Up History Wacos Smokejumpers



Quotes from the book UTAH BEACH TO CHERBOURG
(6 June-27 June 1944)
found on the US Army Center of Military History web site:

“At 2215 on D minus 1, 432 C-47's began taking off from 7 departure airdromes in England, with 6,600 paratroops of the 101st Airborne Division. They were scheduled to begin dropping at H minus s hours. At dawn (H minus 2 hours) they were to be reinforced by approximately 150 glider troops from 51 gliders, and at dusk (H plus 15 hours) by an additional 165 in 32 gliders. Preceding the main echelons of paratroops by half an hour were 20 pathfinder aircraft which had the mission of marking six drop zones (for both divisions) and one landing zone. Marking of the zones was not entirely successful, but all of the pathfinder teams carried out at least part of their missions.

Paratroop echelons approached the Cotentin from the west and made their landfall in the vicinity of les Pieux (Map No. 2). Formations were tight until reaching the coast, but from the coast to the Merderet cloud banks loosened the formations, and east of the Merderet flak scattered them further. In general the division did not have a good drop, although better than that of the 82d Airborne Division (Map V). About 1,500 troops were either killed or captured and approximately 60 percent of the equipment dropped was lost when the bundles fell into swamps or into fields covered by enemy fire. Only a fraction of the division's organized strength could initially be employed on the planned missions, and many of the missions carried out were undertaken by mixed groups which did not correspond with original assignments.”

And later:

“The plan of the 101st Airborne Division called for the seizure of the four inland exits-the western ends of causeways-from the inundated area west of Utah Beach between St. Martin-de-Varreville and Pouppeville (Map II). In the southern part of the division's sector two bridges across the Douve River, on the main highway northwest of Carentan and the railroad bridge to the west, were to be destroyed. In addition, the division was to seize and hold the la Barquette lock and establish two bridgeheads over the Douve at le Port northeast of Carentan. The sum of these missions thus provided for the clearing of the enemy's secondary beach defenses and the organization of the Corps' southern flank for defense and further exploitation. After being relieved in the beachhead area by the 4th Division, the 101st was to seize Carentan and establish contact with V Corps, fusing the Utah and Omaha beachheads. Thereafter the 101st Airborne Division was ordered to protect the southern flank of VII Corps east of the Merderet River. The division would be reinforced by the attachment of a company of tanks of the 70th Tank Battalion, the 65th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, and a troop of the 4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron when these were landed by sea.”

The aircraft formation information and many of the other facts were gathered from the extensive web site: D-Day.

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