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We had learned from the very beginning in Sicily, that it is better to land near an objective and take heavy losses rather than have to fight on the ground to get it. ’ General Gavin briefing his staff and commanders. American paratroopers load a trailer onto a Waco glider. General James Gavin prepares for the drop. In contrast to XXX Corps and 101st Airborne Division who had to fight through the enemy’s forward positions in the newly formed German 1st Fallschirmjäger Army’s Forward Combat Zone, the 82nd was to drop in the enemy’s Rear Combat Zone.

I could see some flak up ahead, blossoming among the C-47s. As I was unharnessing my parachute, I was busy looking for Krauts, squad members and I watched a couple of C-47s that had been hit by flak as they slowly spun, out of control, to the ground. A couple of parachutes opened from one as the crew bailed out. They looked to be within the lines that we, the 82nd, were forming’. C-47 Skytrains heading for enemy-held territory loaded with paratroopers and their equipment. Captain Moffatt Burriss, commander of Company I, 3/504 PIR, was further down the stream of aircraft, standing in the door of his C-47.

Troopers talking about it later recalled it as being pretty silly because they were just as likely to shoot themselves as the Germans. 45 caliber pistols, but they did, and most of the Germans broke and ran. 45 calibre. A mosaic of airphotographs for briefing 504 Parachute Infantry Regiment The Grave Bridge – Sunday 17 September 1944 The Grave Bridge over the River Maas, was first of the three largest water obstacles that the Allied Airborne Corps had to seize on XXX Corps’s route to Arnhem. The Maas is one of Europe’s greatest rivers, second only in significance to the Rhine in its military history.

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