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XVIII US Airborne Corps

Maj, Gen. Matthew B. Ridgeway

82nd U.S. Airborne Division "All American"

Brig. Gen. James M. Gavin
504th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Col. Tucker

1st Battalion Harrison
2nd Battalion Wellems
3rd Battalion Cook
505th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Col. Ekman

1st Battalion Maj. Long
2nd Battalion Maj. Vandervoort
3rd Battalion Maj. Kaiser

 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment

Col. Roy E. Lindquist

1st Battalion

Lt. Col. Shields Warren, Jr.

2nd Battalion Lt. Col. Otho E. Holmes
3rd Battalion Lt. Col. Louis G. Mendez

Operation Market Garden included the single, largest, airborne military operation in the history of the world to date. Almost 39,000 armed men, including US, British, and Polish troops, participated in the airborne action. Due to limited airlift capacity, the operation had to be performed in three waves into the three invasion zones in Holland, being an area north of Eindhoven, an area south and east of Nijmegen, and an area west of Arnhem. The first two areas were selected for drop zones because they were near the bridges, the third which was farthest from the objective because it had the best conditions for glider landings. The bridges had to be taken and held so that Allied ground forces could move northward from Belgium towards Arnhem, and create a base of operation to eventually strike into Germany.

"If you see a white plane, it's American, if you see a black plane it's RAF. If you see no planes at all it's the Luftwaffe".

The US Army 82nd Airborne Division, commanded by Brigadier General James Gavin, used roughly the same number of planes and gliders to transport the 12,500 men, the heavy guns, jeeps and other ground support equipment. They, too, landed in three waves over a three-day period, and jumped into the Grave/Groesbeek/Nijmegen area.

The 82nd Airborne dropped with the minimal loss of two Dakotas. The 504th Parachute Infantry dropped at Grave (with a company of the 2nd Battalion dropped west of the bridge) while the 505th Parachute Infantry and 508th Parachute Infantry dropped on the Groesbeek Heights with the 376th Parachute Artillery Battalion (the first ever parachute deployment of artillery into battle).

Meanwhile, the 508th and 505th Parachute Infantry Regiments had set up defensive positions either side of Groesbeek village

Relieved of much of the responsibility for Nijmegen, the 82nd Airborne mounted an attack with the 504th and 508th Parachute Infantry Regiments on the Groesbeek Heights and pushed Corps 'Feldt' off for good.

The regiment was dropped with the 508th Regiment at Drop Zone 'T’ on the other side of Groesbeek.

Now only one target remained, the bridge at Nijmegen. The 508th regiment was entrusted with this target. The regiment also had to defend the landing zones and secure the Groesbeek heights in the north. Immediately after the landing, Gavin ordered Colonel Lindquist’s 508th regiment to head for the bridge along the east side of the city, avoiding the built-up area. But due to a misunderstanding, Lindquist thought he was to advance only after he secured his other objectives. As a result, he moved towards Nijmegen late in the afternoon through the built-up area which Gavin had wanted him to avoid. The surprise effect of his attack was lost. German troops (some from Gräbner's squadron) prevented the Americans from taking the bridge. However, the Americans succeeded in blocking Nijmegen’s access roads. The 82nd Airborne Division’s first day was successful. All of its objectives, except one, had been achieved.

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