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Operations Parachute Regiment

Page Created
June 2nd, 2022
Last Updated
June 9th, 2022
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The Parachute Regiment
Order of Battle

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Lieutenant Jack Reynolds MC, 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire. Captured near St Elizabeth hospital, Arnhem.
Northwest Europe
February 10th, 1941
Operation Colossus. Raid on the Tragino Aqueduct, Italy. Thirty-one men known as X troop are dropped. They manage to blow the Aquaduct and one wooden bridge. All members of X troop are captured before they meet with their rendez-vous with a submarine.

February 27th, 1942
Operation Biting. Raid on German Würzburg Radar Site at Bruneval, France. C Company, 2nd Parachute Battalion, together with 1st Parachute Field. Squadron, Royal Engineers and RAF radar technician, Flight Sergeant. E. W. F. Cox. They manage to dismantle and photograph the radar site before retreating to the beach, where they are picked up Landing Craft. The British suffered two deaths and six men were captured. Two Germans were captured including a radio operator.
North Africa
November 12th, 1942
Airborne assault on Bone Airfield, Algeria. 1st Parachute Brigade (minus A Company). Airfield was taken without resistance. Reinforced by No. 6 Commando a Spitfire Squadron.

November 15th, 1942
Airborne assault on road junction at Béja, Tunesia. 1st Parachute Battalion. After commandeering buses, they manage to secure the target. They fight off a German armoured column.

November 29th, 1942
Airborne assault on Depienne Airfield, Tunisia. 2nd Parachute Battalion. The airfield turned out to be abandoned. The Commanding Officer decided to march fifteen kilometres to Oudna, and take that airfield. Finding again an empty airfield the Commanding Officer decided to withdraw westwards to meet up with the tanks that were supposed to relieve them. However, the armour was held up by the unexpected level of enemy resistance. Being told they had been virtually written off, eighty kilometres behind enemy line, they decide return on foot. Under constant attack from Germans guided by the hostile Tunisian Arabs, the unit does make it to their own lines at Medjez el Bab. The british lose sixteen officers and 250 men.

December 10th, 1942
Bayonet charge against German battalion-sized attack. 3rd Parachute Battalion supported by a squadron from 17th/21st Lancers and the 2nd Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers. Germans are forced to withdraw.

From February 8th, 1943, on.
1st Parachute Brigade, fights as infantry for the rest of the Tunisian campaign. They are credited for their fights at Bou Arada, and then in two operations at Tamera. Here they earned their title, Die Rote Teufel (Translated, The Red Devils) when they fought their German counterparts, the Fallschirmjäger.
July 9th, 1943 – July 10th,1943
Operations Fustian. Raid on the Ponte Grande north of
Syracuse. 1st Airlanding Brigade. Only one glider lands on the intended landing zone. Half of the gliders land in sea. The small force that finds their way to the Ponte Grande attacks the bridge and succeeds in seizing it. Picking up stragglers, around them, the force begins a desperate defence of the bridge against enemy counterattacks. With never more than ninety men, they hold on to the target. Around 15:00 on the afternoon of the 10th of July, with only fifteen men left, the defenders are overrun by the Germans. An hour later the Ponte Grande is retaken by the advance elements of the ground forces. The rest of the fragmented brigade fights around Syracuse leading to the speedy fall of the town.

July 13th, 1943 – July 16th, 1943
Operation Marston. Raid on Primosole Bridge south of Catania. 1st Parachute Brigade. While flying over the beaches nervous gunners of the invasion armada caused the entire force to split up. The 1st Parachute Brigade is dropped all over the South of Sicily. In the end only some 295 men out of 2,000 make it to the bridge. Soon the news comes in that the German 4th Fallschirmjäger Brigade, who had been dropped to reinforce the bridge, have landed on the same dropzone. The Fallschirmjäger attack at dawn, and succeed in surrounding the bridge. Around 18:00 on July 14th, the 1st Parachute Brigade is forced to withdraw south and await the advancing 8th Army. When the reinforcements arrive the 9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry was repelled while attacking the bridge. The next day, under command of the commander of the 1st Parachute Battalion, the British try to retake the bridge again. Now they are able to capture the bridge and drive the enemy off to the north.
September 9th, 1943 – November 1943
Operation Slapstick. Seaborne landing at Taranto, Italy. 2nd and 4th Parachute Brigade. The landing is unopposed however fifty-eight men of the 6th Parachute Battalion died when their ship, H.M.S. Abdiel, hit a mine in the harbour.
While moving inland they capture the, heavily defended, town of Castellaneta. The 10th and 156th Parachute Battalions capture the town and airfield of Gioia. During these actions divisional commander, Major General Hopkinson is mortally wounded. Although actions continued the bulk of the division is withdrawn to Great Britain, leaving the 2nd Parachute Brigade behind.

October 2nd, 1943 – November 15th, 1943
Operation Simcol. Search and Rescue mission for escaped prisoners of war in the Marche and Abruzzi region, Italy. Three detachments from the 1st Parachute Brigade, one from each battalion, one detachment of 2 SAS and one detachement from the US Army in cooperation with SAS Jeep teams on the ground. Although the intention was that the operation wouldn’t last a lot longer than 14 days, it took almost 6 weeks before most members had returned to base.

November 1943 – March 1944
The 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade continue to fight in Italy as an infantry unit. The brigade is attached to the 2nd New Zealand Infantry Division as the 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade. Later, it is attached to the 8th Indian Infantry Division.

March 1944 – May 1944
Battle for Monte Cassino. 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade.

June 1st, 1944
Operation Hasty. Diversion attack on German demolition targets near Rimini, Italy. Sixty men of 6th Parachute Battalion. The Germans send an entire German brigade to attack the assault force. An entire division was held back from the main front to reinforce the rear areas. Only a few
men are captured.
Aegean Sea
September 14th, 1943 – September 25th, 1943
Raid on Kos. Company of the 11th Parachute Battalion in cooperation with the Special Boat Service. After landing they force the Italian garrison to surrender. They are reinforced by units of the Durham Light Infantry and the RAF Regiment. That very same day the Luftwaffe starts
attacking the force in preparation for a German seaborne counterattack. Without air cover or further reinforcements, they withdraw.

October 1943
Raid on the Island of Leros. 11th Parachute Battalion. Operation is cancelled unit is moved to Great Britain.

October 12th, 1944 -October 15th, 1944
Operation Manna. Liberation of Athens. 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade. The operation starts with the landing of a reinforced company from the 4th Parachute Battalion on Megara airfield some sixty-five kilometres West of the city. Even though the unit loses half of its strength due to the heavy winds, they secured the airfield. Two days later the rest of the brigade joins the unit. They enter Athens on June 15th, 1944.

October 1944 – January 1945
Liberation of Greece. 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade. The brigade fights its way from Athens to Salonika, near the Bulgarian frontier. Meanwhile they also have to fight the ELAS which have put Greece into a Civil War. Despite heavy casualties the brigade as part of Arkforce, the brigade manges to defeat the Germans, ELAS and feed the starving Greek that suffer from the Civil War.
Northwest Europe
June 5th, 1944 – June 6th, 1944
Operation Overlord. Airborne landings in Normandy, France. 6th Airborne Division. The objective of the 6th Airborne Division is securing the left flank of the Normandy Beachhead. Within that task they have several smaller tasks, among them were securing the bridges over the Orne and the Caen Channel, capturing the Merville Battery, capturing Le Bas de Ranville and the town of Breville. The division performs excellent securing all objectives except for capturing Breville and holding them until they are relieved by the 1st Special Service Brigade.

June 7th, 1944 – June 17th, 1944
After relieving the 6th Airborne Division, the 1st Special Service Brigade. is placed under command of General Gale. The division continues securing the left flank. While suffering heavy casualties the Division takes Breville on June 8th. From here on they fight as a regular infantry unit, holding their grounds.

June 17th, 1944 – August 26th, 1944
The order comes to break out of the beachhead. The 6th Airborne Division is ordered to work their way along the coast towards the river Seine, and to secure whatever crossings they can. The division is able to keep the retreating Germans under such pressure that they reach the Seine as early as August 26th. After which the division is relieved and send back to Great Britain.

June 17th, 1944 – September 10th, 1944
After the outbreak as many as sixteen operations are planned, only to be abandoned as the rapid advance of the ground forces made them pointless. One of the operations was cancelled, when the men were actually preparing to get onboard of their planes.

August 15th, 1944
Operation Anvil. Airborne Landings in South of France. 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade and 23rd Independent Parachute Platoon. Unit is tasked with capturing

September 2nd, 1944 – September 10th, 1944
Operation Comet. 1st Airborne Division supported by the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade. Airborne assault to seize the crossing points over the Nederrijn river near Arnhem, Nijmegen and Grave to help the British 2nd Army advance faster towards the northern Netherlands and into the north German Ruhr Area. 1st Airborne Division. The divisional headquarters, the 1st Airlanding Brigade and the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade were to land at Nijmegen, the 1st Parachute Brigade was to land at Arnhem, and the 4th Parachute Brigade was to land at Grave. The start day was set at September 2nd . Several days of poor weather and the concerns over increasing levels of German resistance was the cause to postpone the operation and then finally to cancel it on 10 September.

September 17th, 1944 – September 25th, 1944
Operation Market. Airborne Assault to capture the Arnhem Bridge. 1st Airborne Division supported by the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade. The units would land 9 to 13 kilometres from the objective in three lifts due to the lack of aircraft. The 1st Parachute Brigade, the 1st Airlanding Brigade and Divisional Headquarters would land on D-Day, their task is to seize the bridge by coup de main and to secure the drop- and landing zones for the later lifts. The second lift, on D+1, of the 4th Parachute Brigade. The third lift, on D+2, would consist of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade. Only one battalion makes to the bridge. They manage to capture only the North. The other battalions are halted by stiff German resistance. The troops at the drop- and landing zone are able to secure it but fight against stiff resistance. The next day the 4th Parachute Brigade arrives late due to fog in Great Britain. They find a division in problems but try to push towards the bridge, only to find themselves being halted by heavy German resistance. The Polish gliders who land the next day take heavy casualties while landing since their landing zone is under fire. The main body of Polish paratroopers arrive two days late again due to fog in Great Britain. Again, the division tries to reach but fails again and is ordered to set up a perimeter around Oosterbeek. On September 21st, the British positions at the Arnhem Bridge are overrun and the division takes a final stand around Oosterbeek. They hold on to the perimeter despite heavy casualties. However, on september 24th, it is decided by operational headquarters that they have to retreat.

September 25th, 1944 – September 26th, 1944
Operation Berlin. Retreat from the Oosterbeek perimeter across the river Rhine. Remnants of the 1st Airborne Division. Leaving behind all casualties that are not able to walk and the medical staff, the remnants of the division retreat towards the river Rhine under cover of the darkness of the evening and night. By first light on September 26th, 2,163 men are able to make the river crossing, out of the
10,005 who started the operation. At least 1,500 British soldiers lose their live.

December 26th, 1944 – January 25th, 1945
Battle of the Bulge. 6th Airborne Division. The division is sent to Belgium to help fighting of the German trust threw The Ardennes. Fighting for much of the time in white snowsuits, the division went on to capture two villages, Bures and Wavreille on the Germans, before establishing a firm base on the banks of the Maas near Venlo in Northern Germany.

March 24th, 1945
Operation Varsity. 6th Airborne Division. The division was to seize the high ground overlooking the crossing point, the Diersfordter Wald, only after the 2nd Army had captured the town of Wesel; and then to capture the road and rail bridges over the River Issel at Hamminkeln some twelve kilometres Northeast of the bridgehead. First in is the 3rd Parachute Brigade, who clears their dropzone quickly, and link up with the ground forces in the Diersfordter Wald later that day after some stiff fighting. Next, the 5th Parachute Brigade arrives and lands under fire. They suffer casualties in the air, and heavier ones on the ground, but succeed in throwing a screen round the objective to the North and East. The 6th Airlanding Brigade had the most difficult job of the division. The unit had to capture of Hamminkeln and the bridges. By the time they arrive over the objective there was fog. dust and battle-smoke everywhere. However, the coup de main parties of the 2nd Battalion, “Ox and Bucks” capture the bridges, while the 12th Battalion, Devons and 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles take Hamminkeln. By 11:00 on D-Day the objective is secured. The Airlanding Brigade is helped in their task by the 513th Parachute Infantry of the US 17th Airborne Division, who drop by mistake on the glider landing zone of the 6th Airborne Division.

March 26th, 1945 – May 2nd, 1945
Breakout of the Beachhead. 6th Airborne Division. The division covers 565 kilometres, mostly by foot, to arrive in the Baltic port of Wismar. They beat the Soviets only eight hours. First to arrive is the 1st Canadian Parachute
Battalion, riding on the Guards tanks.

May 5th, 1945 –
B Company of the 13th Parachute Battalion arrives in Copenhagen. Four days later they are joined by the
by the 1st Parachute Brigade.

May 9th, 1945 – August 1945
Operation Doomsday. Supervising the surrender of the German forces in Norway, acting as interim police and military unit as well as preventing the sabotage of vital military and civilian facilities. 1st Airborne Division. The 1st Airborne Division landed in Oslo and Stavanger between May 9th and May 11th. One aircraft crashes, causing several fatalities. The division encounters little of the expected German resistance. They are disarmed without problem, allow themselves to be transferred to collection camps and also assist in the clearing of numerous minefields, resulting in several German casualties. The division welcomes back King Haakon, look after Allied ex-prisoners of war, arrest war criminals and investigate what happened to the airborne troops that had taken part in Operation Freshman. The Division performs their duties until August when they are ordered to return to Great Britain.