Howard Swartz 505th, 82nd ABN Div.

I was a private and it was my opinion that the officers didn't tell us much about the operation that was coming. I don't think that we knew where we were going before we were taken to the Airfield. I guess they figured that the less we knew, the less we could give away in the event that we were captured. After take off I remember seeing the white cliffs of Dover, as we came over them. Then when we came over Holland I rembember that parts of the country had been flooded by the Germans. We had cover from our fighter planes. There were many aircraft in the air. There as a lot of fire coming from the ground, riflefire and flak. The plane directly to our right wing took a hit and we saw it go down. None of the paratroopers were able to leave the plane before it crashed.

It was quite a relief when the order came to stand up, hook up and stand in the door. We were all anxious to get on the ground and retaliate. When we got to the ground there was quite a bit of confussion trying to locate the other members of our squad. But we managed to do so.

My squads first mission was to secure the dropzone and hold it until the arrival of the gliders on the next day. There was quite a bit of ground fire when we landed, but that receded after an hour or so. We moved up for a mile and then the officers apparently decided that the area was secured, so we went back to the dropzone and dug in for the night.

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82nd Airborne Division

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