This article has multiple issues. Unsourced material may be challenged the enduring democracy 4th edition pdf free removed. 504th Infantry Regiment Beret Flash.
1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. 40 men or 8 horses. Men of the 504th prepare a weapon for stowage aboard a glider in April 1943. 504th go through its paces. Twenty-three planes were destroyed, thirty-seven were damaged, and almost 400 casualties were confirmed. Men of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment patrolling in Sicily, July 1943.
By morning, only 400 of the rest of the regiment’s 1,600 paratroopers had reached the objective area. German and Italian motorized columns, and caused so much confusion over such an extensive area that initial German radio reports estimated the number of American parachutists dropped to be over ten times the actual number. With captured Italian light tanks, trucks, motorcycles, horses, mules, bicycles, and even wheelbarrows pressed into service, the 82nd encountered only light resistance and took 22,000 POWs in their first contact with enemy forces. Overall, the Sicilian operation proved costly, both in lives and equipment, but the regiment gained valuable fighting experience and managed to hurt the enemy in the process. The men knew they were going to Italy, but little else.
They quickly advanced inland to seize the Chiunzi Pass and a vital railroad tunnel. The 3rd Battalion troopers dug in and held on. On standby at airfields in Sicily, the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 504th were alerted, issued parachutes, and loaded on aircraft without knowledge of their destination. Flying in columns of battalions, they exited over the barrels of gasoline-soaked sand that formed a flaming “T” in the center of the drop zone. The regiment assembled quickly and moved to the sounds of cannon and small arms fire within the hour. By dawn, the unit was firmly set in defensive positions. Fifth Army, “responsible for saving the Salerno beachhead.
Epitomizing the determined spirit of the regiment, Colonel Tucker vehemently replied, “Hell no! We’ve got this hill and we are going to keep it. Just send me my other battalion. The 3rd Battalion, then being held in reserve, rejoined the rest of the 504th and, supported by a huge 350-round barrage from the Navy, repulsed the enemy, forcing the Germans to retreat from Salerno. The operation secured the flanks of the Fifth Army, allowing it to break out of the coastal plain and drive on to Naples.
The airborne operation at Salerno was not only a success, but it also stands as one of history’s greatest examples of the mobility of the airborne unit: within only eight hours of notification, the 504th developed and disseminated its tactical plan, prepared for combat, loaded aircraft and jumped onto its assigned drop zone to engage the enemy and turn the tide of battle. However, Lieutenant General Clark, the Fifth Army commander, was unwilling to give up the division. On steep, barren slopes, the regiment assaulted one hill after another. Mule trains aided in the evacuation of wounded to some extent, but casualties were often carried for hours down the steep hillsides just to reach the road. Finally, the 504th, severely understrength, was pulled back to Naples on 4 January 1944 as rumors of another airborne mission spread. Anzio, 35 miles south of Rome.
It seemed, however, that even the locals in Naples knew of the operation, so the 504th was glad that the beach would be assaulted from troop-carrying landing craft. The landing on Red Beach went smoothly—at least until enemy planes started their strafing runs on the landing craft. The unit disembarked under fire and was sent shortly thereafter to patrol in force along the Mussolini Canal. After several days of intense German artillery fire, the enemy launched his main drive to push the Allies back into the sea. H Company drove forward to rescue a captured British General and was cut off. I Company broke through to them with their remaining 16 men.