The 82nd Airborne

History of The 82 nd Airborne Division

And The 325th Glider Infantry Regiment

    • Commanded by Colonel Walter M. Whitman, the 325th Regiment was officially activated as part of the 82nd Division on 25 August 1917 at Camp Gordon, near Atlanta, Georgia.  Being a National Army division, the regiment was composed of draftees.  The only personnel actually assigned to the regiment however, were a small cadre charged with the task of preparing for the thousands of draftees who would soon be flooding the camp.

      The unit of which the 325th Regiment was a member, the 82nd Division was comprised of officers and soldiers from what most would consider the "Deep South".  This changed a few weeks into the training program.  The War Department issued orders instructing the division to send all of its soldiers, minus a 783 man training cadre to other camps.  Leaders watched as their soldiers departed to be replaced by soldiers from all regions of the United States.  It was noted that the 82nd Division was now made up of soldiers from every state in the union.  It is from this fact that the 82nd Airborne Division received its nickname "The All American Division"  and is represented by the "Double A" patch worn today.

      World War I
      In April 1918, the Regiment received orders to move to Camp Upton, New York in preparation for embarkation to France.  Their short stay at Camp Upton reflected a growing crisis in Europe.  The German offensive in 1918 was a desperate attempt to win the war then and there.  The Germans had made gains of over 45 miles in France.  Other attacks along the Somme, Lys, and Assyne Rivers had stretched the British and French to their absolute limits.

      Upon their arrival in Lettaure, France, the Regiment began the process of drawing their wartime equipment issued by the British.  Steel helmets and gas masks were issued, as well as Lewis light machine guns, Vickers heavy machine guns and a full compliment of Stokes trench mortars and 37mm cannon.  Finally, all of the soldiers had to turn in their rifles to receive the British Enfield rifles.

      On June 16, 1918, the Regiment received orders to move to the Toul sector in France where they would enter the line as part of the 82nd Division under the control of the French VII Army.  The British were not happy to see the Americans go.  To reinforce this point, they took back all of the equipment they had issued.  The Americans received back their "Eddystone" Enfield rifles.  They were then moved by rail to central France and hurriedly issued French machine guns.  These were the Hochkiss heavy machine gun and the Chauchat light machine gun,  a weapon that held the distinction of being the absolute worst weapon of any type used by any side at any time during the war.
      The Regiment had its first encounter with the deadly mustard gas used by the Germans.  They endured a night-long barrage of explosive and chemical artillery.  When the sun rose the next morning the soldiers looked out onto a contaminated wasteland.  Although the attack on St. Mihiel was unsuccessful, the 325th Regiment held its ground and accomplished its mission.
      The American offensive in the Argonne Forest was the last major offensive of the war.  It was designed to penetrate the German lines and disrupt their logistical base.  This was preparatory to further offensive operations involving the actual invasion of Germany.
      Through ten days of battle, the Regiment was able to punch a hole in the German's last line of defense.  With their removal, Allied forces had a clear shot at continuing to advance into Germany.  The Regiment had done the hard work and had lost 94 percent of its initial strength.

      World War II
      After the war, the colors of the 325th Regiment were cased but were to be unveiled once again on March 25, 1942 under the command of Colonel Claudius Easley.  Located at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, the Regiment was again to be part of the 82nd Division.  Late in July 1943, the heavy equipment arrived that would turn the regiment into the 325th Motorized Infantry Regiment.
      This suddenly changed when the Chief of Staff, General Marshall had decided that the 82nd Division would be an excellent division to use as a base for his proposed Airborne force.  General Omar Bradley, because of his excellent work in training the 82nd Division, was to be transferred to the 28th Division which was having a great deal of trouble in meeting its training objectives. General Matthew Ridgway, the 82nd Assistant Division Commander, would become its Commander.
      The 325th Glider Infantry Regiment was formed and given the task of arriving into battle by glider.  Parachutes could, and often did, wind up scattered for miles on a drop zone.  The same held true for equipment and supplies.  The glider was the answer to all these problems.  As long as a glider stayed in one piece,  the items inside it would too.  This meant no more searching through the swamp looking for the missing barrel to a Howitzer.  Jeeps could also fit into a glider.  Best of all, troops could be put into a glider and land as a coherent fighting unit.
      Gliderborne assaults, however, were not without their risks.  Gliders and their tow planes were slow, fat targets.  They had no armor to protect the men inside.  Landing in a glider was also an adventure and little more than a controlled crash.  Even if the pilot had the time and altitude to select a good spot to land, conditions on the ground of which he might be totally ignorant could wreck a landing.  Ditches, wire, fences, tree stumps or a host of other possible ailments could flip, twist, or gut an unfortunate glider.
      During the time of its introduction to the gliders, the Regiment lost its Commander.  Colonel Easley was promoted to Brigadier General and went to the 96th Division.  He was replaced by Colonel Harry Lewis who would guide the Regiment through its glider training and on to combat overseas.

      The 325th Glider Infantry Regiment was formed and given the task of arriving into battle by glider.  Parachutes could, and often did, wind up scattered for miles on a drop zone.  The same held true for equipment and supplies.  The glider was the answer to all these problems.  As long as a glider stayed in one piece,  the items inside it would too.  This meant no more searching through the swamp looking for the missing barrel to a Howitzer.  Jeeps could also fit into a glider.  Best of all, troops could be put into a glider and land as a coherent fighting unit.

      Salerno
      The Regiment arrived to its first battle, not by air, but by sea.  Boarding beach landing craft, the Regiment was sent to Salerno from the island of Sicily to reinforce American units already there.  On September 15th at about 2300, they landed at Paestum, some eighteen miles south of Salerno where they awaited orders.  Daybreak on the 16th brought orders.  The 2nd Battalion was to re-board the landing craft and farther north to the town of Maiori.  Here they were to be attached to Colonel William O. Darby's Ranger Task Force and relieve Ranger units currently holding positions on 4000 foot Mount St. Angelo di Cava.  The Battalion was welcomed the next morning by a German artillery barrage.  The Germans probed the Battalion lines.  Despite numerous attempts to throw the Glidermen off the mountain, the Americans held their ground.  It was here that the Regiment received its first casualties of the war. 

      Normandy - D-Day
      On 7 June 1944, D-Day plus one, the Regiment landed by glider in Normandy and participated in the invasion of France. On 9 June, Private First Class Charles N. Deglopper single-handedly defended his platoon's position and subsequently was awarded the Medal of Honor for this action. As soldiers of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment swooped down to Normandy, other elements of the 82nd Airborne Division were in the process of capturing the town of St. Mere Eglise on an airborne operation behind enemy lines. It was for the success of their effort that the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division were awarded the red and green braided French Fourregerre.

      The next glider assault for the 325th was during Operation Market Garden the largest airborne operation ever conducted.  During this battle, the 325th landed among German positions that had surrounded other elements of the 82nd Airborne Division. This glider attack turned the tide of battle and earned the Regiment the Distinguished Unit Citation.

      The Ardennes - Battle of the Bulge
      Suddenly, on December 16, 1944, the Germans launched a surprise offensive through the Ardennes Forest which caught the Allies completely by surprise. Two days later the 82nd joined the fighting and blunted General Von Runstedt's northern penetration in the American lines.

      Originally, the 82nd Airborne was to defend Bastogne but the 101st Airborne drew that assignment and the 82nd was sent north to Werbomont. The 325th dug in around the crossroads at Baraque de Fraiture and held. During the intense fight in December 1944 The 325th decimated two German Divisions.
  • The fight continued into January 1945. Absorbing heavy casualties the 325th continued on to Thier-du-Mont.  Later in 1945, the 325th's action in Germany ended with the Regiment driving deep into the heart of Germany.  The war offically ended in Europe on 5 May 1945 and the 82nd Airborne Division was called upon to serve as the occupation force in the American Sector of Berlin.  Here the 82nd Airborne Division earned the name, "America’s Guard of Honor." The regiment assisted in Berlin occupational duties until it returned to the United States in 1946 and was deactivated on December 15, 1947.

 

Eenheden en markeringen 

82 nd Airborne Division

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deze Amerikaanse divisie werd op 25 maart 1942 geactiveerd als de 82nd Division en op 24 mei herbenoemd tot 82nd Infantry Division .

Op 15 augustus 1942 kreeg de divisie haar defenitieve benaming : de 82nd Airborne Division

Noord-Afrika , Sicillië en Italië

De eerste activiteiten van 82nd AB hadden plaats tijdens de landing bij Casablancain Noord-Afrika op 10 mei 1943 . Het 505th Parachute Ifantry Regiment (PIR) en het 3rd Bn 504 PIR werden gedropt om het hoger gelegen gebied in de buurt van het Ponte Olivo-vliegveld te veroveren . Dit vliegveld lag ten nooroosten van Gela , op het eiland Sicilië . Ondanks dat de parachutisten zeer verspreid neerkwamen , werden alle doelen veroverd en de volgende dag sloten zij zich aan bij de eerste Infantry Division .

 

Het 504th PIR werd gedropt in de omgeving van Gela op 11 juli 1943 en leed daar veel verliezen door zowel Duits als geallieerd luchtafweergeschut . De 82nd AB werd daarna vervoerd naar het front en op 12 juli versterkt met de 39th Infantry Division . Op 18 juli stak de divisie de Fiume dello Canno over en rukte vervolgens verder op via de kustweg , waarbij het Marsala-Trapani-gebied aan de westkust werd veroverd .

 

Het 504th PIR werd op 13 september 1943 ten zuiden van de Sele rivier , in de buurt van Salernogedropt , terwijl het 325th Glider Infantry Regiment vanuit zee het bruggengoofd versterkte .

De volgende nacht werd het 505th PIR in de buurt van de Sele rivier gedropt om de luchtaanval te versterken . Het 504th PIR begon haar aanval om Alavilla te veroveren op 16 september om vervolgens richting Napels aan te vallen . Napels werd op 1 oktober 1943 ingenomen en veiliggesteld . Het 504th PIR trok steeds verder op en veroverde Gallo , waarna werd deelgenomen aan de strijd om de winterlinie , waarbij op 15 decemberheuvel 687 werd aangevallen .

Het 504th PIR nam nog deel aan het gevecht om het strand van Anzio en de daarop volgende zware gevechten langs het Mussolini-kanaal .Aan het einde van de maand maart 1944 verliet het 504th PIR Italië om zich weer te voegen bij de 82nd AB , die al op 9 december 1943 via Ierland in Engeland waren gearriveerd .

 Normandië

Op 6 juni 1944 deed de divisie een luchtlandingsaanval achter Utah Beach tussen Sainte-Maire-Eglise en Carantan . De volgende dag kwam het 325th Glider Infantry Regiment via de lucht en over zee hen versterken . Het 504th PIR nam niet deel aan deze aanval . Maar wel werd de 82nd AB versterkt met het 507th en het 508th PIR . De 82nd AB hield onder zware Duitse druk stand langs de Merderet rivier . Deze werd uiteindelijk overgestoken , samen met het 325th Glider Infantry Regiment om op 9 juni 1944 een bruggenhoofd te creëren bij la Fiére . De volgende dag veroverde het 505th PIR het station van Montebourg en op 8 juni stak het 508th de rivier de Douve over bij Beuzeville-La-Bastille .

Het 325th Glider Infantry Regiment en het 505th PIR bereikten St . Sauveur-le-Vicomte en vestigden een bruggenhoofd bij pont L’Abbé op 19 juni . Hierna werd de westkust richting het Cotentin-schiereiland aangevallen en veroverde men heuvel 131 op 3 juli 1944 

 Nederland en de Ardennen

 Op 17 september 1944 werd er tijdens Operation Market-Garden in het gebied Nijmegen-Grave en de Maas-Waal-Kanaal-brug bij Heumen werden veroverd . Tegelijkertijd werd ook de heuvelrug tussen Nijmegen en Groesbeek veroverd . De volgende dag faalden pogingen om ondermeer de verkeersbrug bij Nijmegen in handen te krijgen Op 19 september werd contact gemaakt met de British Guards Armoured Division bij Grave . Het 504th PIR stak de waal over in aanvalsboten en veroverde de spoorbrug .

 Op 11 november 1944 werd de 82nd AB ontzet , maar onmiddellijk hierna werden ze naar het front gedirigeerd om het Duitse Ardennenoffensief een halt toe te roepen .

 Op 20 december werd er in de omgeving van Vielsalm-St-Vith aangevalen , waarbij het 504th PIR Monceau inam en de Duitse eenheid dwong om zich terug te trekken over de Ambléve rivier .

 Nieuwe Duitse aanvallen langs de rivier de Salm troffen het 505th PIR in de omgeving van Troi-Pont en op 24 december ging Manhay verloren . De volgend dag trokken ze zich uit de omgeving van Vielsalm terug om vervolgens ten

 noord - oosten van Bra weer aan te vallen .

Comté werd op 8 januari 1945 gezuiverd van vijandelijke eenheden , net zoals Herresbach . Begin februari werd de Westwall aangevallen en na beëindiging van de gevechten verplaatste de divisie zich in de richting van de Ruhr rivier . Deze rivier werd op 17 februari overgestoken om daarna in Reims te rehabilliteren . Daarna nam de divisie de sector van de 86th Infantry Division over en werden tot aan 25 april 1945 beveilligingstaken in de stad Keulen uitgevoerd . In de omgeving van Bleckede staken ze de rivier de Elbe over , waarna het Duitse 21e legerkorps zich overgaf aan de 82nd Airborne Division .

Uitrusting en Uniform 82nd Airborne

1 – M 1942 parachutistenpak

2 – M2 zakmes en klikklak ( klikker )

3 – Markeringsarmband , gemaakt van oliedoek

4- MK2 handgranaat

5 – Trainingsgasmasker in bijhorende zak

6 – M1942 parachutistenbroek

7 – M3 gevechtsdolk met bijhorende M8 houder

8 - Lederen parachutistenlaarzen

9 – M1C

Markeringen :

 Voor markeringen op het voertuig is dit keer gekozen voor een GMC met een 750 gallon brandstoftankl , die gebruikt werd door de Quartermaster Company van 82nd AB .

 1.      82nd Airborne Division 407th Quartermaster Company .

  1. 2.      Het negende voertuig van deze eenheid .
  2. 3.      ‘Prestone 44’ betekend dat de radiator is voorzien van antivries in dat jaar .
  3. 4.      De W in dit USA-nummer staat voor War Department en werd tot het begin van 1942 gebruikt . De S aan het einde geeft aan , dat het voertuig ontstoord is .
  4. 5.      Deze markering betreft verschepingsinformatie , zoals lengte , breedte , hoogte , gewicht en kubieke inhoud . Deze gegevens werden gebruikt voor ’t laden in een schip .
  5. 6.      ‘ Caution do not overfill – allow for expansion ‘ geeft de waarschuwing de benzinetank niet volledig te vullen om de vrijkomende gassen ruimte te geven .
  6. 7.      Waarschuwing , dat de lading brandbaar is en men binnen 50 voet niet mag roken .
  7. 8.      Feiten : Bijnaam : All American
  8. 9.       Commandanten :
  9. 10.    MG Omar N. Bradley : maart 1942
  10. 11.    MG Matthew B. Ridgway : juni 1942
  11. 12.    MG James M . Gavin : Augustus 1944
  12. 13.    Aantal gedood tijdens gevechten : 1.619
  13. 14.    Aantal gewond tijdens gevechten : 6.560
  14. 15.    Aantal gestorven aan hun verwondingen : 332

helm met lederen kinbevestiging en eerste hulp pakket

 

Eenheden :

In de periode 1944-1945 bestond de 82nd Airborne Division uit de volgende eenheden .

 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment

 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment

 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment

 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment

 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment

 551st  Parachute Infantry Regiment

 325th Glider Infantry Regiment

 319th Glider Field Artillery BN (75mm)

 320th Glider Field Artillery BN (75mm)

 376th Prcht Field Artillery BN (75mm)

 456th Prcht Field Artillery BN (75mm)

 80th airborn Anticraft Battalion

 580th AAA Auto-Wpns Battalion

 634th AAA Auto-Wpns Battalion

 740th Tank Batalion

 605th Tank Destroyer Battalion

 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion

 629th Tank Destroyer Batallion  

 643th Tank Destroyer Batallion

 Reconnaissance Platoon

 82nd Counter Intelligence Corps Det

 82nd airborne Signal Compagniy

 82nd Parachute Maintenance Compagny

 307th Airborne Medical Compagny

 307th Airborne Engineer Batallion

 782 Airborne Ordnance Maintenance Compagny

 407th Airborne Quartermaster Compagny

 HHB Divison Artillery

 Headquarters Special Troops

 Hqs Compagny , 82nd Airborne Division

 Military Police Platoon