The 82nd Airborne Division.

"All Americans."

1. ORGANIZATION.

Regiments and Battalions Attached units during the Battle of the Bulge
325th Glider Infantry Regiment

504th Parachute Infantry Regiment

505th Parachute Infantry Regiment

508th Parachute Infantry Regiment

307th Airborne Engineer Battalion

80th Airborne Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion

307th Airborne Medical Company

319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion

320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion

376th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion

456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion

782d Airborne Ordnance Company

407th Quartermaster Company

82d Parachute Maintenance Battalion

82d Airborne Signal Company

Military Police Platoon

Headquarters Company

 

 

 

 

- Antiaircraft Artillery

Battery C, 563d AAA (AW) Battalion, 18-25 December 44

- Armored

14th Tank Bn, 9th Arm Division, 23-24 December 1944

32d Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, 28 Jan 44-5 Feb 45

- Chemical

Co. B, 86th Chml Bn (4.2-inch mort.), 25 Dec 44-11 Jan 45

Co. A, 87th Cheml Bn (4.2-inch mort.), 25 Jan 45-5 Feb 45

- Engineer

887th Airborne Engineer Company, 25 Dec 44-12 Jan 45

596th Engineer Comp, 2-11 January 1945

- Field Artillery

254th Field Artillery Battalion, 20 December-12 February

591st Field Artillery Battalion, 20 December-11 January

400th Armored Field Artillery Bn., 25 Jan 44-12 Feb 45

460th Parachute Field Art. Bn, 24 Jan 44-5 Feb 45

- Infantry

3d Battalion, 112th Infantry, 23-25 December 1944

551st Parachute Inf. Bn, 25 Dec44-12 Jan45, 21-27 Jan45

517th Parachute Infantry, 1-11 January 1945

- Tank Destroyer

740th Tank Bn, 29 Dec 44-11 Jan 45 & 27 Jan 45-5 Feb 45

703d TD Battalion, 20 December 1944-1 January 1945

628th TD Battalion, 1-11 January 1945.

643d TD Battalion, 25-31 January 1945

629th TD Battalion, 31 January 1945 -18 February 1945

 

2. HISTORY.

          Early on the 16th of December 1944, German armies jumping off from their positions smashed through American lines. The only strategic reserve immediately available to Allied Supreme Headquarters was the 82nd Airborne Division and the 101st Airborne Division. On the morning of December 17, the troopers loaded aboard semi-trucks and moved to the north. The 82nd was first on the way to Bastogne and got orders to go further to the north, while the 101t would stopped in Bastogne.

          The bulk of the 82d Airborne Division arrived in the vicinity of Werbomont early on 19 December and dug in for all round defense. On the 20th of December 1944, the different units reached their positions and set up a defensive line. The 504th PIR was assigned the difficult task to retake the village of CHENEUX held by elements of the 1st SS Panzer Division. The 505th PIR  took position all along the Salm River valley from Trois-Ponts to Rencheux. The 508th PIR would defend the sector from Rencheux to Salmchâteau/Sart area, occupying the high ground at Thier-du-Mont. The right flank of the division, the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment would hold a line going from Sart to Baraque de Fraiture and would join the 3rd Armored Division to their right.

          Between   the 20th to the 24th of December, the 'All American' will resist to the Germans assaults all along their front line. On Christmas Eve, the division got order to withdraw from the Salm.  Indeed, Field Marshal Montgomery had ordered a major pullback to 'tidy up the lines'. That order was never accepted by the men of the 82nd Airborne Division and most of the men felt somewhat ashamed of the strategic withdrawal but it was accomplished during the night of the 24th to the 25th of December. On Christmas Day, the new defensive positions were running from Trois-Ponts, Basse-Bodeux, Bra to Manhay. That MLR will be held until the 01st of January 1945.

          January 01-02, 1945 the 82nd Airborne Division prepared for the counter-offensive to come. The 517th PRCT (now attached to the division), the 504th PIR and the 508th PIR were assigned to the defense of the entire frontline of the division. In the meanwhile, the 505th PIR and the 325th GIR regroup behind the lines and got ready for the attack of the following day. The 551st PIB would also take part to the first phase of the counter-attack. The plan of the First Army was to attack with the VII Corps and to link up at Houffalize with the Third Army. The role of the 82nd Airborne Division was to protect the VII Corps left flank and to clear the west bank of the Salm River.

          At dawn, January 03, 1945, it was bitter cold and the battlefield was covered with knee deep snow. On the line of departure, the 517th to the extreme left would attack with the 551st on its right. The 517th's objectives were the villages of Trois-Ponts and Mont-de-Fosse while the 551st was to secure the imposing ridges of Herispehe. To their right, the 505th PIR would attack from Basse-Bodeux. From left to right, the villages of Fosse, Reharmont, and the farm of Noirefontaine were respectively assigned to the 3rd, 1st and 2nd Battalion. To the extreme right, the 325th GIR would attack towards Hierlot and Amcomont. At the end of the day, the hamlets of St Jacques and Bergeval had been seized by the 517th. All the units underwent heavy losses to reach their objectives and if it was any consolation, the Germans were suffering as bad or worse. 

          On the 04th, the division reinforced his positions and continue his offensive. On the 05th, Arbrefontaine is liberated by the 505th PIR while the 325th occupied the highground   north of Lierneux. The 504th retook the highground overlooking Grand-Halleux.

          January 07-08, 1945 the "All Americans' " would reach it's final objective: the west bank of the Salm river. On the 07th, Goronne was the objective of the 505th while the 508th PIR was to retake Thier-du-Mont hill and to the right the 325th GIR would seize Thier-dol-Preux hill. That day, the 551st PIB would liberate Rochelinval. On the 09th, the paratroopers would be in the same positions they had formerly held before Christmas.

          January 11, 1945 the 75th Infantry Division began to relieve the division which was sent to the rear for a well-earned rest. But on the 25th, the division got order to be ready to move out. The division was assigned to reach and crossed the Siegfried Line. The bitter cold and waist deep snow would be nearly as more difficult to face as the Germans. On the 1st of February, the division reached the West Wall, that will be penetrated the following day, where it was relieved on the 04th of February 1945. February 07-10, 1945 the division was then involved in the combats to the Roer River near Bergstein and crossed the Roer River on 17 February 45. The following day, the 82nd Airborne Division is relieved by the 9th Infantry Division. Finally, the division was back to Reims area which it had left two month before.

          The 82nd Airborne Division would take part to the German campaign and was engaged in mopping up when the Germans surrendered on the 07th of May. 

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Created : June 04, 2001

Updated : August 15, 2005

Copyright © 2001-2002-2003-2004-2005 Eddy LAMBERTY

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