I used to speak with two different librarians/assistants at the library in Fort Sill (I'm calling the library, it could be the office for Field Artillery Journal mag). I'm also available on Google + or Twitter. This was the largest field gun in the U.S. inventory during the War. Any information about this unit in the interim would be great! Good luck and I will keep you posted. How can one find a unit history? If you can, use the email provided as it will be easier for you to contact me. It has only taken a few paragraphs to describe America’s artillery and prime movers because America was able to adequately supply all of its forces with these few types of standard guns and vehicles. I do a Red Leg of the Week on FB page and I'm always looking for new guys. Item No. Sorry I misunderstood you. Included in the operations platoon was an instrument and survey section along with a meteorological section. I also have the two small booklets that were published about the 2nd Infantry Division. Will do. a view to making reconmendations for major CJ Kelly (author) from the PNW on September 25, 2017: Hi Mr. Rodgers. Thanks, CJK, my grandfather also passed before i could talk to him of his service. But they were part of the infantry regiment, and used at the discretion of the regimental CO. My other granddad was on HMS Iron Duke at the Battle of Jutland during WW1 and was originally called Jack Bishop. As a result, an elite German division was seriously depleted before it was attacked by the 2d and 29th Infantry Divisions near St Lô. Each infantry regiment had a cannon company of short barreled M3 105mm howitzers that fired a reduced power round out to 7,600 meters (4.7 miles) for direct support. The Negro 969th Field Artillery Battalion ( 155-mm. Radio was a possible solution, but early AM radios were fickle and often unreliable. American artillery enjoyed another advantage that is hard to quantify: superior quality of the ammunition it fired. Hello - I'm trying to find out some detailed information about my fathers service record from WW2. Crew of a 155mm howitzer in North Africa, 1943 (1st ID ner El Guettar). Thx. 419th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, European Theater Operations, WWII. Interesting article. The spotter on the ground could only see nearby targets, leaving some units unable to call for fire. Artillery batteries also had a fifth section, which was called the machine gun section. Batteries were headed by a captain with an exec who was a lieutenant. In theory it was supposed to provide supplemental firepower for the infantry companies. CJ Kelly (author) from the PNW on September 30, 2017: Just great info. A driver and assistant driver rounded out the 105mm section, making for a total of nine men. CJ Kelly (author) from the PNW on December 26, 2018: Hi Liaisonpilot, thanks for reading and commenting. Three full strength Panzer divisions arrived from Belgium and Poland and assembled near Caen. Primarily because of supply problems, the German artillery supporting Fifth Panzer Army in Normandy could only fire about ten percent of what the British fired. There was even an instance within the 106th ID when a battery commander was actually manning an observation outpost at the time of the initial attack during the Bulge. CJ you might direct Mr. Gruber to the 4th Infantry Association's newsletter Ivy Leaves. The Field Artillery School at Fort Sill also developed the fire direction center for U.S. artillery battalions and brigades into a place where fires could be rapidly allocated and shifted as needed. 62nd Armored Field Artillery Battalion. I do have some informationI got from other members before they passed. We are planning a trip to Europe to retrace the units movements. (He passed 10 years ago, having said little about his service!) Also from my research, I discovered the CIB was only awarded to Infantry men in combat but after the war in 1946, an exception was made for other soldiers who fought in direct combat did earn the CIB and thus awarded the Bronze Star. At the ammo dumps, these were broken down for shipment by truck to the batteries. It mentions that in the UK they were stationed in a small town in Devon called Torrington. And I didn't really think about how the army wouldn't stop practicing, because my father's section, at least, thought they were going on to Japan. Unit structure was evaluated, standard operating procedures were rewritten, and new technologies came on line. By the last year of the war in Europe, Germany was deploying its own family of FM radios. Mention of how important to the success of the artillery was the role of the Liaison aircraft. I'm just trying to find out what actual unit my father served in while in the combat zone? It is possible he was assigned after the massacre from another unit. I assumed because of the increase to 6 guns that there were more observers, but I was not sure if the 3 FO was a standard. It appears to me to be more pre Bulge. He only spoke of the war on a few occasions. Always a popular feature and in some cases, it has brought old friends together. 155mm "Long Tom" battery training in England. The proximity, or variable time (VT), fuze automatically exploded the shell above the ground, simplifying the gunners’ job. I know his headstone states he was a Sergeant but he must received that at Camp Swift in Texas in the three months before being discharged on October 14, 1945. The 3d Battalion, 6th Field Artillery traces its lineage to Stilles’ Company of Artillerists, formed in 1798. A truck could carry between 50 and 60 shells per trip. Nancy Hamilton on September 15, 2016: Once again, thank you for writing about the Field Artillery Battallions! U.S. Army 1966. with . German artillery attempted to slow the advancing Americans and the “air observation posts had several field days firing on the artillery batteries that were trying to protect the crossing of the Germans to the East bank of the Rhine River. It's a great place to begin the search. Within an infantry division, there were four artillery battalions, three M2A1 105mm howitzer battalions and one 155mm battalion. It's so important these men are not forgotten. He died in 1984. Thank you, Mr. Kelly. In Eisenhower’s Lieutenants: The Campaign for France and Germany, 1944-1945, American military historian Russell Weigley makes much of ammunition shortages, arising largely out of the difficulties in getting ammunition from Normandy to the fighting fronts. That happened to most of the 589th FAB survivors. In Normandy I was a 155 RO sent forward as an FO because the lights only had 1 per battery. Please pass them on. My gran lived in the next town called Bideford where they had a relationship. He apparently has a lot pics, etc. Great to hear from you. The three 105mm battalion were assigned to one of the three infantry regiments to support, forming a combat team. Lee, Ulysses. ... Field Artillery Battalion. When war broke out in Europe in September 1939, the Army’ artillery units were still equipped with the venerable 75mm and 155mm French guns purchased during World War I. When that defense collapsed Germany took heavy losses as the troops attempted to flee across the few bridges available. The United States was the only country with such a plan. I know he also went to Edgewood Arsenal at some point (I don't know my own history!). The climate was also corrosive to ammunition. He may charge a fee to do a search. '44/'45. On this version, there were no split trailers. However, they failed to do significant damage because seventy percent of the shells were duds. No, the increase in FO's had no relationship to the increase in number of guns. Their highly accurate, high-velocity guns were excellent for engaging fortifications and in an indirect fire role. Other battery and battalion personnel included radiomen, wiremen, instrument operators (survey team), cooks, drivers, and mechanics. Empty shell casings near gun section, Elsenborn Ridge, 1944. You can email me. The multitude of different caliber weapons combined with pre-configured firing tables meant no escape from its power. You should be able to find it on my profile page. CJ Kelly (author) from the PNW on September 16, 2016: Absolutely, Nancy. The crews on the 155mm had different challenges. The battalion is best known for its role in the Raid at Cabanatuan in the Philippines in January 1945. Upon arrival at a position, using such equipment as aiming circles, range finders, and other survey equipment like steel tapes and chains, the enlisted men of the section would lay in the guns to prepare them for aiming direction and elevation. 1 March 1946, “Field Organization,” contains detailed descriptions of the organization of various types of units in the armed forces. For example in the winter of 1944-45, Germany attempted to hold the Allies well west of the Rhine River. I am assuming that my father was in a 3rd Army towed 155 mm battalion until VE-Day and then transferred to the 274th in Austria during the reorganization & disbanding of units. Author of Red Legs of the Bulge: Artillerymen in the Battle of the Bulge. Will do my best and get back to you as soon as I can. They were tasked with cutting the Caen-Bayeux road. Will send over the excerpt. Also, using my Red Leg FB page to turn something up. CJ Kelly (author) from the PNW on September 23, 2019: http://www.84thrailsplitters.com/history.html. His detailed service records were lost in the St.Louis fire. Each infantry division had another artillery battalion equipped with the tractor-drawn M1 155mm howitzer with a range almost 14,600 meters (nine miles). I already have the 1946 yearbook of the 15th FAB and also the 2nd Infantry Division book that was published. The 2nd Battalion was numbered the 226th Field Artillery Regiment. Detailed information on the artillery untis' structure and the artillery systems the U.S. used in WWII. The reliance on horses caused substantial problems in terms of speed of movement, low cargo capacity, short radius of action, and the disproportionate number of men needed to care for the animals. The Army issued the M36 to tank destroyer battalions in Europe in the latter part of the war. They knew that as soon as an American spotter plane appeared over their positions, it would only take minutes before a massive barrage rained down death and destruction. 5th INFANTRY DIVISION. Both he and the gunner corporal were also responsible for keeping the crew away from the tremendous recoil of the barrel which could kill or maim, especially in the 155mm. The bigger the gun, the more men you needed, though the basic battalion structure for both the 105mm M2A1 and 155mm M1 units was similar regardless of the gun. To be fully effective, an artillery arm must be well supplied with suitable ammunition. Please email at the address provided in my profile. Each gun crew was considered a section and within each section there was a sergeant (Section Chief), a gunner corporal and assistant gunner (known as the #1), two other assistant gunners and three cannoneers. These new guns, especially the M2/M2A1 105mm howitzers, were superior to the French 75mm guns they replaced in part because of their longer range, but also because the larger caliber allowed a significantly larger bursting charge. The sophistication of American fire direction is illustrated in an anecdote in My War, a memoir by Dr. Don Fusler, a soldier who served on a 57mm antitank gun crew. I believe the 15th FAB has a Facebook page too. The officers’ jobs within the battery varied. I don't know if the few I have of my dad would do you any good because he is not in a fighting scene, but one time I think you remarked that you would like a picture. During interrogations, German prisoners of war (POWs) in France frequently remarked on the heavy volume of American fire they had experienced. On 29 March the Battalion was relieved from attachment to 30th Infantry Division and attached to 75th Infantry Division. The 157th fought in the War with Spain, t... he Philippine Insurrection and both the 169th and the 157th saw action in WWI and WWII. Thx for stopping by. CJ Kelly (author) from the PNW on September 15, 2016: Nancy,the 908th was part of the 83rd Infantry Division during WWII. Effective artillery requires fire direction centers that can accurately place fires and rapidly shift them from one target to another. His closest living relatives are we nephews and nieces so we appear not to be able to obtain his D D-214. Battery commanders spotted the fall of their rounds, usually from a crude tower near the guns. he left for normandy july 2 1944 could he have been assigned after the masacre ? This depended on how it was turned. You can use the email provided on my page. My father left behind a narrative of his service years. TRADOC 1992. CJ Kelly (author) from the PNW on October 26, 2017: Mr. Lagasse, the 15th FAB has a great website with rosters and stories (not sure if you've found it already). I'm not certain if that means they are attached to each other or used independently. However I have not been able to discover that fact. Battalions were also formed into field artillery groups of various calibers. Many of the specialists were also grouped into sections and personnel from both the communications section and survey teams often were part of forward observation teams. All of these units, regardless of their group or assignment, were considered Corps artillery. American artillery in the European Theater was flexible, accurate, lethal, and highly mobile. Rich Anderson, 2007. Red Legs of the Bulge FB page. If you copy this link into the web this is the small booklet I mentioned. One of the first German Mk. Send me an email (link from HP) and I will send the list. Germany had an airplane that would have served admirably, the Fiesler Fi 156 Storch (Stork), which was designed with artillery spotting in mind. Until the M10 tank destroyer became available, the Army used this expedient to provide units with a mobile antitank gun. Thx. Memorial to the Wereth 11 The unit landed at Normandy in early July 1944 and saw continuous combat as corps artillery throughout the summer. Most American armored divisions deployed three battalions of standard 105mm howitzers mounted, in the open, on the chassis of an M3 Lee or, more frequently, an M4 Sherman tank. My father was in WWII. The M1 8-inch howitzer had a range of almost 18,000 meters (eleven miles) and fired a 200-pound shell with great accuracy. I am especially interested in his duties, but also how the battery functioned as a whole. John Schaffner, 589th Field Artillery, WWII. My grandfather Sgt. To add to his problems, the British alone had six times as many guns as he could deploy. Thank you. If necessary, these heavier guns could be moved by truck, but they were usually pulled by the M4 high-speed tractor. A component by component examination of American and German artillery shows that almost from the beginning of America’s participation in the conflict the U.S. Army had the superior system. I forgot to ask but if you are able to find out any more information on my granddad or the unit it would be very much appreciated. Or you can go to FB, and message me. I think both were part of the 79th Infantry Division. Initially the Army Air Corps refused to listen to the to the light plane manufacturers’ pleas to be included in the war effort, so the manufacturers made planes available for free to generals conducting maneuvers. Each infantry division had three battalions of twelve M2 105mm howitzers, one battalion for each of the division’s three infantry regiments. Duty as an observer usually occurred on a rotating basis for the officers of each battery within the battalion. Me again. The primary role of these guns was support of a designated infantry regiment, but they could also fire in support of other units. Many of the other non-firing battery assignments came with a multitude of dangers and nowhere was that more illustrated than for the men of the wire section of HQ Battery. I understand infantry replacement soldiers were moved frequently from divisions but I cannot find information regarding field artillery replacement soldiers. His name was George Irwin Brown and we have since found out he was a Master Sergeant with the 200th Field Artillery Battalion and was from Slippery Rocks, Pennsylvania. The other officers could be assigned to a variety of tasks, which included motor officer, daily maintenance, firing officer or forward observer. The 200th was a 155mm Long Tom unit, correct? Others were graduates of rigorous artillery ROTC programs from around the country. Besides the four firing battalions, an infantry division’s artillery complement contained a Division Headquarters component. The reading was then given to each gunner while the howitzers were at zero deflection and a minimal elevation from level. By the time tank destroyers were ready for employment, the days of Blitzkrieg were over but they remained successful in engaging German armor. When they were forced to fire anyway, the counter-battery fire had a catastrophic impact on them. Church steeple) and line up the angle on that. He was with the 2nd FA Obn Bn which was part of the 18th FA BDE prior to WWII. His family found out about it and replied. CJK -- how do I send you a photo? The French 75 or, more properly the Matériel de 75mm Mle 1897, is considered the first of the modern artillery pieces and was capable of a high rate of fire out to 8,000 meters (approximately five miles). Keeping the gun aligned properly was a difficult task when under the pressure of multiple fire missions, so the gunners had ways of cheating a little bit. A 155mm battalion had approximately 550 enlisted men with 30 officers, with each battery having around 120 men. That is the most likely reason your dad was moved to the 196th. Very informative! If anyone can share any knowledge or similar experiences, I would appreciate it. Hoping get something out of that. Because he was an officer, there was a lot of paper work that mentioned him, but much of it was repetitious, mostly lists of soldiers in the B Battery as they changed over time. I will check the 20th Corps order of battle just to confirm. I meant when you go to the Battle of the Bulge reunion, if you hear of anyone there interested. The supply and cooks sections rounded out the unit. CJ Kelly (author) from the PNW on January 04, 2018: Hi Mr. England, with regards to the cook lying dead in the photo, it is not him. Stay well. After the battle he jumped ship, changed his name to Jack England and joined the Somerset Light Infantry in the army and was sent right to Flanders in the front line. Between the wars, there were important changes to the standard practices of the branch. I'm not finding information about the 325th FA after that. Any help will be appreciated in regards to my questions and my uncle's records. That impact was observed in both the European and Pacific Theaters. These provided a strong clear signal for about forty miles. Finally, the guns must be protected from counter-battery fire or other interdiction. NOTE: This summary of Army Tables of Organization and Equipment includes only combat and directly related major support units. German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein commented on the effectiveness of American trucks, even in the mud of the Russian front, where they sharply increased the mobility of Russian artillery units. My dad, Eugene F. Southall, was a field lineman (technician 5th grade) with HQ and HQ Battery. So there must be one out there for the 908. The aim of this practice was to enhance the effectiveness of the artillery/infantry team by having the same units habitually fight together, and it was largely successful. There is some data and reports out there. 8 inch howitzer battery, Philippines, 1944. He landed on D-Day +2 and the book covers a few engagements and on the back cover is the list of those killed which list my grandad. The Field Artillery OCS at Fort Sill (one of three during the war) produced 25,993 second lieutenants during the war years,which included over 3500 ROTC cadets who had completed between six and eight semesters of ROTC. CJ Kelly (author) from the PNW on May 13, 2020: Hi Mr. Gruber, I do. Thank you! The airborne spotters were so effective that, in some cases, the pilot/observer directed up to ninety-five percent of the artillery fire delivered. For example, there is not a lot in the histories of World War II about the fact that the Germans never developed the cavalry groups that gave the Allies an excellent reconnaissance capability. The organization of this type of division varied, but it is believed that the basic pattern was originally a two-regiment, three-battalion division, with normal supporting units and an additional antiaircraft battalion. Giving NARA another shot. 105mm crew preparing the shells during training exercise. The 155mm battalion supported the units or areas most in need at the discretion of the Division artillery commander (better known as Divarty). CJ Kelly (author) from the PNW on January 30, 2017: John, go to my homepage and contact me via FB or email, etc. It was designed to counter the mass infantry attacks that were typical of the tactics of the late nineteenth century by placing large numbers of time-fused shells over bodies of enemy troops. If you could share a photo that would be great. The artillery did.” The U.S. Army’s artillery refers to itself as the “King of Battle,” and its performance in Europe in World War II allowed it to rightfully claim that title. Would you to feature him as a Red Leg of the Week on my page. When the troops were moving, landline telephones were useless. It was a 155mm howitzer battalion and did fight in the Bulge and in '45. Our uncle, Richard V. Fritts, was a Technical Fourth Grade in the 993rd Field Artillery Battalion, in the Pacific Theater in 1944 and 1945.