Para-dropping at klein Amerika, Groesbeek, dropping of the 505th and 508th, 82nd ABN Div
Robert Murphy and John Dolan 505th PIR
The word about the operation was passed down to the other soldiers on the twelfth or thirteenth. When we were on our way to the airport everybody knew where we were going and what we were doing. 85 percent of the men were seasoned combat troops at that time, having fought in Sicily, Italy or Normandy. Some did all three.
We all were very exited about this jump. For all the men veterans and rookies this was to be the first daylight jump. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, there were no clouds, so we had a great view on the Dutch landscape from our position near the door in the C-47.
We had extensive fighter cover this time. We could see these fighters diving down on the flak towers and that was a marvelous sight. The dropping at daylight had opened the possibility for a much higher casualty rate than a nightdrop. Some estimates ran upto a loss of fifty percent of the aircraft. There was some flak when we came in over the dropzone, but it had been a peaceful trip for the biggest part. John Dolan jumped out of the leading plane with General Gavin and he landed close to the woods. The losses where small at the landing. The Dutch were coming out of the church at that time and some rushed over to offer their help. The Germans were completly taken by surprise. The greatest advantage of the dropping by day proofed to be the fact that the troops could now operate within their own units. In Normandy many men had fought the first few days alone or in small groups, before they found their own unit. This time the men landed together and everybody could find his own unit and could fight with his own weapons. In the drops at night, there were much more problems collecting the supplies, so you fought with the first thing that came to hand. If you where a BAR-rifleman and found a bazooka instead, you would fight with that. You would swap it at a later time.
Books about the 82nd Airborne Division in WWII
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