101st Airborne Division


............. Gen Anthony McAuliffe's reply to the German Commander
........ requesting the surrender of Bastogne    -    December 22,1944

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Col Joseph W Harper Commanding Officer 327th Glider Infantry Regiment
Colonel Joseph W Harper
CO 327 GIR

Distinguished Service Cross(DSC) Recipient
Pvt Arthur Mayer

101st Airborne WW II
Medal of Honor Recipients

  Lt Col Robert G Cole
Pfc Joe E. Mann

327th Glider Infantry Regiment Crest

(above picture)
327th GIR Crest

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The 327th Glider Infantry Regiment
Unit History

Gen Taylor - Gen Mc Auliffe at Bastogne

General Maxwell Taylor greets General Anthony Mc Auliffe after the German siege at Bastogne had been broken. (picture right)

(5 January 1945....Bastogne, Belgium)

he 327th Infantry Regiment was organized in the Regular Army as part of the 82nd Infantry Divison on 17 September, 1917 at Fort Gordon, Georgia. (picture below left) After training rapidly, the Division embarked to northern France, arriving in early spring, 1918.  The 327th Infantry moved on line at the end of summer making it one of the first American units to see combat at St. Mihiel.  This was the first operation in World War I conducted entirely by American forces.  The Regiment then occupied defensives positions on the Lorraine Front in eastern France.  The final allied offensive, in November, found the 327th Infantry engaging in the great Meuse-Argonne offensive before any other unit in the Division.  The 327th Infantry Regiment took a prominent part in the operation leading the flank attack north of Sommerance.  The 327th was the first unit of the American Expeditionary Force to reach and pierce the formidable Kriemhilde Stellung (the German's third and final defensive line on the Western Front).  With the termination of the "War to end all Wars," the Regiment was demobilized on 25 May 1919, and then reconstituted in the organized reserves in December 1921.  It remained in this status until the outbreak of World War II.

With the reactivation of the 82nd Infantry Division in March 1942, the 327th regimental colors were again unfurled. The 327th was originally organized has an infantry regiment in the summer of 1942 as part of the 82nd Infantry Divison at Camp Claiborne Louisiana. As the airborne concept was pushed into further development because of the coming of war, the 82nd was chosen to become the first of four airborne divisons to be created during World War Two. During the final days of the units basic training, the men were to told by their commander, Major General Omar N. Bradley that the Division was to be split to form a second Division, the 101st. Furthermore, he informed the men that the two divisions were to be Airborne, and the 327th was to be trained as Glider Infantry. The men were not sure about flying in gliders. Most of them had never even flown in a plane. Some men went AWOL, to return after a few days, but all knew that war was approaching and that they had to fight for their country. On 15 August, 1942 the 327th Infantry became a Glider Infantry Regiment and was reassigned to the newly formed 101st Airborne Division.  The Glider Regiments had previously consisted of two battalions each.  Upon reorganization, they consisted of three battalions each.  The 401st Glider Infantry Regiment (a sister Regiment)  was deactivated and transferred its First Battalion to the 327th (later the battalion would be consolidated and redesignated as the 3rd Battalion, 327th Glider Infantry).

glider landingIn the fall of 1942, the two regiments headed to Ft. Bragg North Carolina to began training with the CG-4a Glider. Along the way the glidermen were introduced to the paratroopers of the 502nd PIR. Many fights would break out between these two groups, as the paratroopers thought they were the best and that the glidertroopers didn't have the "Right Stuff" to be Airborne Soldiers. Nevertheless, in North Carolina the men received glider training at Laurinburg-Maxton Army Air Base. The first flights caused ill-effects on some of the men, who used their helmets, since air sickness bags were not available at the time. As training with the gliders progressed it became more apparent that landing men by gliders was to be more dangerous than landing by parachute. Some of the landings were to result in serious injuries. Mostly broken arms and legs. On landing, gliders would slide out of control and crash into trees or fences. Some, upon landing, would slide in and the nose of the glider would dig in and cause it to tilt up vertically on its nose section causing the contents of the glider to break free of it's lashings and come crashing forward, injuring Glidermen and Glider Pilots alike.

Normandy - D-Day
In June 1944, the decision to drop both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions simultaneously into Normandy reduced the number of available aircraft to tow the gliders for a glider assault.  The 327th Glider Infantry Regiment was ordered to land across Utah Beach with the 4th Infantry Division on D-Day.  Its mission was to move to Carentan to cut off the fleeing Germans.  Although causalities were high, the mission was accomplished and the Regiment moved back to England to prepare for its next mission.

The next combat operation the Regiment would participate in would be Operation "Market Garden," the airborne invasion of Holland.The Regiment, along with allied units, endured 73 days of continuous combat. After the fighting settled down, the 327th occupied the front lines for 48 days until ordered to withdraw from Holland.The Regiment went back to France to rest and recuperate before the next operation. 

The Ardennes - Battle of the Bulge
On 16 December, 1944, the Germans launched an offensive in the west through the Ardennes Forest. The 101st Airborne Division was ordered to the vitally important town of Bastogne.Bastogne was the key to the German counteroffensive and had to be held at all cost by the 101st. The Regiment arrived at Bastogne on 19 December following a hundred mile truck march. The 327th immediately assumed a defensive sector south of Bastogne. By 22 December the Germans had completely surrounded Bastogne and on the 23rd the German Commander offered terms of surrender to General McAuliffe, the acting Division Commander. (picture top right)

Men of A Company 327th GIR in Austria circa 1945 (Courtesy: Mike Martin) His reply was "Nuts." The German delegation had come through the 327th sector and Colonel Harper was given the responsibility of relaying General McAuliffe's response.The Germans said they did not understand. Colonel Harper replied, "The reply is decidedly not affirmative - in plain English, it is the same as 'Go to Hell.' Although encircled and outnumbered, American forces withstood all attempts by the Germans to take positions, including Germans dressed in American uniforms. The 327th Regiment held for nine days, until relieved by the 4th Armored Division. Despite suffering heavy causalities, the Regiment took 750 prisoners, knocked out 144 Nazi tanks and 105 other enemy vehicles. For its actions as a unit in the defense of Bastogne, the 327th the Regimental motto "Bastogne Bulldog."
(picture above: Men of A Company of the 327th GIR in Austria circa 1945.)
(^^ Click Picture to Enlarge ^^)
After the Battle of the Bulge, the 327th Infantry fought in the Rhineland and Berchtesgarden Campaigns. Following the end of World War II, the 327th Infantry Regiment was again deactivated on 30 November, 1945.

327th Glider Infantry Regiment - Pictures  Photos 327th GIR  
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
Ambrose, Stephen E Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest. Simon & Schuster, (June 2001) 336 p. ISBN: 0-743-21638-5
Ambrose, Stephen E Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944-May 7, 1945. Simon & Schuster, (Nov 1997) 528 p. ISBN: 0-684-81525-7
Badsey, Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor)  Arnhem 1944: Operation "Market Garden" (Campaign No.24) 1993 96p. ISBN: 1855323028
Bando, Mark A  Avenging Eagles: Forbidden tales of the 101st Airborne in World War 2. Bando Publishing, (2006) 183 p. ISBN: 0977911705
Bando, Mark A  101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles at Normandy. Zenith Press, (Apr 2001) 156 p. ISBN: 0760308551
Bando, Mark A  Vanguard of the Crusade: The US 101st Airborne Division in WW II. The Aberjona Press, (June 2003) 320 p. ISBN: 0971765006
Black, Wallace B.& Blashfield, Jean F. Battle of the Bulge (World War II 50th Anniversary Series). Crestwood House, 48 pp May,1993 ISBN: 0896865681
Bowen, Robert Fighting With the Screaming Eagles: With the 101st Airborne from Normandy to Bastogne. Greenhill Books/Lionel Leventhal, (Sept 2001) 256 p. ISBN: 1853674656
Breuer, William B Geronimo! American Paratroopers in WWII. New York: St. Martin Press, (1989) 621 p.
ISBN: 0-312-03350-8

Breuer, William B Unexplained Mysteries of World War II. John Wiley & Sons, Sept 1998 256 p. ISBN:0471291072
Brooks, Kevin & Rich Donald J Glider Infantryman: Behind Enemy Lines in World War II (Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series). TAMU Press, Nov 22, 2011, 320 p. ISBN:1603444246
Burgett, Donald R Currahee!. Presidio Press, (Sept 1999) 256 p. ISBN: 0-891-41681-1
D'Este, Carlo  Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
De Trez, Michel  American Warriors: Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers Prior to Normandy  July, 1998, D-Day Pub, 212 p. ISBN: 2960017609
De Trez, Michel  Cpl Forrest Guth: E Company 506 PIR 101st Airborne Division (WW II American Paratroopers Portrait Series)  March, 2002, D-Day Pub, 56 p. ISBN: 296001765X
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
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
Devlin, Gerard S  Paratrooper! St Martin's Press, (P) c1976 ISBN: 0312596529
Gavin, James M.  On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin ISBN: 0718305213
Koskimaki, George E D-Day With The Screaming Eagles Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 356 pp September 11, 2002 ISBN: 1932033025
Koskimaki, George E Hell's Highway: Chronicle of the 101st Airborne Division in Holland, September-November 1944 Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 453 pp March 1, 2003 ISBN: 193203305X
Koskimaki, George E The Battered Bastards of Bastogne: A Chronicle of the Defense of Bastogne, December 19, 1944 - January 17, 1945 Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 484 pp December 1, 2002 ISBN: 1932033068
MacDonald, Charles B  A Time For Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge Wm Morrow & Co (P), 720 p. ISBN: 068151574
McKenzie, John  On Time, On Target Novato, CA: Presidio, May 15,2000. 304 p. ISBN: 089 141 714 1
Ryan, Cornelius  A Bridge Too Far 670p. ISBN: 0684803305
Webster, David Kenyon Parachute Infantry: An American Paratrooper's Memoir of D- Day and the Fall of the Third Reich 352p. ISBN: 0385336497

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