. 513th PIR .
Parachute Infantry Regiment
The 513th was created on December 26, 1942 and appointed to the 13th Airborne.
It was trained in Fort Benning, Georgia, on January 11, 1943. It was moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina on the 1st of November 1943 then to Camp Mackall, still in North Carolina on January 15, 1944.
The 513th PIR took part in maneuver in Tennessee on March 4, 1944. It was withdrawn from the 13th Airborne to be definitively assigned to the 17th on March 10, 1944.
On March 24, 1944, it was sent to Camp Forrest, Tennessee. Then, after a stage to Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts, on August 13, it left for the port of Boston where it embarked on August 20 44 toward England.
<- Colonel James W. Coutts
The 513th arrived in England under the orders of Colonel James W. Coutts who was before the auxiliary commander of the Parachute school of Fort Benning. The regiment was then sent to Camp Chisledon, on August 28, 1944, gathering place of the 17th Airborne Division. There they carried on their training of airborne troops and plus some tactical training and attack of night training. When operation “MARKET GARDEN” was set off, the 17th Airborne was still on training, it was thus used as a unit of reserve.
On December 16th, 1944, the Germans launched an offensive by The Belgian Ardennes surprising the Allied. The 17th Airborne Division was still in England. The 82nd and the 101st who were resting in Sissone, France were sent hurriedly by trucks to contain the German advance.
Between the 17 and the 23 December, the 82nd blocked the German advance close to St-Vith. Concerning the 101st, it was surrounded with the 7th Armored Division in Bastogne. To help to reinforce Bastogne, the 17th was sent to the front.
From the 23 to the 25 December, the 17th Airborne’s units were sent by plane to France, in Rheims’s area. But meanwhile, Patton’s 3rd US Army broke the surrounding of Bastogne.
Once in France, the 17th was attached to Patton’s army and got the order to take up position in Mourmelon. It insured the defense all along the Meuse River going from Givet to Verdun until December 25th then was sent to Belgium in Neufchateau, and from there, walking in the snow, they went to Morhet to relieve the 28th Infantry Division on January 3, 1945. This was where they established the HQ Division.
On the following days, the 513th PIR had its baptism of fire. Patton gave the order to the 17th to take Flamierge where the 11th Armored Division and the 97th Infantry Division encountered a strong resistance. The 513th PIR and the 194th GIR were at the head of the attack.
Once the regiment reached the front, they were taken under the shootings of the mortars. The E Co. of the second battalion lost 3 officers. To end the deadlock in the situation, a group of the Company F under the orders of Lieutenant Samuel Calhoun and a group of the Company E under the orders of 1st Lt. Richard Manning charged the German lines with the bayonets making several prisoners.
During this time, the 1st Battalion reached Cochleval but faced a similar situation. When 2 Panzers emerged from the fog threatening to overflow the position of the 513th, S/Sgt Isadore S. “Izzy” Jachman took a bazooka of a fallen comrade and engaged the duel with both panzers. He destroyed them both but was killed by a shooting of a machine-gun. S/Sgt Jachman received the Medal of Honor on a posthumous basis. Despite numerous losses and wounded, the objective of the 513th was reached.
<- S/Sgt Jachman
The 17th Airborne was back to its base in Chalons-sur-Marne, France, on February 11, 1945, then got back to Belgium on March 21, 1945 to prepare the attack on the other side of The Rhine River.
At the beginning of February, the situation on the front made it possible to evaluate precisely where and when the 2nd British army would be ready to force a passage to cross The Rhine River. It was determined the crossing would coincide then with an airborne operation carried out by the XVIII Airborne Corps.
The chosen area for the attack would go through nearby Wesel, in the North of The Ruhr. The operation was to begin on March 24, 1945. The airborne operation was the last of the Second World War. The task was for the 17th Airborne.
It was the very last airborne operation of the Second World War, but the first one for the 513th PIR. While General Eisenhower observed the operation from a church bell tower on the western side of The Rhine River, apparatuses transporting the 513th PIR had the misfortune to fly above a strong centralization of FLAK guns. Two thirds of the C-46 were damaged or started to burn. The pilots remained in formation until the troops jumped.
The 513th did not land on the right DZ, but in Hamminkeln which was strongly defended. Once on the ground, the combats between the 513th and the Germans started as they tried to evict the Germans from their positions, the British’s planes were practically landed on them.
It was during those combats that Pfc Stuart S. Stryker, 1st Platoon of the Company E saw how the situation was disastrous. The commander of the platoon and the sergeant had died. He gathered the remainder of his platoon and went towards the German lines. He was killed by a shooting of a machine-gun. However, the remainder of his platoon took the enemy position making by there 200 prisoners and releasing 3 American pilots. For this heroic action, Pfc Stryker received the Medal of Honor on a posthumous basis.
In the afternoon of March 24, 1945, the objective of the 513th was reached and captured 1.100 Germans. On Easter Sunday, the 1st of April 1945, the 513th was positioned on the outside of Munster, 80km on the east of The Rhine River. The German commander refused to surrender and some hard fights began.
During those combats, Colonel Coutts was seriously wounded by a piece of shrapnel, the war was over for him. He was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Ward Ryan on April 9, 1945. Few months later, on May 7 1945, General Alfred Jodl signed the unconditional surrender with the allied powers.
has been used as the occupying army in Germany from
May to 14 June
1945. Then, the regiment was sent to France, to Vittel, on
15 June 1945. It was back to the United States on
1945 and was dissolved
at Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts the same year.
United States :
1 Presidential Distinguished Unit Citations
United States :
1 Presidential Distinguished Unit Citations