U.S. WWII 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment Shoulder Patch - Red Devils
New Made Item: Top quality embroidery. The 508th Infantry Regiment ("Red Devils" or "Fury from the Sky"), previously the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (508th PIR), is an airborne infantry regiment of the United States Army, first formed during World War II in October 1942. The 508th is a parent regiment under the U.S. Army Regimental System, and two battalions from the regiment are currently active: the 1st Battalion (1-508 PIR) is assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, and 2nd Battalion (2-508 PIR) is assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. The regiment served in combat during World War II.
he regiment was activated on 20 October 1942 at Camp Blanding, Florida. Lieutenant Colonel Roy E. Lindquist formed the unit and remained its commander throughout World War II. After extensive training and maneuvers the unit embarked on 19 December 1943 in New York and sailed on 28 December 1943 for Belfast, Northern Ireland, arriving on 8 January 1944. After additional training at Cromore Estate in Portstewart, the unit was moved by ship to Glasgow in Scotland and by train on 13 March 1944 to Wollaton Park in Nottinghamshire, England. A sister regiment, the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, who were part of the 2nd Airborne Brigade with the 508th, were camped less than ten miles away at a former country hotel called Tollerton Hall, Nottinghamshire.
The regiment participated in Operation Overlord, jumping into Normandy at 2:15 a.m. on 6 June 1944. Their immediate objectives were to capture Sainte-Mère-Église, secure crossings at the Merderet River near laFiere and Chef-du-Pont, and establish a defensive line north from Neuville-au-Plain to Breuzeville-au-Plain. There they were to tie in with the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment. Like most paratroop units involved in Operation Overlord, they were dropped in the wrong locations and had extraordinary difficulty linking up with each other. During the assault on June 6, a platoon leader of the 508th, Lieutenant Robert P. Mathias, of Company E of the 2nd Battalion, was the first American officer killed by German fire on D-Day.
Portions of the 508th regrouped and remained in contact with German forces until relieved on 7 July when they became the divisional reserve force. On 13 July, they were transported back to England by two LST's and returned to their station at Wollaton Park. Of the 2,056 troops who participated in the D-Day landings, only 995 returned. The 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment had, by this time, suffered 1,061 casualties, of whom 307 were killed in action.
For its gallantry and combat action during the first three days of fighting, the unit was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation (later re-designated as the Presidential Unit Citation), quoted in part below:
The 508th Parachute Infantry is cited for outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy between 6 and 9 June 1944, during the invasion of France. The Regiment landed by parachute shortly after 0200 hours, 6 June 1944. Intense antiaircraft and machine-gun fire was directed against the approaching planes and parachutist drops. Enemy mobile antiairborne landing groups immediately engaged assembled elements of the Regiment and reinforced their opposition with heavily supported reserve units. Elements of the Regiment seized Hill 30, in the wedge between the Merderet and Douve Rivers, and fought vastly superior enemy forces for three days. From this position, they continually threatened German units moving in from the west, as well as the enemy forces opposing the crossing of our troops over the Merderet near La Fiere and Chef-du-Pont.
They likewise denied the enemy opportunity to throw reinforcements to the east where they could oppose the beach landings. The troops on Hill 30 finally broke through to join the airborne troops at the bridgehead west of La Fiere on 9 June 1944. They had repelled continuous attacks from infantry, tanks, mortars, and artillery for more than 60 hours without resupply. Other elements of the 508th Parachute Infantry fought courageously in the bitter fighting west of the Merderet River and in winning the bridgeheads across that river at La Fiere and Chef-du- Pont. The regiment secured its objectives through heroic determination and initiative. Every member performed his duties with exemplary aggressiveness and superior skill. The courage and devotion to duty shown by members of the 508th Parachute Infantry are worthy of emulation and reflect the highest traditions of the Army of the United States.
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