All-Americans

"The object of war is not to die for your country but make
""the other bastard die for his."

............................................................ ......General George S. Patton

 
 
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British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Brit PM Winston Churchill

R E L A T E D
B I O S

Gen James M Gavin
Colonel Reuben H.Tucker
Gen Matthew B Ridgway
Winston Churchill
Gen George S Patton
Benito Mussolini




R E L A T E D
S I T E S

USAAF Airborne Troop Carriers in World War II

The Casablanca Conference

The Drop Zone

Italian Campaigns 1944-45







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R E L A T E D
R E S O U R C E S

The 82nd Airborne (CMH) Center for Military History

North African Campaign (CMH)

Sicily (CMH)
The 82nd Airborne during World War II
Campaigns - Sicily

onfident of a successful conclusion to their North African Campaign, the Allied Forces now looked ahead for a foothold in Europe. The planning for this occurred in January, 1943 at a high level conference in attended by Roosevelt and Churchill. The plans aim was to put pressure on "the soft under belly of Europe" in an effort to force the German's to spread their troops more thinly. The plan targeted Sicily as the first step in this operation code-named HUSKY.

Operation HUSKY involved four separate airborne operations, two by the Bristish and two by the 82nd Airborne.†The first operation HUSKY I spearheaded this airborne invasion of Sicily. Led by Col. James M. "Slim Jim" Gavin,† the 505th PIR, and the 3rd Battalion of the 504th PIR were organized into a Regimental Combat Team. Their first objective was to parachute into an area around Gela on the southern shore of Sicily to close off roads leading to the beaches and secure the drop zone for the next operation. They were also to take out Objective Y which was a series of 16 concrete "pillboxes" ( above right) from which German gunners controlled movement on the nearby roads. Under a nearly full moon the† paratroopers crossed over the Sicilian coast on schedule and jumped on their assigned drop zone on 9 July 1943 -- an event which British Prime Minister Winston Churchill termed, "not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning."

The second operation called HUSKY II involved the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 504th PIR, led by Colonel Reuben H. Tucker. They loaded the C-47 aircraft and took off for Sicily from the dusty airstrip near Kairouan, Tunisia. Near the Sicilian coast, however, a nervous Allied naval vessel suddenly fired upon the formation. Immediately, all other naval vessels and shore troops joined in, downing friendly aircraft and forcing planeloads of paratroopers to exit far from their intended drop zones in one of the greatest tragedies of World War II. Twenty-three of 144 USAAF transports were shot down by friendly fire and a total of 318 American troops were killed or wounded in the operation.

Colonel Tuckerís plane, after twice flying the length of the Sicilian coast and with well over 2,000 holes in its fuselage, finally reached the drop zone near Gela. By morning, only 400 of the Regimentís 1600 soldiers had reached the objective area. The others had been dropped in isolated groups on all parts of the island and carried out demolitions, cut lines of communication, established island roadblocks, ambushed German and Italian motorized columns, and caused so much confusion over such an extensive area that initial German radio reports estimated the number of American parachutists dropped to be over ten times the actual number.

Meanwhile, the troopers of the 504th 3rd Battalion along with the 505th PIR fought an enemy superior in numbers and equipment. Ambushes were conducted and even Objective Y, the deadly pillboxes, were secured. By continuing to fight in small groups the 82nd led the Germans and Italians to continue to overestimate the number of airborne invaders thus impeding any meaningful counterattacks. The German Herman Goering Panzer Division was another matter. Even though outmanned and outgunned, the 82nd used raw courage and fighting spirit to block the steel behemoths of this Division from advancing toward the Allied landings on the beachhead.

By D+3, they had accomplished their initial mission and were relieved by the 1st Infantry Division to return to regimental control. On 13 July, the 504th moved out in the attack, spearheading the 82nd Airborne Divisionís drive northwest 150 miles along the southern coast of Sicily. With captured Italian light tanks, trucks, motorcycles, horses, mules, bicycles, and even wheelbarrows pressed into service, the 82nd encountered only light resistance and took 22,000 prisoners in their first contact with Nazi and Fascist forces. Overall, the Sicilian operation proved costly both in lives and equipment, but the unit gained valuable fighting experience and managed to hurt the enemy in the process. It was with this experience and pride that the 504th returned to its base in Kairouan, Tunisia, to prepare for the invasion of mainland Italy.


books
R E L A T E D   B O O K S

Annussek, Greg Hitler's Raid to Save Mussolini: The Most Infamous Commando Operation of World War II. Sept 1, 2005, Da Capo Press, 353 pp. ISBN: 0306813963
Blumenson, Martin  United States Army in World War 2, Mediterranean Theater of Operations, Salerno to Cassino c1988† ISBN: 8029000261
Blumenson, Martin  Anzio: The Gamble That Failed Greenwood Publishing Group,Inc. 1978. ISBN:03113200939
Blumenson, Martin  Sheehan Fred  Anzio: Epic of Bravery 239p 7/94. ISBN: 0 806 126787
Breuer, William B  Agony at Anzio: The Allies Most Controversial and Bizarre Operation of WW II Jove Publishing, 1989 ISBN: 0515102113
Breuer, William B Geronimo! American Paratroopers in WWII. New York: St. Martin Press, 1989 621 p. ISBN: 0-312-03350-8
Breuer, William B Drop Zone Sicily: Allied Airborne Strike,July 1943. Novato, CA: Presidio, c1983. 212 p. ISBN: 089 141 1968
Breuer, William B  They Jumped at Midnight Jove Publishing, (P) c1990 ISBN: 0515104256
Burriss, T Moffatt  Strike and Hold: A Memoir of the 82nd Airborne in WW II Brasseys, Inc, 256 pp August,2000 ISBN: 1574882589
Carter, Ross S  Those Devils in Baggy Pants  Buccaneer Books, Reprint,1996 ISBN: 0899666132
D'Este, Carlo  Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
Devlin, Gerard S  Paratrooper! St Martin's Press, (P) c1976 ISBN: 0312596529
Falerios, Kenton J.  Give Me Something I Can't Do: The History of the 82nd Military Police Company, WW 1 to Iraq Nov 2007, Authorhouse, 192 p ISBN: 1434337197
Fox, Tyler  Our Salvation : The 504th PIR Legendary Fight At Altavilla ISBN: 0692781676
Gavin, James M.  On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Keegan, John The Second World War Penguin (P), 708 p. ISBN: 014011341X
Megallas , James All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe 336p., Presidio Press, March, 2003. ISBN: 0891417842
Messina , Phillip Anzio: Song of Destiny A.G.Halldin Publishing Company, 1992. ISBN: 0 935 64838 0
Nigl, Dr Alfred J & Charles A Nigl  Silent Wings - Savage Death Santa Ana, CA: Graphic Publishing, Dec 3,2007. 288 p. ISBN: 1882824318
Nordyke , Phil All American All the Way: Combat History of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II Zenith Press, April 2005. 880 pgs ISBN: 0760322015
Nordyke , Phil The All Americans in World War II: A Photographic History of the 82nd Airborne Division at War Zenith Press, May 2006. 192 pgs ISBN: 0760326177
Nordyke , Phil Four Stars of Valor: The Combat History of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II Zenith Press, November 2006. 480 pgs ISBN: 0760326649
Ospital, John  We Wore Jump Boots and Baggy Pants Willow House, 1977. 118 p. ISBN: 0912450150
O'Donnell, Patrick K. Beyond Valor  Free Press, 2001, 384 p. ISBN: 0684873842
Ruggero, Ed  Combat Jump: The Young Men who Led the Assault into Fortress Europe, July, 1943  HarperCollins, 10/21/2003. 388 p. ISBN: 0060088753
The Center of Military History  The War in the Mediterranean: A WWII Pictorial History Brasseys, Inc., 465 p. ISBN:1574881302
Turnbull, Peter I Maintain The Right: The 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion in WW II Authorhouse, Oct 31,2005. 204 p. ISBN: 1420871447
Van Lunteren, Frank The Battle of Bridges: The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Operation Market Garden Casemate, June 1,2014. 336 p. ISBN: 1612002323
van Lunteren, Frank Spearhead of the Fifth Army: The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Italy from the Winter Line To Anzio Casemate, Sept 16,2016. 320 p. ISBN: 161200427X
Verier, Mike  82nd Airborne Division in Colour Photographs  (Europa Militaria, No 9) ISBN: 187 200 4857
Wildman, John B All Americans 82nd Airborne. Meadowlands Militaria, 6/83 ISBN:091 208 1007


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