Never A dull Moment

Our Ben Powers is featured in Casemate Publishers’ latest offering. Congrats Ben for being a great historian for the 82nd ABN DIV!

Never a Dull Moment

The 80th Airborne Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion in World War II by LTC Arthur ‘Ben’ Powers (Ret)

Casemate“Just when you thought everything about the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II had been published, author Ben Powers delivers Never a Dull Moment, The 80th Airborne Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion in World War II. Excellently researched and written, this powerful book fills a critical void about a lesser known, but so very important unit in the 82nd.” — Colonel Mark C. “Plug” Vlahos, USAF-Retired, USAAF Troop Carrier and Glider Operations Historian and Author

Most modern books and films glamorize World War II airborne soldiers as troopers leaping into the night to descend by parachute into combat. Much less often considered is the role of glider forces. Glider troops lacked the panache and special distinctions of paratroopers, despite their critical role in airborne warfare. Likewise, World War II ground combat is characterized as a combined arms fight of infantry and armor, backed up with field artillery; by comparison the role played by specialized, supporting arms has received scant attention.

The 80th AAA Battalion was a glider outfit, providing antiaircraft defense and antitank capability to the division’s three infantry regiments as battlefield conditions dictated. Elements of the battalion fought in Italy, Normandy, Holland and the Battle of the Bulge, making combat glider assaults during both Operation Neptune and Operation Market Garden. The exploits of the men of the 80th tend to be obscured as commanders maneuvered the batteries wherever their special skills were needed on the battlefield, with no regiment to call a permanent home.

The 80th AAA battalion was a hybrid unit. While its members were considered Coast Artillery (the branch responsible for defending ground formations from air attack during WWII), they fought alongside parachute and glider infantry, most often providing direct fire, anti-armor support with 57mm/6 pounder cannons. While field artillery, both parachute and glider, established their gunlines some distance behind infantry units to provide indirect fire support, the men of the 80th fought face to face with the enemy, alongside their infantry brothers.

Never a Dull Moment

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