History of Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Author: Tim Lehotsky

In the summer of 1942, the Army formed a new regiment to test how well they could take civilians fresh off the street and develop them into an effective combat unit.[1] Prior to this, the Army assigned cadre (individuals in a leadership role) to a new organization and then filled the new unit with soldiers from Basic Training. For Airborne units, individuals would go through basic training and then volunteer for Airborne school, attending with other soldiers from around the Army before being assigned to an existing or new unit. The test unit would challenge that idea by taking Airborne volunteers fresh off the street, conduct a rigorous Basic Training program before becoming Airborne qualified at Jump School all as a single unit.

Figure 1- Camp Toccoa, GA (Currahee Scrapbook)

Formed in July of 1942 at Camp Toccoa, GA (Figure 1), the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) was made up of fourteen companies-nine Rifle Companies, three Battalion-level Headquarters Companies, a Regimental Headquarters Company, and a Service Company. As part of this new unit. Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion (2HQ) was responsible for command and control of three of the Rifle Companies (D, E and F Companies), coordinating efforts and support to enable the Rifle Companies maneuver in accordance with the Battalion Commander’s, Ltc. Robert Strayer, intent. Organization of the Headquarters Company was split into four sections; the Battalion Headquarters, Headquarters Section, Light Machine Gun Platoon, and 81mm Mortar Platoon. Each section and platoon, while assigned to the Headquarters Company, was attached to the Rifle Companies in order to better support their maneuver with additional capabilities such as better communications or additional suppressive fire, both direct and indirect.

Training at Camp Toccoa was rigorous. Soldiers new to the 506th were assigned to “W” Company to be in-processed for eventual assignment to a company. The experience was “unforgettable” as “W” Company lived in tents as opposed to the hardstand barracks in the process of being built. Beds settled into the mud and “soon you would be sleeping at ground level with the water running by your ears.”[2] As the Companies reached capacity, training began with the emphasis on physical fitness. Calisthenics, an obstacle course, and running Currahee Mountain were the daily orders and Soldiers unable to meet the high physical demands were sent back to “W” Company to be sent elsewhere in the Army. Training lasted thirteen weeks with some of the time spent at Clemson Universities’ campus to utilize their rifle range and much of the other time conducting basic field problems to familiarize the Soldiers with new skills, utilizing their new levels of physical fitness. [3][4]

Figure 2-Photo of 2nd Battalion, 506th on the march to Atlanta. T/4 Benjamin Stoney (KIA in Normandy) is the 2nd from right (506th Regiment Association)

Moving to Fort Benning in November of 1942, Headquarters Company undertook a 118-mile foot march in 72 hours from Camp Toccoa to Atlanta to show the physical prowess of the American parachute soldier.[5][6] From Atlanta, 2nd Battalion traveled by train to Fort Benning, GA where they conducted jump training, concluding on Christmas Day. After concluding jump training, Headquarters Company continued to travel around the East Coast, conducting many field problems and demonstrations to both better learn and show the capabilities of this type of warfare. In September of 1943, the 506th deployed to England, staging in preparation for the Invasion of Fortress Europe.[7] 2HQ was billeted in Aldbourne, England and given a consistent regimen of physical training and field problems to prepare them for the difficulties ahead.[8] Finally, on 27 May 1944, 2nd Battalion Headquarters and the rest of the Battalion moved to Uppotery Airfield to stage for Operation Neptune-the airborne part of Operation Overlord–the invasion of Normandy.[9]

General Maxwell Taylor, the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division, tasked the 506th PIR to Drop Zone C (to the west of Ste. Marie du Mont) with the objective of securing Exits #1 & 2 (Figure 3).[10] By securing these causeways, the 506th would enable the 4th Infantry Division to move inland from Utah Beach. As part of this, 2HQ would establish the Battalion Command Post (CP) in the town of Hebert and provide support for Companies E and F, who would secure the two causeways while D Company remained behind as the Battalion Reserve element.[11][12][13] However, due to multiple factors, only one stick (approximately thirteen paratroopers) of 2nd Battalion landed anywhere remotely close to Drop Zone C. The rest of 2nd Battalion was scattered all over the Coetin Peninsula, Officers, NCOs, and Soldiers of the Battalion gathered into small groups and set about attempting to fulfill their original objectives. SLA Marshall in his Regimental Study of the 506th in Normandy Writes:

Figure 3-Map of the 506th (-3rd BN)’s objectives on D-Day (Regt Unit Study #3)

“[Cpt. Hester], S-3 of the Battalion, landed with [2nd Battalion’s] leading elements. He figured that the stick had spread over about 1000 yards during the descent; so he walked back 500 yards in the direction which the planes had come, thinking this would put him at about the center of his small group. There, he put up a string of amber bundle lights in a tree. The signal did its work; officers and men began to find their way into the position. HESTER was still in doubt as to his location; so he dispatched LT LEWIS NIXON, S-2, to prowl the nearest village. NIXON routed out a Frenchman and was told that the village was FOUCARVILLE. […] A considerable group had gathered around HESTER while NIXON was making his reconnaissance; in the passage of little more than one hour, the force included a communications platoon, a machine gun platoon, approximately 80 men from Battalion Headquarters Company, 90 men from Company D, 6 men from Company F and 8 from Company E. By 0333, LT COL STRAYER and the 15 men of 506th Regiment who had initially joined up with COL CASSIDY’S force, came along the road with that column, and STRAYER took over from HESTER.”[14]

By the end of June 6th, 2HQ had consolidated over half of its personnel and established Battalion CP operations for Ltc. Strayer, setting up a defense in the vicinity of Coleville at around 2030. Setting out towards Carentan on the morning of the 7th, 2nd Battalion encountered the 6th German Parachute Regiment fighting a delaying action near the town of Vierville.[15] Coming under sniper fire, the Battalion column was slowed until engaged by machine gun and rifle fire; upon this increase in fire, Ltc. Strayer called forward a platoon of M4 Shermans from the 746th Tank Battalion  who helped to suppress the threat.[16] Trapped between the American gunfire and a swamp, the Germans surrendered, but not before suffering 125 casualties of their own in addition to the surviving 125.[17] 2HQ suffered only one killed in action (KIA)-T/4 Benjamin L. Stoney of the S-2 section. [18][19][20] T/5 Gordon King, a SCR-300 radio operator for both the Battalion Executive Officer (Major Oliver Horton) and Intelligence Officer (S-2) (First Lieutenant Lewis Nixon), later described the Company’s first major contact with the Germans:

That’s when we had our first serious engagement, D+1, and showed what well trained, coordinated and integrated troops can do, since the enemy on the opposing hedgerow actually, maybe 200 yards over there, was armed substantially the same as we were […] [The Germans] couldn’t reach us when our tanks came up upon my call. Five [Shermans] from the beach and just about covered by the sunken road, in other words, they were what tankers called hull defilades, all that sticks up in your hull is the turret and the gun. […] The fellas came closed up, but then a couple opened [their hatch] flaps and our communications officer, a Lieutenant [Baranowski] as I recall, jumped up[.] I can still see him climbing, or attempting to climb on the tank, but he may have just stood behind it and hollered “Canister!, Canister!”. And of course, tankers, […] had already loaded [their guns] with canister, which is a 75-millimeter shell full of buckshot. And, I don’t think anyone could say how long their firing lasted, or how many shots each tank fired, I would say just from the clammers, I recall the length of the clammers, 5 to 10 rounds, not over 10 rounds per tank and maybe not even 5 rounds per tank. […] But, in short order, the laundry came up on the other hedge and we subsequently discovered that we had taken, the figures are in the actual day by day report, […], I believe the figures are 140 killed and a 150 [taken] prisoners, approximately. And, we had one man killed and four or five wounded.[21]

After eliminating the German rear-guard, the Battalion established a defense around Regimental Headquarters in the vicinity of Angoville-au-Plain, southeast of Vierville, and returned to the role of Regimental reserve.[22] By the night of the 7th, 2HQ had assembled 120 Enlisted and 12 Officers out of its 17 Officers and 173 Enlisted that jumped into Normandy.[23][24] On the 9th, the Battalion moved to the northwest, towards Basse-Addeville, while the Division’s artillery and Headquarters’ 81mm Mortar Platoon conducted fire missions upon the German defenders of Carentan. Two of the Company’s Machine Gun teams were moved to cover a nearby bridge in the vicinity of this new position. Originally tasked to just the 502nd, Carentan quickly became a Division-level problem as the 502nd sustained heavy casualties along “Purple Heart Lane” and would be unable to capture the city on its own. Thus, the 506th was committed in a flanking maneuver around the western side of the city.

On the night of the 11th, 2nd Battalion conducted a march around the west side of Carentan to approach the city from the south, effectively trapping the remaining Fallschirmjäger rearguard in the city. By midday, the city had fallen to the combined 506th and 501st PIR attack. In preparation for the by doctrine German counter-attack, 2HQ moved southwest towards higher ground in order to establish a better defensive position on approximately two and a half miles away from Carentan.

By this time, the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division had arrived to reinforce the 6th German Parachute Regiment. This combined force was moving to counter-attack Carentan, travelling along the same axis of advance as the 506th PIR. As both parties closed with one another, a meeting engagement occurred on the outskirts of town with the 506th initially seizing the initiative before their advance was stopped a little over a mile outside of Carentan. With their movement to the defensible terrain denied by the Germans, the 506th established hasty defensive positions and began to coordinate an attack scheduled for the following morning; at 0500, 2nd Battalion with nine tanks in support attacked the Germans. The attack launched easily but was stalled by 0630 when the Germans began to counter-attack.[25] Stuck between a rail line to the north and “Bloody Gully” to the south, 2nd Battalion faced the combined-arms attack of the Panzer Grenadiers–infantry supported by tanks, self-propelled guns and artillery caused many casualties and chaos against the Battalion’s hasty defense. D and F Companies received the brunt of the German attack. Forced to temporarily withdraw, these two companies reorganized and formed a counter-attack to halt the German advance and retake the lost ground. At 1410, the situation began to stabilize as the recently landed at Utah Beach 2nd Armored Division arrived and pushed straight into the foray.[26] The Panzer Grenadiers withdrew, leaving 2HQ and the Rifle Companies as the victors of the day. While the Battalion was hit hard, 2HQ once again avoided heavy losses- T/5 Joeseph Slosarczyk was the only KIA with multiple others both seriously and lightly wounded in action.[27][28] 2HQ pulled back to guard Carentan with the rest of the Regiment for the next two weeks before moving to a rearward position on the 29th of June. 2HQ would remain in reserve until July 10th when they were sent back to England on LCT #392. 2HQ left Normandy with 4 Officers and 123 Enlisted out of the 17 Officers and 173 Enlisted that had jumped into Normandy with the Company.[29]

Pulled back to England for rest and refit, 2HQ did not return to combat until Operation Market as part of Operation Market Garden on 17 September, 1944.[30] Taking off from Membury Airfield, the 101st Airborne Division tasked the 506th with securing bridges and sections of highway near the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands; as part of this mission, Regiment tasked 2nd Battalion as the Regimental reserve. Landing on Drop Zone C, near the town of Son, the 506th’s first objective was to secure Son’s bridges to Eindhoven  in order to provide a route for the British Armored Guards to quickly reinforce the units dropped further north. Approaching Son via north-south road, a Flak 88 opened up in direct fire down the road leading to the bridge; the call for “Bazooka’s Up Front!” came down the line and the 2HQ Anti-Tank Section deployed.[31] Moving through the backyards of houses parallel to the road, “Pvt. Glen Lindsey, highly skilled with his work with the [bazooka], moved forward into position, fired one round at the 88 nearest [to the 506th], disabling it and killing one of the Germans.”[32] The bridge lay just beyond this Flak 88. Continuing down the road, the 506th advanced to within 100 yards of the bridge before the Germans were able to detonate the demolition charges, destroying the bridge.[33] The Regiment would eventual cross using a hastily-built footbridge; however, the destruction of the real bridge would delay the 506th advance south for over twelve hours. Proceeding south on the morning of the 18th, the 506th cleared the city of Eindhoven with 2nd Battalion executing a flanking maneuver from the northeast side of the city, helping 3rd Battalion deal with several roadblocks preventing their advance. By midafternoon, the British Armored Guards had arrived and begun moving north through Eindhoven and on to Son as the 506th began to establish a defense around the Eindhoven.

By the 19th, the Germans had reorganized from the initial shock of the airborne invasion and began to form a counterattack near the city of Helmond, forcing Division to order 2nd Battalion there as part of a spoiling attack.[34] Supported by British tanks, the combined American-British task force encountered a well emplaced German defense outside and around the city, forcing the task force to retreat back to Eindhoven that evening. “Sgt. Jack MacLean [of the Bazooka section] was near the front of the column as it marched toward Helmond. He wrote: ‘We were sent out to the east to a small town. We were right behind the lead unit and I remember one of the scouts came back exclaiming, ‘My God, I’ve never seen so many tanks – the Germans have more tanks than we have people.’”[35] Quickly pulled back, the combined force waited for a German counterattack that never materialized. Rather, the Germans attacked further North towards Son to seize the recently erected Bailey Bridge crossing site for traffic to go north. After being stopped at Son, the Germans regrouped and attempted to cut the road further north, forcing Division to rush 2nd and 3rd Battalions to stop this attack.

On the 22nd, while the Regiment was enroute to Uden, the Germans cut the road between Uden and Veghel. This forced 2nd Battalion to deploy in a hasty defense of Veghel, repelling small counterattacks that were “held off without difficulty.”[36] After repulsing these attacks, the Battalion planned to attack north to reopen the road leading to Uden. From the 506th After-Action Report: “’During the night plans were drawn up which called for a British armored brigade, recalled from the Nijmegen area, to advance on Veghel from Uden, join forces with the 2nd Battalion of the 506th, which was to advance from Veghel toward Uden, and clear the road in order that the flow of traffic might be resumed. Following that, the armored brigade was to swing sharply south and cut off the enemy escape route through Erp.’”[37] The morning of the 23rd started out with a bang, as the Germans coordinated a combined artillery and tanks attack against 2nd Battalion from the southeast.[38] Repulsing these attacks, the Battalion oriented north once again and executed a movement to contact towards Uden. Moving north, the 2nd Battalion linked in with the British Armored Guards, reopening Hell’s Highway all the way to Nijmegen. After establishing a defense around Uden, the Germans cut Hell’s Highway once more, this time south of Veghel. The 506th was once again tasked with re-opening the road.[39] 2nd Battalion moved out on the morning of the 25th, as the Regimental reserve before being committed as part of a flanking maneuver around the eastern flank with the support of half a Squadron worth of British tanks (approximately 8 tanks). Heavily contested, contact with the friendly force advancing from the south was not established until 1940.[40] The 506th would spend the rest of September in the defense of Uden.

On the 3rd of October, 2nd Battalion moved north to secure part of the frontline in the vicinity of Opheusden.[41]  This area would become known as the “the Island”. For the next month, 2HQ would conduct defensive operations against active German forces. At 0600 on the 5th of October, Regiment received multiple reports from the front describing an increase in German artillery and direct fire contact as the 363rd Volksgrenadier Regiment executed their mission of clearing the Island of Allied forces.[42] While 3rd Battalion took t he brunt of the 363rd Volksgrenadier’s assault, a company of SS soldiers conducted a fixing attack against 2nd Battalion’s positions to prevent them from reinforcing 3rd Battalion.[43] Supported by the 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion, the 506th as a whole repulsed these attacks inflicting heavy casualties upon the Germans.[44] While the rest of the 506th was involved in subsequent attacks on the 6th and 7th, 2nd Battalion did not take as heavy of casualties as the other two Battalions in the Regiment. In three days worth of fighting, the Regiment had lost 1/3rd of its Officers and1/4th of its enlisted soldiers.[45] Following these attacks, on the 14th of October, 2nd Battalion rotated to Divisional reserve as 1st and 3rd Battalions of the 506th and the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment consolidated the Division’s positions east of Opehusden.[46] On the night of the 22nd-23rd, 2nd Battalion executed a rescue mission across the lower Rhine, helping 142 British soldiers cross over enemy lines.[47]  On the 28th, the Regiment moved east to secure the sector across from Arnhem, moving the Battalion CP to Schoonderlogt.[48] For another month, 2HQ endured the trench warfare that had become a way of life on the Island; on the 25th of November, Canadian Forces relieved the 506th. The Regiment headed rearward to Mourmelon, France for rest, refit and recovery.[49] Here they would conduct a brief period of rebuilding before the Battle of the Bulge began.

On the morning of December 16th, 1944, the German 5th and 6th Panzer Armies launched their strategic counter-offensive aimed at capturing the Allied-held port of Antwerp; as part of this overarching goal, the smaller crossroads town of Bastogne needed to be captured in order to allow the rapid flow of forces towards the main objective.[50] As the VIII Corps collapsed under the onslaught of the numerical superior German forces, the 101st was alerted for and began movement on the 18th of December, covering 115 miles to join a hasty defense thinly held by Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division. 2HQ moved with the rest of the Battalion by 2.5-ton & 10-ton trucks and arrived at Champs, just outside of Bastogne, Belgium at 0300 on the 19th. 2nd Battalion was ordered to establish as the Regimental Reserve in the vicinity of Luzeny while 1st and 3rd Battalions attacked to slow the German advance in Noville and Foy. [51] 2nd Battalion did not move on to the frontlines until the 20th of December, committed to fill a position previously held by 3rd Battalion on the northeast flank of the 501st.[52] As they moved into position, the Battalion took artillery fire- Cpl. John Barickman (Mortars), Cpl. Norman Huffman, Pfc. Charles Fournier (Mortars), and Pvt. Charles Kodick (Mortars) were wounded in this shelling.[53][54][55] Set in amongst the Bois Jacques, 2nd Battalion assumed the defensive responsibility for the northeast section of the perimeter watching the towns of Foy and Noville.[56] The Battalion oriented in an L-shape with 2HQ behind Dog and Fox Companies, who were oriented south, while Easy Company was at the base of the L oriented northeast towards Foy. 2HQ emplaced itself to support the Rifle Companies, deploying the Bazooka and machine gun teams amongst the rifle companies and establishing communication between the three companies, themselves and Regimental Headquarters. In addition, the Mortar Platoon emplaced and registered the 81mm Mortars. The Battalion had established as effective of a defense the best they could. Meanwhile, 1st and 3rd Battalions began to fight their way back towards Bastogne from Foy and Noville, taking heavy casualties but buying 2nd Battalion and the rest of the 101st Airborne Division the time needed to emplace and prepare to defend the city.

That night, a detachment of approximately 250 German Volksgrenadiers infiltrated a thick area of the Bois Jacques between 2nd Battalion and the 501st unit boundaries. This noticeable gap quickly became an issue as both the 506th and 501st had to aggressively clear the area to eliminate the German probe. At 0530 on the 21st, the Germans attacked in forces, hitting the entire 506th Main Line of Resistance as well as that of the 501st.[57] Heavy shelling occurred, hitting the Battalion CP but resulting in no soldiers killed.[58] Snow flurries began to appear that night as the temperatures began to plummet. On the 23rd, the weather improved and the clouds cleared away to allow the Air Force to help weaken the German’s resolve. Resupply arrived via C-47s and continued for the next several days. Still holding the line, 2HQ was not until the evening of the 26th when the Fourth Armored Division broke through the German siege to relieve the pressure and restore the normal flow of logistics. While freshly resupplied with ammunition, 2HQ still had to hold their defensive positions as the Luftwaffe and German artillery continued to chip away at their positions and the lack of cold-weather gear at their remaining morale. By the 31st, cold weather gear in the form of overshoes begin to arrive, helping to alleviate some of the cold weather injuries that were occurring in the company.[59]

On 2 January, 2nd Battalion cleared the Bois Jaceques to the Foy-Margeret Road before moving to Regimental reserve the following night.[60] On the 9th of January, the Regiment attacked the Fazene Woods, utilizing armored support from Task Force Cherry of the 10th Armored Division.[61] The 10th saw a marked uptick in German artillery fire, leading the Regiment to move back to their old positions with 2nd Battalion not arriving there until 2300. After the capture of Foy on the 13th, 2nd Battalion moved into the defense on the 14th to support 3rd Battalion against a combined arms team of armor and infantry.[62] At 1220, the Battalion began moving towards Cobru, receiving artillery and mortar fire as they entered the town. The Battalion spent the night on the high ground to the east and south of Noville. On the 15th, 2nd Battalion attacked Noville, capturing and establishing a defense of the town. The 16th saw the Regiment attacking north with 2nd Battalion fighting all the way to Rachamps with armor support provided by attached Companies from the 705th and 811th Tank Destroyer Battalions.[63] The next day, the 17th Airborne relieved the Regiment with the intent to return the 101st to Mourmelon, France. By 1700 on the 18th, the Regiment was back on alert for movement south to the 7th Army sector in the vicinity of Sarrebourg.

2HQ arrived in Waldhambach on the 21st where they remained in Division reserve before moving to Wickersheim on the 26th.[64] On 30 January, 2nd Battalion moved to Grassendorf where they remained in Regimental reserve until the 4th of February. At 1200 on the 4th, the Battalion moved to Hagenuau by trucks and began to relieve the 313th Infantry Regiment of the 36th Infantry Division, completing the process by 2200 the next day. 2nd Battalion occupied the East flank of the Regiment, tying in with 117th Infantry Regiment of the 36th Infantry Division in a north-facing defensive position.[65] For the next several days, interactions with the Germans were limited as operations consisted of refitting and light training matched with aggressive patrolling and reconnaissance across the Moder River.[66] 2nd Battalion with H Company attached took over full responsibility for the defensive sector on the 12th and held that position until relieved by 1st Battalion on the 18th, when it rotated to Divisional Reserve at Hochstett. By the 23rd, the 506th began to move out from the frontlines and begun preparations to move back to Mourmelon, arriving there on the 26th. [67]

2HQ spent the month of March, training and integrating new replacements in preparation for future airborne operations rumored to be either across the Rhine or into Berlin, but with the seizure of the bridge at Remagen, Operation Varsity and the decision to cede the Berlin offensive to the Russians, the Airborne reserves were no longer needed to be held as theater reserve. Spending the month of March at Mormelon, the 101st Airborne Division was not committed to pursue the German Army over the Rhine and through the Ruhr Valley until the beginning of April. On April 1st, the 506th received orders to move to Erklentz, Germany as a part of the 15th U.S. Army. Utilizing 10-ton trucks and trailers, 2HQ made their way to Horrem near the Rhine River, arriving there on the 4th of April.[68][69] On the 16th of April, the 97th Infantry Division reported their presence on the east bank of the Rhine across from 2nd Battalion’s defensive positions and the following day was relieved by elements of the 94th Infantry Division.[70] On the 20th of April, the 101st was attached to 7th Army and moved south to join them. Utilizing both trucks and railways, the entire Regiment moved to Landsburg, arriving on the 28th of April and given the mission to protect the North and East flank of VI corps.[71] Reassigned to XXI Corps, the Regiment spent the next few days “catch[ing] up with what remained of the German Army.”[72] On May 3rd, the Regiment received the capture of Berchtesgaden as their final objective of the war. Moving out towards the town, the Regiment encountered scattered resistance in the form of light fire and road blocks, eventually detouring through the route that the 3rd Infantry Division used to capture the town on the 4th of May. The 5th of May found 2HQ in Berchtesgaden where they received the order to “’stand fast on present positions.’”[73] On the 10th, 2HQ received orders to move to Austria where they would spend the occupation period before moving to Joigny, France, arriving on August 4th to continue training for the eventual invasion of Japan.[74] With the dropping of the atomic bombs and Japan’s unconditional surrender, the war was over. Slowly rotating soldiers home, 2nd Battalion Headquarters, along with the rest of the 506th, was inactivated in November of 1945

Footnotes

[1] Ian Gardner and Roger Day, Tonight We Die as Men (Oxford: Osprey, 2009), 16.

[2] Currahee, 21.

[3] Currahee, 22.

[4] Currahee, 27.

[5] Mark Bando, Vanguard of the Crusade: The 101st Airborne in World War II (N.l.: Heimdal, 2012), 7.

[6] For more photos, see http://old.506infantry.org/hiswwii/his2ndbnwwiiphoto37.html.

[7] Bando, Vanguard of the Crusade, 8.

[8] Bando, Vanguard of the Crusade, 12.

[9] Regimental Journal for Operation Neptune, RG 427, NARA II at College Park

[10] S.L.A. Marshall, “Regimental Unit Study #3: 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment in Normandy Drop,” n.d., 8-3.1 BB3, Historical Manuscripts Collection, United States Army, https://history.army.mil/documents/WWII/506-Nor/506-nor.htm, 2.

[11] Marshall, 3.

[12] See Unit Handbook for detailed flight plan.

[13] Army doctrine (textbook guidance, not hard rules) and later 101st ABN Standard Operating Procedure (See Memorandum dated 29 Sept. 1944 for more info) dictated that 1/3rd of any force in a defense position was to be kept as a reserve (i.e. two squads on the line, one in reserve; two platoons on the line, one in reserve, all the way up to a battalion-sized element being held as the Division reserve as opposed to at the Regimental-level).

[14] Marshall, 14-15.

[15] Cpl. Montgomery Diary, 3. Author’s Collection.

[16] Ltc. Maynard Peterson et al., Armor in Operation Neptune (Fort Knox, KY: Armored School, 1949),  56.

[17] Interview with Red Falvey, 2012. Author’s Collection.

[18] T/4 Benjamin Stoney was killed in action here. For a detailed account, see Fighting Fox Company pages 128-129 as well as Webster’s Parachute Infantry pages 40-42.

[19] http://www.orovilleveteransmemorialpark.org/biographies/oroville/stoney/stoney_by_gallone.htm

[20] Dalton Einhorn, From Toccoa to the Eagle’s Nest: Discoveries in the Bootsteps of the Band of Brothers (Charleston, SC: BookSurge Publishing, 2009), 380.

[21] Interview with Gordon E. King, A Small Place in History. n.l: Wisconsin Veterans Museum, 1994, 19-20.

[22] Cpl. Montgomery Diary, 4. Author’s Collection.

[23] Regimental Journal for Operation Neptune, RG 407, NARA II at College Park

[24] 2HQ Company Daily Report, 05 June 1944, Daily Reports, National Archives at St. Louis.

[25] S-1, S-2, S-3 Operations Neptune Journal, RG337, NARA II at College Park

[26] S-2 Journal Operation Neptune from RG337, NARA II at College Park.

[27] Originally a pigeon operator, T/5 Slosarczyk’s birds drowned on D-Day when he landed in one of the flooded fields. Reassigned as a SCR-300 operator for D Company for the first eight days, T/5 Slosarczyk requested relief shortly before the Battle of Bloody Gulch but none was available. Around 4PM on the 13th while in the hedgerows, T/5 Slosarczyk stood up and was hit by a stray rifle bullet, killing him.

[28] Robert L. Williams, My Return to Normandy plus My Rendezvous with Destiny & Joking Joe Jones (Cincinnati, OH: Sky Spec Publishing, 1995), 40.

[29]2HQ Company Daily Report, 13 July 1944, Daily Reports, National Archives at St. Louis.

[30] George Koskimaki, Hell’s Highway: Chronicle of the 101st Airborne Division in the Holland Campaign, September-November, 1944 (Havertown, PA: Casemate, 2003), 47.

[31] Interview with Richard Falvey, 2012. Author’s Collection.

[32] Koskimaki, Hell’s Highway, 104.

[33] Richard Falvey flanked the Flak 88 as part of the Bazooka Section, being struck with what he thought was a ricochet bullet during this action. He carried the “fragment” with him and it wasn’t until his collection was donated to AHEC in 2013 that the fragment was discovered to be a section of the demolished bridge.

[34] Koskimaki, Hell’s Highway, 129.

[35] Koskimaki, Hell’s Highway, 129.

[36] Koskimaki, Hell’s Highway, 291.

[37] Koskimaki, Hell’s Highway, 291.

[38] Koskimaki, Hell’s Highway, 291.

[39] Koskimaki, Hell’s Highway, 312.

[40] Leonard Rapport, Arthur Northwood, and Samuel Lyman Atwood, Rendezvous with Destiny; a History of the 101st Airborne Division (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1948), 372.

[41] Koskimaki, Hell’s Highway, 369.

[42] Rapport, 385.

[43] Major Horton, the former XO of 2nd Battalion, was killed during this attack while serving as the 3rd Battalion CO.

[44] Rapport, 386.

[45] Rapport, 393.

[46] Extract of Unit Journal, RG 407, NARA II at College Park

[47] Rapport, 401.

[48] Maj. Richard Winters, Beyond Band of Brothers (New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 2006), 154.

[49] Koskimaki, Hell’s Highway, 433.

[50] Mark Bando, Vanguard of the Crusade: the 101st Airborne in World War 2 (Bayeux, France: Heimdal, 2012), 194.

[51] Cpl. Montgomery Diary, 49. Author’s Collection.

[52] 506th December 1944 Overlays, RG 407, NARA at College Park

[53] Cpl. Montgomery Diary, 59. Author’s Collection.

[54] https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/141011758/charles-eugene-fournier

[55] https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/84086161/norman-eugene-huffman

[56] George Koskimaki, Battered Bastards of Bastogne (Havertown, PA: Casemate, 2003), 129-130.

[57] 506th December 1944 Overlays, RG 407, NARA II at College Park

[58] Cpl. Montgomery Diary, 60. Author’s Collection.

[59] Cpl. Montgomery Diary, 63. Author’s Collection.

[60] AAR January 1945, 1, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[61] AAR January 1945, 2, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[62] AAR January 1945, 3, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[63] AAR January 1945, 4, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[64] AAR January 1945, 4-5, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[65] AAR February 1945, Overlay, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[66] AAR February 1945, 1, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[67] AAR February 1945, 2, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[68] 2nd Battalion occupied a position from F339839 to F299879 along the west bank of the Rhine.

[69] April 1945 AAR, 1, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[70] April 1945 AAR, 2, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[71] April 1945 AAR, 3, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[72] May 1945 AAR, 1, RG 407, NARA II at College Park.

[73] May 1945 AAR 1, RG 407, NARA II at College Park

[74] Narrative July-Aug 1945, 2, RG 407, NARA II at College Park

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