463rd PFA
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463rd Pocket PatchThe 463rd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion was formed in Italy from elements of the 82nd Airborne, most whom were veterans of the African and Sicily campaigns. The Battalion participated in the battle at Anzio, then provided direct support to the famed First Special Service Force, the joint American-Canadian commandos popularized in the movie, "The Devil's Brigade."

Although many of the men held an old allegiance to the 82nd Airborne, the Battalion was not officially part of the Division. Still supporting the FSSF and as part of the First Airborne Task Force teamed with the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The Second Battalion of the 509th PIR made the first US Army combat jump into Africa, flying from England all the way to Africa for the jump.

The 463rd PFA jumped into southern France as part of Operation Dragoon, sharing a narrow and rocky drop zone with the 509th PIR. The scattered drop had much the same effect on the Germans as had the parachute drops in Normandy. The paratroopers and glider men were so dispersed the Germans had problems determining the airborne assault's objective, which in turn distracted the German defenses opposing the  troops landing on the nearby beaches.

At the conclusion of Operation Dragoon, the Battalion moved by truck and train, eventually ending up at Mourmelon, France where it was scheduled to join the 17th Airborne Division. The 17th Airborne Division was still in England, and due to a shortage of transportation, was unable to reach France in time when the 101st and 82nd were ordered to deploy. When the 101st Airborne prepared to depart Mourmelon to defend against the German attack in December 1944, The 463rd PFA Battalion Commander volunteereed the Battalion to accompany the 101st.

Official Battalion website

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