PIR Service Company?

PIR Service Company?

airborneboy
Registered User
Joined: 04 Jun 2017, 19:54

04 Jun 2017, 19:54 #1

Hello fellow collectors and passionates,I'm currently doing research on parachute units in WW2 and in many cases I came across  the term "Service companies". Not finding much info on these companies I wondered if some of you might have a couple of clues?I would believe that this company would provide support to the rest of the regiment like checking and packing the chutes, modifying uniforms for battle purpose (cf reinforced jump jackets and trousers prior to D-day) and so on... is that correct? I've never really come across this "Service Company" term and always thought that those "services" were provided by troopers from various other companies, but it does not seem correct? Also as a company of a PIR, I would expect them to make combat jumps, but would they be used as combat units once on the ground? Hence did they train as hard as the other companies? Anyhow, I have plenty of other questions so if you think you might have something please do not hesitate to Jump in (pun intended Image) that would be greatly appreciated Image

I have raised the question on another neighbor forum (Usmilitariaforum), other members showed interest, and I was hoping you'd let me share your knowledge/findings "overthere"? thanks in advance Kind regardsJEB

 
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Esterhazy Houzard
Registered User
Joined: 12 Dec 2007, 09:22

05 Jun 2017, 11:38 #2

Hello.
As far as I know, each Parachute Infantry Regiment had one Regimental Headquarter Company and one Regimental Service Company.
This Service Company basically had the supply section, the parachute maintenance platoon (the riggers taking care of parachutes maintenance) and the transportation platoon.
The personnel were part of the Service Company (on an administrative level let's say) but were actually dispatched in the three line Battalions (each battalions had one rigger section, one transportation section, etc. )
They were parachute trained, sure, and had the same training as others paratroopers (riggers had an extra training though). I know for exemple that the service personnel of the 509th Prcht Inf Bn were also used as regular infantrymen in Belgium and actually took part in combats...
I hope this helped a bit,
Cheers,
Christophe
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airborneboy
Registered User
Joined: 04 Jun 2017, 19:54

05 Jun 2017, 19:46 #3

Hi Christophe,

that is some great info for me, really appreciate your help, Thank you
Jumping back on what you said, even though there was a service company, it was actually divided amongst the battalions. In all theory, each battalion would then have its own assigned set of riggers, its set of cooks and so on? Was that formalized on paper or was it touch and go (sometime one rigger was assign to 1st battalion and the next to second...)

I agree with you, although being service company they were first of all combat Infantry trooper. There are pics of service company troopers with CIB!
On the other hand can I assume that generally speakingservice companies did not do combat jumps?

A fellow member on USmilitariaForum explained the case of a grouping he owns (from a a cook belonging to the 502nd's service company) and after careful research and testimonies it turns out that the vet didn't do any of the combat jumps always followed by truck.Would that be across all service companies or are there a few exceptions?

Sorry to bombard you with questions... I thank you in advance for your help, your first answer was really helpful!!

Kind regards

JEB
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Esterhazy Houzard
Registered User
Joined: 12 Dec 2007, 09:22

09 Jun 2017, 11:27 #4

Jeb,

Yes, the organization of the Service Company was formalized (through a specific Table of Organization). I believe in theory each Battalion had its own set of asigned riggers, cooks, etc...

As for Service Company men, I can't say for sure (as I believe it was probably different for each combat mission), but yes, they were supposed to be brought in with rear echelons. But again, the Service Company men of the 509th Prcht Inf Bn DID jump in Avellino, Italy with the rest of the Battalion, while they DID NOT jump in Southern France for exemple. So, I believe probably each mission had its own specificity.

Cheers,

Christophe.
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airborneboy
Registered User
Joined: 04 Jun 2017, 19:54

09 Jun 2017, 17:53 #5

Hi Chris,

again thank you very much for your help, it helped a lot and you definitely shed some light over dark spots for me!!!
Have a good day

Kind regards

JEB
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WWIIBuff
Registered User
Joined: 11 Dec 2007, 13:49

05 Jul 2017, 07:54 #6

Hi Jeb,
I know my reply is late, but I have a good friend who was in Service Company 506th PIR and was attached to 1st battalion.  He was Col. Turner's driver up until the time the Colonel was killed while standing in the turret of a tank in Normandy on June 7th.
I can tell you for sure that there were both jump trained, and non-jump trained Service Company personnel.  Also, not all of the jump trained personnel actually jumped into Normandy or Holland, some came in by boat in Normandy, or by truck in Holland.
Mt Friend Larry jumped in Normandy with the same stick that Captain Sobel was on (formerly Easy company, but then supply officer), as well as the battalion "pigeoneer" from service company.  However for the Market Garden operation, he went in on a glider with a jeep and trailer full of ammunition.
I hope this helps.
John
John Klein
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airborneboy
Registered User
Joined: 04 Jun 2017, 19:54

30 Jul 2017, 17:52 #7

WWIIBuff wrote: Hi Jeb,
I know my reply is late, but I have a good friend who was in Service Company 506th PIR and was attached to 1st battalion.  He was Col. Turner's driver up until the time the Colonel was killed while standing in the turret of a tank in Normandy on June 7th.
I can tell you for sure that there were both jump trained, and non-jump trained Service Company personnel.  Also, not all of the jump trained personnel actually jumped into Normandy or Holland, some came in by boat in Normandy, or by truck in Holland.
Mt Friend Larry jumped in Normandy with the same stick that Captain Sobel was on (formerly Easy company, but then supply officer), as well as the battalion "pigeoneer" from service company.  However for the Market Garden operation, he went in on a glider with a jeep and trailer full of ammunition.
I hope this helps.
John
John,

Thank you very much for chipping in, and excuse my late response (holiday, sunshine...)

You provided some great insight, thank you for sharing the info. Unbelievable that for Market Garden your vet went in by Glider. Do you know if they had notice or training just before the jump?

Cheers
JEB
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