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D-day Pathfinder W/ M1928


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#1 ducati650

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Posted 07 June 2004 - 09:35 PM

Anybody see Mail Call tonight? There was a segment on the Pathfinders who jumped ahead of the main drop. The leader was a Capt. who was said to be the first to land on French soil. In one of the photos he had a Thompson and it sure looked to me like it was an M1928. The Cutts was clearly visible. I thought I could also make out the top cocker. I expected everybody to have M1s. Anybody else notice this?
Ed
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#2 Arthur Fliegenheimer

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Posted 07 June 2004 - 09:37 PM

Check under dream TSMG's thread.
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#3 ducati650

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Posted 07 June 2004 - 09:46 PM

Thanks AF. Nice to know. Didn't have much time to make the ID. Looks like I got right.
Ed
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#4 full auto 45

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 06:49 AM

That was the gun that the wild man Captain Lillyman used. I don't know much about Lillyman except he was gung-ho and the actions that his pathfinders did on 6 June saved many many lives.
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#5 PATHFINDER

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 11:16 AM

Capt' Lillyman (commander of the 101st Pathfinder teams) was one hell of a guy. He shot a famous piece of film footage of himself making a jump with a cigar in his mouth (his trademark). The camera is sitting on his reserve chute. You have seen this footage a million times if you watch the 'History Chanel'.
He was position one, serial one, in the base stick of the 502PIR of the 101stAB. So unless Air Corps pilots turned on jump light before they were suposed to (as has been often and wrongfully alleged) just to get the jumpers out so they could return to England, then yes, Lillyman was the first man in the invasion to set foot in France. Only one man in his stick was KIA that day. They never activated their beacons.
Six airborne regiments jumped that day and each had three sticks of Pathfinders of about 20 men each. The 101st Pathfinders jumped first with the 82nd teams a few minutes behind them.
Only the Pathfinders of the 505PIR of the 82nd were able to impliment thier pathfinder equipment. This is why so many of the 505th landed on or near the correct drop zone. This allowed the 505th to amass enough men to liberate the first town of the invasion: Ste. Mere Eglise. The rest of the pathfinders found thier DZs thick with krauts or did not have enough men to carry out their mission and never activated thier PPN beacons or Halifane lights. Some sticks had as many as half thier men killed, wounded or captured on the jump.
Of the two divisional beacon teams the 101st had thier 'BUPS' beacon damaged on the drop and the 82nd lost thiers and its operators.
Loss of men and equipment and inability to complete the Pathfinder mission by so many teams, in part, are the reason so many mis-drops happened in later sticks.

Capt, Lillymans Thompson apears to be a 1928A1 in photos taken on June 6th. It has a plain, early style, stamped rear sight, Cutts and flat finish. There apear to be no fins on the barrel. Pre jump photos show him wearing two 5 pocket XX mag pouches verticaly on his web gear. June 6th photos show him having discarded these.

Cheers,
Chris
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#6 kyle

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 11:53 AM

Now this is the kind of stuff I like reading on the board! Thanks guys. biggrin.gif

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#7 Gunner

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 12:11 PM

Thanks for the info, Pathfinder. I had always heard about the fact that so many 101 guys landed off target, but I never knew all of the reasons until now.
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#8 PATHFINDER

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 01:32 PM

Oh, I left one detail out. The seaborne/airborne operation was called 'NEPTUNE'. The Pathfinders landed at around 1:10 about 45 minutes before the main airborne force and about 5 hours before the 'OVERLORD' (the actual beach invasion and its follow up operations) troops hit the beach.
These times vary as to where you read them. The reason:the Britts used a different time than the US forces. The continent used yet another time!!
Just think: If winds on the DZ had been too strong or the jump was called off for any reason it would have been the Pathfinders in France making that call thus cutting themselves off from ANY hope of rescue.
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#9 ducati650

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 03:15 PM

Great stuff! THANKS. I wasn't sure from the photo on Mail Call but I thought it might have a stamped rear sight. Didn't have enough time to make up my mind. Now I know. Couldn't see enough of the barrel to detect fins.
Ed
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#10 Ron Mills

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 04:51 PM

To add to the festivities in that photo, there was an M1 on the left, and an M3 Grease Gun on the right (the soldier with his arms folded). It looked as if those 2 5-pocket 20-round mag pouches on Capt. Lillyman may have been sewn together. What makes me think that is, when he moved, those 2 pouches moved together.
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#11 PATHFINDER

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Posted 09 June 2004 - 07:43 AM

If you look in the DeTrez book "American Warriors' on page 67 you can see a somewhat blurry photo of Capt. Lillyman talking with the crew of his C-47 on June 5th. You can clearly see a gap between the XX mag pouches. I think they looked attached because of the weight combined with the short distance between the shoulder straps caused the two pouches to wedge together.
But he is not wearing the two XX pouches on his chest in he film shown on the HC. This was shot on June 6th with Lillymans own 16mm camera.
Chris
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#12 Ron Mills

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Posted 09 June 2004 - 08:57 PM

OK, I guess I missed. I do that a lot, especially around here. I may have seen what I thought I saw regarding the XX pouches on the show immediately prior to the "Mail Call" program on the History Channel with some footage of the Captain. I don't have the "American Warriors" book, sorry.

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#13 PATHFINDER

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 07:23 AM

Ron
When my scaner is fixed I will email you the pix
Chris
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#14 Ron Mills

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 11:19 AM

Cool, thank you! That's right neighborly of you. Those guys sure did have what it took to get the job done, eh?
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