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SECRET Report Of The 508th's D-Day Operations

From 6 June to 15 July, 1944

THE 508TH PARACHUTE INFANTRY, attached to the 82d Airborne
Division, landed in Normandy, France, as part of that division on
D Day, 6 June 1944, between the hours of 0208 and 0220. Although
it was planned to drop the regiment in one drop zone north of
PIQUAVILLE in four serials, the organization was widely scatter-
ed, the majority landing east of the original drop zone and as-
tride the MERDERET RIVER, and some personnel landing nine kilo-
meters south of CHERBOURG. ( For drop pattern see Overlay No. 1 )
As the plane formation struck landfall it became engulfed in a
heavy cloud bank, causing many planes to lose formation. The
air column encountered heavy flak concentration and AA - MG fire;
one plane is known to have crashed with all personnel aboard.
Some casualties were suffered when men were hit in the planes.
Subsequently a few men were hit during the parachute descent. 

Fairly heavy small arms fire on the ground made a proper
reorganization impossible. Little or no equipment was recovered
from the equipment containers due to resistance on the drop
and because much of the equipment had landed in the MERDERET and
DOUVE RIVERS. The regiment was divided into many small groups,
each of which began "-o fight its way individually to its obje-
tive, leaving dead Germans, wrecked German vehicles and dis-
rupted communications behind it; Company "G" was dropped intact
and reorganized completely with all personnel and equipment in
the vicinity of STE MERE EGLISE. There was very little resis-
tance on the ground in this area to interfere with a prompt re-

The regiment assembled in four distinct groups-- Group L,
commanded by Colonel Lindquist, Group W, commanded by Major War-
ren; Group S, commanded by Lt. Colonel Shanley; and Group G,
consisting of a combined force of Company G, under command of
Captain Novak plus a small group of approximately twenty-five
men under command of Captain Simonds. Each group was a composite
unit consisting of parachutists from 508th, 507th, and 505th, and
members of the 101st A/B Division, the majority being members of
this regiment. 

6 June - ( D Day ) 

Group L assembled in the vicinity of La FIERE, fought its
way south along the railroad to the highway across the railroad
two and one-half kilometers west of STE MERE EGLISE and then
turned southwest along highway for the purpose of crossing the
MERDERET RIVER and moving to the area north and northwest of
ETIENVILLE ( FONT L'ABBE ) to contact elements of the 508th Para-
chute Infantry and to carry out the mission assigned by the 82d
A/B Division. This group encountered and attacked a German
strongpoint defending the bridge across the MERDERET, four kilo-
meters west of STE MERE EGLISE. At this point Colonel Lindquist
made contact with Force A, Headquarters 82d A/B Division. On the
afternoon of D Day Group L with some assistance from a company
of the 505th Parachute Infantry ( whose original mission was to
seize the bridge ), wiped out the German unit in that locality.
That evening Group L was relieved by 1st Battalion, 505th Para-
chute Infantry and organized a defensive position around the rail-
road viaduct on the same road a few thousand yards to the east. 


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