327th INFANTRY - Yesteryear, Today and Yet to Come
327th Infantry Regiment 327th INFANTRY - History - World War II 327th Infantry Regiment
   

327th Glider Infantry Regiment WWII

327th Glider Infantry Regiment WWII

Unit History:

The 327th GIR was formed at Camp Claiborne Louisiana August 15, 1942. They arrived in the ETO on September 15, 1943 and entered combat on June 6, 1944. The men spent 214 days in combat.

101st Airborne Division Commander: Major General Maxwell Taylor. (Replaced Brig. General William Lee after his heart attack in March 1944)
327th Regimental Commander: Colonel Joseph H. Harper (replaced Colonel George Wear, who was relieved of command on June 9, 1944).


With the involvement of the United States in the Second World War, the unit, after having spent the previous 20+ years as part of the organized reserves in Greenville, South Carolina, was called back into active service. The 327th was reorganized and redesignated as the 327th Glider Infantry on 15 August 1942 At Camp Claiborne Louisiana. Concurrently relieved from assignment to the 82nd Division and assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. It then trained with the division at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina prior to sailing to England on 5 September 1943.

The 327th received the code name Keepsake and the Club emblem.On September 15, 1943, the 327th GIR unloaded from the SS Samaria at Liverpool, England. They were then moved to Camp Ranikhet near Reading, where they continued to train and learn about the British Horsa gliders. During the winter code names and emblems were given to each unit. The 327th received the code name Keepsake and the Club emblem.

Recruiting poster

Luring adventurous young men into the glider infantry.

The 327th participated in two Command Post exercises during December 1943. The first was on December 10-11, and the second was December 28-29. These exercises included parachute jumps, glider landings, and supply drops. In the early parts of 1944 they troops began preparing for D-day with three different exercises. The first, exercise Beaver, was held on March 27-31, 1944.

Exercise Tiger was the second held on April 23-30, 1944. The 327th participated as a seaborne echelon. Confusion set in early and the 327th ended up bivouacked in sixteen different camps spread over a 40-mile area. Exercise Eagle was held May 9-12, 1944 and was the dress rehearsal for the invasion of Normandy.

During these exercises the units involved were given different unit identifications. This was to prevent Germans listening to intercepted radio transmissions from knowing which units were actually participating. The 327th became known as the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion.

 

On D-day the 3rd Bn of the 327th landed just after noon and bivouacked near the beach. By the evening of D +1 the 1st and 2nd Battalions were assembled near Ste. Marie du Mont. On D+2 the 3rd Bn saw action near St. Come du Mont. At 2000 hours units of the 327th marched up to the bombed out wooden bridges south of the La Barquette Locks to relieve the 506th. There they held the riverbank from below the locks to the mouth of the Douve River.

The 327th began its way toward Carentan on June 9, 1944. At 0145 hours, C Company, 1st Bn crossed the Douve River. By 0700 hours they occupied the village of Brevands and began their two-day fight up the south bank toward Carentan. At 2200 hours on June 10th the 327th attacked the hedge grove area just short of the Canal de Vire et Taute, and the 2nd Bn took up a position near a footbridge that connected the canal and the Douve River. On June 11th the 327th crossed the bridge at 1000 hours and advanced through the wooded area, where they became pinned under heavy fire.

At dawn on June 12th the 3rd Bn of the 327th renewed the attack at 0500 hours from the Basin-a- Flot to the northeast. They received sniper fire and fire from the west-end of town, which turned out to be covering fire. By 0700 hours they were in the town. Later in the day, while trying to take the high ground just south of Montmartin-en Graignes, a hamlet five miles southeast of Carentan, the 327th less 3rd Bn encountered German resistance. The resistance was heavy and consisted of small arms, mortars, and 88’s. They hooked up with the 29th Infantry Division and set up defensive positions on the high ground just as dark settled in.

 

  Close call Ed
 

The symbol for the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment was a club (3-leaf clover). Ed Pieczatowski's helmet was shot off by a grenadier of the 17th SS division near Montmartin en Graignes, France, during the Normandy invasion. The bullet grazed Ed's skull and knocked him down. Here he is pointing to the evidence of his close escape from death, but we can also see the 327th stencil (Ed was in Company 'G').

 

On June 13th, the 327th was moved back to the rail line, where they held until June 14th. By June 15th they were on their way to Carentan. On June 16th they were put into line between the 501st and 502nd. On June 17th the 327th saw limited objective attacks to help push the outpost line forward. This was the last real fighting they had in the Normandy Campaign.

On July 13, 1944, the 101st Divisions LST pulled into South Hampton, England. During the summer of 1944 several missions were developed, but were canceled. The first was Operation Transfigure. The 327th was to assemble at the village of Chatonville, France after making a glider landing on August 19th. However, on August 17th General Pattons’ armor reached the area.

The second mission was called Limet I. The gliders were to land and troops assemble southeast of Tourani, Belgium. They were to patrol east and south and be prepared to support the division if needed. The mission was called off when the British Second Guards Armor Division Took Tourani.

After several months of this relatively peaceful state, the 327th was alerted to participate in what would ultimately become its bloodiest two months of combat – The Battle of the Bulge. Shortly after its arrival at the vital crossroads city of Bastogne, Belgium on 19 December 1944, the entire 101st Airborne Division was surrounded by elements of the German 5th and 7th Panzer Armies. On 22 December, the commander of the German 46th Panzer Division Corps sent a note through the lines to Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, Acting Division Commander, demanding the surrender of the 101st. General McAuliffe replied to the ultimatum with his now famous statement: “NUTS!” The besieged Bastogne garrison continued to hold out receiving supplies via air drops and glider landings, until the encirclement was broken on 26 December. This heroic engagement earned the 327th the nickname “Bastogne Bulldogs”. For its valiant actions in the defense of Bastogne the regiment was awarded its first Presidential Unit Citation.

 

 
 
B.G. Anthony McAuliffe was Divisional Artillery commander of the 101st, except for a brief period in Normandy when he became Deputy Division Commander, following General Pratt's death. MacAuliffe reverted to his role as DIVARTY commander and while at the Bastogne siege, served as Acting Divisional Commander for the first crucial week. At Bastogne, the 101st was surrounded by seven German divisions. McAuliffe's place in world history was assured when he replied "Nuts!" to a formal German surrender ultimatum on 22 December, 1944.
Men who served with Mac claim that he never used true profanity when speaking, thus any rumors that his initial verbal response to the German ultimatum was in stronger language, are false.
Battle History and awards:

Normandy (with arrowhead)
Rhineland (with arrowhead)
Ardennes-Alsace
Central Europe

 

327th's casualty figures for each of the major WWII battles (source: Rendezvous with Destiny, 1948):

Normandy Casualty Figures:

Start Strength:3,197
KIA/Died of Wounds: 103
WIA:406
Missing/Captured: 15

Holland Casualty Figures:

Start Strength:3,077
KIA/Died of Wounds: 158
WIA: 402
Missing/Captured:102

Bastogne Casualty Figures:

Start Strength:1817
KIA/Died of Wounds: 84
WIA:405
Missing/Captured: 91