The 13th Airborne Division (nicknamed Black Cats, because this unit was activated on a Friday the 13th and was sent home to be disbanded without firing a shot in anger, except for the 517-PRCT) was another brand new division activated in August 1943 at Camp Mackall, North Carolina. The first divisional commander was Maj Gen George Griner who was replaced in December 1944 by Maj Gen Eldridge Chapman. The divisions initial units on activation were the 515th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 88th Glider Infantry Regiment and the 326th Glider Infantry Regiment. The 13th Airborne Division arrived in Europe during the month of February 1945 and had the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team (517-PIRCT) assigned also, but then the division was kept in reserve for Operation Varsity and the Rhine River crossing. Destined to remain unbloodied the men of the division were assigned, along with the men of the 101st Airborne Division, to the Pacific theater for the intended invasion of Japan, which wasn’t necessary after all. On August 1945, the 13th Airborne moved back to the New York POE, then to Fort Bragg NC, to be inactivated on August 26, 1945.

Campaigns Central Europe
Located at the Camp Lucky Strike, Auxerre, France, August 1945.

Order of Battle (1944)

88th Glider Infantry Regiment
326th Glider Infantry Regiment
515th Parachute Infantry Regiment
HHB Division Artillery
458th Parachute Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
676th Glider Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
677th Glider Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
409th Airborne Quartermaster Company
129th Airborne Engineer Battalion
153rd Airborne Antiaircraft Battalion
222nd Airborne Medical Company
13th Parachute Maintenance Company
Headquarters Special Troops
HQs Company, 13th Airborne Division
Military Police Platoon
713th Airborne Ordnance Maintenance Company
513th Airborne Signal Company

Note: the 88th Glider Infantry Regiment was disbanded on March 1, 1945. The 515th Parachute Infantry Regiment, assigned to the division on March 10, 1944, was replaced by the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment on the same date. In 1943, the division contained also the 189th Glider Infantry Regiment and the 190th Glider Infantry Regiment which were disbanded on December 4-8, 1943 and replaced by the 88th and the 326th Glider Infantry Regiments.

Order of Battle (1945)

326th Glider Infantry Regiment
515th Parachute Infantry Regiment
517th Parachute Infantry Regiment
HHB Division Artillery
458th Parachute Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
460th Parachute Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
676th Glider Field Artillery Bn {75-MM)
677th Glider Field Artillery Bn (75-MM)
409th Airborne Quartermaster Company
129th Airborne Engineer Battalion
153rd Airborne Antiaircraft Battalion
222nd Airborne Medical Company
13th Parachute Maintenance Company
Headquarters Special Troops
HQs Company, 13th Airborne Division
Military Police Platoon
713th Airborne Ordnance Maintenance Company
513th Airborne Signal Company

Narrative
The 13th Airborne Division arrived in France on February 6, 1945 and was never sent to combat. The division didn’t participate to Operation Varsity in Germany because of insufficient airlift. It remained in France until August 15, 1945, and was sent back to the USA to be disbanded.

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