b. Changes in Organization - (1) 21 December 1944, reld fr atchmt to 190th VA Gp and atchd to 187th VA Op, per VOCG, V Corps.
c. Strength, commissioned and enlisted
(1) At beginning of period - 27 O, 2 WO, 542 EM
(2) At end of period - 27 O, 2 WO, 539 EM
d. Stations of unit or parts thereof -
e. Operations -
Captain GEORGE L. WILSON, one of the battalion Air Observers, and Lt. DALE H. BRENEMAN, Liaison Pilot had a field day. They adjusted on five enemy batteries. The 190th FA Bn fired four of these missions and the 997th FA Bn fired the fifth. All adjustments were reported effective. Btry C fired 196 rounds of the 216 rounds expended by the bn. The Med Det gave typhus and typhoid innoculations to Btry B.
Btrys A and B were moved forward to positions in the vicinity of the area occupied by Btry C several days previous. Nature of the terrain, these positions being in a heavily wooded area, necessitated the clearing of many trees to reduce the minimum elevation for several gun. Only 74 rounds were fired by the bn, most of which was interdiction.
A detachment of engineers, equipped with power saws, was sent to A and B batteries to aid them in improving their positions. These areas took on the temporary appearance of lumber camps rather than gun positions, with the shouts of the men echoing throughout the woods. Captain HAGEN, Bn S-2, registered B Btry on a base point in the city of Schmidt. This was one of the few times that the bn had registered from a ground OP. About 1430 hours enemy planes were active over our sector and Charley battery reported being strafed. No casual ties were sustained, however
Christmas cards for distribution to the batteries were received from the popular and well liked Chaplains MC SWEEN and MC CRORY with their compliments. Btry C continued to do the major part of the battalion's firing.
S/Sgt Ira H. Lear who was lost to hospital as the result of an enemy bombing when the bn was in Cerisy la Foret, France, in July, was reassigned and joined Btry C from the 3rd Repl Depot in Verviers, Belgium. Cpl Henry A Winterscheidt, computer from Btry C and long a member of the bn Fire Direction Team was promoted to the grade of S/Sgt. S/Sgt Theodore L. Saunders. Mess Sargent from Hq Btry, abs sk in hospital was dropped from assignment, Col HILL, our group commander, was a visitor at the Bn CP.
Captain JEPTHA S. DAVIS, JR., Bn Mtr Officer, visited the Bn CP to discuss the winter-izing of the vehicles in the Bn after which Major PERHAM, Bn Ex O, made a tour of inspection of the batteries for the purpose of inspecting maintenance of materiel and the living conditions of personnel.
Captain HANCOCK, from the G-5 section of First Army, arrived to pick up valuable paintings present in the houses occupied by Bn Headquarters. These paintings, presumably stolen by the enemy, were to be stored for safekeeping pending redistribution to their proper owners. Tec 5 Hilton H. Hobby, a cook in Btry C, abs sk in Hospital, was dropped from assignment.
Captain GEORGE L. WILSON and 1st Lt. CLARENCE T. EMBODY, our air observers, were awarded the Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal, per GO #78, Hq V Corps, dtd 3 Dec 1944. Presentations were made by Colonel HILL, 190th FA GP Commander, at Gp Headquarters. During the first eight days of the month the bn fired 1605 rounds and Captain MILLER, Bn S-4 had drawn 1207 rounds from the ASP.
It has been noted that with the usual GI ingenuity the men in the bn have constructed log houses for their protection and comfort that would be a credit to their pioneer forbears. Practically all of these houses are heated by some means or other and many of them are quite cleverly furnished. Inclement weather, making for poor observation, held the battalion's firing to a minimum, only 90 rounds being fired on this day. Pvt Rossie B. Hall, Btry C, was promoted to the grade of Cpl.
1st Lt. WILLIAM G. ROLF and 1st Lt. RONALD N. FISHBACK, together with 9 enlisted men fran the battalion, returned from Paris where they had enjoyed a 48 hour recreation pass. Pvt Clifford E. Miles, Hq Btry, Pvt Daniel V. Cotter, Btry A, Pfc Freeman C Woodard, Btry B, and Pvt Charles K. Norris Btry C, were placed on Ds with the 3d Tank Destroyer Op to serve as Military Government Police. T/Sgt James M. Gibbs, Bn Personnel NCO, took them to Spa, Belgium, where they reported for duty.
In addition to the OP at Germeter, Germany, the battalion established two more OPs in the vicinity of Lammersdorf, Germany. The object in establishing these installations was to insure wider observation in this sector for proposed operations. They were identified as Baker and Charley OPs respectively and were manned by personnel from these units. Tec 4 Harold H. Lloyd, lost to hospital while the bn was in positions at Bullingen, Belgium, 11 Ocotober, was reassigned and joined Service Battery from the 3rd Repl Depot. Pfc Albert H. Heitzenrater and Pvt Robert E. Beuth of Btry C were promoted to Cpl and Tec 5 respectively.
The direction of fire of the guns was changed in ordep to enable the bn to cover a wider sector of fire. Captain RALPH KURTRIGHT, an officer from the 78th Division, which had been moved into our sector, surprised his brother, 1st Lt. JAMES E. KURTRIGHT, Asst Bn Com O, by dropping into the Cp for a short visit. The two brothers had not seen each other in two years. Buzz bomb activity struck a new high on this date with one being reported about even half hour throughout the day and night.
Captain NAPPEAR, from First Army Ordnance, was in the area to pick up an obturator pad which the bn had been using. This pad wee being used as part of an experiment upon which the captain had been working for some time. It proved to be a much more substantial one than our ordinary pads, showing very little if any wear after the firing of several hundred rounds. Between 0020 Hours and 1400 hours Captain MILLER, Bn 5-4, in charge of an ammunition train, drew and transported 1294 rounds of aimunition to the batteries. The bn expended 983 round. on preparation fires and interdiction during this 24 hour period. Tec 5 Allen B. Canady, Hq Btry, was promoted to the grade of Tec 4. CWO LEONARD MASSOTH, Bn Personnel Adjutant, and Pvt. Donald S. Martin, Personnel Clerk, made a trip to the 16th General Hospital at Liege, Belgium to pick up Sgt Swank, of Btry C, who was being returned to duty.
On this day Tec 5 Harry 0. Whitman, Btry B. and Pvt James M. Heim, Btry C, were dropped from assgmt to the bn. Pfc Allan B. Smith, Btry C was evacuated to the 382d Collecting Co. as a battle casuality. He was injured when the recoil of one of the howitzers struck him in the chest as he lost his footing in the mud around the gun. Lt ENBODY and Lt. FENNER very effectively adjusted on an enemy battery from an Air CP. Pfc George Meeks, Btry B, was promoted to the grade of Cpl. The Med Det gave tphoid and typhus innoculations to Btry C.
1st Lt. KURTRIGHT, Who was manning the Germeter OP, reported considerable enemy vehicular movement on the road running southwest out of the town of Schmidt. An adjustment was made on the road but no further targets presented themselves thereafter and no additional firing was done. The picture "Laura" starring Gene Tierney was shown in Roetgen by the 190th FA Gp Special Service section and arrangements were made for personnel from the battalion to attend. The battalion drew 700 rounds of ammunition fran the ASP.
Beginning at approximately 0540 hours and continuing for about 2 hours enemy artillery fire was directed in the vicinity of our positions. Captain HAGEN, Bn S-2, departed for 190th FL Op Headquarters where he had been placed on temporary duty. After dark there was considerable enemy air activity over the area and many flares and bombs were dropped. No casualties resulted. Four hundred rounds of ammunition were drawn for the battalion.
Pfc Willie S. Tolison, who was lost to hospital as the result of injuries sustained from the muzzle burst in B Brty while the battalion was in position near Cerisy la Foret, France, in July, was reassigned and joined his former battery. This night enemy planes were over the area and flares were dropped. Later, acting on a report from higher headquarters, the battalion was instructed to double its security guard and to be on the alert for enemy paratroopers.
There was considerable air activity over the sector this date, Cpl Merl Dyson, machine gunner from Btry B, expended 90 rounds of .50 cal. amunition at a low flying ME 109 that was strafing his position and reported several hits. The plane was not destroyed however. Aerial bombs, supposedly anti-personnel, were dropped near the A Btry area in the early morning hours. At about 1000 hours a 40 mm AA shell that had failed to burst in the air exploded upon impact in the trees immediately above the S-1 tent in the Service Battery area. No injuries or damage resulted. An 8th Division Forward Ohserver adjusted Btry B on three enemy 105 mm guns. With the expenditure of 27 rounds the three guns and a near by building housing the gun crews were completely destroyed. After the mission was completed, the observer reported by telephone that the results were perfect. Reception over the wire was poor and when asked to speak louder the observer replied, "I can't, I'm right on the front lines." This incident makes for a deeper appreciation of the role played by the infantry forward observer.
As result of enemy air activity over the sector this day, Pfc Joe T. Blair of service battery, received a slight head injury that was later diagnosed as mild concussion. He was evacuated to the hospital for treatment. One enemy plane was shot down in the near vicinity of the Hq Btry at about 1600 hours. Btry C, by virtue of the fact that they were the only battery in position to Fire into the sector through which the enemy counter attack was being made, expended 597 rounds in the vicinity of Monchau during this twenty-four hour period. Pvt Terry Evans. Btry A, absent sick was dropped from assignment.
Captains LANDES, VUNCK, COON and SEIBERT attended a battery commanders' meeting at Bn headquarters where Lt Col. MORAWETZ gave them a clear picture of the situation to our south relative to the recent large scale offensive launched by the enemy in that area. He also stressed the necessity for a strong security guard and emphasized the need for close cooperation with the other units in our sector in this respect. Inclement weather kept our air section grounded and all firing was directed from ground OPs
The battalion was reld from assignment to the 190th FA Gp and attached to 187th FA Gp on this date, per VOCG, V Corps. We were not associated with the 793rd FA Battalion, an organization which had cadred from our outfit at Fort Ord, Calif., in March 1942. Elements of the Ninth Army under General SIMPSON, had been shifted to our sector to further strengthen our front and the 793rd was one of these outfits. Many old acquaintances were renewed throughout the two units· General SIMPSON was at one time in command of the 35th Division at Camp Robinson, Ark., where many of our men received their basic training.
This day was marked by considerable activity between our CP and cur new Group Headquarters. It was more or less a process of getting acquainted with our new group and securing the information regarding their SOP. Practically every officer on the staff visited Gp Headquarters on this day. No fire missions, other than those of normal interdiction, were received on this day.
Captain WHITE, CO Btry A, 460th AAA Bn, which is in support of our Bn in this sector, visited the CP to get the situation. Captain WHITE'S organization has been attached to us since we were in Cerisy Ia Foret in France, and we have always received the highest type of cooperation and coordination from them. During the week ending on this late the Bn drew 3901 rounds of ammunition and expended 2719 rounds.
Eleven men from Hq Btry, three from Sv Btry and three from the Med Det received Christmas gifts from their respective battery commanders in the form of promotions to the grade of Private First Class. These promotions were made possible by a new change in Army Regulations without regard for T/Os. This was Christmas Eve and on the whole all thoughts were of home and loved ones. However, there was little of the usual Christmas spirit to be found among the troops; but between the forces cf the Allied Air Command and the heavy artillery outfits of the AGF the enemy was literally showered 4th "gifts" bearing the personal compliments of every member of the Armed Forces a reminder that only through peace on earth can a spirit of good will toward men exist.
Tactically things were quiet on Christmas Day. The batteries all enjoyed a big turkey dinrer with all the trimmings and the only enemy activity during the day was the strafing of Btry B by a low flying JU 88. No casualties resulted and 110 rounds of .50 cal. ammunition were expended in repulsing the aircraft. Three routine air reconnaissance flights were made by our observers and one mission of adjustment was fired on an enemy pilibox. The fire was reported effective.
Twenty-two men from Btry C and thirteen from Btry B were promoted tc the
grade of Private First class. Pfc Carltor E. Price, lost to hospital
while the bn was in position at Cordey, France, in August and Pvt Wilbur
D. Tipton lost to hospital at Cerisy-la-Foret, France, and Pvt John
E. Fletcher. lost to hospital at Vire, France, were all reassigned
and joined their old outfits on this date. A Battery Commanders' meeting
was held at bn headquarters and the subject of a plan for sector defense
was introduced. As a result of this meeting squads were formed throughout
the bn for the purpose of setting up a strategic defensive positions and
effective road blocks to be occupied in the event of a possible enemy counter
attack through our
Observation from our Germeter OP was good on this day and three missions of adjustment were fired during the period. Two of these missions were fired during the day and were directed on enemy pillboxes.. The third mission was fired at night. It was a clear moonlight night and at about 1230 hours, Captain LANDES, our observer for this period, picked up a column of enemy vehicles proceeding in a southwesterly direction out of Schmidt. The captain notified the bn FDC and requested permission to adjust. Permission was granted and seven rounds were expended on the mission. Effect was questionable insofar as damage was concerned; however, no further traffic was reported in the area fired upon during the balance of the night. An effective mission of adjustment on an enemy pillbox was also directed from an Air OP during the day and this flight marked the 230th combat mission flown by our Liaison Pilots.
Nineteen men from Btry A were promoted to grade of Private First Class. Lt Col MC LEER, Ex O, 187th Fa Gp, was a visitor at the Bn CP. He rought down the latest developments on the situation ahd also informed us that the 75th Division, our old neighbors at Ft. Leonardwood, Mo., were now in France.
Major Perham, together with Lt Col MC LEER from 187th FA Gp made an inspection tour of the batteries and found that the men had greatly added to their personal comforts with.the addition of the recently issued canvas cots and bed sacks. They also noted that the continued cold and freezing temperatures were making for better operational efficience throughout the entire battalion. The weather, while a bit disagreeable, was highly preferrable to the mud and rain which had been hampering our operations for months.
After returning from a meeting at Gp Hq, Col MORAWETZ, Captain MILLER, 1st Lt TAUTGES and 1st Lt TEMPLE departed on reconnaissance for alternate positions for the firing batteries in the vicinity of Kittinus, Belgium. They also selected positions near Florence, Belgium, for the establishment of a rear echelon to be composed of Sv Btry, the Bn Personnel Section and sufficient personnel from each of the firing batteries to form a battalion arumunition train. These positions were selected to be occupied in case it became necessary to withdraw from present positions. However, it was decided that Sv Btry and elements selected to for the rear echelon would be moved to the new area the following day.
In the early morning hours of this day the area immediately south of us
was subjected to intensive aerial bombing by the enemy. Our liaison
planes were based at an airstrip in the area and one of them was damaged
to such an extent that it was beyond immediate repair and was removed to
a rear echelon repair installation. At 1400 hours the last elements of
the rear echelon had closed in positions in the vicinity of Florence, Belgium.
As nearly as possible all personnel were billeted in houses in the area.
Cpl Ralph C. Duncan, and Pvts Russell H. Farner and Theodore
R. Williams, absent sick , were dropped from assignment. As a seemingly
final gesture to the old year and a rousing welcome to the new, the battalion
expended 11 rounds on a TOT mission at exactly 2400 hours. Exactly one
year ago to the day the battalion wound up its POM activities at Ft. Leonardwood,
Mo., and were ready to leave for the P of E the following morning. Very
little firing was done during the last week of the month and the month
closed with a total expenditure of approximately 9500 round of 8" howitzer
ammunition. Btry C fired its 10,000th round (handwritten note: 2,000
tons) on this, the last day of the year.