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Lieutenant Colonel Kuhn

82nd Airborne Division - 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment - 3rd Battalion

Utah Beach

 

Our mission was to establish a defensive position just west of Amfreville. The Air Corps sold us a snow job for they changed the SOP. I was in the lead ship of my Bn. Telephonic communication should be established between crew chief and jumpmaster. We had a very uneventful trip until we hit the mainland, and then things popped. There was no communication with the pilot whatsoever. I never had such a hard opening in my life. I think that the flash and thunder system is best for challenging, We dropped about 0240 in the morning. We landed about one mile southeast Fresville. "H" Company recovered a good deal of their equipment, but, they used their home-made lights which was one flashlight bulb and two batteries. We used no luminous tape. "G" and "I" Companies landed up about the railroad tracks, closer to the DZ than where we landed. The issue Air Corps light was not worth a damn. Short challenging is the better way of identification.

Q. What's wrong with the Air Corps issue lighting?

A. The Air Corps light breaks. A good solid jar will knock it out. The Air Corps light did not burn long enough, and you can't tell one light from another. 

(On the evening of Thursday, 13 August 1944, a debriefing conference was held at the Glebe Mount House, Leicester. During the course of the conference each commander present who had commanded a unit the size of a battalion or larger of the 82d Airborne Division in Operation Neptune, was permitted to talk for not to exceed ten minutes. Instructions were that each officer was to speak freely, without restraint, regarding any aspect of the operation during its airborne phase and to offer any criticism he saw fit in the interests of improving our operational technique in future combat. Commanders spoke in the order in which it was planned that they would land. Their statements were taken down verbatim as far as possible.)

(Courtesy: National Archives)