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......................................... ......Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery

 
 
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504th PIR Regimental Pocket Patch







504th PIR WW II
Medal of Honor Recipient

Pvt John R.Towle






The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Unit Citations


Presidential Unit Citation

of
Co A for crossing Rhine River at town of Hitdorf Germany on 6 April 1945.

Company "A" 504th Parachute Infantry, is cited for outstanding performance of duty in the armed conflict against the enemy in Germany on 6-7 April 1945. This company crossed the Rhine River at 02-30 hours 6 April 1945, and seized the mile-long town of Hitdorf on the east shore with the mission of providing a base for further patrolling and to cause the German High Command to commit disproportionate forces against them in the belief that it was to be a major river crossing. The enemy immediately counter-attacked, but the assault groups were met with great vigor and virtually destroyed to a man. Apparently under the impression that a strong American bridgehead had been established overnight, the Germans assembled and directed a considerable portion of two divisions to the mission of containing and annihilating the formidable thrust. In mid-afternoon the entire area was subjected to a withering and devastating artillery barrage for two hours after which counter-attacking forces in overwhelming strength with tank support assaulted the defending troopers from every direction and penetrated to the heart of the town. The troopers of Company A doggedly stood their ground, fought at close quarters, and at point blank range and inflicted terrible casualties on the masses of the enemy. Fighting with relentless ferocity throughout the afternoon and night, this gallant company held its ground and carried out its mission until it was finally ordered to withdraw to the west bank of the Rhine on the night of 6-7 April. Fighting was bitter and at close quarters. The German armor committed was destroyed with hand weapons, most of the troopers using captured German panserfausts. The company fought its way back step by step during the hours of darkness to their boats. The courageous and skillful efforts of the officers and men of this brave group, although outnumbered numerically at least eight to one, is reflected in the total number of casualties inflicted on the German forces during the day's fighting . Eighty prisoners were taken and evacuated and conservative estimates indicate that 150 of the enemy were killed and 250 wounded. The conduct of Company A reflects great credit on the Airborne Forces of the United States Army.


Presidential Unit Citation

Battle Honors

As authorized by Executive Order 9396 (sec. I, WD Bul. 22, 1943), superseding Executive Order 9075 (sec. III, WD Bul, 11, 1942), the following units are cited by  the War Department in the name of the President of the United States as public evidence of deserved honor and distinction.

The citation reads as follows:

" The 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions, with the following-attached units:
2nd Platoon, Company A, 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion;
319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion;
Company H, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment;
Headquarters Battery, 80th Airborne Antiaircraft Battalion;
Battery D,E,F, 80th Airborne Antiaircraft Battalion;
Medical Detachment, 80th Airborne Antiaircraft Battalion.

Are cited for outstanding performance of duty in action during the period 10 to 18th of September 1943.

These Units, comprising a single Ranger force, landed at Maori, Italy, with the mission of seizing the high ground controlling Chiunzi Pass and securing the left flank of the Fifth Army in its push northward into the plain of Naples.

The position held by this force was vital not only for flank security, but also for observation of the plain and of the German supply routes and communications lines to the Salerno battlefront.

During this period, the Ranger force was subjected to almost continuous mortar and artillery fire and was repeatedly attacked by a determined enemy. Hostile forces were estimated  to outnumber the Rangers and attached units by approximately eight to one, but despite superior enemy numbers, the Ranger force heroically fought off every attempt to dislodge it.

Because of its limited strength and the large area assigned  to it for defense, the force held the line thinly, marked by strong points with gaps covered by fire.

Seven major counterattacks were repelled during the period and numerous enemy patrols were stopped, often in bitter, close-in fighting,  with the Ranger Force using its mortars, artillery, automatic weapons, and grenades with devastating effect.

The officers and men of these units fought without rest or relief and with limited food and water supplies. The continuous nature of the enemy fire and activity was such as to try the men to the limit of their endurance.

Although overwhelming enemy forces drove almost constantly at the sparsely held positions, the determination and courage of the members of the 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions and their attached units offset the enemy  superiority in numbers and made possible the successful accomplishment of a vital mission."

Official:                                   DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
Chief of Staff

EDWARD  F. WITSELL
Major General
The Adjutant General

HEADQUARTERS 82nd AIRBORNE DIVISION
Office of the Division Commander

APO 469 US Army
12 October 1945

GENERAL ORDERS:)
NUMBER 125)

NETHERLANDS DECREE, DATED 8 October 1945, AWARD OF THE "MILITAIRE WILLEMS ORDE" I MINISTERIAL DECREE, NETHERLANDS GOVERNMENT, 8 October 1945, WEARING OF THE ORANGE LANYARD, ROYAL NETHERLANDS ARMY II

I - NETHERLANDS DECREE:
Announcement is made of the Netherlands award of the "Militaire Willems Orde", degree of Knight of the fourth class, to the 82nd Airborne Division. The Netherlands Decree, dated 8 October 1945, is hereby quoted:

"WE WILHELMINA, by the Grace of God, Queen of Netherlands, Princess of Orange Nassau, etc., etc., etc. On the recommendation of Our Ministers of War and for Foreign Affairs, dated 3 October 1945, Secret Nr.Y.22; In accordance with the provisions of the amended Act of April 30, 1815 Nr.5 (Statue-Book Nr.33); In view of the clause 18 of the Regulations of administration and discipline for the "Militaire Willems Orde", as laid down in the Royal Decree of June 25, 1815, Nr. 10;

Considering that the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army during the airborne operations and the ensuing fighting action in the central part of the Netherlands in the period from September 17 to October 4, 1944, excelled in performing the tasks allotted to it, with tact, coupled with superior gallantry, self-sacrifice and loyalty;
Considering also that the actions fought by the aforesaid Division took place in the area of NIJMEGEN: HAVE APPROVED AND ORDERED:
1. To decree that the Divisional Colours of the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States army shall be decorated with the "MILITAIRE WILLEMS ORDE", degree of Knight of the fourth class;
2. To authorize the Division to carry in its Divisional Colours the name of the town of NIJMEGEN 1944. Our Ministers of War and for Foreign Affairs are each for his own part in charge of the execution of this Decree, copy of which shall be sent to the Chancellor of the Netherlands Orders of Knighthood.

THE HAGUE, October 8, 1945
(sgd.) WILHELMINA

THE MINISTER OF WAR
(sgd.) J. MELJNEN
THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
(sgd.)VAN KLEFFENS


II - MINISTERIAL DECREE, NETHERLANDS GOVERNMENT:
Ministerial Decree of the Netherlands Minister of War, dated 8 October 1945, granting the personnel of the 82nd Airborne Division who participated in operations during the period of 17 September to 4 October 1944, authority to wear the ORANGE LANYARD of the oyal Netherlands Army is quoted:

"MINISTERIAL DECREE OF THE NETHERLANDS MINISTER OF WAR, dated October 8, 1945, Section IIIA, Secret No-X25.

The Minister of War considering that the outstanding performance of duty of the 82nd Airborne Division, United States Army during the airborne operations and the ensuing fighting action in the central part of the NETHERLANDS in the period from September 17 to October 4, 1944, have induced HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN to decorate its Divisional Colours with the "MILITAIRE WILLEMS ORDE" degree of Knight of the fourth class; CONSIDERING also, that it is desirable for each member of the Division, who took part in the aforesaid operations, to possess a lasting memento of this glorious struggle:
DECREES: That each member of the personnel of the 82nd AIRBORNE DIVISION , UNITED STATES ARMY, who took part in the operationsin the area of NIJMEGEN in the period from September 17 to October 4, 1944, is allowed to wear the ORANGE LANYARD as laid down in article 123g of the Clothing Regulations/1944, of the Royal Netherlands Army.

THE HAGUE, October 8, 1945
THE MINISTER OF WAR
(Minister van Oorlog)





books
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
Badsey , Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor)  Arnhem 1944: Operation "Market Garden" (Campaign No.24) 1993 96p. ISBN: 1855323028
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
Burriss, T Moffatt  Strike and Hold: A Memoir of the 82nd Airborne in WW II Brasseys, Inc, 256 pp August,2000 ISBN: 1574882589
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
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
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
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin ISBN: 0718305213
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
McKenzie, John  On Time, On Target Novato, CA: Presidio, May 15,2000. 304 p. ISBN: 089 141 714 1
Megallas , James All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe 336p., Presidio Press, March, 2003. ISBN: 0891417842
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
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
Tucker, William H.  Parachute Soldier: From the Diary of William H. Tucker, 1942-1945  ISBN:1884540015
Tucker, William H.  "Rendez-vous at Rochelinval" Battle of the Bulge  International Airborne Books,Harwichport, MS, ISBN:0-9647683-2-1
van Lunteren, Frank The Battle of Bridges: The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Operation Market Garden Casemate, June 1,2014. 336 p. ISBN: 1612002323
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


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