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THE 1ST BATTALION IN NIJMEGEN (1 of 3)

    Jim Blue found this interesting report written by Shields Warren in the Archives of the 82nd Airborne Museum, Fort Bragg.  Although undated, he signed it as Commander, 1st Battalion, 508th from 6 June I944 - 15 September l945 so it is clearly a post-war recap of the events.
 

Narrative of events of the 1st Battalion 508th Parachute Infantry
for period 17 - 21 September 1944, in the vicinity of Nijmegen, Holland

     Just before 1330 hours 17 September 1944, the lead plane of the 1st Battalion, leading the 508th Parachute Infantry, came over its designated drop zone and began the assault phase of Operation Market. As the battalion commander checked his parachute canopy, he became aware of ground resistance, for a long burst of machine gun fire came disconcertingly close to his right ear. However, the platoon of German anti-aircraft was soon smothered by the weight of the almost six-hundred jumpers even before the next serial in the regimental air column began dropping four minutes later.

Assembly of the battalion was rapid, and by H plus 1 hour, the entire battalion was assembled and reorganized with the exception of two plane loads which had dropped about one-thousand yards beyond the drop zone in the vicinity of the town of Wyler. Each of these aircraft had been hit by ack-ack just before arriving over the drop zone by fire from German 88's North of Nijmegen. The two plane loads, one platoon of "A" Company, came in about an hour later with twenty-three German PWs. "A" Company, in the meantime, had been busy: one platoon, as a combat patrol, had proceeded on H plus thirty minutes to secure that portion of the battalion objective which included the main road between Nijmegen and Grosbeek, and also to inform the battalion commander of any resistance enroute to, or on, the battalion objective. All platoons of "A" Company had been briefed on this mission, for the Normandy operation had taught the battalion that the unforeseen can take place on a combat jump. The battalion had just been directed by the Regimental Commander to proceed on to its objective, about H plus seventy-five minutes, when this combat patrol reported it was just short of the battalion objective and had met no resistance.

     The battalion moved out in advance guard formation with flank patrols out, and conducted a routine cross-country movement to its objective, enlivened only by the capture of four German labor troopers who surrendered without ado. In the meantime the combat patrol had radioed back that the objective was unoccupied by any German troops, and that it was organizing a road block on the main road from Nijmegen leading South to Grosbeek. The Battalion S2, who had accompanied the platoon, stated that Dutch civilians asserted that no German troops were in the area, except for a few labor troops.

     The 1st Battalion continued on to its objective (which was the extension of the high ground to the West and North of the Wyler Meer, and astride the Nijmegen - Grosbeek highway. No map of the area is available here), and proceeded to organize the position and dig in, facing generally North, with the Third Battalion on the right, and the Second Battalion on the left. "C" Company was in battalion reserve, and ŤAn and "BW companies occupied the MLR. As the battalion was organizing the MLR, a combat patrol consisting of Lt Weaver's platoon of "C" Company was told to move into Nijmegen, investigate resistance in and around the bridge, and radio back on the strength of the bridge defenses. Lt Weaver was given an SCR 300 from battalion headquarters for this purpose. Lt Weaver was further instructed that if the bridge was undefended, or lightly defended, to secure it, and immediately radio battalion. (It is believed that this patrol was directed by Regimental Headquarters, and Lt Weaver was selected because he had fought through the Normandy campaign very ably and gallantly).
 

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