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Author Topic: US Airborne Divisions  (Read 6581 times)
Mad Russian

« on: 20 May 2009, 05:08:43 »

US Airborne Divisions

The airborne division underwent many official (as well as semiofficial and unofficial) changes during the war. As originally conceived they were primarily infantry formations, with two two-battalion glider infantry regiments, a single three-battalion parachute infantry regiment, an airborne engineer battalion, an antiaircraft/antitank battalion, three artillery battalions, and divisional services. Initially, the artillery battalions were all equipped with the M1 75mm Pack Howitzer, which could be parachute dropped or transported by glider. Later, some artillery battalions were equipped with the M3 105mm Howitzer, which was glider transportable.

However, initial combat experience by the 82nd Airborne Division in Sicily and Italy demonstrated that the glider regiments were too weak. As a stopgap remedy, the 401st Glider Infantry was split, with one of its battalions going to each of the 325th Glider Infantry in the 82nd Division and the 327th Glider Infantry of the 101st Division. The other divisions followed a similar process, in the 13th Airborne Division (which never saw combat) the 88th Glider Infantry was disbanded to provide replacements for the airborne forces in Europe and to form a 3rd Battalion for its 326th Glider Infantry, in the 17th Airborne Division the 193rd Glider Infantry was disbanded 1 March 1945 and its remnants were utilized as replacements and to form a 3rd Battalion in the 194th Glider Infantry (both regiments had suffered heavy casualties in the Ardennes in January 1945.

A second augmentation was the attachment of separate parachute units to the divisions. In this way the 501st and 506th Parachute Infantry were attached to the 101st Airborne Division, the 508th Parachute Infantry to the 82nd Airborne Division, and the 507th and the 517th Parachute Infantry to the 17th Airborne Division. Lastly, most of the divisions had a fourth separate artillery battalion attached. Thus, effectively the divisions all (except for the 11th) had four three-battalion regiments and, instead of the 8,596 man strength authorized (TO&E 71, dated 15 June 1943) had an assigned strength of well over 12,000 (17th Airborne, 12,967; 82nd Airborne, 12,921; 101st Airborne, 12,335).

But the 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific followed a unique course. General Swing, commanding general of the 11th, decided to reform the 187th and 188th Glider Infantry, by adding a 3rd Battalion to each and to augment the 511th Parachute Infantry by adding a rifle company to each of its battalions. That was done by utilizing the assets of the 541st Parachute Infantry, which had arrived in the Philippines on 10 July 1945, that regiment being inactivated in August after the reorganization. Unofficially the 187th and 188th were then designated as "Paraglider" regiments by General Swing, who also followed the unique practice of having all elements of the 11ith Airborne cross-trained as both glider and parachute qualified.

European Theater of Operations:

First (Allied) Airborne Army
XVIII Airborne Corps
517th Parachute RCT
517th Parachute Infantry Regiment
460th Parachute FA Battalion
596th Parachute Engineer Company
1st/551st Parachute Infantry Regiment
509th Parachute Infantry Battalion
463rd Parachute FA Battalion (75mm)
13th Airborne Division
515th Parachute Infantry Regiment
189th Glider Infantry Regiment
190th Glider Infantry Regiment
676th Glider FA Battalion (75mm)
677th Glider FA battalion (75mm)
458th Parachute FA Battalion (75mm)
153rd Airborne AAA/AT Battalion
129th Airborne Engineer Battalion
17th Airborne Division
507th Parachute Infantry Regiment (attached)
513th Parachute Infantry Regiment
193rd Glider Infantry Regiment
194th Glider Infantry Regiment
550th Glider Infantry Battalion (attached)
680th Glider FA Battalion (105mm)
681st Glider FA Battalion (75mm)
466th Parachute FA Battalion (75mm)
155th Airborne AAA/AT Battalion
139th Airborne Engineer Battalion
82nd Airborne Division
504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (attached)
508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (attached)
325th Glider Infantry Regiment
2/401st Glider Infantry (attached)
319th Glider FA Battalion (75mm)
320th Glider FA Battalion (105mm)
376th Parachute FA Battalion (75mm)
456th Parachute FA Battalion (75mm)
80th Airborne AAA/AT Battalion
307th Airborne Engineer Battalion
101st Airborne Division
501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (attached)
502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment
506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (attached)
327th Glider Infantry Regiment
1/401st Glider Infantry (attached)
321st Glider FA Battalion (75mm)
907th Glider FA Battalion (105mm)
377th Parachute FA Battalion (75mm)
81st Airborne AAA/AT Battalion
326th Airborne Engineer Battalion

Pacific Theater of Operations:

11th Airborne Division
511th Parachute Infantry Regiment
187th Glider Infantry Regiment
188th Glider Infantry Regiment
472nd Glider FA Battalion (75mm)
675th Glider FA Battalion (75mm)
457th Parachute FA Battalion (75mm)
674th Parachute FA Battalion (75mm)
152nd Airborne AAA/AT Battalion
127th Airborne Engineer Battalion
503rd Parachute RCT
503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment
462nd Parachute FA Battalion (75mm)

In the US:

541st Parachute Infantry Regiment
542nd Parachute Infantry Battalion
555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, Colored
464th Parachute FA Battalion


Airborne Divisions
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