If I mentioned Airborne divisions making combat jumps to you, almost certainly the first thing that pops into your head is D-Day at Normandy. Or at least, that’s what pops into mine. You think of the 101st ABN from Band of Brothers, naturally. Or the 82nd ABN at St. Mere Eglise from The Longest Day.
You probably also think of the 101st and the 82nd in Holland, courtesy of A Bridge Too Far.
The more historically inclined of us will recall that there were combat jumps in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. There were even combat jumps by the 11th ABN Division in the Pacific.
But even though I know better from study, somehow when I casually consider the history of combat jumps, I always forget the jump across the Rhine.
Raise your hand if you instantly thought of the 17th ABN Division making its combat jump in Operation Varsity.
I think a large part of why the jump doesn’t get a lot of press is that 17th ABN was under Montgomery’s 21st Army Group for the operation.