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Lt Col Raymond Singleton Commanding Officer 80th AAA Lt Col Raymond Singleton

Distinguished Service Cross(DSC) Recipients
1/Lt Jake L Wertich
1/Sgt Richard E Rider
Cpl Stokes M Taylor

Silver Star Recipients
Lt John C Cliff
Pfc Homer Gayhart
Cpl Leslie H Hanson


Camp Claiborne, Louisiana

USAAF Airborne Troop Carriers in World War II

The Drop Zone

ETO Cross Channel Attack (Hyperwar)
The 80th Airborne Anti-Aircraft Battalion
Unit History

he 80th Anti-Aircraft Battalion was activated at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana and designated as airborne under the command of the 82nd Airborne Division on September 3, 1942 as per General Order Number 28.

80th AAA Patch The battalion, led by Lt. Col. Whitfield Jack, was comprised of a headquarter unit, medical detachment and six batteries of about 80 men each-A, B and C as anti-tank companies and D,E and F as anti-aircraft units. The anti-tank batteries each had eight, .37mm guns, at first, and later switched to the stronger .57mm or the equivalent British 6-pounder that was better suited to the Waco glider. The AA batteries had 12, .50 caliber machine guns with M3 tripod mounts for air defense, and ground mounts for infantry support. By September,1944, E battery also included a platoon of anti-tankers. Various elements of the 80th trained at Fort Bragg, Fort Fisher, Maxton Air Base and Camp Davis, all in North Carolina, before shipping out to Camp Edwards, Massachusetts with the rest of the 82nd Airborne Division. At this staging area, the 80th prepared for overseas duty.

The battalion left New York Harbor on the SS George Washington and SS Monterey on April 27, 1943 and arrived in Casablanca on May 10, 1943. It trained in North Africa for the invasions of Sicily and Italy.

Units of the 80th landed at Maiori, Italy via Salerno Bay on September 10, 1943 as part of Gen. Mark Clark's 5th Army. Attached to Col. Darby's Rangers, the 80th's anti-aircraft batteries, headquarters and medical detachment earned a Presidential Unit Citation before moving with the rest of the battalion to Naples where the 80th took on a variety of patrol, guard and anti-aircraft assignments until leaving for Ireland, Nov. 17, 1943. It did so under the command of Major Raymond Singleton, (picture above left) who replaced Lt. Col Jack on August 25th before the invasion of Italy. Singleton was promoted to Lt. Col months later.

After many weeks of training in Kilrea, N. Ireland, the battalion relocated to Camp Odeby, a racecourse in the Leicester area of England, on Feb 16, 1944. Anti-tank, AA and glider training continued in preparation for the invasion of France. On the evening of June 5, Batteries A, B and C left for Ramsbury Airfield destined for the Cotentin Peninsula where the paratroop invasion of Normandy had begun. Batteries A and B departed England in CG4-A gliders (American) and Battery C was towed over in British Horsa gliders.

Batteries A and B landed near Ste. Mere Eglise, the intended headquarters of the 82nd Airborne and the first city in France liberated on the early morning hours of June 6 by the 505th PIR. Elements of the 80th reported in at 0405 with six, .57MM guns in position in the St. Mere Eglise/La Fiere bridge area by 1730 hours of June 6.

Meanwhile, Batteries D, E and F as part of the 'Howell' Seaborne force, left Bristol, England in two Liberty Ships on the morning of the 6th and arrived at Utah beach on June 8, narrowly escaping German torpedo bombers that took one of the other Liberty Ships in its convoy. By late afternoon the machine gun batteries arrived at division HQ in Ste. Mere Eglise.

Officers of A-Battery (L-R) Capt Norman Nelson - Lt George Barre - Lt John BullisThe battalion was given a variety of assignments, attached to the 505th PIR, 325th GIR, 507th PIR and 508th PIR. Batteries A. B. and C claimed a number of tanks, armored personnel carriers and towed artillery. Initially, Batteries D, E and F supplied HQ and bridge protection against German fighters and fighter-bombers, claiming two kills. Switching to ground mounts the AA units provided overhead plunging fire for the 325th GIR, 505th PIR and 507th PIR in ground infantry attacks.
(picture above right: Officers of A-Battery of the 80th AAA. They are (left to right): Capt Norman Nelson, Lt George Barre and Lt John Bullis. (>> Click Here for additional pictures <<) (^^ Click Picture to Enlarge ^^) )
The 80th returned to Leicester on July 15, 1944 where it rested, re-outfitted and began training for its next mission, Operation-Market, the Airborne phase of the invasion of Holland. Battery A landed in Holland on September 17, Battery B landed on the following day September 18, while the rest of the battalion landed later, Sept. 23, due to poor weather in England.

The batteries took on their usual assignments with A, B and C providing anti-tank protection to the 504th PIR, 505th PIR, 508th PIR and 325th GIR. They also used the .57MM in attacks against fortified MG positions. Also, at that time all of E Battery switched from .50 cal. to antitank. Batteries D, E and F protected the anti-tank units, and provided plunging fire for the infantry regiments.

The battalion remained with the rest of the 82nd throughout the campaign and left Holland with the Division for Camp Suippes in France on Nov. 11. It remained there until the 82nd was called in as Corps reserve along with the 101st Airborne to stop the German breakthrough of the Allied lines in the Ardennes forests of Belgium. The 80th AA arrived in the Werbomont area on Dec. 18. Batteries took up defensive positions along the Salm River from Dec 20 to 24 from Trois Pont on the north to Grand Halleux to the south in support of the 505th and the 508th where it engaged elements of the 1st SS panzers (Panzergroup Piper) and the 9th SS Panzer. It also supported an East to West line from Salmchateau to Regne in support of the 325th GIR taking on the 2nd SS Panzer Division, allowing the 7th Armored Division to withdraw in safety.

The 80th claimed 3 armored vehicles, three MG nests and a Mark-III tank over that time frame. Battery D supported G Company of the 505th in defense of Grand Halleux, beating back a battalion size force of the 9th SS on the night of Dec. 22 as the Germans tried to cross the Salm River bank.

Men of the 2nd Platoon D-Battery take over a German 75mm anti-tank gun in Belgium The battalion pulled back on the 24th with the rest of the 82nd and resumed the offensive on Jan 3, 1945. It provided plunging fire and anti-tank fire for the 2nd battalion of the 505th on Jan 7 as it re-took the town of Goronne, Belgium near Grand Halleux. The 80th was relieved with the rest of the 82nd by the 75th Infantry Division of Jan 11. On the 21st the battalion was back in action, assisting in the re-taking of St. Vith with the 7th Armored Division, the 517th PIR and 508th PIR.
(picture above right: Men of the 2nd Platoon, D-Battery of the 80th AAA take over a German .75mm anti-tank gun during the winter of 1944-45 in Belgium. They are (left to right): George Mittlestadt,Hampton `Joe` Mason, Ken Shanafelt and Edward Burns. (>> Click Here for additional pictures <<) (^^ Click Picture to Enlarge ^^) )
The 82nd continued to move toward the Siegfried line and as it did, the 80th used its .57mms on Feb 1, B Battery knocking out 4 troop transports and two enemy jeeps while Battery F used 4,000 rounds of .30 cal ammo to convince a German squad to give up its stronghold. By Feb 23, major combat operations for the 80th ended and the battalion returned to its old barracks at Camp Suippes in France.

On April 1, the battalion moved back on line into Germany, arriving in Modrath. By the 4th, batteries received their attachments. A and F were assigned to the 505th, C and D were assisting the 504th and E took up positions with the 325th. The battalion guarded a 30- mile front along the Rhine with Cologne in the center. During the spring offensive to cross that river, the 80th participated in the breaking up of defensive positions on the East side of the Rhine, taking prisoners and actually arranging with the regimental combat teams, the surrender of entire German towns and cities.

In July, the battalion, minus its high point men who were transferred to the 17th Airborne, moved on to Berlin as troops of occupation. It returned to the United States with the rest of the 82nd Airborne in late December. It marched with the Division as it spearheaded the ensuing victory parade down New York City's Fifth Avenue.

Overall, the battalion or its composite units earned six battle stars, two invasion arrowheads and one Presidential Unit Citation as well as other unit citations. Three men earned the Distinguished Service Cross and three were awarded Silver Stars for actions in Normandy, Holand and the Ardennes. It was deactivated in 1946.

The 80th Airborne Anti-Aircraft Battalion - Pictures  Photos 80th AA   books
R E L A T E D   B O O K S

Astor, Gerald  A Blood-Dimmed Tide: The Battle of the Bulge by the Men Who Fought It. Mass Market Paperback, 1994 ISBN: 0440215749
Badsey , Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor)  Arnhem 1944: Operation "Market Garden" (Campaign No.24) 1993 96p. ISBN: 1855323028
Black, Wallace B.& Blashfield, Jean F. Battle of the Bulge (World War II 50th Anniversary Series). Crestwood House, 48 pp May,1993 ISBN: 0896865681
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
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, Carlo  Decision in Normandy William S Konnecky Assc(P), 560 p. ISBN: 1568522606
D'Este, Carlo  Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
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
Hastings, Max Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy Simon and Shuster(JUV), 396 p. ISBN: 0671554352
Keegan, John The Second World War Penguin (P), 708 p. ISBN: 014011341X
Keegan, John Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris Penguin USA(P), 365 p. ISBN: 0140235426
MacDonald, Charles B  A Time For Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge Wm Morrow & Co (P), 720 p. ISBN: 068151574
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
O'Donnell, Patrick K. Beyond Valor  Free Press, 2001, 384 p. ISBN: 0684873842
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
Turnbull, Peter I Maintain The Right: The 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion in WW II Authorhouse, Oct 31,2005. 204 p. ISBN: 1420871447
The Center of Military History  The War in the Mediterranean: A WWII Pictorial History Brasseys, Inc., 465 p. ISBN:1574881302
Verier, Mike  82nd Airborne Division in Colour Photographs  (Europa Militaria, No 9) ISBN: 187 200 4857
Wildman, John B All Americans 82nd Airborne. Meadowlands Militaria, 6/83 ISBN:091 208 1007

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