UNIT JOURNAL, 508TH PARACHUTE INFANTRY
OPERATION ”NEPTUNE”, NORMANDY
28 MAY TO 15 JULY 1944
(1 of 19)
MAY 1944: - All units of the combat echelon
were moved to their respective airfields to prepare for takeoff for
“Neptune” operation. The 1st Battalion went to TRACTOR airfield, 2nd
Battalion to TRENCH airfield. The following units were attached to Regt’l
Hq Company at the airfield; Company B, 307 Engineer Bn; Hq Company,
82nd A/B Div; Division Signal Co; Division Artillery. Strength of units
at this time:
Regt’l Hq Company 24 Off 192 EM
1st Bn 37 Off 559 EM 2nd Bn 39 Off 543 EM
3rd Bn 37 Off 547 EM
Medical Det 8 Off 62 EM
Co B, 307th Eng 6 Off 91 EM
Hq Co, Div 5 Off 62 EM
Div Signal Company 3 Off 48 EM
Div Artillery 4 Off 32 EM
Regular garrison procedure followed at the airfields.
All men billeted in hangars, cots to sleep on. The meals here were excellent.
Showers were arranged for on each field. Night assembly problems run
on some nights, regular training during the days.
3 June 1944 - Bundles
loaded in the planes, dingy boat and ditching drills held during the
day for all personnel. Movies held on the airports in the evenings.
4 June 1944: All paid partial pay of 200 francs
(one-pound-four dollars). Maps issued to all men. Preparing to move
by noon. Bundles loaded in the racks. When all arrangements were completed
the men rested in the afternoon. At 1400 hours the unit was notified
that the operation was postponed 24 hours.
5 June 1944: Operation in effect for today,
schedule for turning in clothing being followed. All troops ready to
go by noon, troops rested until 1600 hour. All equipment secured for
jump and operation. Departed for planes by truck at 2030 hour, embarked
into planes at 2245 hour. Planes took off at 2335 hour flying evenly.
6 June 1944
0100 hour --- Everyone in plane #1 of Regt’l serial quiet. Regt’l
Hq Co with the 2nd Bn in serial.
0205 hour --- Dropped. Landed just east of the Merderet River in the
flooded area of the river. The railroad tracks running parallel to the
Merderet River east of the river visible from where we landed.
0220 hour --- Blue assembly light up.
0300 hour --- Very few men in as yet. The Regt’l CO, S-34, S-4, S-1 and approximately
20 EM plus units from Div Hq and 507th Prcht Inf in our group of personnel.
Moved up to the railroad tracks for further assembly. The group was
not subject to direct enemy fire.
0400 hour --- No further men joined us so we moved out under the directions
of our C.O. We moved directly south on the railroad, the only available
exit due to the extent of the flooded area.
0430 hour --- Reached overhead bridge over the railroad; went up to
it and proceeded west, attempting to get through to Chef-du-Pont and
proceed to objective.
0500 hour --- Encountered enemy MG fire along the road. Entire unit
pinned down, part of a platoon from A Company flanked the MG position
attempting to knock it out. They were unable to reach the position.
Several men injured in this action, all evacuated to the provisional
aid station established by a Surgeon from the 507 and T/Sgt Murphy from
our medics. Mortars secured from the 507 laid a steady fire in the vicinity
of the MG, exact location not known.
1100 hour --- The enemy MG knocked out by two of our men, both of the
men injured in this action, evacuated.
1215 hour --- The entire group proceeded southwest to attempt to reach
the river at the chateau.
1330 hour --- Ran into defensive position
at bridge, enemy in building in a farmyard. Our unit attacked with all
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