By James Megellas
In mid-1943 James Megellas, referred to as “Maggie” to his fellow paratroopers, joined the 82d Airborne department, his new “home” for the period. His first flavor of strive against used to be within the rugged mountains outdoors Naples.
In October 1943, whilst many of the 82d departed Italy to arrange for the D-Day invasion of France, Lt. Gen. Mark Clark, the 5th military commander, asked that the division’s 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Maggie’s outfit, remain in the back of for a bold new operation that might outflank the Nazis’ obdurate protecting traces and open the line to Rome. On 22 January 1944, Megellas and the remainder of the 504th landed around the seashore at Anzio. Following preliminary good fortune, 5th Army’s amphibious attack, Operation Shingle, slowed down within the face of heavy German counterattacks that threatened to force the Allies into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Anzio become a fiasco, one of many bloodiest Allied operations of the warfare. now not till April have been the remnants of the regiment withdrawn and shipped to England to recuperate, reorganize, refit, and educate for his or her subsequent mission.
In September, Megellas parachuted into Holland in addition to the remainder of the 82d Airborne as a part of one other star-crossed challenge, box Marshal Montgomery’s vainglorious Operation marketplace backyard. Months of difficult strive against in Holland have been via the conflict of the Bulge, and the lengthy challenging street throughout Germany to Berlin.
Megellas was once the main embellished officer of the 82d Airborne department and observed extra motion throughout the struggle than so much. but All easy methods to Berlin is greater than simply Maggie’s international battle II memoir. all through his narrative, he skillfully interweaves tales of the opposite paratroopers of H corporation, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. the result's a amazing account of guys at struggle.
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Extra info for All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe
I wore a musette bag with a shelter half, blanket, clean change of clothes, toilet articles, one-day’s K rations, canteen and cup, first-aid kit, compass, dispatch case, steel helmet, 30 foot jump rope, and a jump knife. I carried all that besides my main and reserve chute and a rifle. ” On 16 August I wrote to my brother Louis, who was stationed at Camp Roberts, in California: “I suppose you’ve heard by now—I’m going overseas soon . . where to, I do not know. All I know is we received clothes for a temperate climate and we’re going as replacements, so I guess that means Sicily.
But that was not to be the case. In the army, nothing is for certain or forever. On 15 June, just one week after I reported for duty at Fort Knox, I was called out of the morning formation and told to report to the adjutant’s office. I was being transferred immediately, although I didn’t know at the time that I would be going into the signal corps. The next day I sent the following telegram home: “I’m being transferred to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, tomorrow. ” I had no choice but to proceed directly to Fort Monmouth.
It was for that action that my battalion, the 3d of the 504th, had received the Presidential Unit Citation for its stand against a determined enemy assault, which may well have saved the beachhead from being overrun. A group from the association was going to Anzio to dedicate the battle site. For them I again went into considerable detail. That account forms the basis for a large part of the chapter on Anzio (Chapter IV). I was fortunate to receive a copy of Cpl. George D. ’s narrative of the Battle of the Bulge from its inception, 17 December 1944, until 18 February 1945, when we were relieved of frontline duty and returned to France.
All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe by James Megellas