The 13th Airborne Division was an airborne formation in the United States Army during World War II, and was commanded by Major General Eldridge Chapman.
It was officially activated in August 1943 at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, remaining active until February 1946, but never saw combat. After activation the division remained in the United States to complete its training. This training was completed by September 1944, but had to be extended by a further four months when the division provided reinforcements for the 82nd Airborne Division and 101st Airborne Division. The division also encountered delays in mounting large-scale training exercises due to a lack of transport aircraft in the United States. This shortage was caused by the 82nd Airborne Division and 101st Airborne Division taking priority over the 13th in terms of equipment due to the two divisions serving in combat in Europe.
As a consequence of these delays the division was only fully trained and combat-ready by January 1945, and was transferred to France and the European Theater of Operations in February.
When the division arrived in France, it came under the command of the First Allied Airborne Army, which controlled all Allied airborne formations. The division was selected to participate in Operation Varsity, the airborne operation to support the 21st Army Group crossing the River Rhine, but was removed from the operation due to there being insufficient transport aircraft to carry the division into combat.
Several other operations were planned for the division after the end of Operation Varsity, but these operations were cancelled when their objectives were captured by the rapid advance of Allied ground forces and they became superfluous.
After the end of the conflict in Europe, the division was shipped to the United States to stage there before it was to participate in the planned invasion of Japan, but the conflict in the Far East ended before it was required and it remained in the United States. The division was finally inactivated on 26 February 1946 and its combat personnel were transferred to the command of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Arendsdaalder 8, 8253 BT, Dronten, Netherlands