By James Megellas
In mid-1943 James Megellas, often called “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 outdoor Naples.
In October 1943, whilst 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 in the back of for a bold new operation that may outflank the Nazis’ obdurate protective 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 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 become a fiasco, one of many bloodiest Allied operations of the struggle. now not until eventually April have been the remnants of the regiment withdrawn and shipped to England to get better, reorganize, refit, and educate for his or her subsequent mission.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 venture, box Marshal Montgomery’s vainglorious Operation industry backyard. Months of tough wrestle in Holland have been by means of the conflict of the Bulge, and the lengthy challenging highway throughout Germany to Berlin.
Megellas used to be the main adorned officer of the 82d Airborne department and observed extra motion throughout the struggle than so much. but All find out how to Berlin is greater than simply Maggie’s international battle 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 notable account of fellows at conflict.
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Additional resources for All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe
Completing a tough and potentially risky course where only one-third of the officers make it in the scheduled four weeks leaves one with a sense of accomplishment and pride. This was true with all who qualified. That same sense of pride in being a paratrooper carried over into combat. No mission was too dangerous or impossible. The shiny paratrooper boots and wings created a bond among those who wore them. These men were not ordinary soldiers. This sense of pride was expressed in a letter I wrote to my brother George at Camp Robinson on 27 June: I got my parachute wings last Friday.
Every morning I made the rounds of local factory employment offices. The answer was always the same. In 1934, a high school graduate could not beg, borrow, or steal a job. In August 1934 I heard that the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) provided clean outdoor work. I applied, was accepted, and in October found myself in the north woods of Wisconsin. The CCC transformed me from a seventeen-year-old kid to a working man. I ate three wholesome meals a day, kept regular hours, and worked outdoors in all kinds of weather in a healthy environment.
Legislation establishing priorities for the use of essential resources was quickly approved. Victory gardens replaced lawns; sewing and knitting were in vogue. Patriotism knew no bounds as the nation mobilized for war. It was the defining moment for my generation. On the day of graduation—28 May 1942—when I walked across the stage dressed in a black cap and gown, I was given a diploma in my left hand and an officer’s commission in my right. S. Army. Only moments later, I received orders assigning me, along with six others, to report for duty on 8 June 1942 at Fort Knox, Kentucky.