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D-Day basic loads for ALL US Airborne


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Presumably this was also true for later jumps. Here is a complete breakout of how much of what was carried and by whom. Want to know how many grenades and what type the M 1903 Springfield grenadier had? It's there. How much ammo did a 60 mm mortar have and what was the type split? There, too. Did you know that the .30 cal LMGs fired nothing but AP? Tracer percentage covered. All told, theres a ton of highly detailed info in this doc based on info supplied by the S-3 of the 101st's 503rd PIR. Support weapon ammo loads are much higher than I would've expected. Not in this list are Hawkins mines, gammon grenades and C2 blocks.

http://looserounds.com/2013/06/05/ww2-paratrooper-basic-load-for-the-normandy-invasion-d-day/

 

This list shows each paratrooper received one gammon grenade, together with 102 pounds of C2 to fill it. Nothing on the Hawkins mine. ISTR it was one per man. Could be used both as a track buster AT mine or as a kind of demo charge.

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/gear-gadgets-weaponry-d-day-paratrooper.html

Regards,

John Kettler

 

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Did everyone jump with the official load?  It is easy to imagine gung ho troopers with extra everything.

I read somewhere once about extra leg bags that were used in Normandy.  As I recall, the idea was to use 6 feet of rope to attach a bag containing 50 or 100 pounds or so of extra equipment to one of each jumpers leg, and push it out the door just before the guy jumped.

The article was very critical for several reasons. 

First, this idea was used in the actual combat jump without being much tested, and no training jumps were done.

More importantly, under fire, most planes did not slow down to the ideal speed before the drops, due apparently to pilot reaction to anti-aircraft fire.  Pushing a heavy bag out the door at high speed turned out to be much more violent compared to the ideal drop speed.  many if not most extra bags were ripped off the jumper's leg as it left the door, often causing a broken leg or similar injury.

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According the Eugene Sledge's book With the Old Breed, Marines supplied their troops according to units of fire.
 

Quote

 

*Determined from experience, a unit of fire was the amount of ammunition that would last, on average, for one day of heavy fighting. A unit of fire for the M1 rifle was 100 rounds; for the carbine, 45 rounds; for the .45 caliber pistol, 14 rounds; for the light machine gun, 1,500 rounds; and for the 60mm mortar, 100 rounds.

Sledge, E.B.. With the Old Breed (p. 104). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

 

So you could imagine the paratroops jumping into Normandy, being expected to fight for several days without resupply, would carry ammunition commensurate with expected amounts of use. The numbers do seem appropriate.

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If the source said ‘pushing a bag out just before the jumper jumped’ it’s not a source to be trusted. You have to jump with that stuff attached to you and then release a quick release to extend the rope. Let me break it down for you further. Take a 45 or 55 pound bumper plate, attach it to your belt, stand on your roof and throw it off with six feet of rope attached to you. Now throw in a slipstream of 150 mph.

Paratroopers were very regimented from what I have read. But I can also see a company or battalion saying ‘screw that’ and carrying more ammo (I doubt less). I spent a good bit of time in the military and I frequently carried more than the SOP. And I know folks who also carried less. 

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4 hours ago, civdiv said:

You have to jump with that stuff attached to you and then release a quick release to extend the rope. Let me break it down for you further. Take a 45 or 55 pound bumper plate, attach it to your belt, stand on your roof and throw it off with six feet of rope attached to you. Now throw in a slipstream of 150 mph.

This.  I don't know all the crazy stuff they may have tried in WW2 when Airborne was new.  In the 1980s we took everything out the door with us.  As we got close to the ground we released the rucksack that was attached to our harness via a nylon cord.  I forget the exact name of the cord and length now.  But you would hear your rucksack with metal frame hit the ground and knew that you were about to hit next. 

If you released something out the aircraft door that was attached to you (and it had any weight to it) it would violently yank you out the door behind it.  Having a reserve chute spill open inside the plane and get caught by the wind going by the door was something to be feared.  Not sure why the focus was more on a reserve accidentally spilling than the main.  Maybe because the reserve had a handle on it that was easily accessible and kind of in the way.  

I remember the first time I was first man in the stick on a door jump (as opposed to a tailgate) on a C-141.  With the C-141 we would stand by the paratroop door instead of actually standing in the door as we did with C-130s (still a great view if it was daylight).  So I was standing by the door (maybe one or two feet back) waiting for the green light and the Jump Masters GO command.  The rucksack was attached under the reserve so was hanging down in front of my legs.  It weighed probably 70 pounds.  I could feel and partially see that 70 lb. rucksack raising up towards the open aircraft door from the wind............ 

So, at least in the 1980s, we took everything with us out the door (or tailgate) and released some gear (mostly rucksacks) just before we made contact with the ground.   AATW!!!               

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