101st Airborne Division

"This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with
destiny."
.................... ......Franklin Delano Roosevelt - June 27,1936
 
 
Unit History
    501st PIR
    502nd PIR
    506th PIR 
    327th GIR
    401st GIR
    326th AEB
    377th PFAB
    463rd PFAB
    321st GFAB
    907th GFAB
    81st AAA
    326th Med Co
    426th QM Co 
 
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Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Recipient
Sgt Edward Ford





Silver Star Recipient
1/Sgt Richard F Beasley
Sgt Clifford E Cullen
Sgt Andy Galayda
Pfc Arcadio Navarro Jr
Cpl Clifford E Nelson
Sgt Joseph F O'Toole
Cpl Rogie Roberts
Pvt Nathan Zax





Bronze Star Recipients
S/Sgt William G Clarke
Pvt Robert G Hilton















R E L A T E D
S I T E S

USAAF Airborne Troop Carriers in World War II

D-Day and Beyond (Memories)



The 81st Airborne Anti-Aircraft Battalion
Unit History


he 81st Airborne Anti-Aircraft Battalion (AAA) was activated on 4 Sep 1942, by General Order #8, HQ 101st Airborne Division at Camp Clairborne, Louisiana.  The battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel W. C. Scoggin, was a special troop unit of the 101st Airborne Division and was activated from units of the 401st and 327th Glider Infantry Regiments.  All personnel were infantry trained.

Lt Col X.B.Cox Jr Commanding Officer 81st AAA The 3rd Battalion of the 401st Glider Infantry, less Company K, was transferred to the 81st Battalion with I and L Companies becoming Battery C and F.  Company B of the 327th Glider Infantry became Battery B of the 81st.  The first and second platoons of the anti-tank companies of the 327th Glider Infantry became Battery A, 81st Battalion.  The heavy weapons Companies H and E of the 327th Glider Infantry became Battery D and E,  81st Battalion.  The Headquarters Detachment came from Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, via Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 401st Glider Infantry. The Medical Detachment was composed of medical personnel from the 327th and 401st Glider Infantry, 326th and 325th A/B Medical Companies. (Click on picture to the right for a personal remembrance of Lt Col X.B.Cox Jr >>)

All personnel above the T/O of 71 men per battery, 23 men of Medical Detachment and 26 men of Headquarters Detachment were transferred out to other units of the division.  Batteries A, B and C were anti-tank batteries, each with eight 37mm A/T guns, which were changed to 57 mm gun and then to the British six pound guns for combat, as they were more suited to gliders. Batteries D, E and F were anti-aircraft batteries, each with twelve 50 caliber air-cooled machine guns on M-3 mounts.  After Normandy, ground mounts were secured so the guns could be fired as ground weapons to support the infantry units of the division, who had only 30 caliber air-cooled machine guns.

The battalion moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with the division, on 29 Sep 1942. Training began on the new weapons, loading of gliders, taking glider flights and unloading the gliders. The battalion participated in all division exercises and maneuvers. The division was scheduled to sail for England 5 Sep 1943, from Pier 90, North River, New York. The battalion was assigned as advanced party to the ship, to furnish all fatigue details, ship security and manning the ship's AA guns, with Lieutenant Colonel Scoggin commander of troops aboard ship.

The Ship 294 (HMS Samaria) landed at Liverpool, England, and the battalion moved by train to Basildon Park, near Reading, Berkshire. Training was intensified on physical training (including long and short marches), firing of weapons, glider loading, glider flights, unit and division tactical exercies.  On 25 Mar 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Scoggin was transferred and Lt Col X. B. Cox Jr. (picture above right) was given command of the battalion and remained in command for the duration.

On 6 Jun 1944, Batteries A and B were air lifted by glider to Normandy, France, where they landed at H+2 hours. Batteries D, E, and F came in by sea with the assault wave of engineers and infantrymen of the 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division landing at H+15 minutes.  They set up the first anti-aircraft protection on the beach and remained in this position until 11 June, when they were released by 7th Corps and returned to battalion control, so they could set up AA protection for division headquarters and major bridges  around Carentan. The batteries were given credit for at least two enemy planes destroyed during 6-7 June.

The next combat operation the Battalion would participate in would be Operation “Market Garden,” the airborne invasion of Holland.The Battalion, along with allied units, endured 73 days of continuous combat. After the fighting settled down, the 81st occupied the front lines for 48 days until ordered to withdraw from Holland.The Battalion went back to France to rest and recuperate before the next operation. 

The Ardennes - Battle of the Bulge
On 16 December, 1944, the Germans launched an offensive in the west through the Ardennes Forest. The 101st Airborne Division was ordered to the vitally important town of Bastogne. Bastogne was the key to the German counteroffensive and had to be held at all cost by the 101st. The Regiment arrived at Bastogne on 19 December following a hundred mile truck march. By 22 December the Germans had completely surrounded Bastogne and on the 23rd the German Commander offered terms of surrender to General McAuliffe, the acting Division Commander.

His reply was “Nuts.” The German delegation had come through the 327th sector and Colonel Harper was given the responsibility of relaying General McAuliffe’s response.The Germans said they did not understand. Colonel Harper replied, “The reply is decidedly not affirmative - in plain English, it is the same as ‘Go to Hell.’ Although encircled and outnumbered, American forces withstood all attempts by the Germans to take positions, including Germans dressed in American uniforms. The 101st held for nine days, until relieved by the 4th Armored Division.

After they were relieved at Bastogne, the 101st Airborne held a line along the Moder River for over a month as part of the US 7th Army. On 23 February, the Screaming Eagles were relieved and returned to Mourmelon, France. Here General Eisenhower spoke to the 101st Airborne Division when the unit was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for its stand at Bastogne. This was the first time in the history of the United States Amy that an entire Division had been so honored.

As the war in Europe was nearing its end, the 101st moved to the Ruhr Pocket on 2 April to help in mop-up operations. Here the division went on the line facing the Rhine River south of Dusseldorf, Germany. On the 4th and 5th of May, the 101st received and carried out its final wartime mission - the capture of Berchtesgaden, Hitler's Eagles Nest.

Returning to France in September, the soldiers continued waiting for transport stateside. The 101st Airborne Division was in deactivated in December of 1945.

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
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)  Arnhem 1944: 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. ISBN: 0977911705
Bando, Mark A  101st Airborne: The Screaming Eagles at Normandy. Zenith Press, (Apr 2001) 156 p. ISBN: 0760308551
Bando, Mark A  Vanguard of the Crusade: The US 101st Airborne Division in WW II. The Aberjona Press, (June 2003) 320 p. ISBN: 0971765006
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.
ISBN: 0-312-03350-8

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
D'Este, Carlo  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
Gavin, James M.  On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin ISBN: 0718305213
Ingrisano, Michael N. Jr And Nothing is Said: Wartime Letters, August 15, 1943 - April 21, 1945 Sunflower University Press, Sept 2002, 540p. ISBN: 0897452631
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
McKenzie, John  On Time, On Target Novato, CA: Presidio, May 15,2000. 304 p. ISBN: 089 141 714 1
Ryan, Cornelius  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


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