September 1944

SUBJECT : Unit History.

TO:        Historical Section, Army War College, Washington, D.C.
              (Thru CG, V Corps)
    a. Original Unit — Completed.
    b. Changes in Organization — None.
    c. Strength, commissioned and enlisted.
        (1) At beginning of period – 27 O, 2 WO, 609 EM
        (2) At end of period – 27 O, 2 WO, 607 EM

   d. Stations of unit or parts thereof

       (1) On 14 September the entire battalion moved from positions at Versailles, France, to new positions near Fourmies, France.

       (2) On 16 September the entire battalion moved from Fourmies, France to positions near Schonberg, Belgium

   e. Operation -

    On 2. September 1944, the 997th FA Bn was bivouac south and west of Versailles, France. While in this position the battalion followed an extensive program of sectional training. Much emphasis was placed on the care and maintenance of materiel. Captain JOHN W. DICKEY, JR., and Lts. CLARENCE T. ENBODY and CHARLES A. GLASSER JR. were still detached to 32nd FA Brigade along with fourty-seven enlisted men from the battalion, and from all reports they were doing a fine job of supplying the forward units with supplies and amunitlon. Captain DICKEY was in charge of this detail. On 5 September in compliance with orders from 179th FA Gp, the battalion furnished one officer and thirty-three enlisted men for duty as escort Military Police to guard prisoners of war. Lt. KARLE S. WRIGHT, Rcn Officer from A Btry, was placed in charge of this detachment. The following day Lt. Col. MORAWETZ, Bn Commander, Captain HAGEN, Bn S-2, and Major ROMIG, BnS-3, left the area on a route reconnaissance to the vicinity of Hirson, France, in preparation for a reported move. During this reconnaissance the party discovered that the Germans had blown out nearly all the bridges across the Seine River.  However, the Army Engineers were rapidly repairing these crossings. This same day a Red Cross Clubmobile unit was in the battalion area and six hour passes to the nearby city of Versailles were authorized.  Conducted tours of the famous Palace of Versailles were arranged for by our Special Services Officer, Lt. ROBERT M. TAUTGES. The battilion commander called a meeting of the officers in which he stressed the fact that military courtesy was to be improved throughout the battalion. He ended the conference by remarking that “while perfection can never be reached in this respect, there is plenty of room for improvement within the organization."

       On the morning of 13 September, the battalion received orders to move by light and heavy column to the vicinity of Hireon, France. On the next day this march was begun. This was a move of about 150 miles and the light column was closed in the new position at approximately 1600 hours on 14 September with no loss in personnel or vehicles, and the heavy column closed on the new position at 1200 hours the following day. The battalion commander had decided that the heavy column should take two days, since the march was extremely long for the heavy vehicles to attempt to make in one day.

       On 16. September the battalion Liaison Pilots, Lts. BRENEMAN and FENNER, together with the battalion air section, returned to duty with the unit after having been on detached service with the 3rd Armored Division since the 4th of the month. On this day the officers and enlisted men on detached service with the 32nd FA Brigade provisional Truck Co. as well as those on escort guard duty with the Military Police returned to the battalion for duty.  Late the same evening Major ROWIG, Bn S-3, received word that we would be relieved of attachment to 32nd FA Brigade and be then attached to V Corps.

       On 17 September the battalion moved into firing positions in the vicinity of Schonberg, Belgium, and at 0900 hours the following morning the guns were in position and the battalion was ready to fire. On 18 September, Brigadier General HELMICK, Commander of V Corps Artillery, paid a visit to the battalion area. At 1800 hours this same evening the battalion fired for the first time since 21 August. This partitular mission was one of counter battery. The next day a 4th division observer directed our fire at pill boxes and fortified houses.  We expended 30 rounds of animunition and the observer reported that eight target hits had been obtained. He further reported that the pill boxes had been destroyed and the fortified houses neutralized.

       The battalion did not register immediately after entering the new positions because of inclement weather. The two planes of the air section were grounded and the extent of the observation from the ground OPs was about three thousand meters. On 19 September the battalion registered by high burst. The registration was very successfull as was proved later. The registration served a dual purpose, being used as interdiction inasmuch as the high bursts were fired at a town behind the enemy lines. The following day Colonel JIM DAN HILL, 190th FA Gp Commander, Colonel MORAWETZ and Captain HILDRETH, Gp S-2, visited the command post. The next day General HELMICK paid another visit to the battalion and talked to the CO regarding the effectiveness of our weapons. This same afternoon, the battalion commander went to our observation post in the vicinity of Bleialt, Germany, to observe fire. On this day the battalion received a commendation for its part in the work done by the 32nd PA Brigade Provisional Truck Co.

       On 26 September 2d Lts CLARENCE T. ENBODY and EARLE G. WRIGHT were promcted to the rank of 1st Lt., and Captain GEORGE L. WILSON, 1st Lt. DALE R. BRENEMAN, JR. and 1st Lt. CLARENCE T. ENBODY were presented the Air Medal by Brigadier General HELMICK at V Corps Artillery Headquarters.  Later that evening, while on a maintenance the check flight, the battalion observer located and directed fire on an enemy battery destroying same.

       Friday 19 September to 27 September the batta1ion fired missions of counter battery, interdiction and destruction. On counter battery missions 114 rounds were expended, consisting of eleven known missions averaging a little over ten rounds per mission. Most of the interdiction fires were fired by carefully selecting road junctions, buildings and public centers in enemy held towns. On missions of destruction 126 rounds were expended. The types of targets fired upon during the observed missions were pill boxes, infantry, enemy Strong points and enemy batteries.

       On 27 September the battalion checked its initial registration and found that it had not changed appreciably. From this day thrcugh the 30 September, the battalion continued the same type of firing. On 30 September the officers and enlisted men were paid in German marks.

       f. Names of commanding officers or changes therein — None.

       g. Losses in action — None.

       h. Members distinguishing themselves — None.

       i. photographs — None.

Captain, FA
Bn Historian