By Mike Verier
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Additional info for 82nd Airborne Division. ’’All American’’
On 8 November the US Third Army began its drive to breach the German West Wall defensive line, whilst on the 16th the First Army began the Hurtgen Forest campaign. The results of this latter were to become all too apparent to the 82nd in the spring. In the meantime the Germans were already planning a massive counter-offensive in the west. By the time the US First Army began attacking the River Roer Dams on 13 December the Germans were already massing in their forward assembly areas. Much of the Allied campaign in Europe was characterised by poor intelligence (or, more accurately, a failure to recognise information for what it was).
Whilst the 82nd was recovering the war went on. The division's old friends the 509th had become part of the 1st Airborne Task Force which launched Operation Dragoon, the assault on the French Mediterranean coast, on 15 August. During this operation 90 0/0 of the gliders involved were wrecked beyond recovery-but the objectives were taken in less than half the time planned, another vindication of the Airborne. There was slow progress in the Normandy battles into July but the breakout into northern France then got going with remarkable speed, Paris was liberated on 25 August, and the Allies were rolling back German forces so fast that they were in danger of outrunning supplies.
Z PI I V , 505 PIR , .... --_ .. • ;' " "N" I --""", ~ 456 PFA Bn Kessel Gennep 47 SPEARHEAD: 82ND AIRBORNE IN ACTION Left: C-47 full of paratroopers awaiting take-off, 17 September 1944. (via Real War Photos) Right: The ijmegen drop. This C-47, serial 2100833, is from the 439th Troop Carrier Group (squadron code L4). 'Chalk 3' was a stick of 14 men from Charlie Company, 307th Engineer Battalion, who took part in the Waal crossing. The aircraft also dropped para packs containing mine detectors, radios, BARs, tools, mines and explosives.
82nd Airborne Division. ’’All American’’ by Mike Verier