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General James M Gavin General James M Gavin


Gen James M Gavin

Gen Matthew B Ridgway

Maj Gen Omar N. Bradley

Gen Mark W Clark

Gen George S Patton

Benito Mussolini

FM Bernard Montgomery


505th Regimental Combat Team during WW II

Stories Beyond The Grave

Groesbeek Liberation
Museum 1944

Musée Airborne (Museum Ste-Mere-Englise)

USAAF Airborne Troop Carriers in World War II

The American Experience: D- Day (PBS)

D-Day: Etat de Lieux

The Drop Zone

ETO Cross Channel Attack (Hyperwar)

Carentan Historical Center


The 82nd Airborne (CMH) Center for Military History

Sicily (CMH)

Salerno (CMH)

Naples Foggia (CMH)

Normandy (CMH)

Battle of the Bulge (CMH)



The Drop Zone: Tiger Duel

The Drop Zone: Sicily

Britannica Online:Normandy 1944 (links)

The Decision to Launch Operation Market Garden

The Drop Zone: Spearhead Blunted

82nd Signal Battalion
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The History of the
82nd Signal Battalion
WW I and WW II

The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Unit History

505th PIR Pocket Patch
During World War II, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment participated in seven major campaigns and four regimental airborne assaults.

n 6 July 1942, at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment was activated under the Airborne Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. On 4 February 1943, the Regiment was assigned to the 82d Airborne Division. The Regiment arrived at Fort Bragg, North Carolina on 12 February 1943

Sicily - Operation Husky
On 9 July 1943, just over a year after it's activation the 505th made the first regimental size combat parachute attack as part of Operation Husky l. Under the capable leadership of Colonel James M. "Slim Jim" Gavin (above left) the 505th was organized into a Regimental Combat Team which included the 3rd Battalion of the 504th. As a staff officer in Airborne Command under General Lee, Colonel Gavin wrote "Instructional Pamphlet for Airborne Operations". These theories and observations would now be put to the test.

Colonel James M Gavin - Commanding Officer of the 505th PIR - gives his men last minute instructions before Operation Husky I (Photo Courtesy of Les Cruise) Their objective was to parachute behind enemy lines into an egg-shaped area around Gela, Sicily. They would then close off roads leading to beaches and secure the drop zone for further use. Especially important near the DZ was enemy-held Objective Y - a series of 16 concrete "pillboxes" from which German gunners controlled movement on nearby roads. However, Mother Nature did not cooperate.

(picture above right: Colonel James M Gavin, Commanding Officer of the 505th PIR gives his men last minute instructions before Operation Husky I. (^^ Click Picture to Enlarge ^^))

On July 9th Colonel Gavin was informed that wind velocity in the landing area was 35 miles per hour but the invasion was underway and there was no turning back. It was under these harrowing conditions that the 505th had its first trial-by-fire. Only 15% of the combat team had been delivered to the correct DZ. Nevertheless, small groups of lost Paratroopers cut every phone line that they found which devastated the communications of the Axis forces.

Ambushes were conducted and even Objective Y, the deadly pillboxes, (picture right) were secured. By continuing to fight in small groups the 505th led the Germans and Italians 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 505th used raw courage and fighting spirit to block the steel behemoths of this Division from advancing toward the Allied landings on the beachhead. With Sicily secure, the Allies continued attack on the Axis powers with landings on the Italian mainland.

Salerno - Operation Avalanche

A landing on mainland Italy took place in the early morning of 12 September 1943 at Salerno under General Mark Clark. Within 72 hours German Field Marshal Kesselring was poised to drive the Allies back into the sea. This set the stage for the 505th's second combat jump. On the night of 14 September 1943, Jim Gavin's 505th Parachute Infantry totaling roughly 2100 combat hardened paratroopers dropped onto the tenuous Salerno beachhead. It was an encore performance of the previous night's precise parachute jump by the 504th and no less spectacular. Within 24 hours these two units of the 82nd Airborne had jumped on short notice and shored up the faltering Salerno beachhead.

Two weeks later on 29 September the 505th had probed into the outskirts of Naples thereby capturing the first major European city for the Allies. 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, the Division was moved to England as the allies were preparing for the assault on Western Europe. The regiment again changed commanders. Lt Col William Ekman assumed command on 22 March 1944 and would lead the 505th through the remainder of the war.

Members of D Company 505th PIR Frank Tryba Platoon The largest combined military operation in history,"D-Day", was to be spearheaded by the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions. Visibility was hampered by poor weather conditions as the C-47's crossed the English Channel during the first hours of the 6th of June 1944. When the troop carriers finally did made landfall on the Cherbourg Peninsula they came under heavy German flak scattering many of the troop carrier flights. It was 0300 hours on 6 June 1944, when the 505th were given the green light to jump. Some Pathfinders were able to signal their dropzones. However, many of the troop carriers missed their dropzones and the All-Americans of the 505th began landing across a large swath of the countryside around Normandy.
( Picture above right: Troopers of machine gun platoon D Company 505th PIR ) (^^ Click Above Picture to Enlarge ^^)
Nevertheless, the 505th PIR was one of the first airborne units to hit the ground and despite the subsequent confusion surrounding the landing, were able to use it to their advantage mustering enough troops under the command of the 2nd Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Benjamin Vandervoort to liberate the first town in France, - St. Mere-Eglise. The paratroopers jumped prior to the actual start of the invasion "H-Hour". Because of the tradition of being the first into the fight, the 505th Regimental motto is "H-MINUS". For their performance in the invasions the 505th was awarded the Presidential unit citation, the unit equivalent of the Medal of Honor awarded to individual soldiers. In the words of author Clay Blair, the paratroopers emerged from Normandy with the reputation of being a pack of jackals; the toughest, most resourceful and bloodthirsty in Europe.
( Movie above right: reenactment and interviews with D-Day paratroopers. )

Operation Market Garden
On 9 September 1944 Field-Marshal Montgomery proposed a plan, called Operation Market Garden, to secure a bridgegehead across the Rhine. The operation called for a combined armor and airborne assault to seize and hold key bridges and roads deep behind German lines in Holland. The airborne phase of the operation consisted of capturing five bridges ahead of the armored force.

Members of G Company 505th PIR at Suippe, France after Operation Market GardenOn 17 September 1944, as part of Operation Market Garden, the 505th made its fourth jump at Groesbeck, Holland, the largest airborne assault in history. During that fierce combat, two lightly armed platoons, at most 80 men, were surrounded by an entire German Infantry Battalion supported by tanks. The paratroopers fought back three savage German assaults and held their ground until relieved. The 505th received a second Presidential unit citation.
( Picture above right: Troopers of G Company 505th PIR at Suippe, France after Operation Market Garden ) (^^ Click Above Picture to Enlarge ^^)
Its success, however, was short-lived because of the defeat of other Allied units at Arnhem. The gateway to Germany would not open in September 1944, and the 82nd was ordered back to France.

Battle of the Bulge - The Ardennes Offensive
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 quickly blunted General Von Runstedt's northern penetration of the American lines above Bastogne.

Meanwhile, on the morning of 19 December the 501st PIR of the 101st Airborne Division was digging in at Bastogne, as the Germans quickly infiltrated and cut off the road between the two elements and the "Battle of the Bulge" offensive flowed around the two airborne units.

505th PIR Company E - Ft Bragg 1942 Despite a lack of cold weather equipment once again airborne spirit, courage, and hard-nosed determination won the day as the 505th withstood the bleak winter and stopped the fanatic German attacks at Ste Vith and the Salm River.

(picture above right: Men of the 505th PIR, Company E, Ft Bragg - 1942. (^^ Click Picture to Enlarge ^^) )

For its valor in the seven major campaigns of the European Theatre of Operations, the 505th was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations and three Foreign decorations: the French Forragere, Netherlands Military Order of William, and Belgium Forragere.

The war offically ended in Europe on 8 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," as a fitting end to hostilities in which the "All-Americans" had chased the German Army some 14,000 miles across the European Theater.

505th Parachute Infantry Regiment - Pictures  Photos 505th PIR  
  • Panther Football Team - 505th PIR - Photo of 505th PIR Panther Football Team from the November, 1945 edition of The Static Line.      (Photo courtesy of Bill Bernsen)
  • Pathfinders - 505th PIR - Photo of 505th PIR Pathfinders of Plane 11 in England on June 5 1944 preparing for D-Day invasion.  (Cpl Hegedus is 3rd from left front row standing.)    (Photo courtesy of Cheryl Nolin)
  • A Company 505th PIR - Photo of A Company 1st Battalion of the 505th PIR at Ft Bragg NC (undated).   (Photo courtesy of Rick Stone)  
  • B Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company B, 505th PIR April 1943 at Fort Bragg under the command of Capt Dale A Roysdon. Picture taken shortly before deploying to North Africa. (Photo courtesy of David Holmes Jr)
  • D Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company D, 505th PIR in Quorn, England circa Spring 1944.  (TOP ROW: [left to right] John Whitee ,John Daly ,Ed Olszewski , [Next 3 men unknown - all 6 KIA Normandy ,Holland & Belgium]. BOTTOM ROW: [left to right] Shelby Irwin ,Julius Eisner ,George Morris ,McKouch and MacGroth - in the background near the tent) (Photo courtesy of Julius Eisner)
  • D Company 505th PIR - Post-War photo of Company D, 505th PIR at Fort Bragg on 28 April 1948.  
  • E Company 505th PIR - Photo of E Company, 505th PIR troopers preparing for the D-Day invasion.  
    (Photo courtesy of Anthony Amorose)
  • G Company 505th PIR - Group Photo of Company G, 505th PIR     (Photo courtesy of Frank Yates)
  • G Company 505th PIR - Photos of Company G, 505th PIR from the personal collection of Cpl Francis X Schweikert.  (Suippes, France December 1944)    (Photos and newspaper clippings courtesy of Robert Schweikert)  
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company H, 505th PIR at Fort Bragg NC circa Spring 1943 prior to deployment to North Africa.  (Names included at bottom of photo.)  (Photo courtesy of Les Cruise)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photos of Company H, 505th PIR from the personal collection of S/Sgt Alex Burns Jr.  (SEE Inscriptions for trooper identification)    (Photos courtesy of Kevin E Burns)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Additional photos of Company H, 505th PIR from the personal collection of S/Sgt Alex Burns Jr.  (Photos courtesy of Kevin E Burns)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photos of Company H, 505th PIR during June, 1944 from the personal collection of S/Sgt Alex Burns Jr.    (Photos courtesy of Kevin E Burns)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photos of Company H, 505th PIR during June, 1944 of various destroyed vehicles from the personal collection of S/Sgt Alex Burns Jr.    (Photos courtesy of Kevin E Burns)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company H, 505th PIR in Sicily circa August 1943.  ( (left to right) Pvt D.C.Munkagaard ,Pvt J.D.McGillivray ,Lt I. Woods ,Pvt D.B.Mason ,Pvt S.E.Smith ,and Pvt C.B.Wigle - stooping)  (Photo courtesy of Les Cruise)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company H Platoon Leaders, 505th PIR on duty in Naples,Italy circa October 1943.  (Lt J J McNeil (KIA) ,Lt C M Stoehr, Lt D D Moxley and Lt R C Coupe)  (Photo courtesy of Les Cruise)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company H Troopers, 505th PIR on pass in Naples,Italy circa October 1943.  (D M Schultz , J T Stehn , R D McConnell and E P Newsome)  (Photo courtesy of Les Cruise)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company H 2nd Platoon, 505th PIR on patrol in Naples,Italy circa October 1943.  (S/Sgt John J Sabo ,and Cpl Harold Eatman)  (Photo courtesy of Les Cruise)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company H 3rd Platoon, 505th PIR in Quorn, England circa February 1944.  (J.N. Wright ,E.D. Barney ,M. Bulhack (KIA- Holland), A.E.Palmquist and R.P. Haener)  (Photo courtesy of Les Cruise)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company H, 505th PIR in England circa May 1944 standing Retreat prior to D-Day.  (SEE Photo for trooper identification)    (Photo courtesy of Les Cruise)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company H, 505th PIR in St Sauveur le Vicomte area of Normandy on 18 June 1944.  ( (left to right) L. P. Cruise Jr  ,F.B. Gawan and K.W. Roddy.)  (Photo courtesy of Les Cruise)
  • H Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company H, 505th PIR in Suckau Germany circa May 1945.  ( (left to right) Sgt D.B.Mason ,Pvt R. Warr ,Sgt R. Hart ,Pvt K.R. Ferrell ,and Pvt L.J. Peone. )  (Photo courtesy of Les Cruise)
  • I Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company I, 505th PIR platoon circa March 1945 before practice jump.  (Crouching: 3rd from left Pfc Edwin H Diveley. [Standing: 2nd from left Sgt William T Dunfee; 2nd from right Sgt Joe Novak. Both troopers made 4 combat jumps.])     (Photo courtesy of Jo Schwarz)
  • I Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company I, 505th PIR Officers in England.  {Standing (left to right): Lt Meath; 1/Lt W.B.Kroener; Capt H.H. Swingler (KIA) & Lt Vande Jegt. Kneeling (left to right):Lt S.O. Irwin; 2/Lt R. F. Howell; 1/Lt William J Brunsman & 1/Lt George E Clark Jr.}     (Photo courtesy of Greg Brunsman)
  • HQ3 Company 505th PIR - Photo of Company HQ3, 505th PIR troopers circa Berlin 1945.  (Standing: right Pfc Walter B Robinson; Other troopers unknown.)  (Photo courtesy of Bruce Robinson)
  • HQ3 Company 505th PIR - Company Photo of HQ3 Company, 505th PIR troopers circa 1943 at Ft Bragg, NC.    (Photo courtesy of Marie Gray Wise)

R E L A T E D   B O O K S

Ambrose, Stephen E D-DAY June 6,1944: The Climatic Battle of WW II. 6/93, Simon & Shuster ISBN: 0671673343
Badsey , Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor)  Arnhem 1944: Operation "Market Garden" (Campaign No.24) 1993 96p. ISBN: 1855323028
Blair, Jr, Clay Ridgway's Paratroopers: The American Airborne in WW II. New York: Doubleday, 1985 588 p. ISBN: 0385278888
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
Crutchfield, Winston S  Pathfinder: A conversation with Buck Hilton and other historical documents about Native American veterans  CreateSpace, 180 pp, Aug 2009 ISBN: 1448679559
D'Este, Carlo  Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life 880 pp Owl Books (May, 2003) ISBN: 0805056874
D'Este, Carlo  Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
D'Este, Carlo & John S.D.Eisenhower  World War II in the Mediterranean, 1942-1945 (Major Battles & Campaigns) 272 pp Algonquin Books (July, 1990) ISBN: 0945575041
De Trez, Michel  American Paratrooper Helmets: Mediterranean & European Theater of Operations  June, 2010, Histoire & Collections, 272 p. ISBN: 2352501415
De Trez, Michel  At the Point of No Return : Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers in the Invasion of Normandy 7/98, D-Day Pub, 200 p. ISBN: 2960017617
De Trez, Michel  The Way We Were: "Doc" Daniel B. McIlvoy: Regimental Surgeon, 505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division (WW II American Paratroopers Portrait Series)  August 20, 2004, D-Day Pub, 167 p. ISBN: 2960017668
De Trez, Michel  Colonel Bob Piper: G Company 505 PIR (WW II American Paratroopers Portrait Series)  March, 2003, D-Day Pub, 48 p. ISBN: 2960017641
De Trez, Michel  Orange is the Color of the Day: Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers in the Invasion of Holland April, 2004, D-Day Pub, 506 p. ISBN: 2960017633
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
Gabel, Kurt The Making of a Paratrooper: Airborne Training and Combat in World War II Univ Press of Kansas (Jan 1990), 282 p. ISBN: 070060409X
Gassend, Jean-Loup Operation Dragoon: Autopsy of a Battle: The Allied Liberation of the French Riviera August-September 1944 Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. (May 28, 2014), 560 p. ISBN: 076434580X
Gavin, James M.  On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Giard, Régis & Frédéric Blais Helmets of the ETO: A Historical & Technical Guide Histoire & Collections (Jan 2008), 216 p. ISBN: 2352500621
Hastings, Max Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy Simon and Shuster(JUV), 396 p. ISBN: 0671554352
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin ISBN: 0718305213
Keegan, John Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris Penguin USA(P), 365 p. ISBN: 0140235426
MacDonald, Charles B  A Time For Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge Wm Morrow & Co (P), 720 p. ISBN: 068151574
McCann, John Passing Through: The 82nd Airborne Division in Northern Ireland 1943-1944 Gardner Books, (May, 2005), 128 p. ISBN: 1904242413
McKenzie, John  On Time, On Target Novato, CA: Presidio, May 15,2000. 304 p. ISBN: 089 141 714 1
Mullins, Christopher Eric (Moon) The Commander's Voice- The History of the 82nd Signal Battalion during WWI and WWII Amazon Apr 7, 2021. 186 p. ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8734584361
Murphy, Robert M  No Better Place To Die Critical Hit,Inc, March 1,2000. 128 p. ISBN: 1929307004
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
Ruggero, Ed  Combat Jump: The Young Men who Led the Assault into Fortress Europe, July, 1943  HarperCollins, 10/21/2003. 388 p. ISBN: 0060088753
Ruggero, Ed  The First Men In: US Paratroopers and the Fight to Save D-Day  HarperCollins, 6/13/2006. 368 p. ISBN: 0060731281
Ryan, Cornelius  A Bridge Too Far 670p. ISBN: 0684803305
Ryan, Cornelius  The Longest Day Touchstone Books (P), 350 p. ISBN: 0671890913
Tucker, William H.  Parachute Soldier: From the Diary of William H. Tucker, 1942-1945  ISBN:1884540015
Tucker, William H.  "Rendez-vous at Rochelinval" Battle of the Bulge  International Airborne Books,Harwichport, MA, ISBN:0-9647683-2-1
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
Vento, Carol  Schultz The Hidden Legacy of WW II: A Daughter's Journey of Discovery Sunbury Press (Nov 2011), ISBN: 1934597813
Wildman, John B All Americans 82nd Airborne. Meadowlands Militaria, 6/83 ISBN:091 208 1007
Wurst, Spencer & Gayle Descending From the Clouds: A Memoir of Combat in the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment: 82nd Airborne Division Casemate (Oct 2004), 256 p. ISBN: 1932033319
The Center of Military History The War in the Mediterranean: A WWII Pictorial History Brasseys, Inc., 465 p. ISBN:1574881302

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