Major Smith’s Journal
Presented here is the complete journal of the executive officer of the 71sAFA Bn. It begins on the Bn.s departure from Indiantown Gap and ends with his departure from the Battalion at the end of the war in Europe.The dates covered are from 5 Feb 1944 through 16 May 1945.
I am sure this would have been a starting point for inclusion in the Morning Reports and later the AAR’s (After Action Reports). At some point down the line, some of this same information was very likely incorporated into the ORLL's (Operational Report/Lessons Learned).
Courtesy of Lt. Col. (RET.) Herman R. Smith
THE 71st ARMORED FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION IN EUROPE
5 Feb 44
Left Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, Pa. by train for staging area. Arrived at Camp Kilmer, NJ the same day.
10 Feb 44
Left Camp Kilmer by train for New York Port of Embarkation. Transferred to ferry for trip to the pier. Bn received coffee and do-nuts from the Red Cross at shipside. Boarded the U.S.Army Transport Edmund B. Alexander. This ship was taken from the Germans after WW 1 and renamed the America, later the West Point and finally taken over by the U.S.Army Transportation Corps and given its present name.
11 Feb 44
At 2030 our ship joined the remainder of the convoy in NY harbor. At 2115 the convoy sailed for the ETO.
23 Feb 44
Arrived in harbor at Liverpool, England
24 Feb 44
Disembarked from ship, marched to the train shed at Central Depot where the Bn again received coffee and do-nuts from the American Red Cross. Loaded aboard trains for trip to Perham Downs Camp, Tidsworth, Hants.
25 Feb 44
Detrained at Lugershaw, Hants; entrucked and transported by the 3rd Armored Div. to Perham Downs Camp. The 3rd AD had cleaned and prepared this camp for our entry.
1 Mar 44
Received all our vehicles and equipment except our 18 105mm M-7 Howitzers.
2 Mar. to 11 Apr. 44
This period spent in cleaning up, breaking in and modifying our motor vehicles; conditioning the troops physically, and small arms firing; inspection and check of clothing and equipment.
11 Apr 44
Departed by truck from Perham Downs for Camp Blairick, Cornwall, Eng. For this march all our armored vehicles were put in storage at Camp Ogbourne St. George, Hants. Arrived at Camp Blairick after a 177 mile road march.
12 Apr. to 23 May 44
This period was spent mainly in establishing and organizing one base Camp (Camp Blairick) and 21 smaller camps; 7 in K area and 14 in J area. This was quite a job as there were many small details to attend to in the organization of each camp. Major Atkinson, the S-3, was in command of J area with Capt. Smithers, A Btry CO, and Capt. Blackburn, C Btry CO, as sub commanders. Capt. Crowell, B Btry CO, commanded K area and Capt Wilcox, Hq Btry CO, commanded the base camp.
24 May to 3 Jun 44
The D-Day assault troops arrived in the Camps. This unit was to get them fed, supplied and equipped with all of their shortages.Units of the 1st and 29th Inf. Divs were marshalled by this unit.
4 Jun 44
Assault troops left the camps for their embarkation areas.
6 Jun 44
D-Day, the great sea and air assault of the Nazi has begun. Initial landings were quite successful
7 Jun to 15 Jun 44
This period was spent in turning over the property and custodianship of such, and the camps, to another American unit.
15 Jun 44
Unit departed by truck from Camp Blairick, Cornwall and marched to West Downs Camp, Tilshead, Wilts. Arrived early evening. Marched 159 miles.
16 Jun to 22 July 44
Bn is bivouaced on the Salsbury Plain. This time was spent in thorough training of the unit in its primary weapon. Bn conducted service practice on the range with an ample amount of ammo. The remainder of the time was spent in classes on languages, customs, intelligence, aircraft and vehicle identification, physical conditioning, inspection of personnel and equipment and additional modifications of vehicles.
22 Jul 44
At 1640 the Bn moved out of bivouac area l mile East of West Downs Camp, Tiltshead, Wilts and arrived at Camp C-3 SE in the marshalling area near Southhammpton, Wilts. at 2045
23 Jul 44
Made final preparations for Short Sea Voyage. Buzz bombs passed over and landed near our area.
24 Jul 44
Departed Camp C-3 at 0645 and arrived at the Southhampton docks at 0750. The remainder of the day was spent loading ship.
26 Jul 44
After a lot of trouble with the booms and blocks, the Bn. was finally loaded onto 2 1/2 Liberty ships. Unit boarded ship at 1930 and at 2020 moved from the dock area. Remained in harbor overnight.
27 Jul 44
Sailed on Short Sea Voyage at 0715 and arrived at anchorage on Utah Beach, near Cherbourg, at 1830. Witnessed our second air raid. Both of them were at night with the first being at Camp Blairick near Plymouth.
28 Jul 44
Started unloading Bn. at 0730. Bn. arrived complete in bivouac area 5 miles N.W. of St. Saviour Le Vecompte; S.E. of Cherbourg, France.
29 Jul 44
Maj. Gen. Lunsford E. Oliver, the Div. Commander visited the Bn and spoke to the troops at 1515.
30 Jul to 1 Aug 44
Normal camp duties of maintenance and organization of equipment. Btrys made three 10 mile conditioning hikes.
1 Aug 44
Bn moved out at 1945 in the order A,Hq,B,C, and Svc. At 2330 closed in position 2 miles S.W. of Periers. We are now in the 3rd Army which is commanded by Lt. Gen Patton.
2 Aug 44
Btry B, 387 AAAW attached to the Bn. This unit consists of 6 officers and 140 EM. It is organized into two platoons of 4 sections each. Each section consists of 2 armored half-tracks; one armed with two 50 Cal. machine guns and a 37mm cannon. The other half-track is armed with a multiple mount of four 50 cal. machine guns. The mission of this unit is to protect our Bn against enemy aircraft. Stored our duffle bags in a field. Bn moved out at 1715 in the order of B,Hq,C,A,Sv.
3 Aug 44
Bn Closed in position area at St. Hilair Du Harcourt at 0615. The march was made under extremely trying conditions as the road was in a bad state of repair and we were floodlighted by aircraft flares that were dropped by 14 JU88's as they bombed Avranches and St Hilair. Div. now in XV Corps, 3rd Army. 22 German FW190's passed over the position area at 1600. They strafed as they passed but caused no casualties in our Bn. Our attached AAAW fired at them and probably damaged 4 as they were smoking badly as they passed out of our sight. At 2020 A Btry took the Bn's first prisoner, a paratrooper.
4 Aug 44
Our position area was strafed by six FW190's at 0945 but caused no casualties or damage. Our AA damaged one and at 1300 our AA fired on two
71st AFA Cont.
5 Aug 44
At 0100 the Germans bombed our general area but it is believed that they were again attempting to bomb Avranches. We had no damage but Pvt Bolen, of Sv Btry was hit in the knee by a spent 37mm AA shell as he lay in his slit trench. At 1720 our position area was strafed by two ME109s and 14 FW190s. They caused no damage to us and our AA probably damaged 9 of them with 4 of them smoking badly. Bn moved out at 1900 in the order A,Hq,B,C,Sv and closed in a tempory bivouac 1 mile S. of Lecousse, France.
6 Aug 44
At 0600 the Bn moved out in the order B,Hq,C,A,Sv and at 0845 closed in a temporary position 2 miles N. of Entremmes to await orders. This Bn is to support CCB which is now organized into 2 task forces. We are to follow TF Wintermute. Bn moved out at 1330 in the order of C,Hq,A,B, Sv and closed in bivouac 2 miles N.E. of St. Saviour and supporting CCB's road blocks.
7 Aug 44
C Btry fired our first fire mission in combat at 0230 hrs. They fired 9 rounds of WP; neutralized one SP 88mm gun, destroyed one 88mm SP gun and two unarmored vehicles. Lt Martin adjusted the Btry, Lt Page was the Exec and Capt Roueche, our FDC officer, commputed the initial data. This was excellent shooting as the only maps available were 1/250,000 scale road maps.
Bn moved out at 0800 in the order A,B,Hq,C,Sv. We follow TF Wintermute and the probable route is Chemere, Ballee, Epineaux, Poille, Chatenay, Maigne, Chemere, and St. Georges. The objective of the Div. is Le Mans.
At 1730 Hq and C Btrys were fired on by snipers on both sides of the road just short of Maigne. At 1945 the Bn cleared Maigne which held many snipers and bazooka-men. Four men were injured (M/Sgt Leiten, Cpl Mahoney, Pvt Lanham,________) by snipers. Our tanks were well able to cope with the horse drawn Arty and scattered Infantry that we encounte- red.
8 Aug 44
Bn closed in position 2 miles E. of Spay at 0030. Lt Martin, our Ln Off to CCB missed our CP and drove into Le Mans. He was the first American into Le Mans. Waiting for orders. At 1245 Bn moved out in order of A, Hq,B;C,Sv. Bn closed in position near St Georges, S.E. of Le mans at 1530, supporting CCB's attack on Le Mans.
9 Aug 44
Bn in position supporting CCB's attack on Le Mans. CC attacking in two columns; one from the South and the other from the South East. Bn Captured 7 prisoners. Cpl Bennet, Hq Btry, took one sniper and C Btry captured 6 in a woods near their position area. Le Mans taken at 1620. This Bn used three observers; 2 on the ground and one in the air. March Warning Order received from CCB at 2130.
10 Aug 44
Bn moved out at 0030 in the order C,Hq,B,A,Sv; to follow TF Wintermute. Arrived in position 3 miles N.W. of Bonnetable at 0745. Btrys took 4 prisoners as they went into position. Bn registered by Air OP and expended 16 rounds. Sv Btry fuel and lube section captured 9 prisoners on their return trip from the gas dump 142 miles behind us.
11 Aug 44
Bn relieved from direct support of CCB and ordered to reinforce the 95th AFA Bn which is in direct support of CCR. We are now under XII Corps Control. Bn moved out at 1850 in the order A,Hq,B,C,Sv and followed the 95th AFA. Column was fired on by snipers and auto-weapons 4 miles S. of Lamele Ser Sarthe and also in the town. This town was badly shot up and damaged by our column and approximately 1/3 of it was afire when the Bn went thru.
12 Aug 44
Bn in position at 0415 , 3 miles N.W. of Lamele Ser Sarthe. After daylight a large woods on our right flank was found to contain approx 40 abandoned German supply vehicles which were fully loaded with equipment and supplies. Bn moved out at 1210 in the order of B,Hq,C,A, Sv. We were to move forward by bounds leap-frogging the 95th AFA Bn. The Bn CO went forward with the Surv O and BC parties and got tied up in a traffic jam in Sees. The town was rejoicing its liberation by the unit on our left - the French 2nd Armd Div. Bn Closed in position 2 miles N of Marmouille and 3 miles S. of Nonet Le Pin at 1715. At about this time a radio report stated that the French Armd Div. had fallen back and that we were in eminent danger of a tank attack on our left flank. Bn sent out 3 bazooka teams to block the roads from the West that ran near our position area.
Bn CO, Surv O and BC parties left on reconnaisance at 2100 and left instructions that they were going N. of Nonet Le Pin and South of the road junction in Gace. Bn moved out at 2145 in the order C,Hq,A,B,Sv and closed in positionat 2245 near St Germain, 2 miles N. of Nonet Le Pin. Expended 87 rounds for the day on observed targets.
13 Aug 44
CCR's mission is to gain and control the CR on the S. edge of Gace which is also the objective of the British and Canadians, who are coming from the North. The 10th Tank Bn established a road-block at this CR with our B22, Lt Harrison (our forward observer).
Bn shelled at 0930 by 75mm roving gun. Approx. 45 rds fell in our area. B Btry, commanded by Capt Crowell, smoked the ridge 2000 yards to our front. This enabled the Bn to displace to its alternate position without too much difficulty. B Btry's RO, Lt Al Davies, was injured in the leg as was Sgt Holland of A Btry. We lost A Btry's kitchen truck and trailer in this shelling. At 1010 Bn was complete in its alternate position about l mile S.W. of our original position. In this position we received sporadic harassing fire during the night and expended 355 rounds for the day.
14 Aug 44
Lt Harrison, B22, lost his tank Cmdr, Sgt Dickey, to enemy mortar fire. Direct hit with a mortar round. Bn expended 494 rounds and the Bn received 40 rounds of incoming 105mm How. shelling.
15 Aug 44
Bn Co left at 1415 for a unit commander's meeting at CCB and returned at 1510. The 5th Armd Div is being relieved by the 3rd Armd Div and the 5th Armd is ordered to attack Druex, 62 miles to the S.E., tomorrow morning. The 71st is in direct support of CCB. Bn moved out, under the Exec at 15l0 in the order C,Hq,A,B,Sv and halted for refueling at 2200 near Les Chatelets. Now in XX Corps.
16 Aug 44
Bn in position at 0745 near Imbernais and 5 1/4 miles S.E. of Druex.The 400th Armd FA Bn is to reinforce our fires. At 1010 CCB attacked Druex in two columns and the town was liberated at 1615. Our A Btry was strafed at 1630 by a single ME109 which was shot down in flames by our AA. This plane crashed in the middle of A Btry's position. Bn expended 61 rounds for the day.
17 Aug 44
At 1225 Bn moved out in order A,Hq,B,C,Sv and at 1425 was closed in position l mile West of Florenville and La Chapelle. Bn expended 23 rounds for the day.
18 Aug 44
At 0930 Bn received a Warning March Order from Div Arty and at 1200 moved out under Exec in order B,Hq,C,A,Sv. At 1235 Bn closed in position 1 mile W. of Champagne near Brone.
At 1500 Bn Co, Surv O and BC parties left on reconnaissance .Bn moved out at 1530 in the order C,Hq,B,A,Sv. The 400th Armd FA Bn was to reinforce our fires and to leap-frog on the march. At 2045 Bn closed in position l mile N. of Lammoye and 3/4 mile S.E. of Chaufeur. Bn bypassed leading elements of CCB and liberated Chaufeur. Cpl Hardesty fired 3 rounds from the MG on his Peep and took one prisoner in Chaufeur - the remainder went East towards Bonnaires using any availab- le transportation. At this point the 81st Tank Bn interrupted their flight and slaughtered Nazis and horses like flies. Bn expended 169 rounds and CCB completed the Seine River cut-off. Lt Leo Kokeley, C Co, 81st Tank Bn destroyed the Div's first MK V Panther tank.
19 Aug 44
Lt Nicol cracked up his L4 during take-off on a small rough fenced in field. Bn fired on tank, infantry and vehicle concentrations. Bn expended 521 rounds.
20 Aug 44
At 1100 the Bn CO left for a CCB unit commanders meeting and returned at 1345. The 79th Div is to cross the Seine River and establish bridgeheads at Bonnairs and Mantes. The 5th AD will support by fire and disrupt all enemy traffic and communications. This includes barge traffic on the Seine River and also to protect the left flank of the 79th Inf. Div. Bn expended 507 rounds during the day on tank and infantry concentrations.
21 Aug 44
Bn Co, Surv O and BC Parties went forward on reconnaisance at 0840 to select new positions as we are nearly outranged. They returned at 0930 Bn moved out at 1400 in order A,Hq,B,C,Sv and closed in position at 1510 1 mile SE of Douains; astride old RR tracks. Bn expended 332 rounds.
22 Aug 44
Bn Co, Surv O and BC parties left on reconnaisance at 0755. At 0920 the Bn moved out under the Exec in the order B,Hq,C,A,Sv and closed in position 1/2 mile NW of La Heuniere in a field covered with destroyed German Panther and Tiger tanks. These belonged to the 130 Panzer Lehr Div and were knocked out by our tanks and the AF on the 21st of Aug.
Bn Co, Surv O and BC parties left on reconnaisance at 1325. Bn moved out at 1340 in order C,Hq,A,B,Sv and closed in position l mile SW of St. Pierre De Baellen at 1515. At 1500 we were bombed and strafed by 9 FW190s as we were going into position. Our attached AAAW downed one and damaged two. Bn suffered 8 casualties: T/5 Fitzgerald in C Btry and 7 of the attached AAAW Btry. Three vehicles were damaged, includi- ng the Bn 10 ton M1 wrecker. Bn expended 483 rounds during the day and broke up a large tank and infantry counter-attack by the 130 Panzer Lehr and Hitler Jugend Divisions.
23 Aug 44
Bn moved out at 1615 in the order parties, A,Hq,,B,C,Sv and closed in position one mile N of Les Noes at 1900. The weather was rainy and mud was everywhere. The Bn expended 149 rounds on infantry concentrations and marking targets for our supporting P47 fighter bombers.
24 Aug 44
At 1300 the Bn Co left for a meeting at CCB and returned at 1530. CCB to march to vicinity of Paris and wait until the French 2nd Armd Div can get there to liberate the city. Bn moved out at 1615, under the Exec in the order A,Hq,b,C,Sv and closed in position 3 miles S. of Mantes and 1/2 mile S of Guerville at 0715 hours 25 Aug 44. This was a march of 72 miles under adverse road and weather conditions. There was practically no enemy resistance.
26 Aug 44
Bn registered N of the Seine River and in bivouac 1/2 mile S of Guerville performing necessary maintenance of equipment and material. Btrys are so located in position to be able to fire if necessary. From 2200 to 2400 Bn fired two Corps Serenades and numerous interdiction and harassing missions. Expended 884 rounds for the day.
27 Aug 44
Between 0001 and 0445 this Bn fired in 4 Corps Serenades to help break up an enemy counter-attack against the XIX Corps which was N of the Seine River. At 1300 the Bn Co, Surv O and BC parties went forward on reconnaissance at 1330 to pick some positions. Bn displaced by Btry starting at 1500 and completely in position at 1610 and registered by Air OP by 1640. Div now in V Corps, 1st US Army. At 1810 Bn Co left for unit commander's meeting at CCB and returned at 1950. Bn as a part of CCB will march to an assembly area in Versailles at 0800 tomorrow morning. CCB to parade in Paris. Expended 924 rounds on Infantry and tank concentrations.
28 Aug 44
At 0210 CCB called to say that movement and parade were delayed for 24 hours and that same details as yesterday would pertain. Bn performing necessary maintenance of vehicles and equipment.
29 Aug 44
Move to and parade in Paris by CCB cancelled. One combat team from each of the 4th and 28th Infantry Divisions will parade. At 1750 Gen Oliver, the Division Commander, made presentations of the Bronze Star medal for gallantry in action to Capt Rowlands and Lt Frazer. He also read the order awarding same to Lt Davies, who was absent in hospital, WIA.
All maintenance services have been completed and the Bn is now capable of another extended operation with few vehicular casualties caused by maintenance. Bn is carrying a 20% basic overload of combat ammunition.
At 2050 Bn Co left for unit commanders meeting at CCB and returned at 2230. The 5th AD to move at 0600 30 Aug; to relieve the 28th Inf Div and the French 2nd Armd which are N of Paris and then to spearhead the drive to the Corps objective (the Belgium border). CCB to move in three columns; 71st to march with TF Anderson and leave here at 0800; will pass thru Paris.
30 Aug 44
At 0745 the Bn moved out under the exec in the order B,Hq,A,C,Sv and passed thru Paris at 1030. Thus far this Bn has travelled 398 miles in combat. Speedometers were re-zeroed in Paris.
At 1645 Bn went into position 1/2 mile N of Luzarches and the head of the Bn column received 7 rounds of 88mm AP fire. The roads were jam packed with vehicles as the CC had started to bypass elements of the 28th Inf Div. At 1710 Lt Harrison, B22, adjusted A Btry and fired a Btry 5 rounds for effect. This was a time concentration on dug-in Infantry and AT guns. The fire burned 4 ammo vehicles, killed many infantry, the AT guns withdrew and the column passed. The Bn Co, Surv O and BC parties went forward at 1910 and the Bn followed at 1945. Bn closed in position at 2050 in a famous race track within the city limits of Chantilly. This race track accommodated the entire CCB.
31 AUG 44
Division to complete passing thru 28th Inf Div. and to continue on to Conde Belgium. B Btry left at 0700 as part of the advance guard of TF Anderson. At 0825 the remainder of the Bn displaced by Btry and by 1037 were closed in position l mile E of St. Maxim. B Btry was in position on a large burning airport at Los Plesus. Bn moved out at 1245 under the Exec to displace the remainder of the Bn forward to B Btry's area; closed in position on the airport at 1355. At 1500 the Bn displaced forward to positions 1/2 mile NW of Flourines and closed there at 1610. Bn registered immediately by Air OP and fired several missions prior to darkness. Good results were obtained on dug in Inf. and AT guns. Marched 18 miles cross country through two heavily mined and booby trapped areas.
1 SEPT 44
Bn Co, Surv O and BC parties left at 0930 with the Bn moving at 0945 in the order C,Hq,B,A,Sv and closed in an assembly area S of the RR tracks and 1/2 mile N of Verberil. Bn moved out at 1130 and closed in position 300 yards NE of Royallieu on the edge of the Compiegne forest at 1235 after marching 22 miles. This is the forest in which the Armistice was signed thus ending WW 1. Bn registered by air OP at 1250 and fired 3 concentrations on dug in Inf. N. of Compiegne. Capt Wilcox (Hq Btry CO) and Col Cole (Commander CCB) were slightly injured by shell fragments.
Bn Co left at 1420 for unit commanders meeting at CCB and returned at 1505 with our Ln Officers and FOs. Our mission has been changed. The 71st is to support TF Gilson and march to the Corps objective (Conde Belgium). Bn moved out at 1847 in the order C,Hq,B,A,Sv and at 1920 crossed the pontoon bridge in Compiegne. Bn then moved forward by bounds with the firing batteries leap-frogging one another with one of them in firing position at all times. At 2142 B Btry was in position 2 miles S of Noyon. The column was held up by dug in Inf and AT guns in position on the S side of Noyon.
2 SEPT 44
Remainder of Bn closed in vicinity of B Btry's position at 0020. Bn marched 14 miles. Bn registered and night survey complete at 0137. Bn fired several time concentrations on dug in Inf and on Noyon. During this action the 81st Tank Bn lost 3 tanks and Lts McWain, Martin, Frazer and Henschell received silver star medals for the adjustment of our fires. They were out ahead of our leading elements and were silhouetted by the light from the 3 burning tanks.
At 0745 the Bn Co, Surv O, BC parties and A Btry moved out followed by the Bn at 0825 in the order C,Hq,B,Sv. The column was held up by two blown bridges in Ham. Bn went into position on city limits of Ham at 0950. Travelled 16 miles. The 22nd Eng Bn (5th AD) put up two bridges across the canals. At 1217 the Bn moved out in order B,A,Hq,C Sv. The Bn Co and BC parties are preceeding the Bn by one mile.
After CCB crossed the bridges in Ham the German columns running E used them to good advantage. Bn closed in position area 1 mile N of Conde and 1 1/2 mile from the Belgium border at 2320 with only 3 straggler vehicles. Bn marched 69 miles from Ham for a total of 85 miles for the day. Our column bypassed San Quentin and went through the large town of Valcennes. The resistance encountered was unusually light but there were several firefights that the advance guard was able to handle. The column killed many German soldiers and horses; knocked out a large number of artillery pieces and motor vehicles.
3 SEPT 44
At 0830 a German column of 14 vehicles with three towed 105mm guns passed 200 yards in the rear of our position area. This column was firing all available small arms at us. They over ran the 22nd Eng road block and killed two machine gunners. Cpl Delap and Pvt Brown, in Hq Btry, were injured by small arms fire. Capt Wilcox, Hq Btry Co, had a bullet go through the seat of his pants. Our Ln planes arrived in the area at 1240. Bn had a field day firing on retreating German units. We destroyed 3 88mm towed guns and seven vehicles. These missions were all observed by air OP. At 1710 Bn displaced forward 2000 yards to a better position and fired interdiction and harassing fires throughout the night.
4 SEPT 44
At 0455 135 mixed German foot troops ran into Hq Btry area and all were taken prisoner. At the same time Sv Btry took 18 prisoners. CCB's PW cage was overflowing with prisoners with more coming in every hour. At 1015 Bn moved out in the order A,B,C,Hq,Sv. This unit to support CCB in an attack to the South - vicinity of Sedan. Bn closed in position at 2022 1/4 mile W of La Remange. Unit marched 93 miles.
5 SEPT 44
Received march order and overlay from CCB. We are to support CCR's crossing of the Meuse River near Sedan. Bn moved out at 1615 in the order Bn Co, BC parties, A,FDC,C,B,Hq,Sv and, after marching 22 miles closed in position at 1915 1200 yards SW of Singley.
6 SEPT 44
In position all day awaiting the arrival of our trains. Gasoline supply exhausted - only enough for 20 miles. Unit performing necessary maintenance and care of equipment.
7 SEPT 44
Trains arrived at noon with gasoline for 150 miles. At 1545 orders arrived from Div Arty directing this unit to move in order to reinforce the 95th Armd FA Bn. At 1645 Bn moved out under exec in order A,B,C,Hq, Sv and crossed the Meuse River on the engineer pontoon bridge in Sedan and closed in position 300 yds E of Givonne at 1920. Bn marched 27 miles. So far have marched 711.4 miles in combat.
8 SEPT 44
CCR column moved out at 1100 but made slow progress on account of demolitions, obstacles, mined areas and road blocks. 71st to leap-frog with 95th AFA Bn. Bn moved out at 1555 in the order C,B,A,Hq,Sv. The FDC was on ahead with the Bn Co and BC parties. Bn entered Belgium through the Bois De Pure Forest between Messincourt and Chassepierre, Belgium and closed in position at 1830 1000 yds W. of Pinard S of the Semois River. Marched 22 miles after relieving the 28th Inf Div. Bn registered and fired two time concentrations.
9 SEPT 44
Bn Co, BC Parties and FDC moved out at 0855 followed by the Bn at 0900 in the order C,B,A,Hq,Sv. At 1035 the Bn closed in position 1500 yds E of Tintigny - marched 8 miles. Survey complete and Bn registered by Air OP at 1150. The column was held up by a blown bridge and mined bridge approaches. Bn Co, BC parties and FDC moved out at 1400 followed at 1410 by the Bn in order A,B,C,Hq,Sv and closed in position at 1605 400 yds SW of Habay La Neuve. Marched 8 miles. Bn moved out at 1745 in order C,B,A,HQ,Sv. Bn Co, BC parties and FDC left at 1645. Bn crossed border into Luxemburg at 1912 and closed in position 400 yds S. of Huttange Luxemburg at 1950. Bn marched 4 miles. Bn registered at 1947 and fired interdiction and harassing fires throughout the night. All roads to the N, S, and E were interdicted. Bn expended 154 rounds.
10 SEPT 44
A Btry moved out at 0820 as part of the advance guard of CCR. They followed married B. Bn Co, BC parties and FDC moved out at 0900 followed by the Bn under the Exec in the order B,C,Hq,Sv. At 1100 A Btry in position 1/2 mile N of Mersch and Bn closed in same area at 1130 after marching 10 miles. The bridge across the Saur River in Mersch was blown just as CCR's advance guard entered the town. Bn registered by Air OP and fired 8 Bn concentrations. Expended 264 rounds. Many foot Inf and horses were killed and dispersed. Many horse drawn vehicles were destroyed along with several automotive vehicles and guns. The Air Corps also had a field day attacking the retreating German columns as they raced E to the "Fatherland".
Bn moved out by Btry at 1537 and crossed the newly planked RR bridge in Mersch. Bn closed in temporary bivouac area 400 yds N of Beringen at 1755. Marched 3 miles. At 1820 the Bn moved out in the order BC parties, A,B,C,Hq,Sv and closed in position 2000 yds SW of Stegan and 1500 yds NW of Schrondweiler at 1937. Marched 5 miles.
11 SEPT 44
Bn relieved from reinforcing 95th AFA and now to support CCB. At 1245 the Bn Co, Surv O, Bc Parties and FDC moved out followed by Exec with the Bn. Bn departed at 1310 moved cross country to Stegan and closed in position 1000 yds S of Hoscheid at 1502. Bn marched 16 miles, went by the Brandenburg castle in the Brandenburg pass. Bn registered by Air OP at 1630. B Btry 71st AFA was the first Arty unit to fire onto German soil. Bn fired interdiction and harassing missions throughout the night and expended 230 rounds.
12 SEPT 44
On Sept 10th Col John T Cole, Commander of CCB, and a group of officers from his staff, along with Capt R A Rowlands, our Ln Officer to CCB walked through and examined most of the Siegfried line pill boxes in our area. Bn fired 60 rounds on harassing and interdiction missions.
13 SEPT 44
From 0925 to 1800 Bn fired concentrations on German border positions and local strong points. Expended 462 rounds. At 1355 Bn Co and BC parties went forward on reconnaisance and returned at 1520. Bn displaced by Btry and B moved out at 1900. At 2000, Bn less Sv Btry was closed in position 1500 yds W of Walsdorf. Marched 8 miles.
14 SEPT 44
Bn Co left at 0830 for unit Commander's meeting at CCB and returned at 1000. CCB and CCR attached to Corps and will attack E at once. CCB on a 2 hour march alert. Fired concentrations on enemy counterattack in the vicinity of Stoltzenburg and Kleppenhousen. Expended 520 rounds. Weather rainy and foggy.
15 SEPT 44
Performing normal bivouac duties of maintenance and care of equipment. Three Bn FOs are out keeping German installations of the Seigfreid line under surveilance. Fired a few missions on call for Div Arty and expended 133 rounds. We are still on a Corps 2 hour alert. Weather rainy and foggy.
16 SEPT 44
Bn Co left at 0945 for CCB unit Commanders meeting and returned at 1050. CCB now released from Corps reserve and will reinforce CCR of the 5th AD which is now in Germany. Bn moved out at 1200 in order Bn Co, BC Parties, FDC, A,B,C,Hq. Sv Btry will march with CCB trains. 1315 - fire mission - Exec ordered C Btry into position 1 mile SE of Bastendorf and at the same time A & B occupied positions 600 yds N of Reisdorf. No rounds were fired from these positions and the Bn immediately displaced under the Exec to positions l mile N of Mostroff and closed at 1400. Unit marched 9 miles. Unit was served coffee and do-nuts in this position by a Red Cross Club Mobile.
At 1625 Bn Co, Surv O, BC Parties, and FDC moved out followed by the Bn at 1645 in the order A,B,C,Hq. At 1730 Bn crossed a pontoon bridge into Germany at Wallendorf and passed through the outer defenses of the Siegfried line. Bn closed in position 400 yds SE of Hommerdigen at 1830 after marching 9 miles. Bn registered by Air OP at 1915 and fired interdiction and harassing fires throughout the night. 115 rounds were expended.
Report from CCB indicated that this Bn has inflicted the following confirmed losses on the enemy during the period 6 Aug44 - 15 Sept 44. Six 88mm AAAT guns, 2 SP 88mm AT guns, 41 unarmored vehicles, 3 ammunition carriers, l armored half track, 3 MK V tanks, l Company of personnel and 7 machine guns. Bn expended 7270 rounds of 105mm ammunition during the same period.
17 SEPT 44
At 0300 hours, time was set back one hour by the British. Bn Was shelled throughout the day and night by 150mm howitzers and multiple rocket launchers (called Nebelwerfers). Approximately 200 rounds landed in the Bn CP area (150 x 150 yds). Unit and CC were cut off several times at Neidersgegen and Wallendorf. Bn fired in 4 different directions at once and many times 4 missions were going thru our FDC at the same time. Lt Henschell, A Btry RO, was wounded and evacuated. Bn expended 845 rounds.
18 SEPT 44
Bn in same position area. Have 5 FOs out. Visibility unsuitable for Air OP operations. The Bn area was shelled throughout the day and night by 150mm and Nebelwerfers. Weather rainy and foggy. Bn expended 1534 rounds on observed, interdiction and harassing fires.
19 SEPT 44
From 0545 - 0600 Bn received 30 rounds of 150mm How shelling from the SE and at 0730 18 rounds of 150mm shelling from the NW. CCR withdrawi- ng and CCB is to remain and cover their withdrawal. Our area is receiving almost a continuous shelling from 150mm How. The air is overcast and making it extremely difficult to observe anything from the air. At 1015 Lts Nicol and Francies in their planes with Lts Sorensen and Martin as observers took off from the Bn area and were subjected to a large concentration of 20mm anti-aircraft fire as soon as they were 200 feet in the air. The enemy was closing in quite fast. Our Bn was left with only a married Inf/Tank Co for protection. At 1210 three tanks of B Co, 81st Tank Bn were hit by 88mm direct fire and burned. These tanks were 350-400 yds from our position area.
At 1415 the Bn Exec took 10 men and 3 bazookas to clean the enemy out of the woods to our right front. One SP 88mm, 1 SP 20mm AA and approx. 32-40 infantrymen were driven out and retired approximately 1000 yds from the Bn area. At this time another of B Co 81st Tanks was knocked out. At 1500 the Bn Co directed A Btry to displace 1200 yds to the rear of the Bn where they had a better field of fire against a tank attack. At this time the Bn Exec took RO parties to select positions to the rear and they were shelled by direct fire weapons from woods on the South.
Service Btry had received an intense shelling around 1200. This shelling killed Sgt Nicolson and wounded 3 men. T/5 Behrens was evacuated. The Bn ammo platoon, after three attempts, could not get forward to the Bn position. They could not get past Biesdorf or Krutchten which were only 800-1200 yds from the Bn area. Automatic weapons fire kept them from making it. Sgt Florio, Asst Bn Ammo NCO, was killed at his truck mounted machine gun during one of these attempts. B22, Lt Harrison, was wounded by an 88mm HE shell 400 yds from our CP while adjusting fire on a SP 88mm AT gun, 20mm SP AAAT gun and some Infantry. He was rescued by Lt Francies, Pvt Sneed, S/Sgt Mylertz and the Bn Exec.
At 1900 the Bn began to displace to the rear into Luxemburg. This movement was made in excellent order even though the Btrys were under heavy direct shell fire from tanks and SP guns during a good share of the way. The ford at Neidersgeggen and the bridge at Wallendorf were under interdiction fire by 150mm but the unit passed these points without injury to men or vehicles. Capt Smithers, A Btry Co, lost his half track and a peep in Biesdorf to an AT gun. An AP round took the brake and clutch pedal out from under PFC Remur Pope's (half track driver) feet. The Bn Exec crew fought their way through successfully. Cpl Loomis, in the Exec Section, was wounded. The remainder of the Bn by-passed this town.
Bn closed in position at 2350 400 yds E of Bettendorf, Luxemburg. Marched 14 miles. Expended 1562 rounds. Weather rainy and foggy. Bn suffered 21 casualties that had to be evacuated and 3 vehicles were lost. Cpl Lucre, T/5 Rameriz, PFC Barbara and 2 men from the attached AAAW Btry were also killed. The mission of CCB is to retain a bridge- head in Germany for two days. CCR is completely back in Luxemburg. CCB Hq, 81st Tank Bn, 15 AIB and B Co 22nd Eng, along with one Ln Off and 4 FOs from our unit remain in Germany.
Today was the Bn's worst day in combat. At times it was a mortal hell for everyone concerned. S/Sgt Kinsall, of our Medic Det, went out of his head and was evacuated for battle exhaustion.
20 SEPT 44
There was sporadic enemy shelling in adjacent areas throughout the day and night. No rounds landed in our area. The weather cleared up at 1015 so that our Air OPs could observe satisfactorily. Bn expended 1266 rounds. Air Corps P47s and P38s had a field day at 1522 on tank and Infantry concentrations. T/Sgt Meeker, our S-2 intelligence Sgt, was evacuated for combat exhaustion. Pvt Stinger wounded by shell fragments on one of the Bns road blocks.
21 SEPT 44
Bn in same position. Weather cleared up at 1122 and both our Air OPs became operational. Bn expended 1888 rounds. Our P47s and P38s were around during all clear periods during the day. Beisdorf and Neiders- geggen received a good working over by the Air Corps; they also gave some close in support to CCBs tanks and Infantry.
22 SEPT 44
At 0415 all troops retired W of the river at Wallendorf into Luxemburg. The Div accomplished its mission - to draw all the mobile reserves from the major portion of the lst US Army front. The casualty rate in the Div. was fairly high but low in proportion to what damage was caused to personnel and vehicles of the enemy. CCR now outposting the line Ammildingen - Dillingen on the W bank of the river. The 71st to organize and man the static OPs. Bn displaced at 14l0 to positions one mile SE of Gilsdorf. Marched 3 miles. Bn registered by Air OP at 1535. Bn expended 560 rounds during the day.
23 SEPT 44
Weather rainy and foggy. Expended 208 rounds.
24 SEPT 44
Weather rainy and foggy. Expended 230 rounds.
Weather rainy and foggy. Expended310 rounds and neutralized two 105mm
Weather rainy and foggy. Div Spec Svcs Off provided a movie film for the Bn. The movie was Casanova Brown with Gary Cooper and Jennifer Jones. Bn expended 636 rounds.
27 SEPT 44
Bn displaced at 1400; moved in order A,B,Hq,C and closed in position 400 yds NE of Meternach at 1510. Bn marched 4 miles. At 1625 Bn registered by Air OP. At 1630 an American Red Cross Club Mobile served coffee and do-nuts to the Bn except for Sv Btry which was in Stegan 4 miles away. The Div SSO provided a re-showing of Casanova Brown. Weather was rainy and foggy most of the day. Bn expended 535 rounds.
28 SEPT 44
Day was clear and sunny. Air OPs up all day and Bn expended 449 rounds on observed tgts. Bn has 2 ground OPs that are manned 24 hrs daily. The 5th Armd Div will be relieved soon by the 8th and 83rd Inf. Divs which are now a part of 3rd Army but soon to be a part of the new US 9th Army. Sent truck convoy for the stored duffle bags. German JU88 bombers have flown very low over our position nightly for the past several days. They are apparently searching for our guns as we are the only ones firing from around this area.
29 SEPT 44
Rained during the night. The day was clear and sunny. Our Air Corps P47s were out in strength. Bn expended 267 rds.
30 SEPT 44
Weather foggy, cold and rainy. Expended 225 rds.
1 OCT 44
Weather cold and foggy. Bn expended 16 rds of smoke marking targets for the P47s.
2 OCT 44
Bn now in a semi-rest period performing maintenance and care of equipment. At 0830 billeting parties left for new position area SW of Aachen in the VII Corps area. Weather clear and sunny. German Recon aircraft still flies over our area at night even though our unit is not firing. Our fires have been taken over by the 95th AFA.
4 OCT 44
Bn moved out of bivouac area at 0915 in order Hq,A,B,C,. This is an administrative move to confuse the enemy intelligence prior to our moving to the North. Closed in bivouac area 1 mile NE of Moesdorf at 1050. Marched 12 miles. Bn received our duffle bags and removed our overcoats. Bags will now be stored in Luxemburg City. LnO 243, Lt Frazer, arrived from CCB at 1530 with the march order. CCB will move North at 0600 5 OCT 44. All unit markings will be covered with mud, shoulder patches to be removed or covered and radio silence will be observed during the march. 7lst to follow Hq CCB in march column. A special unit with 5th AD markings on their vehicles will move in tonight to take our place. They have a few disabled armored vehicles, and some dummy ones. They will have radio traffic and remain here until we are again committed.
5 OCT 44
Bn moved out at 0715 in order B,Hq,C,A. Sv Btry to move with CCB trains. Bn closed in position 1 mile NE of Faymonville, Belgium. Marched 79 miles. Bn received 3 Oct 44 issue of the Stars and Stripes which contains the first disclosure of the presence of the 5th AD in combat. It was a good write-up but left out some of our deeds that we thought were of great importance.
6 OCT 44
Bn in bivouac performing necessary maintenance on equipment and material. Weather was warm with plenty of sunshine. At 1550 a formation was held for the presentation of awards by Gen Oliver, the Div Commander. Silver Stars to Lts Martin, Henschel (absent, wounded in hospital in UK), and Frazer; Bronze Stars to Capt Wilcox, Lt Harrison (absent, wounded in hospital in UK), S/Sgt Porter, S/Sgt Clark, Cpl Dodge and Sgt Wisnower; Air Medals to Lts Francies, Nicol, and Sorensen.
7 OCT 44
Usual camp duties of maintenance and care of equipment. Mobile clothing store was in the Div area during the day. At 1400 the Div SSO provided a movie for the Bn. The show was, "Three Men in White". The day was warm and sunny. Lt R A Smith, 754th FA Bn, brother of the Exec visited the CP.
8 OCT 44
Bn started receiving a B ration. We are now using our kitchen trucks for the first time since this unit entered combat. It is quite a change from cooking by individuals and sections. Day warm and sunny.
9 OCT 44
Bn started a regular weekly training schedule. 2nd Lts Martin and McNeese received battle field promotions to lst Lts. Day rainy, cold and foggy.
11 OCT 44
At 0830 CCB was placed on a 6 hr alert for possible move North to the vicinity of Aachen to counter a possible German Armored counter-attack from the SE. CCB on l hr alert status at 1945. Weather was cold, cloudy and rainy.
12 OCT 44
On 6 hour alert since 0800. Day cold, cloudy and rainy.
13 OCT 44
Submitted recommendations for award of the French Croix de Guarre: Capt. Roueche, Lt Weems, and T/Sgt Haunschild. At 1400 Bn saw the SSO provided movie, Gas Light with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. Bn turned in two FO tanks for replacement. Received one new with Wright power and one new with Ford Power. Day cold with intermittant sunny spells.
15 OCT 44
CC went on one hour alert at 0930. At 1230 alerted for immediate movement. RO parties left at 1345 and Bn moved out at 1535 in order C,Hq,B,A, and Sv with CCB trains. At 1730 Bn recrossed the border into Germany through anti-tank dragons teeth and AT obstacles at Lichtenbus- ch. Bn closed in position at 1945 1000 yds SE of Oberforstbach and 500 yds NW of Schleckheim, Germany. Rained hard all afternoon and night. Weather muddy, cold and miserable. Only 10% of personnel have received issue of bed rolls and overshoes; all have overcoats.
16 OCT 44
Bn in position. Batteries are jammed close together and in a small restricted area. There is very little vehicular movement off of the roads as the ground is extremely soft and mushy from the rains this past month. This unit is completely surrounded by all kinds and types of Arty; more Arty than any of our personnel have ever seen concentrat- ed in one combat area. All calibers are represented, including 4.5" guns, 8" guns, 8" howitzers; also some 240mm howitzers. The Bn CP is located in a building for the first time since this unit entered combat. 5th AD still in Corps Reserve and to be committed only on Army order. Our Div. is split up with a CC in each of three Corps: CCA with XIX Corps on the North, CCB with VII Corps in the middle and CCR with V Corps on the South or Rt flank. CCs to be used only to counter- attack an enemy armored counter attack. Day cold, cloudy and rainy.
17 OCT 44
Bn now occupying better firing positions and btrys are fairly well dispersed. Nearly all vehicles had to be winched out of and into position even though chains were used. Hq Btry completely in billets. Day rainy with intermittant sunshine.
18 OCT 44
Bn registered by ground observer from 32nd FA Bn of the lst Inf. Div at 1100. Day cold, windy and rainy. Expended 18 rds.
20 OCT 44
Day cold, rainy and cloudy. Very little maintenance accomplished on account of the weather. At 2300 the area was bombed and strafed by an unknown number of JU88s and FW190s.
21 OCT 44
At 1110 approx. 30 rds of 105 and 150mm How landed 1000-1500 yds SE of the Bn area. German Recon bombers over the area at 2030 and again at 2230. Day cold with intermittant sunny spells.
22 OCT 44
At 0230 16 rds of 170 and 210mm landed 2000 yds SE of the Bn area. The Germans are apparently trying to counter-battery a neighbor M-12 SP 155mm gun Bn. Day cold with intermittant periods of sunshine.
23 OCT 44
At 1640 two ME109s flew over the area - all kinds and sizes of AA fire went up but the planes escaped into the clouds. At 2110 four British Lancaster heavy bombers were shot down by enemy night fighters and crashed in the immediate vicinity.
24 OCT 44
By 1500 the position area had been organized against enemy airborne landings - gliders and paratroops. Plan coordinated throughout the entire XIX, VII, and V Corps sectors. A 24 hr air watch to begin at 1800. Day cold and cloudy with a few short sunny periods.
25 OCT 44
Flying bombs passed over Bn area during afternoon and early evening.
27 OCT 44
Bn CO left at 1040 for Unit Cmdrs meeting at CCB and returned at 1300. CCB to march South to vicinity of Faymonville, Belgium at 1100 28 Oct. Bn will follow Hq CCB. An administrative march. Leading elements will cross the IP (Cross road in Oberforstbach) at 1100. Day cloudy and cold.
28 OCT 44
Bn moved out at 1200 in order C,Hq,A,B,Sv and crossed the border back into Belgium at 1220. At 1535 Bn closed in bivouac 1000 yds N of Oderval. Marched 35 miles. Day cold and cloudy. Now in V Corps.
29 OCT 44
At 1310 the Bn CO, Surv O and BC parties left on reconn. for positions in the vicinity of Kalterherberg and Mutzenich, Germany and returned at 1640. Flying bombs over the area regularly; some land in the vicinity of Eupen and Malmedy, Belgium.
30 OCT 44
At 1000 the Bn moved out by Btry at 30 min. intervals in the order B,Hq,C,A,Sv and at 1300 closed in position 2 miles NW of Kalterherberg, Germany. Bn marched 17 miles. This is the third time that this unit has entered Germany. Bn CP now located in an ancient castle - De Reichenstein; it was built during the reign of Charlemaigne. Day clear and cold.
31 OCT 44
Lt. Nicol, Ln Pilot 141, promoted to lst Lt.. At 1200 one Off. and 15 EM left for 48 hr pass in Paris. Lt. Weems was the lucky Off.
1 NOV 44
At 1100 CCB relieved CCR from it's holding mission. B Bty registered at 1650. Expended 15 rds. Day cold with scattered clouds and visibility from the air was very limited.
2 NOV 44
At 0830 the 28th Inf. Div attack jumped off from the vicinity of Roetgen. They were given the limited objectives of Schmidt and Vossenack. CCA 5th AD to follow in trace, pass thru and take the towns of Stockenborn, Lammersdorf, Kesternick and Simmerath to the South. This Bn is in general support of CCA and reinforcing the fires of the 47th AFA. Flying bombs pass low over this area intermittantly. Enemy night fighters knocked down 7 British Lancaster heavy bombers over CCB area. Day was clear and cold. Bn Expended 215 rds on tgts of opportu- nity and interdiction fires.
3 NOV 44
Day clear and cold with rain in the early part of the evening. Expended 120 rds on counter btry fires.
4 NOV 44
Lt Beaupre, Bn Ammo Officer, promoted to lst Lt.. CCA's attack tomorrow morning is called off. Our Btrys will not displace to their forward positions. Visibility from OPs very poor. There was little enemy activity in our zone. The Bn expended 111 rds on interdiction and harassing fires.
5 NOV 44
Our three FOs are still out even though CCAs attack has been called off. The Howitzer Btry Commanders are still occupying OPs in the vicinity of Mutzenich. Day was cold and unusually clear. Our fighter bombers were out in force bombing and strafing to the East of our lines. Bn ex- pended 218 rds on tgts of opportunity and harassing fires.
6 NOV 44
A Red Cross Club Mobile was in the Bn area most of the day serving coffee and donuts to our men. At 1500 Gen Oliver, the Div CO, present- ed the Bronze Star award to Lt Francies, Lt McWain, S/Sgt Mylertz and Pvt Smith; all for gallantry in action. Btry COs still occupying OPs and our 3 FOs are still with CCA SE of Roetgen. Day was clear and our fighter bombers were out in force most of the day. There was very little enemy activity in our sector. The Bn expended 253 rds on tgts of opportunity and harassing fires.
7 NOV 44
Fired one concentration on an enemy vehicle park and numerous harassing and interdiction fires. Expended 219 rds. Flying bombs still go over our area.
8 NOV 44
At 0930 Ln#3 arrived from CCB with word that the Supreme Commander Gen Eisenhauer would be in the Division Area today. At 1100, one Off. and 12 EM left for a 48 hour pass in Paris. Lt. McNeese was the officer chosen. Lt Henry, a replacement officer, arrived at 1735 and was assigned to A Btry. Our first snow started to fall at 1800. Bn expended 203 rds on interdiction missions.
9 NOV 44
Still snowing. Expended 243 rds.
10 NOV 44
CCB 5th AD relieved by 99th Inf. Div at 0830. 5th AD on 6 hr alert. CCR attached to VII Corps. CCA and CCB to move N and attack NE thru the dike area of the Rhineland. 15th AIB moved N this morning; 81st Tank Bn to move tomorrow morning. Expended 135 rds on interdiction fires. Snowed most of the day.
11 NOV 44
Experienced combat divisions being relieved and replaced by new inexperienced units. Veteran units are to be grouped for an extensive push into the heart of the Rhineland. This unit relieved the 95th AFA. We are to take over all of their fires. Approx 64 close in concentrat- ions and several long range interdictions. In addition to the above fires the 7lst is to reinforce the 99th Inf Div Arty. Have 6 ground observers and 1 Ln O, Capt Rowlands, in Hofen. At 1410 Co C, 628th TD Bn, SP 90mm gun, was attached to us to reinforce our fires and take over our long range interdictions. We now have approx 8-10 inches of snow on the ground. Bn expended 340 rds on harassing and interdiction fires. This Bn has fired a total of 19,085 rds in combat during the period 6 AUG 44 to 7 NOV 44.
12 NOV 44
As our OPs are at a distance, telephone communications are quite a problem because of the lack of sufficient WD110 wire, telephones and switch boards. Maintenance of lines is constant and they are mostly overhead where possible. Weather clear with a few snowy periods. Expended 217 rds on interdiction and harassing fires.
13 NOV 44
At 1400 Div Arty SSO showed the movie, "Thousands Cheer" to the Bn. Fired on two Kraut working parties and one suspected enemy OP, in addition to interdiction, harassing and close in defensive fires. Expended 283 rds. Snowed a couple or three times during the day, otherwise the weather was cold and clear.
14 NOV 44
At 0944 Bn fired on several work parties laying and activating mines. There was a marked increase in enemy activity on our front, especially in the Hofen area. Expended 365 rds.
15 NOV 44
Expended 172 rds on interdiction fires.
16 NOV 44
From VOW (Div Arty) at 1000. Prairie Dog Day (D Day) at 1115 today. Aerial preparation to last for 65 minutes. All men to take adequate cover from bomb fragments and aerial MG fire. Ln O #3 (Lt Frazer) came from VOTIVE (CCB) at 1810. VII Corps mission to take Cologne. 1st, 4th and 28th Inf. Divs. 5th AD in Corps reserve for counter attack and heavy punch. Bomber attacks to take place daily. 3500 to 4000 heavy bombers used in this mornings preparation. 7lst AFA to move out with CCB at 1000 tomorrow, to clear Eupen at 1115. Bn expended 336 rds.
17 NOV 44
From CCB at 0845. Voyage (7lst AFA) not to move prior to 1300. Bn moved out at 1310 under Exec in order C,Hq,A,B,Sv and at 1335 crossed the German border into Belgium. Bn reentered Germany at Roetgen and closed in position at 1630, one mile SW or Roetgen. Marched 23 miles. CP now in Belgium and firing btrys in Germany. This is the 4th time.
18 NOV 44
At 1515 B Btry registered by ground OP. Visibility was very poor at times although it was sunny most of the day. Our fighter bombers were very active on our front. Buzz bombs over this area also. Bn expended 11 rds on registration.
19 NOV 44
Rained most of the day. 7lst now reinforcing the fires of the 47th AFA Bn. Expended 150 rds on interdiction fires - this fire destroyed one enemy truck by burning.
20 NOV 44
Still raining. Expended 148 rds on interdiction and harassing fires. At 0900 two Off. and 28 EM left on pass for 48 hrs in Paris. Lt Todd and CWO House were the Off. selected.
21 NOV 44
No change in the weather. Expended 108 rds on counterbattery and interdiction fires.
22 NOV 44
0830 moved Bn CP and Hq Btry into houses in Roetgen. CP now in Germany. Expended 254 rds on interdiction fires.
23 NOV 44
Thanksgiving Day. Our dinner was excellent; complete with turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. Day was rainy and very cold. Expended 150 rds on interdiction and harassing fires.
24 NOV 44
0948, Capt Lynn Fredrickson, MC assigned and joined the Bn. Capt Bickel transferred to 203rd Gen. Hosp in Paris. Expended 117 rds on interdiction and harassing fires.
25 NOV 44
Expended 109 rds on interdiction fires.
26 NOV 44
Weather clear and cold. Expended 179 rds on counterbattery and
27 NOV 44
At 0830 Capt Bickel departed for 203rd Gen Hosp in Paris. At 1330 Bn started daily 1 hr German classes for selected personnel. Expended 75 rds on interdiction fires.
28 NOV 44
At 0830 four Off and 32 EM left for 48 hr pass in Eupen, Belgium. Buzz bombs continue to pass over our area. Expended 84 rds on interdiction fires.
29 NOV 84
Major Wills assigned and joined the Bn at lll5. Lt Chavaux, French Tactical Ln Off, speaks German and had been a PW in Germany for 3 years, attached and joined the Bn. Day clear and cold. Bn expended 211 rds on counter battery and interdiction fires.
30 NOV 44
At 1030 Btry billeting parties left for CCB to move to Venwegan. Bn expended 151 rds on interdiction and harassing fires. Bn has expended 23,116 rds since entering combat on 6 Aug 44. At 1530 CCB called and cancelled the 7lst movement for today - later they postponed it indefinitely.
1 DEC 44
Expended 97 rds on interdiction fires.
2 DEC 44
Expended 99 rds on interdiction fires.
3 DEC 44
At 1500 nine ME109s strafed our Btry positions. Three were destroyed by the combined Mg fire of our Bn and attached AAAW. No damage or casualties. Lt Mahoney's AAAW platoon, attached to A Btry, shot their CP tent full of 50 cal. mg holes. Bn expended 99 rds on interdiction fires.
4 DEC 44
Expended 99 rds on interdiction fires.
5 DEC 44
Expended 99 rds on interdiction fires.
6 DEC 44
Expended 99 rds on interdiction fires.
8 DEC 44
Bn moved out at 1330 under the Exec in the order Hq,A,B,C,Sv and closed in bivouac at 1430 at Walheim. All personnel in billets for the first time.
9 DEC 44
At 1000 Bn CO left for Div Arty to get the picture on our new mission and returned at 1115. Div is to attk East to the Roer River. This attk is to be through the already famous Hurtgen Forest where the 28th, 8th and 4th Inf. Divs have taken such large losses. At 1410 the Bn CO, Surv O and BC Parties left on reconn for positions near Grosshau and returned at 1815. Co C of the 628th TD Bn is attached to us to reinforce our fires. 71st to reinforce the fires of the 83rd Div Arty and in direct support of CCB.
10 DEC 44
Bn moved out at 1245 in order C,A,B,Hq. Sv to remain in present location. Bn closed in posn 1000 yds W of Grosshau in the Hurtgen Forest at 1530. Bn registered by air OP at 1615. Bn expended 22 rds. This is our 5th time into Germany.
11 DEC 44
At 0700 CCB jumped off in attk on hill 253. We have 3 observers and 3 Ln Officers out. CCB attk bogged down in the mud, artillery and mortar fire. Forward elements are squatting in woods on nose of the hill. Bn expended 848 rds in support of this attk.
12 DEC 44
All men are now living in log huts dug into the ground. The huts are fairly comfortable, warm, and splinter proof. At 1115 Votive (CCB) called for all possible fire on Bogheim. Fired a Corps TOT at 1135 - no town left. Expended 769 rds on tgts of opportunity. At 1910 six ME109s bombed and strafed the CC area. Our attached AAAW knocked one down and damaged two others. One bomb hit CCB Msg Center. Bn had one causualty, Cpl Foley in A Btry.
13 DEC 44
Bn expended 438 rds on tgts of opportunity.
14 DEC 44
At 1115 B22 (Lt Barry FO#2) returned to the CP with his tank and crew. His tank had been hit with 6 rds of 76mm AT fire. The hatch cover and AA MG had been blown off. Lt Barry had shell fragments in his left eye and T/5 Bucci had been seriously wounded in the chest by mortar fragments. The tank was still servicable. Bn expended 1190 rds on tgts of opportunity.
15 DEC 44
Lt LaFons, A Btry RO, injured by shell fragments at 1320 and was evacuated. Bn expended 966 rds on tgts of opportunity.
16 DEC 44
At 0815 CCB captured their objective, hill 253. During this present action this Bn has knocked out one AT gun and 17 man crew, damaged two MK V Panther tanks, knocked out two 88mm AA AT guns, one MK VI Tiger and a SP 76mm gun. The number of Infantry personnel killed and wounded is very high but it is impossible to obtain the actual number. At 1630 we received notification from Votive (CCB) of the start of a large scale German attk in the South with plenty of air support. Bn expended 863 rds.
17 DEC 44
Our Inf (15th AIB) taking it from weapons across the river. Approx 60 ME109s, JU88s, and FW190s over our area at 1100 bombing and strafing everywhere. They caused no damage up forward but Pvts Davenport and Smith in SV Btry were injured by bomb fragments. Bn Exec evacuated at 0915 with ruptured appendix. Bn expended 1113 rds on counter battery and tgts of opportunity.
18 DEC 44
At 0715 the Bn took over the 400th AFA Bn missions. They are relieved
from attatchment to the 5th AD and are pulling to the South in the
vicinity of the German attack. This Bn now supporting Jacket, Jibe,
Devildog, and Vox in addition to our normal support of the 81st T Bn
and 15th AIB. This is too much for a light Arty Bn. Bn Expended 1226
rds on counter battery and tgts of opportunity.
19 DEC 44
Bn expended 949 rds.
20 DEC 44
CCB and attachments is attacking Bogheim and Untermaubach. Vox last night established a road block under a steep hillside East of Untermaubach. They boxed out a lot and knocked out plenty with the assistance of a lot of Arty. Bn expended 1473 rds on counter Battery and close in support fires.
21 DEC 44
Bn expended 959 rds.
22 DEC 44
81st Tank Bn went in at 0700. Part of the 4th Cav Gp replaced by elements of the 8th Inf Div last night. CCB accomplished its mission at 1613. Bn expended 684 rds.
23 DEC 44
Bn FOs and Btry ROs returned at 0210. Bn expended 271 rds.
24 DEC 44
CCB pulled out of line at 1000. At 1300 Bn moved out in order Hq,C,B,A as a part of CCB and at 1535 closed in bivouac in Welkenraedt, Belgium. Bn and CCB on 2 hr alert status. Christmas dinner will be a problem. We are now in 21st Army GP reserve.
25 DEC 44
Made the dinner OK. The Quartermaster does OK by the troops; turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and fruit cake.
26 DEC 44
Now on 4 hr alert status. The German attk is slowing.
31 DEC 44
At 0645 a JU87 Stuka dropped a 500# bomb 150 yds from the CP. No casualties. Fragments cut up a few tents and were also found as far away as 400 yds in the How Btry positions. To date the Bn has expended 40,879 rds since 6 Aug 44.
1 JAN 45
At 0912 7 ME109s strafed our Bn area. They caused no casualties or damages. Our attached AAAW shot down 5 of them.
2 JAN 45
Ln #3, Lt Alexander Frazer and Sgt Harold Freeman were killed on 28 Dec in Verviers, by a German bomb. They were at the 77th Evac Hosp taking a shower. A German Jet Propelled ME262 dropped the bomb.
8 JAN 45
Bn Exec returned to duty from 15th Gen Hosp in Liege. CWO Tipton appointed 2nd Lt on Battlefield appointment.
19 JAN 45
Major Wills released from assignment to 71st and ordered to 3rd Armd Div. Lts Francies, Sorensen and McWain promoted to lst Lts.
20 JAN 45
Lt Ray Smith 754th FA Bn, brother of the Exec, visited overnight. Lt Barry promoted to lst Lt.
25 JAN 45
At 0600 Bn received orders to join CCA on projected move to vicinity of Roetgen. Bn now in XIX CORPS.
26 JAN 45
At 0900 Bn CO, Surv O and BC Parties left on reconn. 71 AFA assigned to reinforce the fires of 308th FA Bn of the 78th Inf Div Arty. CCA to take the towns of Konzen, Lammersdorf, Imgenbroich and Eicherscheid. Bn moved out at 1100 in the order of C,Hq,B,A,Sv and closed in an assembly area behind the positions at 1510. The position area is 2000 yds N of Lammersdorf. The 903rd FA Bn wsa occupying our positions and not to move out until tomorrow. Our Hq Btry doubled with them in their Hq area and the Btrys bivouaced in over a foot of snow. Our 6th time into Germany.
27 JAN 45
At 1300 Btrys of the 903rd FA Bn had cleared and our Btrys were closed in position. Bn CP in a German Concrete pillbox. B Btry registered at 1410. Three observers were sent out at 1800 to OPs in the vicinity of Simmerath and Kesternach.
28 JAN 45
Bn expended 101 rds on harassing and interdiction fires.
30 JAN 45
Expended 90 rds.
31 JAN 45
The 78th Div and CCA 5th AD took their objectives at 1100. Bn expended 701 rds. Bn has now expended a total of 41,800 rds in combat.
1 FEB 45
Received fone call from 78th Div Arty at 0714 which relieved us from reinforcing their fires. We now revert to support of CCB. At 1000 Bn moved out in order Hq,A,B,C,Sv and at 1245 closed in position at Montzen, Belgium. All personnel in the Bn were put into billets. Tech Sgt Haunschild appointed 2nd Lt on battlefield appointment.
5 FEB 45
At 1830 Bn moved out in order Hq,A,B,C,Sv under the Exec and as a part of CCB. Bn closed in position in Kunrade, Holland at 2200. All personnel put into billets. All vehicular markings and shoulder patches were removed. Units received new code names and made new unit signs prior to the move. We are now in XVI Corps of the 9th US Army.
7 FEB 45
As of 1300 today we are now in XIII Corps, 9th Army, 21st Army Group.
8 FEB 45
At 1000 Bn CO, Surv O, and BC parties went forward on reconn to the vicinity of Puffendorf, Germany. Bn moved out at 2040 under the Exec in order B,Hq,A,C,Sv and attached Co. C of the 628th TD Bn. Closed in position 1000 yds NE of Puffendorf at 2340. This was an easy night march and made that way because of the cooperation of the XIII Corps MPs who guided the Bn to Geilenkirchen over a route that would have been difficult without MP road markers and guides. Artificial moonlig- ht created by focusing AA searchlights on low cloud formations made seeing the road and obstacles easy. This is our 7th entry into Germany.
9 FEB 45
Bn registered at 1700 by 927th FA Bn which we are to reinforce. All Div Arty of 5th AD, including attached 695th FA Bn is attached to and under the control of 102nd Inf. Div Arty. Expended 14 rds on registr- ation.
10 FEB 45
Btry positions are on terrain nearly as flat as a table top. C Btry has their M-7s completely dug in but it isn't too satisfactory on account of the large amount of rain that we have received recently. All Btrys have established a rear area in Baesweiler for the comfort and safety of personnel not actually manning the guns. Rechecked registration and expended 7 rds.
11 FEB 45
At 1700 Div Arty called on us to fire 64 rds on interdictions. Bn Exec placed one gun in a rear defiladed position for this firing and any other missions that we might receive. The 47th, 95th and 695th FA Bns are in vulnerable positions and cannot fire prior to D Day without disclosing their locations. Expended 64 rds.
12 FEB 45
At 0830 Bn was bombed with anti-pesonnel bombs and all surrounding roads were strafed by German planes. Bn and attached AAAW had 3 casualties; two from the AAAW were evacuated and Pvt Hankner, Hq Btry not evacuated. Expended 64 rds.
15 FEB 45
Bn expended 52 rds. American Red Cross Clubmobile in Bn area most of the day serving coffee and do-nuts to our men.
16 FEB 45
Fired one sound adjustment. Expended 21 rds.
17 FEB 45
Expended 46 rds.
18 FEB 45
Expended 18 rds.
19 FEB 45
Expended 54 rds.
20 FEB 45
AT 1418 approx 14 rds of 75mm arty landed in A and B Btry areas. Bn expended 54 rds.
22 FEB 45
At 1050 the FDC was moved forward to a dug in position in the rear of A Btry. At 1420 B Btry was again shelled by approx 30 rds of 105mm which landed just outside the perimeter of their guns. No casualties; however some of their telecom were disrupted. D Day is to be tomorrow. This area is one gigantic concentration of all sizes and types of Artillery.
23 FEB 45
At 0245 the preparation fires started for the 0330 H hour attack to cross the rain swollen Roer River. This preparation was really a spectacle to observe. The ground started to quiver at 0244 and increased in tempo until the jump off was made at 0330. One Inf. Co. was across at 0337 and their Bn completely across at 0350. This Arty Bn fired constantly until day light and very little after that. Some concentrations called for 5 rds per gun per minute for 10 minutes. Several of these were fired. At 1630 several jet propelled ME-262s were over the area bombing. One was shot down by P-47s and AA. At 1950 the Germans attempted to bomb and strafe the 102nd Inf. Div. bridge over the Roer in Linnich. Bn expended 2430 rds on tgts of opportunity and prepatory fires.
24 FEB 45
At 1115 Bn relieved of reinforcing mission and was completely outranged at 1200. Expended 396 rds.
25 FEB 45
At 1130 Bn Exec, Surv O, and BC parties crossed the Roer on reconn. Bn CO is under the weather with an ulcerated tooth. Bn Exec in effective command of the Bn. At 1430 Bn moved out under S-3 in order Hq,A,B,C. Sv to remain back in Baesweiler. Crossed the river in Linnich and closed in position at Kofferen under shellfire at 1600. Capt Stewart injured by shell fragment but not evacuated. Bn registered by Air OP and expended 114 rds.
26 FEB 45
At 0330 Bn directed by Div Arty to displace to positions just South of line Lovenich - Katzem after daylight. This area is 800-1000 yds behind our lines. The 7lst with 695th FA Bn attached to support CCB attack at noon. At 0800 Bn CO departed for CCB to get Col. Cole's plan of operation. At 0830 Bn Exec went to Div Arty with 1st Sgt Case and S/Sgt Stein and was present at their appointment as 2nd Lts on battlefield appointments. At 0830, Capt Roueche, Asst S-3 took the Surv O and BC parties on reconn for position areas near Katzem. At 0930 the Bn, under the S-3 moved out and closed in position 500 yds SW of Katzem at 1100. FOs are out and 695th FA Bn is in position to reinforce us. Capts Crowell and Rowlands and Lt Paige are out as LnOs. At 1200 CCB attack jumped off on schedule taking the towns of Wocker- ath, Kauthausen, Tehereg and Mennekrath but did not get Venrath. The 102nd Inf. Div took Erklenz. Fired missions with both Bns all day with- out a registration by either Bn. Observers report all OK. At 2000 Col. Cole, CO CCB, called. Big doings tomorrow. Bn CO called a meeting of BCs and CO 695th FA Bn at 2130. The 695th to displace immediately after daylight to vicinity of Wockearath; 71st to displace as soon as 695th is closed in position. Expended 1084 rds on tgts of opportunity and interdiction fires.
27 FEB 45
At 0700 CCB attack jumped off on schedule. Our accompanying fires going properly without registration. At 0930 Bn CO, Surv O and BC parties moved out on reconn for positions near Rath and Bucholtz. These towns just having been taken. Bn moved out under the Exec at 1000 in order A,Hq,B,C,. Sv Btry to occupy Hq current location. Bn closed in position 800 yds S of Bucholtz at 1410. A Btry had one M-7 hit a mine 1000 yds S of Kuckhoven. This caused the Bn Column to split into two serials. The last part of the column lost the route and had to be sent for. When the town of Bucholtz was entered it was found to be unoccupied by either friend or enemy. At 1500 the deployed Infantry of the 102nd Inf. Div approached and passed thru the town. Btrys are located in a slight depression or fold in the otherwise flat terrain. CCB will only make their first objective tonight, Rheindahlen. Lt Henry, A22, had his tank knocked out and burned by an 88mm AT gun. No casualties. Lt Nicol's Ln plane was hit several times by MG fire but very little damage was done to the plane. Bn expended 1219 rds.
28 FEB 45
The 102nd Inf. Div passed thru CCB last night and they say that with us out of the way they are going on N today. Bn in position all day and troubled by no-fire lines on and off. CCBs mission now to protect the exposed Rt flank of the Corps. Hq Btry had 3 non-battle casualties all from falling down; one broken leg, one broken arm and one sprained ankle. At 1650 two FW 190s were over the area and driven off by our AAAW but not before one of them dropped two 500# bombs 400 yds S of C Btry. Bn expended 665 rds.
1 MAR 45
Bn has orders to join and reinforce the 95th AFA but we are still supporting CCB. The 102nd Inf Div claimed that they were going to go great things yesterday but they didn't go as far (5500 yds) with 9 Arty Bns as CCB made (11,600 yds) with 2 Arty Bns. Rejoicing by all in CCB.
2 MAR 45
Bn got ready to move as CCB has completed their mission and further operations have been called off. Ln O #3, Lt Paige, returned from the 95th AFA saying that they aren't going any place and all movement is called off. CCA reported to have been stopped to allow the 2nd Armd Div to catch and pass them to continue last few thousand yds to the Rhine River. Corps boundaries were then changed.
3 MAR 45
At 1715 CCB called for billeting parties and Bn alerted for movement at about 2200. Movement order finally arrived at 1930. Bn moved out under S-3 in order A,Hq,B,C, (Sv to move in the morning) at 2130 and joined CCB column at Rheindahlen. Bn closed in bivouac at Kempen, 18,000 yds from the Rhine River at 0200 4 Mar. All men are in billets.
4 MAR 45
All day spent getting settled and moving German civilians out of our billets. CCB to take over government of some small neighboring towns.
5 MAR 45
Div Hq moved adjacent to A Btry at 0800 with the Div Rear Ech moving into Kempen at 1310. This makes the mail run much easier.
6 MAR 45
Bn sitting in comfort and ease. Our 190 cases of captured wine have now been completely consumed at the expense of many headaches and sore stomachs. CCB is doing the management of many small German towns until the Military Govt Teams can get completely settled to take over. We are not under the command of CCB and have been given no new assignment.
9 MAR 45
At 1500 received telephone order from Div Arty to move forward. Bn CO, Surv O and BC parties left for position area reconn NE of Retfort 2500 yds from the Rhine. Div Arty notified Bn CO at 1730 that for the present we will not move until further orders. Only meager information is available on any movement at this time.
10 MAR 45
At 0830 the 75th Inf Div is moving up to concentrate near the Rhine.
They are going thru Kempen. At 1300, a call from Div Arty; send Recon
parties to vicinity of Buderich; positions are to be between 95 and 97
grid lines. Bn CO and parties left immediately and returned at 1710.
Bn to move tomorrow morning and take over positions now occupied by the
65th AFA Bn.
11 MAR 45
From Div Arty at 1330; move to new positions cancelled for 24 hours. Movement order with routes, time of movement and convoy number arrived at 2010.
12 MAR 45
At 0730 Bn CO, Surv O, and BC parties left for new position area. Bn moved out at 0800 under Exec in order A,Hq,B,C, Co B 628th TD Bn (attchd),Sv and closed in assy area in woods E of Bruhl at 0935. 65th AFA Bn is still in position. At 1530 Ln O from 65th AFA arrived with order for their movement at 1400 13 Mar.
13 MAR 45
Bn occupied position and ready to fire at 1430. Lt Martin, C Btry RO, occupied OP in steel mill at Oberlorick. Factory mfg 88mm AAAT guns. Bn did not get registered as ground haze made visibility very limited. Ln has been established with the 44th Cav Rgt, who are now in the process of taking over the OPs from the 2nd Armd Div. We are now under Div Arty control.
14 MAR 45
Bn remained in position for the entire period. No change in status. Normal interdiction and harassing fires fired during the night. Bn expended 186 rds. Fired one TOT on an enemy gun position that was located by sound; also fired 6 interdiction missions. Visibility was very poor. Lt Tipton and 3 EM left at 0700 for 48 hour pass in Brussels.
15 MAR 45
Bn remained in same position under Div Arty control. Visibility was very poor, however the Bn registered and fired interdictions. Still have 44th Cav Rgt assault gun Troop under our control. Bn prepared defensive fires for tonights Cavalry patrols over the river. Fired 4 Bn concentrations and expended 269 rds. Two EM left at 0700 for 7 day furlough in England and at 0900 4 EM left for 3 day pass in Paris.
16 MAR 45
Bn remained in same position under Div Arty control. The 44th Cav Rgt assault guns were relieved from attachment. At 1300 Bn rechecked registration and survey as visibility was fair. Fired 5 Bn concentrat- ions and 3 close support missions for the Cavalry patrol covering their return across the river. The patrol ran into considerable small arms fire. No interdiction missions were fired. Bn expended 348 rds. At 2035 four British heavy bombers were knocked down on our front by enemy night fighters. Bn received a few sporadic rds of 105mm Arty fire. No casualties or damage.
17 MAR 45
Bn remained in present position under Div Arty control. Visibility was fair. No interdiction fires were fired during the night. Bn was prepared to fire close in defensive fires for Cavalry patrols but these fires were not needed. Bn expended 33 rds on observed fires. Bn received a quota of l Off and l EM for 30 day leave and furlough in the US. Capt Wilcox, Hq BC, and Sgt Lawrence, A Btry, were the lucky ones. At 1255 Bn received approx 11 rds of 150mm how fire in the area. T/4 Rigby, C Btry, was wounded and evacuated.
18 MAR 45
At 0700, Col Washburn, the Bn CO left on 3 day leave to UK. At 0830 Capt Wilcox and Sgt Lawrence left for 30 days in the States. At 1300 12 EM attended a Lily Pons and Andre Kostelanetz concert in Krefeld. Bn showed a movie, Mickey Rooney in Blonde Trouble. Bn remained in present position for the entire period. Bn fired one concentration and two close in defensive fires to cover the return of the 44th Cav patrol. Bn expended 375 rds. At 1615 ten ME 109s attacked and shot down in flames one of the 95th AFA Bn Ln planes; both pilot and observer were killed.
19 MAR 45
Bn in same position under Div Arty Control. Fired 30 rds of propaganda news leaflets over a scattered area from Dusseldorf North. Prepared protective fires to cover Cavalry patrol but because of a large fire the operation could not be completed. Visibility during the day was fair. Bn fired 3 battery concentrations of a harassing nature and one adjusted time concentration on an enemy MG position. No other fires were called for. Bn expended 75 rds. At 1700 Bn received approx l45 rds of 150mm and 105mm how. fire. There were two casualties; one in B Btry and one in the attached AAAW Btry. 12 EM attended a Lily Pons concert in Rheydt. Bn has expended 49,388 rds to date.
20 MAR 45
Bn still in same position area and in direct support of the 11th Cavalry Group. Their patrol ran into a great deal of difficulty last night. The Bn fired supporting fires and covered their withdrawal. One boat and patrol are still missing. At 0600 approx 12 rds of 150mm How landed in the Bn area, bracketing the CP. At 1400, Col Kenewig, Bn CO of the 387 AAAW Bn arrived at the CP with newly attached 573 AAAW Bn CO. The 387th being relieved from 5th AD on a top secret mission for 9th Army. 1730 eight EM returned from pass in Paris. At 2200 approx 30 rds of 150 and 105mm landed in Bn area. No casualties. Bn expended 663 rds on direct support and observed fire missions.
21 MAR 45
Bn shelled intermittantly throughout the day and night by 105 and 150mm arty. At 1000 the Bn Motor Officer arrived at the CP with a captured 122mm How and 200 rds of HE ammo. This gun was placed in firing position and fired on observed targets. One ammo dump near Dusseldorf was destroyed with this captured weapon. At 1300 Lts Kuhlanek and Raveling, with 11 EM left on 72 hr pass in Paris. At 1400 the duffle bags and Officers baggage were placed in storage in Niersen.
22 MAR 45
Bn in same position in support of llth Cav Group. Observation was good but OPs were unable to observe any enemy activity. At 1300 the Army Engineer presented a demonstration on enemy sabotage methods and expl. Very interesting. Bn CO returned from 3 day leave in London, UK. At 2200 enemy recon planes were over the area and dropped flares. Bn expended 20 rds of propaganda shell.
23 MAR 45
No activity. Bn remained in position and prepared protective fire coverage of Cavalry patrols but we were not called upon to fire.
24 MAR 45
Bn Exec left at 0700 for 7 days leave in Cannes, France on the Riviara. Bn shelled intermittantly throughout the day and night with approx 40 rds of 105 and 150mm landing in the Bn area. One direct hit on a house where Hq Btry is billeted - no casualties. At 2100 four ME109s strafed the Bn area under flares. No casualties or damage. Bn fired one observed tank mission with 4 direct hits reported and one time mission was fired on enemy personnel in the open. Observer reported 5 killed and several wounded. Bn expended 362 rds.
25 MAR 45
Bn in the same position and received scattered enemy shelling throughout the period. At 1120 Bn received Co A, 81st Tank Bn for reinforcing our fires. Observation was good and the Bn fired propaganda leaflet shells over a large area; also fired 6 concentrations on personnel in the open, 1 destruction, 3 counter-battery and l3 interdiction missions Expending 689 rds.
26 MAR 45
At 0800 Sgt Bolen, C Btry, left for 30 day furlough in the States. Bn now has B, 81st Tank Bn attached. A Co fired 583 rds of 75mm and 314 rds of 76mm while attached to us yesterday. Bn fired interdiction, counter-battery, anti-personnel and small arms missions . Bn expended 545 rds. At 1300 Gen Oliver and Col Cole visited the CP. Bn shelled sporadically during the day and night by 105 and 150mm with approx 33 rds in Hq Btry area.
27 MAR 45
At 1130 Bn received 5 EM replacements. At 1330 Col Farand, Div C/S, visited the CP. At 2230 Bn area was shelled by 210mm gun and rocket fire. Approx 25 rds landed in our area. Recon planes were over at 2230 and did some strafing in the vicinity but none in our immediate area. Bn had defensive fires planned and prepared to support the Cavalry patrols but we were not called on for fire. Bn fired 4 TOTs on enemy gun positions requested by Div Arty, 2 gun positions were located by our ground OPs and 2 by our air OPs. Bn also fired on 6 tgts of opportunity. Bn fired no interdiction missions. B Co, 81st Tank Bn fired 250 rds of 75mm and 200 rds of 76mm while attached to us yester- day. At 1330 today C Co, 81st Tank Bn was attached to us. Visibility was excellent. Bn expended 359 rds.
28 MAR 45
At 0815 Bn received 16 rds of 105mm HE in B Btry area; 2 casualties slightly wounded. Bn prepared and fired some defensive fires for our supported Cavalry's patrols. Bn fired a concentration on an AAAT gun that was bothering a patrol. Fired one TOT for Div Arty; fired two concentrations on enemy personnel in the open with excellent results. Observer reported 8 killed and many wounded. Bn Fired no interdictions C Co, 81st Tank Bn fired 275 rds oof 75mm and 200 rds of 76mm while at- tached to us yesterday. Visibility was fair. Bn expended 160 rds.
29 MAR 45
At 1040 our Div CG, Maj Gen Oliver presented Bronze Star Medals to T/4 Blundell of Sv Btry and Sgt Van Castle of B Btry. Bn remained in same position and fired the following missions on tgts of opportunity; 7 on enemy personnel dug in in the open, 8 on 20mm flak guns, mortars and other types of heavy weapon positions and 3 misc missions. Observers reported very good effect on targets; 13 enemy killed, many injured, and 4 houses destroyed. The 81st Tank Bn has 4 platoons (20 tanks) attached to us for training and firing indirect fire. At 1510 B Btry 387 AAAW returned to the Bn area and prepared to take over the AA defense of the position and relieving A Btry 573 AAAW. Visibility was good and the Bn expended 392 rds.
30 MAR 45
Bn relieved of present mission at 1200 and be prepared to move out at 1300. Recon parties left at 0730 for Amrath. Bn moved out at 1300 and closed in position 1 mile N of Vorst at 1510. marched 24 miles. Bn will remain here for the night and probably move out at 0800 tomorrow. Bn fired two missions prior to leaving Bruele; one on enemy in the open and one TOT counter-battery mission. The OPs were withdrawn at 0900. Bn moved to an assy area with CCB in preparation for a coming opn. Bn expended 60 rds.
31 MAR 45
Bn moved out at 1245 and crossed the Rhine River at Wesel at 1405. Bn closed in position at 2030 in vicinity of Appelhulsen, just W of Munster. Bn marched 88 miles. To date Bn has expended 52,638 rds.
1 APR 45
Bn in assy area. At 0730 the 47th AFA Bn attached to reinforce our fires for the coming operation in which we are in direct support of CCB. Bn moved out at 1410 in order B,Hq,A,C,S; to move by bounds with the 47th AFA Bn. CCB crossed CCR's bridge over the Dortmund Ems canal and Bn closed in position 4 miles SW of Milte, N of Everswinkle at 2110. Bn marched 46 miles and took 16 prisoners.
2 APR 45
Bn moved out at 0815 and halted at 1100 as the head of CCB's column had contacted an enemy column in Sassenberg. Our tanks destroyed two 76mm SP guns on MK IV chassis, two 88mm AAAT guns, 4 trucks and one multiple 20mm AA gun. During this engagement the 81st Tank Bn lost one tank. they also destroyed many horse drawn vehicles. Bn moved out at 1310 across country and closed in position 1/2 mile W of Horst at 1600. At 1630 Sv Btry was ambushed 3 miles short of the Bn area by two HTs, one SP 76mm gun and approx 30 men. Two trucks and one trailer were damaged and we had 3 casualties. The 15th AIB and CCB lost some trucks however. Bn moved out at 1950 and closed in position 1 1/2 miles SW of Borgholzen at 2300. Bn marched 36 miles. Our Air OPs joined us at 1610. The Combat Command was split into two task forces at Sassenberg. The 47th AFA went with TF A, the Northern column and we followed TF D the Southern column. TF D encountered strong resistance just short of Bergholzen. We fired on personnel and vehicles thus enabling the TF to move into town. Bn remained in position here overnight and fired interdiction and harassing fires. Bn expended 518 rds.
3 APR 45
At 0805 the Bn moved out in order parties, FDC, B,Hq,C,A,Sv. At 1330 our Air OP located an AA position that had 11 heavy AA guns and 100 plus personnel. This position was taken by TF D without the aid of Arty fire. At 1400 B Btry went into position 1/2 mile SW of Hiddenhau- sen and fired one concentration on DP AA guns. B Btry moved out at 1445 and rejoined the column. At 1600 while the Bn was moving on the road the head of the column received time fire from concealed AA guns. Bn Exec located their firing position and immediately emplaced one M-7 from C Btry and knocked out 2 of the 3 guns that were firing; TDs knocked out the other. B Btry went into position 2 miles E of Lahne and adjusted on this AA position. Six 76mm guns were destroyed. Lt Quigley, BC of the attached AA, and two of his men were wounded. Bn closed in position at Bad Oeynhausen, 1 mile short of the Weser River at 1920. Bn marched 54 miles, expended 78 rds, took l24 prisoners and did no firing during the night.
4 APR 45
Bn remained in position until 1745 at which time we displaced to position at Wohren, closing at 1910. Our mission is to shell the city of Minden if they refuse our surrender ultimatum. Bn registered at 1930. Expended 21 rds, marched 9 miles and captured 20 prisoners.
5 APR 45
Bn is now under the control of Div Arty and reinforcing the fires of the 84th Inf Div Arty. The 84th Div is attempting to establish a bridgehead. Bn remained in position prepared to support the 84th Div crossing of the Weser River. They crossed at 0500 but did not need our fires. At 1100 our air OP picked up a 14 car flak train containing six 105mm AA guns, 2 40mm and 8 20mm AA guns. Div Arty fired TOT for effect on the train. Several direct hits were observed and all cars except the gun cars were set on fire. At 1145 six ME109s were over our area but committed no hostile acts. At 1700 there were 4 cases of rape reported to have been committed by A Btry. This was reported to the Bn CO and immediate action was taken. Bn expended 162 rds and took 10 prisoners.
6 APR 45
Bn paid Officers and men for month of March at 1100. Enemy aircraft over the area at 2100. They bombed and strafed the 84th Inf Div bridge over the Weser River. Bn now out of range and awaiting orders for new mission. Bn captured 41 prisoners.
7 APR 45
At 1000 Bn placed on 1 hour alert to move with CCB across the Weser River and attack East. The CCB organization for battle is unchanged. Movement was cancelled at 1200. Bn off of alert. Bn took 10 prisoners.
8 APR 45
Bn remained in position awaiting orders. At 1400 Ln O arrived with movement orders. Bn on 1 hr alert to move with CCA. Organization for combat; 47th AFA DS CCA with 71 AFA reinforcing the fires of 47 AFA. CCA to follow CCR to vicinity of Hanover where CCA will be committed. This is a list of enemy material destroyed or made unserviceable by our fires on 5 APR 45: 13 box cars, 9 flat cars, 2 locomotives, 6 passeng- er cars, one kitchen car, l ordnance repair car, 4 105mm AAAT guns mounted on rail cars, 1 triple 20mm AA gun, 2 quadruple 20mm AA gun, 2 range finders, and 200 smoke projectors. Movement orders postponed at 1620. At 2100 enemy aircraft were over the area but no hostile acts committed.
9 APR 45
At 1000 Bn placed on 1 hr march alert. Bn moved out at 1330 in order A,Hq,B,C,Sv and crossed the Weser River at 2030 in Hamlin.
10 APR 45
At 0200 Bn closed in position in the vicinity of Gleidingen, SE of Hanover, (marched 74 miles) and prepared to reinforce the fires of the 47th AFA. CCA encountered very little resistance outside of roadblocks supported by AT guns and small arms. Bn moved out at 1330 in order C,Hq,B,A,Sv. At 2000 the column was attacked by 4 ME109s and one plane was downed by our attached AAAW. Bn crossed the Weser - Elbe canal at 2030 and closed in position 500 yds E of Rethen at 2330. Marched 31 miles and expended 3 rds.
11 APR 45
Bn moved out at 1115 and was attacked by aircraft at 1130, 1500, and 1730. A total of 6 planes were shot down by our attached AAAW and ourselves. At 1750 our air OP 142, with Lt Francies as pilot and Lt Martin as observer, shot down a German cub type Ln plane with their 45 automatic pistols. The pilot and observer were captured and both had been hit. Bn closed in position at 2130, 1000 yds SW of Bismark. Bn marched 49 miles, expended 9 rds and took 28 prisoners.
12 APR 45
Three FW190s were over our area at 0700 but committed no hostile act. Bn moved out at 0800. The mission of CCA was to seize intact any bridge across the Elbe River in the vicinity of Tangermunde. At 1245 Bn closed in position 2000 yds W of Tangermunde. The bridge was immediately placed under interdiction time fire but was blown before our troops could reach it. Bridge was blown at 1600 and at 1645 CCA liberated 500 Americans that were in a PW enclosure in Tangermunde. At 1300 Bn area was strafed by ME109s and FW190s. One was shot down by our attached AAAW. At 1415 they shot down a converted transport trainer. At 1620 they shot down a JU88 that was attempting to bomb and strafe our position. It crashed in C Btry area and destroyed 1 HT and caused 3 casualties. At 1810 Bn moved out to the N to support the attack of TF Jones on the RR bridge across the Elbe River. Bn closed in position 5000 yds SE of Stendal at 1921 and registered immediately. The RR bridge was blown at 2030 before our troops could seize it. At 2000 two emissaries arrived at our CP to negotiate for the surrender of the city of Stendal. They were sent to higher Hq. At 2330 a TOT was fired by all available guns in the Div on the city of Tangermunde. A beautiful exhibition of Arty and Tank shooting. Marched 31 miles, expended 1003 rds and took 50 prisoners.
13 APR 45
Bn moved out at 1030 in DS of TF Burton, which is to take Stendal and go 15 kilometers to the North. The town surrendered without any resistance. Bn closed in position, on a recently abandoned airport at Borstel, at 1500. Bn marched 13 miles. Our mission is to reinforce the fires of the 47th AFA who is in DS of CCA in their mopping up operations to the N and E. Bn took 24 prisoners. At 1930 four FW190s bombed and strafed the Bn position area. One was shot down by our AAAW.
14 APR 45
Bn moved out at 1430 in order A,Hq,B,C,Sv and closed in position at 1715 in Polkritz. Our mission is to support an Inf. Bn of the 102nd Inf Div in a crossing of the Elbe River in the vicinity of Sandau. Bn registered at 1830. Bn marched 19 miles, expended 30 rds, took 27 prisoners and we are now under Div Arty Control.
15 APR 45
We are now in DS of the 1st Bn 496th Inf, 102nd Inf Div. Btry C 380th FA Bn of the 102nd Div is attached reinforcing our fires. The 380th FA is providing the observers and the Ln with the supported Inf. Bn.
16 APR 45
At 0930 C Btry 380th FA Bn was relieved from attachment and the River crossing was postponed. At 1100 Bn received a march order from CCB. We are to move with CCB to the vicinity of Klotz to clean out some pockets that were by-passed in our recent drive to the Elbe River. Bn moved out in order Parties,A,Hq,B,C,Sv at 1200 and closed in position at 1735 in Kunraw. Registered by air OP at 1800. Bn marched 62 miles and expended 122 rds.
17 APR 45
Bn moved out at 0800 and closed in position at 0930 in Gladdenstedt. Bn registered and fired on 7 tanks, 2 HTs and 1 recon car. Knocked out 1 HT and possibly two tanks. This organization is in DS of CCB, who has the mission of cleaning out several pockets in this vicinity. Bn moved out at 1540 and closed in position at 1630 in Haselhorst. Registered at 1710. Bn marched 14 miles and expended 154 rds.
18 APR 45
Bn in position prepared to support road blocks put out by CCB. Bn fired two TOTs on town of Boitzenhagen requested by Div Arty. At 1400, Sgt Schultz, B Btry, and Pvt Lewman, C Btry, left for 30 day furlough in the States. Fired 2 concentrations on tanks at 1455. At 1710 Bn fired on and destroyed two houses reported to contain SS troops, MGs and communications equipment. At 1800 Bn fired Div Arty TOT on woods 600 yds from our Bn CP. At 2130 heavy small arms fire completely surround the Bn area. At 2200 CCB outpost of one platoon of tanks and infantry withdrew from Lindorf to 200 yds from our Bn CP. Enemy motor vehicles were active in the woods to our N and SE all through the night. Bn expended 246 rds and captured 4 prisoners.
19 APR 45
At 0445 the 81st Tank outpost knocked out a SP 76mm gun on MK III chassis 300 yds from our CP. Bn fired Div Arty on woods surrounding our CP all night. PW reported from 1000 to 2000 troops in the surroun- ding woods; that they were all from the Von Clauswitz Div and all are going S to the Hartz Mts to work over the rear area of the 9th US Army. At 0830 fire from 2 Tiger Royal tanks was received in our Bn CP. Several rds penetrated the bldg in which we were set up, several rds exploded in the courtyard. This fire knocked out 2 tanks in our CP from ranges less than 800 yds. The bldg in which we were set up was set on fire and forced us to move. Bn moved out at 0840 in order Hq,B,A,C, and closed in position at 0915 in Ordorf. Displaced 2 miles. Bn took 11 prisoners and expended 1200 rds. Bn still in support of CCB whose mission is to prevent this enemy two division force from advanc- ing to the South.
20 APR 45
AT 0300 Bn received heavy small arms fire from the left front. Five tanks passed 400 yds to the West of our position. We remained quiet and let them pass. They had broken through one of CCBs outposts. At 0600 B and C Btrys fired direct fire on a soft column of motor transpo- rt. Three vehicles were destroyed. At 1630 our attached AAAW at a B Btry roadblock knocked out an enemy recon HT. At 1950 they knocked out a motorcycle and captured the dispatch rider. Bn fired some interdict- ion missions during the night and took 4 prisoners. Bn expended 264 rds on direct and indirect fires.
21 APR 45
Bn fired interdiction and harassing fires. At 1200 Bn moved out in order B,Hq,A,C and at 1310 closed in position NE of Lindhof. Bn registered at 1430 by air OP and prepared supporting fires for CCB roadblocks and outposts. Bn expended 8 rds.
22 APR 45
At 1110 the 252nd FA Bn occupied position in Haselhorst. They are to reinforce our fires. Day rainy and generally miserable. Expended 23 rds.
23 APR 45
Bn remained in present position in DS of CCB. No contact made with the enemy.
24 APR 45
No change. Bn in same location and alerted to move NE on Div Arty order.
MEMORIES OF CLAUSEWITZ
Scenes of how the coordinated Air and Arty attack broke the back of the ill fated Von Clausewitz Panzer Division which "aspired to reach the Hartz Mountains" can be seen at Lindhof, CR at Y1161 and at hill 77 Y1760.
A counted total of destroyed vehicles and tanks for the three locations is 72 although the woods a hill 77 have not been fully checked. In one fire break near the hill 6 vehicles were seen completely demolished. Near the CR 36 vehicles were knocked out and a 76mm AT gun set up at the CR suffered the same fate. Some idea of the devastating effect of our attack is given by the pair of long woolens waving gently from the topmost branch of a tall pine.
At Lindhof, some 30 vehicles were also knocked out, and among them, strange as it may seem is a much vaunted Tiger Royal, knocked out by 50 Cal strafing fire - it was completely burned out.
It was in Lindhof that the Div Staff of Clausewitz was taken prisoner (minus "drunk General Unrein") and it is only fitting to end the story that a prize souvenir be found in that vicinity today. The Division CP sign Clausewitz.
Losses of the Von Clausewitz Panzer Division during recent operations of CCB 5th Armd Div. This Division was first contacted on 17 APR 45. A recap of enemy casualties and material destroyed and captured from 17 APR 45 to the relief of CCB on the night of 24 APR 45 is as follows:
Trucks and other soft vehicles 324
S.P. Guns 7
Artillery Pieces, 75mm and up 97
Hvy Inf Wpns, Incl AAAT Arty less than 75mm 41
(It is my recollection that this document came from CCB on 25 APR 45 and that it was written by Maj Phillipsborn the S-2. I had copied it into my journal file for 25 APR 45 along with the following letter). HRS
COPY OF LETTER, HQ 9th U.S.ARMY, OFFICE OF THE AA OFFICER.
Reminiscent of World War I action was a claim recently awarded for a Feiseler Storch reconnaissance plane. An L-4 from the 71st Armd FA Bn, piloted by 1st Lt Merrit D. Francies with 1st Lt William S. Martin as observer, was flying over a column when they saw a Fi-156 flying at tree top level below them. Circling down on the German plane they cut loose with their pistols and hit the gasoline tank. Lt Francies then dove on the Storch, forcing it to the ground where it hit a fence and was demolished. The L-4 then landed nearby and captured the two occupants, one of which had been wounded by the firing.
(See my journal entry of 11 APR 45) HRS
25 APR 45
Bn in same location in support of CCB and performing necessary mainten- ance. At 1130 Ln O arrived from Div Arty with order for us to move to Haltorf at 1600 today. Bn Co and BC parties left at 1230. Bn moved out under the Exec at 1600 in the order B,Hq,C,A,Sv and closed in position in Holtorf at 2030 after marching 55 miles. The mission of the Bn is to reinforce the fires of the 84th Inf. Div Arty as their Div is holding the Elbe River line. Bn registered at 2010 and expended 12 rds.
26 APR 45
Bn in same position area and under Div Arty Control. We are approx. 1200 yds from the Elbe River. Btrys are catching up on much needed maintenance. At 0515 a British night fighter shot down a 2 place FW190 that landed 600 yds from our FDC.
27 APR 45
At 0915 Cpl Milton Welsh, Sv Btry, accidentally shot himself when his revolver fell out of his shoulder holster and at 1020 Sgt Jarrell of C Btry was accidentally drowned in the lake near Arendsee; Sgt Russel was rescued by Pvt Magdelleno but they were unable to save Sgt Jarrell or recover his body. Bn in same position under Div Arty control. No fires were called for and no contact was made with the enemy.
28 APR 45
Bn in same position. The 29th Inf Div relieved the 84th Inf Div in this sector. We have one observer out with the Infantry of the 29th Div. No fires were called for and no contact has been made with the enemy.
29 APR 45
Bn in same location and performing necessary maintenance and care of equipment. Our air OPs have been flying during all hours of daylight but no enemy activity has been observed.
30 APR 45
Bn still in same location performing necessary maintenance. No fires have been called for and no contact has been made with the enemy. At 0830 Recon parties left on reconnaissance of an area between Gifhorn and Hanover, 140 miles to the rear. The 5th AD has a large area in which they are to become temporary occupation troops and perform Military government functions. During this time we are also to train and draw new equipment for any that is found to be unserviceable. Bn has expended 56,494 rounds in combat.
1 MAY 45
At 0530 Lt Schone, Bn Motor Officer, and 3 EM left on a 3 day pass to Paris. Bn still in same location. No fires were called for and no contact has been made with the enemy. At 1245 our reconn parties returned from Peinie. The radio says that Italy has surrendered. All of the civilians that have been evacuated from this area have been informed that they could now return. At 2030 a fone call from Div Arty cancelled all leaves, passes and furloughs with the exception of those to the USA. This Div is probably going to march to the North as a part of the XVIII Corps and help the British with their bridgehead across the Elbe River.
2 MAY 45
The enemy has been crossing the river here all day long to escape from the advancing Russians. Approx 14,000 crossed in this general area and abandoned approx 3500 vehicles, guns and various other types of motor transport. There are many thousands of the enemy on the East bank that are unable to escape to our side of the river. At 1350 Div Arty called and notified us to anticipate a move to the SW tomorrow under command of CCB. At 1950 the Russians made contact with the Infantry and our OP directly N of our CP - about 1000 yds from us.
3 MAY 34
At 0800 BC parties left for Ohrdorf. Bn moved out at 1045 in order C,B,A,Hq,Sv. Bn closed in positions in Ohrdorf, Teschendorf and Schonnigen at 1435. One M-7 broke a track on the march. There were no other vehicle fall outs. Travelled 152 miles. At 1647 orders arrived from Div Arty, along with overlays of new positions, to send out reconn to the N and be prepared to move N on 6 May 45.
4 MAY 45
At 0800 Capt Roueche, asst S-3, left for 1 week I & E School in Paris. Call from Div Arty at 0910 - be prepared to move on 5 May instead of 6th. At 1400 Ln O arrived from CCB with march order, route and time of march for 5 May 45. Lt Stroup, Bn RO, returned from new area. Roads up there crawling with German PW columns - unescorted and driving their own vehicles. At 2035 the BBC radio announced that all of Northern Germany, Holland, Denmark and all of the surrounding islands had surrendered unconditionally. We are in hopes that our movement to an assembly area in the North has been cancelled.
5 MAY 45
At 0852 CCB called and said the move for today has been cancelled but be prepared to move out on order. At 0905 our AAAW shot down a 2 place ME108; pilot was killed and passenger was injured. No further informa- tion as to our proposed move, either to the N or to the S. Bn took 4 PWs, 2 of them in civilian clothes. Bn recieved its duffle bags and will probably carry them permanently with us from now on.
6 MAY 45
Bn remained in same position with all personnel in billets. Maintenan- ce of equipment is the order of the day. Bn also performing Military Govt functions. There are no light line restrictions.
7 MAY 45
At 1114 messenger arrived from CCB with msg from the Supreme Commander, Gen Eisenhower, that the Germans had signed a formal unconditional surrender with US, England and Russia that was effective at 0001 9 May 45. Not to be announced to the world at large until released by the Supreme Command. At 1500 a German radio broadcast in both English and German that they had surrendered unconditionally and that all hostilit- ies were to cease at 0001 9 May 45. At 2010 Div Arty called for billeting parties to be at their CP tomorrow morning at 0830 with two days rations and 150 miles of gasoline. Our probable destination is Leipsig. Bn has travelled 2124 miles in combat.
TRUE COPY OF PERSONAL LETTER TO DIV CG FROM CG XIII CORPS dtd 13 Apr 45
Dear Gen Oliver:
I wish to convey to you, your staff and your command my commendation and entire satisfaction with your rapid advance from the Rhine River to the Elbe River. Your advance of approximately 100 miles in one and one half days through hostile country is an outstanding achievement of this war. It exemplifies energetic leadership, skillful employment of Armor, and a high order of execution by your troops.
The 5th Armored Division by such vigorous execution of all assigned missions has won a high place in the esteem of all ranks of this Corps.
Signed: A C Gillem Jr
Maj Gen USA Cmdg XIII Corps
TO: Unit and Org Commanders, 5th Armd Div and Attached units.
l. It gives me the greatest pleasure to transmit to you, the men of this Division who did the job, this commendation from the Corps Commander. When we were given this mission and I told the Corps Commander that we would reach the Elbe River by Thursday night, April 12th, the Corps Commander and his staff just laughed at me. Actually we reached the river by noon on Thursday in one place and in three other places prior to dark that day.
2. Our success was due to the energetic way in which each man in the Division did his particular job. l want you to know that I have the utmost admiration for you all and feel that, no matter how hard the task given us, the 5th Armd Div will do that task and more.
3. If we continue with this spirit, as I know we shall, this war cannot last much longer.
Signed: Lunsford E Oliver
Major General USA Cmdg
COPY OF LETTER
HDQ 9 US ARMY
To: Maj Gen Alvin C Gillem Jr
CG XIII Corps APO 463
9 APR 45
1. It is a matter of extreme pride to me that the XIII Corps received its first operational misson on the continent from this Hdq. It has been a matter of continuing pleasure on my part to note the splendid manner in which you have performed successive missions to build up an imposing record that represents an important chapter in the history of the Ninth Army.
2. Naturally in the crossing of the Rhine and the subsequent operations to the Eastward mark the high point in Ninth Army's record to date. Thus it is that I take this opportunity to express my commend- ation of the work performed by the XIII Corps during its association with the 9th Army.
3. The necessity for clearing the large area between the Roer and the Rhine prior to crossing the Rhine, gave the Army opportunity to mount its first fully coodinated major offensive - operation "Grenade". The manner in which your Corps executed its assigned mission in this operation was gratifying indeed. With time table precision your command seized its successive objectives, turned the enemy out of his well prepared positions in your zone and expeditiously eliminated remaining pockets of hostile resistance. Most noteworthy was the skillful use of maneuver which was employed first to achieve surprise and subsequently to exploit the enemy's disorganization.
4. With reference to the operations East of the Rhine, I am cognizant of the difficult and complex problems faced by you in the task of assembling your command on the far shore of the Rhine in order to extend operations to the Eastward. I was particularly impressed with the smoothness and precision in which your troop build up was accomplished and promptly integrated into the Army's advance. Equally gratifying to me was the rapidity with which you assumed your zone of action and the power and speed with which your command pressed the attack to over run hostile resistance, seize vital objectives and protect the Army's North flank. In the latter connection I am mindful of your successful cooperation with the Second British Army.
5. It provides me with a sense of sincere pleasure to have this opportunity of expressing my commendation of the XIII Corps upon this and past successes and of my deep appreciation of your assistance and cooperation. It is my desire that you communicate these remarks to the Officers and Men of your command together with my thanks for their individual contributions.
Lt Gen USA Cmdg
Memo: To All Commanders of Units Operationally Attached to XIII Corps
16 April 45
1. The attached letter was received this date by the CG XIII Corps from the CG 9th US Army.
2. The comnmendation contained in this letter by the CG 9th US Army, is the direct result of inspiring leadership and capable planning on the part of Commanders and Staffs, the energetic execution of assigned missions by units, and the high quality of individual soldier- ly skill displayed by the Non-commissioned Officers and men of all units comprising this Corps.
3. It is a great pleasure and privilage to be associated with such outstanding organizations as those included in the XIII Corps.
Maj Gen Cmdg
Hdq 5th AD 23 April 45
TO: Unit and Organization Commanders, 5th Armored Division and attached Units.
1. While the 5th Armored Division is not mentioned in the letter from the Army Commander, it is evident that parts of the letter refer especially to our operations.
2. It gives me great pleasure to find that we, a part of a larger team, have done our part so well as to earn the commendation of both the Corps and Army Commanders. Every man in this Division may well feel a sense of pride, as I do, in our achievements, both as a Division and a part of the 9th Army.
Signed: Lunsford E. Oliver
Major General USA Commanding
8 MAY 45
At 0700 Bn and Btry billeting parties, under Lt Stroup, Surv O, left for Vow Hq. Bn received a phone call from Div Arty at 1335 giving our probable time of movement as May 10th and possibly llth of May. At 1300 SHEAF formally announced the unconditional surrender of Germany. At 2350 there were many small arms, flares and machine guns being fired everywhere in celebration of VE Day which takes place at 0001 9 May.
9 MAY 45
At 1000 Bn had a Red Cross Clubmobile from XIII Corps serving coffee and donuts. At 1400 a USO Show was given for the 3 Artillery Bns and attached AAAW. A repeat performance was given at 1600. The shows were held in Zaznabeck. At 1830 march order, route and time of movement arrived from Div Arty. To move out at 0830 tomorrow morning following the 387 AAAW Bn.
10 MAY 45
Bn moved out at 0830 under the Exec in order Hq,A,B,C,Sv. Bn CO and BCs left at the same time but by another route. Bn followed 387 AAAW in the march column. At 2230 Bn closed in position in 5 villages; Hq in Ershausen, A in Effelder, B in Geismar, C in Kella and Sv in Kullstedt. Bn marched 142 miles. We are under Div Arty control and the Division is now in VII Corps. Duties and mission are unknown.
11 MAY 45
Obtained meager information from Div Arty as to our mission. We are supposed to occupy and be responsible for an area comprising of 32 towns and provide the security for such. We have little or no Military Gov't function as that end is being handled by their personnel. Most of the day was spent in getting settled down in our billets, washing clothes and reconnoitering our entire area. This is a section of German Saxony and the largest close town is Mulhausen.
12 MAY 45
War Dept. announced its new point system relative to discharge of personnel. This Bn has approx 22% of its men and 50% of its Officers qualified by having 85 points or more to their credit. At 1530 Div Arty gave us 5 security targets on which we are to post a 24 hr guard until relieved by Division. Bn put out roving security road blocks and road patrols. Informed that today is "R Day"; we don't know the meaning.
Copy of personal letter to the Div CG from CG XIII Corps, dtd 7 May 1945.
Hdq XIII Corps
Office of CG
Dear General Oliver:
Upon the termination of the recent attachment of the 5th Armd Div to XIII Corps, I wish to convey to you, and through you to the members of your Command, my complete satisfaction for the service rendered by the 5th Armd Div incident to that attachment.
The planning and enegetic and efficient execution of all tactical and technical plans by the 5th Armd Div during the advance to the Elbe River contributed greatly to the successful accomplishment of all Corps missions.
The willing cooperation by you, your staff and your Commanders with this Hdq, and with other units of the Corps and elements of the British Army of Liberation, was outstanding.
Personally, and on behalf of the staff of this Hdq, I wish to express my deep appreciation to you, your Commanders and troops for your cheerful response and successful execution of all directives and missions assigned your Division.
I trust that the XIII Corps may be fortunate enough to include the 5th Armd Div in future operations.
Signed: A.C.Gillem Jr
Major Gen US Army Cmdg
13 MAY 45
At 0830 Bn received pass quota of 10 EM and l Officer for Brussels; to leave on the 15th. Each Officer and man is to be classified and rated prior to 15 May 45. Usual duties of maintenance, training and our special security duties.
14 MAY 45
Bn received quota of 1 Officer and 13 EM for rotation to the States. Usual garrison duties. Bn opened a tavern in each Btry town for Bn personnel. Kraut beer is nearly like our American beer. What a break over the English beer and bitters. Bn captured 8 German soldiers coming from Hanover.
15 MAY 45
Usual duties. Bn CO attended a 1100 meeting at Div Arty. Bn Exec selected for rotation to the States.
16 MAY 45
Left Bn at 0715 for Div Rear in Mulhausen. At 1045 Gen Oliver gave a farewell talk to the 6 Officers and 300 men that were rotating to the States. He was in fine spirits, shook hands with every man, asked where his home was and had some remarks to make with each. A trying experience for him as he left with tears in his eyes. (My last day in the Bn. Spent 5 yrs, 11 months and 11 days in the Bn) HRS