October 1944

SUBJECT : Unit History.

        On 1 October 1944 the 997th FA Bn was still in bivouac near Schonberg, Belgium, and Bleislg, Germany. Continued bad weather was still greatly hindering air obsevation. However, in direct and unobserved fires were continued. During the day 40 rounds of interdiction on enemy held towns, 16 rounds of TOT, 8 rounds of counter battery and 11 rounds on enemy strong points were fired. The following day the battalion CO, Lt Co1 MORAWETZ, and the Bn 5-3, Major ROMIG, left the battalion command post and proceeded to 190th FA Op headquarters where they joined a reconnaissance party. This reconnaissance for proposed positions was made in the vicinity of Bullingen, Belgium. Major PERHAM, bn Ex Officer, and Captain WILSON, asst Bn S-3, went to the bn OP to adjust fire. This OP was in the vicinity of Blieialf, Germany. From this OP 3 miles of the strongest defenses in the Seifried Line could be observed. Two enemy pill boxes were taken under fire by Major PERHAM and both targets were neutralized, it. Col MORAWETZ and Major ROMIG went to the Can Can OP to observe our firing which was being handled by their observers. Two pill boxes were destroyed after a mission of twenty rounds had been fired. Other firing throughout the day consisted of 40 rounds of interdiction, 8 rounds of TOT and 42 rounds on enemy strong points.

        On the 3rd and 4th of Octcber the only firing handled by the battalion consisted of 96 rounds of interdiction. Major PEASE, S-4, First Army Artillery, visited the battalion on 4 October for the purpose of checking our howitzers.  On 5 October Lt Col MORAWETZ and Major PERHAM, accompaned by Captain LANDES, 1st Lt. TAUTGES and 1st Lt TEMPLE, left the CP and met Lt Col BITTER, Ex Officer, 190th FA Gp, in order to make a reconnaissance for battery positions. The firing battery commanders, Captains CHARLES D. VUNCK, KENNETH V. COON, and FRED E. SEIBERT, JR., joined this party at the railroad station in Bullingen, Belgium. The following day the battalion moved by light and heavy column to positions in that vicinity. At 1440 hours the heavy column had closed on the new positions and the batteries were ready to fire at 1630 hours. However, no fire missions were forthcoming or the next several days.

On 7 October CWOs CARL E. HEARN, assistant Bn. S-4 and LEONARD A. MASSOTH, Bn. Personnel Adjutant, visited the Bn. CP to discuss matters of supply and administration with Major PERHAM. Two OPs were established on this day. They were established for the purpose of observing a proposed high burst registration. The following day two officers, Lt Col BITTNER, Ex Officer 190th FA Gp, and Lt Col VARIAN, CO 953d FA Bn visited Col MORAWETZ ·at the battalion CP. Later in the day, Lt Col MORAWETZ and Capt HAGEN left the CP and proceeded to the OPs to check the zones of observation and also to check the surveys to these OPs. At 1015 hours on 11 October the battalion registered by high burst, expending 8 rounds on charge 7 registration. This registration was followed by another using charge 5, seven rounds being expended. By the lack of variance in instrument readings received from each separate OP, it was noted that very satisfying results were obtained from both registrations. Approximately three hours later the battalion began firing counter battery missions, These missions were 7 in number and 115 rounds were expended. Three TOT missions were fired later in the day on towns in enemy held territory. Thirty-five rounds were used on these missions.

At 0600 hours on the following day the battalion completed its normal missions of interdiction after having expended 70 rounds. Throughout the rest of the day and during the next two days 320 rounds of interdiction, 85 rounds of TOT missions, 55 rounds of destruction, and 24 rounds of counter battery were fired. Lt Col BITTNER, from 190th FA Gp, adjusted fire on an enemy pill box and expended 27 rounds which resulted in its destruction.

On l6 October 50 rounds of interdiction fires were completed at 0600 hours, At 0910 hours the 4th Division Artillery observers adjusted fire on an enemy pillbox. and expended 20 rounds with very effective results. The only other firing during the day was 46 rounds of TOT fire. On this day the battalion began a very extensive training program, the duration of which was not specified. The most important phases of this program were daily sectional training for all sections, lectures by battery and battalion staff officers and demonstrations by Corps of Engineers. The following morning 60 rounds of interdiction were completed, and 68 rounds were expended on TOT missions during the day.

On 18,19 and 20 October the battalion fired normal missions expending 204 rounds of interdiction, 104 rounds of TOT fires, 6 rounds of destruction 214 rounds of counter battery and 12 rounds of harrassing fires. At l300 hours on 21 October, Lt Col MORAWETZ and Major PERHAM left the CP to attend a Corps Engineer demonstration on river crossings. TWo hours later the battalion participated in a TOT mission and expended 12 rounds on an enemy CP. The following morning 88 rounds of interdiction were fired on an enemy held town. This mission was completed at 0600 hours. That evening and the following morning 80 rounds of interdiction were fired on enemy CPs, barracks, strong points and supply dumps.  On the 23rd the battalion executed four missions, one TOT on an enemy fort, an adjust mission on enemy barracks, a counter battery mission on 6 enemy guns and interdiction fires on towns in the enemy sector.  Of these missions, one was observed and reported very effective.  On 24 October the only firing done was 100 rounds of interdiction and 4 rounds of TOT.

Tec 4 Waldo E. Savidge. from B Btry, and Pvt William C. Bradley from C Btry were placed on DS with the 215th Signal Depot Company on the 24th of October and proceeded thereto on the same day. This day reconnaissance parties went forward to select new positions for a proposed move. On 25 and 26 October the battalion fired 35 rounds of TOT Tires and 32 rounds of counter battery. No firing was done on the 27th and on the 28th the battalion was moved by light and heavy columns to new positions in the vicinity of Rott, Germany. At 1145 hours all vehicles of the battalion had closed on their new positions. Col JIM DAN HILL, CO 190th PA Op was a visitor at the battalion CP shortly after our arrival in the new area.

At 1500 hours on the 28th the battalion registered by Air OP, during which 12 rounds were expended. Captain WILSON, Battalion Asst S-3 and Lt BRENEMAN, Liaison Pilot, handled the registration. They reported considerable enemy flak over the front lines. The same evening and the following morning 275 rounds of interdiction were fired by Battery B.

To close the months firing, the battalion fired 8 rounds of TOT fires, 56 rounds of destruction, 4 rounds of counter battery and 50 rounds of interdiction during the last three days of the month. The batteries were paid on the last day of the month and another month of combat action lay behind the organization.

f. Names of cormnanding officers or changes therein - NONE