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, while 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 at the back of for a bold new operation that will outflank the Nazis’ obdurate protecting strains 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 luck, 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 changed into a fiasco, one of many bloodiest Allied operations of the struggle. no longer till April have been the remnants of the regiment withdrawn and shipped to England to recuperate, reorganize, refit, and teach for his or her subsequent mission.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 undertaking, box Marshal Montgomery’s vainglorious Operation industry backyard. Months of tough strive against in Holland have been by way of the conflict of the Bulge, and the lengthy tough street throughout Germany to Berlin.
Megellas used to be the main embellished officer of the 82d Airborne department and observed extra motion throughout the warfare than so much. but All how you can Berlin is greater than simply Maggie’s international conflict 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 outstanding account of guys at struggle.
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Additional info for All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe
S. Army. The news of the Sicily jump left me with an empty feeling. I was a qualified paratrooper, eager to see action, but I found myself still at Fort Benning going through what I considered menial training exercises involving more jumps. Due to strict censorship of the news, it was days before we knew what had happened in Sicily. There were varying reports as to the extent of casualties. But one thing was certain: The 82d would soon be in need of replacements. I expected that shortly we would be receiving a sailing date, but for one reason or another we encountered delays.
After breaking a trail across country for twelve hours in deep, dry snow, First Lieutenant Megellas, a platoon leader, was ordered to advance with his platoon and two supporting tanks along the main road leading into Herresbach. About one mile from the town, his platoon was fired upon by about 200 Germans forming for a defense. Quickly grasping the situation, he led a frontal assault on the startled enemy who attempted to fight back. First lieutenant Megellas’s direction and leadership of his men was so superb that within ten minutes the entire force of enemy was either killed, captured, or fled into the town.
On 24 November I reported for duty at the Army Air Navigation School, in Hondo, Texas—my fifth post in less than six months. Just as with Lubbock, Hondo was not a glider-training base, so my stay here would be short. On 26 November I wrote home: “I should be down here a little while yet, at least another month anyway. S. infantry and armored units were joining the fight in Africa against Rommel and the Afrika Korps. The war effort was intensifying, and all my efforts to get into combat notwithstanding, I was still biding my time in Texas, with frequent visits to San Antonio and across the border into Mexico, weekends at dude ranches, and no responsibilities.