SUBJECT: UNIT HISTORY.
TO: Historical Section, Army War College, Washington,D.C.
(Thru CG, V Corps)
a.Original Unit — Completed
b.Changes in Organisation
(1) Held fr attachment to V Corps and atchd to 32d FA Brigade,, per TWX,
CG, First U.S. Army, 25 August 1944.
c. Strength, commissioned
(1) At beginning of period - 27 O, 2 WO, 616 EM
(2) At end of period - 27 O, 2 WO, 616 EM
d. Stations of units or parts thereof
e. Operations(1) On 2 August, entire battalion moved from positions near Notre Dame de’E11e to vicinity of Torigni-sur-Vire.
(2) On 4 August, Hq Btry, Med Det, and firing batteries moved from vicinity of town of Torigni to St. Martin Don, Service Battery and Personnel Section remaining in old position.
(3) On 11 August, entire battalion moved to vicinity of Martilly in the Vire Sector.
(4) On 14 August, entire battalion moved to positions near Meserlia.
(5) Another move of 60 miles took the battalion into position about a mile south of the village of Cordey, France, in the Argentan sector, on 18 August.
(6) On 26 August, the battalion moved to a rest area in the vicinity of Versailles, France.
(7) On 31 August, the battalion was moved to bivouac areas in the near vicinity of Versailles, France
August 1 found the battalion in positions about 1½ miles northeast
of St. Jean des Baisants, The enemy had retreated to a point beyond the
range of our guns so no firing was done in this position. Pfc John H. Buss,
Btry C, who was
accidentally wounded in the left shoulder, was evacuated to the 5th Evacuatian Hospital and three other members of Btry C, Tec 4 Isaac Bull Tec 5James D. Hendricks and Pfc Frank E. McIntyre were awarded the Purple Heart per par 1, GO
#7, Hq 997th FA Bn,dtg 31 July 1944, for wounds received in action in Normandy 28 July 1944. The following day Pfc Buss was dropped from asgmt to the battalion.
On 2 August, the following message was received from higher headquarters,
“Do not fire on Black Widows — they do not have allied markings on them
- will be over your area at approximately 1500 hours.” These were the first
allied night fighters we had seen. Reconnaissance party went forward to select new positions and the battallion moved up that afternoon to an area about 1¼ miles southeast of Torigni-sur-Vire. Service Battery and the Personnel Section which
comprised the rear echelon, moved up to the same area that evening.The next day 1st Lt. REX N. FENNER, one of our liaison pilots, was slightly wounded in the throat by a flying fragment while the air section was doing some dynamiting in
preparing the air strip.He was evacuated to the 5th Evacuation Hospital. Pvt John A Garner Btry A, who was absent sick was dropped from asgmt to the battalion on this day.The only firing done from this position was, 24 rounds of interdiction.
The firing batteries and Hq Btry were moved forward about 8 miles on 4
August to positions in the vicinity of St. Martin Don. No firing was done
on this date but during the period from 5 August to 11 August 613 rounds
and counter battery were expended. On 9 August Sgt. Stanley Jutca, Btry C, was trfd to 821st Tank Destroyer Battalion Sgt. Kay C. Laubacher, Hq Btry, was trfd to the 28th Infantry Division. On 10 August 2nd Lts. ARTHUR TEMPLE,, from Montclair, New Jersey, and CHARLES A. GLASSER, JR., from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, were promoted to the rank of 1st Lt. on the evening of this same day, at 2100 hours, Btry C was moved forward and occupied positions north and east of the city of Vire. They were fired upon by enemy planes enroute but were able to ward off the attack without sustaining any casualties either to personnel or vehicles. On the morning of 11 August, Major General GEROW, commander of V Corps, and his party visited our CP area for the purpose of observing a scheduled aerial bombardment. This bombardment was supposed to be placed on an area generally east of the city of Vire. Because of inclement weather, observation was impossible. The afternoon of the same day the balance of the battalion and the rear echelon moved forward to
the area occupied by Btry C the previous night. On 11 August Sgt. Max Lose, Btry B, was trfd to the 30th Infantry Division.
On 12 August, 1st Lt. REX N. FENNER, from Vermontville, Michigan, who had returned to duty on 7, August, was awarded the Air Medal for having completed 35 successful combat missions, the following day Major Wendell W. PIRHAM, Bn Ex Officer was slightly wounded while on a reconnaissance mission forward. He was treated at the battalion aid station but was not evacuated. 1st. Lt. DALE R. BRENEMAN, JR., from Kansas City, Kansas was awarded the Air Medal on 14 August. On the 12,13,14 August 480 rounds were expended by the battalion on interdiction fires, on the 14 August the entire battalion was moved from Martilly to an area near la Mesleria and Pvt John E. Fletcher Brty A, was evacuated to the 109th Evacuation Hospital with a broken leg sustained on this move. Thirty—one rounds of registration and interdiction were fired from this position. From the 16 August to the 18 August the battalion received no fire missions and on the 16 August a movement alert was received from higher headquarters -which culminated in a move which began at 1830 hours on the 18 August. This was a night march of 60 miles which was necessitated by the fact that V Corps had been reassigned to support the First Army troops in the Argentan sector. Argentan was the southern point of the Falaise-Chamboi-Agentan pocket. The battalion was now located about 3/4 mile south of the village of Cordey.Throughout this area we encountered many troops of the Free French Army. Their duties in this area were to clean out small pockets of enemy resistance, to guard river crossings and railroad bridges against sabotage and to generally organize and coordinate the civil government in the areas which had been liberated. The battalion learned that these forces effectively held towns held in advance of the allied drive which explained the fact that the towns in this area were not totally destroyed.
Immediately after occupying this area, aerial and ground reconnaissance
was made. Our ground reconnaissance showed that few if any places were
available for OP. from which the enemy could be observed. The aerial observer
reported the enemy retreating in great numbers into the forests north and
east of Argentan. These aerial OPs were our only means of observation.
However they were very effective because they were able to fly directly
over the enemy installations.
This was due to the fact that the enemy had very little organized anti-aircraft defense. On 19 August the battalion expended 35 rounds in registration and fire on enemy tanks. On the next day was begun an attack which secured for our forces the
towns of Argentan and Chambois, thereby completing the encirclement of the enemy. During the firing of 20 and 21 August, the battalion expended 508 rounds. Several observed missions were undertaken on these two days, but the greater part of the fires were unobserved.
On 21 August Captain GEORGE L. WILSON and 2nd Lt. CLARENCE T. ENBODY, our aerial observers from Croydon, Indiana and Olympia, Washington, respectively, were awarded the Air Medal.Also on this date Major WENDLE W. PERHAM, Bn Ex Officer, was awarded the Purple Heart, per par 1, GO #8, Hq 997th FA Bn, dtd 21 August 1944, for wounds received in action in Normandy on 13 August 1944.
For the purpose of determining the accuracy and effectiveness of our fires,
numerous visits were made to the shelled areas by the battalion officers.
The devastation and destruction prevalent in the areas into which we had
very gratifying.The returning officers reported that our concentrations had neutralized and in many cases destroyed many enemy guns and mobile equipment. There were also many enemy dead in this area. On the 24 August the battalion began a
program of maintenance for vehicles and equipment throughout the battalion.
The organization was relieved from attachment to V. Corps attached to the
32ndFA Brigade, on 25 August.The battalion also received a movement alert
on this date and our air section moved forward to reconnoiter and establish
a new air strip. At 0900 hours the following morning, an advance party
left for the new area and the balance of the battalion (less the heavy
column) moved forward by infiltration throughout the day, arriving at the
new positions about 1 mile south
of Senonches at 1600 hours. The heavy column arrived at 1030 hours the next day. Also on this date the battalion was attached to the 179th FA Gp in compliance with SO #45,32nd FA Brigade.
Pursuant to VOCO, 32nd FA Brigade, on 27 August S/Sgt Irvin H. Berhards, Cpl Beauferd. I. Thorton, Tec 5 George C. Borkovic Pfc Lee Lopez and Pvts Harry L. House and Adam G. Platukis from Hq Btry and Cpl George W. Motter, Tec 5 James B. Spurry and Pvts,Leonard W. Lindsey, Martin L. Ankney and Joe L. Clements,Jr. from Btry A were placed on DS with 32nd FA Brigade to assist in salvaging wire that had been left by the First Army in its rapid advance across France. Also on this date and pursuant to same authority, Captain JOHN W. DICKEY, JR., was placed in command of the 1st Platoon of a Provisional Truck Co. formed for the purpose of transporting supplies and ammunition to the forward units. This platoon was composed of personnel and vehicles from the 997th FA Bn. Captain DICKEY and 8 enlisted men were placed on DS with this newly formed organization from Hq Btry, 14 enlisted men from A Btry, 1. officer, 2d Lt. CHARLES A. GLASSER, JR., and 10 enlisted men from B Btry, 1 officer, 2d Lt. CLARENCE T. ENBODY and 14 enlisted men from C Btry, 9 enlisted men from Sv Btry, and 1enlisted man from the Medical Detachment.
Group headquarters directed that this new area would be used for a rest
period and on the 28 August training. schedules were prepared to cover
our stay in these positions. Daily calisthenics followed by sectional training
mornings and the afternoons were devoted to supervised athletics.
On 29August a route reconnaissance was made to our next proposed position area and on 31 August the entire battalion moved positions in the vicinity of Versailles, France.
f. Names of Commanding Officers or changes therein - NONE
g. Losses in Action - NONE
h. Members distinguishing themselves
(1) -Tec 4 Isaac Bull, Tec 5 Hendricks and Pfc Frank E. McIntyre, C Btry, were awarded the Purple Heart, 1 August 1944, per par 1, GO #7, Hq 997th FA Bn, Dtd 31 July 1944, for wounds received in action in Normandy 28 July 1944.
(2)1st Lt. REX N. FENNER was awarded the Air Medal, per General Orders #41., V Corps, Dtd 6 August 1944, for having completed 35successful combat missions.
(3)1st Lt. DALE R. BRENENAN, JR. was awarded The Air Medal, per Section III, General Orders #43, V Corps, dtd 12 August 1944, for having completed 35 successful combat missions.
(4)Captain GEORGE L. WILSON, Aerial Observer, was awarded The Air Medal, per Section III, General orders #45, V Corps, dtd 18 August 1944, for having completed 35 successful combat missions.
(5)2nd Lt. CLARENCE T. ENBODY, Aerial Observer, was awarded the Air Medal, per Section III, General Orders #45, V Corps, dtd 18 August 1944, for having completed 35 successful combat missions,
(6) Major WENDELL W. PERHAM, Ex Officer, was awarded the Purple Heart, per Par 1, General Order #8, Hq 997th FA Bn, dtd 21 August. 1944, for wounds received in action in Normandy on 13 August 1944
i. Photographs - NONE