Never a Dull Moment

A History of the 80th Airborne Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion in World War Two

Arthur 'Ben' Powers

A history of the 80th AAA Battalion World War II service - in Italy, and from Normandy through to Germany.
Publication date:
June 2023
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Illustration :
30 photos
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781636240060

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
Available for pre-order


• The 80th AAA was a relatively little-known, but essential, unit of 82nd Airborne during WWII
• Includes first-hand accounts from veterans
• AAA troops fought alongside parachute and glider infantry in the midst of battle, providing direct fire and anti-tank support
• Offers an in-depth discussion of anti-tank doctrine and employment in airborne warfare and the challenges of building effective combat relationships with supported units
• Full account of the doctrine, organization, training and combat employment of an airborne AAA battalion

Most modern books and films glamorize World War II airborne soldiers as troopers leaping into the night to descend by parachute into combat. Much less often considered is the role of glider forces. Glider troops lacked the panache and special distinctions of paratroopers, despite their critical role in airborne warfare. Likewise, World War II ground combat is characterized as a combined arms fight of infantry and armor, backed up with field artillery; by comparison the role played by specialized, supporting arms has received scant attention.

The 80th AAA Battalion was a glider outfit, providing anti-aircraft defense and anti-tank capability to the division's three infantry regiments as battlefield conditions dictated. Elements of the battalion fought in Italy, Normandy, Holland and the Battle of the Bulge, making combat glider assaults during both Operation Neptune and Operation Market Garden. The exploits of the men of the 80th tend to be obscured as commanders maneuvered the batteries wherever their special skills were needed on the battlefield, with no regiment to call a permanent home.

The 80th AAA battalion was a hybrid unit. While its members were considered Coast Artillery (the branch responsible for defending ground formations from air attack during WWII), they fought alongside parachute and glider infantry, most often providing direct fire, anti-armor support with 57mm/6 pounder cannons. While field artillery, both parachute and glider, established their gunlines some distance behind infantry units to provide indirect fire support, the men of the 80th fought face to face with the enemy, alongside their infantry brothers.