R E L A T E D
B I O S
James M Gavin
Gen Matthew B Ridgway
Gen Omar N. Bradley
Mark W Clark
George S Patton
Bronze Star Recipients
Pfc Edward Asbury
Pvt George N Binnix
Captain Hubert Stewart(2)
Silver Star Recipients
Pvt George N Binnix
Pvt Robert J Chapman
2/Lt David L Hart
R E L A T E D
S I T E S
USAAF Airborne Troop Carriers in World War II
Camp Claiborne, Louisiana
3rd Infantry Division
Etat de Lieux
The Drop Zone
Cross Channel Attack (Hyperwar)
R E L A T E D
R E S O U R C E S
Airborne (CMH) Center for Military History
Battle of the Bulge (CMH)
Glider Field Artillery Battalion
Brigadier General Francis "Andy" March (picture right) is considered
the dean of Airborne Artillerymen. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne
from Africa to the Elbe. During Operation Market Garden, General March commanded
British and American Artillery in the defense of the Nijmegen area.
(Source: "Saga of the All-Americans")
n 5 August 1917 the 320th Field Artillery Regiment was constituted as
part of the National Army and was assigned to the 82nd (All American) Division.
The 320th , along with its two sister regiments, the 319th and the 321st
was officially activated as part of the 157th Field Artillery Brigade on 29 August 1917
at Camp Gordon, near Atlanta, Georgia under the regimental leadership of Col.H.C.Williams.
Organized initially as horse-drawn artillery, the 320th and 321st were authorized
four three-inch guns per battery while the 319th was authorized four six-inch howitzers.
After the regiments stateside training the 320th arrived in LeHarve, France on June 3rd.
They were issued French 1897M1 75mm field guns as its primary weapon. The "French 75" was adopted
rather than the US made M1902 (3 inch gun), Because the "75" had a higher rate of fire, greater
accuracy and a recoil system that was one of the most important technological advances in Field
Artillery history. This recoil system, consisting of two hydraulic reservoirs, a floating piston,
a connected piston a head of gas and a reservoir of oil, has influenced the design of every
Field Artillery weapon produced this century.
World War I
The 320th first saw action during the Lorraine Campaign. It was on August 17th
on the Marbache front, north of Nancy where it relieved the 12th Field Artillery
in the sector taken over from the 2nd Division by the 82nd Division. The Regiment
manned the 90mm sector guns left in place by the French with gunners from A,B,C and F Batteries.
The following month the 320th saw action during the St.Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne
Offensives.During the last days of WW I the Regiment moved
from Imecourt to Les Islettes where it was encamped when the Armistice was declared.
After returning to the United States the 320th was demobilized on May 12th, 1919.
On 24 June 1921, under authority contained in Section 3a, National Defense Act,
the 320th Field Artillery Regiment of World War I was reconstituted in the Organized
Reserves as the 320th Field Artillery and assigned to the 82nd Division.
World War II
During the second month of World War II, the 320th Field Artillery was reorganized and redesignated
as the 320th Field Artillery Battalion. It was then reactivated as part of the 82nd Infantry Division
at Camp Clairborne,Louisiana on 25 March 1942 and LTC Francis A. March III assumed command of
the battalion upon its reactivation.
In mid-August 1942, when the 82nd Infantry Division was converted to an airborne division,
the battalion was reorganized and redesignated as the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion.
It was organized into two firing batteries of six M1A1 75mm pach howitzers each. However, prior
to entering combat, the 320th was issued the M3 105mm howitzer. On 5 January 1943, LTC Paul E.
Wright assumed command of the battalion and remained in command throughout the war.
During the Sicilian Campaign the 320th remained in reserve. The Battalion landed on
the beach near Paestum, Italy on 23 September 1943 and remained in division reserve again until 15
October 1943 when Brigadier General Gavin, the division commander, directed the 320th to reinforce
the fires of the 3rd Infantry Division Artillery
which was engaged with forces of the German Army in the vicinity of the Volturino River.
It was here that the Battalion fired it first round of WW II. The Battalion remained in action
until 1 November 1943 when it was relieved and returned to division control at Naples, Italy.
Normandy - D-Day
The 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion arrived into battle by glider and
parachutes on 6 June 1944. Poor visibility and low ceiling made air navigation extremely difficult.
As a result, gliders were badly scattered for miles along the drop zone. By 0930 the following day,
only two howitzers were in action - one firing north and one firing south.
By 8 June 1944, eight howitzers were firing in support of a coordinated
offensive action undertaken by the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment. On the following day,
a ninth howitzer was constituted from three damaged weapons and placed into action.
The 320th continued offensive operations
supporting the 325th throughout this early campaign. On 13 June 1944, the Battalion reinforced the
fires of the 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion in support of the crossing of the Douve River,
made by the 508th PIR. It was relieved from action on 11 July 1944 and sailed for the base camp
in England on LST No.532 on 13 July 1944. As a result of its actions in OPERATION OVERLORD, the
Battalion was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the French Croix de Guerre with Palm.
The Battalion's next operation was Market Garden. On the 18th and 19th of
September 1944 the Battalion landed by glider in the vicinity of Groesbeck, Holland. Again they
supported the 325th Glider Infantry in clearing the area of German forces and holding the division
sector for the advancing Guards Armored Force of His Majesty's Forces. The Battalion also fired in
support of the 2nd Battalion, 505th PIR during its successful effort to establish the first bridgehead
across the Waal River at Nijmegen. For its action in OPERATION MARKET GARDEN, the 320th was awarded
the Military Order of William.
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
On 18 December 1944, the 82nd Airborne Division was ordered to move to the vicinity
of Webermont, Belgium with the monumental task of holding key terrain points and counterattacking to
stem the breakthrough by German Armored and Infantry forces in this sector. During this
"Battle of the Bulge", the Battalion was part of a
successful effort to halt the German thrust and fired more than 18,900 rounds. It was for the success
of their effort that the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division were awarded the Fourragere 1940 by
the King of Belgium.
The final sweep of the 82nd Airborne through Germany and across the Rhine River near
Cologne began on 1 April 1945. Once the Ruhr Pocket was cleared the 320th together with other
units of the 82nd Airborne Division moved to the vicinity of Blekede and the Elbe River with the
mission of forcing a crossing of the river and driving east to contact units of the Russian Army.
The battalion moved forward into Ludwigslust, Germany where it contacted Russian forces and
began occupation duties on 1 May 1945.
On 15 August 1945, the Battalion moved to Berlin and again assumed occupation duties.
During its combat action in World War II, the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion expended more
than 68,562 rounds of ammunition. One hundred seventy-one tons of ammunition fired by the Battalion
delivered 2,468, 200 pounds of high explosive projectiles upon the enemy.
(picture above right: Men of the Battery B 320th GFAB in France 1 Sept 1945.
(^^ Click Picture to Enlarge ^^) )
(Source: "Regimental History of the
320th Field Artillery" (courtesy of Ed A Asbury))
320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion - Pictures
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
Badsey , Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor)
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
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
Breuer, William B Unexplained
Mysteries of World War II. John Wiley & Sons, Sept 1998 256 p. ISBN:0471291072
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
Crutchfield, Winston S
Pathfinder: A conversation with Buck Hilton and other historical documents about Native American veterans CreateSpace, 180 pp, Aug 2009 ISBN: 1448679559
Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life 880 pp Owl Books (May, 2003) ISBN: 0805056874
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
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
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
Gavin, James M.
On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Hove, Duane T American Warriors: Five Presidents in the Pacific Theater of WW II Burd Street Press (Oct 2003) 224 pp. ISBN: 1572493070
Keegan, John The Second World War Penguin
(P), 708 p. ISBN: 014011341X
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
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
We Wore Jump Boots and Baggy Pants Willow House, 1977. 118 p. ISBN: 0912450150
Combat Jump: The Young Men who Led the Assault into Fortress Europe, July, 1943
HarperCollins, 10/21/2003. 388 p. ISBN: 0060088753
A Bridge Too Far 670p. ISBN: 0684803305
I Maintain The Right: The 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion in WW II Authorhouse, Oct 31,2005. 204 p. ISBN: 1420871447
Wildman, John B All Americans 82nd
Airborne. Meadowlands Militaria, 6/83 ISBN:091 208 1007
The Center of Military History The War in the Mediterranean: A WWII Pictorial History Brasseys, Inc.,
465 p. ISBN:1574881302