13th Airborne Division
Unit History
    515th PIR
    517th PIR
     88th GIR
    326th GIR
    129th AEB
    460th PFAB
    676th GFAB
  Trooper Pictures
    515th PIR
    517th PIR
    326th GIR
    129th AEB
    458th PFAB
    460th PFAB
    676th GFAB
    677th GFAB
    153rd AAA
    513th Sig Co
    409th QM
    13th Hq Co
    13th PM Co
    13th MP Plt
  Division History
    1st ABTF
    11th Abn Div
    13th Abn Div
    17th Abn Div
    82nd Abn Div
    101st Abn Div
    Combat Jumps
  82nd Airborne Assoc
  325th GIR Assoc
  504th PIR Assoc
  508th PIR Assoc
  Other Airborne Assoc
  Other Resources
  Airborne Quarterly
  Airborne and Special Operations Museum
  WW II Historical Re- enactment Society

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Major General Eldridge Chapman General Eldridge Chapman


Gen Matthew B Ridgway

Lt Gen Lewis H Brereton

Maj Gen Omar N. Bradley

517th PIR WW II
Medal of Honor Recipient

Pfc Melvin E Biddle


USAAF Airborne Troop Carriers in World War II

Camp Claiborne, Louisiana

ETO Cross Channel Attack (Hyperwar)
The 13th Airborne during World War II

13th Airborne Division Patch he 13th Airborne Division was activated at Camp Mackall, North Carolina on August 13, 1943 - Friday the 13th - under the command of Major General George W Griner. However, that December General Griner was replaced by Major General Eldridge Chapman. (pictured left)  General Chapman, one of the U.S Army's early airborne pioneers, was head of Airborne Command at Camp Mackall and had seen action in the Mexican Border incident and World War I.

At the beginning of 1945 the 13th Airborne Division, embarked for Europe and arrived in February. They billeted in the small towns southeast of Paris. The division's major units when they arrived in France were the 515th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) commanded by Colonel Harvey J Jablonsky; the 88th Glider Infantry Regiment (GIR) commanded by Colonel Samuel Roth and the 326th GIR commanded by Colonel William Poindexter. To strengthen the division for the final push into Germany the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team commanded by Colonel Rupert Graves was also assigned as a permanent unit.

The 517th were veterans of Italy, Southern France, Belgium and Germany and chafed under the untested leadership of the 13th Airborne officers. The officers combat leadership would remain untested as potential aiborne objectives were continually overrun by advancing ground troops. Another operation code-named "Arena" called for dropping four to six Allied airborne divisions 100 miles east of the Rhine. It would be the largest airborne operation yet but General Eisenhower was unconvinced of its necessity and cancel it.

Operation Varsity was the first airborne invasion over the Rhine into Germany itself. But General Ridgway gave the nod to the 17th Airborne based on their combat experience in the Ardennes. The 13th Airborne would be kept in "strategic reserve".

After the German surrender on May 7, 1945 the 13th and 101st Airborne Divisions were notified of their reassignment to the Pacific. However, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan in August, 1945 again dashed the 13th Airborne's chance to prove themselves. That same month the 13th Airborne was shipped home and deactivated, which gave some soldiers the opportunity to pursue their education. Unfortunately, an online university did not exist at these times, which would have provided more flexibility for travelling soldiers wanting to get an education.

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
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Astor, Gerald 'Battling Buzzards': The Odyssey of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team 1943-1945. 338p., 7/93, Donald I Fine Pub, ISBN: 0440236932
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Brooks, Victor Hell is Upon Us: D-Day in the Pacific-Saipan to Guam, June-August 1944. Da Capo Press, (Sept 2005) 384 p. ISBN: 0306813696
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D'Este, Carlonbsp; Decision in Normandy William S Konnecky Assc(P), 560 p. ISBN: 1568522606
D'Este, Carlo  Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
Hastings, Max Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy Simon and Shuster(JUV), 396 p. ISBN: 0671554352
Hicks, Anne The Last Fighting General: The Biography of Robert Tryon Frederick Schiffer Pub Ltd, 320pp, ISBN: 0764324306
Keegan, John The Second World War Penguin (P), 708 p. ISBN: 014011341X
Keegan, John Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris Penguin USA(P), 365 p. ISBN: 0140235426
Kershaw, Alex The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of WWII's Most Decorated Platoon Da Capo Press, 288 pp November 30, 2004 ISBN: 0306813041
MacDonald, Charles B  A Time For Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge Wm Morrow & Co (P), 720 p. ISBN: 068151574
O'Donnell, Patrick K. Beyond Valor  Free Press, 2001, 384 p. ISBN: 0684873842
O'Donnell, Patrick K. Into the Rising Sun: In Their Own Words, World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat  Free Press, 3/13/2002, 320 p. ISBN: 0743214803
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
Ryan, Cornelius  The Longest Day Touchstone Books (P), 350 p. ISBN: 0671890913
Ryan, Cornelius  A Bridge Too Far 670p. ISBN: 0684803305
Turnbull, Peter I Maintain The Right: The 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion in WW II Authorhouse, Oct 31,2005. 204 p. ISBN: 1420871447
The Center of Military History  The War in the Mediterranean: A WWII Pictorial History Brasseys, Inc., 465 p. ISBN:1574881302
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
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
Yardley, Doyle R  Home Was Never Like This. Yardley Enterprises, Aug, 2002, 312 p. ISBN:0971743908

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