(above picture)501st PIR Patch
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
USAAF Airborne Troop Carriers in World War II
The Drop Zone
ETO Cross Channel Attack (Hyperwar)
Carentan Historical Center
R E L A T E D
A R T I C L E S
The Decision to Launch Operation Market Garden
Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge
The 501st PIR at Bastogne
The 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment
Legion named after killed paratrooper
MILLERSBURG, Ind. - Richard Jacob Hoffman was born Aug. 28, 1921, on a farm east of Millersburg.
By JESSE DAVIS
Goshen News Staff Writer
He graduated from Millersburg High School in 1940 as president of the senior class before entering the Army on Dec. 4, 1942. There he became a part of the Airborne Division, HQ Company 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment.
The 501st PIR had been activated in Toccoa, Ga., in November of 1942, and Camp Toccoa is where Hoffman (picture right), along with the rest of the regiment, were given basic training. Only a small number of the parachute volunteers who made up the regiment were qualified jumpers during this time. The unit then moved to Fort Benning in Georgia for jump school in March of 1943.
Once jump school was finished, the unit was stationed at the Airborne Command at Camp MacKall, N.C. In January 1944, they shipped out aboard the George W. Gothals to their new deployment in England, where they were stationed at a camp near Lambourn. There, the 501st PIR became a permanent attachment of the 101st Airborne Division.
Hoffman jumped as a part of Operation Overlord on D-Day, June 6, but like many other paratroopers was misdropped south of Carentan, France. Misdropped members of the 507th and 501st gathered in the nearby village of Graignes to evaluate their situation and determine what action should be taken. The men chose to stay put and defend the village.
While the soldiers prepared over the following days, villagers helped by collecting equipment bundles that had dropped in the surrounding marshes, as well as the reserve chutes that lay around the area.
On June 10, multiple German patrols were intercepted and several firefights occurred. The following morning brought a 10-minute probing attack during which the soldiers inflicted heavy casualties against the German aggressors. Early that afternoon the village was hit with a bombardment of mortars followed by another larger attack, which was also repelled.
The final attack came that evening, preceded by a carpeting of 88-mm fire on the village. The paratroopers, numbering 182, faced a 10-1 deficit against the roughly 2,000 members of the 17th S.S. Panzer Grenadier Division. After the loss of the commanding officer, the men were ordered to pair off and head for either Carentan or Ste.-Mere-Eglise. In the end, 150 of the 182 troopers managed to escape.
After surrendering on June 12, Hoffman was taken along with other prisoners of war several kilometers south to the hamlet of le Mesnil Angot, where they were killed, most likely by the S.S. troops, although none of the murderers were ever identified, charged or brought to trial. Hoffman had been initially reported as missing on June 8, then confirmed as killed in action in November of that year. His body was eventually brought home in 1948 and buried at Brown Cemetery in Millersburg.
In 1953, several of Hoffman's friends applied and were approved for a charter for the Richard Hoffman American Legion Post 484 in Millersburg, initially located in one of the members' basement. It is one of only two posts in the United States named after a paratrooper. Hoffman's younger brother and only surviving sibling, Phillip "Butch" Hoffman, and his family have remained in contact with the Legion and participate in its activities regularly.
101st Airborne online
The 101st Airborne has a Web site dedicated to World War II veterans. Richard Jacob Hoffman of Millersburg, those he served with and what happened to them can be found at www.ww2-airborne.us/units/501/ 501_trp.html
Published:November 11, 2007 12:06 am Goshen News
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
Gavin, James M.
On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin
Killblane, Richard Mc Niece, Jake The Filthy Thirteen: From the Dustbowl to Hitler's Eagles Nest: The 101st Airborne's Most Legendary Squad of Combat Paratroopers
Casemate Publishers and Book Distributors, 288 pp May 1, 2003 ISBN: 1932033122
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
McLaughlin, Jerome J
D-Day+60 years Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, April 20,2004. 300 p. ISBN: 1418402699
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