Lt Col Shanley
qualified as a jumper in August 1941.
When Col Roy
Lindquist formed the 508th, Shanley held the rank of captain
and was on the staff as S-2 (intelligence)
By June 1943 he was
promoted to Lt Col, and given command of the 2nd Battalion.
He led the 2nd
Battalion through manoeuvres and then overseas for the Normandy invasion.
When he and his men
jumped out over Normandy, heavy flak and poor visibility scattered the
paratroopers over a wide area.
When Lt Col Shanley
hit the ground, there were only a few of his own men near him.
German forces were
closing in fast.
troops and equipment he could find, he formed a provisional Battalion
consisting of personnel from other units and moved into a defensive
position on a hill to be called Hill 30.
On Hill 30 was
fought one of the unsung, but epic engagements of the Normandy invasion.
rushing to repulse the beach landings found their progress stopped by
paratroopers on Hill 30. To reach nearby areas of the beach, it was
necessary for the Germans to clear Hill 30 as rapidly as possible.
Attack after attack
was sent against Shanley and his men, and each time the Germans were
pushed back with severe losses. This provisional unit remained on Hill 30
blocking the path of German forces. They captured 14 tanks, 775 vehicles
and huge stores of critical supplies.
credited Lt Col Shanley's defiant stand on Hill 30 as being one of the
major reasons for the overall success of the American Airborne effort in
Lt Col Shanley
passed away on 10th January, 2004.