WW2 PARATROOPER Basic Load For The Normandy Invasion ( D-Day)

This listing below was taken from  a document issuing the basic loads for every parachute infantrymen for the invasion of Normandy.   The info was provided by a former regimental  S-3 of the 101st.


MI- 30-06 rifle: Rounds per weapon: 136, jumped on individual. (128 in Air Corps pockets, 4 clips per pocket), 1-8 rnd. clip in rifle, hand, or jumpsuit pocket (55% ball, 40% AP, 5% tracer. Rifle belt and one bandolier may be used in lieu of the above. 60 Riflemen per company will jump with 1 belt of LMG ammunition (250 rounds); this may be used in M-1 rifles if the situation warrants.

Carbine: Rounds per weapon: 175, jumped on individual. 160 in 2 Air Corps pockets (2 clips and one box per pocket), 15 in hand (1 clip) or jumpsuit pocket (100% ball).

Thompson SMG: Rounds per weapon:300, Jumped on individual. 14 (20 rnd) clips in jump suit pockets or M6 carrying bag, 1 clip in gun, hand, or jumpsuit pocket.

Pistol M1911A1: Rounds per weapon: 21, jumped on individual. 2 clips in pouch, one clip in pistol (100% ball, for pistol and TSMG).

’03 Rifle: Rounds per weapon: 145, jumped on individual. 140 in four Air Corps pockets (7 clips per pocket), 1 5 rnd. clip in rifle, hand, or jumpsuit pocket. The ’03 rifle may not be used if launcher for M-1 rifle is issued. It is now a superimposed weapon and if jumped will have to supplant the primary weapon of the man jumping it.

’03 Grenades: 10, jumped on individual 5 in each of 2 M6 carrying bags (6 fragmentation, 4 A.T.)

Hand Grenades: 4, Jumped on individual. 4 Grenades in jumpsuit pockets (if M6 carrying bag is used, 6 can be carried.)

Rocket Launcher: Rounds per weapon: 12, to be jumped on individual. l round per man; collected and carried, 6 in each of 2 Infantry packs collected by crew after jump. The folding launcher may be issued, and can be jumped. Launchers may be dropped in bundles: if so, ammunition will be dropped in bundle.

60mm mortar: Rounds per weapon: 80, each mortar jumped on 3 men. 14 riflemen jump with 1 round each. 3 mortar squad members jump with 4 each in M6 bag; 54 dropped in bundles and carried in cart (4 carts per company).

81mm mortar: Rounds per weapon: 54, dropped in bundle;carried by 3 men. 30 rounds in cart, plus 6 rounds on each of 4 men, or 5 rounds on 4 men and 4 rounds on 1. (cart and all rounds dropped in bundle). 80% H.E. light, 20% White Phosphorus.

LMG Browning M1919-A4: rounds per weapon: 3250, jumped on 2 individuals. In LMG platoon, 2,000 rounds dropped in bundle and carried on 81mm mortar cart, or by S-4. 1,250 rounds jumped on men. (80% A.P. and 20% tracer). A.P.=Armor-Piercing (steel cored projectile with copper jacket). 60 riflemen in each company jump with 1 belt of LMG ammunition, as indicated in M-1 rifle listing.

Reserve LMG: rounds per weapon: 6,250, dropped in bundle

 

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The Basic load was surprising to me at first considering it was for an airborne unit that would be behind enemy lines. But taking into account the  82nd and 101st thought they would only be in the field for less then a week and would be moving as light infantry and hooking up with full division from the beach it does not seem like a light load.     Of course the load was increased by Operation Market Garden  and changes around after the lessons learned form Overlord.

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