681st 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 681st Glider Field Artillery Battalion was also activated on 15 April and assigned to the 17th Airborne at that time. 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 681st 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 681st engaged in the Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe Campaigns. On 27 December, the 681st arrived at Camp Mourmelon. Their mission was to support the 507th PIR in defense of the Meuse River. On 3 Jan 1945 the battalion began the transfer to Belgium. In Belgium the mission changed to providing reinforcing fire for the 492nd Field Artillery Battalion.
As the fighting slowed down in the Ardennes, the battalion moved to Luxembourg to provide support for the defense of the Our River. Throughout February the battalion oversaw cleaning and military preparation in Holtzheim, Belgium.
In March, the unit engaged in Operation Varsity, providing direct artillery support of the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment. Despite initial challenges to land gliders in the specified landing zones, the 681st successfully provided support for the 194th. On 2 April the battalion left Humberg to new positions near Nienberge, Germany. Although the Germans in the area surrendered the next day, some pockets of enemy resistance held out.
Moving through Germany in April, the 681st continued to support the 194th. The Battalion assisted with security patrols and administration of DP/refugee camps. 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 and 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.