82nd Airborne Campaigns
#1

Just pointing out some of the same territory that the 82nd Airborne shared with the VI Corps Engineers. Please note this is a very brief overview. I hope to tie in details as I uncover info for my book and the site.

 

Sicily - Operation Husky

Colonel James Gavin's 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) and the 3rd Battalion of the 504th PIR parachuted to take the high ground near Ponte Olivo airfield northeast of Gela, Sicily on July 9,1943. Despite the wide scattering of the assault, the objectives were seized and the units linked up with the 1st Infantry Division the next day.

 

On July 11, 1943, the remaining Battalions of the 504th PIR were dropped in the vicinity of Gela with heavy losses from both the German and Allied (friendly fire) antiaircraft fire. Despite the heavy losses the division was moved up to the front by motor and reinforced by the 39th Infantry Division on July 12, 1943. The crossings of Fiume delle Canno were secured on July 18, 1943 and the division pushed along the coastal highway, seizing the Marsala-Trapani area of Sicily's western coast by July 23rd.

 

Salerno - The Oil Drum Drop

The Division's second combat operation was a night parachute drop onto the Salerno beachhead on September 13, 1943 in support of General Mark Clark's 5th Army which was in danger of being pushed back into the sea.

 

The 504th PIR was parachuted south of the Sele River near Salerno on September 13, 1943. In order to guide the C-47 pilots to the shrinking dropzone, oil drums filled with gasoline soaked sand were ignited every 50 yards when signaled. 1300 troopers landed that night infusing a new sense of confidence to the beleaguered soldiers of the 5th Army. The 505th PIR was dropped the following night near the same dropzone to reinforce the air assault. On September 15th the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment (GIR) was brought into the beachhead amphibiously to join the rest of the division.

 

Once the beachhead was secured, the 504th PIR & the 376th PFAB began an attack to recover Altavilla on September 16, 1943 and the division fought towards Naples which it reached on October 1, 1943 and moved in to the next day for security duty.

 

"Leg Infantry"

After Naples, the 504th PIR & the 376th PFAB were detached from the 82nd Airborne temporarily and fought as "leg infantry" through the hills of southern Italy as part of the 36th Infantry Division. On October 29th they capture Gallo. They then battled in the Winter Line commencing with attacks up Hill 687 on December 15th, 1943.

 

On 9 December 1943 Colonel Gavin was promoted to Brigadier General and assumed the duties of the Assistant Division Commander of the 82nd Airborne while Lt Col Herbert Batchellor assumed command of the 505th. During the early months of 1944, units of the Division were moved to England as the allies were preparing for the assault on Western Europe. The 505th PIR again changed commanders on 22 March 1944 when Lt Col William Ekman assumed command. He would lead the 505th through the remainder of the war.

 

Anzio - Operation Shingle

On January 22nd &23rd 1944, the 504th PIR, landed on the beach at Anzio and participated in heavy combat along the Mussolini Canal. It was their fierce fighting during this defensive engagement that earned the 504th PIR the nickname "Devils in Baggy Pants." The nickname was taken from an entry made in a German officer's diary.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#2

On July 11, 1943, the remaining Battalions of the 504th PIR  . . . . . . and reinforced by the 39th Infantry Division on July 12, 1943

 

I think you made a typo-error.

At first, I thought it was 36th Division but they were NOT in Sicily. Only the 1st, 3rd and 45th Divisions. Hmm. And it isn't the 39th Regiment. ???

 

(correct omission of 'not')

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#3

That is history taken DIRECTLY from the 82nd Airborne site, so it's all official. You'll have to go dispute it with them! :o:D

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#4

Ahh. So that explains it. I'm sure the clerk typist for the 82nd has fat fingers. :D

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#5

Okay. Here is the page from Center for Military History that covers the Campaign of Sicily. A search for "39" finds the 39th Engineers and the 39th Infantry Regiment. My statement was incorrect: the 39th Infantry Regiment was part of the 9th Infantry Division, which was definately at Sicily.

Sicily Campaign (Center for Military History)

 

I also found a page with lineage of units that were in the 39th Infantry Division. It was part of the the Louisiana National Guard but the division was not activated as a whole during WW2. But individual units of the Louisana National Guard did serve in WW2.

 

141st Field Artillery Battalion Battle Honors - Algeria-French Morocco with arrowhead, Tunisia, Sicily with arrowhead, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno, North Apennines, Po Valley, Southern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe, and Distinguished Unit Citation Streamer embroidered Colmar.

105th Separate Battalion CA Battle Honors - Algeria, French Morocco with arrowhead, Tunisia, Sicily with arrowhead, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, North Apennines, Po Valley. (CA ?)

156th Infantry Regiment Battle Honors - Northern France, Central Europe, Rhineland and Normandy, and the Asiatic-Pacific theatre streamer without inscription.

 

I hope that makes sense and is correct.

Steve

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#6

Here's some history on the unit. As you said, the typist should have stated 39th Infantry Regiment. I will have to write to them.

 

9th Infantry Div - 39th Inf Reg

 

The Division was reactivated August 1st, 1940 at Ft Bragg, North Carolina as a precautionary measure in preparation of World War II with the following units:

 

39th Infantry Regiment (From the 4th Division)

47th Infantry Regiment (From the 4th Division)

60th Infantry Regiment (From the 5th Division)

9th Division Artillery

26th Field Artillery Battalion

34th Field Artillery Battalion

60th Field Artillery Battalion

84th Field Artillery Battalion

9th Division Band

9th Medical Battalion

9th Quartermaster Battalion

9th Signal Battalion

9th Reconnaissance Troop

Headquarters & 9th Military Police Company

15th Engineer Battalion

709th Ordnance Company

 

After two years of intensive training the 9th Division was combat read by the fall of 1942 and was redesignated the 9th Infantry Division. The division was divided into three Regimental Combat Teams (RCTs); the 39th RCT, 47th RCT and 60th RCT.

 

The division saw a lot of combat in Northern Africa and Europe during the war. It was after the divisions performance during the Battle of the Bulge that it was nicknamed "Old Reliables". After the war the division was inactivated in Germany on January 15th, 1947.

 

Within six months, on July 15th, 1947, the division was reactivated at Ft. Dix, New Jersey as a training division. On May 25th, 1954, the division colors were transferred to Goepengin, Germany, to replace the 28th Infantry Division which had resumed its traditional role with the Pennsylvania National Guard. In the fall of 1956 the 9th was rotated to Ft. Carson, Colorado. By December of 1957 the division had been reorganized from the Triangular type division to the new Pentomic. The three original infantry regiments were converted to Battle Groups and the 1st Battle Groups of the 5th Infantry and the 13th Infantry were added to the division. The division was again deactivated on January 31st, 1962

 

WWII Campaigns

 

Algeria-French Morocco (8 - 11 Nov 1942)

 

Tunisia (7 Nov 1942 - 13 May 1943)

 

Sicily (9 Jul - 17 Aug 1943)

 

Normandy (6 Jun - 24 Jul 1944)

 

Northern France (25 Jul - 14 Sep 1944)

 

Rhineland (15 Sep 1944 - 21 Mar 1945)

 

Ardennes-Alsace (16 Dec 1944 - 25 Jan 1945)

 

Central Europe (22 Mar - 11 May 1945)

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#7

I just emailed "them".

I think I met the creator of that website on WBG site, but forgot who "them" were.

But I did meet someone on WBG site that was interested in the 9th Division as his dad served in that unit.

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#8

Which one did you send it to because they have several sites?

 

It was supposed to go to:

 

http://www.ww2-airborne.us/division/82_overview.html

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Reply
#9

yes. The email addy was something simple like ww2-airborne.us.

Reply


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