There is 73 years ago ... VARSITY
Today there is 73 years ago that allied forces jumped other the Rhine river in the area of Wesel, Germany. This operation called Plunder - Varsity was the last and the biggest airborne invasion of the second world war. This day, the 6th British Airborne Division and the 17th US Airborne Division were dropped on the battle field in one time !
At the end of the day, the Drop Zones et Landing Zones were secured and all the missions assigned to the 17th AB were accomplished. Forty-four days later, the German forces surrendered without condition !
On this pic showing a 513th PIR radio operator in his fox-hole, is presented some gun artifacts discovered on the Landing Zone N, in the area of the 194th GIR. There is a laundry on the liner but unfortunately not complete.
(Signal Corps pic & TFH collection memorabilia)
17th AB Division vet ...
After the VE Day in May 08, 1945, numerous 17th AB troopers were transferred in other combat units, especially 82nd, 101st and 13th Airborne Divisions. Few ones were also transferred to the 11th Airborne Division and than send in Japan for occupation duty.
This pic shows 11th AB troopers. The paratrooper in the center of the top row wears proudly the 17th Airborne Division shoulder sleeve insignia on his right shoulder. That is mean he was previously member of this division and fought with it as he also wears the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB). Of interest is that the wings are pinned below the CIB ! This gentleman is unfortunately anonymous.
(unpublished TFH collection)
There is 72 years ago ...
Rest and reorganization in Champagne, France ...
After a terrible winter campaign, the 17th Airborne troopers were stationed in the vicinity of Châlon-sur-Marne to take rest, reorganize, repair and clean materiel and restart training to prepare the final assault in the heart of the Third Reich.
This pic was realized between february and March 1945 when the division was located in France. It shows T/4 Leo Alfred CAPISTRANT (ASN 31127787) from Service Company / 507th PIR. This really interesting pic shows a not known fact : the 507th PIR troopers wore tactical insignias on their helmets. I have discovered this recently and published my research in the French review "Militaria Magazine" from September 2016. Unfortunately I have not yet found the signification and code of this tactical identification. I hope found more pics and identified helmets to better understand this practice (pic and helmet from TFH collection).
January 04, 1945 … The Battle for Cochleval
In its first day of combat, the 1st Battalion of the 513th PIR met heavy resistance on the National 4 road, north west of Bastogne, in a small hamlet called Cochleval. This hamlet does not survived to the battle and/or to the enlargement of the road realized after the war. It no longer exist and I have never found any pic of the place during WWII or before. The only proof I have found from its existence is an aerial pic realized on December 27, 1944.
As I was in the area this last December 16, 2016 (the date of the 72nd anniversary of the starting of the Battle of the Bulge !) and the weather was clement, I have stopped few minutes in this place where the 1st Bn / 513th PIR fought so heavily and suffered a lot of casualties.
Cochleval from the sky on December 27, 1944.
The red dot is my location on December 16, 2016 and letters correspond of the direction I have made the pic.
A : today, the only building remaining at the place is a recent barn. It is exactly at that place the Company C was nearly annihilated and survivors surrendered in the afternoon of January 04, 1945.
B : this is the view toward Flamierge. It is from this side that German tanks launched their counter-offensive.
C : in the direction of Bastogne. The Company B was approximately located on the right side of the road, at the horizon line. It is in this area Isadore S JACHMAN, on of the fourth divisional CMH recipient was killed in action. The barn where the First Aid Post was opened was approximately located near my car.
D : the path we can see on the aerial pic is still present and absolutely unchanged since 72 years !
Lors de son baptême du feu le 04 janvier 1945, le 1er Bataillon du 513th PIR rencontra une résistance inattendue en arrivant sur la route Nationale, au nord ouest de Bastogne, dans un hameau appelé Cochleval. Les constructions situées à cet endroit n'ont pas survécu à la guerre et/ou à l'élargissement de la route réalisé après-guerre et je n'ai jusqu'à aujourd'hui jamais trouvé de photographie de l'endroit avant ou pendant la guerre. La seule preuve tangible que j'ai de l'existence de ce hameau est une photographie aérienne réalisée par un pilote de l'USAAF le 27 décembre 1944.
J'ai profité de mon passage dans la région et d'un temps très clément ce 16 décembre dernier (date anniversaire du début de l'offensive des Ardennes) pour m'arrêter quelques instants à l'endroit exact ou combattit si durement au prix de terribles pertes le premier bataillon du 513th PIR.
This article will be later placed in the "Then and Now" chapter.
In this chapter, you'll find anonymous 17th Airborne troopers who need an identification. All help will be greatly appreciated !
Who know this 17th Airborne trooper ?
This picture comes from an unidentified 17th Airborne photo album (may be 194th GIR). It was realized in Germany, at the end of the war in Europe. May be somebody will can give me info on this man ?
Who know this 17th Airborne trooper ?
This picture comes from an unidentified 17th Airborne photo album but I am sure the man was member of the 513th PIR. It was realized in a boat, most probably during the return to States, after the end of the war in Europe. All info on this man will be greatly appreciate !
Who know this trooper ?
I have recently acquired two pictures from this soldier who seemingly was member of the 507th PIR. The only info writing on the pic is "Eddie WELCH". After having made some researches, I have found a Edmund E WELCH in the 17th Airborne Roster (507th PIR) but I am not able to confirm it is the same man. All info on this man will be greatly appreciate !
Who know "Bob" ?
I have a little grouping belonging to this guy. On each pic available, the surname "Bob" is writing On another one, a man called Lawrence BEERMAN strikes a pose. BEERMAN was member of the HQ II Company / 507th PIR so I guess he was a friend from the same company. Anybody know him ? Once again, all info on this man will be greatly appreciate !
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