All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe by James Megellas

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 length. His first flavor of wrestle was once within the rugged mountains open air Naples.

In October 1943, while lots 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 shielding 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. no longer till April have been the remnants of the regiment withdrawn and shipped to England to get better, reorganize, refit, and educate for his or her subsequent mission.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 undertaking, box Marshal Montgomery’s vainglorious Operation marketplace backyard. Months of not easy strive against in Holland have been by means of the conflict of the Bulge, and the lengthy tough highway throughout Germany to Berlin.

Megellas used to be the main embellished officer of the 82d Airborne department and observed extra motion in the course of the battle than such a lot. but All find out how to Berlin is greater than simply Maggie’s global 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 amazing account of fellows at war.

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Extra info for All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe

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The board took it back to Washington, and I was told I would be hearing from the adjutant general. I expected my orders momentarily. But much to my consternation, I learned that the Washington bureaucracy does not move that fast. I continued to bide my time at Lubbock AFS. On 1 April I wrote to my brother Louis: “I still don’t know what’s going to happen to me. I’ve written two letters to Washington volunteering for the paratroopers, but I haven’t had an answer yet. There’s a lot of red tape in the Army and it generally takes quite a while for anything to come through Washington.

In the meantime, we were kept busy training and preparing for what most likely would be an overseas assignment. Fort Benning was a beehive of activity. In addition to the parachute school, it housed the Infantry School, Infantry Officer Candidate School (OCS), and a number of regular army units. It was the largest post in the country, home to at least 125,000 enlisted men and 15,000 to 20,000 officers. There was plenty to do after training hours: swimming pools at the officers’ club; dances on the patio; quick trips into Columbus, Georgia; and weekends in Atlanta.

It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life that I would find both demanding and challenging. Before I concluded my career in the foreign service, I served, in addition to Yemen, in Panama and Colombia and two years in Vietnam during the height of the war. My tour in Vietnam was unaccompanied; my wife and two sons, ages five and two, lived in “safe haven” in Manila. It was not until I retired from the foreign service and established my residence in Florida that I had the first impulse to set in writing what I had experienced and observed in World War II.

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