodeux, Belgium. It continued his movement that night and the next morning, December 20, It was on the defensive line, almost exactly 48 hours after leaving Camp Suippes. The 2nd Battalion was in Trois-Ponts, south 3rd Battalion covered the largest area to Grand Halleux. The 1st Battalion was Rencheux. The defensive front was around 7.2 km.
A Trois-Ponts, the 2nd Battalion destroyed the bridge over the Amel, north of the town preventing Kampfgruppe Peiper to cross the river. The road from Stavelot to Vielsam was therefore closed, except a narrow passage from the east that made Trois-Ponts vulnerable. The Col. Vandervoort solved the problem by sending E Company commanded by Lt. Meddaugh on site. Around 8:00 pm, armored vehicles approached the roadblock. Two half-tracks. One jumped on a mine, the other was destroyed by the team Bazooka. This was the last battle for the night.
The next day, the Germans attacked the re positions the company E. At 3:50 p.m., when the company seemed to be overwhelmed, Lt. Meddaugh was ordered to withdraw. Company F was in support of the company retreated to 4:30 pm. The two companies met at Trois-Ponts. On the heels, an enemy company forded the river. They were all killed.
At 6:20 pm, the 307th Engineers demolished the only remaining bridge.
Further south on the Salm River, Grand Halleux
located east of the river, the Germans attacked the bridgehead of the Company G.
The outpost was overwhelmed, all the men were killed. As the platoon withdrew,
while the Germans attempted to cross the river ford. G Company massacred. German
did not reached the west bank.
It was impossible for the regiment to keep an edge in this dimension. Large gaps persist between units. It took constant patrols to cover the whole area.
B Company was designated as a reserve regiment. It positioned herself behind the 3rd Battalion ready to intervene wherever necessary. Other reserve units were formed from companies and service staff. During this time, Colonel Ekman was constantly moving down the line of pure check positions front.
It was cold, but the cold was nothing compared to the one that happened on the night of December 22 to 23. It began to snow. And that was only the beginning.
December 23 was a quiet day, no German attempt to cross the lines of the 505th. By cons, it undergoes an intense artillery fire. Gen. Gavin pulled the 2nd Battalion to place in division reserve in case the enemy break lines to the south.
On December 24, the regiment was ordered to withdraw. His last assignment
was to cover the 307th Engineers as it destroyed the last bridge. The 1st and
2nd Battalion executed the downturn without incident, but the 3rd Battalion
crossed the group of Obersturmbannführer Peiper that retreating own Kampfgruppe.
There have been several violent clashes.
Shortly after daybreak, the regiment was in position with the 2nd and 3rd battalions line between Trois-Ponts and a line to beyond Basse Bodeux.
On 26 December, the situation improved, although it is very cold, the sun appeared to raise the temperature a bit.
On 27 December, the Germans attempted an attack but were easily repulsed.
During the period from December 25 to January 2 Major Kaiser was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. The Cpt. William R. Carpenter was promoted to Major and appointed commander of the 2nd Battalion.
On the night of 1 to 2 January 1945, the independent
517th PIR was attached to the 82nd Airborne. It raised the 505th PIR. The 505th
PIR was to prepare for the offensive planned for January 3. The ultimate goal
was Salm River where the 505th had retired on December 24.
The primary objectives for the 505th were small communities of Fosse, Reharmont and Noir-Fontaine. These objectives were assigned respectively to the 3rd, 1st and 2nd battalion. Once reached this phase (Phase A), the first two battalions continue through the wood Hodinfosse, while the second would progress on small roads, Noir-Fontaine Abrefontaine, Goronne and Rencheux (Phase B) the latter locality located just before the Vielsam Salm River (Phase C).
At dawn on January 3, cold and foggy, men abandoned knapsacks, sleeping bag and hood for easy movement. Hoping that services could bring in the first lines before nightfall.
At 8:30 am, the 1st and 2nd Battalion arrived in their first line without difficulty. 3rd Battalion arrived late, shooting victim "friend" from the artillery. It went immediately to the attack. The Lt. Col. Kaiser ordered the company I take Fosse with H Company in support. The situation was serious when H Company crossed an open field. It underwent intense fire which pinned to the ground. H Company tried to neutralize the shooting but was placed under the fire of enemy artillery. Since both companies were blocked, Lt. Col. Kaiser their ordered to withdraw. They had to wait for the tanks that accompanied the 1st Battalion. At 11:00 am, two tanks arrive and with the help of artillery, paratroopers encircled the village at 2:00 pm. At 5:35 pm, the village was officially took.
3rd Battalion took after his first goal had to wait for the arrival of the 551st PIB on the left. But the unit was having difficulty achieving. A company of the 508th PIR took his place. The company accompanied Companies G and H to the line PHASE A where they buried. The I Company stayed at Fosse aside and waited for the arrival of Lt. Joseph W Vendevegt the regimental staff who was to take command. All the officers were either killed or wounded, and 2/3 of the losses.
In the area of the 1st Battalion, Company C was the same point that the company I. C Company's mission was to take Reharmont, with companies A and B right behind. The last hundred meters to reach the place were a killing field. Because the two companies A and C were very close to the village, no artillery support could be requested. Major Long appealed to the tanks. Meanwhile, Company B who had remained behind became outflank the enemy. The company had to stop and clean up his right flank. With the arrival of the tanks, the remains of the three companies took the village. At 11:00 am, the 1st Battalion had reached its first objective and continued to move up the line PHASE A early afternoon. Company C had been reduced to half of the workforce. The other two were not much better.
The next day, the 2nd Battalion took the lead at 8:30 am. After breaking the German defense line, it took Noir-Fontaine. At that time, it was caught in the fire of enemy artillery. Two tanks and two tank destroyers that accompanied was destroyed. Nevertheless, the battalion persisted and reached the line PHASE A at 2:55 pm.
That night, all the paratroopers on the front still remember. Extends rid of their business, they had nothing to face the cold. Neither top nor sleeping bag. The means of transport used it to evacuate the wounded, the contribution of ammunition and water.
January 4, despite the difficulties, the three battalions departed the assault. The 1st Battalion reached the line of Phase B at 10:00 am. Companies A and C continued to the edge of the wood Abrefontaine. When the second battalion reached this position, the two companies withdrew.
The 2nd Battalion was the hardest fights, but at 12:30 pm it had reached a point where it controlled the dominant Abrefontaine surrounding terrain. It remained there until the 325th GIR comes to meet it.
January 5, was still a very cold day. It had snowed during the night. Despite this, the 82nd Airborne Division was one of the few to have achieved the objectives of all the VII Corps. It was told to wait for others to catch up units.
The 505th PIR was ordered to keep the pressure on the Germans to prevent them to retreat. The 2nd Battalion took Abrefontaine without much difficulty, as the Germans evacuated the area. The good news of the day for the men was the arrival of their equipment to fight against the cold.
January 7 at 6:30 am, the 505th flew to the last Phase of the Salm River. The 1st and 3rd battalion met little resistance except mortars. For cons, the 2nd Battalion led the toughest fights. His objective the locality of Goronne. The village was occupied by infantry supported by four Tiger tanks. The battalion suffered much loss. Fortunately, the tank destroyers took positions and destroyed two of the Tiger. Others retreated leaving only the men. The battalion occupied at the time the town more easily.
The battalion would still suffer a serious loss. Its commander, Colonel Vandervoort was hit by a mortar shell. The injury ended his military career. Maj. Carpenter over the command.
January 8, 3rd Battalion improved its position, dominant the Salm River. The second was reorganized to Goronne. The 1st Bn set up roadblocks on the road Goronne - Rencheux.
The 9 December, 2nd Battalion crossed the lines of the first to occupy Rencheux. The 1st Battalion arrived in the same locality followed by the 3rd Bn.
On the night of January 10 to 11, the 505th was relieved by units of the 75th Infantry Division. The regiment was led to Theux, Belgium near Spa. It was placed in reserve the XVIII Airborne Corps. The regiment left Rencheux was a shadow of himself. Nearly a half of the workforce was missing.
But, enjoyable time in Theux ended January 26. The regiment go to Born, Belgium by truck and on foot to Montenau.
The mission of the division was to advance north-east from the line St. Vith - Meyerode with the 1st Infantry Division on the left flank and destroy the enemy in this area to beyond the German border village Losheimergraben 12km from Meyerode.
At 6:00 am on January 28, the attack started. At 10:00 pm, the 505th PIR was movement behind the 325th GIR to Meyrode. All the regiment had to advance by creating paths with bulldozer through the woods. There was no road! The movement was so slow. It took four days to reach the road through Losheimergraben, which normally would not only took one day at a division against such a low resistance!
On January 30, the 505th PIR started their, it progressed 3 km to the vicinity of the road Bullange - Manderfeld.
The 31 January, the 1st Battalion of the 505th PIR was commissioned to take Losheimergraben and the main road through the village and from north to south. Since the railway, starting place of the attack, there were 2000 meters short. Company A went ahead and two behind. A squad car was supposed to support the attack. But only three came to pass the way of the railroad. The attack began at 4:30 am. At dawn it was in sight of the village. The other two companies on the slopes, the village was caught at 11:30 am. The 2nd Battalion attacked his side on the left flank of the 2nd Battalion. It attacked towards the intersection northwest of Losheimergraben. The attack started at 5:30 am and until 7:00 am, it met with no opposition. At that time it was near the intersection. But a large enemy force resisted it and tanks that was supported was destroyed. Nevertheless, the battalion forward and took the crossing.
Achieved its objectives, the paratroopers thought they would be removed and placed at rest. But the regiment was ordered to attack north-east and take position to attack the Siegfried Line. The 2nd Battalion advanced to the north near Neuhof, where it made junction with elements of the 1st ID. The 1st Battalion advanced southwards to its junction with the 508th PIR Losheimergraben. The 3rd Bn was placed behind the 2nd Bn and prepared to attack.
The next day, February 2, in a turning movement, the 1st and 2nd Battalion attacked south-west with tanks in support. In the afternoon, most of the units were on a field near the Siegfried Line. Company G was the first who penetrated as far as the line.
By late afternoon, the company came close to a river facing a wooded area whence shots of light weapons. It crosses the area without too much difficulty, and found the other side of the giant forts, well hidden.
The whole area was full of mines and traps of all kinds. The gel was rendered largely ineffective, but still, there remained enough to cause damage from the regiment.
On February 3, the advance continued across the line. But in the late afternoon, the men learned the good news that they would finally be addressed.
During the night, the 505th was replaced by the 508th. It left the area for Salmchâteau on Salm River.
At this time, the regiment was reduced to little more than a third of its workforce to start. For the paratroopers, they were certain they would be returned to Camp Suippes to be retooled and reorganized. But no, the next day they were launched in another combat mission. The 505th PIR left the Ardennes forest to forest Huergen 50 km further north.
End of War
Forest Huertgen offered a landscape worthy of the first World War the melting
snow did not help anything to show. The 505th PIR fell elements of the 8th ID
near the village of Huertgen and Vossenack and waited for the arrival of other
units of the 82nd Airborne to begin its push to the Rhur River.
At 10:30 am on February 8, the attack began, the advance of the 505th was very fast. Germans are more resistance bidders. The only problem was the enemy artillery and especially the famous "88" and antipersonnel mines and other traps.
At 1:45 p.m., the 505th PIR reached its primary objective, the village of Kommersheidt. The next day, it went up to Schmidt who was his ultimate objective. Throughout his lead, he never met the enemy. The land it occupied dominated the Ruhr River.
The regiment settled their strong points. Patrols between the positions of the various battalions were almost the only activity. This activity took place from 10 to 18 February 1945. On 19 February, the 505th PIR was relieved by units of the 9th ID. The regiment was sent to Walheim near Aix-la-Chapelle, Germany. On the 20th, it went to Aix-la-Chapelle to board the wagon towards the Camp Suippes, France.
Camp Suippes was converted into a hospital, the regiment had to stay in a tent city. Replacement of begin to arrive in large numbers, most of the United States directly. Others jump school located Sissone and finally others 509th and 551st PIR were dissolved after the Battle of the Bulge and whose members were distributed among the units of the 82nd Airborne.
It was sure that the 505th PIR would still play a role in ending the conflict.
There was some change in command. Shortly before being relieved, the regiment lost one of his best-known officers, Col. Krause, who was returned to the United States. Major Long replaced him as second in command of the regiment. Cpt. Maness, having been promoted to Major took the head of the first battalion.
<- Capt. Maness
On April 1, the 82nd and 101st Airborne were attached to the 5th U.S. ARMY and
were ordered to take a position so close to the "Ruhr pocket." On 2 April, the
505th boarded trains, steering Germany to take position near Stolberg. Then by
truck, came into the neighborhood where he raised Mödrath units of the 86th ID
and occupied an area along the Rhine River from Bonn to Cologne.
The 505th PIR received a dual mission to take the side of the "Ruhr Pocket" and prevent the Germans from crossing the river and escape and sift through the large civilian population in search of military personnel hiding there and gather many foreign people who were displaced.
Hold the line showed no problem. Snowmelt had swollen the River Rhine. Stations were installed in strategic positions. And the canons of the 456th PFAB were related to the 505th PIR were fired at all enemy concentrations can be seen.
The only problem was the German artillery had to have a lot of reservations because every movement was accompanied by a strong barrage.
Intense patrol activity was also ordered. Every night, the battalions were sent a patrol across the river. And to do that, the paratroopers had to use anything that could float. Inevitably, there have been accidents. Major Carpenter and Cpt. Barnett were among the victims. The 2nd Battalion had lost its commander, there was a reorganization within the command.
Lt. Col. William R Dudley coming from the 509th PIR took the head of the second battalion. Major Maness back to third as second in command while Major Delong was returned from the United States took the lead in the 1st Bn.
On April 17, the regiment was sent into the area Bruhl with a mission to spend the population screened.
Wanting to occupy Denmark before the Russians, XVIII Airborne Corps was attached to the troops of Montgomery.
The mission was to force a passage on the Elbe River near Blekede about 56 km southeast of Hamburg with a mission to protect the right flank of the British army that stormed the Baltic.
On April 26, the 505th PIR embarked again on board for a long car journey to the North-German. On April 29, it arrived at Blekede. The paratroopers learned with dismay that they would cross the river on the same night. As the 3rd Battalion was still underway, the task was assigned to the 1st and 2nd. Battalions have attached demolition squads and fire.
The crossing was scheduled for 1:00 am on April 30. Probably no operation was not as sloppy but none ended as well. Companies A and D crossed without too much difficulty. By cons for companies E and C had more difficulties. E Co. had to make two landing before finding its direction and find a place to land. C Co. landed on what it believed to be the opposite shore. But there was nothing. It happened on a sandbar. As the fire had already left, it was with some difficulty that the paratroopers had to bring them back, the boats to cross to the other side and continue.
Fortunately, on the other hand, the resistance was almost nonexistent. Most Germans surrendered without a fight.
Meanwhile, the 3rd Battalion arrived and walked to the edge of "Buffalo" British and at the end of the day, a bridgehead 5 km was taken. For companies up to the attack, the greatest risk was the 20 mm anti-aircraft guns which the Germans seemed to be well filled.
The next day, May 1, the 504th PIR positioned on the right flank of the 505th PIR and the 121st IR and the 8th ID to the left. Before the end of the day, they had advanced about 15 km.
This was almost the last day for the 505th PIR. The next day, the 325th GIR crossed the positions of the regiment. The 505th PIR spent the rest of the time to filter the population.
On May 3, the reconnaissance platoon of the division made contact with Russian troops.
The war was over even if the announcement was not made officially on 8 May 1945.
At that time, most of the paratroopers began to think about returning home. However, the lack of available transport was delayed today. Meanwhile, the paratroopers were ordered to keep the thousands of prisoners.
The 505th PIR settled near Vielank, Germany.
The first contingent of paratroopers who obtained the required number of points the regiment left for home. On June 2, the regiment left Germany for Camp Chicago, near Laon, France on June 5.
After 10 days, a new group of paratroopers have enough points left the regiment, the regiment went to Epinal in the province of Lorraine, France.
At this point, it was decided that the 82nd Airborne serve troop of occupation in Berlin and the 17th Airborne would be dissolved.
To replenish the ranks of the 505th, it was decided to merge the regiment with the 507th PIR. There was therefore a transfer of paratroopers having enough points to go home to the 507th paratroopers and not having enough to 505th. June 21 held a departure ceremony. Holders of high points were transferred to the 507th PIR to Rambervillers. It remained there for nearly two months. In late August, they reached Marseilles in the south of France.
A few days later they boarded the USS Mariposa. The ship entered the port of New York in early September.
The rest of the 505th PIR accompanied the division to Berlin, where it won the title of "Honor Guard of America." On November 19, the regiment was detached from the task and returned to the United States. It arrived in the port of New York on 3 January 1946.
On January 12, the 82nd Airborne including the 505th PIR was part of the "Victory Parade" on 5th Avenue.
It then go to Fort Braggs in North Carolina, where the regiment is still in operation today.
United States :
2 Presidential Distinguished Unit Citations.
French Fourragère for the operation in Normandy.
Belgium Fourragère for the operation in Ardennes.
William's Military Order for the operation in Holland.