Operation Freeport/Memphis

This was the US parachute delivery of supplies to Major General Matthew B. Ridgway’s 82nd Airborne Division ('Freeport') and Major General Maxwell D. Taylor’s 101st Airborne Division ('Memphis') in Normandy on the day following the launch of ‘Overlord’ (7 June 1944).

Both elements of this supply operation by Brigadier General Paul L. Williams’s IX Troop Carrier Command, flying Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft, flew into Normandy over the Utah Beach area, but were nonetheless disrupted by small arms fire when they overflew German positions, and virtually none of the 'Memphis' supplies reached the 101st Airborne Division. 'Freeport' involved 208 aircraft of which 11 were shot down, while 'Memphis' involved 119 aircraft of which three were shot down; damage was also inflicted on 94 and 35 of the aircraft respectively. Just seven of the 511 glider tugs involved in the earlier missions were shot down. The 'Freeport' aircraft carried 211 tons of freight, of which 156 tons were dropped and 100 tons recovered by their intended recipients, and the 'Memphis' aircraft carried 221 tons of freight, of which 215 tons were dropped and an unknown tonnage recovered by its intended recipients.

'Freeport' lost 29 men killed or missing, as well as 22 men wounded, and the equivalent figures for 'Memphis' were two and four respectively. 'Freeport' also carried 76 troops, of whom 22 were dropped, while 'Memphis' carried no troops.

In the following week another six resupply missions were flown on demand by Colonel Theodore G. Kershaw’s 441st Troop Carrier Group and Colonel Adrel N. Williams’s 436th Troop Carrier Group of Williams’s IX Troop Carrier Command of Lieutenant General Lewis H. Brereton’s 9th AAF, with 10 C-47 aircraft making parachute drops and 24 towing gliders. This brought the final total of the IX Troop Carrier Command’s sorties during ‘Overlord’ to 2,166 including 533 glider-towing sorties.