Devils In Baggy Pants
On February 24th, 1924 the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment was formed into the United States Army. On August 15th, 1942 they were formed into the 82nd Airborne. The 504th trained at Fort Benning, Georgia and moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina on September 30th, 1942. The 504th soon shipped off in the USS George Washington heading to Morocco.When the 504th Arrived in Morocco they began training for the time being. After Training in Morocco they were moved to Kairouan, Tunisia to prepare for Operation Husky "Invasion of Sicily". They 504ths objective was to drop into Salerno, Italy and hold the Beachhead to be relieved. The drop zones were filed with slippery oil so when the Gliders landed they would keep going and hopefully killing the crew inside hitting something. The 505th was also along side the 504th. The 504th and the 505th were the first Parachute Infantry Regiments in the United States Military to Parachute in an Invasion. The 504th and the 505th held the Beach for Three days and relieved by the 1st Infantry Division. The 1st and the 2nd Battalions of the 504th Dropped into Gela, Sicily. On the way to Sicily twenty-three planes were shot down by the United States Navy by Accident. The 504th and the other Regiments in the 82nd Airborne Encountered low Resistance and took 22,000 Prisoners in there first Contact with the Axis forces. On October 1st, 1943, The 504th Dropped into Naples Italy and secured the flanks for the 5th Army. In Naples they Encountered heavy Resistance and pulled out on the 4th of January. The 504th parachuted outside of Anzio south of Rome. They were pushed back in the Fighting of Anzio and took heavy Casualties but held on. They held the Anzio beachhead for 8 weeks and never gave up. During the Anzio Campaign they acquired the Name Devils in Baggy Pants, they took a dairy off a dead German Officer and found this Quote, "American parachutists...devils in baggy pants...are less than 100 meters from my outpost line. I can't sleep at night; they pop up from nowhere and we never know when or how they will strike next. Seems like the black-hearted devils are everywhere...". On March 23rd, 1944 after the allies secured the Anzio beachhead the 504th suffered very heavy losses and packed up, bored the ship called the Capetown Castle and shipped off to England.
On December 16th, 1944 the Germans launched a surprise offensive in the The Ardennes of Belgium. This was the last counter offensive the Germans through at the Western Front to hopefully change the course of the war. It was Called Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein " Operation Watch on the Rhine" aka Battle of the Bulge. The 504th was Ordered to Defend outside the Northern side of Bastogne. The 504th faced great difficulty in holding positions in the North and faced heavy German Attacks. After holding the line outside of Bastonge they won their second Presidential Unit Citation.