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 style of strive against used to be within the rugged mountains outdoors Naples.
In October 1943, whilst many of the 82d departed Italy to organize 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 conflict. now not until eventually April have been the remnants of the regiment withdrawn and shipped to England to recuperate, reorganize, refit, and teach for his or her subsequent mission.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 besides the remainder of the 82d Airborne as a part of one other star-crossed project, box Marshal Montgomery’s vainglorious Operation marketplace backyard. Months of tough wrestle 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 conflict than so much. but All how one can Berlin is greater than simply Maggie’s international warfare 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 striking account of guys at struggle.
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Additional info for All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe
After considerable thought and soul-searching, I expressed a preference for the foreign service. My military experience had taken me to Africa and across Europe, and the lure of going abroad in a peacetime situation was tempting. S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with the highest grade, FSR-1, and a commitment to an overseas assignment as a USAID mission director. In May 1962, I married a young lady from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, whom I had courted for four years. ” It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life that I would find both demanding and challenging.
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. I was disappointed with my new assignment for three reasons: I did not feel I had the technical background for service in the field of communications; I was leaving my Ripon College colleagues; and, most importantly, I was being transferred from a combat arm to a service arm, where seeing combat was not likely.
They dropped out like flies. They say that the only thing that gets one through is sheer guts and determination. During this week they find out how much you want to be a paratrooper. . Tomorrow I start a stage, which isn’t as tough physically. One half of the day is devoted to chute packing and the other half to jumping out of mock doors, landing trainers, etc. We must pack our own chutes for every jump. . ” The four weeks of training at parachute school were intense and physically demanding, but fortunately I was not injured and was up to the ordeal physically and mentally.