The first day of the new year found the firing batteries still in positions in the vicinity of Rott, Germany, and the Service Battery and personnel Section, togeather with 23 EM from Battery A, 20 from Battery B, and 17 from Battery C, made up the newly established rear echelon which was located near Preidthier, Belgium. On this day Pfc Wynsdahl V. Hall of the Medical Detachment was sent to the rear area to assist Cpl Donald H. Scharbach, aid man with Service Battery, in his capacity as aid man for the rear installation. Major ROMIG, Bn 5-3, returned to the battalion CP after a trip to the rear echelon and reported that it was operating very smoothly and that all personnel and installations were well taken care of in houses and buildings in the area. Pvt Arleigh E. Hucy of Btry B, absent sick in hospital, was dropped from assignment,
Captain COLEMAN, 571st AAA, was a visitor at battalion headquarters to discuss the defense set-up in our area. Considerable enemy air activity was present over the area and machine gunners from Btry B expended 230 rounds of .50 cal. ammunition at a low flying JU 88 reporting several hits. Major PERHAM had two teeth extracted by the 187th FA Gp Dental Officer. Captain SEIBERT, our ground observer at the Lammersdorf CP, reported that about 15 rounds of enemy 88 fire were dropped in the near vicinity of that installation. Pfc Joe T. Blair, Service Battery and Cpl Flavious C Otta, Btry C, both absent sick in hospital were dropped from assignment.
Service Battery reported from the rear echelon that the enemy had resumed their buzz bomb attack on our CZ installations and that they seemed to be in direct line with the launching area and the targets. The battalion ammunition train, also located at the rear echelon, brought 400 rounds of ammunition to the gun positions. Lt Col MC MILLAN, CO, 460th AM, was a visitor at the CP.
Inclement weather persisted, observation was poor and firing was held to a minimum. The Bn S-3 from 272d FA Bn visited battalion headquarters to discuss and compare S-3 proceedure with Major ROMIG. Captain VINCENT de P. HAGEN, former S-2 of the battalion on TD with 190th PA Gp, was asgd to that organization and is now serving as Group Intelligence Officer. Pfc Frederick Frey Btry C absent sick in hospital was dropped from assignment.
Lt Col MORAWETZ was called to 187th PA Gp headquarters in regard to moving one of the batteries to a new position. Reconnaissance was made in the vicinity of Lammersdorf, Germany. However, no positions were found due to the closeness of the area to the existing front lines togeather with the fact that suitable areas were already occupied.
Captain DAVIS, Bn Motor Officer, CWO HEARN, Asst Bn S-4 and CWO MASSOTH, Bn Personnel adjutant visited the Bn CP on business concerning matters of Supply and Administration. Tec Vergil C Meeks, artillery mechanic from Btry B, received the personal commendation from the battalion commander for services rendered on the night of 2 Jamiary. The battalion was called upon to support an attack on the early morning of the 3rd and only one of our batteries could reach the designated targets. Two of this battery guns were out because of defective equilibraters, Tec 4 Meeks, in his capacity as artillery mechanic, removed two equilibraters from Btry B guns and had them in the Btry C gun positions in record time. S/Sgt John E. Phillips, Btry C, was trfd to Btry B to assume the duties as Mess Sergeant.
Captain WESTOW, Sector Defense Officer, was at battalion headquarters in regard to defense plans and functions in our area. Our air OP fired a very effective 26 round adjust mission on an enemy troop concentration Area on the afternoon of this day. Lt CLARENCE T. ENBODY, air observer, and Lt. DALE R. BRENEMAN JR , Liaison Pilot, conducted this mission. Negative reports were still being received from our ground CPs due to the continued bad weather.
Colonel GREEN, CO 187th FA Gp, spoke to the Bn Staff and the Btry Commanders on the principles of construction arid use of the new type POZIT fuse. Major PERHAM, returning from the rear echelcn, picked up three EM at the 41st Replacement Battalion. Two of these men were returning from hospital and one, Pvt Theodore R. Williams was being asgd to the battalion from the 3d Repacement Depot. Very little firing was being done, 1040 rounds comprising the firing for the week ending on this date.
The headquarters and kitchen sections of Btry C moved fornard to an area nearer their gun sections. Word was received from the CO 187th PA Gp to move Able and Baker batteries to new positions, present positions being too near existing front lines. Parties left. CF for reconnaissance and survey of new areas for these batteries. Batteries made preparations to move on the following day.
At 1300 hours Baker Btry moved from old positions closing in their new area at approximately 1400 hours. Able completed their move and were in positions ready to fire a registration at 1200 hours. Registration was completed at 1230 hours. Service Battery reported that a U. S. Flying Fortress caught fire and exploded over their area crashing a short distance away during the afternoon.
Captain LANDES, Bn Com O and I and E Officer, left Bn Headquarters for the rear echelon to make a survey of the personnel records of the bn in connection with the forthcoming educational program to be inaugurated upon the cessation of hostilities. Pfc Harold C. Knowlton, Btry B, and Pfc Canton Price Hq Btry, absent sick in hospital were dropped from assignment.
Ground observation still poor but Captain WILSON, Bn Air Observer, and Lt REX N FENNER, Liaison Pilot, adjusted a 12 round mission on an enemy CF with very good effect. Pfc Ludwig R. Ulrich, member of the Bn Fire Direction Team, was promoted to Tec 5. Pvt Woodrow Wright, former member of Btry C, was re-assigned to that organization from the 3d Replacement Depot.
1st Lt. FRANK R. OBADAT, JR., Btry A Rcn O, returned to duty after having been on DS with an airborne division fcr training for the past six weeks. The Lt. was trained to be an artillery observer 4th an airborne unit and during the period of instruction he competed five parachute jumps. The battalion was notified by higher headquarters that it was authorized to wear two bronze stars in the ETO Ribbon for participation in the Normandy and Northern France campaigns. Pvt. Alexander Laird was re-assigned to Btry C from the 3d Replacement Depot.
Machine gunners in Btry B expended 110 rounds of 50 cal. ammunition at a low flying WE 109; hit were scored but the plane was finally brought down by a supporting AAA outfit. Lt. Col. MC LEER, Ex O 187th PA GP, on an inspection tour of the battalion, had dinner with Btry B. Tec 5 Steward F. Boodman Hq Btry, was placed on DO with the 17th Signal Operations Battalion.
Major PERHAM made a tour of the batteries and found that all personnel were well housed and that their living conditions, were exceptionally good considering the prevailing bad weather. For the week ending on this date, the battalion's fire consisted of 35 rounds of registration, 52 rounds on enemy strong points, 58 rounds of de struction, 22 rounds on enemy troop concentrations, 30 rounds on enemy guns, 24 rounds of TOT and 477 rounds of interdiction.
Visibility cleared considerably and several observed missions of destruction were fired on pillboxes and bridges in enemy held territory. Pfc Allan B. Smith, Btry C, was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries received on 14 December 1944 when he was struck by the recoil of one of our howitzers. Pvt Leslie T McKnatt former member of Hq Btry, was re-assigned to that organization from the 3d Replacement Depot.
Captain MILLER, Bn 5-4, was at battalion headquarters from the rear echelon to check on the anuunition situation in the battalion. The battalion maintenance section was taking advantage of the rear echelon setup to bring the vehicles and equipment in the battalion to top operational efficiency. Good working facilities and cooperation on the part of the battery motor sergeants enable them to accomplish a great deal in this direction.
Lt. GLASSER, Rcn O from Btry B, fired a 27 round adjustment on an enemy pillbox from the Btry B OP in the vicinity of Lammersdorf, Germany. The results were very effective. Lt. Col. MORAWETZ and Captain WILSON made a trip to the rear echelon on business. Major JOHNSON, S-3 187th FA Gp, was a visitor at the OP where he discussed the battalion's firing with Major ROMIG.
Poor visibility and the fact that enemy activity had been minimized on our front held our firing to normal missions of interdiction. Father MURPHY, 187th PA Gp Catholic Chaplain, was in the area and held services at Btry C. The personnel at Bn Hq were beginning to take advantage of the heavy snows by taking up the winter sports of skiing and tobogganing.. Most conspicuous among these was Captain LOUIS A. BREFFEILH, Bn Surgeon from Louisiana, whose attempts at skiing placed him on his Vanilla rear time and time again.
Major JOSEPH A CONRAD, former Surgeon of the outfit when it was the 195th FA Regt. at FT. Ord, California, visited at Bn Hq. Major CONRAD is now with the 102d Evacuation Hospital. Orders were received at Bn Hq to move the rear echelon forward to the area occupied by the rest of the battalion. Two enlisted men from Btry A were promoted to Privates First Class.
All personnel from the firing batteries attached to Service Battery at the rear echelon returned to their respective organizetions. Service Battery spent the day preparing to move forward on the following morning. Tec 5 Aught .L. Coyhis, was asgd to and jd the battalion from the 3d Replacement Depot and was further asgd to the Medical Detachment. .
Brigadier General HELMICK, CO V Corps Artillery, dropped in at the Bn CP enroute to 187th FA Gp headquarters. Service Battery (...half line unreadable...) 0930 and closed on new position just a short distance from battalion headquarters at 1100 hours. Clear weather made it possible to fire several observed missions with very effective results. However, the firing for the week ending this date consisted largely of the normal missions of interdiction. Eighty-two rounds of TOT fires, 30 rounds on enemy guns, 28 rounds on enemy troop consentrations, 102 rounds of destruction, 40 rounds on enemy strong points and 73 rounds of harrasaing fires were delivered as compared to 1470 rounds of interdiction.
Lt Co. MORAWETZ, Major ROMIG, and 1st Lt TEMPLE left the battalion area for 190th PA Op headquarters to join a party going on reconnaissance for new position. in the vicinity of Kalterherberg, Germany. After returning to battalion headquarters, Lt TEMPLE and eight men from the Hq Btry wire section returned forward for the purpose of occupying and establishing priority on the buildings selected for Bn Hq and Hq Btry. Pvt William F Turner, Btry C, was promoted to Private First Class and Pvt Charles A. Gerolame, Btry B, was placed on DS with V Corps Special Service Section. 1st Lts. DALE R. BRENEMAN, and REX N. FENNER, our liaison pilots, were awarded their second Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal which represented the completion of 105 combat missions for each of them.
Col. MORAWETZ, Major PERHAM and the battery commanders went forward to select areas fcr the respective batteries in the area previously reconnoitered. A work detail and the survey section from each battery accompanied these officers and surveys for the gun positions were completed and the several work parties set about preparing their positions for occupation. Frozen condition cf the ground and deep snows greatly hampered all activities. Four men from Btry C were promoted: Cpl Walter N. Jantzen to Tec 4, Pfc John L. Williams. Jr.. to Cpl, Pfc Albert W. Suminervill to Cpl, and Pfc Joseph Kemp to Tec 5. Pvt Savario F. Maida, former member of Btry C, was re-assigned and joined his old organization from the 3d Replacement Depot.
Because of the heavy concentration of troops in the Kalterherburg area, the housing of unit installations became very acute. In one case it was found that three different organizations were claiming priority on the same buildings for unit CPs and billets for personnel. Our unit happened to be one the these organizations. It finally boiled down to a case of who ranked who, and our battalion came out in good shape. Pfc Gwenon E. Thomas and Pvt James W. Alvia were asgd to the battalion from the 1111th Engineer Combat Group. They were further assigned to the Medical Detachment.
Captain NATHAN LANDES, Bn Com O and I and E Officer, departed for Paris, France, to attend the Army I and E Staff School. He was placed on DS 4th that organization and 1st Lt. ARTHUR TEMPLE took over command of Headquarters Battery in his absence. The battalion was reld from attachment to 187th FA Op and attached directly to V Corps Artillery. Three observed missions were fired upon including an enemy barracks area, an enemy CF and an enemy vehicle assembly point.
No firing was done, all batteries being in the process of moving to new positions. The battalion was moved by light and heavy column. The light column closed in the new area near Kalterherberg at 1330 hours and the heavy column closed at 2215 hours. Prepare for action activities were begun immediately upon arrival. The battalion was ready to fire at approximately 0100 hours the following morning. Battalion was reid form direct attachment to V Corps Artillery and attached to 190th FA Gp.
Lt Col FISK, Ex O, 406 FA Gp to which the battalion was atchd while in England, visited Lt Col MORAWETZ at battalion headquarters. A battery commanders' meeting was held for the purpose of disseminating information in regard to traffic regulations with special emphasis being placed on maintaining proper interval and the unnecessary passing of vehicles. Pfc John C Ferre, Btry A, was placed on DS with Service Battery and asgd to duty with battalion personnel section. service Battery and Personnel Section moved from old positions near Rott, Germany, to area in the outskirts of Eupen, Belgium.
S/Sgt fra T. Swihart, Bn Ammunition Sergeant, was attached to Btry C in order to facilitate the control of drawing and transporting ammunition from the ASP to the gun positions. The battalion ammunition train delivered 600 rounds of ammunition to the gum positions this date. Col JIM DAN HILL, CO 190th FA GP, was a visitor at Bn Hq this date.
Agent finance officers from the several batteries went to Victor rear to
draw funds to pay their respective batteries. The battalion was paid in
Belgium Francs this month. The battalion drew 504 rounds of ammunition
during this period and the firing was limited to missions of interdiction
only, due to poor visibility. During this period, from 23 Jan to 31 Jan
inclusive, the battalion's firing consisted of 938 rounds of interdiction,
62 rounds of TOT, 171 rounds on enemy guns, 103 rounds on enemy troop concentrations,
86 rounds of destruction, 13 rounds on enemy strong points, 203 rounds
of harrassing fires and 25 rounds of registration.