Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran's Day

"There was a time when the world asked ordinary men
to do extraordinary things."

From the book, "Paratrooper's Odyssey"

It was a sight that had rarely been seen before and which may never be seen again, the last large-scale night parachute jump of World War II. An hour after midnight on the 15th of August 1944, scattered over 150 miles at ten airfields in West Central Italy, 396 C-47 airplanes began turning over their engines.

At ten-second intervals planes taxied down dirt runways, lifted off and circled into formation. The dust compounded by darkness was so thick that many pilots had to use compass bearings to find their way down the runways. Take off times were from 0136 to 0151 for the first ten serials, depending on the first check point at the Isle of Elba. Each serial required over an hour to get into formation, a column of "V of Vs" nine planes wide.

The entire formation, from the head of the first serial to the tail of the last, was over one hundred miles long. This was the Albatross Mission, to drop five thousand thirty paratroopers in Southern France. These men were scheduled to be on the ground several hours before the invasion started. By 0400, the first men were "hitting the silk," out into a darkness that was almost pitch black.

The Beginning

THE RULE OF LGOPs: Little Groups of Paratroopers
written by an Army man who did not like Paratroopers.

After the end of the best Airborne plan, a most terrifying effect occurs behind the lines on the battlefield. This effect is known as the rule of the LGOPs. This is, in its purest form, small groups of pissed-off 19-year-old American Paratroopers. They are well-trained, armed-to-the-teeth and lack serious adult supervision. They collectively remember the Commander's intent as "March to the sound of the guns and kill anyone who is not dressed like you" ... or something like that. Happily they go about the day's work.

 "I have known war as few other men now living know it and
nothing to me is more revolting."  ~ General MacArthur