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This book is the first of three to examine the genesis, organization and operational deployment of the US airborne divisions in World War II. It discusses early airborne units, detailing how and why they were formed. Task organization for combat, details of attached units, tactics, and weapons and equipment are examined, together with command relationships. The units discussed in this book include the 82d Airborne Division, 1st Special Service Force, 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team and 1st Airborne Task Force, and the operations in North Africa, Sicily, the Italian mainland, and in southern France are covered.