US Glider Troops During Operation Market Garden
||US Glider Troops During Operation Market Garden
325th Infantry Regiment
The 325th Infantry Regiment was formed on 25 August 1917 and attached to the new 82nd Infantry Division. The regiment consisted mainly of draftees from the American south destined to join the American war effort in France during the Great War.
With the addition of this regiment, the 82nd Division included troops from every state in the union, earning it the nickname “The All American Division”. The double-A patch was adopted for the division and is still worn today.
|World War I
The regiment received orders to head to France in April 1918 to shore up the critical shortage of Allied troops following the success of the German spring offensive and eventually joined the American Expeditionary Force.
The 325th participated in the American offensive in the Argonne Forest, the last major offensive of the war. Their
success cost them 94 percent of its initial strength, but contributed greatly in ending the war.
World War II
After World War I, the 325th Infantry Regiment was deactivated, but was called upon once again in March 1942 to
fight in World War II. The unit was once again assigned to the 82nd Infantry Division as the division’s heavy motorised infantry regiment.
This suddenly changed when the Chief of Staff, General George Marshall decided to use the 82nd as the base for the
proposed airborne force. When the men of the 325th mustered early in the morning, they found out, much to their surprise, that they would be arriving into battle in a flimsy wooden glider!
The regiment arrived to its first battle, not by air, but by sea. On 15 September they arrived in Salerno to reinforce American units already there. The following day, 2nd Battalion was ordered to re-board the landing craft and head farther north to the town of Maiori where they were to be attached to Colonel William O. Darby’s Ranger Task Force.
The battalion relieved the Rangers and held positions on Mount St. Angelo di Cava. The Germans launched a few
probing attacks against the battalion, but these were simply diversionary as the rest of the German army withdrew to their next line of defence.
The regiment was removed from Italy and sent to England to prepare for the invasion of France. On 7 June 1944 (D+1), the regiment landed by glider in Normandy. The regiment went into divisional reserve until it was
called upon to capture a bridge across the Merderet River on 9 June. During this short, but sharp battle, Private First Class Charles N. Deglopper was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for distracting German fire, allowing his platoon to outflank the enemy.
The regiment then joined the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) and took up a position on the left flank of VII Corps and helped capture Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte on 16 June.
Soon thereafter, the regiment was pulled off the line along with the rest of the division and sent back to England to prepare for their next operation.
The 325th’s next glider assault was in Holland, during Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne operation
ever conducted. General James Gavin, the new divisional commander, only had enough gliders to bring either his artillery or his glider troops in on the first day, but not both. He figured that the artillery was a priority as he couldn’t rely on the British to arrive soon enough to lend artillery support. So Gavin decided to bring the 325th in the second wave.
On 18 September, (D+1), the 325th had assembled near their gliders to join their parachute comrades currently fighting in Holland, but weather proved difficult and the mission was delayed until 23 September (D+6). Meanwhile, Gavin’s overworked paratroopers had to make do without their glider troops.
The regiment was finally delivered on D+6, at LZ (or Landing Zone) ‘O’. Their original LZ was planned for a bit of open ground east of Groesbeek, but since this spot was contested by the Germans, a last-minute decision was made to deliver them five miles west near Grave Bridge, which had been used by the 504th PIR on the first day of the operation.
The landings went on without a hitch and of the 2900 troops that landed, only ten were unfit for duty. The regiment assembled quickly and was placed into divisional reserve. They didn’t have to wait long before they were sent to reinforce the eastern flank of the division.
While most welcome reinforcements, the time when they were most needed had passed and the Market Garden’s
success had been seriously compromised.
The regiment stayed on the front lines fighting small battles until 14 November 1944, when it was removed along with the rest of the division to France to rest and refit. However, their time off would soon be cut short by the German Ardennes offensive the following month.
The Germans launched their offensive in the Ardennes Forest on 16 December 1944. The 325th and the rest of the
82nd Airborne Division rushed to the front and joined the fighting and blunted the German northern penetration in
the American lines. The division took up positions in Werbomont, north of Bastonge. The determined men of the 325th dug in around the crossroads at Baraque de Fraiture and held.
On the morning of 23 December 1944 a sergeant in a tank destroyer spotted an American digging a foxhole. The
trooper, a Private First Class of Company F, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, looked up and asked, “Are you looking
for a safe place?”
“Yeah,” answered the tanker.
“Well buddy,” he drawled, “just pull your tank in behind me... I’m the 82nd Airborne and this is as far as the bastards are going!”
During the intense fight in December 1944 into January 1945, the 325th, absorbed heavy casualties but decimated
two German Divisions.
The 325th marched into Germany with the 82nd Airborne Division. After the war, the regiment assisted in the occupation before returning to the United States in 1946 and being deactivated on 15 December 1947.
327th Infantry Regiment
The 327th Infantry Regiment was formed as part of the new 82nd Infantry Division on 17 September 1917 at Fort
Gordon, Georgia. The regiment was one of many raised for the American Expeditionary Force being sent to France during World War I.
The Great War
After training, the regiment joined the rest of the division in northern France in early spring, 1918 and took part int he fighting around St. Mihiel. In November the 327th fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
After the armistice in 1918, the regiment was demobilized on 25 May 1919. It was reconstituted as a reserve unit in December 1921 and remained as such until the outbreak of World War II.
World War II
The 82nd Infantry Division was reactivated in March 1942, and along with it the 327th Regiment. The unit was originally organized has an infantry regiment, however in the summer of 1942, the 82nd Infantry Divison was selected to become an airborne division.
During the final days of basic training, the men were to told by their commander, Major General Omar N. Bradley that the division was to be split to form a second airborne division, the 101st Airborne Division. Bradley also announced that the 327th was to be trained as a glider infantry regiment.
The men were not sure about flying in gliders. Most of them had never even flown in a plane, let alone crash landing into combat in one! On 15 August 1942 the unit became known as the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment and reassigned to the newly formed 101st ‘Screaming Eagles’ Airborne Division.
The regiment had previously consisted of two battalions, but following this reorganization, the 401st Glider Infantry Regiment was deactivated and transferred its first battalion to the 327th Glider Infantry.
In the fall of 1942, the 327th headed to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina to began training with the CG-4a ‘Waco’ glider.
While training they met the paratroopers they would be working with for the first time, and it wasn’t the best first impression. Fights would break out between them, as the paratroopers thought they were the better troops and that the glider boys weren’t elite enough to be airborne soldiers. Despite the harassment, the men received glider training.
Landing in a glider wasn’t easy and some of the landings resulted in serious injuries as the glider snagged trees or fence posts, tearing up the men inside. Still, it allowed a platoon of troops to deploy relatively close without having to assemble before conducting their mission.
The men of the 327th were soon trained up and off to England where they prepared for their first operation.
Normandy, 6 June 1944
When the Allied commanders decided to drop both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions simultaneously into Normandy, the number of available aircraft to tow the gliders was greatly reduced. Therefore the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment was not fully committed to battle until the day after the invasion.
When the regiment was assembled they marched to Carentan to cut off the fleeing Germans. The regiment reached Carentan on 9 June. At 2200 hours on the following day, the 327th attacked a bridge over the Canal de Vire-et-Taute and advanced through a wooded area, where they became pinned under heavy fire.
The regiment received reinforcements form in the from of the 29th Infantry Division helping to breakthrough the German lines and capture the high ground.
Although causalities were high, they accomplished their mission and the regiment was removed to England to prepare
for its next mission on 13 July.
Holland, 17 September 1944
The next combat operation for the regiment was Operation Market Garden, the airborne invasion of Holland. Unlike
General Gavin, General Maxwell Taylor, commander of the 101st Airborne Division, opted to dedicate his glider
regiment early and wait on his artillery. This meant that the 327th saw combat much earlier than the 325th Glider
On 18 September (D+1), over 160 gliders took off from England destined for Holland. Another 40 gliders arrived
on the following day. The 327th landed at LZ W and immediately took up positions around the village of Son. No
sooner had they landed when they were attacked by the 107th Panzer Brigade hoping to recapture the Son bridge. The glider troops managed to hold them off for two days, until the Germans finally gave up and refocused their efforts further
The regiment was then called upon by the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment to help capture the town of Best, where
the German 59th Infantry Division was holding up. The regiment secured the Zonsche Forest while the 502nd assaulted
and finally captured the town.
The regiment was then pulled north to Veghel to help defend it against their old enemy, the 107th Panzer Brigade. When the regiment arrived, the town was already under attack and the glider troops rushed to defend the southern edge of the city along with British anti-aircraft elements.
Once again the 327th saw off the Panzer brigade’s attack and the road was once again secure. After the battle, the regiment was sent north yet again to the village of Erp which they defended for the duration of the operation.
After the fighting had settled down, the 327th was in the front lines for 48 days until ordered to withdraw from Holland. They were removed to France to rest and recuperate before the next operation.
The Ardennes - Battle of the Bulge
On 16 December, 1944, the Germans launched an offensive in the west through the Ardennes Forest. Like the 82nd, the 101st Airborne Division was ordered to reinforce the lines and stop the German advance.
The 327th assumed a defensive position south of Bastogne. By 22 December the Germans had completely surrounded Bastogne and held for nine days, until relieved by the 4th Armored Division.
Despite suffering heavy causalities, the Regiment took 750 prisoners, knocked out 144 tanks and 105 other enemy
vehicles. For its actions in the defence of Bastogne, the 327th Regimental motto became ‘Bastogne Bulldog’.
After the Battle of the Bulge, the 327th fought in the Rhineland and Berchtesgarden Campaigns. Following the
end of World War II, the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment was again deactivated on 30 November, 1945.
To field US
Glider Troops During Operation Market Garden see Market Garden.
Last Updated On Tuesday, December 3, 2013 by Wayne at Battlefront