101st Airborne WW II
of Honor Recipients
Robert G Cole
Joe E. Mann
R E L A T E D
S I T E S
401/1 Glider Infantry Regiment
USAAF Airborne Troop Carriers in World War II
The Drop Zone
ETO Cross Channel Attack (Hyperwar)
The 401st Glider Infantry Regiment
he 401st Infantry Regiment was constituted on March 12th, 1918
but never called to active service. On June 24th, 1921 the regiment was assigned to the 101st Infantry
Division as organized reserves. Since the 101st Infantry Division was already an established division on paper
and had a basic structure, it was chosen to become the second Airborne Division. Consequently, the 401st
was de-activated as a Infantry regiment on August 15th, 1942 and reconstituted on August 16th, 1942 as an
Airborne Infantry Regiment at Camp Claiborne, LA. It consisted of two battalions that would land in gliders or
by transport aircraft into a landing zone secured by paratroop forces.
The 401st would train at posts in the southern and southeastern United States
including Ft. Bragg, SC. until July 1943 when they would be shipped to the embarkation area in
New York. On September 4th, under the command of Lt Colonel Ray C Allen, (picture right)
the 401st deployed to England aboard the British ship (HMS Strathnaver) landing at Liverpool, England.
From Liverpool the 401st began to move into the war area. Riding on a blacked-out train in the middle of the
night the glidermen could, for the first time, hear bombs exploding in the distance. Their destination, reached about dawn, was Reading, a town in
southern England, in Berkshire, only thirty-five miles from London, Here the 401st went into camp. Their new base
was Brock Barracks, the home of the Royal Berkshire Regiment.
In England the training continued with exercises BEAVER, TIGER, and EAGLE in
preparation for the invasion of Europe. In exercise Tiger, the glidermen had a chance to train for their
function in this new capacity. In March 1944, the 401st was separated. The 1st Battalion
would stay with the 101st Airborne Division (AB) but would be sent to the 327th GIR as the 3rd battalion. The
2nd Battalion would go to the 82nd Airborne Division 325th GIR as the 3rd battalion. While the 1st Battalion
of the 401st would frequently serve with the 327th, its assignment for Normandy was to be part of Division reserve.
It would come in by sea with the 4th Infantry Division.
For the D-Day invasion, Operation Neptune, on June 6th 1944, the 1-401st arrived on UTAH
Beach with the 4th Infantry Division in the UNCLE RED sector. It was to link up with the paratroopers that landed
earlier that morning. On June 7th the 401st fought several engagements in an effort to join Colonel Bob Sink's
506'rs march on St. Come-Du-Mont. It was during this time the unit suffered its first casualties. Among the
casualties was Captain McDonald's Company XO, Lieutenant Joe O'Brien, whose grenade apparently detonated.
Just before midnight the battalion at last contacted Colonel Sink's 506"rs near Angoville-au-Plain. While in the
assembly area the Protestant Chaplain, Captain John R. Steel, had commented to Colonel Allen, "It's just like
maneuvers except that we have been issued live ammunition." During the night, Captain Steel was mistaken for a
German infiltrator and was shot and killed by a member of the unit.
Colonel Allen, who had been a Texas National Guard Officer, was know as an aggressive
commander. He immediately contacted Colonel Sink for orders. It was around midnight and Colonel Sink had already
retired, but gave his orders for the early morning attack across the Douve River on June 8th from his sleeping bag.
Immediately Allen called his Company commanders together and issued orders for the attack.
The morning of June 8th found the 401st spread out along the west bank of the Douve.
Company C of the 1st Battalion, commanded by Captain Robert Galbraith, was led the assault across the river after
dark followed by the rest of the 1st Battalion. Once the 1-401st was linked to 101st AB it would aid in the capture
of Ste. Come-du-Mont that evening and Carentan on June 15th after 5 days of bitter combat. Later, the 1-401st
would join the VII Corps on UTAH Beach and the V Corps on OMAHA beach when they met forces of the 175th Regiment
4th Infantry Division in the town of Auville-sur-le-Vey.
After 33 days of combat supporting VII Corps left flank the 1-401st was shipped
back to England to recuperate from the heavy loses of men and equipment they had suffered. For the next
two months the 1-401st would train new men in glider landing techniques and issued new
uniforms and equipment. During this time all Allied airborne units were put under a new command
known has the FIRST ALLIED AIRBORNE ARMY (AAA). Finally, on September 17th, 1944 the 1-401st was
again called into combat. This time they would arrive in gliders. 933 gliders were used by the 101st
AB for operation MARKET-GARDEN with over 750 of these hitting the landing zone or within 1 mile of it.
The 1-401st would fight for 72 days keeping the corridor open in the Zon-Veghel area of Holland for
British XXX Corps. The fighting to keep it open was extremely heavy. Once relieved, the 1-401st was
sent to Mourmelon-le-Grand, France to rest and replenish it's ranks once again.
On December 17th, 1944 the 1-401st was sent by truck to Bastogne, Belgium to
aid in its defense. The Germans had launched an all out attack in the area and a veteran unit was
needed to stop this assault. Glidermen were sent into combat with what clothing and equipment had
been issued them after the fighting in Holland. Some went without ammunition or winter clothing.
The 1-401st set up defensive positions in the area of Bastogne and beat back attack after attack!
It was through the lines of the 327th/401st GIR that the Germans came to propose a surrender to
101st AB to which General McAuliffe replied "NUTS"! The next day the cloud cover receded
for a short time and allowed a supply drop by parachutes of food, ammo, and medical supplies.
Also in this drop came gliders with heavy equipment, artillery and badly needed medical personnel.
On Jan. 18th, 1945 the 1-401st was relieved and sent back to Mourmelon-le-Grand, France.
In late March 1945 the 101st AB was sent into the Ruhr area in Germany to capture
Berchtesgaden, the mountain home of Adolf Hitler, and aid in the mopping up remaining German forces.
In Berchtesgaden the 1-401st would stay until the end of the war.
On August 1, 1945 the glider troopers were sent to Auxerre,France to train for
the up coming invasion of Japan. Japan surrendered two weeks later and the mission was called off.
The 1-401st saw many changes in its short life and over came each and every one
of them. They fought hard in combat and helped to free the people of Europe from German oppression.
While doing so, men of the unit received numerous battle field honors and lost many men doing it.The
1-401st was also the recipient of Presidential unit citations, Battle field streamers and decorations
from counties they aided in liberating.
The motto for the 1-401st is "ALL FOR OUR COUNTRY". These men of the
1-401st proved themselves to be a vital part of airborne operations during WWII.
401st Glider Infantry Regiment - Pictures
- 2nd Battalion Company 401st GIR
- Photo of a 2nd Battalion Company of the 401st GIR pre D-Day. (Commanded by Captain Alvin Stanchos. Company is still attached to 101st Airborne.) (Photo courtesy of Dorsey Wilkin)
- F Company - 401st GIR
- Trooper photos from F Company of the 401st GIR pre D-Day & in Belgium. (Photo courtesy of Paul Chyler)
- F Company - 401st GIR
- Photo of F Company of the 401st GIR circa Christmas 1942 at Fort Bragg, NC. (Commanded by Captain Robert M Stockwell. Company is still attached to 101st Airborne.) Platoon Leaders in the front row center are: 1/Lt Millard Y Harper, 1/Lt William E Trotter, 2/Lt Charles F Murphy & 2/Lt Thomas E Parlaman. (Photo courtesy of Martin Wojcik)
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)
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.
Bando, Mark A 101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles at Normandy. Zenith Press, (Apr 2001) 156 p.
Bando, Mark A Vanguard of the Crusade:
The US 101st Airborne Division in WW II. The Aberjona Press, (June 2003) 320 p.
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.
Breuer, William B Unexplained
Mysteries of World War II. John Wiley & Sons, Sept 1998 256 p. ISBN:0471291072
Burgett, Donald R Currahee!.
Presidio Press, (Sept 1999) 256 p. ISBN: 0-891-41681-1
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
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin
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
On Time, On Target Novato, CA: Presidio, May 15,2000. 304 p. ISBN: 089 141 714 1
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