From North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, to Normandy and Holland, the Battle of the Bulge, into the heart of Nazi Germany, and also in jungle battles in the Pacific the parachute infantry regiments were among the most highly decorated US Army units of World War II, and between them they saw action right across the world. The elite nature of these units led to their being committed to action not only in the way that had been intended; their quality tempted commanders to keep them in the line longer than their light armament justified, and they were tested to the limit.
This engaging study traces the story of each of the 17 regiments, from their creation and training in the USA, through their deployments overseas, to their combat jumps and all their battles. It explains their structure and organization, and records their commanding officers and other notable personalities, such as their Medal of Honor recipients. The book is illustrated with wartime photographs, many previously unpublished, and with eight full-color plates detailing the specifics of their uniforms, insignia, and equipment practices - which often differed from unit to unit. Together, these plates offer a comprehensive study of the special clothing and gear worn throughout the US Army's parachute forces.
About the Author
Gordon L. Rottman entered the US Army in 1967, volunteered for Special Forces, and completed training as a weapons specialist. He served in the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam in 1969-70 and subsequently in airborne infantry, long-range patrol, and intelligence assignments until retiring after 26 years. He was a Special Operations Forces scenario writer at the Joint Readiness Training Center for 12 years and is now a freelance writer, living in Texas.
Table of Contents
Parachute operations: Mediterranean Theater - European Theater - Southwest Pacific Theater
The Airborne Divisions 7
Tracking the divisions
Evolution of the Parachute Infantry Regiment 14
The Parachute Infantry Regiment 1942-44
The Parachute Infantry Regiment 1945
Separate Parachute Infantry battalions
The Regiments in Combat 27
501st PIR - 502nd PIR - 503rd PIR/PRCT - 504th PIR/PRCT - 505th PIR - 506th PIR - 507th PIR -508th PIR-509th PIR/PIB - 511th PIR-513th PIR-517th PIR/PRCT - 551st PIR
Other Regiments 51
188th PIR-515th PIR - 541st PIR - 542nd PIR/PIB
Field Equipment 54
Items carried on the jump
Parachutists' weapons and ammunition containers
Further Reading 61