HISTORICAL NARRATIVE 1943 to 1945
1st BATTALION 77th FIELD ARTILLERY
(AKA 634th FA BN)
This is the historical journal of Lieutenant Colonel George R. Quarles, who commanded the 1/77th FA through WWII.
February 8 to June 30, 1943
The First Battalion, Seventy-Seventh Field Artillery, sailed from the United States on 8 February 1943, on the U.S.A.T. "Uruguay". The "Uruguay" voyage was quite an experience. At 0132, (convoy time) on 12 February, 1943, the transport was rammed by a Navy tanker in the convoy and although neither vessel sank, they were so badly damaged that they had to turn back and head for Bermuda about 800 miles away. The "Uruguay" sustained a hole on the starboard side forward, which extended from "B" Deck nearly to the keel. Of the troops aboard, seven men were killed; six were lost, and about twenty-one sustained major injuries. Of the battalion, Pfc. John M. Thompson of "B" Battery was killed in the crash and thus became the first member of the battalion to give his life while on foreign service in the present conflict. Another member of the unit, however, gained some distinction, and that was Sgt. Cecil H. Davis of "C" Battery who was in bed in the hospital at the point of collision and landed on the prow of the Navy tanker as it penetrated the "Uruguay". When the ships separated after the crash, Sgt. Davis found himself on the deck of the tanker, uninjured. (Later he rejoined his organization when the vessels reached port). The damage to the "Uruguay" necessitated an attempt to reach Bermuda 800 miles to the southwest, and after limping through a stormy sea for three anxious days, she made Bermuda on 15 February, 1943, to the intense relief of all members aboard. It should be said at this time that during this entire emergency, all troops aboard conducted themselves with the utmost fortitude and that this great courage on their part allowed those in charge to prevent a panic.
The arrival of the "Uruguay" presented a tremendous problem to the Bermuda Base Command since the 4500 troops aboard more than doubled the garrison. However, under the direction of Brigadier General A.G. Strong, the Base Commander, all troops were housed in barracks or pyramidal tents and well fed, a miraculous achievement considering the drain on the local facilities which the survivors constituted. The survivors were partially re-clothed and re-equipped and attempted to be of service to the Base Command by performing both specialized and unspecialized working details to aid local construction work. In this way, the "Uruguay" troops contributed thousands of man-hours of labor to the Bermuda Base Command during their visit.
On 6 March 1943, the "Uruguay" troops sailed from Bermuda in two more army Transports which had been sent from New York to pick them up. All members of the battalion were assigned to the U.S.A.T. "Santa Rosa". This time the voyage went without mishap, and on 18 March, 1943, Casablanca, French Morocco, North Africa, was reached, and all troops debarked. This battalion was now assigned to I Armored Corps.
At Casablanca, the battalion was partially re-equipped, having lost large amounts of individual and organizational property. (All officers had lost their footlockers and all enlisted men their "B" barracks bags through the hole in the side of the "Uruguay".) As equipment became available, training was undertaken; but extensive details around the docks and supply installations of Casablanca made continuous training extremely difficult. A few service practices were about all that could be accomplished.
On 18 April 1943, the battalion moved to the Cork Forest near Rabat for more extensive training. Here, in an excellent bivouac area, the battalion worked hard to taper itself off for the many requirements of combat; field problems, physical hardening; service practice, and organized athletic programs combined to made the men more nearly ready for the test.
On 2 May 1943, the test seemed near at hand; for on this date the unit was notified of its attachment to the Third Infantry Division and ordered to join the division at once in the vicinity of Constantine, Algeria, for duty on the Tunisian front. On 6 May 1943, the battalion began its march to the front under Lt. Col. von Kann, Commanding Officer. On successive days the organization bivouacked at Fez, Morocco; Cuercif, Morocco; Tlemcen, Algeria; Fleurus, Algeria; Orleansville, Algeria; and l'Arba, Algeria, spending the night of 11 May 1943, at this last location. Here, Lt. Col. von Kann was notified by Allied Force Headquarters that the battalion was assigned to the VI Corps and to move to Chanzy, Algeria. This change of orders was due, of course, to the sudden conclusion of the Tunisian campaign. However, it was a severe blow to all members to learn that their introduction to battle was to be delayed once more.
On 12 May 1943, the battalion returned to Orleansville, Algeria, and the following day marched to Bedeau, Algeria, near which point they found an excellent bivouac area and settled down to see what would take place next. Again intensive training was undertaken and due to the excellent facilities available for service practice, the cannoneers were given plenty of opportunity to practice their calling under realistic conditions. Ample amounts of small arms ammunition were available and combat ranges and overhead fire courses were used to give the men and officers as much realistic training as possible.
On 19 May, 1943, the battalion was again assigned to the I Armored Corps, and on I June, 1943, was once more attached to the Third Infantry Division (Reinforced). On 6 June, 1943, the battalion departed to report to Major General Truscott near Bizerte, Tunisia; under command of Major George R. Quarles, the new commanding officer. The organization bivouacked on successive nights at Orleansville, Algeria; I'Arba, Algeria; Setif, Algeria; and SoukAhras, Algeria. On 10 June 1943, the unit moved into a bivouac area near El Alia, Tunisia -- not far from Bizerte.
Sensing that combat was not far off, all members pitched into the job of supplying the outfit and completing their training. Other tasks to be done included the planning of the combat loading of the unit; sandbagging of vehicles; waterproofing of vehicles; and the briefing of key personnel on their assignments in the operation, which was being planned. Great ' secrecy about the location of the next operation was, of course, necessary; but Major Quarles and a few key officers had been informed of necessity that the operation planned was the Sicilian invasion.
INVASION OF SICILY
July 1st to July 6th, 1943
The plan for the initial assault was as follows: The battalion stripped, down to two howitzer batteries and a minimum of headquarters and service personnel would land on D Day to reinforce the fires of the Forty-First Field Artillery Battalion -a light battalion from the Third Infantry Division Artillery. The remainder of the battalion, less supply vehicles, would land in the first follow-up on D plus 4. Supply vehicles were to be landed D plus 8.
July 4th - The entire Battalion attended a formation at which Major General Truscott gave a stirring address and rallied his troops for the coming invasion of Axis soil.
July 5th & 6th - Final plans for the assault group of the battalion were completed. Major George R. Quarles would be in command with Capt. Paul J. Bidle commanding "A" Battery; and Capt. Dale E. Hodgell commanding "C" Battery. They would be loaded on an LCT and would land at an early hour in order to perform the necessary reconnaissance. Other officers in the assault would be on an LST and they are: Capt. Al D. Sims, Capt. James W. Gibson, 1st Lt. Addison G. Wilson, 1st Lt. Kenneth T. Smith, 1st Lt. William F. Smalley, 1st Lt. Walter B. Stevens, 1st Lt. Wayne E. Lash, 2nd Lt. Richard J. Deegan, 2nd Lt. Arthur M. Dix, and 2nd Lt. Ferd H. Rees.
JULY 7th to AUGUST 19,1943
JULY 7th - Assault Battalion (Batteries A and C less rear echelon and detachment from Hq and Service Battery) departed from bivouac area and loaded on LST #388. The Battalion CO and BC's of A and C Battery loaded on LCT #29. LST and LCT left Bizerte at 1700 and rendezvoused for the night off shore.
JULY 8th - (Report of LCT #29 only) - Convoy put out to sea at 0430. Weather clear, sea calm. Passed Cape Bon at 1500 - off Pantellaria at 2000. During the night, LCT #29 lost position in convoy and did not regain it until the morning of the 9th of July.
JULY 9th - (LCT #29 only) Convoy headed generally northeast toward Sicily. Passed north of Malta - weather clear - 35 mile wind and sea very rough. LCT #29 took a terrific pounding and most of the men were seasick. Water was continually taken aboard. After dark LCT #29 again got separated from the convoy and did not regain position during the night.
JULY 10th - Anti-aircraft fire and Naval gun fire visible from LCT #29 due north at 0200. Sea still very rough. Came in sight of Sicily at Licata at 0300. About 3 miles off shore at 0400 came under fire of shore batteries and had star shells fired at us. Started inshore to land, and came under artillery fire. About 1 mile off shore, we were bracketed by HE - No hits scored. Hit shore 3 miles east of Licata at 0500 and landed in 2 feet of water. Beach under mortar fire and some sniping. All personnel and vehicles were safely ashore at 0515. Started forward to make reconnaissance of Battalion position. Road was closed and under fire due to enemy strong point at (00.5-34.8) not being taken. Moved on foot over hills to rear of strong point and made reconnaissance of position areas at (00.5-35.6). Completed at 0800. Strong point had fallen by now and road was available. Battalion CO went east on shore road to Blue Beach. Came under mortar fire enroute. LST #388 beached at 1015 and Assault Group went into position at 1115. Remained in position reinforcing 41st FA. No rounds fired. Attacked by 3 ME 109's at 1430 - no casualties. Again attacked by ME 109's at 1600. 2 bombs dropped. No casualties. Received orders to make reconnaissance to western part of Licata sector. Assault Group went into position reinforcing 10th FA at 2300. In position area (86.8-43.3). No rounds fired from this position.
JULY 11th - Ordered to make reconnaissance and go into position east of Palma (80.841.9) parties left position at 1100. Batteries were in position at 1400 still supporting 10th FA. Battery A registered BP (75.1-46.0) 6 rounds fired. No other firing from this position. One JU 87 and 3 ME 109's over area - no straffing or bombing.
JULY 12th - Hq Section moved to position 1000 yards east of batteries. No firing during day. 2 ME 109's over about 1500. 1 ME 109 over at 1700 - very low.
JULY 13th - Battery A moved west to position at (73.7-46.3) reinforcing fire of 10th FA at 0700. Returned to Battalion area at 2000. Fire supported reconnaissance of the 7th Infantry in vicinity of river at (68.2-52.4). Nothing else of note.
JULY 14th - 1st follow-up joined Assault Battalion at 2130. Received orders that the battalion would move into position (73.5-50.5). This position about 3000 yards in front of Infantry positions so no reconnaissance could be made prior to darkness, as road was under enemy observation and fire. Parties went forward at 2000. Batteries followed at 2100.
JULY 15th - Position occupied at 0500. OP opened fire at 0800. Majority of fire delivered on strong point on west bank of river. Received orders at 1600 to move out at 2100 to positions in the vicinity of Favara. Parties left area at 2030. Batteries at 2100 moved via Palma to Favara. Distance about 45 miles.
JULY 16th - In position at edge (south) of Favara (69.4-56.9) at 0200. Adjusted on BP (62.8-57.9) at 0730. Fired on strong point (63.0-58.1) 2-100 mm guns. At 1020 fired numerous concentrations on call from 3rd Division Artillery and 10th FA. At 1530 sighted enemy truck convoy (63.9-60.3) Battalion fired 5 rounds. After completion of concentration, observed 5 vehicles burning and 15 left on road. Troops were seen leaving trucks and fleeing over the hill. Moved at 2100 to position north of Favara (70.0-59.0) supporting the 15th Infantry. Did not fire from this position.
JULY 17th - No movement - Nothing to report.
JULY 18th - Joined 82nd Division (Air Borne) at 1200. Moved out at 2225 for new position.
JULY 19th - Went into position east of Siculiana (50.0-59.5) at 0100. No firing from this position.
JULY 20th - Parties went on reconnaissance at 0130 and met Maj. Gen. Ridgeway and Brig. Gen. Taylor at point east of Menfi. Ordered to make reconnaissance of position along river east of Menfi (125865). Reconnaissance held up for 2 hours Is Infantry had not entered Battalion area. Batteries arrived at position at 2300. No firing from this position. Battalion relieved from 82nd Air Borne Division at 2230.
JULY 21st - Lt. Col. Darby of the Rangers came to position at 0030 and Battalion CO went forward with him at 39th Infantry CP and called parties forward to make reconnaissance. Unable to get to assigned areas due to mines. So selected positions at (065895) east of Campobello. Battery B moved into position at 0500 and adjusted on Base Point. Battery B silenced enemy artillery holding up tank advance in vicinity of Castelventro at 0930. Parties left position at 0900 to reconnoiter new positions east of Castelventro. Batteries left for new position at 1030. Battalion bivouaced east of Castelventro (005915) at 1220. Capt. Garnett Liaison Officer entered Castelventro with Lt.'Col. Darby at 1300. First troops in town. Parties entered town at 1400 and made reconnaissance of positions 7 miles west of Castelventro close behind advance parties of the 4th Rangers. Battalion arrived in positions at 1910.
JULY 22nd - No movement - no firing. Located German airport (abandoned) with large bomb dump 3 miles north of position.
JULY 23rd - Parties left to join remainder of Combat Team X (Command) near Marsala. Road assigned still in enemy hands so were forced to return to area and reconnoiter different route. Left for Mazara via back route to avoid traffic closely followed by remainder of Battalion. Arrived Mazara at 2000 and joined column behind Cannon Co of 29th Infantry. Road west of Mazara under fire from the north so were forced off road into bivouac area west of Mazara (720010) at 2115.
JULY 24th - Battalion CO and Staff with C Battery left for position at (692048) at 0500. Called remainder of Battalion forward at 0900. Rendezvoused Battalion less B Battery at Terrenove. Battery B in position at 665075. Battalion CO, S-3 and S-2 and Liaison Officer directed fire on enemy battery at (671113) at 1145. OP was under fire from this battery at this time. Excellent effect. Battery B got into action and delivered fire quicker than Infantry Cannon Co. Battalion CO left OP at 1400 and went forward through Marsala where he contacted Infantry Advance Detachment. Received verbal notice of relief from Combat Command X at 1655, and was ordered to proceed to Palermo to report to Prov. Corps by 1800. Remainder of Battalion to arrive at Palermo by 25, 1200. Left at once with Battery CO's for Palermo via Castelventro, Alcamo and Partinico. Arrived Alcamo at 2000. Found bridge out between Alcano and Partinico so was forced to take secondary roads along coast. Road very dangerous well trapped. Arrived at Partinico at 25,0200.
July 25th - Left Partinico at 0500. Arrived at Palermo at 0700. Reported to Commanding General Prov. Corps and was ordered to rejoin Regiment either at Alia or Roccapalumba. S-3 and Battery CO's remained in Palermo to rejoin Battalion. Battalion CO left Palermo at 0830 to find Regiment. Caught rear of Regimental column at Vicari at 0200 followed as far as Roccapalumba then returned west to meet Battalion. Placed Battalion in bivouac at Vicari (645105).
JULY 26th - Left Battalion with parties at 0805. Battalion left at 0845. Located Regimental area south of Petralia at 1200. Battalion in bivouac at 1400.
July 27th - Battalion in bivouac. Make reconnaissance to Gangi at 1430.
JULY 28th - Battalion in bivouac.
JULY 29th - Left bivouac area with parties at 0645 and made reconnaissance north of Sperlinga (317085). Battalion in position at 1740. No firing.
July 30th - Battalion in position north of Sperlinga. Battalion CO left with parties at 1820 and selected position north of Nicosia at 1820 (365085).
JULY 31st - Battalion moved into new position at 0315. A platoon of AA from Battery C 103rd CA (Sept) was attached this day. No firing from this position.
AUGUST 1st - Battalion, less-rear echelon had been in position during the night, 1 mile north of Nicosia. Orders were received to join the 1st Division and to move the battalion to position 2 miles northwest of Cerami. The Battalion, less rear echelon moved to the new position at 0515 and Liaison Q reported to the 1st Div. Arty, CP. A forward OP was established in the eastern edge of Cerami from which the valley east to Troina could be observed. Adjustment was completed and observation was continued up the valley all day. At.1130 the battalion was straffed by a low flying ME 109. The attached AA opened up and shot it down. No casualties or damage. At 1900 two ME 109's again were over the area and both were knocked down by the attached AA (1st Platoon, Battery "C", 103rd CA). During the day Division concentrations were fired and harassing missions were continued during the night. One Battalion concentration was fired on enemy positions on Hill 1040 from OP - effect excellent. One enemy gun position was fired upon using Infantry FO at (52501895). This gun was beyond Range Table range, however, by extra ramming and leaving the powder in the sun the position was reached and a direct hit was scored on one piece, the others were neutralized. The range on this 12,700 yds.; thirteen (13) rounds were fired. A total of 163 rounds were fired during this 24-hour period.
AUGUST 2nd - Battalion was still in position northwest of Cerami. During the day fourteen (14) concentrations were fired. All except one were unobserved and effect was excellent testifying to the accuracy of maps and survey. A total of 442 rounds were fired. During the afternoon, a reconnaissance was made north of Capizzi for possible positions. The rear echelon was moved forward to positions north of Nicosia. One eighty-four (84) round concentration was placed on enemy strong point at (49550950). Interdiction fire was maintained during the night on the road net east and west of Troina. A 210 mm Rocket gun was silenced at (50650745).
AUGUST 3rd - Interdiction fire was continued during the early morning. Six (6) concentrations were fired during the day. All unobserved. A total of 264 rounds were fired on enemy troops in the vicinity of Troina between 1110 and 1410. Requested that the battalion be allowed to move to positions in the vicinity of Gagliano to support the flanking movement of the 18th Infantry Regt. moving on Troina from the south. At 1505 Battalion was ordered to move to Gagliano area via Nicosia-Agira. Battalion left Cerami area at 1600. The road as far as Nicosia was very good - between Nicosia and Agira the road was very bad. Five bridges in all these places had not been constructed by engineers, and it was necessary to move very cautiously across country. However the battalion got through without the loss of a single vehicle and arrived in position I mile southwest of Gagliano at 0545 Aug. 4th. The advance parties arrived in Gagliano at 1800 and halted at the edge of town as the road north of town was under enemy, observation and fire. The Battalion CO went forward to meet the CO of the 65th FA (Armored) and obtain information of the area. When returning, the road north of Gagliano, and the town, was fired on by a 210 Rocket gun. Some rounds landed about 100 yds. from a command car. No casualties or damage resulted. It was noted here that the Rocket gun seems to have a great deal of dispersion and can be easily identified by the scream of the shell. Blast effect seems to be very small.
AUGUST 4th - A forward OP was established at (47300580) at 0700 and the battalion was registered on BP (507059). Fourteen (14) concentrations were fired during the day and a total of 591 rounds expended. All. except five (5) concentrations being fired by FO. Two Rocket guns were fired upon and destroyed. Two other enemy batteries and an Infantry concentration were also taken under fire. A company of the 18th Infantry Regt. were observed under fire from enemy infantry at (504061) and the enemy was taken tinder fire. It was noted that the positions reported as occupied by friendly troops was often erroneous as troops could be plainly seen from OP which were identified as those of the enemy. This was especially true of Hill 1040 which was continuously occupied by enemy troops upon which we were refused permission to fire as friendly troops were supposed to be there. However, these enemy positions were taken under fire without authority. The rear echelon was moved to positions in the valley about 2 miles north of Agira. Enemy strong points were fired on at (544070, 531085, and 526078). A Battalion concentration of 4 rounds per minute for 5 minutes was placed on Troina at 1633. A total of 210 rounds were expended in this concentration. There was no firing during the-night.
AUGUST 5th - The Regimental Hqs and 2nd Battalion moved into position to the west of us today, and took over most of the firing. Three problems were fired during the day and a total of 35 rounds expended. One enemy battery was fired upon but due to the extreme time required to get approval through channels, the fire was ineffective as the battery had moved when fire was finally delivered.
AUGUST 6th - No firing during the 24 hour period.
AUGUST 7th - Still in position - no firing.
AUGUST 8th - Battalion moved into rendezvous area 1 mile northwest of Troina (51710).
AUGUST 9th - In rendezvous west of Troina.
AUGUST 10th - AUGUST 19t1i - Same as August 9th.
AUGUST 19th - Battalion left Troina area for bivouac area east of Termini Immerse. Sicilian campaign over. A total of 91 missions and 2345 rounds expended during the campaign.
KEY PERSONNEL SICILIAN CAMPAIGN
George R. Quarles
Rueben S. Blood
Battalion Executive 0fficer
Al D. Sims
Robert W. Lange
Battalion Asst S-3
James W. Gibson
Warren D. Dreher
Battalion Asst. S-2
Williams K. Garnett
Kenneth T. Smith
Liaison 0fficer- 2
Amos V. Persing
Paul M. Pope
C.O. Hq. Battery & Commo Off.
Paul J. Bidle
C.O. "A" Battery
Robert C. Wylie
C.O. "B" Battery
Dale E. Hodgell
C.O. "C" Battery
Othie R. McMurry
C.O. Srv Battery & S-4
Ferd H. Rees
Battalion Ammo 0fficer
Kenneth W. MacTavish
Battalion A.A. & A.T.O.
1 September 7 November, 1943 (Incl.)
The Battalion remained in its rest area near Termini Imerese, Sicily, through the month of September and most of October, 1943. On 12 September, the battalion was relieved from assignment to the Seventh U.S. Army and assigned to the Fifth U.S. Army, which had invaded Italy at Salerno three days earlier. On 24 September, all batteries received brand new 155 mm. Howitzers, M-1, except for Battery "All which did not complete drawing new weapons until early in November.
October 19th - The Battalion received orders to move to Italy overland via the Messina ferry (which consisted of several LCT's). October 24th, the battalion left the Termini Imerese area.
October 27th - The Battalion was informed it would be attached to VI Corps and would go into combat shortly.
October 29th - The Battalion arrived at the Pomigliano bivouac area. Next day, Brig. Gen. Lewis informed the battalion that it would be attached to the II Corps instead of the VI Corps.
November 5th - The Battalion was visited by Brig. Gen. Vincent Meyer, GG, 18th F.A. Brigade, which had recently arrived in the theatre, and to which the battalion had been assigned when alerted for overseas movement at Camp Bowie, Texas. Brig. Gen. Meyer had served with the unit overseas during World War I and had commanded the battalion upon its reactivation at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, in 1935.
November 7th - Orders were received from II Corps to move to an assembly area in the vicinity of Camigliano, Italy. From this location several reconnaissances were to be made for possible position areas to be used at such time as the battalion should be ordered into the line.
8 NOVEMBER to 1 DECEMBER, 1943
NOVEMBER 8th to NOVEMBER 18th (Incl.) - Bivouacked in vicinity of Comigliano, Italy in preparation for movement into forward areas.
NOVEMBER 19th - Battalion moved under cover of darkness to positions in vicinity of Presenzano (Coord H075-075). In position at (200230). Area very muddy and vehicles and guns very difficult to get in.
NOVEMBER 20th - Unable to register due to difficulties in observation and communications. Sent out forward observers. Lt. Fowler to position G 982140, Lts. Smith, Kidd and Smalley to hill at H 005-163. Still raining.
NOVEMBER 21st - Lt. Fowler back. Unable to stay in observing position due to enemy fire. Lts. Kidd, Smith and tinalley also back. They were forced off the hill by enemy MG and mortar fire after heroic attempt to maintain observation. Sgt. Wing, "C" Battery, was injured by a mortar shell. Reconnaissance was made for forward position. Moving to new positions at 1800. New positions were occupied at (220230). (Coord 017072 161 111 1/50,000).
NOVEMBER 22nd - Tractor required to get guns in - very muddy - lots of rain. Registered by Air OP. Received CB fire from enemy at 1600. Six men wounded, 2 concussions. Considerable interdiction fired during the night.
NOVEMBER 23rd Some enemy shelling - intermittent rain all day. 2 EM wounded.
NOVEMBER 24th Overhead enemy fire during the day. Determined enemy guns were 105 and 170 mm. Under enemy CB three times during the day. No casualties. -Still raining.
NOVEMBER 25th - Quiet day - very little enemy fire - just a few rounds at a time -evidently adjustments. We did considerable harrassing and CB firing during day. Still rainy.
NOVEMBER 26th - Very quiet day. Rain stopped. We did considerable CB fire.
NOVEMBER 27th - First day of two days of hell. Received enemy shelling three (3) times. Considerable damage. Six (6) wounded. Gave the Germans four for one in return though. Weather clear.
NOVEMBER 28th - Worst day to date. Four times under fire. Estimate about 250 rounds of enemy shells landed in the area, of about 500 yds. square. Jerry makes initial adjustment with 4 or 5 rounds (may be high burst) then about an hour later lets go with 40 to 60 rounds mixed 105 and 170 mm stuff. He seems to fire only once from any position and does very little firing at night. Most of his fire is from 1200 to 1800. We give it right back though. S-2 can do a lot of good with prompt shelling reports. Damage 4 vehicles, kitchen equipment, water trailer. Six wounded - one killed. EM killed was believed to have been hit by fragments of 210 mm How- All of the wounded have been caught out of slit trenches and are leg wounds. Mud has been our salvation. Beginning to think it better to place guns in open fields away from trees due to shells bursting in them.
NOVEMBER 29th - Skies overcast. No enemy fire until 1720 when we received about 75 rounds - mostly over in range. One (1) wounded, not serious. Believe error in the enemies range due to lack of adjustment. We did usual CB and harassing fire.
NOVEMBER 30th - Cloudy. Light enemy shelling. We continued our CB and harassing fire. During period 19 November to 30 November, 1943 (Incl.) we fired 167 missions and a total of 4894 rounds. We've had one EM killed. One officer and 19 EM wounded and three EM evacuated due to concussion. We have been shelled intensively by the enemy nine (9) times with an estimated total of 500 rounds. in the area, besides numerous stray rounds. The functioning of the firing batteries, the ammunition train, the communications and CP personnel and medical detachment, in fact all units were superior and the stamina, morale and guts shown by all men in this hot and exposed position is worthy of the highest commendation.
1 DECEMBER to 31 DECEMBER, 1943 (Incl.)
This month was marked by rain and mud. There were 13 days of rain and 10 days cloudy to partly cloudy
DECEMBER 1st - In position (106073). Supported attack on San Pietro.
DECEMBER 2nd and 3rd - Heavy firing during night in preparation for attack on Camino-Magorrie hill mass. Fired over 2,000 rounds during period. Our heaviest firing -also heaviest we've ever seen. Attack is successful which is a great relief to us as we were under direct observation from the hills.
DECEMBER 4th - Heavy rains - a few enemy shells landed in position of which about 30 per cent were duds.
DECEMBER 5th to 10th - Quiet spell. Fired a few harassing missions. Weather unsettled. No enemy shelling of any consequence.
DECEMBER 11th - Some enemy air activity - no rain.
DECEMBER 12th - Caught enemy truck column at BP - 4 vehicles left burning. Chaplain held services this AM. He is doing an excellent job.
DECEMBER 13th to 15th - Weather generally clear. Some enemy air activity -FW 190's. A few shells in area - about 60 percent duds. One (1) FW 190 shot down on the 15th about 500 yards from A Battery.
DECEMBER 16th - Our infantry takes Lungo and Pietro.
DECEMBER 17th to 19th - Made reconnaissance of area vicinity of Lungo for positions.
December 20th and 21st - Made reconnaissance in vicinity of Mignano - located positions at (G982097) - will move on orders. Period was quiet.
DECEMBER 22nd to 24th - Made reconnaissance area (G982097). Moved during the 23rd and 24th. Very rainy and muddy and some difficulty was encountered in moving.
DECEMBER 25th - Christmas Day. A good turkey dinner - sunshine at noon - rain at night.
DECEMBER 26th to 29th Italian weather. Rain one day - clear the next. No activities of note.
DECEMBER 30th and 31st The old Year, 1943, went out like a lion - cold, blustery north wind with lots of rain.
December was generally a miserable month - very sloppy - however its been easier on us from the stand point of enemy fire. Everyone enjoyed a good Christmas. Lots of packages and mail and a good dinner. Morale is good and all are in the best of spirits and health. Have fired over 12,000 rounds in Italian campaign. Have been overseas 101~ months and 80 days in combat including Sicily. Here's to a winning 1944 - and then HOME.
INVASION OF ANZIO
1 JANUARY to 31 JANUARY, 1944 (Incl.)
JANUARY 1st to 9th - Battalion was in position 1 mile southwest of Mignano, Italy. This period was marked by cold and rainy weather with snow on the mountain and comparatively little activity. We fired in excess of 2,000 rounds supporting the push on Mt. Poncie and Avara. There was also some air activity and some light shelling in the battery areas. In addition some anti-personnel mines were dropped in the area. On the 7th we received note that the battalion would be withdrawn from the front for a special mission. Orders were received relieving the battalion from attachment to the II Corps and attaching it to the VI Corps as of 0001 January 9th. We moved to the rest area during January 9.
JANUARY 10th to 22nd - This period was spent in the bivouac area near Afragola, Italy, reorganizing for an invasion. The vehicles were sent to the waterproofing area on the 20til. During our stay here we had occasion to see two movie celebrities, Humphrey Bogart and Joe E. Brown, as well as two Italian stage shows and three movies. On the 22nd we received march order.
JANUARY 23rd - The Battalion (less C Battery and rear elements of Hq. Battery) left the area at 0130 and arrived at Staging Area #1 in Bagnoli at 0430. Vehicles started loading on Berth #368 at 1100. Men arrived at docks at 1710 and were loaded on LST #361 by 1800.
JANUARY 24th and 25th - We left harbor at 0001. The weather was windy and sea rough causing considerable sea sickness. We anchored off Anzio at 1630 but spent the night aboard ship. There were four air raids during the night, including one severe one at 0200. We started in at 0330 and docked at 0630. We unloaded at 0630, assembled, and de-waterproofed in Anzio. The Battalion was ordered to support the Rangers and at 0800 the Batteries moved to position 865-237. There was considerable air activity over the area throughout the day and some intermittent shelling during the night - 10 rounds, 170 mm.
JANUARY 26th - 8 JUR8's were over the area at 1800, 4 of which were shot down. At 2400 B Battery moved to new position (870-266).
JANUARY 27th - A Battery moved forward at 0820. A reconnaissance was made for new CP position but none found available in the recommended area.
JANUARY 28th - The remainder of the battalion landed.
JANUARY 29th - We were cautioned to be on the lookout for enemy paratroopers in the event of attack by Armored units. At 1600 AT Platoon moved forward to position (894-293). The Battalion was ordered to reinforce the 3rd Div. in the position near (976-234). At 1630 the Batteries moved forward and all guns were in position by 2400. Parts of operations and wire sections plus 4 vehicles from A & B Batteries remained in old position.
JANUARY 30th and 31st - The night of the 30th and 31st was a quiet one. On the 31st word was received of the attack on Cisterno. At 1800 the AT Platoon moved to position (008245). We were subjected to some light harassing fire from 88 mm guns - about 20 rounds. We expended 1010 rounds in supporting the attack on Cisterno.
After 51 days on the 5th Army front in the vicinity of Magnano, we were given 13 days of rest. We then landed the Anzio invasion and a chance to work with our old friends, the Rangers, and the 3rd Div. All in all, it was a full month of considerable satisfaction derived out of knowing that a hard job was well done. The morale is still high and efficiency excellent.
George R. Quarles
Lt. Col., 1st Battalion., 77th F.A.
1st BATTALION, 77th FIELD
SECOND FOLLOW UP: 23 JANUARY to 28 JANUARY 1944 (Incl.)
At 1100, 23 January, 1944, C Battery and the ammunition train of Service Battery, under the command of Maj. Blood, was alerted to move to the Naples Dock Area and report to berth #500 for embarkation, leaving the bivouac area at 1300.
Upon arrival at the dock, we learned that 500 was not allotted to us, but the officer at the berth tried to load us anyway, with no success. Our trucks were not in this area, and upon contacting the port TQM, found that he did not know where the trucks were, but after a check over the phone, contended the trucks were at the Palace at Caserta.
Maj. Blood, though he was sure-the TQM was wrong, went to Caserta to check and could not locate the trucks, nor anyone who had any idea where the assembly area was.
After returning to the dock area and the TQM office he was told that no berth had been assigned the group as yet, but they still did not know where the trucks were. However, a colored sergeant standing there very obligingly pointed out the area and route to it on the map. Consequently after three hours the Major was able to locate the trucks and assemble trucks and personnel in the same area.
The night of the 23rd and 24th were spent in the assembly area. At 1130 24 January, the Major received orders to move to the dock area at 1300 and load on LST #11.
Trucks and personnel left the assembly area at 1300 and began embarking at 1400. The LST had been shot up on the preceding trip and had to undergo repairs to water lines, electric lines, and hull before sailing so the ship did not put out to sea until 0700, 25 January.
After sailing to the LST assembly point, the ship was held until late afternoon when it joined a convoy. Received a storm warning but proceeded.
Heavy weather was encountered during the night of the 25th and 26th and progress was very slow. An LST rammed us at 0600, 26 January, but no major damage was done outside of the loss of our small boat. In the late afternoon we reached a point off Anzio and stood off because no landing could be made in the heavy sea. At least half of the men aboard were seasick
The night of the 26th and 27th, we stood off from the harbor and on the morning of 27 January, were called in to an anchorage where we spent the whole day dodging air raiders. There were some near misses, but no damage.
At 0400, 28 January, we finally docked and unloaded trucks and men. Maj. Blood called the VI Corps Arty, Sec. and reported by telephone. Trucks were moved to the de-waterproofing area and on to an assembly area where we were attacked from the air twice without damage.
C Battery and the ammunition train moved to the area occupied by Service Battery, 1st Battalion. 77th FA at 1000 and joined the rest of the battalion.
Reuben S. Blood
FEBRUARY 1st to-23rd, 1944 (Incl.)
During the above period, the battalion took part in the operations on the Anzio Beachhead. The battalion was initially attached to the 3rd Infantry Division Artillery reinforcing the division fires. It was relieved from attachment to the 3rd Infantry Division Artillery and attached to the 35th Field Artillery Group (4 February to 23 February, incl.) and moved into new positions on 031600. The Battalion was now in defensive positions for the first time in combat. There was considerable enemy air activity during this period. Enemy artillery was generally light and scattered. Our OP's did excellent work throughout the period, and a very large percentage of our fire was observed and adjusted by them. A number of enemy tanks and armored vehicles were neutralized by our fires. Heavy losses were inflicted on enemy personnel by carefully adjusted fire.
On 16 February 1944, a Company of enemy infantry was caught with time fire and destroyed. On 19 February 1944, four tanks were knocked out with observed fire.
The weather for the period was generally fair with cool and frosty nights -some light showers.
This is the last report of the 1st Battalion, 77th FA Regt, as the battalion is to be redesignated and reorganized as the 634th FA Battalion, effective 24 February 1944.
634th FA BATTALION
FEBRUARY 24th to 29th, 1944 (Incl.)
This is the first narrative report of this unit after reorganization and redesignation. The battalion is in position on the Anzio Beachhead, attached to the VI Corps and sub-attached to the 35th Field Artillery Group. The mission is reinforcing the fires of the 3rd Infantry Division Artillery and in general support of the VI Corps front.
On the 24th of February, the battalion was bombed, and there were some casualties. On the 29th of February, the battalion took an active part in stopping the attack of the German forces. On this date, over 2500 rounds were fired - a major portion of them observed by our OP's. Fifteen tanks were taken under fire, five of which were destroyed. Numerous enemy artillery pieces were neutralized, and very heavy concentrations were laid down on enemy infantry advancing in the open, effectively aiding in halting the attack.
Since the battalion has entered combat, both as the 1st Battalion, 77th FA Regt. and the 634th FA Battalion, we have fired in excess of 33,000 rounds.
Weather generally clear with warm days and cool nights.
1 MARCH to 31 MARCH, 1944 (Incl.)
Operations presented no changes from the previous month as the battalion spent the entire period in position and made no movements. The weather was generally good with periods of two to three days of cold and rainy weather. Periods of fair weather gradually became longer. The wind was generally from the north. During the period six per cent of the command were casualties from enemy action, due entirely to enemy shellfire. Eight per cent of the command was hospitalized due to illness; the majority of the illness due to fevers of influenza type.
The Battalion was shelled extensively the first 15 days of the month with approximately 1,000 rounds falling in the area, but fire fell off greatly towards the last of the period - numerous days passing without a shell falling in the area. There was a noticeable increase in heavier calibers, and the majority of shells are now 150 mm with few if any of smaller caliber. Air activity was sporadic, generally about 0700 or 1800 hours with no low flying or strafing planes or bombing in the area.
Experiments were conducted with M116 smoke shell (BE) using various fuzes, and the shell was found to be inadequate for our use. No new methods of fire were developed. Jerry used a trick once of shelling in the area heavily with SP at night and following up with bombing, using the light of the bursting smoke shells as markers; otherwise no new developments were noted in enemy tactics and methods. With the increase of caliber in enemy shells, it was noted that a larger majority of the shells were low order or delay fuze bursts.
This Battalion has fired 48,116 rounds in the Italian campaign to date. During the period covered by this report, we have fired 654 missions, 297 of them observed and a total of 11,917 rounds expended.
1 APRIL to 30 APRIL, 1944 (Incl.)
The month of April was marked by much improved weather, being considerably warmer and drier than previous months, with the ground drying up very fast. Visibility was improved over March. Enemy activity showed no major change from March, being confined to small-scale attacks, but the counter-battery fire did increase and there was more air activity over the forward areas.
During the period the battalion gun area received approximately 800 rounds of counter-battery fire in twenty (20) different concentrations. Enemy airplanes were over the area twelve (12) times and dropped only flares. Bombs were dropped three (3) times during three (3) of the raids. All were at night. Three guns were destroyed by enemy gunfire, all in Battery "B".
In all we fired during the period 628 missions, 255 of which were observed and a total of 14,997 rounds. Total missions to 30 April 1944 is 2,561 (Italian campaign) with a total of 64,415 rounds. No difficulties have developed in the Ml Howitzer, and over 5,000 rounds have been fired from each piece.
Casualties during April: Killed in Action five (5), Wounded in Action twelve (12). Total Anzio Beachhead: Killed in Action thirteen (13), Wounded in Action thirty-six (36). Morale excellent. (A temporary deterioration of morale is noted in Battery "B", due to the high number of casualties.)
The organization during this period received counter-battery fire of caliber up to 210 mm. Some 155 mm French noted. Most counter-battery was of 155 mm caliber.
This Battalion has occupied the same positions for 88 days and has been in action for 99 days on the Anzio Beachhead. Total combat days to date: 189 days.
1 MAY to 31 MAY, 1944 (Incl.)
The first 22 days were a continuation of the defensive operations of the past three months. The battalion suffered usual counter-battery fire with a noticeable falling off during the later part of the period. Preparations were being made for offensive action and on the 23rd preparation fires were laid down prior to the jump off. The battalion supported the 1st Armored Division in the first phase, and on the 24th the battalion moved to new positions for ward, the first movement in 111 days a record of continuous occupation of position.
The battalion finished the period occupying positions in the vicinity of Valletri, the breakthrough being a success. During the period the battalion fired 568 unobserved and 149 observed missions, a total of 717, and 20,587 rounds for a grand total of 85,286 rounds. Losses during the period were two'(2) guns due to enemy artillery and one (1) Enlisted Man killed, and 13 wounded. The guns of the battalion are in generally poor shape and are about worn out averaging over 7,000 rounds each. Weather during the period was generally fair and warmer.
1 JUNE to 12 JUNE, 1944, (Incl.)
This period was marked by rapid movement against a retreating enemy.
JUNE 1st - In position five (5) miles west of Cisterna, a quiet day marked by the capture of Velletri.
JUNE 2nd - Enemy air bombardment during early hours, no casualties or damage. Displaced during day to positions on east edge of Velletri.
JUNE 3rd - No activity; very little artillery action.
JUNE 4th - Displaced forward to vicinity of Nemi on top of mountain at 0001. Displaced again at 1900 to position two miles southeast of Rome on Rome-Frascatti road.
JUNE 5th - This was without a doubt the biggest day of our combat tour. March ordered at 0300 and loaded vehicles with infantry from the 143rd Infantry Regiment and started through Rome and crossed Tiber River on the Ponte Littorio -first troops across this bridge -- a really triumphant entry. It took hours to get through the crowds that had formed. Went into position one (1) mile northwest of the Vatican City. No firing.
JUNE 6th - March ordered (less Service Battery) at 1500 and moved to bivouac area about 12 miles northwest of Rome. Started on reconnaissance for forward positions at 2000. On reconnaissance all night.
JUNE 7th - Battalion moved forward at 0800 and into positions about 2 miles south of Lake Bracciano. Released from the 36th Infantry Division Artillery at 1200 noon and went into rendezvous.
JUNE 8th Moved into bivouac on south shore of Lake Bracciano near Anguillara Sabazia. Service Battery (less Ammo Train) still one mile northwest of Vatican City.
JUNE 9th 10th - No change.
JUNE 11th Battalion (less Service Battery) moved into rest area with VI Corps Artillery Headquarters two miles west of Maccarese on the coast.
JUNE 12th - Service Battery joined the battalion. Entire battalion now at rest.
George R. Quarles
Lt. Col, 634th FA Battalion
INVASION OF SOUTHERN FRANCE
1 AUGUST to 31 AUGUST, 1944 (Incl.)
1. August 1st and 2nd were spent in preparation for the proposed operation in Southern France and vehicles used in the "Shamrock" training operations were re-waterproofed and loaded on LCT 222.
2. The period August 3rd through the 6th was spent in final preparation for loading of LCI's and other ocean going vessels. The final briefing of Battery Commanders and other key personnel was also accomplished.
3. On the 7th the battalion Commander attended the final briefing by VI Corps and 3rd Division Commanding Generals and their staffs. The same day recon personnel were loaded on LCT 222, which remained in the harbor off Baia, Italy, until the afternoon of the 9th, when the slow convoy put out to sea.
4. During the period 8th through the 14th LCI's and larger craft loaded and proceeded towards Southern France. Personnel aboard LCT 222 were allowed to go ashore for a swim and other exercise on both the 13th and 14th while the LCT convoy lay at anchor in Jacchio Harbor, Corsica. Late afternoon of the 14th the LCT's put out to sea. LCI's carrying personnel and equipment of B and C Batteries arrived in Jacchio Harbor and lay at anchor all day leaving late in the afternoon. Other elements of the convoy did not stop enroute. Heavy seas and rain made the day of the 8th and the night of the 8th and 9th very uncomfortable for the personnel on the LCT. Rations were very poor, but due to the cooperation of Ensign Winters, the skipper of LCT 222, rations were supplemented to some extent, which was indeed a great help to the Army personnel aboard. Overcrowding (74 officers and men) also added to the discomfort endured during the nine days spent aboard. Some of the men aboard liberty ships though aboard for as long as 28 days had nothing but C rations.
5. The convoy arrived off the beaches early on the morning of the 15th and proceeded on schedule to the landing points but due to the existence of a sand bar just off the beach, landing was slowed to the point that LCT 222 scheduled to unload at 1000B did not beach until 1700B. Other craft were also delayed and final complete organization ashore was not accomplished until 2400B. At this time elements of Hq Battery, B Battery, C Battery and Ammo train 634th FA Battalion and C Battery 36th FA Battalion were assembled and prepared to fire. However, the advance inshore had been so rapid, that an immediate move had to be made in order to reach targets.
At 2115 hrs, B Battery 634th FA Battalion plus one platoon of C Battery 36th FA Battalion were ordered forward to reinforce the fires of the 10th FA Battalion in position about three miles west of La Mole, France. B Battery arrived in position at 2300 B but C Battery 36th FA Battalion was halted enroute and relieved from attachment.
6. On the 16th at 0800 C Battery and Hq Battery 634th FA Battalion moved to the vicinity of B Battery's position. Registration was accomplished through the 10th FA Battalion and one concentration of 114 rounds was fired on enemy assembling for a counterattack. Effect was evidently good, as the attack did not develop.
7. During the period of Aug. 17th through 19th everything was very quiet. The Battalion supported the 10th and 39th FA Battalions and outside of a couple of registrations didn't fire a round. Battery A joined the battalion in position 3 miles west of St. Anastasia at 1800 on the 18th and went into position. Major Sims, the battalion Executive also reported at 1330 on the same date, having been unable to get ashore until then. Attachment to 6th Armored FA Group came on the 18th though the battalion was left in support of the 39th FA Battalion.
8. The 6th Armored FA Group became attached to Army B (French) on the 20th and the battalion was ordered by the Group Commander to occupy positions in the vicinity of Cuers, France. Here the battalion began its part of the siege of Toulon. The situation was very obscure when the battalion reconnoitered and occupied positions; one German machine gun nest was located about 600 yards in front of A Battery's position and mopped up by French Infantry. The Battalion recon party had previously gone beyond and in full view of the machine gun crew, but had received no fire. Registration was accomplished and a few rounds of light caliber counter-battery fell about 200 yards forward of C Battery position. Due to C Battery's exposed location it was moved to the east and placed behind better defilade as the enemy had excellent observation of the battalion area.
9. Considerable firing on enemy batteries both FA and AA on the 21st. No counter-battery was received and both air and ground OPs picked up several enemy battery locations on which the battalion -fired. Those out of range or sectors were fired on by the 36th FA Battalion which was in position about 1500 yards to our rear. Excellent results were reported by both our observers and the French.
10. Still firing into the area east and northeast of Toulon on the 22nd with the bulk of fire on enemy batteries. B Battery was moved to a new position ahead of C Battery to increase their range. No counter-battery. 280 rounds fired during this 24 hour period. The Battalion was hooked into the FDC of the 3rd Battalion DIC (French 105 Battalion) to give them what assistance it could, but the French moved later in the day and contact with them was lost.
11. On the morning of the 23rd, the battalion recon party left to select positions in the vicinity of Le Plan, France. The valley to the east of Le Plan proved to be heavily mined so positions were selected just south of Le Plan and the battalion moved in just before dark. One gun from C Battery had gone into position early to register but smoke and haze obscured the target area preventing observation so no registration was made. The batteries were layed to cover the peninsula just west of Toulon where the final resistance existed. No firing during the remainder of the period.
12. The 24th started off with the capture of 23 enemy personnel by B Battery's OP detail when they occupied their OP. Registration was made and enemy batteries and forts taken under fire. Major Fourier of the Regiment de Chineiers d'Afrique visited the CP and complimented us very highly on our firing in support of his unit and informed us of the location of known enemy installations.
13. Still in position below Le Plan on the 25th and firing on forts and enemy batteries. Several of the forts surrendered or set times for surrender late in the period. The Battalion fired 507 rounds up to 1600B. After this pounding Fort 64 decided to surrender the next morning and transmitted this request through the Swiss Emissary working in conjunction with the French.
While changing OP's Lt. Lash and Cpl. Scott encountered enemy troops and in the ensuing skirmish Lt. Lash was wounded in the arm and both he and Cpl. Scott captured. In the meantime the German Colonel who commanded the isolated pocket was captured by members of the 1st FOB and decided to order his men to surrender which they did thus releasing the two prisoners. When the prisoners were counted there were 74 including the Colonel and a Captain. Lt. Lash was the first casualty the battalion had suffered since landing.
During the day the French reported the following results of one of the battalion concentrations: three enemy guns knocked out, the German Colonel commanding several batteries wounded, 12 enlisted men wounded, 10 killed and 100 surrendered.
14. Saturday the 26th was very quiet with practically no firing. Negotiations were in progress for the surrender of additional strong points isolated on the peninsula.
15. The 27th was another quiet day. Late in the afternoon gun batteries were displaced forward to enable them to cover the island of St. Mandrier occupied by the enemy who intended to hold out as long as possible because they could dominate the harbor entrance with their 240 mm guns. However, the batteries did not fire as the Emissary was again in contact with the German garrison and eventually secured their promise to surrender at 0800 the following morning.
16. At 0800 August 28th the garrison on St. Mandrier Island surrendered. Prisoners taken numbered 1800 enlisted men, 75 officers and one Admiral. Thus ended the resistance in and around Toulon. At 1800 the 6th Armored FA Group was detached from Army B (French) and Attached to 3rd Inf. Div. (American).
17. Movement of the battalion to Avignon was accomplished on the 29th. Some difficulty was encountered in the fording of the Durance River just south of Avignon. A pontoon bridge in place there would not carry the heavy vehicles or guns so most of the battalion had to ford. After much winching the battalion got across. Light vehicles were held up in the use of the bridge by very poor traffic control by the French MF's. Civilian traffic was allowed to monopolize the one way bridge. Crossing from the north side of the river, pedestrians, bicyclists and private automobiles were allowed to cross as fast as they approached while military traffic was held up on the south side of the river in a column approximately two miles long. After taking the control into our own hands we managed to get all of the light vehicles across. The Battalion bivouaced one-half mile southwest of Bedarrides, France, for the night.
18. Wednesday, the 30th, the battalion moved to a bivouac area just north of Allan, France, about 10 miles southeast of Montelimar. The Battalion was just a day too late to get in on the kill along Highway 7 in and north of Montelimar, which irked us considerably.
19. A quartering party was ordered forward to the vicinity of Voiron, France, on the 31st and the battalion was to remain in bivouac until the following day when movement would be made to the Voiron area.
20. Good weather prevailed throughout August with only occasional rain. The temperature was warm and no extremely high winds occurred. Air OP's were very helpful not only in locating targets but also in reconnaissance beyond front lines in search of evidence as contact was hard to maintain. No serious failures in material. Gasoline supply was very limited. Rations for the month were types K, C and 10-in-1.
Morale of the members of this Battalion is very high and they take great pride in their success in overcoming the enemy artillery at Toulon.
Reuben S. Blood
Major, 634th FA Battalion
1 SEPTEMBER to 30 SEPTEMBER, 1944 (Incl.)
SEPTEMBER 1st - The battalion moved out at 1600 hours with orders to contact the billeting party in the vicinity of Voiron, France, and after considerable trouble with congested traffic arrived at Voiron, but could not contact the forward party. While the battalion was enroute the billeting party had been given further instructions to locate an area in the vicinity of Bourgoin and had proceeded to the new location instructing the MPs enroute to direct the battalion, which they did. At 2330 hours the battalion arrived at Bourgoin to find that it was attached to the 39th FA for a further move to a position near Lagnieu. This move was accomplished after the 39th FA had cleared and the battalion arrived in position two miles north of Lagnieu at 0430 hours 2 September. Total distance traveled -157 miles.
SEPTEMBER 2nd - At 1800 hours the Battalion Commander received orders from the CO 6th Armored FA Group to place Battery "A" in position to support the 160th FA Battalion of the 45th Division. At 1830 the battery displaced and occupied a position six miles west of Lagnieu. No firing by the battalion during the period, however reports of tanks to the west of us kept coming in, but no locations within range. Rained practically all day.
SEPTEMBER 3rd - A quiet day as far as firing was concerned. At 1600 hours Lt. Col. Quarles, who had been hospitalized since late June, returned to the battalion. The Battalion was also relieved from attachments to the 3rd and 45th Infantry Divisions and placed under control of the 6th Armored FA Group. Clear weather gave everyone a chance to dry out.
SEPTEMBER 4th - Lt. Col. Quarles resumed command of the battalion. Another quiet day.
SEPTEMBER 5th - The Battalion Commander went forward to reconnoiter an area in the vicinity of Salins de Bains. Due to the fact that 18 of the battalion's trucks were transporting Infantry forward it became necessary to shuttle the battalion on future moves until the trucks returned. Orders were received to move the following morning.
SEPTEMBER 6th - On the 6th, 7th and 8th, the battalion moved by shuttling. Hq Battery and Battery "A" were moved to the new location on the 6th and arrived near Marnoz in the vicinity of Salins-de-Bains at 1300. Battery "B", Service Battery and the Medical Detachment were moved to the same location on the 7th, and Battery "C" on the 8th. Reconnaissance was made for a displacement toward Besancon, France, and the battalion prepared to move the next day.
SEPTEMBER 9th - The Battalion moved to a bivouac area near Arguel just southeast of Besancon and had just arrived when orders were received to move to the vicinity of Braillans just north of Besancon to support the 3rd Infantry Division. After arriving in this location the battalion was ordered into position just east-of Misery and went into this position at 2000B hours. No missions fired.
SEPTEMBER 10th - The Battalion (less Service Battery) displaced to Traitiefontaine, just east of Rioz, where it was placed in general support of the 3rd Infantry Disivion, reinforcing the fires of the 41st FA Battalion. Positions were occupied at 1400 and a total of 55 rounds were fired at enemy personnel and a registration.
SEPTEMBER 11th - Relieved from support of the 41st FA Battalion and placed in support of, the 10th FA Battalion. Battalion displaced forward to Aubertans, France, and occupied positions at 1200B. Battery "A" was placed in support of the 10th FA Battalion and displaced to a position just west of Sorans at 1530 B and fired through the 10th's FDC. At 1800B the remainder of the battalion displaced to vicinity of Filain, France. Very quiet day.
SEPTEMBER 12th The Battalion received orders for all batteries to support the 41st FA Battalion and was joined by Service Battery, which was moved up from Misery.
SEPTEMBER 13th - One platoon of Battery "A", 441st AAA was attached. After reconnoitering for positions the battalion, less Service Battery, moved to Les Faty, and was in position at 1600. No firing during the period.
SEPTEMBER 14th - Back to reinforcing the fires of the 10th FA Battalion. At 1600 a 120 round preparation was fired for the 30th Infantry and due to a threat of counterattack, the battalion did not move as planned, but remained in position until 1945B when it displaced to the vicinity of Lievans and was in position at 2030.
SEPTEMBER 15th - A total of 314 rounds was fired on the 15th in support of the 30th Infantry during the last 24-hour period. No change in position.
SEPTEMBER 16th - Still firing for the 10th FA Battalion and during this 24-hour period fired 114 rounds on targets to the west of Lure. At 1840 the battalion displaced to the vicinity of Genevreuille, France, was in position at 1915B.
SEPTEMBER 17th - A very quiet day outside of a little excitement in Battery "C" at about 0500B when a German corporal was finally run down in the battery area after a very hot foot race in which Lt. Kidd the Battery Executive joined clan in his shorts and barefooted. The German turned out to be an Artillery FO and had a sending key on his person. One of the several rounds fired at him penetrated both sinuses and he was unconscious when evacuated. TNT blocks and an ignition device was also found on his person. At 1300 Battery "B" was moved to a position ill' the vicinity of Bouhans-les-Lure and tied in with the FDC of the 39th FA Battalion.
SEPTEMBER 18th - After reconnaissance in the morning, the battalion (less Battery "B") displaced to positions in the vicinity of Magny Vernoie. In moving into position, the #1 prime mover ' of Battery "C" ran over a mine. One Enlisted Man was killed and five were wounded.
1 OCTOBER to 31 OCTOBER, 1944 (Incl.)
The period was marked by increasingly bad weather and difficult operating conditions. Continued rains with swollen streams combined with mud, made operations off of roads very difficult. The Battalion made three moves during the month advancing approximately 15,000 yards. No casualties occurred during the month.
Major Blood, Battalion Executive, was relieved from assignment and joined the 141st Field Artillery Battalion assuming command. Major Sims assumed the duties of Executive Officer. Two new officers joined the battalion during the period. Major Sims was awarded the Legion of Merit, and Major Blood the Bronze Star. The Battalion remained attached to the 6th Field Artillery Group and in support of the Third Division. A Battalion Rest Center was opened at Bourbonne in cooperation with the 6th FA Group.
No new operating methods were developed. Experiments were carried out with Smoke-HE shells and results were unsatisfactory. Developments were continued with Shell M102 (1918) for High Angle fire. There was no air activity of note. No counter-battery fire was received. The health of the command was good. Morale excellent.
1 NOVEMBER to 30 NOVEMBER, 1944 (Incl.)
The month was marked by the breakthrough of the Vosges M