General James M. Gavin & the 82nd Airborne Division

Start Sicily, Italy
End Berlin, Germany
Duration 5 Days
Developed By
Name Liberation Route Europe Foundation
Country Netherlands

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American General James M. Gavin was the youngest major general in the U.S. Army in World War II. He was also the only general to make four combat airborne jumps during the war. Gavin fought on different fronts, mainly in command of the 82nd Airborne Division.

This itinerary starts in Sicily with a visit to points of interest related to the Allied invasion of Sicily during the summer of 1943. It continues to Normandy where Gavin and his paratroopers from the 82nd Division took part in D-Day on 6 June 1944. Next journey to the city of Groesbeek in the Netherlands to learn about Operation Market Garden, before crossing into Germany to visit the Hürtgen Forest and Berlin.

General James M. Gavin & the 82nd Airborne Division
Day 1

Start in Sicily where the 82nd U.S. Airborne Division was first deployed in the summer of 1943. The 82nd Airborne Division with General Gavin as Colonel of the 505th Parachute Regiment of the 82nd landed here on 10 July 1943. In Catania, visit the Historical War Museum of the landings in Sicily, then head to Gela to see the monument paying tribute to the men of the U.S. 82nd who fought and died at Ponte Dirillo on 10 July. Travel to Normandy.

Day 2

On 6 June 1944, 12,000 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne, including Gavin as Brigadier General, participated in Operation Overlord. Explore the area around Utah Beach and visit the Utah Beach Museum. Continue at the Airborne Museum in Sainte-Mère-Église where, together with the 101st U.S. Airborne Division, the 82nd was charged with setting up a bridgehead on the western flank of the Allied assault. Check out La Fière Bridge and the Monument Iron Mike, a tribute to the paratroopers of the 82nd who lost their life in the area.

Day 3

Travel towards the Gelderland province in the Netherlands and visit the Liberation Museum Groesbeek. During Operation Market Garden, Gavin’s 82nd Division dropped near Groesbeek in order to capture several bridges including one over the Waal. On 20 September, they crossed the Waal in 26 tiny boats. They succeeded in capturing the bridges intact and liberated the city of Nijmegen. Check out the Waal Memorial and join the Sunset March in Nijmegen, a daily tribute to the soldiers who fell during the Waal crossing. End the day at the Infocentre WW2 Nijmegen. Travel towards Germany.

Day 4

Arrive in the Hürtgen Forest area and visit the Kall Bridge and the town of Schmidt. Bitter fighting took place in Schmidt until Gavin’s 82nd Division alongside the 78th U.S. Division captured the town on 7 February 1945 by. Visit the Museum Huertgen Forest 1944 and in Peacetime. Continue to northeastern Germany.

Day 5

Arrive near the city of Ludwigslust for a visit to the memorial of Wöbbelin concentration camp. Gavin’s 82nd Division and the U.S. 8th infantry Division liberated the camp on 2 May 1945. Continue to Berlin where the 82nd entered to occupy the city from April until December 1945. End the tour at the Allied Museum in Berlin.