|506 PIR ( Often called the “Five- Oh- Sink” in honor of their Commander
Col. Robert Sink) - 101st Airborne Division
Camp Toccoa from 20 July to 15 November 1942
Campaigns: European - Overlord, Market Garden, Battle of Bulge
E Company - Second Batallion - Featured in Band of Brothers - written by historian and biographer Stephen E. Ambros and a ten-part, 11-hour television World War II miniseries, originally produced and broadcast in 2001 - Directed by Stephen Spieldburg and Tom Hanks.
501 PIR – 101st Airborne Division
Camp Toccoa from 15 November 1942 to 15 March 1943
Campaigns: European – Overlord, Market Garden, Battle of Bulge
511 PIR – 11th Airborne Division
Camp Toccoa from 5 January to 23 March 1943
Campaigns: Philippines - Leyte, Luzon. Participated with Filipino Guerrillas in liberation of notorious Los Banos Japanese Prison often referred to as “Angles At Dawn”
PIR – Operated as an separate unit as part of the First Airborne
Task Force – then in intervals: The 17th, The 82nd and The
13th Airborne Divisions.
Camp Toccoa from 15 March to 8 August 1943
Campaigns: Italian- Italy - Anzio, France - Dragoon, Battle of Bulge
myth and legend of The
Filthy Thirteen got its start at Camp Toccoa, Georgia during their
initial training. By the time the war ended with causalities and the
missing in action over thirty men could claim to be part of this famed
group. They were a demolition section assigned to the
Headquarters Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
members of the famed 101st Airborne Division, “The Screaming
Eagles” and would play an integral role in every battle they fought in
World War II.
During training and throughout the war their antics and attitude would get them in trouble. Like many of the stories the print press would publish during the war about The Filthy Thirteen, a 1960’s movie, loosely based on them, by E. M. Nathanson, The Dirty Dozen, bore only a slight resemblance to the groups real makeup and accomplishments.
Surviving members are quick to point out that unlike the movie they were not prisoners or convicts but their behavior would get them in trouble, often meriting a short trip to the brig. They didn’t do everything they were supposed to do and did a lot more than the military wanted them to do.
James E McNiece, one of the 13, trained at Camp Toccoa and became one of it's most notable members. READ HIS STORY HERE
The Movie Poster
Starring Tom Hanks the movie has been nominated and won many awards.
from John Morgan
Just an FYI on your Fritz Niland piece: despite how Ambrose "screwed it up," as my uncle put it, Fritz was with H Company of the 501, and they didn't piece together the three brothers until after he got back to England. My uncle, Charley Morgan, H Company, went with him to find Bob, the 82nd airborne paratrooper brother, in St. Mere Eglise, and said Fritz went the next day to tell his other brother about Bob, only to find Preston, too, had been killed. Fritz went back to England with the 501, and found out about his third brother being shot down flying the hump. Turns out he survived, and came home. Cate Niland, Fritz's daughter can confirm this correction, as can Mark Bando's works on the 101st. Or you can simply google "Niland Brothers."
|Another movie directed by
Stephen Spielburg ( written by Robert Rodat), Saving Private Ryan,
is said to be based on 101st paratrooper, Sgt Fritz Niland.
The real "Private Ryan" was Sgt Fritz Niland (right) of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. An extract from Stephen Ambrose's "Band of Brothers - E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne, From Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest" reads as follows:
"The previous day, Niland had gone to the 82nd to see his brother Bob. Fritz Niland had just learned that his brother had been killed on D-Day. Bob's platoon had been surrounded, and he manned a machine gun hitting the Germans with harassing fire until the platoon broke through the encirclement. He had used up several boxes of ammunition before getting killed. Fritz Niland next hitched a ride to the 4th Infantry Division position, to see another brother who was a platoon leader. He too had been killed on D-Day, on Utah Beach. By the time Fritz Niland returned to Easy Company, Father Francis Sampson was looking for him, to tell him that a third brother, a pilot in the China-Burma-India theater, had been killed that same week. Fritz was the sole surviving son, and the army wanted to remove him from the combat zone as soon as possible. Fritz's mother had received all three telegrams from the War Dept on the same day. Father Sampson escorted Fritz to Utah Beach, where a plane flew him to London on the first leg of his return to the States."
|The character of
"Colonel Robert Stout" played by Elliott Gould, is also based on
Colonel Sink - commander of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment at
Toccoa, Georgia; Fort Benning, Georgia; and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Sink commanded the 506th throughout World War II, turning down two promotions during the war to remain with the unit (the regiment sometimes being referred to as the "Five-Oh-Sink') and became a close personal friend to Major Richard Winters.
The exploits of the 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) have been long overshadowed by those of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, who were immortalized in Stephen Ambrose's book Band of Brothers. Yet the actions of the 3rd Battalion were every bit as incredible and this book finally gives them deserved attention. Formed in 1942, the 506th PIR were shortly after attached to the 101st Airborne Division. After training they were transported to Wiltshire in 1943 to prepare for the invasion of Europe. Whilst taking part in the D-Day landings, the battalion suffered many immediate casualties, including the battalion commander. This is the astounding story of how the surviving paratroopers fought on towards their objectives against horrendous odds, told in their own words, and those of the French civilians who witnessed the Normandy campaign. Through many hours of interviews, and in-depth research, the authors have pieced together the perspectives of the soldiers to create a unique, comprehensive account. Including a foreword by Ed Shames, veteran of the 3rd Battalion, and illustrated with black and white photographs and maps throughout, this book vividly details the experiences of the 3rd battalion from training through to D-Day and beyond.
Available at Amazon.com
A short historical work covering the Federal Years of Camp Toccoa, Georgia. The original home of the US Army Paratroops. 1942-1944. By G.G. Stokes, Jr..
Dedicated to the Paratroopers who trained to serve this country at Camp Toccoa, Georgia during the dark and uncertain days of World War II, and the members of the Stephens County Historical Society who keep their memories alive.
Available at Amazon.com