By Mike Verier
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Extra resources for 82nd Airborne Division. ’’All American’’
Much of the Allied campaign in Europe was characterised by poor intelligence (or, more accurately, a failure to recognise information for what it was). Such was the case with the German assault in the Ardennes in late 1944. Despite considerable reconnaissance information clearly showing troop movements and supply build-ups that presaged an armoured assault, the Allies were caught completely flat-footed in the Ardennes. Quite apart from intelligence failings the Allies were seriously overstretched.
The 82nd came in by sea, the S04th PIR landing under attack from the Luftwaffe. (US Army via George Forty) SPEARHEAD: 82ND AIRBORNE THE INVASION OF NORMANDY Above right: Waco CG-4 (Hadrians to the British) gliders in invasion stripes landing in ormandy, June 1944. the stripes were put on the wings in great secrecy a few days before the invasion. (82nd Airborne Museum) Below right: Build-up to D-Day: assembling CG-4 gliders out of packing cases somewhere in England, 1944. (82nd Airborne Museum) In November 1943, as the bulk of the 82nd prepared to leave the Mediterranean, General Gavin had already gone to London to help plan the airborne part of the forthcoming invasion of France.
43 Above: The target-Nijmegen bridge, captured by 82nd Division after savage fighting. (via Bruce Robertson) SPEARHEAD: 82ND AIRBORNE The Airborne divisions meanwhile focussed on the 10,000 replacements they were going to have to train, and a major re-organisation. Activated on 2 August the First Allied Airborne Army was to be the biggest ever formed, combining American, British and Polish assets, and commanded by Lieutenant General Lewis Brereton with British General 'Boy' Browning as deputy. Brereton, who had planned the proposed parachute assaults during WWI, was an Air Force officer and staunch advocate of the effectiveness of air power.