11th Airborne Division – Order of Battle – 1944-1945

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11THABNThe 11th Airborne Division Angels was a United States Army airborne formation, first activated on February 25 1943. Consisting of one parachute and two glider infantry regiments, with supporting troops, the division underwent rigorous training throughout 1943. It played a vital role in the successful Knollwood Maneuver, which was organized to determine the viability of large-scale American airborne formations after their utility had been called into question following a disappointing performance during the Allied invasion of Sicily. Held in reserve in the United States for the first half of 1944, in June the division was transferred to the Pacific Theater of Operations. Upon arrival it entered a period of intense training and acclimatization, and by November was judged combat-ready. The 11-A/B saw its first action on the island of Leyte in the Philippines, but in a traditional infantry role. In January 1945 the division took part in the invasion of Luzon. The two glider infantry regiments again operated as conventional infantry, securing a beachhead before fighting their way inland. The parachute infantry regiment was held in reserve for several days before conducting the division’s first airborne operation, a combat drop on the Tagaytay Ridge. Reunited, the division participated in the Liberation of Manila, and two companies of divisional paratroopers conducted an audacious raid on the Los Banos internment camp, liberating two thousand civilians. The 11th Airborne last combat operation of World War II was in the north of Luzon around Aparri, in aid of combined American and Philippine forces who were battling to subdue the remaining Japanese resistance on the island.


Nickname : The Angels. Shoulder patch : A red circle on a royal blue shield containing a white numeral 11 ; the circle is bordered in white with white wings raising obliquely from the white periphery; in the top arc, the white letters Airborne are aligned with shape of arc.

11th A/ B Div Campaigns

New Guinea
Southern Philippines
Luzon

11th A/B Div Days of combat

204

11th A/B Div Awards

Congressional Medal of Honor : 2
Distinguished Unit Citations : 13
Distinguished Service Cross 9
Silver Star : 432
Bronze Star : 1515
Legion of Merit : 10
Soldier Medal : 56
Air Medal : 41

Commanding General

Maj Gen Joseph M. Swing : February 25 1943 – February 25 1946

Order of Battle – 11-A/B – 1944

HQs & HQ Company
HQ Battery, Division Artillery
HQ Special Troops
Military Police Platoon
11th Parachute Maintenance Company
127th Airborne Engineer Battalion
152nd Airborne AA Battalion
187th Glider Infantry Regiment
188th Glider Infantry Regiment
511th Parachute Infantry Regiment
221st Airborne Medical Company
408th Airborne Quartermaster Company
457th Parachute Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
511th Airborne Signal Company
674th Glider Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
675th Glider Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
711th Airborne Ordnance Maintenance Company

Order of Battle – 11-A/B – 1945

HQs & HQ Company
HQ Battery, Division Artillery
HQ Special Troops
Military Police Platoon
11th Parachute Maintenance Company
127th Airborne Engineer Battalion
152nd Airborne AA Battalion
187th Glider Infantry Regiment
188th Parachute Infantry Regiment (Converted into PIR 07-45)
221st Airborne Medical Company
408th Airborne Quartermaster Company
457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion (75-MM)
472nd Glider Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
511th Airborne Signal Company
511th Parachute Infantry Regiment
674th Glider Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
675th Glider Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
711th Airborne Ordnance Maintenance Company

Overseas Wartime Assignments

Sixth Army (US) : May 25 1944
10th Corps (US) : Aug 24 1944
Sixth Army (US) : Sep 28 1944
Height Army (US) : Dec 26 1944
Sixth Army (US) : Feb 9 1945
14th Corps (US) : Feb 10 1945
Sixth Army (US) : Jun 15 1945
Height Army (US) : Aug 15 1945

11-A/B Division – Narrative

The 11th Airborne Division arrived in New Guinea on May 25 1944, and continued intensive training, leaving for the Philippines on November 11. It landed amphibiously, on Leyte on November 18, between Abuyog and Tarragona, 40 miles south of Tacloban, and pushing inland, cleared the Ormoc – Burauen supply trail, an important Japanese combat lifeline.

The 11th’s general mission was to seize and secure within its zone all exits from the mountains into the Leyte Valley and to secure the western exits from the mountains into the west coastal corridor to assist the attack of the 7th Division toward Ormoc. On December 6, the paratroopers of the 11th found themselves fighting Japanese parachutists who had landed near the San Pablo airstrip. These Japanese Paratroopers were wiped out in a 5-day engagement. In a continuous series of combat actions, Japanese resistance was reduced on Leyte by the end of the month of December.

Heavy resistance was met at Rock Hill, which finally fell on December 18; a sleeping enemy was caught off guard at Hacksaw Hill, December 23, and suffered heavy losses. During the month of January 1945, the Division rested and staged for a landing on Luzon. While other American troops were driving on Manila from the north, the 11th Airborne made an amphibious landing 60 miles south of Manila on January 31, at Nasugbu, and began to drive north.

The first combat jump by an element of the division in the war, was that of the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment on Tagaytay Ridge on February 3. This Airborne operation met no resistance. The 511-PIR crossed the Paranaque River on February 5, and reached Manila, meeting fierce Japanese resistance. Nichols Field was taken on February 12, and Fort McKinley was flanked, February 12-16, and finally taken, February 17.

A combined air and sea assault liberated more than 2,000 American and European interned nationals at Los Banos on February 23 1945. With Manila declared secure, the Division reduced a strong ring of enemy outposts between Lake Taal and Laguna de Bay, and occupied towns along Highway No. 1, cutting off the Bicol Peninsula. In April the 11th took part in clearing out remaining enemy resistance in Batangas Province, and by May 1, all resistance in southern Luzon had ended.

The final operation of the Division was conducted on June 23 1945, in conjunction with the advance of the 37th Division in northern Luzon. A Task Force was formed and jumped on Camalaniugan Airfield, south of Aparri. The force attacked and made contact with the 37th Infantry Division on June 26 1945, between Alcala and the Paret River. In July 1945 the Division trained; in August it was transported by air to Honshu, Japan, via Okinawa, for occupation duty.



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