680th Glider Field Artillery Battalion
17th Airborne Parachute Maint. Company
411th Airborne Quartermaster Company
517th Airborne Signal Company
Military Police Platoon
389th Quartermaster Company (attached)
550th Infantry Airborne Battalion (attached)
The 17th Airborne Division was activated 15 April 1943 at Camp Mackall, North Carolina under the command of Major General William Miley. The 680th Gilder Field Artillery Battalion was activated on 15 April 1943 and assigned to the 17th Airborne at that time, under the command of Lt. Col. Paul F. Oswald. After completing basic training, specialist training, and a variety of training maneuvers, the unit left with the Division for England on 20 August, 1944.
When the 680th arrived in England, the battalion was sent to Camp Chisledon, the 17th Airborne Division staging area, on 28 August, 1944. Flight and tactical training continued and night maneuvers were added to the training schedule. They remained in England until leaving for France in late December.
As part of the Division, the 680th engaged in the Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe Campaigns. The Battalion saw its first enemy contact on
4 January 1945 in Sibret, Belgium. Over the course of the Battle of the Bulge, the 680th provided support for some of the other units in the Division – the 193rd GIR, 466th PFAB, 507th PIR, and 513th PIR. The battalion’s mission during Operation Varsity was to land by glider and set up in the center of the division area to provide general support to the entire division and direct support to the 513th PIR and 139th AEB.
Throughout early April, the 680th provided general support for the division and direct support for the 513th PIR and 194th PIR. Organized resistance in the Ruhr pocket ended on 17 April and the 680th was moved to the vicinity of Coesfeld, Germany to continue supporting the division in its military government duties. The division came under the XXII Corps on 24 April. It continued its occupation duties until 15 June, 1945 when it returned to France for redeployment. Many troopers were then transferred to the 82nd and 101st Airborne for occupation duty in Berlin and Austria. Others joined the 13th Airborne Division, which returned to the US to be readied for the Pacific. The remainder of the division was deactivated on 15 September 1945 at Camp Miles Standish, Massachusetts.