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NORMANDY

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade…you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world…”

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Operation Code Name - NEPTUNE

June 5,1944 through July 8,1944

In November of 1943 General Gavin was temporarily attached to General Eisenhower's staff as senior airborne advisor to the Chief of Staff, Supreme Allied Command (COSSAC) group. COSSAC, located in England, was responsible for the planning of the cross-channel invasion of France, code named operation Overlord.

"In early April, 1944 the 505's sister regiment, the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, returned to England after spending six month's with Mark Clark's 5th Army in Italy. Twenty-five members of the 504's Parachute Infantry volunteered for detached service to fight in the invasion of Normandy. Seventeen were killed in action." **

   ** Staff Sergeant Ross Carter 504-PIR "Devils in Baggy Pants"

   On the night of June 5th 1944 there was an explosion at Spanhoe Airfield. While waiting to take off, a gammon grenade accidently exploded inside of a C-47 full of paratroopers.

Page 123 Spanhoe Airfield s

"Force A" Parachute units - D/1

505-PIR, 507-PIR

"Force B " Glider units - D/1

325-GIR, 80-AA, A Battery 505, B Battery 508, C Battery reserve

82 A/B-Reconnaissance Platoon

"Force C " Seaborne units - D/2

456-PFA, Seaborne elements of the Parachute units

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The 505's third Battalion had 36 planes in its serial when they hit the clouds on the Normandy Coast. The formation began to separate, Lieut. Col. Ed Krause recalls;

We tried to keep our formation but ships constantly overran each other. The pilot called for eBay's of action and we split up. Someone high, someone lower, others write and left. This split our formation. An element of three ships was directly below us, not more than 30 feet. One came up from under and past miraculously between my ship and the left-wing ship….

In the next 3 min. I came as close to being crashed in the air as I ever hope to. Just about two or 3 min. before drop time we saw the green T {on the DZ}. It was a godsend and I felt like I had found the Holy Grail. I would say that I dropped from over 2,000 feet. It was the longest ride I have had in over fifty jumps. While descending, for ships passed under me and I really sweated that out. Just after I landed, a mind bundle hit about 80 yards away from me without a parachute and exploded.*

*(Debriefing Conference Operation Neptune, August 13, 1944.)

 

 

[TO BE CONTINUED…]

THE BEGINNING | NORTH AFRICA | SICILY | ITALY | NORTH IRELAND | ENGLAND | NORMANDY | HOLLAND | CENTRAL EUROPE | BERLIN

 
 
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