This is the Battle Diary of the 474th AAA AW Bn (Sp). It is not official, not complete, and not 100% authentic. It is simply a recording of events as brought to the attention of one person involved, who couldn't be everywhere and record everything that should be in it. There were probably many things that would have been mentioned if they were more widely known. There were doubtless many acts of heroism that go unsung here. There were many critical moments in each individual's life. If your name hasn't been mentioned, it's because you kept it to yourself too well. However, it is hoped that those events that are recorded here will serve to bring back memories of 11 1/2 months that tested the Battalion under fire and found it to be "First in the First".
Left marshalling area for embarkation onto LST's and LCT's in the same way that we had done it on "Tiger" exersize. Btry's A and B drew LCT boats, while Btry's C. D, and HQ drew LST's. After loading the ships, we rested in the harbor off the shore at Dartmouth. At night we saw the issue of French franc notes to members of D Btry in the form of 5, 50, and 100 franc notes. Within 10 minutes, saw eight different games of chance in full swing among the EM.
More French money was issued to those not previously paid. Sums equalled value of $4.00 plus what was turned in at the marshalling area in the form of pound and 10 shilling notes. Value of 1 franc is 2 cents. First officers' game organized-black jack, not for the sake of gambling (perish the thought), but for the educational value, as a means of learning a new monetary system.
Ships moved about the harbor, apparently going nowhere in particular.
Sailed into the British Channel, Could see hundreds of LST's, LCT's, destroyers, mine sweepers, and other vessels. Plenty of air cover out of sight of land and headed in constantly changing directions. Boats were very rocky for landlubbers and rails were well lined with those who couldn't take it but who could dish it out. There was talk that this was not just another maneuver, but "The Real Thing".
Early morning bombardment of French shores by our bombers visible from our boats. Plenty of friendly airplanes overhead. No signs of enemy aircraft at all. Considerable shooting off stern of LST 47 (Hq and D) at about 2100, which was found out later to be due to a nearby destroyer dropping depth bomb charges 1/4 mile behind us. It was reported to us by one of the crew later on that we had sunk a German submarine. Close! We expected to reach our "transport area" early next morning.
Arrived at transport area, but found out that D-Day had been postponed 24 hours due to the roughness of the water, and that we would invade France on 6 June. Made preparations for debarking. We were still very impressed by our air support and by the number of ships accompanying us. Could again see our bombers over the French coast and tracer fire of AA guns. Ships went on "Alert" at midnight.
D DAY! 0130 breakfast for those who were hungry. Many kept right on sleeping. Many watched the French coastal bombardment by hundreds of bombers and the pyrotechnical display of the AA batteries. Dawn about 0500 and we could see the coastline south and west and many units of the Allied Navy standing between us and shore, Saw the Navy open up an incessant bombardment of the coast at 0540 and continue for a solid hour, then quiet down to reopen fire from time to time when directed from shore, Awaited impatiently for our turn to land at Le Banc de la Madelaine, on the east coast of the Cherbourg peninsula.
1st Platoon of B Btry reached shore first at 1115. First vehicle to land was M-16-B-5- "Broncho Buster" carrying 2nd Lt. Short, Sgt Wellborne, Cpl. Shoupe, T/5 Latour (driver), T/5 Scott, and Pvt. Haddock. Entire b'try landed without trouble.
2nd Platoon of A Btry was only a few minutes behind. Entire B'try landed intact. Lt. Col. Stricklen hitch-hiked in on a LCVP and touched shore at 1203.
Landings took place under mortar fire and shelling from German 88's.
The remainder of B'try's A and B arrived after noon and immediately took up positions in defense of the beach. No enemy attacks took place on the first day, however.
B'try's C, D, and Hq were stranded on LST's, unable to make the transfer to shallower draft boats because of the choppiness of the water. At 2100, however, the 2nd Platoon of B'try C reached shore. Part of D and Hq were transferred to LST's and headed for shore but were not permitted to land as the beach was closed to all incoming traffic. They remained offshore overnight and landed in the morning.
The remainder of C B'try and B'try's D and Hq landed and took up their positions on the beach in the afternoon and evening. Medical Detachment is not mentioned above as they were landed by infiltration among all the B'try's and have the honor of landing with the first and sweating out the LST's until the last.
While waiting to debark just after noon, we saw the return of about 500 German prisoners to LST 47. These were brought from the beach in 2 LCT's until the ship could first discharge its combat cargo. Seriously wounded were immediately transferred to the LST Hospital, however.
The first strafing attack took place at 1030 by 4 Folke-Wolfe 190's. One of the four was shot down by combined fire from A and B B'try's. In the afternoon, a group of 5 FW-190's came over, strafing the beach. We shot down 4 of them (and even received official credit for 2).
During the afternoon another batch of about 250 German prisoners marched by our Bn CP on the way to boats that were to take them to England.
C B'try lost the only vehicle to become a casualty in the landing. One of its M-16 half tracks came off its LCT in the water too deep to negotiate further and stalled. The beach tractor set out to pull it in, but had to quit because the water was over its depth. The tide was coming in rapidly and the crew was in danger of becoming totally immersed when rescued at last by a Duck. During the night some craft must have struck the track, as it was found the next morning, at low tide, to have sustained a badly bent turret.
Upon unloading the Hq Btry trucks, it was found that, somehow, an extra jeep and a 1/4 ton trailer were present in the impediments. Nobody knows how to account for it, least of all Lt. Peters, Hq Btry CO and MTO.
C Btry shot down 2 FW-190's at 2033 for its first blood.
A surprisingly quiet night for AAA. We had expected all-out bombardment of the beach by the Luftwaffe, but it didn't materialize. There were occasional light raids, however, enough to keep the men awake and alert. During the day there were a few isolated attacks by enemy aircraft. Spitfires dominated the skies. Thunderbolts were fairly frequent. Many flights of Maurauders were seen in groups of six.
The B'try's were moved to protect Beach Maintainance Areas. Bn CP moved inland to Houdienville.
Lt. Aikley. B'try D is sporting a German machine pistol.
1st Platoon of A B'try was assigned to the 101 Airborne Division operating in the the vicinity of Hiesville. C B'try took up protection of an ammo dump near Audouville la Hubert.
Very little activity due to rainy weather and low ceiling during dry spells. However, we were strafed by a P-51 whose pilot broke through the low ceiling and mistook us for the enemy. The plane was brought down by a Btry C. Pilot bailed out and landed uninjured.
Our first casualty was Lt. Ferdon with a 30 cal. rifle bullet in his right arm and forearm. He was evacuated to England.
Lt. Mitchell reported that one of his tracks, A7, had fired on German paratroopers that were observed to take off from 2 German planes. About 200 rounds of 50 calaber were fired. Results not obtainable.
D Btry chalked up its first today by bringing down a JU-88. All b'trys have now brought down live targets.
Capt. Graff, our enterprising communications officer, accumulated a French commercial radio and has been messing around most of his spare time trying to make it work. By nightfall we were able to tune in to BBC.
Cpl. Hart's track (B'try A) was struck by shellfire today. T/5 Ballew and Pvt. Powers were wounded, not seriously, but seriously enough to to require a trip back across the channel. Cpl. Hart and PFC. Seamster were slightly wounded and returned to duty.
Pvt. Stahl, of Hq, was struck by a 30 cal. bullet during a strafing attack. Just a flesh wound and he also returned to duty after treatment.
1st Platoon A now defending pontoon bridge E. of Carenton.
B B'try defending bridges N. of Carenton
D B'try defending airfield near Ste. Mere Eglise.
Discovery was made of abandoned gliders fromwhich we were abvle to salvage some good battery operated lights, plexiglass for mapboards, and other useful electrical parts, and some flak suits.
Lt. Mitchell is now in possession of a Geman Mauser Rifle with about 300 rounds of ammo - slightly larger than our 30 cal. His Platoon has been relieved from support of the 1012 Airborne Div. and is now protectiong bridges near Carendon.
STOP PRESS. Lt. Col. Stricklen finally gave up attempt to grow moustache.
This event is inserted here for the record; for details see events of 17JUN.
Enemy air activity has been negligible during the day, but they come out about midnight and thereafter, in the dark, to drop anti-personnel bombs and to disturb our sleep. These are engaged by 90's in the vicinity-also some 40's open up. Each morning after we notice increased activity around the slit trenches, the men add another foot for protection for the coming night.
Bn CP moved to Vierville, about 4-5 miles inland.
A Btry is protecting bridges at Carentin.
B " " " " N.of ".
C " " ' airfield ar St. Mere Eglise.
D " " " " " " .
Reconnaissance for Bn CP was conducted by Maj. Denby, Capt. Banks, and T/Sgt. Cooney. During the search they came across some of our paratroopers who appeared more festive than the occasion would ordinarily merit, and, lo and behold if they didn't bump into some cognac, vintage 1910. After an adequate dose, they completed their mission successfully. Bn CP is located in a cow pasture. The cows turned out to be real and we had the farmer move them out rather reluctantly.
Pvt. Gagne speaks French fluently, and was able to get some fresh milk in exchange for some cigarettes. Capt. Small pasteurized the milk and said it was safe.
It rained all morning. There was practically no enemy air activity.
Bn has been relieved from assignment to VII Corps, and is now attached to the 21 Army Group, I Army.
Quiet day after a rather quiet night. Fresh butter has been captured from the Germans and a goodly share distributed to all B'trys. Bn has claimed 11 enemy planes to date and has been given official credit for 7, as follows-1 1/2 each to A and B, 2 each to C and D. These are only counting planes seen to crash or explode in the air. Targets are quite rare, and the men are anxiously looking forward to a real air attack by the enemy.
15JUN44 The day was marked by the arrival of a trickle of mail, the first to reach us in two weeks. Very little came through but it was welcomed as a promise for the future. There also arrived the first edition of "The Stars and Stripes", dated 12 and 13 June. The 12 June number was marked "Liberation Edition" and gave a day by day summary of how the invasion looked to our pals in England up to 12 June when the regular news dispatches took over. We enjoyed the news from the outside world. We all wanted to see how we were doing. Somehow it looks more official in print.
The mail really came through today, 5 sacks of 1st class stuff for the Bn and it looks like everyone hit.
Lt. Peters drove in to Bn Hq about noon with a delapidated looking German 3/4 ton truck in tow of "My Dusty Rusty", his trusty jeep. It's a French made Citroen, a 4 cylinder job. Has an air horn that goes "peep-peep" in a tone that is about 2 octaves higher than middle C, like the Oldsmobile 1903 model. A few holes here and there, with water leaking from the cylinder block cooling system. It was put in to running condition in a few hours, however. Received a fast paint job of GI OD and the USA star in white on strategic locations.
Btry A took up defense of a new air strip at Carenton.
Btry B remained in defense of bridges N. of Carenton
Btry C took up defense of "Roger White" beach and beach exits at St. Martin de Varreville and Les Dunes de Varreville.
Btry D took up defense of an airfield N. of Azeville (S. of Montebourg). This location will probably be best remembered by the discovery of Le Chateau de Fontenay next to which Capt. Peterson elected to establish his CP. And why not? For inside the chateau was discovered 6 huge casks of hard cider and some bottled spirits. Capt. Pete's men spent most of the first day salvaging abandoned German equipment, for it was evident that Jerry had left in a great hurry not too long past. A few pieces of genuine civilian furniture soon adorned the CP (real wood chairs).
A big day for Capt. Pete. He now rides around in an abandoned German command car-a 4 cylinder sedan.
Capt. Small, ever on the alert for signs and symptoms of disease or injury, became suddenly acutely aware of a strange nakedness in the appearance of Lt. Col. Stricklen. Closer inspection revealed that the colonel's upper lip was shaven, that's all, and thus was the Medical Department relieved that it was nothing that might have become serious. It is alleged that on or about the 12 of May our CO decided to raise himself a moustache and that on or about the 12 of June succumbed to the inevitable and gave it up entirely. We don't believe it took many strokes of the razor to wipe out all semblance of disillusionment. Many of his most loyal officers even deny that he ever made an attempt to establish a growth. Many, of course, could not possibly have observed that a shadow was there.
Nothing else of consequence to report for today. Isn't that enough?
We have been noticing a slightly sour and alcoholic odor on the breaths of visitors from D Btry and a concurrent increase in the frequency of staff inspections of D Btry installations. Capt. Bettonville. goes so far as to hitch a ride in a conscientiously earnest endeavor to insure that the sanitary aspect of that Battery remains at a high level. Any reference to the 6 huge casks of cider located at the Chateau de Fontenay is purely coincidental. Major Nininger returned from thence today with one plush covered armchair, one ordinary armchair to match, and one all wood chair of authentic Provincial French construction, complete with reed seat.
Btry A has the prize CP to come to our attention from the point of view of safety. The Germans left a huge dugout, room size, with walls lined by heavy tree trunks. Lt. Brothwell feels quite bombproof here.
A word of sympathy is in order here for Lt. Bailey, liason officer to 11 Group. He has to get back and forth with great regularity and with no transportation ever available. Jeeps are still at a premium.
Visit from Lt. Stiles, B Btry, who reports that practically every member of his B'try has accumulated paratrooper boots, German Mauser rifles, and German helmets. B'try A moved today to defend a new airstrip close to the front lines near Pont l'Abbe on one map, or Etienville on another. Strip consists so far of 10 men and 2 bulldozers. Location is E. of St. Sauveur le Compte, N. of Douve River.
Visit from Big Six today, more formally known as Brig. Gen. Timberlake, of the 49th Brigade, with retinue consisting of Col. Newton of the 11th Group, and Col. Goodrich from Etousa. The occasion was the awarding of the Purple Heart to the following men, all wounded on the 9th of June in action against the enemy.
Cpl. Stanley E. Hart, B'try A
Pfc. Lenzy Seamster, B'try A
Pvt. William Stahl, B'try Hq
The General gave quite an inspiring talk and it was an impressive ceremony. Lt. Col. Stricklen took several snapshots.
D B'try moved to the vicinity of Renville, about 2 miles E. of St. Mere Eglise, to protect a Class III dump.
Bn CP has acquired an armchair with plush seat and back rest. Also two authentic specimens of French Provincial chairs, complete with reed seats.
Shrapnel cut the tarp of Track C11 during the night. Nobody was hurt.
2nd Lt. Kinzie has a foxhole with 8 feet of concrete in all directions except below, built by Germans in pre- invasion days.
There was a first class bull session today, reviewing some of the events of D-Day and the days after. Among the highlights not previously mentioned are the following choice bits:
Lt. Brothwell was nominated as the champion shell dodger from the German 88's dropping around here and there.
Capt. Potter spent considerable time looking for German equipment as relics of the momentous day.
Major Nininger was established as the first Staff Officer to land on D-Day, beating Lt. Col. Stricklen by about 20 minutes. In accordance with the previously agreed upon plan, he was, therefore Bn CO for 20 minutes.
It was also agreed that Major Nininger dug the record slit trench on D-Day-the fastest and deepest. In spite of this, it was the good major who found some shrapnel in his slit trench after some 88 shelling.
Another highlight of the day was the personally conducted tour of inspection Lt. Stiles took our CO on, stopping at many a dead Geerman on the road and speiling off a story about each.
It was also recalled that on D-Day + 1, Capt. Burke was riding a jeep at the time of the first strafing attack. His reaction was prompt, if not graceful, as he dived out of the jeep into the road and lay right there in the middle of the roadway, in 3" of dust, until the planes pased by.
On that same day, Col. Newton gave vent to the first bit of profanity he has uttered since he knew better. It happened while watching our boys shoot up the attacking Folke-Wolfe's. Said he, "Look at those bastards shoot!". We really gave him a show that day.
Also recalled were the desperate antics of Capt. Herlihy on the day some friendly planes committed some very unfriendly acts by diving down at us as though to strafe. Capt. Hurley recognized them as friendly and tried to get to each and every one of his tracks in the 10 seconds the planes were overhead to keep them from shooting. He didn't quite make it.
It was on the next day that Capt. Hurley was questioned critically by Group for failure of his men to fire on a plane which everyone else on the beach was shooting at. However, his section chief had given the signal to hold fire as the plane was recognized as a Typhoon. It was learned the next day that some outfit had shot down a Typhoon during this action.
Another event of D + 3 was the bathtub rigged up by Mr. Torrence and Major Denby, made by spreading an M16 rubber half track cover into a slit trench. Mr. Torence was the first to use it, then Sgt. Cahill, performing their ablutions 'neath the shade of an apple tree in 5 gallons of cold water each.
Capt. Peterson reports the loss of his "Command car" to the MP's Oh, well, it was fun while it lasted.
Today marked the acquirement of a monstrosity that looks like a circus trailer, brought into the Bn pasture at great peril to all passing traffic. It was apparently used as living quarters and offices by the Germans. and is intended for an ofice for the Personnel section. It will probably require our 10 ton wrecker to move it from place to place.
We viewed the flight of 300 to 500 Allied bombers (various estimates) on their way to Cherbourg to soften it up for an assault. A total of 1000 planes took part in the bombardment.
Pvt. Penland, of BSO section, brought in an abandoned motor bike, lacking a front tire and needing mechanical rebuilding.
Half the BSO section plus recruits from MTO section and elsewhere were trying to make it go. Success was reported at 2120 hours.
Lt. Perry, of B'try A visited and reported shelling of his position last night, and sniping.His men are on the lookout, and bode no cheer for any Jerry they see from now on. There were no casualties from the action, however.
Lt. Peters picked up a command car today, of the genuine US Army type, while visiting an Ordnance Depot. It wouldn't run and Ordnance offered it to our MTO, who jumped at the opportunity. He had it in working order by nightfall, and is looking forward to to a reallocation of automotive vehicles,-the command car to the CO, and MY RUSTY DUSTY, his trusty jeep, back to papa. Says he, "Whoever heard of an MTO without a jeep?".
A and B B'trys report shelling of their positions. No casualties.
Today marks the three man invasion of Cherbourg by Lt. Col. Stricklen, Capt. Banks, with T/Sgt. Cooney in reserve. It so happened they were up north looking for respective positions for our next move, and curiousity got the better of discretion. Atop a hill, they peered into the distance looking for Germans, They didn't see any, but the Germans saw them as they silhouetted themselves beautifully against the skyline and drew about 30 rounds of 88 shellfire. Were their faces red! Were their clothes dusty!
After supper, the whole battalion moved toward Cherbourg, attached to 207 Gr.
Rough night! Our movements to positions southwest of Cherbourg were interrupted by finding the Germans in our selected positions. All the BC's in their own reconnaissances immediately preceding their batteries were fired on by small arms, machine guns, and even 20 mm. guns. Capt Peterson and D Battery kept right on to their location in spite of the shooting, but the rest of the battalion bivouaced for the night., then moved into secondary positions at the break of dawn.
In the meantime, the assault on Cherbourg was taking place, and we found ourselves participating. A platoon of infantry was encountering severe opposition in D Battery's area, and asked 2nd Lieut. Anderson for help to neutralize a gun position. Lt. Anderson took some M35's to the vicinity of the enemy position, and threw a lot of37 mm. and 50 cal. at them, after which the infantry took over without further opposition.
C battery captured 3 enemy snipers along the route of the battalion convoy.
Bn is located 3 1/2 miles SSW of Cherbourg.
A Battery is at Equeurdreville, 1/2 mile W. of Cherbourg.
B Battery is 1 mile SW of Cherbourg.
C Battery is 3 miles SW of Cherbourg.
D Battery is 1/2 mile S of Cherbourg.
In the afternoon, Bn Hq had a visit from Major Jack of 1st Army who presented us with a bottle of 3 star Hennessy captured from the Germans. It was just what the staff needed on a raw, damp. drizzly day. It was just what CWO Torrence needed, for discovery had been made of a dead German directly across the street from the Bn CP, and the CO had decided that it was up to S4 to dispose of him.
Mr. Torrence took a long fortifying drink of the cognac and went to summon his aides. A stretcher was borrowed from Medics.
First, he tied a wire to one arm of the corpse, and from the other end, at a safe distance, gave a mighty tug. No explosion or booby trap! The body was then lifted by the honorary pall bearers and placed on the stretcher. A brass identification tag was found, the only clue as to who the enemy soldier had been. It appeared this would be just an ordinary funeral party.
At this time 3 Frenchmen arrived on the scene, with shovels, asking questions in French. Something about a "vache" with gestures that were intended to imitate the act of milking (we later found out). At the moment, however, the actions looked indecent and so we called on Pvt. Gagne, our French interpreter, who informed us that their cow had been killed and they wanted permission to bury it. We gave them the OK and they brought out some cider to celebrate the occasion. We all partook after watching him drink some.
Mr. Torrence came over to find out what was going on, and, seeing the cider, sampled a sample. Good enough, but how about some cognac? After all, in France, one does as the French do, and if it is customary to to drink to departed cows or "vache", it would be only appropriate to drink cognac to departed Germans or "boche". One of the Frenchmen disappeared and soon came back with a quart bottle of cognac. His very last, he said, 20 francs a shot! He brought out some 1/2 oz. glasses!
We all had a drink or two, but weren't doing any burying. Mr Torrence is said to have spent 1000 francs before the bottle was emptied and he realized he had some unfinished business to attend to. He was in unquestionable good humor, but with with occasional flashes of hate toward the Germans, living or dead. He was going to piss on the grave of this corpse. He was going to bury the 20 franc a shot Frenchman too!
Then the body was placed in its grave. The hole was quickly filled and Mr. Torrence called for "Hats off". He grew quickly serious, delivered a beautiful, short, spontaneous prayer for the dead, and the services were over.
The fall of Cherbourg was reported Last night, but there are plenty of enemy still around. Lt. Mitchell reported the capture of a whorehouse in Cherbourg, but close questioning revealed that that the Infantry effected the coup.We are certain, nevertheless, that had the good lieutenant gotten there first the ladies would have offered no resistance.
The batteries are moving up to protect the West and Southwest of Cherbourg. Civilians are walking, bicycling, and driving horse and wagon toward Cherbourg all day.
Bn Hq moved to Octeville, a suburb adjoining Cherbourg on the SW side.
Lt. Schoerman of B Btry reports that track B7, with Sgt. Herald in charge, captured 3 Germans. We also learned that, yesterday, C B'try captured and evacuated 2 seriously injured Germans from a captured pill box at about 1200 and that at about 1400 S/Sgt. Rice and Sgt. Hall captured a German hiding in the hedges near Sgt. Rice's gun position.
The residue is expected to arrive tomorrow.
Big event of the day was the capture of 125 Germans by T/5 Haviland and PFC King of A Btry 2nd Platoon track "American Lil". Included in the group were 2 majors, 1 captain, and 2 lieutenants.
It all started when T/5 Bolles and PFC Goodwin, 1st Ptn. Track A1 were fired on by the Germans at about 0300. They returned the fire with rifles, Tommy guns, and grenades, then fired the 37 mm. and 50's at the enemy. This morning at dawn, 3 wounded Germans were captured at the scene of the action, one of whom was a Major whose back was badly shattered by a grenade.
Later, a couple of Germans came over to say they were ready to surrender. T/5 Havilland and PFC King went over to pick up what they thought might be 3 or 4 men, but found that a whole garrison was surrendering, so they marched the group of 125 Germans to the 2nd Ptn. Hq. and turned them over to Lt. Perry who gasped twice, then phoned for the MP's.
Sgt. Stephens, the communications sergeant then went over to the fort from whence they had come, routed out the remaining 3 Germans, and took possession of Fort Querqueville for the USA.
Upon questioning the prisoners, it was learned that a raiding party of 25 men had set out to do some demolishing in Cherbourg, but had run into T/5 Havilland and PFC E. King who broke up the party and forced them to return by their huge amount of deadly fire.
D B'try today also encountered a number of Germans and fired at them from a track, spraying the area with 50 cal. machine gun fire. The Germans fled.
The residue did not arrive today, but is expected to come in tomorrow.
Visit from Lt. Stiles of B B'try who reports having made a reconnaissance of Cherbourg and obtaining the vital information that the pubs are open from 2-4 and 7-9 PM. This is important because all the B'try's are in their final positions in and just outside S and W Cherbourg. Bn Hq moved to some barracks in the western edge of the harbor. These barracks had served for a German garrison and a labor battalion of Russian prisoners of war.
Bn was assigned to 108 Group today.
PFC Tomko, on guard, sighted 3 Germans at 0300 and yelled for them to halt. (Gun position C13). They started to run, and PFC Tomko fired. The first bullet went into the forehead and killed one of them. The other 2 fled but left two distinct trails of blood, while the dead man still grasped a machine pistol in his hand. It is recalled that, on the firing range, Sgt. Tomko never qualified with the rifle. In fact, his best score was 84.
S/Sgt. Hunt, of B B'try, was delivering C and P to the gun sections yesterday and got picked up as a PW by some American MP's when he refused to name his unit in accordance with security instructions from Capt.Potter. He stuck it out for 8 hours, unfed, until the Provost Marshall happened to see him, and was able to tell apart a good American sergeant from an enemy, and dismissed him.
Track C4, Cpl. Hutchinson in charge, was honored today by an inspection visit from General Jackson of 1st Army Group (AA Officer). He said it was the best position in the battalion and that we were the best battalion on the beach, and that our good shooting during the first few days at the beachhead was probably the reason why more planes hadn't come over since.
Major Denby has been looking for the residue at the beaches now for several days. He has it on good authority now that it will arrive tomorrow.
Big doings last night at B'try A area.
"Halt!", cried Col. Fletcher (or maybe it was one of his crew). "Halt! you son of a bitch!"-"Halt!" Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.
Came the dawn and inspection revealed one dead cow.
Otherwise a quiet day, except that Sgt. Major Allen had just one drink of cognac too many and is alleged to have run amock in Cherbourg and to have shot up the town last night. No casualties were reported. There is insufficient evidence to substantiate the story either.
A reliable source gives us the information that the residue will be in tomorrow.
C B'try captured 2 more Germans at 2100.
We have been reattached to the 11 Group as of 0001.
We are being relieved of the defense of Cherbourg by the 387 AAA AW Bn (SP). They have just arrived from England and we poured the advice on good and thick, like seasoned veterans. They report that our reputation has crossed the Channel as far as Southern England, where they heard of the half track outfit who spoiled a strafing attack on the beach on D plus 1 by 4 F-W's, and brought down 3. We modestly identified ourselves as that AAA outfit, just for the record.
We have it from high authority that the residue will arrive tomorrow.
Whole battalion left the Cherbourg area, returning to the defense of the beach.
A B'try is guarding a Class III depot near Le Grand Chemin.
B B'try is guarding an air strip near Cretteville, 1/2 miles from the front line.
C B'try is guarding beach exits near Veaugoubert.
D B'try is guarding a Class V depot at Audoville la Hubert.
Hq and Hq B'try are located at La Houssaye.
On the convoy to their new positions, Cpl. Burger, of B'try C, delighted the populace of Monteburg by tipping a black fedora hat he had acquired and bowing acceptance to their cheers. Major Nininger violently disapproved when he saw the act.
We have word today from an unimpeachable source that the residue will come in tomorrow without fail.
Quiet day in new positions.
PFC Sneed, of B'try A expressed profound amazement today at how well educated the little children are here in France. "Six year old kids, and they speak French already!"
Major Denby has made his daily visit to the beachmaster and has official word that the residue will arrive tomorrow.
2nd Lt. Lilly is a guest of Hq., having moved in today from D B'try with all of his clothing and equipment.
Lt. Howard of B'try A drove his jeep to his B'try CP and was just getting within the safety of his own sentry guard when a lieutenant from the 79th Inf. and an MP shouted for him to stop, which he did.Said the Lt. , "That's my trailer in back of your jeep!". Lt. Howard got out to look it over carefully and expressed himself as follows, "Damn it, I made a special trip to the beach and picked up the wrong trailer!"
T/5 Noel J. Allen, Jr. , medic attyached to D B'try, was given special leave of absence to take a 3 day trip to England to visit his brother, WOJC Allen, a paratroopoer who was badly wounded on D plus one at the beachhead. General Timberlake OK'd the leave, and Lt. Col. Stricklen arranged for an airflight from a nearby airstrip. Allen took off in a C-47 at about 1400.
This is Independence Day, and at night we saw many flares shot up into the sky, These were of various colors and seemed to come from the Channel.
A B'try dodged gunfire a good part of the day.
The residue will be in tomorrow.
B B'try has moved to the bridges around Carenton. This recalls the day B B'try was relieved here when it moved to Cherbourg. Lt. Horton was making reaady to leave and the Germans started to shell near his position. He advised his successor to move to an alternate position because he knew from previous experience that the shells would be landing close before long. The newcomers scoffed at the idea, told him he was no longer in command here, and decided to stay. Lt. Horton proceeded to his new position, but about 15 minutes after he had left, a shell landed and knocked out the track he had suggested moving. Too bad that the good advice was wasted.
The residue finally arrived and ended Major Denby's long vigil. They had been on a liberty boat for 4 days but hadn't set sail until yesterday. The actual trip was a fast one, about 18 hours. About 30 hours out of Plymouth, 2 subs were sighted a mile behind their ship. 3 US Destroyers closed in on them tossing many depth charges as they came and our own men report seeing the oil slicks and turbulent waters indicating that both subs were sunk.
The ship stood off the shore of Utah Beach last night, and since it was the fourth of July, the men fired flares into the air to celebrate, as did most of the other ships in the convoy. Some overexhuberant dervicemen even fired on the barrage balloons and brought down a couple.
Chief interest of the newcomers was for mail, having seen none for over a month. Next was the running down of rumors that had many of them killed or wounded. Third was the summary of the deeds of the streamlined battalion.
Our first church services since landing were held today at Bn Hq and at the B'try CP's.
C B'try moved to defend an air strip in the vicinity of Brucherville.
The arrival of the residue was completed today. Some had to remain on the liberty ship overnight awaiting their turn of ICT service.
The men are smacking their lips in anticipation of B rations which are due tomorrow now that the cooks and kitchens have caught up.
There is much scouting here and there for lost trailers. Some of ours were still missing at midnight, but, on the other hand, there seems to be an air of optimism all about that matters will even themselves out. Nobody is really worried.
Medics have a mascot, a black and tan Manchester terrier named "Shorty".
Mr. Hangan took his life in his hands to find out the matter of pay. Transportation has furnished him, in the shape of one rear seat, a rebuilt (many times) motorcycle first driven by Lt. Bailey a short distance, then by Pvt. Penland, its chief custodian and tinkerer. They had 2 flats, ran out of gas once, and as a result of one of the more vicious bounces, Mr. Hangan's rifle fell off and banged up a rear sight. More than half the trip was spent in midair as a result of the rough roads. However, the mission was accomplished, and CWO Hangan now has the information to get us paid on the first.
Major Nininger visited D B'try today (before noon) and found one gun position commanding a field of fire with a most excellent unobstructed view of 8 geese and a gander. "My oh my", he thought aloud to himself. "What I couldn't do to a goose".
You might have thought that an angel from heaven had been standing there beside him, or that wishes were transferrable into actions. Anyway, at about 1600, in walks a member of D B'try with a goose, a present for the major.
Consultation with S/Sgt. Sirino, the Hq mess Sgt. indicated that there will be only just enough for the S3 Dept. The execution hour has been set tentatively. Meanwhile, the goose is tied securely by its left hind leg with a cord 50 feet long.
D B'try has again captured a German car, this time a Ford "38-60 HP sedan" which Capt. Peterson drove to Bn Hq and presented to the Medical Dept. for use as an ambulance. It is hoped that a few red crosses painted on it will deter the MP's from confiscating it as they have other vehicles.
Today marks the meeting of the Board of Strategy at the CP and the mapping out of the future conduct of the war. The Board consisted of Major Denby, chairman, Capt. Bettonville, Lt. Perry, Lt. Lindquist, 1st Sgt. Morse, and your reporter. Major Denby is for a 20 mile front, spearhead right to Paris. Lt. Perry would like the rear secured by taking Brest first. LT. Lundquist wants the war to end by the end of July. 1st. Sgt. Morse would like a triple squeeze play. Capt. Bettonville sniffed at all of this and reserved comment. In view of the far reaching effects of the decision arrived at here, it is considered wisest, for the sake of security, not to reveal the final plans.
Much stencil paper has become available since an alert member of D Btry retrieved a package that had dropped off a truck. It seems that the truck was haltrd by an MP and as it jerked to a sudden stop, the parcel fell off. Then the truck proceeded on its way without picking up the fallen parcel, and by the time our man got there it was impossible to overtake the truck. (That's his story anyway).
Major Nininger has reprieved the goose until tomorrow.
Moving day for Bn Hq again today which moved to a town just a little north of of Pont l'Abbe.
It seems that Capt. Herlihy went over to A B'try, and, when he came to the sentry, was told to halt which he did. The sentry is one of our most recent additions and didn't recognize the Capt. who was wearing a raincoat without insignia.
"What's the password?", asked the guard.
It just so happened that Capt. Herlihy couldn't think of it and had to make that admission.
"Yeah?", said the sentry. "Well get your ass over to the CP, soldier!" and ushered in the Captain at the point of his gun, where Lt. Brothwell recognized him as friendly.
Capt. Peterson's Ford Sedan is now a 1st Class Ambulance, thanks to the Maintenance Dept., who have painted red crosses all over it, have removed the rear seat and luggage compartment, and made alterations to accomodate 2 stretchers on the floor and another across the rear window. It will afford a much smoother ride to patients than would the half track.
We still have a goose attached to Bn Hq.
5 snipers have been reported in Bn Hq area, 4 of whom were captured before morning, and 1 still at large.
Capt. Graff reports that the Germans are using the same wave length as we are on our 506's and that each can overhear the other, but of course both are using code. They are using good radio discipline-waiting for one to finish his transmission before the other starts to transmit. Neither side want to start jamming for fear of reprisal that will prevent their own sendings.
The goose has been named "Oswald" and runs around without restraint. He has passed through the critical days of his life and is now the S-3 mascot, in fact all of Hq and B'try Hq mascot. Oswald follows the men around like a pet. S/Sgt. Cirino is paying most attention to her, guiding her with a stick like a shepherd.
Research indicated that the honors for the first setting foot on Utah Beach go to the following O's and EM who landed at H plus 60 minutes on D-Day as the reconnaissance party for the Bn: Capt. Potter, S/Sgt. Wm. Brown, and S/Sgt. Wm. Delafield of B'try B; Lt. Brothwell, S/Sgt. Finkenbinder, and S/Sgt. Raymond Fisher of B'try A.
It was recalled today how PFC Carl T. Vaughn, the Hq Btry messenger driving HELLZAPOPPIN, had to be restrained by the MP's in Cherbourg from proceeding on dangerous missions of message delivery because of street fighting there. For once he was able to talk the MP's out of something and was allowed to proceed and accomplish his mission. All this happened on June 26th but didn't come to light until today because of so many other notable occurrences on that day and because Vaughn didn't talk.
Another event on D plus 1 came to light also. Çapt. Herlihy and S/Sgt. Noble D. Cochran were riding in a jeep when the enemy started strafing. Both occupants of the jeep promptly hit the ditches alongside the road while the jeep continued forward unmanned, but halted at a nearby tree.
The ammo dump that B'try D was protecting against air attack caught fire this afternoon causing B'try D to move several of its tracks out of danger. T/5 Allen, the attached Medic, was seen running from the scene of the explosions and hasn't been located up to midnight.
Lt. Peters rigged up some showers today, with warm running water. This was done by by using the immersion gasoline water heater in a GI can full of water, and a water cooler pump with hoses for circulation, and finally a regular shower head. A latrine screen enclosed the shower for the sake of modesty. A shallow trench drained off the waste water.
The first 20 men to use the shower required only 25 gallons of water. It worked best in pairs, one turning the pump by hand crank while the other washed, and vice versa. Good thing there was an open sewage arrangement, for plumbing would have stopped us.
The goose is still the Bn. pet. She hasn't laid an egg yet and we're beginning to wonder if she is a gander. Perhaps she's just taking her name of Oswald seriously.
Lt. Lilly was sent to18 Group on Detached Service.
D and Hq moved to Carenton to protect roads and bridges there. The entire Bn is closer together than at any time since arrival in France, except possibly when we were all together in Cherbourg.
A hot tip came to us during the BC call at 2000, that we were going to be attached to the XIX Armored Corps. Col. Newton gave us a farewell address and said he was sorry to lose the Bn from the 11th Group. Lt. Col. Stricklen will go over over to the XIX Corp Hq tomorrow to find out our new mission.
We awoke this morning to find out that we were in the VII Corps, 109 Group and had as our next mission the protection of the main road from Carenton to St. Lo. We've hardly become comfortable since our last move, and today we are turning over our positions to another AW Bn.
All the B'try's moved out this afternoon to make a 2000 deadline, and arranged themselves in fields protecting the road the greater part of the way to St. Lo.
S/Sgt. Cirino now has another pet-a tiny white, black, and orange kitten that strayed in while we were encamped at Carenton. Oswald still struts around as if he (she?) owns the place.
Bn CP moved to St. Jean de Daye, located centrally among the Btry's on the road to St. Lo. Traffic was quite heavy on the way but always moving. Engineers were repairing a road bridge over a railway making a one way bottleneck, but a bypass down to the R. R. and across it was taking care of northbound traffic which was much smaller.
We celebrated our new location by seeing movies at Bn CP through the Special Services Officer of the VII Corps. Title: "Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble" About 2 hours were lost trying to get the projector to work. Then somebody thought of calling Capt. Graff who changed a fuse and, presto, movies. A good time was had by all. However, we had to cut it short at 2300 on account of darkness and the danger of attracting enemy aviators by the light from the screen.
S/Sgt. Cirino had added a rabbit to his collection of pets, which now consists of a goose, a kitten, and a rabbit. We wonder what's next.
The chief topic of breakfast conversation concerned the "Rocket bomb" that flew across our area at 0215.
A B'try reportedit as a "Robot Plane".
C B'try says it traveled NE to SW and exploded 4 or 5 miles SW of this CP.
Hq B'try reports it as "a plane with a light in its nose, a trail of flame from its tail, and the sound of an outboard motor, which flew at 300-400 feet altitude E to W over the CP".
D B'try says it was a bimotored plane, one motor on fire, that crashed 2 miles SW of his CP.
B B'try apparently didn't see it, or if they did, wouldn't talk.
An ME 109 made a strafing attack on the St. Lo road at about 1900. The plane was brought down, C and D claiming hits. T/5 Kenneth Roush of B'try D was slightly wounded in the right thigh by a shell fragment during the action but returned to duty.
The rest of the Andy Hardy movie was shown tonight. Capt. Graff again saved the day when the projector refused to sound off..
2 large black horses are now grazing in the BSO area.
Two more strafing attacks today at about 1500. D B'try shot down 1 and gives as evidence the signal of a Piper Cub pilot who says that he saw them do it. A and C B'trys also claim to have knocked it down. A second plane was brought down by an AW Bn nearby.
During the action today, one of B'try D's half tracks D-16 was suspended from the MTO's crane in the process of having its tracks changed. However, when the enemy planes came over, the crew jumped to their guns as though by instinct, and opened fire from its slung up position.
More planes came over at night and dropped flares and anti-personnel bombs in our area. No casualties.
New missions for the B'try's to support Field Artillery Groups, and accompany them in support for a forthcoming "push"
A B'try moved to Le Desert, supporting 951 FA Bn, 188 FA Group. (155's).
B B'try moved to Le Hommet D'Artheny, supporting the 172 FA Bn and 183 FA Bn. This group fires 155's and 4.5's.
C B'try moved to Les Champs De Losque, supporting the 957 FA Bn, 18 FA Group.
D B'try moved to Le Mesnil Angot supporting 188 FA Bn, 18 FA Group.
Purple Hearts were awarded today to Cpl. Francis J. Forsythe (D), and PFC Joseph F. Schnee (D), Wilmer J. Rodehaver (A), and T/5 Kenneth Roush (D).
Pvt. Frank J. Bishop, B'try C, was struck in the right thigh by a shell fragment and was evacuated.
Bn CP now has a baby calf. She strayed into the mess area, looked sadly at S/Sgt. Cirino, wjo looled back tenderly and adopted her on the spot. He is now looking after a calf, a kitten, a rabbit, and a goose. In the next field 2 horses are romping around but have not been adopted by the mess sergeant so far.
Rain fell practically all day in the thin drizzle so often seen in France and England so far.
We had the first heavy rain today since the Bn arrived in the ETO. It poured like a good old-fashioned USA rainstorm and pretty soon we found walking difficult because of the slick, slippery, muddy, clay underfoot. All foxholes were quickly flooded.
A and C B'trys have been under considerable shellfire today. They are quite close to the German lines now. So is B'try B.
At about 2000, D B'try sounded a "gas" alert which turned out to be a false alarm we learned 10 minutes later.
More rain today, of the usual ETO type, mostly in the AM, with threatening clouds the rest of the day.
C B'try received quite a bit of shelling today, resulting in 2 lower abdominal wounds to T/5 Pandolfi which we do not believe are serious. However, he had to be evacuated.
Today PFC Daniel R. Andrea, B'try C received a letter signed by Gen. Risenhower, saying he was glad to have him in his army. The letter was censored and passed by a Lt. Col. What happened is that PFC Andrea wrote to Gen. Eisenhower several weeks ago telling him how happy he was to be serving under him and expressing his confidence in the Supreme Commander's leadership, resulting in today's response.
A gas alert occurred just after midnight this morning. It was started by an Infantry Unit near B'try A and the gas alarm spread from field to field like a fire. All clear was reported in about half an hour. It apparently was caused by oil shells that the Germans were dropping which gave off a white cloud of smoke in bursting, and an unfamiliar odor which was mistaken for gas. At about the same time a huge fire was seen north of us on the horizon which we later discovered was a gasoline dump on fire. During the gas alert there was a great deal of hasty searching for gas masks by many of us who had become unaccustomed to living with them.
PFC Harry Anderson, medic for B'try A, caught a small piece of 88 shell with his left temple. It just grazed him but it was close.
All in all it was a pretty exciting night but the day brought equally interesting events. B'trys D, B, & A reported engagements with FW's, 190's, and ME 109's. B claims destruction of 3 FW's and A claims destruction of 1 FW.
Our menagerie is becoming strafe conscious. Oswald the goose takes to a slit trench with the rest of us. His aircraft recognition is still poor however, for he has been seen to spread his wings out wide, and, flapping them viciously, run toward diving P47's in an attempt to frighten them off.
Shorty, the medical mutt, is one of the first to jump into either his fox hole or occupies one with the men.
Lt. Peters has been transferred to B'try A as executive in place of Lt. Perry who is now MTO. Capt. Kane is now BC of B'try Hq as well as Adjutant.
We counted over 350 US fighter planes followed by 500 bombers flying over our areas at noon today headed toward the German lines and thought the offensive had started. Considerably more fighters and bombers went over at intervals all afternoon, but it turned out to be just a softening up process.
Capt. Fenton is making an inspection of teeth at all the gun positions. He visited C B'try today, which is only a thousand yards from the Germans, and as he approached Sgt. Spaletti's gun, asked him where was all the 88 shelling they had been reporting. "Wham, Bang"-"Wham, Bang"-"Wham Bang, Bang, Bang", etc. for about the next 20 minutes reports our chastened dentist who dived to the nearest slit trench and ducked the shells there.
Capt. Fenton believes the Germans were laying for him, especially since had radioed in the clear the preceding day that he wanted to see certain men. It is reported that Capt. Fenton finished up the inspection in record time. "Goodbye", called Sgt. Spaletti as he was leaving. "Come again and we will show you some more fireworks". Capt. Fenton has his satisfaction, however, in that he has visited every gun position in spite of the firing.
The Greatest Show On Earth went into Act II today. (Act I was the beachhead assault of Normandy.
At about 0830 a flight of 18 P-47's passed over our area headed south. Directly behind was another wave of 18, then another, then another, and the sky was filled with them as far back as as we could see, and soon as far forward as we could see. Then the 4 motor bombers brgasn to come in groups of about 50, apparently moving slowly in close formation because of their altitude. Then another group, then another, and another, for over an hour. We lost count after a thousand and estimate about 2000 bombers, mostly 4- motored at first, then 2-motored. Finally came wave after wave of dive bombers, then more fighters. In the near distance we could see the bombs dropping, the flak shooting up into the formations which never wavered even though we saw 3 of them get hit and fall. The earth shook all around us. We could stand on a Half-Track to see the sights better, or could feel the vehicle vibrating rapidly. We knew we couldn't visualize the horror of our enemy, and felt glad that we weren't on the receiving end.
We found out later that it was the first blow of a push by VII Corps to seal off the Cherbourg Peninsula.
The reserved seat section was occupied by C B'try, about 1600 yards from the target. It wasn't a healthy place. Some stray bombs landed in a field next to the C B'try CP and struck a truck containing two tons of TNT. The explosion was terrific. A wheel from the truck was later located 300 yards away. Some hot metal landed on Capt. Herlihy's bedroll and burnt it, including the seat out of a pair of pants nearby. Luckily, Capt. Herlihy was in another foxhole.
Some of the first bombs fell short and landed on the American side of the lines. Cpl. Walter A. Burger, B'try C, was watching the show from along side of his track and could see the dropping down through his field glasses. One bomb that caught his eye, he followed down until he realized that he had to bend backwards to keep it in focus, and, at the same time, asked himself what he was waiting for. The bomb was headed for local territory! So he jumped into his slit trench just in time to hear the blast of an explosion too close for comfort.
T/Sgt. Patrick McTeigue of Hq B'try discovered a loose square of grass about 12X12" near his track today and showed his alertness by carefully staking the spot and tying a white ribboa to it. He then summoned T/Sgt. James Cooney, who, with Capt. Graff, got out the mine detector and passed it over the area perhaps a dozen times before deciding there was no metal underneath. Our three heroes cautiously drew their tremch knives and poked around until certain there was no hard object underneath, then, ever so gently, lifted up the square of grass enough to pass a rope under it. Thus securely tied, they strung their rope to a slit trench about 50 yards away and, crouching carefully, pulled the grass loose. Nothing happened. After waiting for possible delayed action, they returned to the potential mine to investigate and found a neat cat hole with several strips of soiled "government issue" tissue paper covering a deposit our men did not have the curiosity to investigate any further.
Cpl. Baylor's track, C B'try was given a special commendation by Lt. Col. Stricklen for being outstanding in appearance and efficiency.
B'try B's M-16 #12 was hit by bomb fragments today and put out of action for a short time. No casualties.
PFC Vaughn, Hq B'try, was given a letter of commendation from Gen. Timberlake today at a Hq and B'try formation for his valiant performance of duty which was especially noteworthy when the Bn was at Cherbourg.
Word was received today from T/5 Noel A. Allen, Jr., the missing medic from B'try D, that he was in a hospital in England suffering from concussion and an injury to his right hand as a result of the ammo dump fire of July 12th.
The offensive begun the day before yesterday by the VII Corps has scored a complete break through the German lines and our Infantry and Tanks are fanning East and West, encircling German positions all the way across the Peninsula.
Strafing and antipersonnel bombing caused some damage and casualties at about 0200 to A B'try's "Avenging Asp" and crew when it was shot full of holes all over the left side and rear. Water cans and mess kits were turned into sieves. An M-3 was also hit, but only the radiator was damaged. 5 minor casualties resulted, of whom T/5. Robert C. Moore was evacuated and Sgt. George E. Dauberman, Cpl. Franklin R. Basil, PFC. George Taylor, and Pvt. Jack M. Clarke, returned to duty after first aid.
At the same time, Pvt. Allen E. McLain, B'try B was wounded by a small piece of shell behind his left shoulder, but returned to duty after treatment.
Fox holes are being dug deeper today.
The attack was made by 12 JU88's and ME 111's.
All B'trys are moving southward with the advancing VII Corps units to the vicinity of Marigny.
Some air activity accured during the night by enemy aircraft. T/5. Cockerham was sleeping under the MTO trailer and heard the "Whiz Bang" of a bullet strike above him. He didn't bother to look until morning, and then found that a 50 calibre slug had hit the air compressor. He's digging a slit trench this afternoon.
B'try's A and D fired at ME 109's all afternoon. B'try D made no claims but B'try A claims a Cat. II. B'try D fired while in column on the move south.
The VII Corps advance has has cut off thousands of Germans in pockets to the west coast of the Cherbourg Peninsula, below Coutances and Granville The Bn is moving south with the advance.
The Bn CP is in position just north of Marigny.
A anD B'try's are with the 2nd Armored Division near Notre Dame de Cenilly.
C B'try is with the First Division near St. Denis le Gast.
D B'try is with the 3rd Armored Division near St. Denis le Gast.
C an D B'try's are supporting units of the38th FA Group
A B'try claims a probable hit on a German plane at 7AM in this new position. A B'try is right in the front lines, and for a time was being used as infantry for the 2nd Armored, with a mission of cleaning up hedgerows. Some of the tracks were set up against Mark VI German tanks that had been seen to go up a road. Fortunately for them, they did not return.
Col.. Bissalion found two P-38 pistols and gave them to friendly A B'try officers, somehow overlooking Lt. Brothwell, his CO. Lt. Brothwell has been mentioning something about reduction to private for someone. (only kidding!)
Pvt. Tony L. Fabry, B B'try, received a small cut on his left arm today but returned to duty.
B'try's A and B have been relieved from assignment to the II Armored Division and given nice restful jobs of defending roads and bridges. A B'try near Gavray and B B'try near Hambye. This "rest period" seems to be deeper in enemy territory than before!
Shrapnel hit the turret of B-11 track (M-15) causing three rounds of 37 MM HS to explode. No casualties.
Col. Patterson, the First Army AA Officer, told Major Nininger today that our Bn had been considered expendable on D-Day. Wonder if we disappointed anybody.
Lt. Bellisario tells thatC B'try has quite a collection of P-38 German pistols. He also reports that, on his way to Bn CP from C B'try location, he passed a column of about 350 German vehicles that had been caught on the main road and knocked out of action by our air force. Included in the column were trucks, half tracks, tanks, and mobile artillery. To the sides of the road, some tanks that had apparently tried to take to the field were shattered and turned over.
Lt. Shoenman, from B B'try, tells of seeing four German tanks roaring through our lines with the Germans throwing grenades left and right. The crew all seemed hilariously drunk and apparently didnt mind the consequences. It is even believed that they returned to their lines safely for the time being. He also reports that, during an enemy high level bombing, some of his men took to fox holes. When the rain of bombs ended, they went back to their gun and found a group of Germans swarming over it apparently trying to figure out how it worked. Before they could, however, our men captured them.
The men at Bn CP have gotten used to night raids and sleep through them, but we are now located next to some Engineers who whoop and holler, "air raid!" all night when anything suspicious is heard overhead. Which keeps us awake. Which we wish would cease.
Pay day today-the first in 3 months and no place to spend it! Most of it is going to the USA in ine way or another and all debts are being settled.
Forward echelon Hq and Hq B'try moved to Le Coudray, 2 miles S of Brecey. This echelon consists of Hq, S-2, S-3, Message Center, Bn Aid Station, part of BSO, and part of MTO. Rear echelon is in command of Capt. Cluley, BSO.
A B'try moved to a town N of Brecey and S of Villedieu les Poeles.
C B'try moved slightly E to La Rousselaire due to heavy shelling by 105's and 150's. During this shelling the Bn had its first man to be killed in action. PFC Joseph C. Mooney, C B'try track 13, "Concerto in Lead" waws struck by shell fragments from a 150 MM gun. He was wounded in the head and abdomen and died in a few minutes at about 3PM.
Also wounded were Cpl Sam F. Brown with a slight cut of the left shoulder, T/5 W. E. Highfield with shrapnel in the left leg, and Pvt joseph S. Tomko with a shattered right hand and wound of the left thigh. The above 3 men were evacuated.
Besides these, Cpl Arthur G. Schwenk received a slight cut of his hand and T/5 Richard H. Mantick, a slight cut of his neck. Both of these were returned to duty.
The offensive has made considerable progress into Brittany.
B'try A has moved to Garliere E of Brecey.
B'try B has moved to Mon Neuve, NE of Brecey.
B'try C is near Juvigny le Tertre, betwen Brecey and Mortain.
Lt. Col. Stricklen brought back over forty quarts of wines and liquors this evening after a visit to Brigade who has captured considerable stock. It is being distributed, 8 bottles perBattery.
A B'try has moved to Fontermont at the W end of the Forest of St. Sever which was only yesterday cleaned out of Germans.
B B'try has moved to La Roche, which is S of the woods SE of Brecey.
C B'try is moving to Oisseau which is near Mayenne.
D B'try is moving to La Haie Traversaine, near Oisseau
While getting ready to move to Oisseau at 1620, the FA were sighted by 12 FW's flying low, firing rockets. C B'try opened up and saw 4 of them destroyed and a 5th hit but not seen to actually fall. The FA with them were exceedingly profuse with their congratulations and were glad to sign certificates verifying the action. They say that they would like to adopt B'try C No casualties.
Capt Graff and Pvt Tyson set out to locate a swimming hole. spotted 2 miles from the Bn CP on a map reconnaissance. In their travel they met a French gendarme who readily came to their assistance, but made a stop here here and thereto be issued cognac, wine, and cider by the natives. The trip back was hazy, but Capt Graff recalls being in a German "Tiger Tank", driving it around, and later, when back to his jeep, recalls arriving at Bn CP from a NE direction where there are several thousand Germans pocketed. He's not sure if he was through the German lines or not. Anyway, he's safe and sound and had a good nights sleep to top it off.
Official credit was received today for planes as follows shot down on July 18th and 19th.:
B----------- 3 Cat. I
C & D ------ 1 Cat I
A, B, D------1 Cat II
B'trys C and D are now located near Mayenne. Plenty of Germans are close by.N, S, and E. Capt. Peterson decided to take a short cut back to Bn Hq and proceeded NW in his jeep.On the way he came upon a German Armored recon. car with a German officer standing in the hatch looking over the situation. Capt. Pete didn't realize the full significance of the blue uniform at first glance, but the next moment recognized him for a Jerry, whipped out his pistol, and took a shot at him. At the same time the German buttoned up his armour and started to swing his gun turret with its 20 MM gun in the direction of the jeep. Our hero could have taken care of the enemy we are sure, but a glance up the road showed more German armour, so he decided to continue with his primary mission instead of allowing himself to be diverted, and he made haste along another road, arriving safely to tell the story.
Considerable small arms fire rather close by was heard all day. The Germans tried to break through our lines to Avranches, but were repulsed.
A B'try is now with the 183 FA at La Maritiere which is about 4 miles SSW of St. Sever Calvados.
B B'try is at the woods SW of Le Mesnil Ranfray which is about 5 miles W of Mortaine.
C and D B'trys are still near Oisseau, 3 miles NW of Mayenne.
The Bn received a commendation from Col Gettys of 207th Group for its part in the battle for Cherbourg.
Capt Graff took off in his track "Hi Voltage" with his section to set up a relay station to bring C and D B'trys into range. He had a nice spot selected, was able to reach Bn and forward B'trys okay and was reporting in to Bn, but ended with the words, "Here come some tanks and they don't look friendly". That's the last we heard from him until about two hours later when he returned to the CP with his relay station. He had run away from a German tank column for which wisdom he was duly commended.
C B'try received official credit for three Cat I's today The planes were three FW 190's that were shot down on the 23rd of July.
A B'try was sent to Mayenne to defend the bridges there.
C B'try saw action at 1625 when their area was attacked by six FW 190's and ME 109's. One FW190 was destroyed (Cat I).
Bn CP moved its forward echelon to a small wooda about two miles W of Gorron, bringing it close to A, C, and D B'trys
B'try C shot down two out of four FW190's that flew over their area at 1815.
Bn CP is located next to a pond into which all members present immersed themselves as soon as possible. The pond was tested out at first to make sure it was safe for swimming by throwing in Shorty, the Medical Mutt, who came feeling so frsh and frisky that we all tried it.
Lt. Col. Stricklen and Major Nininger held up one side of a fishing contest against Lt. Perry and Capt. Bettonville in our new pond. Fish are so numerous here that they leap right out of the water., but, alas, they would not bite at the bait offered to them. The contest was lost by the senior officers when they defaulted. This was brought on by a bee which stung Major Nininger on the hand. Score at the time was 0-0.
The rear echelon arrived and were bathed. They had sweated out one of the worst bombing attacks we have had so far when the Germans attacked the crossroads to the rear area. The Bombers hit everywhere but the crossroads, and even the most unworried of our troops were diving for the foxholes. Five or six fires in the near distance for those who cared to look, but nobody was interested except the guards on duty. No casualties resulted.
Ozzie the goose was taken down to the pond for a swim but was very reluctant to go in. It took considerable urging to get him to go in at all and he had to be thrown in several times. Finally he was taken out into the middle of the pond and was thrown overboard where he had to sink or swim and he elected to swim to shore. He tried to come out but was not allowes to emerge from the water and soon he contented himself with paddling around close to shore. We will make a swimmer of him yet.
D B'try moved to an area one mile SE of Lassay. They report seeing bald headed girls, and have two versions to explain the phenomenon. One version says the Germans shaved off the hair of the girls who wouldn't, and the other version says that it was done by the other women who would and did play ball with the Boche. If so, we should see all bald headed women from now on.
Capt. Bettonville was disturbed in his sleep last night by Ozzie the goose who took a liking to his blankets and decided to spend the night with him there. Al would have been forgiven except that Ozzie isn't housebroken. Capt. B chased it away several times several times during the night but it always came back except once when it fell into a latrine from which the Capt had to remove him.
At 11AM, Tec. 5 Brandstetter of B'tryA went to Mayenne for a bucket of water. On the bank was a young fellow soaking his feet in the water. "Hi", says the guy and then a closer look reveals him to be a German soldier. So Brandstatter points his M1 Rifle at him and the Jerry cheerfully surrenders. He even says in English, "Would you like my pistol?" and hands his P-38 to him and they both walk happily back to A B'try CP.
C B'try made three moves today, finally landing about 1/2 mileSW of LaFerte Mace.
D B'try jumped twice and landed at Couterne, but expect to move again tomorrow.
Official Score of Planes destroyed up to July 23.
Cat ICat IICat ICat II
A 7 7 1 1/2 1/3B 8 1 4 1/2 1/3
C 9 5 2 1/2 1
D 3 4 2 1/2 1/3
Bn Total 27 17 11 2
Since July, the Bn claims 9 Cat I and 9 Cat II.
B B'try moved to a bivouac about mile S of Couterne and expect to move again tomorrow.
Allied Armies are closing up a huge encirclement of the German VII Army W of Falaise. An Order of the Day from General Eisenhower says this is to be an eventful week and urges all our Army, Navy, and Air Force to do their utmost to deliver a blow that will have a resounding effect.
Landings are reported by Allied Armies between Cannes and Toulon.
This being D Day again reminded Lt. Bellisario of a D DFay episode of our own not previously reported when he andLT. Kunigonis were getting ready to land. From their LCT they noticed explosions on the shore which Lt. Bellisario did not relish. "What are you worried about?", asked. "Those are land mines that our Engineers are blowing up for us so we can land!" "Take a look through these glasses", and and pointed out some German 88's shelling the beach. Kunigonis was immediately impressed and suppressed and Bellisario had a companion to share his discomfort. Perhaps he shouldn't have mentioned it.
B Btry moved to an area 1/2 mile NE of Carrouges.
C and D are at the E edge of Foret D'Andelaine which is 4 miles NW of LaFerte Mace.
Bn. moved to an orchard 3 miles NE of Lassay.
A Btry is still at Mayenne.
B Btry bagged 5 more prisoners who walked in and gave themselves up. They were members of a tank crew, and had only one rifle among them and no food.
A Btry reports that one of their tracks is near an insane asylum from which the inmates have escaped and who wander around performing strange antics. As many as 25 gather around a track. One bends to pick up a match stick and then they all bend over looking for match sticks. One looks at the sky and they all follow suit although there is nothing in the sky at the time. They have all agreed to go to NY with the boys.
17 AUG44. Credit was received today for the following planes shot down.
A 2 Cat. I's and 4 Cat. II's.
C 1 Cat. II
D 1 Cat. II
Official credit to date
Cat. Cat. IITotal
A 31/2 41/3 75/6
B 41/2 1/3 45/6
C 21/2 2 41/2
D 21/2 11/3 35/6
Bn. Total 13 8 21
We have knocked down twice as many airplanes as any other SP Bn. in France.
We have expended as much ammo as all the others here have done.
A Btry is to relieve D, then C, then B, for two days while they go into rest areas, then, and Sgt. Major Allen., with T/Sgt. is to have two days itself. the program starts today. A Btry moved D's area while D Btry moved to the lake near St. Michael Les Andaines at the SE tip of the forest Andine for rest, clean up, and maintenance.
18 AUG44. Bn. CP moved to a lake at the edge of a wooded area near the forest of La Motte.
D B'try is still in its rest area and most of the men have had a swim in the pond. An ARC Clubmobile paid them a visit and fed the men doughnuts and coffee, then put on a show in which everybody participated. A good time was had all around. B'try D really got gypped on the deal as they were supposed to have movies, but the rest period came on so suddenly the proper arrangements could not be made on time.
19 AUG44. D B'try went back to work, while C moved to the rest area which D had occupied. and A took over C's position for 2 days. Movies were shown at C B'try, also at Hq. and both B'try's were served doughnuts and coffee by the ARC from their clubmobile.
All the Bn. trucks took off today in the custody of Capt. Cluley heading toward Paris, a trip of 80 miles. They are helping to move a Supply Depot forward for a drive toward Paris.
Meanwhile, the men at Hq. are getting acquainted with French girls in the vicinity who live close by and who have been going swimming in the lake. These girls are very friendly, but quite cautious.
The 188 FA Group Hq. has moved to the lake also a short distance away asnd are competing for the attentiions of the French gals.
C B'try is still resting comfortably. The men are swimming, eating doughnuts, and coffee from the ARC Clubmobile and have had a USO show.
D B'try has been told to stand by for a move.
C B'try returned to its gun positions, A moved to B's gun positions, and B moved to a rest area on a lake about 3 miles S. of Carrouges.
There is little activity in this vicinity as the Germans are being mopped up in the encirclement of the German VII Army at Falaise where the American Armies moving north joined the Canadians moving S.
B'try is enjoying doughnuts and coffee, Red Cross real live American women who talk English, movies, and swimming.
Lt. Mitchell, today, recalled the story of an attack he made on a building in Cherbourg when B'try A was there in June. With Tec. 5 Stone and Cpl. Chiodetti, they came upon a suspicious looking building and fired a tommy gun into the doorway. No response. They decided to throw a grenade in and look around. The grenade exploded inside, and they threw a second one in for good measure. After this one went off, they went into the building to investigate, and found it to be an ammunition dump loaded with explosions of all kinds. They drew long breaths and praised the Lord that their grenades hadn't set anything off.
Capt. Cluley returned with the trucks today minus Capt. Farinella, who had been given the wrong steer by some MP's and whom, we were afraid, might not be able to find his way back alone. However, he turned up safe and sound.
Big news today was of Roumania's surrender.
Btry A went to the rest area occupied by B'try B yesterday while B'try B resumed its previous mission at Carrouges.
B, C, and D were alerted for moving, while A continued its rest up on the lake.
B later moved to LaQueue de Fontaine forest.
D moved to a position N of LaLoupe.
25AUG44. A B'try has been attached to the 981 FA for AA protection at the Foret de Chateauneuf. Later it moved to the vicinity of Etampes.
D B'try also moved to the vicinity of Etampes.
Hq. B''try moved to Landelies, about 2 miles NW of of Courville sur Eure. The area is a French chateau enclosed by a stone wall and containing a large wooded area in which our vehicles are well concealed. Friendly French people have been bringing in fresh eggs and tomatoes.
Paris has been captured.
26AUG44 All B'try's were relieved from the FA Bn's they were protecting and have been given missions of defending treadway bridges across the Seine, SE of Paris.
D B'try is at Tilly.
C B'try is at Melun.
B B'try is at Corbeil.
A B'try is at St. Fargeau.
B'try D was the first AA B'try to cross the Seine when it took up position both sides of the bridge at Tilly.
C B'try was subjected to rather heavy antipersonnel bombing, but escaped from receiving any casualties.
27AUG44Bn. Hq. moved to the vicinity of St. Germaine sur Ecole, about 4 miles from the Seine River West bank. This area is also a French chateau and the main building is occupied by a Frenchman who speaks English quite well and who invited many of the officers and men to pay him a visit. He had there as a guest, a French General of the Medical Dept. of the French army who was too old to see service during this war. However, he told of experiences he had had in the first World War.
There is a swift running creek with very cold crystal clear water running through the area and it is tempting the men into a bath.
The B'trys were scheduled to move to the Marne River but their missions were cancelled when it was found unnecessary to construct bridges there as the old ones had been left intact by the fleeing Germans.
In the meantime, Bn. Hq. moved across the Seine to Mortcerf, which is about 12 miles S. of Meaux and the Marne River. This town is 25 miles east of Paris and we were all sorry we had to pass by the French Capital
C B'try went into bivouac N. of Melun.
A, B, and D stood by for march orders
This is the first time Bn. Hq. has been ahead of the B' try's. In fact, they were even ahead of the infantry. On our way we passed some Bn. of the 9th Inf. Div. in the process of mopping up in the area we were moving through. We arrived at about noon and were told the Germans had left at 0200. We were the first Americans seen in Mortcerf.
The FFI have been in and out of the Bn. Hq. with information as to the location of Germans. At one time, 6 - 20 Germans were rumored to be in the nearby forest and we sent out a posse to bring them back. However, nobody could be found who actually saw them.and the result was a dry run.
Before we arrived this morning, a German 2nd lieutenant had been captured by the FFI and turned over to Capt. Denby and Capt. Banks. He was a most surly creature, a rabid storm trooper, practically frothing at the mouth in rage at the French who captured him and turned him over to us. "Traiters!", he called them. When Major Denby gave him a cigarette, he threw it to the ground and called it propaganda. Our Major had a hard time restraining himself from taking a punch at the prisoner. On arrival at the PW Cage, he met some hardboiled MP's who promptly rooted him into line and was last seen with a bayonette 1/2 inch from the seat of his trousers.
Enemy activity at midnight was the first we've seen in almost 2 weeks when a group of enemy planes circled the area at tree top level but decided that there was nobody here. There were no bombs dropped in this area, but they went on to Melun, from which place C B'try had just left, and raised havoc with the city.
B'try C and A moved to protect bridges at Mieux. A is N of the Marne River there and C is S.
B and D went into bivouac near Mortcerf.
This has been mopping up day at Bn. CP. Word came from the FFI that Germans were hiding in the nearby wooda. Mr. Torrence went off in a scout car full of GI's plus an FFI Guide, and gone so long that Mr. Hangen was sent after him in a jeep to see what was going on. They all returned without seeing action.
In the meantime, the FFI had rounded up a batch of 7 Germans and brought them in. Later they brought in another batch of 7 and finally more for a total bag of15.
More reports of Germans came in and Col. Stricklen sent elements from B and D B'try's out to round them up.
At about 2000, Private Ahearn spotted a German from his guard position and let go with his Garrand rifle. This brought all of Hq. to the scene, and soon there were bullets flying in all directions. Tec. 5 Gibbons spotted a German soldier and killed him with a shot through the neck. PFC. Jaffe came along in a scout car firing the 50 calibre MG and caught a young German in the shoulder. Another German was wounded by a 30 calibre bullet in the head. By this time, a white flag appeared, firing ceased, and Capt. Kane walked over, shouting to the Germans to come out with their hands up. First, 2 or 3 came out cautiously, but, when they found we weren't shooting, a total of 23 swarmed out of the field, including one officer. Total bag on this skirmish was 1 officer and 22 EM captured, 1 officer killed, and 2 EM wounded. We suffered no casualties.
Soon after this shooting episode, we heard a cheer arise from the townspeople, and there was D B'try marching in its bag of 2 officers and 37 EM. Soon B B'try brought in 1 more officer and 9 EM. Total score for the Bn. today - 89 captured, 1 killed. A good day's work.
B and D Btry moved to LaFerte sous Jouarre on the Marne River.
It was a relatively quiet day for the Bn. today, especially compared with all the action we saw yesterday. It was discovered that the Bn. CP is located in the area of an ancient castle known as Le Chateau de Bec d'Oiseau (The Castle of the Beak of the Bird). This castle is said to be a thousand years old, and was occupied by Louis IX and by Louis XVI when they were kings of France.
One prisoner of war was taken today.
Bn. Hq. moved to an area near Changis sur Marne which is near LaFerte sous Jouarre. All B'try's moved to protect bridges on the River Aisne.
A B'try is E> of Soissons.
B B'try is near Bourg.
C B'try is at Soissons.
D B'try is at Vailly sur Aisne.
One more prisoner of war was captured today when he was discovered along the road by Tec. Mayhew who had gone out looking for water.
Payday today, and since we all planned to be in Paris today, most of the cash is staying here for a blowout instead of going to the US. However, we seem to be headed away from Paris and toward Berlin, so we will just have to save our francs for a few weeks (we hope). The VII Corps has declared all cities off limits to soldiers except on business, so we couldn't go to Paris now even if we were close by.
Bn. CP moved to the vicinity of St. Fergeux, near Bethel. On the way we passed through Chateau Thierry and Reims, made famous by the American Armies in the last war. We were routed in convoy right past the famous Cathedral of Reims, which looked majestic and beautiful in spite of sandbags piled thirty feet high to protect the windows and walls from bombing. Champagne bottles were stacked up in the store windows, but we couldn't stop the convoy for a toast.
We were showered with flowers, plums, apples, pears and tomatoes by the civilians along the entire route. It was like a victory parade. Flags were out everywhere, American, French, and British predominating, and occasionally the red flag of Russia.
An idea of how fast the American Armies are moving through France can be had from our own speedometer guage - which shows 400 miles covered in the past week!
C B'try was a step ahead of Bn. CP. It moved to Chadurse sur Thierache, which is only 16 miles from the Belgian border.
We noticed in convoy that this part of France is very flat, with fields extending for miles in all directions, and practically no cover or concealment. We parked for the night along a tall row of trees, feeling very much exposed to any enemy aviator who cared to look for us.
Bn. CP moved to St. Aquare, about 13 miles W. of Bethel, and about 22 miles from Belgium. B'try B is still closer to the border by 6 miles.
At 0600 a buzz bomb passed over the old area at a height of about 1500 feet, headed west. It was spotted by A B'try at Soissons, who fired on it and knocked it down, landing in a field about 2 miles west of their positioin.
B'try A also had an encounter today with snipers who fired from a tall church steeple in Soissons and who wounded 2 MP's there. They sent some M15's and M16's over and opened up at the steeple, filling it full of 37 mm. shells and 50 cal. bullets. They then assaulted the church, but the snipers had fled through some underground passageways.
Later, B' try A picked up a prisoner in a schoolhouse, who was being hidden there by an individual dressed in the robes of a priest. A tunnel was found, connecting the school with the church previously fired upon.
Casualties during this engagement were T/5. Tosselli with a burned hand as a result of changing a hot gun barrel, and T/5. Henry Moore, who cut his hand in the assault on the church. Neither wound was serious, and both returned to duty.
Word was received by B'try D from FF that German tanks were approaching their position. Lt. Ferdon lined up 5 M15's and M16's along the road of approach and waited for them, but his wait was in vain as the enemy never appeared
A Btry moved to a bivouac area near La Ville aux Boix, about 2 miles from Bn. Cp.
C B'try moved to Voyenne to protect a bridge.
B and D B'try's moved to Hirson to protect RR bridges, and are now only 5 miles from Belgium. Only a forest (Foret Domale de St. Michel) separates them from the border. This town was supposed to be an assembly area for retreating Germans only a day or two ago, but its likely they won't find it safe now. Considerable stores of ammunition were discovered in the forest, which the Germans hadn't had time to distroy, such was their haste to leave.
The Bn. Cp Moved to Viveraux, Belgium. This town is located near Beaumont and the country is still hot, so the precaution was taken of having 4 B'try A half tracks go along with the convoy for protection It turned out that the escort wasn't needed, for all we met were enthusiastically friendly civilians, and BFI's (Belgian Front Interior).
. All the batteries are on the move today to take up positions on the Meuse River, Belgium. However, their trips were interrupted by rear guard last ditch enemy defenders and they all bivouaced on the way. Capt. Potter, Lt. Horton, and Lt. Stiles ran into machine gun fire while on reconnaissance. They were almost trapped in an open area and sought cover, not even daring to turn the jeep around for a while, but as soon as it quieted down, they made a quick dash to safety.
POW to date: A - 136; B - 24; C - 5; D - 46; Hq. - 43; Total - 254.
BFI reported 60 Boche to be near the vicinity of a Bn CP and we sent out the riot squads, but they returned empty handed after firing into the thick woods. Later the PBI brought in 24 PW's, of whom 7 were SS. The SS were relieved to learn that we did not shoot prisoners even if they were SS..
Capt. Graff had to make a trip to the Group, accompanied by Pvt. Tyson and PFC. Clyde Elliott in a jeep and a 1/4 ton trailer which had been borrowed from Group and was being returned. On the way they passed by a wooded area and saw a powder blue uniform behind some trees. They stopped to investigate, swung around the .30 caliber MG, and Capt Graff yelled in German,"Come out quickly with your hands high up." Nine Germans came out as ordered, were piled into the trailer and turned into Group. Capt Graff presented them to Col. Waters as interest for the loan of the trailer.
These nine Germans had worked their way back all the way from St. Lo, and must have put up with considerable hardships for the previous 6 weeks to make all the distance they had. They were only 3 miles from the German lines when captured and must have traveled 4-500 miles to get there.
In the afternoon, Bn CP moved to Arbro, 7 miles S. of Namur, and 2 miles W of Meuse River
One SS PW was brought in to Bn CP this morning by the BFI and turned over to us. While waiting for the evacuation to the PW cage, he was seen by some of the inhabitants of the chateau we were occupying, and we had to restrain them from tearing him apart. Soon, women were coming from nearby homes to shake their fists at him, and express their hate and contempt in savage tones. They told of atrocities that the SS had done and of their double dealing. We understood their feelings of course but we told them we were fighting accordind to the rules, and the enemy would be treated as a prisoner. It was a relief to send him away.
^ Germans were reported in the nearby woods, having stopped at a house to demand food. However the woods are dense and they disappeared before we could overtake them.
All the batteries were relieved of their mission and sent to assembly areas awaiting their next move.
Belgian wrist watches are being bought by some of the men. Prices range from 1000 French franks (worth $20), to about 3000 Belgian franks (worth $65).
The big news tonight was of Bulgaria's declaration of war on Germany, and of armistice with Russia , who had declares war on them only 4 days ago.
B'try B and C moved to Huy.
B'try A and D moved to Liege.
Missions are protection of the bridges over the River Meuse.
B'trys B and C moved again, this time to Liege to protect bridges. Bn CP moved to the vicinity of Romsey, about 2 miles SE of Liege, on the road to Aachen, Germany which is now only 18 miles away. All the B'trys are in Liege, and th Bn is close together again.
There have been 5 air raids in Liege today and our B'trys are getting plenty of action again. These raiders come in singly, scare hell out of the population, and run for home.
The sound of enemy planes was heard after dark but no action was reported. This morning, we saw a hundred or more heavy American bombers on their way to Germany, and we saw them returning 3 hours later, so they may have gone the 300 miles to Berlin and come back. The map shows us to be only a few miles further away from Berlin than the Russians are from Warsaw, and we expect that there will be a good deal of fierce competition for the honor of being the first to enter. The radio reported the first artillery shelling of German soil today by US 155's.
Our Batteries opened up at German air raiders today and claim a Cat II. Lt. Nevins, B'try C, saw one of his 37 mm. shells strike an FW 190, and civilians standing near his track saw it too, and raised quite a yell when it happened. Lt Ferdon, B'try D, says his men hit the plane too, and have an Engineer Major who saw it. The plane is reported to have crashed out of sight of the batteries by the BFI.
During these raids many civilians are injured running for cover. Major Denby and Capt. Peterson had to take the situation in hand during a raid, and had the civilians lie down where they were instead of running around trampling each other.
Our B'trys pulled a good stunt this afternoon when they saw an ME109 chasing five American P-47's that must have been out of ammunition. It was such an astonishing sight that they realized some such situation had occurred. C B'try opened fire first and the Jerry decided to get the hell away. In doing so it flew over D B'try fire first who kept it under fire, then went over to B B'try's position who kept up the barrage. One track of A B'try also got in its contribution, the other track had gone to Thieux. Resul, one ME 109 took a nose dive into mother earth; the P47's got safely away.
As stated above, A B'try moved to protect bridges at Thieux, neat Liege.
After dark quite a few enemy planes came over. We can certify that the 433 AAA Gun Bn got a direct hit on one that we saw burst into flames and crash a few miles N. of Bn CP.
It was a noisy night with our neighbor, the 413rd AAA Gun Bn shooting into the sky from time to time. Besides, the plane that was knocked down last night, our guards saw another crash before daylight this morning east of Bn CP. We do not know who got the plane.
Six American aviators passed through the BnCP today on their way back from Germany where they had crashed in a Flying Fortress and from where they had been able to escape.
A large store of blankets and mattresses have been discovered in a caprtured fort at Liege, and all the B'trys are picking up some winter comfort.. Pistols, rifles and shotguns are also being picked up, some of which are very fancy pieces of ordnance, and are works of art with fancy engraving, inlay work and hand carving.
Many of the men are trading captured German rifles with the Belgians for German pistols and both sides are happy to make the exchange.
13SEP44. There was a new officer added to the Medics today, 2nd Lieut. Jay Makela, MAC, from Minnesota. He will replace one of the Medical Officers in accordance with a change in the T/O.
B & C engaged enemy airplanes at about 2 PM today. B claims 2 Cat. II's on an ME 109 and an FW190.
B, C, and D fired just after dark on an enemy airplane hovering over Liege. The tracers made a beautiful design in the sky, but the intruder didn't like it and fled without dropping his eggs. No claims were made.
B'try A ran into some Germans at their new position in Thieux, and captured 14. Credit for the capture goe to Sgt, Pavlicke, Cpl. King, Tec. 5 Giordanno, Tec. 5 Plaster, And Pvt. Clark. The prisoners were marched through the streets of Thieux on their way to CP, receiving resounding jeers from the civilians they passed. øne old fellow broke into the ranks, selected a tough looking Jerry, and let go a mighty swift kick in the pants.
A short time later some women arrived at the CP, out of breath from running a mile or more, for the pleasure of spitting at the prisoners. They were disappointed that the prisoners had already been moved to the PW Cage.
B'trys B and C moved to Eupen. This town is partly German although it is officially considered Belgium by the Allies. It is also considered Belgium by the Germans. There were no cheers greeting our convoys into the town. There were many frozen faces.
Today is D plus 100, and American forces are on German soil.
Sgt. John J. Masci, of B'try A received a commendation from Col. Waters, CO of 109th Group, for spontaneous, aggressive action against an enemy ME 109 from a broken down M16. The track had been left behind in Liege when the B'try moved to Thieux to await some minor repairs. Upon seeing the enemy approach, Sgt. Masci maneuvered the broken down track to a firing position and opened fire. When the plane was screened by a building, he moved the track past the building and fired some more, and finally moved a third time to engage it as an outgoing target. This plane was brought down as reported above on 11 Sept.
All B'trys moved to Eupen, including Hq's, and we find ourselves in a border town which was Germany before the last war and made a part of Germany in 1918. The Germans considered it still Germany and road signs designate it as Eupen in Aachen area. We had been warned by B & C , who have been here 2 days, that we'd see plenty of frozen faces instead of the wildly cheering population that have lined the streets in France and Belgium. We noted a few "V" signs only and a scattered number of Belgian flags. German flags were prevelant everywhere. The children speak German and we learned that French was forbidden here.The city looked quiet and peaceful today.
B B'try spotted 1000 pounds of sugar, and notified S-4, who is breaking it down to 200 pounds per B'try. The sugar is coarser and browner than US granulated, but it is sweet and welcome in our short rations.
We have a report from the USA by correspondence that the NBC Army Service Hour devoted 10 minutes to the Bn and mentioned, among other things, the part we took in the capture of Cherbourg.
It was a quiet day, but enemy aircraft were seen at one time in the afternoon when a dogfight took place too high up for us to determine results.
Movies were shown at the CP and at all the B'trys.
B'try B and C moved into Germany in protection of FA.
B'try B moved to Schutzheide, supporting the 183rd FA Bn.
C moved to Krauthausen, supporting the 172nd FA Bn.
Both of these towns are SE of Aachen, very close to the German lines.
We have learned unofficially today, through our underground intelligence system, that we have shot down more enemy planes than any AA outfit in the ETO. We are expecting the official score soon, with a breakdown per B'try. We also learned that Col. Patterson has told Gen. Greene that we are tops as an AA Bn., due to our interest, willingness, and initiative.
We had a band (First Service Company) play for the Bn. at the Capital Theater in Eupen. It was well attended by men from all B'trys and they all enjoyed the live entertainment. There were also movies at the various B'try positions.
. Today marked the "Big Purge" in battery headquarters when several key noncoms lost their stripes and others were reshuffled. Reason given was for increased efficiency.
Tec. 5 Reese of B B'try, took prisoner a German soldier in civilian clothes. The enemy surrendered himself, stating that he put on civilian clothes to avoid being shot by our soldiers as he approached. He was turned over to the PW Cage
C B'try shot at an ME 109 this afternoon and claims a Cat II.
B B'try shot down an FW 190 about the same time. First blood in Germany!
Bn. CP moved to Germany, vicinity of Nutheim, near Walheim, about 4 milesSE of Aachen
A B'try moved to Schmidthaf.
D B'try moved to the vicinity of Hahn.
Both these B'trys are 5 miles SE of Aachen
Capt. Bettonville of the medical detachment was transferred to the V Corps today in accordance with the new T/O which allows only one medical officer.
Ex 1st Sgt. Morse, of Hq B'try, accidentally shot himself in the left leg about noon today, resulting in a compound fracture.
Score to date:
A B'try 41/24-1/3 15
B B'try 41/21/326
C B'try 746
D B'try 31/24-1/3 46
Hq B'try ---------- 77
Included in the above is a Robot "V" 1 shot down by a Btry A near Soissons.
Most of the officers and many of the men have found themselves a good place to sleep at night in a captured German bunker. The walls and roof are six feet thick of reinforced concrete. There are steel doors with dogging arrangement on them to make each room sepoarate from the others. There are bunks for 24 men, in tiers of 3 like we used on the LST across the Channel.
It so happened that today was whisky ration day, and activity after dark inside the bunker was divided between those who preferred to have a few snorts, and those who felt safe enough to play poker. Light for poker was furnished by 2 candles and one flashlight. When the candles burned out the poker game had to end.
By this time, one of the officers, made jubilant by some good London gin, looked at the bunks, then at the steel doors with the dogs on them, and was struck by the similarity of the present situation with that of "general quarters" on the LST.
"Dog the doors!", he demanded and proceeded to follow out his order himself as nobody else cared to get off his bunk. It was a most difficult door to dog however, and having finished, he wondered if another officer in the closed room would smother. So he called for him, and kept calling again and again without response. So he undogged the doors, satisfied himself that the officer was still alive, and proceded to "dog the doors" again, and so on into the night. The cries of,"Dog the doors" will long be remembered.
Quiet day today except for our neighbors, the FA, who have been firing over our heads from time to time all day.
Life in the bunker was made more cheerful today by some kerosene lanterns.
At about 0800 there was a considerable amount of shelling of C B'try area by 150's and 8" guns. Many shells landed quite close to track C2, Coney Island, Cpl. Cole in charge.
Sgt. Weaver had a close call when a 150 shell landed close enough to him to throw him down. He jumped up and into a brand new shellhole, then was almost buried by 2 more shells that struck nearby. No damage resulted.
Some whistling signals were heard during the shelling, and our men went over to investigate. They found that the FA had captured a civilian who was signaling the German artillery.
It's a cold, rainy day. All pillboxes are being closed up by bulldozers to prevent their use by infiltrating Germans, should we move out of the area. They do a pretty thorough job. Tons of rock and dirt are heaped up against the doors and portholes. Such a fate befell our bunker, and foxholes are now being dug by by former occupants thereof. A suggestion was made that a deep fox hole be dug in front of the bunker with the hope in mind that the digger might accidently find a doorway leading into the bunker. Suggestion was overruled by higher authorities.
News today of the landing of American and British paratroopers an airborne troops with the capture of the bridges at Einnegan and Arnheim, across the Rhine. The Russians now have most of Estonia, Rumania, and Bulgaria, and are on the borders of Czechoslovakia.
B B'try was heavily shelled this morning but there were no casualties.
Permission was obtained to dig a hole into the bunker and all the O's piched in and dug an entrance. Other pillboxes were similarly opened up by the EM's. We will have to refill on moving, but it is well worth the trouble. Today was rainy and muddy.
Quite a few shells came close to Bn HQ area after dark last night. Capt. Graff decided to move out of his foxhole into the newly opened bunker, and it was a wise choice, because a tree fell across his slit trench during the night. It might have been the rain that knocked it over.
B B'try got official credit for another Cat. I; C B'try for a Cat II.
It stopped raining in the afternoon, and our planes began to appear again overhead. A comforting sight.
Nice clear day. Plenty of US bombers and fighters were overhead all day. One Jerry plane was seen in the distance and was engaged by another AA Bn.
C B'try moved to Rotgen, Belgium, right on the German border.
The weather is still clear, but there has been so much rain here lately that the roads and fields are very muddy. Trucks are having a hard time, often getting stuck in the mud, and even all six wheels driving can't pull them out.Tec. 5 Beamer has been doing most of the rescue work with his halftrack "Horseface", selected because of its winch. Today a gas truck was stuck and Beamer came to the rescue, valuably assisted by Tec. 5 Mozzoni, Tec. 5 Renner, Pvt. Gagne, PFC. Stahl, Pvt. Atchison, and Pvt. Lichanec. A Board of Directors soon joined, including T/Sgt. Repp, Cpl. Cook, Pvt. Ciarmello, PFC. Grady , Cpl .Spitzer, and S/Sgt. Cirino. With all this help, the truck was finally hauled out and tied to the halftrack.
Four US pilots were seen to jump out of some planes at 1500 today when German AA got at the planes. We were horrified to see that the Germans kept shooting at the parachutes all the way down.
This afternoon, PFC. Deakins and Sgt. Strawn of B'try C stepped on a German Rocket Gun while moving into position. The gun went off, resulting in severe burns to both soldiers. Sgt. Strawn almost lost his eyesight, but quick thinking and first aid by Tec. 5 Cochran, C B'try's medic, saved his vision for him.
In the evening we received word that PFC. Maurice H. Deakins had died of burns sustained in the accident.
Capt. Graff was hard at work today, cutting out stencils for the new RN insignia. He spent most of the night on the job, finishing 4 stencils which superimposed to form a 4 color insignia about 12" square. These insignia will go on all the RN vehicles.
Hundreds of P47's and Bombers were seen to the NE and NW all day, bombing and strafing the German lines. The enemy was sure catching hell. Their AA was thick and heavy, and 4 of our planes were knocked down.
The Bn insignia had its first tryout on Halftrack "Helen". Some changes were recommended in the color shade for the sake of a better contrast, but the pattern is very appropriate and very well designed.
The mud in the area is about knee deep in places. There is a boardwalk in front of the Mess, that helps considerably, but sometimes it is hard to find the boards, and you get all gooey going to and from the boardwalk. It has rained every night for the last 10 days and many other days as well.
Today we lost Pvt Albert Margolis, killed in action when a 150 mm shell landed close to his Track B3. He died instantly with a shell fragment through the heart.
In the same explosion, PFC. Franklin J. Schweers sustained a compound fracture of the left thigh.
Bn CP moved to Nuttheim and into buildings evacuated by the Germans. The Mess is now located in a nice grassy orchard. There are ripe apples, pears and plums for the picking. There is even a vegetable garden nearby There are stoves in all the buildings, a coal pile, and it looks like the men will be able to keep dry again.
Two artists made their appearance at the CP: Pvt. Morton F. Daroff of B'try A, and PFC. William J. Ousley from B'try B. They are going to have charge of painting the insignia on the vehicles, using the stencils.
Today a washing machine was discovered in one of the barns, run by a gasoline motor, with a built in stove for heating the water. It was put into use by the Maintence Dept and is already in service as an outdoor laundry, with S/Sgt Woodrow P. Bond in charge. Business is brisk, and there are orders at least 10 days ahead. There is a spinner dryer available, but not yet hooked up.
More credit was received for planes today. The score to date:
ABCD HQ Total Cat I 41/25 5/6 7 1/3 3 5/6 21 1/ 2 Cat II 6 1/3 1 2/3 6 1/3 4 2/3 19
PW15026646 77 305
Starting just before midnight, heavy bombing was heard in the near distance, followed by the most intensive artillery barage anyone here has ever heard. Shells whistled overhead one after another, practically all outgoing, but just before dawn there were quite a few coming in. There wasn't much sleep for anyone-we didn't know if there was a counterattack, a tank battle, or preparation for an attack of our own. There was a bright moon out, making it almost as light as day. B B'try was nearest to the shelling, reported things were hot but not dangerous.
C B'try moved to VanWegen, Germany, about 5 miles from Stelberg.
Today marked General Greene's inspection of the Pn. Everything was shipshape, all floors scrubbed, all men in their cleanest OD's, and in general everything was efficient as hell. We had scouts posted at all strategic points and could put to shame the AAAIS. So, when the general arrived-wait a minute-the whole thing was called off. The general had other things to do, and the net result was a sparkling AAA Bn, all set with no place to go
Lt. Col. Stricklen received a commendation by Gen. Timberlake for his excellent work in leading the Bn. to its high level of efficiency. The letter was dated 25 July, but was just made public today.
We had a heavy air raid between 1420 and 1510 today- about 50 FW's and ME's were seen-and all tracks had plenty of action.It was the largest display of enemy strength we had seen so far. The skies were filled with flak, an there seemed to be enough going up to keep the planes from falling down when they were hit. The men were all on the ball, like shooting at ducks. As an example. in one engagement Track B1 with Sgt. Patterson in charge, got off 40 rounds of 37's on one course; on another he fired 65 rounds, shifting to another target when the first one nlew up. Several men burned their hands on the hot gun barrels, but they were only minor casualties. The following claims were made;
Cat. I 361313
Cat. II. 4-3310
It was a quiet day after yesterday's excitement. Not a Jerry in sight. It must have been too expensive yesterday.
The laundry is in full swing. The washing machine is running from morning to night and there are more GI clothes hanging up on all the fences and inside all of the sheds. It is a welcome opportunity to clean up.
Today marked the beginning of Bn. Photographic Service, with M/Sgt. Steifel in charge, S/Sgt. Bond, and Tec. 4 Beall actively assisting. The lab is modernly equipped with a couple of trays for the chemicals and flashlights for light. Running water is obtained by pouring from one pitcher to another.Modern dryer consists of a mirror to which they stick the finished prints for about 24 hours until dry. The roof leaks and the room is damp, but business goes on as usual. Prospects are good as there are about 100 rolls Awaiting development.
There was lots of shelling at night with shells whizzing over us both ways. One man picked up a shell fragment with his initials on it. However, he was told that he had nothing to worry about as the one with his initials on it had failed to hit him. To which he replied,"I'm not worried about those with my initials on but I'm worried about those marked,'To Whom It May Concern' "
A Btry shot at 2 ME 109's. No runs, no hits, no errors.
Prayer meetings were held today under the auspices of Chaplain Wangberg. It was bright sunshiny weather- a real good Sunday.
Some of our men from A B'try were examining an abandoned German 75 mm. gun when the thing exploded. Tec. 5 Boles, Tec. 5 Brandstetter, and PFC. Godwin sustained minor injuries. They don't know if it was mined or a delayed action charge.
The Cards won the World Series from the Browns today and there is a minor redistribution of wealth in consequence thereof.
A few of the Hq. officers learned how to play Red Dog today, but didn't care much for it. Their favorite games are Dealer's Choice and Black Jack. C B'try goes for Red Dog. D B'try prefers Black Jack. A B'try likewise. B B'try officers read.
Aachen had until 11 AM today today to surrender, but didn't. And at 1100 the guns opened up and soon bombers appeared and then fighters with bombloads under their wings. We had a good view of the process of reducing to rubble this city of 165,000. Ack Ack was plentiful at first but soon became negligable as though the defenders had expended their allotment. We saw some German civilians weeping at the sight of their homes being destroyed through the failure of the German armies to give up the beaten city. However, we watched the show with its promise for the future to all German cities that resisted.
Quiet day except for more air activity in the vicinity of Aachen. There were mostly dive bombers in action today, Swooping gracefully down and up to the sky again to make room for the next of the relay.
An ME 410 came over B'try A area about 1 mile N of Bn CP, dropped some AP bombs, and did some strafing. No damage was done to our men or equipment, and a Cat II was scored by A B'try gunners.
Friday the 13th was unlucky for the Germans who sweated out a huge force of US bombers nearby.
At night the Germans retaliated with a few bombers who dropped some AP bombs into the nearby fields, but caused no damage.
. Plenty of US plane activity all day today again, while the Germans sent many shells over toward our areas, apparently on a time schedule. Shells came in at 0800 for about 5 minutes, then every 2 hours all day long.
2 shells landed close by just after dark. One struck near track B12 and we lost Pvt. Jose M. Garcia with a shell fragment through his heart, killed in action. The other shell struck near track B3 causing minor wounds to Pvt. Milton Goldstrom, Cpl. Vincent C. Novelli, Tec. 5 Arthur E Tinsman, and Sgt. Elbert R Krausz, Jr.
There was plenty of incoming mail today, most of the afternoon, but it let up in time for supper, for which we were duly grateful.
There were enemy aircraft overhead at night but it was too dark to identify them until after the bombs were dropped, when it was too dark to shoot at them Pvt. Jerry G. Caldrone was slightly wounded.
Today we swapped chaplains, when Chaplain Wangberg was relieved and Chaplain Thomas reported for duty with the Bn.
More shelling of our areas occurred today. One of B B'try houses was struck by a shell which passed entirely through the corner of the building to imbed itself into the earth 10 yards outside before exploding. No damage was done, but the crater outside was over 7 feet deep.
Another rainy day.
There was lots of activity throughout the Bn. today getting ready for barrage firing at night at enemy aircraft. Telephone wires are going up everywhere so that Operations Room now resembles a telephone exchange. Enemy aircraft courses are plotted on a map with an AAAIS hookup. A night shift has been organized, but the first night was free of enemy activity.
More rain today kept all air activity down to zero. However, we received official credit for some past shooting and add another Cat I to our official score instead of a Cat. II, also another Cat. II approved.
Rain has caused quite a few outdoor eaters to take cover during meal hours and the dispensary is a favorite gathering place. Many times there is standing room only.
There were no plots on the map board this evening, the second night straight. However, the crews are all set for the first intruder.
Lt. Lundquist of B'try D got off a greatly improved system for plotting enemy aircraft, and for directing a barrage fire, which was immediately adopted and put into operation for the first time at dusk tonight.
Aachen was surrendered by the Germans yesterday. Today some of our men had a chance to visit the city and found it to be an indescribable scene of desolation. Every building showed marks of shelling or bombing. Masonry from large buildings was heaped into the roads. All store windows were broken and merchandise strewn on the sidewalks. There was a dead feeling to the city. There was even an absence of soldiers.
Rain was off and on all day today. There is plenty of gooey mud in the fields. Galoshes are universally required. During clear spells, our P-47's and P-38's the German lines to dive bomb and strafe.
Ordinary day. We are getting used to incoming shells. At night, some enemy planes were over the area and our first barrage went up uncontrolled because it was not plotted, but fired since the enemy dropped AP bombs near B B'try. As soon as B opened up, all B'trys opened up and filled the sky with tracers going up in all directions. No results were observed. We believe, however, that we surprised somebody.
Ho hum. That German artillery sent in more shells all day. It was observed that about one out of three failed to explode. Shorty, the medical mutt, returned to duty today after a week AWOL. He was found near Group. Col. Stricklen picked him up and returned him to us, much to the joy of Tec. 3 Bowen, his immediate superior.
More incoming shells today caused a few good scares. One B B'try track was struck by fragments with no casualties resulting.Another shell exploded across the street from the dispensary about noon, but the house across the street was between the shell and the Bn. Aid Station and absorbed all the shell fragments into its stone walls, resulting in no personnel casualties. One shell fragment made a hole in the roof of Bn CP.
Shorty, the medical mutt, went AWOL again right after breakfast. We think the dog is gunshy.
The barrage was on again tonight when an enemy naircraft came over. It was a good show, well controlled, and bore fruit. The 116th claims a Cat. I. Immediately after the barrage, the German artillery sent over its own barrage of shells, mostly in the vicinity of B B'try's positions. However, there were no casualties or damage done.
One of those triple headers was staged by the Medical Detachment today-Typhus shots, short arm, and dental exam. We were pleased to learn that the Bn. is 100% pure physically.
An FW 190 appeared over the area today at noon, probably by mistake. The AA fire put him behind the clouds quickly, and he was lost to sight. A portion of C B'try has set up on the outskirts of Aachen. A platoon Hq. has been set up in one of the buildings. It was the only building in the vicinity suitable to live in and has a central heating plant in the building. It is quite homelike. Practically all the other buildings in the vicinity show signs of the terrific shelling and bombing they had to undergo.
It seems that a certain Cpl. used another Cpl's steel helmet last night for a purpose for which it was not intended, just to save himself a trip downstairs. He shouldn't have done it! For shame! In apology, he explained that he thought it was his own.
Shelling today followed the road on which we are located, but parallel to it about 100 yards away. "I hope that gunner doesn't lean against his barrel", was an expressed wish.
A Buzz Bomb over the area was headed north which should bring it down either over the German lines or into the North Sea. We were hoping for the former. A heavy shell landed close to B'try C CP. No damage but lots of noise.
It has rained now so many days that we have lost count, but today it was clear- even saw the sun. The air force must have been well rested because they came out in swarms. Enemy aircraft also showed up in the afternoon and were engaged by our gunners. Two Cat. I's are claimed.
Second clear day in a row, but it was cooler, and even the diehards are putting on winter underwear. It is Sunday and there was a good turnout for Chaplain Thomas' prayer meetings.
At night, we fired a barrage at enemy prowlers. Results unknown.
B'try A CP is in a woods with tall evergreen trees doing a perfect job of concealing. The men have built themselves a housing project, using boards from a nearby sawmill to supplement their tents. A typical shack belongs to Tec. 5 Casey, B'try A's mail superintendent, whose home so resembles a doghouse that he has a sign, "Fido", on the entrance. Inside is his bedroll to the right, and a slit trench to the left for quick transfer if and when necessary. Another tent has bedrolls to either side and a slit trench in between, sort of twin beds with booby trap arrangement. Many tents have earth work covered slit trenches or dugouts. There is a large sheltered recreation center in the middle of which a log fire adds cheer and warmth.
Capt. Fenton left for the hospital today to have his sore shoulders treated. Pay day today, in German marks, US style It was also payoff day.
Mess section moved to cover today, having had about all the rain it could absorb. Meals are still served outdoors under a shed in the stone courthouse. There is firm footing in place of the soggy mud in the orchard where Mess spent the last month.
Rain and a quiet day.
The Hq's officers started themselves an Officer's Mess today with chinaware discovered in the CP building and tables lined up to seat 14. First meal was served at supper with a quart of Burgundy offered as a toast. There were even tablecloths and candlesticks.
B B'try positions were shelled off and on throughout the day.
C B'try reported Buzz Bombs headed west.
Four or five enemy aircraft were over the area after dark. The barrage was good and effective. Local AA claimed 3 Cat. I's and 1 Cat. II. Several bombs dropped near B'try B CP but nobody was hurt.
Cpl. LesMeister, B'try C, picked up a suspiciously acting 2nd Lt. as a possible spy and turned him over to a Major at 2nd Armoured Division Headquarters who turned him over to CIC.
Buzz bombs passed over the Bn. areas today.
It was a clear day and there were many US aircraft headed toward the German lines.
At night we opened up the AA barrage at an enemy plane which had dropped AP bombs. Several fires were started, one in HQ's area and one in B'try B's area, which may have attracted other planes, as we had several alerts during the night.
Early this morning, at 0145, AP shells from overhead bombers caused a number of casualties in C B'try. Those wounded were Cpl. Buchanin, Pvt. Hanley, Cpl. Stear, and Pvt. Bishop. None were seriously injured except Stear who had to be evacuated.
At about the same time a large shell crashed through the house where several of our men in B B'try were asleep on the ground floor. The shell went right through to the basement, then exploded, resulting in a serious wound to Tec. 4 Schillinger, whose left leg had to be amputated up to the thigh. Sgt. Delafield and Tec. 5 Joseph McFalls (Medic) were in the same building asleep, but escaped with minor scratches.
At about 8 AM Pvt. Pine of B'try D was struck by a shell fragment in the right arm but the wound was not serious.
This was the greatest number of casualties we have suffered in one day.
B'trys A & C fired at 3 German planes at noon today. Each claims 2 Cat I's and 1 Cat II.
Score to daste:
ABC D HqTotal
Cat I 7 1/2 7 5/6 7 1/3 5 1/3 ____ 28
Cat II 7 5/6 2 2/3 8 1/3 6 1/6 ____ 25
PW's16226646 77 317
Election Day in the USA. Quiet day here.
Robot plane passed over Bn area at 11 PM headed into Germany.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt was reelected yesterday.
Rain continues. Mud is getting thin and watery. Oswald the goose has a nice muddy pool for washing, in which he carefully bathed himself today.
Not much activity hereabouts.
Today we had our first snow, with large white flakes that melted in the oozy mud as soon as it fell. However, the grassy areas were coated with white and remained so for several hours. The temperature was not low enough to maintain the snowfall.
There was a great deal of activity at night lacing panels together for use in guiding our bombers in a big raid to come off soon. The first set required an hour, while the last set took 10 minutes with an assembly line technique developed during the operations. Capt. Cluley was in charge of one team, and T/Sgt. Cronk was in charge of another team. Everybody who came anywhere near the CP that evening was drafted either to one team or the other or to duties supplying both teams. By 2300 the job was completed and the panels were ready to be placed in position next morning.
Armistice Day Anniversary with rain most of the morning and very cloudy all afternoon. There was little activity here.
It rained all day today and there were also some snow flurries. Capt. Fenton returned from the hospital on an overnight pass last night and returned this morning for evacuation to a rear area General Hospital. We fear that means he will be lost to the battalion.
Over 1 inch of snow was on the ground at dawn and it rained all day.
"All Quiet on the Western Front".
Another rainy day. There was considerable shelling all evening by enemy artillery, but no damage was done. A large shell landed at B'try B CP only 20 ft. from their headquarters bldg.
Passes have started to be given to Liege and Verviers, Belgium. The Liege passes are for one day, while those for Verviers are for three days. Passes to Paris are also expected in small numbers.
Rain in the AM. Alert for the big air raid tomorrow.
Big day today. First Army push started towards Duren and the Roer River. The attack started with a mass air bombardment by 1200 heavy bombers and 500 fighter bombers.
In order to mark the bomb release line, this battalion drew the job of laying Identification Panels of bright cerise just in front of the enemy lines (500 yards or less) and extending 4 miles between Haaren and Eilendorf. These were the panels that we prepared about a week ago and have been ready to lay down since that time awaiting a signal which had to be delayed until today because of poor air visibility. We had a bright sunshiny morning and got the signal at about 0900 to mark the lines for the air attack that would commence at 1115. Our two teams accomplished their mission in short order, in the face of mortar and machine gun fire, and returned without a single casualty. Good preparation and the helpful assistance of the 413 Infantry Regiment on the starting line were responsible for the 100% success.
The two teams were lead by Capt. Banks and CWO. Torrence, while Capt. Graff was in charge of Communications. The following men took part in the operation:
Team No. 1: Captain Banks, T/Sgt. Repp, S/ Sgt. Cirino, all from Headquarters Battery, Sgt. Constantino (A B'try), Sgt. Morykan (B), Sgt. Paviliko (A), Sgt. Masci (A), Tec.4 Haskins (A), Tec. 4 Shoemaker (B), Tec. 4 Snead (A), Tec. 5 Merson (A), Tec. 5 Harrington (B), Tec. 5 Hill (B), Tec. 5 McCauly (Hq), Tec. 5 Hooks (B), Tec. 5 Mitchell (B), Cpl. Clemens (A), PFC. Cabral (B), Pvt. Daroff (A), Pvt. Slater (A), Pvt. Pritchard (A), Pvt. Mizell (B). Tec. 5 Mozzoni (Med) was Aid man for this team.
Team No. 2: CWO. Torrence, T/Sgt. Reynolds (Hq), S/Sgt. Gulley (HQ), S/Sgt. Hall (D), S/Sgt. Wolicki (D), S/Sgt. Cochran (C), Sgt. Lipinski (C), Tec. 4 Pendle (D), Tec. 5 Perry (C), Tec. 5 Fry (C), Pvt. Fitspatrick (C), Pvt. Harrington (C), Pvt. Kesler (C), Pvt. J. Davis (C), Pvt. C. Davis (D), Pvt. Bakos (D), Pvt. Simpson (D), and Pvt .Wondersee (D). Tec 5. Alley (Med) was Aid man for this team.
White marking panels were also put up by six men from the 50th Signal Bn. who were attached to us for the operation.
The entire battalion was close enough to the starting line to require shelter from misplaced bombs during the attack. All were ordered to be under cover or dug in until the raid was over. It was a wise precaution for one stray bomb landed close enough to Track C-16 to make a crater 20 ft. by 20 ft. only 5 yards from the slit trench occupied by Tec. 5 O. D. Joyce and Pvt. Molinero. The dirt thrown up by the explosive covered the trench and buried both men, but they were quickly freed by the driver of an adjacent Air Corps truck. Pvt. Molinero was the first to speak. "My it was dark." Neither man sustained more than a hell of a good scare.
Nice clear morning and many friendly planes were in the sky. It was unusually quiet for the first time in weeks with practically no incoming shells. It rained in the afternoon, ending the air activity. Results of yesterday's attack was a 2 mile advance which is still continuing.
First group to Verviers Rest Area returned today after a 3 day trip. Most of the men enjoyed the trip, the change of clothes, showers, beds, and entertainment by the USO. Many went shopping for souveniers but found the prices outrageously high. Some found beer and cognac available. They also seemed happy to get back to work.
The day was beautiful and sunshiny with no ceiling. Planes were out from dawn to well after dark. Barrage firing was suspended because so many of our planes were aloft.
Capt. Kane and a squad of men picked up the panels today. It was uneventful as the lines have been pushed back about 4 miles.
Two Buzz Bombs landed close to Bn CP today, the first at 1000 and the second at 2000. Immediately after the second one exploded, we were called on the phone by 109 Group to see if we were still here. Fortunately, both bombs landed in empty fields and caused no damage.
Chalk up a close call for D B'try. 14 men from Track D-11 and D-12 were asleep in a brick house when, at 0200, a large caliber shell went through the building on the floor above. After passing through both walls, it exploded outside the building causing no damage or casualties. Whew!!!!!
B B'try moved 5 miles forward to Mausbach, just taken from the Germans a few days ago. There are plenty of live mines around and the Engineers are clearing an area for B B'try to move around in. At one time Capt. Potter and Lt. Schoenman opened the door to step out and heard a loud explosion which made them duck back quickly. It was only a row of mines being blown up by the Engineers with an explosive cord.
Hq. B'try discovered a cook among its men disguised as a Personnel Clerk, Not that he wants to type, he prefers to cook. So PFC. Barille had his chance to try out tonight and made some luscious Apple Turnovers. It is up to Capt. Kane now if he will reassign him, and Capt. Kane is being talked to plenty.
Today is Thanksgiving Day with turkey and all the fixin's, including Apple Turnovers by PFC. Barille. There was plenty of food and it was all good. Everyone agreed that it was the biggest and best meal we have had in the ETO. Before midnight, PFC. Barille became a cook.
It was a rainy day today and quiet. Movies were shown at the Bn CP. "The Whistler", with Richard Dix. OK for a rainy quiet day.
Buzz Bombs passed over the area from time to time, headed for Liege. One scored a hit on the 15th General Hospital there and caused several casualties.
It was a quiet day for the Bn. No action. No enemy planes have been seen for well over a week now. There is practically no incoming shell fire and even our own Artillery close by has remained quiet.
Still nice and quiet hereabouts. Some of our guns have started to move away.
We are especially glad to have the 240 mm. guns move as they have been disturbing our sleep nights. Yet we will miss them: there was something comforting about those noisemakers.
B'try had some shelling today and Track B-15 caught a shell full of shrapnel during the night. There were no personnel casualties but the Track needs repairs to the Turret and Machine Guns.
Still no unusual activity for the Bn. The B'trys are showing movies to their men.
Everybody is having smallpox vaccine and typhoid booster shots. No more shots will now be due until Mar. 15th.
We are to get to shoot at Buzz Bombs. One M-15 from B and C each and one M-16 from D will be set up in "Buzzbomb Alley", near 109th Group and will try to prevent the Robots from landing on Liege.
Today was payday and moving day. All B'trys are moving forward between Stolberg and Duren, with Field Artillery Battalions which they are supporting as follows:
A B'try--951st FA Bn.--moving to Bend (S of Schevenhutte).
B B'try--183rd FA Bn.--moving to Heistern.
C B'try--172nd FA Bn.--moving to Mausbach.
D B'try--957th FA Bn. --moving to Scherpenseel.
Hq B'try today saw a lone FW 190 prowling overhead at 1230 and promptly opened fire from every single .50 calibre MG available.They were right on the target too, and claimed their first CAT 1 when the plane was seen to crash in flames. Hq. has been trying since D Day to score, and while they have fired a number of times, this is the first they can be sure they have knocked down..
We have word from Capt. Fenton that he is in a General Hospital in Paris and expects to be evacuated further to the rear. Tec./Sgt. Patrick McTeigue is also in Paris having his feet worked on.
Today has been quite quiet for the Batallion. Even our tracks in "Buzz Bomb Alley" have had no action. The clouds are rather low and though they can hear robots from time to time, they are above the clouds and therefore not suitable targets.
The Luftwaffe staged the biggest air raid since D Day today. From a cloudy sky which had them flying low, they swooped down to strafe the highways and drop antipersonnel bombs throughout the area. It was a field day for our men at the Tracks, with more targets than they had ever had in a single day Nor did they waste their opportunity. They trained their guns at the enemy planes like they were shooting at ducks, but to tell the truth, they liked this kind of target better. The entire action lasted just over an hour (1335 to 1445) and about 30 planes were engaged, of which 19 were seen to crash and 9 more seemed to be pretty well hit. The following claims have been made:
Hq. A B C D Total
Cat .1 1 5 6 2 5 19
Cat. 2 0 7 0 2 0 9
Overheard at the 957th FA Bn.:-"Those shooting fools, the 474th, are with us again." D B'try is in support of the 957th and put on a good show. One plane crashed close to a 947 Gun, the pilot was thrown clear and bounced twice, dead as a mackeral. It is alleged that on the second bounce he was minus his Luger.
A good part of the day was spent in locating yesterday's plane crashes. B'try A wasn't too satisfied with the dozen planes they got yesterday and shot down another Cat. 1 today for good measure.
B'try Hq. moved to Mausbach, close to C B'try. B B'try occupied Mausbach a short while back so the town is something like home. It's a badly shelltorn village, all roofs and windows being missing from the buildings. But with a little work the houses are being made hospitable.
C B'try claimed a Cat 2 today on an ME 109 that came over to take a look around. It only stayed about a quarter of a minute, but C B'try's guns were on it and it looked like it was in considerable distress as it disappeared over the horizon.
It was a rather quiet day especially after the action of the last few days. We learned that we have fired 53% of all the 37mm and 12 % of all the 50 caliber fire since D-Day at enemy planes.
We had a visit today from General Oldsfield and Colonel Waters who looked over Hq B'try then C B'try and B B'try. In the evening we were notified that we had an allotment of 90 day passes to the USA for men who had been wounded in action twice and returned to duty and had been in combat six months or more Seven men are eligible.
All seven names were approved for a 90 day furlough to the USA. The lucky men are: Tec. 5 Edward F. Bowles, Jr. (A), Tec. 5 Robert Moore (A), Sgt. William J. Strawn (C), Tec. 5 Samuel F. Brown (C), Tec. 5 Albert J. Pandelli (C), Tec. 5 Samuel D. Buchanin, Pvt. Byron A. Pine. They were notified late last night and not one of them slept a wink waiting for daybreak and the first lap of their trip. They left for VII Corps Headquarters at 1000, and from there they go to to Verviers, Belgium, then to Paris, England, and the USA. They have been assured that they will reach the US on or before Dec. 23rd and should all be home for Christmas.
B'try A moved into Hurtegon Forest. There are plenty of mines and booby traps all around and the men are moving about with great caution. One mine explosion knocked Lt. Mitchell against a tree 100 yds away from where it exploded. No damage to the Lt. or to the tree.
Ozzie disappeared today.It is believed that Ozzie has met a sudden and violent end. Only yesterday did Ozzie strut boldly but not wisely down the main street of Mausbach where certain individuals from an adjacent Armored Division looked at him with lustful eyes which spoke "Duck Soup". But this evening only the scattered downy feathers tossed around hither, thither, and yon by the breeze remains as evidence of our former mascot. Farewell, Ozzie.
We heard a great deal of artillery firing just after midnight this morning, and again at 0700.There were many tanks moving eastward and many US aircraft in the sky. It was a good clear day after a night of light snowfall, and apparently our neighbors, the 3rd Armored were out for business. During the day 11 enemy planes were sighted by A and B B'trys and they fired upon them, but the planes were out of range and no score resulted.
B B'try saw 3 enemy planes quite high up, but were unable to get a hit.
In contrast to the above 3 enemy planes, ther were hundreds of US and British planes flying around to and from the German lines.
D B'try was alerted for a move.
The day was cloudy and rainy and not much activity was noted in the Bn. areas. A B'try is finding life rugged in the Hurtgen Forest, living outdoors, It is easy to keep warm in the daytime, either by building fires or moving around, but nights are cold and damp and fires have to be concealed. Morale is good though and they still haven't gotten over the 13 planes they shot down a week ago. We hear that Lt. Rosenberg has a slight case of crosseyes from watching too many planes at the same time.
D B'try moved to Schontal, about 2 1/2 miles east of Eschweiler. It was another cloudy rainy day. No Luftwaffe. No tracking. No firing.
The quiet was broken today by the Battle of Verviers, in which Cpl. Walter A. Burger, B'try C, fortified by some cognac celebrated a one day pass by taking on the whole US Army until violently suppressed by several MP's. He then caught his second wind and beat up the MP's too. Of course he was finally suppressed. When Colonel Waters of 109th AAA Group heard of the incident he commented, "Fighting 474th".
Still another quiet day It is 10 days until Christmas and many packages have been arriving, though first class mail is not coming in well at all. There is plenty of package sharing going on, the most plentiful delicacy now being fruit cake. Most packages have arrived in good condition, and everyone has at least one package at this time.
B B'try moved to Jungersdorf, about 5 miles east of Echweiler. C B'try moved to the vicinity of Heistern.
After dark we were visited by the German Air Force. which came over in strength. They dumped a great many bombs and were heavily engaged by our neighbors, the AA 90's.
There were many enemy planes over our areas all night and much noise from bombing, strafing, and from our own 90's. At 0500 we were alerted for enemy paratroopers and went to our previously planned defense stations, but none were dropped in our vicinity. The Luftwaffe went into hiding at daybreak, and all day long, our own planes swarmed through the skies.
After dark the enemy planes came out again, but were less in strength than the night before. We learned that these raids signaled the onset of a huge German counteroffensive focused between Monschau and Trier into the Ardennes of Belgium.
More raids by the enemy air force all through the night made lots of noise but nobody was hurt in our areas. There were several daytime raids too, in the morning,chiefly in B'try B area. B'try A was ready for them. Score for the morning:
Cat 1 810
Cat 2 711
The afternoon became cloudy and we saw no more action.
It was a qiiet day except for a surprise visit by 2 ME 109's which strafed very low over Mausbach at 1613. Nobody was hurt. At night occasional low flying enemy planes buzzed around but no attack was made.
A single enemy plane swooped out of the low clouds over Hq. B'try, strafed, and disappeared. It was so low we thought it would take off the rooftops. No damage was done except for a few bullet holes in the roof of the house that was occupied by Personnel Section.
The Bn is alerted for movement with the VII Corps to an assembly area, as reserves against the German counteroffensive which has progressed considerably into Belgium in a salient 45 miles wide at the base between Monschau and Trier. They have been helped considerably by cloudy skies. C and D B'try moved to Noiseau, which is 5 miles north of Marche. Radio silence and gun silence has been ordered.
Bn Hq moved to Miecret, north of Marche.
A B'try moved to Bosseret, near Mean.
D B'try found a Searchlight Unit had attached itself to their convoy for their move yesterday and was instructed to detach themselves at once. The S/L and operators were returned to its Bn Hq.
It rained all morning and was cloudy all day, still favoring the German penetration into Belgium.
B B'try moved to Mean last night in a rugged night move. They are now assembled near Miecret waiting for the 183rd FA Bn to set up, after which they will take up supporting positions. During the move, Lt. Schoenman's jeep was overrun by a truck, resulting in a cut close to his left eye-not serious. In another accident, Pvt. Steward Lambert and PFC. Walter Karnes were run over by a truck and both had to be evacuated. The extent of their injuries has not been determined yet, but it is believed Pvt. Lambert was seriously hurt.
D B'try moved to the vicinity of Bossert.
An SS soldier was captured nearby in civilian clothing and was turned over to Corps S-2 for questioning. He had failed to discard his organizational ring, which identified him.
The day cleared up for the first time since the Ardennes counteroffensive started and Allied planes were up in hundreds. Our Belgian friends were very happy to see the display of strength and as a matter of fact, we were very happy ourselves.
We were put on a gas alert today-just a matter of precaution in case the Hun wants to play even dirtier.
Radio silence was lifted today as the reserve force of which we are a part was committed. We are still under orders not to fire unless attacked. There was a lot of shelling into B and C B'try areas.
D B'try moved toHamois, 5 miles NE of Ciney.
A B'try moved 1 mile S of Noseau, 4 miles N of Marche.
An ME109 was observed in B B'try area chasing a P-47 that seemed to be in trouble. Cpl. Woodford's Track opened up with it's37 mm and twin 50's, got a direct hit on the ME 109 and blasted it out of the sky. The P-47 dipped it's wings and got away.
It was a nice clear Christmas day with plenty of US aircraft in the skies bearing bundles for Hitler. There is a great feeling of confidence everywhere that the German counteroffensive is slackening up and being held.
Dog B'try moved to the vicinity of Haversan, 4 miles SE of Ciney.
The Bn was alerted against an all night air attack which was expected to take place after dark followed by an attack by the 116 PZ.
D B'try fired at an ME410 at their new position at 2300 but made no claims. At 2350 they shot down a JU88.
A B'try fired at an unidentified plane by moonlight but makes no claims.
There was some air activity by enemy planes during the night and much artillery fire was heard, but nothing serious developed in our areas.
The expected all out attack was smeared by our friends from the Second Armored.
B B'try is moving to Oppagne, which is 1 1/2 milis N of Soy.
D B'try moved hither and yon several times today but are to return to their former location at 0600 tomorrow. It seems that they were temporarily supporting the 266 FA Bn through error and are to return back with with the 957th.
Lots of friendly Bombers passed over our area at 1830 headed for the "Bulge".
Snow fell today, ending a 5 day period of good aviation weather, but our planes could still be heard over the clouds. The radio reported a flash from SHAEF stating that the German push was definitely stopped and that no major objective had been obtained.
More snow fell today and roads are getting slippery.
D B'try is moving to Evelette with the 957 FA Bn for maintenance. The first platoon moved today and the second platoon will move tomorrow.
The Bn. is to set up a barrage against night raiders again and is to take part in paratrooper defense with Lt. Col. Stricklen in charge of this area.
The Btrys were briefed for night firing today and paratrooper defense. The skies are still cloudy and our areas are quiet.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Perhaps to celebrate, enemy aircraft were over A B'try last night, but since they didn't commit a hostile act, the battery refrained from firing. It was too dark anyway. About midnight however, they swooped down and fired rockets at our position.
In the early morning hours, six buzz bombs came in and all landed within one-half mile of B'try A CP. Much noise but no damage or casualties.
There was a steady inflow of artillery fire also at B'try A during the morning.
Then, to cause insult where they could do no injury, a single enemy plane visited Sgt. Marshall's section of B'try A. It came, it saw, it crashed! Sgt. Marshall's men had both tracks pouring fire into the plane 'til it burst into flames and crashed at Noiseau (Cat. No. 1).
In the afternoon B'try A moved to Erezee. B'try C moved to Clerheid, one mile east of B'try A's position.
Bn CP moved out of Miecret today, headed for a chateau at Deux Rys at the top of a hill. They arrived to find that R. H. I. P., and that a Brig. Gen. had just selected the very same spot for his Hq. So a quick reconnaissance was made and they landed at Yviers, atop another hill nearby. They found some others moving in, and a field artillery ready to move out but no orders. It looked like a crowded place. Then we learned that there was something better at Barveau, so we up and hied us hence. We arrived in darkness but found temporary billets for everyone, and so we spent the night.
A B'try was heavily shelled today in its new area. No damage or casualties.
B B'try moved to Monchenoul
D B'try moved to Soy.
B'trys A, C, and D are now lined up on the Hotten-Grand Menil road. To the south are the Germans in the Ardennes salient.
Today Lt. Ferden and Lt. Horton switched B'trys. Lt F. went to B, Lt. H. to D.
The Odyssey of Bn Cp continued today with a final move to Lignefly, a very small village on top of another hill near their first location at the chateau. From here, spies were on the lookout for signs of evacuation of the chateau. We even had Capt. Kane posted there on some pretext. Just after noon we got word that Gen. and his Hq. has moved out, so we sent over a token force to hold it. Two hours later, the force returned-the chateau had been occupied by a Med. Bn.
An A B'try truck was struck by shell fragments at 2030. Nobody was hurt. There has been a good deal of shelling of B'try A's positions all day.
More shell fire fell in B'try A's area. Somebody must be mad at them. Roysford Smith of B'try C went to sleep last in a barn. This morning he started to walk and stepped on something. that moved. He flashed his light down quickly and saw that it was the head of a General! His apology was accepted.
It was a nice clear day today after 2 days of snow and cloudiness. No enemy planes around but plenty of U. S. stuff in the skies.
More snow today and cloudy. All our positions were quiet. Score today:
ABCD Hqs Total
Cat. 1 9 3/4 10 1/3 8 1/3 7 1/2 - 351/2
Cat. 2 10 5/6 2 2/3 9 1/3 6 1/6 - 29
PW's 16226646 77 317
B'try B moved to Chauvraimont, 2 1/2 Miles E. of Grandmenil.
B'try A moved to LaFosse. Their convoy was shelled by heavy artillery while on the road but no damage was done.
B'try D moved to Dochamps, surrounded by Germans on 3 sides. Artillery is firing at its shortest range from here-1 charge.There are many dead Germans in the fields and quite a few tank carcasses.
The area that the Bn occupies is very much congested with U. S. troops trying to use the little cover that is still standing in the shell torn villages on the northern slope of the Ardennes salient.
When Btry A moved out of Erezee today, Bn CP sent in a holding detail for a proposed move tomorrow.
Bn CP moved a forward echelon to Erezee.
There was a heavy snowstorm overnight, making a depth of 6 inches of snow by dawn. Roads are getting very difficult for traffic, but main roads are getting cleared. Co's are spreading thin layers of gravel on the slippery highways.
B'try B moved to LaVaeux.
B'try C moved to Grandmenil.
B'try B is with a thin wedge of the 1st Army into the northern side of the Ardennes salient. They have been receiving a good deal of mortar fire and can hear the serenade of machine guns all day and all night. First they hear the brrrp, brrrp, brrrp of German mgs., followed by the rat-tat-tat-tat of American mgs., then silence from the Germans. The area is also noisy due to the concentration of U. S. artillery firing.
New awards for planes shot down on Dec. 3rd at the Nutheim area adds 6 Cat 1's and 3 Cat 2's to the Bn score. "We wuz robbed", the men all agree. Our own tabulation was 19 Cat 1's and 9 Cat 2's, so we only received one third of the credit we should have. Said Lt. Brothwell, whose B'try A was credited with 1 1/4 Cat 1's and 2 Cat 2's, "What am I going to say to my men who poured enough lead into 12 planes to destroy them and actually saw 5 of them crash?" Capt. Potter of B B'try got 2 1/2 Cat 1's out of a claim of 6 Cat 1's. Capt. Potter doesn't swear, but was reported to have said,"Spit for the boids". Capt. Herlihy of C B'try refused to be flustered. He got 1/2 Cat 1 and 1 Cat 2 out of a claim for 2 and 2. Capt. Peterson of D B'try got 1 3/4 Cat 1's out of 5 Cat 1's he would swear they shot down. "Aw, what's the use of counting them?" Capt Kane of B'try Hq is still searching for the report for the one B'try Hq got. No soap! He can be quoted thusly: "I would categorically reiterate that certain individuals whose nomenclature at this precise moment I have no cognizance, are sexually intercoursed up".
Pfc. O'Malley of B'try D saw some strangers in the chow line today and when he went over to investigate, found that 3 German soldiers had gotten hungry and were trying to crash the mess. So he took them prisoner.
The world premiere of "Rhapsody in Blue" was shown today in Erezee, and many of the personnel had the opportunity to see it. Very good show.
Still griping about the miserly awards for planes yesterday. Our experts have figured out that in official credits at this moment, the 464th leads all AAA in the ETO including Gn Bn's and AW Bn's in both Cat 1's and Cat 2's, and total. Also, that the 109th Grp. of which we are a part, has more planes to its credit than any other Group, Corps, or Brigade. We expect, however, that the 116th Gn Bn will pass us by through their splendid firing on the nights of Dec. 16th, 17th, and 18th.
We were officially notified today that we can wear campaign stars for the battles of Normandy, and for Northern France No. 1.
We have also learned that we were nominated by the 109th for an award by the French government, nature of which is unknown at present.
The Germans counterattacked locally in B B'try area, thru a heavy mortar barrage and many air-bursting shells. The attack was smothered by the 3rd Armored, Corps artillery, and rocket firing Platoons.
B B'try moved to Hebronval, with its FA Bn and elements of the 3rd Armored Div. The area is like a finger into the German salient. Sounds of Brrrp guns, mortars, and screaming mimis are heard all the time, coming from 3 directions.
Pvt. Stanley of B'try B was badly hurt today while chopping wood, when a splinter flew into his right eye. It is expected that he will lose his eye.
A B'try moved to Collas.
D B'try rear moved to Dochamps, previously occupied by D B'try forward, which moved to Odeigne. These frequent moves by our B'try's are coincident with the squeezing out of the Von Runstedt salient. The General seems to be in trouble now.
Bn forward CP moved to Malempre.
Bn D rear and Btry C moved to Les Taille.
B'try C underwent quite a bit of heavy shelling today, as a result of which Cpl. Schroeder was slightly wounded by shell fragments, but was able to return to duty. Also today, Tec. 5 Kahn of B'try C stepped on a mine and had the heel of his right foot blown off.
B'try B, 1st Platoon, moved to Petit-Langlin.
Bn supply section joined Hqs forward at Malempre leaving Maintenance, Personnel, Hqs, and Medics still in Lignely.
D B'try forward is setting up at Dinez.
B'try B 2nd Platoon moved to Ottre.
The rest of D B'try moved to Dinez.
2nd Lt. Griffin of D B'try was on reconnaissance for his platoon when he ran into a heavy barrage of 150 mm shells. One landed close to him and tore up his left thigh so severely that it had to be amputated.
We had the sad experience of losing 2 men from B'try A. Pfc. Charles C. Cowart and Pvt. Pascal Harris were killed in action today when a booby trap attached to a mine exploded, killing them both instantly. This makes four bad casualties in four days.
Bn CP forward moved to Bihain
Bn CP rear moved to Malempre, taking over the buildings vacated by forward.
Today we were electrified by the announcement that the Russians had broken thru the German lines in Poland and had captured Warsaw.
A and B B'try's had quite a bit of shelling today resulting in a slight wound to Tec. 5 Mitchell of B'try B.
More shelling of A B'try areas occured today but the worst of it fell on the old area after the B'try had moved forward to Mont-le-Ban.
More snow and mist made visibility almost nil. Traveling was very bad. Roads were slippery and several times the half tracks skidded into ditches and had to be pulled out by other half tracks. No damage occured, however.
Report from C B'try men came in to the effect that deer hunting was good. Fresh deer meat is now being served on many tracks.
Lots of snow and drifts today. Bull dozers are clearing the highways. Our drivers are averaging 2 miles per hour on their trips.
B'try A was again shelled by 150 mm shells. Several vehicles were hit but nobody was hurt.
Germany lost Crakow to the Russians.
More snow and heavy clouda all day.
C B'try moved to Mont-le Ban, right close to B'try A.
Several of our officers and men have had occasion to visit Paris this month. Lt. Bailey went there for a week on Jan. 14 to attend school on Post-War Education. Major Nininger spent 3 days there drawing liquor rations for the Bn.
Lt. Kinzis and 10 men left for a 3 day furlough.
The VII Corps has accomplished its mission in the battle of the Ardennes and is drawing a 2 week rest and maintenance period to start in a day or two.
A quiet Sunday. The Germans have been pushed out of most of the bulge and have stopped firing at our position, for the present at least. Preparations are under way now for a maintenance period at Namur.
The 1st Platoons of B'try's C and D arrived in Namur for a 3 day period of overhauling to all their motor vehicles at the 273 Ord. Shops. This calls for a complete inspection of all vehicles, wash, paint, and repair. The 273rd Ord. Bn is set up in an old Belgian barracks area, used also as German barracks during their occupation. The shops show signs of "Yankee" high pressure technic , with large painted billboards inviting all to come in for repair and cleanup. German PW's are supplying man power for all the laborious tasks, but the skilled work is being done by G. I.'s.
After dark the men are allowed passes. Two movies in English are available, also two in French. There is a Recreation Centre nearby and plenty of taverns. Real women walk the streets and our men are quick to take the opportunity to fraternize with them.
The men are quartered in several large rooms. There is a general feeling of release from battle and a realization that we had a tough time in the Ardennes battle. Under the circumstances it is not surprising that considerable hell is being raised.
Lt. Aikley's and Lt. Kundigonis's men are performing wonders on their tracks with wonderful cooperation from the 273rd Ord. Bn.All troubles are being rectified. Anything needing repair is being fixed. There is a systematic assembly line technic that misses nothing.
A restaurant has been located that serves beefsteak and French fries plus a bowl of soup for 100 Belgian Francs. A barber has been discovered who gives a good haircut for 6 Francs, and a good shave for 3 Francs. At these prices, how can one neglect his tonsorial appearance? Delicious ice cream servings could be bought for 15 Francs, and you could get pie a la mode, consisting of a huge portion of pie and two large dippers of ice cream for 25 Francs. You could also buy whole pies from bakery stores.You never saw so much shopping done by G. I. soldiers. You'd think they hadn't been fed for months.
B B'try moved to Hubine.
Bn CP, forward and rear, moved to Miecret.
D B'try is moving toward Ciney.
C B'try moved to Assesse.
A B'try moved to Hamois.
All B'try's are now away from the sounds of battle and getting their first chance to relax since last August. They are mounting 50% air guard in their new area and permitting those who are not on shift to go on pass.
B'try D arrived at Flostoy
All B'try's are now in the vicinity of Ciney, not far from Namur.
The 1st Platoons and C and D B'try's are returning from maintenance at Namur while the 1st Platoons of A and B B'try's are now taking their turns. The cleaned up tracks look like new and the men are proud of their appearance.
Capt. Edward Levant arrived today as the new Bn dentist.
Hard work on the maintenance of tracks at Namur All the men are getting the chance to take hot showers and there is a lot of exhuberant fun at night.
Somebody pulled a pistol and started shooting, so was incarcerated by the MP's who confiscated his P-38. He was released in custody of Capt. Graff after a heart to heart talk with the Provost Marshall, made a trifle more difficult when our culprit accidentally swept a stack of phonograph records off the table.Maybe the MP's were glad to get rid of him.
The barracks rooms are in an uproar most of the night. Lots of swearing and fighting around, but a good time is being had by all.
The maintenance period is being cut short because ordnance has to service eight other Bn's in the next eight days. 1st Platoons of A and B finished up and returned to their areas. 2nd Platoons of C and D B'try's arrived early this morning but only get one day. However, all 3rd echelon maintenance will be done on any vehicle that needs it.
2nd Platoons of C and D B"try's left Namur and the 2nd Platoons of A and B took their place for two days, and so our stay with the 273rd Ord. Bn draws to a close.There are many last minute trips to the restaurants for steak and potatoes. Today we discovered a good setup for for only 70 Francs! Why couldn't we have found it a week ago? T. S,
Last day at Namur. We will look back to this period with a great deal of satisfaction for the good work done and the patient cooperation of the 273rd Ord. Bn. The tracks look like new. In fact, many new jeeps have been received in place of our old ones.
All the B'try's are back in their rest areas and making the most of their unusual freedom. Movies are being shown daily in a little movie house in Houffalaize,to which men are being transported in trucks. Sometimes doughnuts and coffee are served by Red Cross gals. Not a plane in sight! Not a shell coming in or going out! You'd hardly Know there was a war going on!
Official score to date
Cat 1's 11 1/2 10 1/3 9 1/3 7 1/2 - 38
Cat 2's 12 5/6 2 2/3 9 1/3 6 1/6 - 31
The Battalion lost Capt. Kane today (its genial Hq B'try Commander and Battalion Adjutant) because of sciatica. It is expected that he will not return to active duty.
Lt. Bailey took over the job of Hq B'try Commander and Lt. Makela is now Special Services Officer temporarily. Incidentally, Lt. Makela is now a First Lieutenant as of today, and considering the extra pay, should have no trouble running the PX and Special Services besides his job as MAC.
Location of the Batteries: Hq-Miscreit; A-Hamois; B-Hubinne; C-Assesse; D-Flostrey.
End of the rest period is in sight as we are alerted for a move back to Germany. Elements of the VII Corps are already on the road in the direction of Liege and points East.
Lt. Makela's PX truck was assaulted by a jeep on the wrong side of the road, whose driver and passengers were pretty well banged up. Truck is O. K.
March orders for C B'try-moved to Stolberg with the 172 FA. A B'try also moved to the vicinity of Stolberg Field with the 951 FA and were there reassigned to the 172 FA. D B'try, moving with the 957 FA, and B B'try, with the 183 FA pulled into Stollberg late in the day. Guess what kind of weather we had. You're right-it rained!
Bn CP moved back to its old area at Mausbach that it had left in December for the "Battle of the Bulge". The whole Bn is now assembled and awaiting orders.
The Batteries took new assignments today and are situated as follows:
A is with the 172 in the vicinity of Heistern.
B is still in Stolberg with the 183 FA.
C is with the 957 FA at Langweh.
D is with the 951 FA at Schonthal.
Today's weather report is rainy and cold!
B'try B moved to Gressenich with the 183 FA
B'try D was given a shakeup, removing all officers and reassigning them to other positions in the Battalion. An entirely new staff was selected from among the Bn officers to take their places. Changes included: Capt. Peterson went to Hq as Adjutant; Lt. Aikley and Lt. Lindquist went to B'try C; Lt. Anderson went to B'try A. The new lineup for B'try D was: Capt. Banks as BC (formerly S-2 at Bn); Lt. Bellisario as Executive Officer (formerly held the same job at C B'try). As Platoon Officers came Lt. Howard (of A B'try): Lt. Short and Lt. Horton (of B B'try); Lt. Lyon (of C B'try).
The S-2 job at Bn Hq went to Capt. Graff.
Bn CP received a sudden march order from a 3rd Armored Division "Star", and landed in Eshweiler, a change for the better. B'try's A, C, and D are alerted for moves for impending action on the Roer River.
Lt. Kinzie and one half of B'try C's Second Platoon moved to the forest about one and a half miles southwest of Derichsweiler (near Duren) and the Roer River with a Battery of the 957 FA Bn.
B'try D shifted its CP to Langerwehe. One half of B B'try's1st Platoon moved to the forest southwest of Duren with a Battery of the 183 FA Bn.
Flood warnings were given to all the Batteries, that a dam controlling the water level of the Roer River is all set for blowing up by the Germans if the U.S. gets too close. Methods of coping with this possible eventuality were discussed.
Quiet, rainy, and a chilly day. B B'try gets credit for a Cat.1 shot down in December.
The rest of B'try B moved to the forest southwest of Derichsweiler.
B'try C was assigned to the 104th Infantru Division! Until now they were "in support of" the 957 FA.
B'try's B and D get missions protecting bridges that the Army expects to throw across the Roer River soon. Today they went to reconnoiter positions at the proposed bridge sites. All signs point to a push here soon.
German air activity today gave our men some practice
shooting. First B'try B sighted two FW190's which were too high to fire at, while later, B'try D sighted two that might have been the same ones, but still too high., although they sent down a volley of MG fire.
Finally, tracks C-11 and C-15 caught the two ME-109's sneaking down low at 200 feet and let them have all they needed to bring them both crashing to earth in the vicinity of Duren. Score: 2 Cat. 1's.
B'try B moved CP to Derichsweiler, although the tracks stay in the forest, one and a half miles southwest.
D B'try engaged two ME-109's, but there was no score on either side.
Lt. Horton and Lt. Howard were making a reconnaisance for B'try D's proposed bridge protection sites over the Roer River and were fired at by Burp guns and 20 mm guns. Nobody hurt though.
There was copnsiderable German activity at night, reminiscent of the days before the push they made into the Ardennes. Large bombs were dropped near the B'try D and Bn HQ areas. Much noise and plenty of ack-ack was provided by our 90 mm friends who fired constantly. No damage to our Battalion noted.
S/Sgt. Roy E. Hall of B'try D wins the first Battlefield Commission of the Battalion when the recommendation of Lt. Gen. Stricklen came back affirmed today. He will be honorably discharged to accept the commission of 2nd Lt. tomorrow.
Plenty of shooting to the east could be heard overnight, including 30 cal., 90's, and buzz-bombs.
1st Lt. Joe Abate, Jr. arrives from 3rd Repl. Depot and will go to B'try C.
2nd Lt. Roy E. Hall was assigned to B'try B today, after being sworn into the Army again in a ceremony at the Bn CP. Gold bars were supplied by Lt. Makele.
Ten of our men were transferred to the 238 Combat Engineers today.
17FEB454 12 men left for England today on seven day passes. T/4 Perrin of Hq. Mess is scheduled to get married to a girl he was sweet on in Bridgewater.
Movies at all Batteries. There is now a daily movie in Eschweiler, changing every two days. --Admission free!
B'try D reported seeing two P-47's strafe the autobahn nearby but did not engage them, not knowing whether they were friendly and lost, or an enemy in disguise. Anyway, they were out of range.
Quiet day. Real baths with hot water are available in Stolberg.--also plenty of showers. Serviced by Germans and civilians. Quite a few are taking advantage of the deal to shed a few layers of dirt.
"All Quiet on the Western Front" during the day. Luftwaffe over about 8:00 PM drawing much 37 and 90 mm fire in the distance. Later, many RAF bombers came over to put on a real display of bombs on east bank of Roer River.
Washington's Birthday! Celebrated today by a number of visits by the Luftwaffe! There were raids all day long, from 0745 to 1735. All Batteries fired and all scored. The predominating enemy plane was the ME-262---rocket propelled. There were also some JU-88's and ME-109's.
At 0750, B'try's A and D engaged five JU-88's and ME-262's which dropped three bombs in the DF B'try area causing a slight finger injury to T/5 Fitzgerald. One JU-88 was seen to crash as the result of our fire at 1130 hours. A shell came whistling over to Track B-10 and caused four casualties---none serious---though Pvt. Cummings and PFC Agostine were evacuated. Cpl. Rohland and T-5 Patterson returned to duty.
At 1120, B'try C engaged an ME-262 which fired two rockets at track C-11, the result being two craters, twenty feet in diameter and twenty feet deep. No casualties.
At 1120, B'try D shot down a falling bomb, exploding it harmlessly. At 1125, a bomb dropped close to a B'try track, damaging a jeep.
But the enemy paid for their fooling around. In six raids, twenty-one planes were engaged and we claim three Cat I's and five Cat. II's.
Brothwell finally got his Captaincy today as a result of the opening left by the loss of Captain Kane.
At 0230, a tremendous barrage of thousands of our guns opened fire and the big push was on over the Roer River. The earth trembled and shook as every piece of artillery in the vicinity fired its load as often as it could. for two solid hours. It sounded as if everything had broken loose. Nobody could sleep for the noise and vibration was too tremendous. Then the intensity died down, though the firing was considerable all day long.
About six ME-262's came over our area to look around, then scooted off. We fired but they got away.
B'try B made final reconnaissance for defense of Roer bridges.
B'try C, First Platoon, moved to defend a bridge at Weisweiler, west of the Roer River.
B'try D was relieved from the 951 FA and is defending Langerwewehe. They are on the alert for a new mission.
B'try D moved to defend Roer River bridges at Birksdorf. B'try B was relieved from the183 FA and are at Rolsdorf, defending bridges over the Roer River.
B'try A moved to Belsdorf, on the Roer River---but are in defense of the172 FA there. While on the move at 1045, they were attacked by six ME-262's and scored a Cat. II.
B'try C moved to Mariawailer, on the Roer River.
There were in all , five raids today by ten enemy planes. Our score: Cat. I (1), Cat. II (2). No damage or casualties.
Bn CP forward, moved to Langerwehe.
B'try B moved tracks to protect engineers at the Autobahn river.crossing of the Roer River.
B'try B is now protecting engineers at RR bridges over the Roer.
Bn CP forward, moved to Derichsweiler.
B'try C, Second Platoon, and CP, moved to Morschenick.
B'try A recieved quite a bit of artillery fire from 2200 to 2400 hours.
B'try D lost its Mess truck which was standing next to a battered up building. Concussion from friendly artillery caused the walls to crumble on it. No one was hurt.
Track A-14 hit a mine today and it damaged the vehicle. No casualties, however.The track was pulling out off of a field to join the convoy when it struck the mine.
B'try A noved to Buenfeld.
B'try C 2nd Platoon, was relieved from the 957 FA and is defending Autobahn bridges at Hoven.
Bn CP Forward, moved to Duren---what a mess of a city!
B'try A moved with the 172 FA to Buir.
Bn HQ rear moved from Duren from Eschweiler.
B'try A moved to Buir with the 172 FA Bn. Later in the day they moved to Sindorf and engaged some FW-190's, shooting down one for a Cat.I.
B'try C had considerable enemy shelling and mortar fire. They were also strafed several times and bombed by low flying enemy planes. They are defending Autobahn bridges and also Erft Canal bridges at Glesh, Yaffendorf, and Bergheim.
B'try B also had action against FW-190's
In today's shooting episodes, B'try A got oneFW-190 for sure, also a probable. B'try D probably got another.
Enemy aircraft were reported to be strafing along the Roer River at night with red and green lights on. In the early morning (about 0530) they bombed the banks of the Erft Canal and destroyed a B'try C trailer in the action.
B'try C LSO also absorbed quite a bit of artillery fire without casualties.
B'try A got in some early morning shooting, to distroy a ME-109 and a ME-262 before breakfast.
B'try D was another early riser and scored a Cat.II on a ME-262 before breakfast. Those ME-262's are the fastest targets they have had to shoot at yet.
B'try B, 1st Platoon, moved to Birksdorf and fired several times but made no claims.
Bn CP forward moved to Etzweler.
Lt. Col. Stricklen left for London by air for seven day leave.Major Denby is C. O. pro-tem.
Bn. Rear remains in Duren, located in some of the few remaining buildings still standing.Duren is the worst city we have so far had HQ in---Heaps of rubble! Glass is at a premium, but boards serve the purpose of keeping out the cold.The question came up about whether we should charge the Germans for the repairs we are making.
B'try D moved to protect Erft River crossings.
Air activity has subsided materially since we knocked down a few a couple of days ago. They must know the 474th is here.
Some of our men in B'try C (with the 104th Infantry Division) decided to move into a house the 104th had just evacuated. They found the most cosy spot to be in the basement and moved in there. While still sprucing up the basement a bomb went off in a corner of the room above, wrecking the whole building except the basement. Whew!!!
B'try A moved to the vicinity of Dansweiler.
Bn. Forward moved to Sindorf to occupy B'try A's former quarters.
Bn. Rear joined Forward at Sindorf.
Bt'ry B moved to Modrath to protect Erft Canal crossings.
B'try A captured two PW's today---one at Dansweiler and one near Cologne. They also had a little target practice on a FW-190 and saw it smoke, but are not making a claim since the plane was out of its sector.
Today marks the fall of Cologne to the 8th Division and the 104th Division.
B'try A moved to Usdorf, one and one half miles west of Cologne and only nine kilometers (5 1/2 miles) from the Rhine River.
B'try D is just north of Sindorf. Many buzz-bombs are sailing over B'try D and HQ areas heading west, possibly for Liege which is being attacked regularly.
Cpl. Mantick and Sgt. Schwenk each got shrapnel in rt. thigh, believed due to civilian who threw grenade, or possibly a trip wire.--not serious. All civilians are under suspicion and being carefully watched. MP's are picking up quite a few military aged men who don't have satisfactory papers, or are soldiers in civilian clothing.
Exciting news today! A bridgehead has been established over the Rhine River at Remagen by the 1st army!!!
During the night, Sgt. Harpster of B'try C was making a wire check and was startled by an explosion due to a grenade that was tossed at him. However, he was unhurt as the grenade landed around the corner of a brick building.
About a dozen German soldiers were picked up today by MP's. All were in civilian clothing. Many claim to be Poles, but are found to be German soldiers trying to get behind our lines to await the end of the war at home.
B'try A moved closer to the Rhine today. They are now at Junkersdorf!
During the wee hours of the morning, T/5 Joseph McFalls and PFC. John Cleary had a hurry cal to civilian house when a German came to the B'try B-CP wailing and crying and making gestures that no one could understand. So, S/Sgt. Eric Triedel was summoned. A woman was in labor and they couldn't get a doctor or a midwife! So without (much) hesitation our two embryo doctors plus a Mess Sergeant rushed to the rescue of the lady in distress, and performed a masterpiece of obstetrical art, delivering a seven pound fourteen ounce baby girl safely.
"Oh. How can we ever thank you!!!", exclaimed the grateful parents.
"Raise your children to hate war", replied S/Sgt. Triedel---and our men left.
Bn Forward moved to Hucheln.
Our men are making expeditions into Koln, which fell a few days ago. They find it to be practically all destroyed, save for the suburbs. The center of the city is a mass of brick and mortar. Bulldozers are clearing out pathways for military transportation. The west bank of the Rhine is still hot here as enemy snipers send a round or two across when they see something move. The çathedral is a picturesque ruin although there is enough of its structure still standing to signify its former beauty and majesty-----and enough destruction to show that it had survived the severe raids that had destroyed the surrounding areas.
T/4 Wiggins and PFC. Greak spotted two German soldiers prowling around the area railyard and let out with yells that brought them in with their hands up. The soldiers had come from Holland to an assembly area at Koln, but found that it was KAPUT upon arrival.
Lt. Col. Stricklen returned from England. He says that the First Army are the fair haired boys there---get all the headlines and everyone wants to buy them drinks. The feat at Remagen still has them walking in the clouds.
The 9th A. F. requested all units to PLEASE not fire at P-47's. A check of our Batteries reveals that our men can spot P-47's practically by the sound of the motors, so our faces aren't red.
Bridgehead over Rhine at Remagen is expanding slowly but surely. It is now across the main North-South Autobahn and has resisted all efforts to dislodge it.
No activity in this vicinity. The only planes in the sky are friendly ones. Our men are playing baseball in the streets as it is warm and springlike.
B'try C is alerted for a new mission on the Rhine.They will move to Witterschlick to await arrival of 957 FA and act as air guard for it.
All Battery commanders make a reconnaissance in the vicinity of Bonn.
B'try C crossed the Rhine at 1240, in the vicinity of Kripp-Linz, a short distance north of Remagen !!! B'try CP located at at Ohlenberg, but B'try B moved again in the evening to Hohenunkel.
Bn CP moved to Witterschbeck, at Btry C's old CP. This is five miles west of the Rhine River near Bonn.
B'try A moced to Paulshof with the 172 FA.
B'try B moved to Dottendorf with the 183 FA.
B'try D moved to Bonn with the 951 FA.
The missions of our Batteries now are to protect the Field Artillery Battalions to which they are attached, and also the bridges that are being thrown across the Rhine River, New bridges are to be put up nightly in the midst of a thick smoke screen that is blanketing the River.for about 100 miles, so that German air observation cannot detect where the work is going on. Good idea---if it works.
Bn Rear catches up with Bn Forward at Wittterschbeck.
B'try A and B'try C are to be relieved from their FA jobs and are to protect the construction of the bridges over the Rhine River. Reconnaissance was made in the midst of a thick smoke screen. Camouflage screens are being thrown up on the west bank of the Rhine to screen the North-South highway on the banks.
B'try A moved to Rolandseck on the west bank of the Rhine and is set up to protect the pontoon bridges there which sprung up during the night.
B'try C is protecting a treadway bridge at Honnef from the east bank of the Rhine. There has been light shelling all night--but no damage done. Both bridges are loaded with traffic all day long, in endless lines of vehicles travelling EAST!
B'try B was suddenly hit by a heavy sixty minute barrage, resulting in a direct hit, when a shell landed under Cpl. Woodford's track and exploded. Cpl. Wood was knocked cold for a short while but recovered all right. Sgt. Brown and PFC. Cleary (Medics) received lacerations on their hands which were not too deep--and all three returned to duty.
B'try B got some more shelling today--the Germans must have their range. Three shells hit their 1st Platoon CP. One mortar shell landed at 1545 in the bedroom occupied by Reece, Murphy, Wiggins, and Cleary. Fortunately, all the men were out at the time! This is the close call in two days for PFC Cleary. With a feeling of relief, the Battery moved all tracks to Bad Godesberg, though the B'try CP remained in Dottendorf.
B'try C got light shelling all day but no damage.
B'try D was relieved from the 957 FA and moved to Mehlem to protect the.294 Engineers who are building a bridge across the Rhine to Konigswinter. Quite a few shells came in, and shrapnel from one wounded T/5 Stamp in his right leg at 2130.
More shells harrassed B'try D at the new bridge. One EM was wounded while laying wire.
B'try C also caught light shelling all day resulting to damage to several trailers.
Bn CP Forward moved to Muffendorf Castle, just south of Bad Goedesberg and set up a barrage firing program, in conjunction with radar from B'try B of the 116th AAA Bn.
B'try B was relieved from the 183 FA and moved to Bonn to protect west side of bridge ar Boorn-Ramersdorf.
A defense was set up by Bn against a possible paratroop attack but the attack didn't materialize.
B' try A Spot Action Report: "At 2215 engaged unkown number of unknown A/C. Ammo expenditures--26/2200---." (Must have been target practicing.)
Last night's firing by B'try A was due to activity of many enemy A/C over the area. They are sweeping down the banks of the Rhine, shooting--hit or miss. They probably haven't been able to spot the bridges yet, as the smoke screen continues day and night.
B'try B and B'try D were given ground action support missions in addition to AA roles at their bridges. They also have security guard and anti-sabatoge responsibilities.
An 88 mm shell landed in B'try D area, ten yards from the track occupied by Davis and Potozniak. Davis was wounded and evacuated.while Potozniak got his nose banged up and was returned to duty after getting it bandaged.
B'try C moved its CP to Limperich to get closer to the east end of its bridge.
B'try A moved to Wiese and was reattached to the 172 FA.
B'try C has spread ouit all of its tracks on the east bank of the Rhine from Limperich to Bonn as ground defense to the eastern approach to the bridge. The bridge is still running endless lines of traffic all day long.
B'try D moved to Thomasburg, with the 953 FA again.
Bn HQ is enjoying the Castle-on-the-Rhine, which overlooks the River from its high hillside perch. At one spot, however, a sign reminds us that we are still under possible enemy observation there. Much abandoned hospital equipment has been found at the Castle, including bandages, drugs and Xray machines. This is being held for the 1st Army surgeon.
Today the III Army jumped across the Rhine and the big push is on! The III Army is south of the I Army bridgehead
B'try D caught a German soldier in civilian clothes who said he was wounded on the Russian front ten days ago and discharged. Looks phony so we are turning him over to the Military Government.
Bn Forward crossed the Rhine today and set up at Obercassel, on the east bank. Returning visitors from the Bn Forward area smell like daisies, but it turns out that they have moved into an area that included a wrecked perfume shop. There has been a grand scramble for samples for our women folk back home.
B'try D moved to Berghausen with the 951 FA.
B'try B, 1st Platoon, was today assigned to the west end of the Bailey Bridge, south of Bonn.
B'try C, 2nd Platoon, gets east end of Bailey Bridge.
III Army bridgehead over the Rhine River is now secure expanding hourly. Airborne troops are dropping across the Rhine in the Ninth Army sector and another push is on north of the First Army bridgehead Looks like the 1-2 punch.
Bn HQ Rear crosses the Rhine River to Obercassel, and immediately gets itself perfumed up. Germans on this side of the Rhine look real scared. Prisoners are being brought back by the thousands in open two and a half ton trucks.
B'try A crosses Rhine in move to Huchel.
B'try B and B'try C are relieved from bridges and go deep into German territory with the 1st Army spearhood. B'try B moves 28 miles with the 183 FA attached to the 3rd Armored (Spearhead) Division and arrives at Arfgeir at 1900. B'try C goes east with the 957 FA as far as Broich.
The first batch of 90 day furloughs to the U, S. returned today. These are the men who left early last December, and have all had wonderful journeys. They find that many civilians in the U. S. still don't know there's a war on.
Bn Forward moved to B'try C area at Broich.
B'try B continues to spearhead the 1st Army drive east, moving 566 miles with the 3rd Armored Division and arriving at Helborn. As a matter of fact, B'try B is out of contact with the Bn, who only knows that B'try B is deep inside of German territory.
All B'try's on the move again as the 1st Army pushes rapidly east. Reports from all fronts--1st, 3rd and 4th Army sectors---indicate that German resistance is insufficient to stop the three pronged drive east.
B'try B moved twenty more miles today with the 183 FA and 3rd Armored to arrive at Weidenhausen.
B'try A movrd to Hacksen with 172 FA.
B'try C moved to Eckenbach with 957 FA.
B'try D moved to Volkergen with the 951 FA.
Bn HQ (Forward and Rear) moved to Alten-Kirchen , formerly a German Corps Headquarters, but now only a spot on the map. A completely devastated fail center, which shows the effect of our bombers, was noted. Released Italian, Russian, and Polish Prisoners of War are being gathered together for evactuation.. We are welcomed at this scene of distruction for the first time since leaving Belgium.
B'try C moves to Elkenroth.
B'try A and Btry D are relieved from support of FA to take up defense of VII Corps HQ at Altenkirchen.
Pvt. Bitto was wounded when two rounds of Artillery hit his tent. He had just returned via the Repl. Depot yesterday. The wound is not serious.
B'try B, still with the 183 FA, as part of CCB of the 3rd Armored Division is on the move again. This time a 72 mile jump to Giershagen. While on convoy, the column approached Lelbach, with three tracks moving just behind a tank from the 83 RCN. Suddenly a German train was spotted 600 yards away, and the tank set up to fire, but the gun jammed, Cpl. Lancaster of track B-16, saw the situation at once and opened up with his M-15, first zeroing in with 50 calibre tracers and then sending thirty rounds of 37 mm into an engine and eight cars, causing violent explosions that set the train on fire. Still moving in convoy, the firing was taken up by tracks B-9 and B-11, which came up and continued the steady fire. Now the train was exploding from head to tail. One round of 37 mm hit the locomotive in the nose, the round going through the boiler, the coal bin, and exploding. It turned out that our B'try B tracks had destroyed a heavily loaded ammunition train. Plenty of clothes and helmets were seen later scattered all around, to account for the train crew. The action took place as just an incident in the 90 kilometer advance toward Paderhorn made by the 3rd Armored Division's spearhead.
Bn Forward moved 69 miles to Colbe, a suburb of Marberg.
B'try A and B'try D were found to be no longer needed as ground defense for VII Corps HQ and were reassigned to FA Battalions. This time B'try A drew the 980th FA and B'try D drew the 951st.
B'try A moved with the 980th to Lippe ( 52 miles).
B'try D made several moves with the 951st FA in support of the 25th Regiment of the 1st Inf. Division, first to Volkessen, then to a rendezvous at Haigen, from where they left for their new positions at Weidelbe.
B'try C with the 957th is supporting the IV Calvary Group and at 2400 were reported at Wunderhausen. (The IV Cav. Group is southern flank protection of the spearhead toward Paderborn).
B'try B is stillout of contact with Battalion. It started the day off mat 0745 by shooting down an FW-190 that came over to snoop, and chalked up another Cat. I when they saw it burn and crash to the ground. It started out at 0820 for the day's push and was still on the move at midnight.
Between 1600-1800, B'try B was moving in a column. The Third Armored tanks had bypassed many SS infantry troops for the units in the rear to dispose of, so our tracks fired at anything suspicious while on the move, especially between Atteln and Henglarn. Arriving at Henglarn they drew sniper fire, so tracks B-7 and B-9 opened up with 37 mm fire, killing three snipers and totally knocking down two houses that the snipers occupied. After this, Sgt. Patterson, with track B-1 moved out of position accumpanied by 2nd Lieut. Roy Hall and twenty men to clean up a hill where enemy activity had been detected. Confidentially, they didn't really expect to find many of the enemy there.and they advanced confidently, firing everything they had---37 mm and 50 caliber guns, small arms,and hand grenades, to flush out half a Battalion of SS troops!!! They had the benefit of surprise and found the Germans disorganized. Making their fire accurate and effective, the Germans were falling over by the dozens and soon felt they had had enough--shouted "Kamerad"--and began to come in with their hands up!
One sniper was still at work and T/5 Scott moved to clean him out. However, while running to get a more advantageous position to fire from, he was hit between the eyes and instantly killed. Lt. Hall saw the entire sequence and rushed in from the side, thoroughly enraged., and emptied an entire clip of 45 caliber bullets into the sniper's body.
Coming to a dugout, Cpl. Tucker came upon three SS troops who were still firing amd picked off all three with his M-1 and left them stone dead.
Moving on further, Sgt. Patterson saw two more SS soldiers lying on the ground as though dead. They even had their tongues hanging out. He watched and saw one make a sudden move for a grenade, and firing twice, he killed both.
Later, coming to a cave, he directed the M-15 to fire a few rounds at the entrance, then held fire a while to wait for any occupants to come out. The Germans inside looked, saw the37 mm trained on them, realized they were licked, and came out. A total of 54 of the Feuhrer's best Stormtroopers were killed and 175 taken prisoner.
Bn Rear moved to Kolbe, running into the greatest haul of swords, pistols, rifles, daggers, and cameras to date! This turned out to be virgin territory and the Germans brought in their contraband to Burgomeister, from whom our alert soldiers obtained many souvenirs.
Bn Forward took two more prisoners.
B'try A fired at an ME-262 and an FW-190 for no runs, no hits, and no errors as a result.
B'try B is near Paderborn, still out of contact with the Battalion.
B'try C is on the mov e toward Paderborn.
B'try D is at Hasselbach, with the 951st FA, as part of the 26th Combat Team of the1st Infantry Division.
Score to date: (Official Credit)
CATEGORY A B C D HQ GRAND TOTAL
I 11 1/4 11 1/3 10 1/3 7 3/12 0 40 1/2
II 12 5/6 2 2/3 10 1/3 6 1/6 0 32
PW165 303 6 46 85 605
Our "lost" B'try, B'try B, was finally contacted today at 1315 after three days. They had been moving so fast that liason was lost. It was not until this afternoon that we learned of the glorious events, now part of B'try B history.
All B'try's were in contact today.
B'try A is at Hegensdorf. While on the move there, the column was attacked by a FW-190 and an ME-109, but they were driven off. Extent of the move--a mere 109 miles.!
B'try B is at Brenken.
B'try C is at Lengenfeld.
B'try D is at Wunnerburg.
HQ Rear is at Colbe.
HQ Forward is at Marburg.
The entire Bn is really close together now, all between Marburg and Paderborn.
Lt. Col. Stricklen took two PW's at Merresdorf, while Bn Rear captured a German soldier in civilian clothes.
The 1st Army has joine with the 9th Army near Paderborn and encircled the RUHR!.
Moving day again! Bn Forward moved to Hespringhausen, near Neider-Marsburg after a 65 mile convoy.
B'try C moved to Brilon with the 957thFA. They were detached from the from the 104th Infantry Division and attached to the IV Calvary Group.
B'try B moved to Nordberchen (two milesa south of Paderborn).. They engaged a FW-190 without results.
B'try D moved toWeiberg (ten miles south of Paderborn).
B'try D changed FA Battalions and is now with the 188th FA instead of the 951st. They moved to Kirchborchen to join the 188th today.
Bn Forward moved to Meerhof after a six mile jump. Two German deserters were found with fresh wounds and were turned over to our hospital at Neider-Marsburg.
B'try D saw four FW-190's flying west at 1621, but were out of range. No claims were made. It's getting to be news just to see an enemy plane these days.
Ex-Russian slave laborers are making life unpleasant for their former German employers. In one hour, a group of six were having a party with the contents of a wine cellar. The German "host" protested, and woke up with a beautiful black eye and a lacerated scalp.
Bn Rear moved to Meerhof.
B'try D moved to Dahl, just three miles east of Paderborn, with the 188th FA as part of CCA of the 3rd Armored Division.
B'try B moved with the 183 FA. to Iggenhausen, five miles southeast of Paderborn. They did not stay there long, and were on the move at midnight, supporting the CCB of the 3rd Armored Division. At Bn HQ, two German civilians were pointed out by ex-Allied P.O.W.'s as being members of the Gestapo. They were turned over to the CIC who thought them important enough to go directly to 1st Army G-2! Later, the secretary of the organization was captured with many papers and sent to G-2!
B'try B arrived at Hausholz at 1520, moved again at 1830, and arrived at Borgholz at 2015 under heavy mortar and cannon fire. It was a twenty-five mile jump.
Cpl. Hoffman of Btry B and his squad captured nine PW's. Lt. Hall and Cpl. McFalls captured three SS soldiers while making a reconnaissance at the new position.
Cpl. Femiano, looking around, found a huge German ammunition dump hidden in the woods nearby. The dump extends for miles and includes shells of all types, up to about 8" in diameter. The dump is well camouflaged and the stores well dispersed. HQ put a heavy guard around it and notified VII Corps.
B'try D moved with the 188 FA to Hembsen, close to the Weser River. On arrival, they found 51 German soldiers who had failed to get away and took them as prisoners.
Bn CP moved 19 miles to Niesen.
B'try A and B'try C now have the job of protecting engineers who are to throw bridges across the Weser River.
B'try A moved its CP to Rheder. Their Platoons are in bivouak with with the 238th and 49th Engineer Battalions at Istrop and Sidessen. They expect to move up to the bridge sites with the engineers at 0600.
B'try C bivouaced in the vicinity of Deisel with engineers who expect to move to the Weser River during the night at Trendelburg and start building at 0600.
If bridges already up can be seized intact, AAC will move in behind the Infantry. Heavy fighting has been going on this afternoon at Carlshafen.
B'try D moved closer tothe Weser River at Drenke.
B'try B arrived at Haarbruck, At this position, Cpl. Hoffman and his squad captured eight SS troops.
HQ Rear took two more PW's at Meerhof.
B'try C moved its CP to Gieselwerde on the Weser River. Their 2nd Platoon is in position at one bridge here that the Engineers built early this morning. The 1st Platoon is at Lippoldsberg, waiting for the bridge to go up.
S/Sgt. Cochran, of B'try C became a 2nd Lieutenant by Battlefield Commission today and was assigned to B'try D.
Cpl. Lesmeister, of B'try C was wounded by shell fragments today but returned to duty.
B'try A's move this morning was postponed. The time is not ripe yet to build a bridge there, as enemy resistance is strong in the vicinity of the selected sites. From their bivouac area, the men in B'try A can see the heavy fighting going on at the river banks. Our artillery is laying waste to all enemy strong points.
B'try C, 1st Platoon, is now set up and ready to fire at Beverungen. Their 2nd Platoon is at Wehrden. B'try CP is still at Gieselwerde. Cpl. Lesmeister took two PW's and a T/5 snagged one today,
B'try D moved to Beverungen with the 188 FA, attached to the 1st Inf. Division, and stayed there until 2345. They captured three Officers and 15 EM as PW's. At midnight they had crossed the Weser River and were on the move.
B'try B moved to Gottsburen, then over the Weser River , with the183 FA and the 3rd Armored Division at Odelsheim.
B'try A moved to the bridge at Blankenau and captured six more PW's there. Quite a bit of enemy artillery fire landed near the 1st Platoon vehicles.
Bn CP Forward moved to Deisel. Major Wininger drew the first seven day leave for the Riviera.
B'try B is still on the move eastward with the 1st Division over the Weser River.
B'try D arrived at Holtensen at noon and left at 1900 for Einbeck, well across the Weser River. En-route, they picked up two German officers and 19 EM, and killed one with rifle fire who chose to resist capture.
Bn Hq Rear picked up two more PW's at Meerhof.
Lt. Kinzie of B'try C got himself all crooked today. with arthritis and had to be evacuated.
B'try A was relieved at theWeser River bridges and moved with the 951 FA to Katlenburg-Duhmn where they added another Kraut to their PW score.
B'try C was relieved at the Weser River and went into position with the 957 FA at Bockelnhagen, fifty-four miles east of the Weser.
B'try B arrived at Gross-Wischchienger.
B'try D captured seven Jerries at Einbeck. In the afternoon they moved to Kalefeld where they killed three German EM with M-16 fire. They also captured one PW. They moved again at night to Bodenhausen, where they caught an enemy soldier trying to crawl toward an M-16 with a machine pistol. They took him prisoner and then took twelve more in the vicinity.
Bn Forward moved its CP forty-four miles to Northeim.
Bn Rear moved to the old Forward at Deisel.
While on Communications runs, Sgt's MacCauley and Vaugn spotted two German soldiers at Einbeck and turned them in as PW's.
The German Armies are on the run and the 1st Army is still trying to catch up to them. This accounts for all the movement in the last few weeks. Reports from the front say that there is practically no enemy resistance at all.
B'try A moved to Schwiegerschausen.
B'try B moved to Saughausen, rested two hours, and then moved to Beyernaumberg. German action occurred here when Cpl. Lancaster and his crew on a B-16 fired 100 rounds of 50 caliber bullets to capture twenty PW's.
Bn Forward CP moved to Nordhausen.
We were shocked to learn of the sudden death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, our Commander-in-Chief. We arose to learn the sad news, and everyone thought first of the many hard days and long hard hours the President had put into the successful prosecution of this war. We feel he has done more than any soldier in the field or sailor on the sea. We regret most that he was not spared to see victory against Nazidom which now appears imminent.
Bn CP Rear, moved to Nordhausen to catch up with Battalion Forward.
B'try D moved with the 188 FA to the vicinity of Bad Grund, captured eleven prisoners, then moved Clausthal-Zellerfeld and picked up five more. Scouting around, they came upon a German-Hungarian Hospital in the nearby woods with sixty-eight German and one hundred and eighty seven Hungarian soldiers---all wounded. The Hospital was permitted to continue operation under guard, with the regular staff still in attendance.
B'try C moved with the 957 FA to Lieglerode.
B'try A moved with the 951 FA to Horden.
B'try B moved with the 183 FA to Lingnau.
Sgt. Masci and crew (B'try A) put the gun on six German soldiers and captured them
While on the move with Task Force Wellborne, B'try B engaged six ME-109's and FW-190's on the MSR between Reidewitz and Lingenz. In this engagement, four enemy A/C were dropping Anti-Personnel bombs and strafing, while two remained at high altitude. Shooting on the move, a direct hit was scored on one plane, which exploded---and other planes departed. In this action, Sgt. Welborn and Shaffer were slightly wounded---but stayed on the job.
Our men have been visiting the German Concentration Camp at Nordhausen, and coming back with stories so hideous as to be unbelievable It is beyond the scope of human imagination. You look and you can't believe what you see there before you!
Thousands of bodies are being dragged out of tiny confinement barracks and even holes in the ground. All the bodies are starved, showing skeletons clothed in rotting skin. All the flesh and muscle have wasted away. The bodies stink with the foul odor of putrefaction. They are gangrenous They are befouled with human excrement.
More hideous still are the living among the dead, hardly recognizing one from the other, and beyond the hope of human aid. They are the living dead, with the sands of time rapidly running out to bring peace at last to their tortured souls. They are found living among the dead, sandwiched between the decaying cadavers. You are shocked speechless that they still breathe, and that their hearts still can beat.!
We are face to face with an atrocity such as no propagndist could ever have conjured in his wildest dreams. This represents Nazidom, the crowning glory of the "Master Race"'
B'try A and B'try D moved to Nordhausen today to take over defense of the airport. Enroute, B'try D's mission was changed and they were assigned the defense of the Saale River crossing at Friedberg, with the 116th Gun Battalion. Total move for B'try D today is 119 miles The Saale River is pretty close to the Russian lines!
While enroutre from Bn Hq to B'try D with the change of mission, Capt. Banks, T/4 Pendle, and T/5 Hall in a jeep, ran off a blown bridge into a ditch. Capt. Hall was painfully injured in both legs, but no bones were broken, and he was evacuated to a Hospital. T/4 Pendle and T/5 Hall were not injured.
Lt. Short transferred from B'try D to Hq to take over the job of MTO in place of Lt. Perry who is scheduled to leave the Battalion.
Bn CP Forward moved to Eisleben.
Bn Hq reported that Capt. Potter, PFC. Ouseley, and Sgt. Allgiers failed to arrive at the CP and checked with B'try B, who stated that the three had left in a jeep at 1400. Tracks were sent out to scout the route they were likely to have taken, but found no sign of any of them. With no word at midnight, we are afraid that something amiss may have happened.
Still no sign of Capt. Potter, PFC. Ouseley, and Sgt. Allgiers, and we regretfully have to classify them as Missing In Action.
Capt. Peterson, Lt. Perry, and Lt. Abbate were transferred to the Military Government today
B'try A moved to protect the airstrip near Esperstedt. This is a C-4 landing strip, used to land vital supplies, and is also an emergency refuel base for fighter planes.
B'try C moved to Zoberitz, and moved 1/2 of one Platoon to Kocker, twenty-six miles further east with the 957th FA's B'try A.
Major Denby drew a leave of absence to England and left this morning.
Bn Rear moved to Eisleben to join Bn Forward.
B'try D had a good day's work today at the Saale River crossing. First of all, they captured 13 PW's at their Hq at Friedeberg. Then, acting in conjunction with the 116th AAA Gun Bn., they rounded up a large group of German soldiers who were on the River, apparently to get back to their lines. Resistance was dropped at once in the face of our weapons, and the total bag turned out to be194 PW's, one German half-track, three 2 1/2 ton trucks, one 1 1/2 ton truck, one Personnel Carrier, and one Ordnance Truck with equipment.
B'try B moved to the vicinity of Kappele.
B'try C captured two PW's and reported seeing two ME-262's strafing the Autobahn at tree top lrvel, but out of range to fire at.
At B'try A, a Belgian refugee from a German PW Camp put the finger on eleven German soldiers who were bagged by Lt. Mitchell and T/5 Snead.
At the airstrip, B'try A today picked up six packs of German and Russian aircraft view negatives and sent them to G-2.
B'try D got official credit for half of yesterday's capture of PW's and equipment.
B'try C added eleven EM and two Officers to the captured list at The CP, and took nine more PW's at the little CP at Zoberitz.
B'try B engaged a FW-190 and saw it explode for another Cat. I. B'try B also captured four PW's today.
At Hq B'try, Sgt.'s Lakeman, Earhart, and Brown,with two other EM, spotted a group of Germans in the woods. Sgt. Lakeman fired one shot and five Germans gave themselves up. One Jerry was found to have a fresh head wound and one to have been shot in the leg! Some Scotchmen make one bullet go an awfully long way.
B'try C moved to the vicinity of Kolsa and captured one more German soldier there. Looking around the area to set up the tracks, they saw a haystack, fired a few rounds through it and captured seven more PW's who scurried out into the open with arms waving wildly over their heads.
At B'try A, T/5 Reed, and PFC. Blouin came upon four German soldiers and took them prisoner. T/5 Brandstetter and PFC. Smelser were tracking their half tracks to the 559 Ordnance when they spotted five German Paratroopers. They ordered them to surrender, but had to wound two with M-1 fire before they all gave up.
B'try D is defending the Bailey Bridges at the Saale River on the Halle MSR.
B'try C engaged a JU-88 sailing ten feet above the ground but made no claims. Later they moved with the 957 FA to the vicinity of Krippehna and captured eight PW's in civilian clothing. They also ran into sniper fire, but nobody was hurt.
B'try B moved with the 183 FA to Quellendorf.
B'try's B, C, and D moved to a report center at Aschersleben to take up a new mission.
Bn (less B'try A) was relieved from the 109 AAA and assigned ground defenses and sweeping operations in the vicinity of Helbra to Frose under the IV Cavalry Group.
Bn Forward joined B'try's B, C, and D at Aschersleben, then changed CP to Kloster-Mansfeld at 2300 and had the three B'try's moved there for a rendezvous at 2230.
All the B'try's were given their new mission and made plans for the next day's activities, to start at 0530.
"Sweeping" mission starts on time at 0530. The idea is to arrest each town in the area to be covered, and search every house and every person for hiding soldiers, guns, ammunition, etc.! B'try B is located at Aschersleben, B'try C at Quenstedt, and Btry D is at Hettstedt.
Capt. Small was assigned the job of "sweeping" out Hospitals as they were discovered in the towns.
B'try D reported a Hospital at Oberweiderstedt and it was found to contain eighteen German soldiers, ten fit for duty and taken prisoner, and eight badly enough wounded to remain.
B'try B turned up with the prize catch, General Walter Hertel, a technical advisor to the Luftwaffe, in civilian clothing. He was hustled to Corps G-2.
In today's activities, 145 soldiers and suspicious characters were apprehended. B'try B took 23; B'try C took 63; B'try D took 57; and HQ B'try took 2.
Bn CP opened at Aschersleben.
B'try A billeted for the night at Wilsleben.
B'try B moved their CP tO Aschersleben.
B'try D moved to Wilsleben and picked up six PW's at Oberhausen, and ten more at other places, to total sixteen for the day.
B'try C reports that the Mayor of Langelsheim is issuing passes to deserting enemy troops and picks up 90 of them.
Total PW's for Bn today was 106.
Bn HQ moved toFrose.
All the B'try's moved to the vicinity of Frose for a four day maintenance period.
B'try A, located at Hoym, nearby, missed out on the sweeping mission.
Capt. Potter, Sgt. All;gier, and PFC. Ouseley were dropped from the rolls today as Missing In Action. Nothing has been heard of them since they disappeared ten days ago.
Lt. Peters took over Command of B'try D, taking T/5 Merson with him as his jeep driver. This team is inseparable.
B'try B picked up two more PW's.
B'try C had a serious accident when a rifle grenade dropped off a half-track that was being cleaned, and exploded right in the Motor Pool area. Sgt. Harpester was seriously injured and three severely wounded by the fragments. T/5 Fetzer, PFC. Norman, T/5 Beasley (Medics), and T/5 Neville, plus Sgt. Harpester were all evacuated to the Hospital.
We have been asked to help run the Rest Camp at Verviers, so Lt. Nevins, Lt. Aulds, Sgts. Rapp, Porowski,Waller, Roach, and Fisher went down to take charge under the 109 AAA Group. Sounds like a vacation for our two Officers and five Sergeants.
A new mission was assigned to the Battalion--Occupation of the Eastern half of Mansfeld Giburgkreis. The area was divided, North to South, as follows: B'try C, A, D, and B. In this role, we will be security troops under the IV Cav. Gp., while Civil Affairs will be run by the Military Government No. 12, located at Mansfeld, under the command of Major Bernstein.
New Bn CP opened at Mansfeld today.
B'try D located its CP at Vatterode.
B'try C located its CP at Mersdorf.
B'try B located its CP at Kloster-Mansfeld.
B'try A located its CP at Braunrode.
To start the Occupation off right, B'try A picked up three Gestapo agents and sent them to the C. I. C.
HQ picked up a Hitler Youth stealing from a BSO truck.
A survey of the area shows that many displaced persons are living here in large camps--mostly Russians. They are being fed and cared for at the expense of the German people here. That is justice, since the Germans brought them here.
B'try D picked up eleven men without credentials, and seven soldiers. The eleven men had all been in the Army, but had no discharges. Apparently, they were waiting here for the war to end, with hope of getting home safely.
The 2nd Platoon of B'try A picked up seven PW's--all former Occupation troops. The 1st Platoon picked up nine Gestapo agents and seven more soldiers as PW's.
B'try B picked up seven soldiers.
Occupation of the area has netted 51 prisoners in two days.
News today of the surrender of all German Armies in Northern Italy and Western Austria to U. S. Armies.
We received information from captured German soldiers that more German soldiers were hiding in the woods south of Halberstadt, and that they had changed to civilian clothing and went to Hakerode two days ago. We have increased our patrols and are on the lookout.
B'try D picked up two PW's in the vicinity of Hermonrode.
B'try A picked up two PW's near Braunrode, one who was a member of the Luftwaffe in civilian clothing.
B'try C screened and evacuated 153 Allied Ex-PW's, including 24 Italians, 4 French, 120 Russians, 4 Belgians and 1 Dutchman..
Lt. Bellisario was transferred to Hq B'try today as Asst S-4 to understudy Capt. Cluley who has requested transfer to the Military Government.
Lt. Peters became Capt. Peters, as of 0001 this date.
B'try C evacuated 22 more Allied ex-PW's. They also captured three more German soldiers in civilian clothing. The Germans explain that they put on civilian clothing to enable them to desert from their Armies.
B'try B received official credit for the Cat I on March 30th.
B'try A captured five more PW's. They also set up guards for all Burgomeisters in their area, due to threats by the German underground.
There are definite signs of disintegration of the German Armies. Rumors of secret sessions by the German and Allied High Commands are prevalent. The Germans we come in contact with are licked--they have no morale at all!
We received notification today that Capt. Potter, Sgt. Allgiers, and PFC Ouseley were Killed In Action on the 16th of April. They had apparently run into an ambush as all three had multiple bullet wounds.
B'try C evacuated 25 more PW's.
B'try D picked a considerable quantity of TNT and caps in the vicinity of Leimbach.
Lt. Stiles joined HQ as Bn Adjutant.
B'try A captured a plane that had made a forced landing in the area. Two Luftwaffe pilots were captured, who claimed they were discharged Officers. Later, five more men from the airplane were captured nearby. These were all turned over to S-2 of the IV Cav. Gp., who had learned that planes were expected to land to put Germans behind our lines for sabatoge missions. The plane and passengers were carefully searched and it was found that they posessed much secret information, maps, documents, etc., which had been sewn into their clothing, inside their shoes, and even inside their coat buttons. They were sent by special Courier to G-2 at VII Corps.
Five civilians in Bisenrode, in B'try D area, were suspected of cutting our communication wire, and were picked up.
B'try C continues to evacuate PW's--twenty-five more leaving the area today. B'try C has its CP in a fine old castle: Schloss Meisdorf. It is like a museum of fine furniture and old oil paintings. Many German documents were found there which might have military meaning. They were crated and sent to SHAEF.
Also at B'try C, a Heinkel-III crashed in the vicinity of Wissenrode. PFC. Koumiss and T/5 Douglas opened fire on the pilot who tried to escape. He was wounded and sent to the Hospital. He said he thought the war was over!!! He had been told that the Germans were no longer fighting the Americans--only the Russians!!!
Another HE-111 was captured by B.try A with 16 PW's, of whom two were women. They said they had left from Denmark, but couldn't explain why they were here. They are all being held for special investigation.
Orders have geen received not to fire on enemy planes unless they commit a hostile act, as many are coming to surrender loaded with prisoners. Looks like the end is near for Germany, with mass desertions now occurring.
News just received of the mass surrender of all the German Armies in Northwestern Germany, Holland, and Denmark!
T/5 Cooney became a 2nd Lt. today by Battlefield Commission.
B'try C found the shallow graves of nine Polish bodies, said to have been killed by SS troops.
Orders were received today to be on the alert for all enemy planes landing, and to take prisoners if possible. Such PW's are urgently wanted for questioning.
2nd Lt. Cooney joined B'try C today. Date of Rank is today instead of yesterday. He was discharged from the Army yesterday.
We are now operationally under the 9th Army.
German Armies are surrendering by the millions, peacemeal, all over Europe. It won't be long now! Fake peace rumors in the U. S. were reported, but we haven't had any here.
DP Poles are terrorizing Arnstedt. They are suffering from buzz-bomb fluid, an alcohol of which about 50,000 gallons have been discovered. in tank cars in Hettstedt. B'try A quells the disorder.
PFC. Koumiss of B'try C took another prisoner today.
All organized resistance by the Germans ended in Europe today. Peace has not been officially declared but nobody is doing any shooting that we know of.
The war is all over but the signing, which is scheduled for tomorrow. It is V-E day in England--also the United States! - but, to make it official, the announcement must be made. The signing actually took place at General Eisenhower's Hq in Rheims, France at 0241--Unconditional surrender to the U. S., Britain, and Russia.
Track C-6 saw an ME-109 land in its area, containing friendly troops. Later saw a STORK attempting to land in the same area, then fly off.
B'try C found training films in great detail of V-2 bomb launchings--a most valuable find!
B'try B captured two SS troops and one Tanker. The Tanker was wounded when he failed to answer a challenge.
B'try A picked up a pilot from an ME-109 and sent him to the PW cage.
B'try D picked up a Nazi and a Hitler Youth without papers and turned them over to CIC.
B'try A reported two ME-210's over the area.
HQ reported one JU-87 over its area.
No planes are being fired at these days. It seems strange to our alert gunners.
Capt. Banks returned from the Hospital to take over B'try D again. He is still limping, but that doesn't prevent his friends (?) from accusing him of waiting for the war to end before returning.
Sgt. Cochran was discharged today to accept a Battlefield promotion.
V-E DAY The war ended officially at 0001. There was no great outburst of excitement or wild celebration, as we all had been planning since D-Day. The war ended so inevitably, with day after day of mass surrenders by German Armies, that the official moment of Unconditional Surrender lost its importance. Nobody was seen to dance with joy. Nobody got drunk. Nobody ran out to shake hands with the Germans--the Non-Fraternization rules are still in effect. There is still a feeling of distrust for the Germans we see. Also, it is hard to believe that hostilities are over! It will take several days for the real significance of our Victory to sink in! And so this is as good a time as any to bring the Battalion Diary to a close---on V-E DAY! One Officer will remember the day for another reason--2nd Lt. Bertholf was Commissioned as of 0001 today.
BTRY A BTRY B BTRY C BTRY D HQ BTRY TOTAL
Cat. I 14 1/4 14 1/3 10 1/3 7 7/12 ---- 46 1/2
Cat. II 13 5/6 2 2/3 10 1/3 6 1/6 ---- 33
PW's 180 382 195 637 98 1492
Captured enemy equipment-$2,946,360.
Ammunition fired-20,576 of 37 mm..
543,459 of 50 caliber.
We have supported the following Divisions: 1st, 4th, 8th. 9th, 79th, 83rd, 84th, 90th, and 104th Infantry Divisions; the 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions; and the 101st Armored Division.
We have protected bridges over the the Seine, Meuse, Marne, Aiane, Poer, Erft Canal, Rhine, Weser, and Saale River.
We have taken part in five campaigns and the D-Day landings at Utah Beach. The campaigns were:
Battle of Normandy
Battle of Northern France
Battle of the Ardennes
Battle of the Rhineland
Battle of Central Europe.
We have officially received credit for three campaigns and the D-Day landings---the others will follow,