After Action Report
The 81st Airborne AA Battalion Glider Airborne Echelon left England on 19 September 1944 for operations agains the enemy in Holland.
This echelon, carrying seventeen (17) officers, one (1) warrant officer, and two hunderd sixty-four (264) enlisted men, with equipment. were transported in eighty-one CG4A gliders.
The organizations were Batteries A, B and C, each equipped with eight 6 pounders anti-tank guns and the headquarters and medical detachments. Of the eighty-one (81) gliders that left England, forty-seven (47) gliders, carrying eleven (11) officers and one hunder forty-six (146) enlisted men together with fourteen (14) 6 pounders anti-tank guns, reached the landing-zone at Son, Holland on 19 September 1944.
The glider lift, on leaving England and crossing the English channel, encountered very poor flying weather. The fog was so dense that the glider pilots could not see their tow ships and were guided in flight by a few yards of their tow lines. Seven (7) gliders, verging on becoming out of control, made forced landings in the English channel. The Battalion Sergeant Major was in one of these gliders. On reaching Belgium and still in dense fog, two gliders crashed landed, killing one chief warrant officer (the Battalion Supply Officer), the Battalion Supply Sergeant and three enlisted men. Twelve other gliders were forced to land in Belgium. In these were the Battalion S-1, the Battalion Medical Officer, and one Battery Commander. Eleven other gliders, after safely crossing the Channel, but lost in the fog on the continent, were returned safely to England. Among the personnel of these gliders were one Battery Commander and two platoon leaders. Two gliders, last seen in flight leaving the coast of England, are still un-reported. These gliders carried six (6) enlisted men and two (2) 6 pounders anti tank guns. That part of the Airborne echelon that reached the landingzonr safely, came in under enemy flak and heavy small arms fire. Immediately on landing, this echelon suffering from the loss of key personnel and vital equipment, was rushed to the defense of the Son bridge and the town of Son.
Facing attacking enemy forces of Armor and Infantry, which was penetrating from the south-east cutting the road between Son and Eindhoven. Under heavy enemy artillery and small arms fire, one enemy Mark V (Panter) Tank was destroyed at approximately 19.00hrs which was four (4) hours after landing. one half-track and one armored car was destroyed the following morning. The enemy attack was repulsed and the all important north-south supply line of the British 2nd Army was kept open. On 22 September, the enemy attacked with armor at Veghel, Holland, penetrating from the east and cutting the road between Veghel and Son. One Battery was sent there for