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The 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion (reenacted)
Battalion History

The lost history

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History of My Hobby

Places of Assignment

-        Assembled at Fort Benning, Georgia , 1942

-        Activated and trained at Fort Kobbe, Canal Zone, 1942-1943 (For canceled invasion of Martinique)

-        Trained at Camp Mackall, North Carolina, 1943-1944

-        Transited Oran, North Africa then to Italy, 1944

-        Trained in Trapini and Marsala, Sicily, 1944

-        Combat Jump, Southern France,  August 1944

-        Combat Operations, Maritime Alps France September-November 1944

-        Combat Operations, Ardennes December 1944-January 1945

-        Inactivated in Juslenville, Belgium 27 January 1945

-        Amalgamated into 82nd Airborne for remainder of war

 

Campaign Credits

-        Italy (Rome-Arno, North Appenines)

-        France (Southern France with Arrowhead, Rhineland)

-        Belgium (Ardennes-Alsace)

 

 

 

 

The 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion was activated in the Frying Pan Area of Fort Benning, Georgia, after being constituted in the Army of the United States, October 30, 1942, as the 551st Parachute Infantry Regiment.  Personnel were trained as parachutists at the Parachute School in November-December 1942.  Elements of the 1st Battalion of the 551st Parachute Infantry Regiment were activated November 26, 1942 at Fort Kobbe, Panama Canal Zone.  All personnel had completed jump school by this time.

 

The battalion trained at Fort Kobbe, Panama Canal Zone for approximately eight months in jungle warfare.  The mission of the battalion was to capture the island of Martinique from the Vichy French.  The island was being utilized as a resupply base for German submarines in the Caribbean Sea.  Before the mission was to occur the government changed over to Free French Forces.  The battalion left Panama in August 1943 and arrived at Camp Mackall, North Carolina the same month.  The 551 Parachute Infantry Regiment never gained regimental strength therefore change designation to the 551st Parachute Infantry Batttalion.

 

The battalion, while at Camp Mackall, was under Airborne Command.  Again training was intense and it was during this nine month period that the battalion was selected by the Airborne Command to test the feasibility of using gliders as transport for paratroops.  The battalion received a personnel commendation from MG Chapman, Airborne Commander for their efforts.

 

The battalion left Camp Mackall and arrived in Sicily in April 1944 for two months of intense training.  The battalion moved to Trapani, Sicily and then to an area near Rome, Italy to prepare for the combat jump into Southern France for Operation Dragoon.  On August 15, 1944, the battalion made a combat jump and liberated the city of Draguignan, France.  On August 29, the battalion liberated the city of Nice.  The battalion protected the right flank of the US 7th Army in the French-Italian Alps for twelve weeks.  The battalion moved to Loan in Northern France, in December 1944.

 

The battalion entered the Battle of the Bulge, Belgium on December 21, 1944 with a strength of more than 800 officers and enlisted men.  The battalion was attached to the 30th Infantry Division and then the 82nd Airborne Division.  On January 7, 1944, the battalion was given the mission of taking the small town of Rochelinval, Belgium, on the Salm River.  The objective was reached and the mission accomplished.  After Rochelinval was taken, the battalion had lost over seventy percent of its men.  On January 27th, 1945, General Gavin informed the men that the battalion was being inactivated and all reamaing soldiers would be transferred to the 82nd Airborne Division.

 

About the WebSite creator

I started reenacting when i was 16 years old I have done many impressions through out my day. I was drawn to the 551st through a book called "The Messengers of the Lost Battlion" I was atonished that such a unit could be over looked for so long.