The 39th Brigade was formed from troops from the American Expeditionary Forces who were already in France in August of 1918. The Brigade was the Command unit for 3 Artillery Regiments consisting of the 44th Artillery who used the British 8-inch Howitzers, the 51st Artillery who used the British 8-inch Howitzers and 240mm Howitzers and the 54th Artillery who served as a Tractor Artillery Replacement Battalion.
The 39th Brigade was trained and most likely formed at O&T Center No. 6 (Operations and Training) at Mailly and Haussimont, France.
The Brigade took part in the Meuse-Argonne Operations 26th Sept., -11 Nov., 1918 as Army Artillery for the US First Army. Also during October 12, 1918 -November 11, 1918 the Brigade was active with the American Second Army.
The 39th Brigade returned to the States in January of 1919 to Camp Merritt, NJ and then went to Ft. Wadsworth, NY that same month. In February of 1919 the Brigade moved to Ft. Hamilton, NY and finally in October of 1919 moved to Camp Jackson, SC where they were retained on active duty. At that time the Brigade consisted of these Regiments: 44th and 51st Regiments both using the 8-inch Howitzers, and the 56th Regiment, using the 155mm G.P.F. guns.
The typical Brigade consisted of the following.
13 total Commissioned Officers consisting of: 1 Brigadier General, 1 Lt. Colonel or Major, 9 Lieutenants, and 68 Enlisted men for a total of 81 in the Brigade. The equipment the brigade carried would have been: 1 Staff Observation car, 2 Bicycles, 2 Motor Cars, 6 Motorcycles, 3 Three-ton trucks, 2 One and a half-ton trucks, 1 Light Delivery truck, 1 Recon car and 81 pistols.
The 39th Artillery Brigade during WWI was under the command of Colonel Frederick W. Philsterer, CAC. The Field and Staff officers of the 39th were as follows:
Captain Stephen R. Davenport, CAC, Adjuant
Captain Christos Abramopoulos, MC, HQ Company Medical Officer
1st Lt. Charles H. Ainsworth, CAC, HQ Company
1st Lt. Harry Bausher, HQ Company
2nd Lt. Ralph K. Potter, CAC, HQ Company
2nd Lt. Leon D. Hadley, FA, HQ Company
Above are 3 brothers one of which was in the 39th Brigade. They are Dean S. Derby Student R.O.T.C. (Left), Wm. M. Derby E l.I.C. Radio United States Naval Air Service (Centre), Horace C. Derby Hdq. Det. 39th Art Bgd. C.A.C. (Right) The photo was stamped "The FARBER STUDIO Norfolk, VA." on the back.
Horace C. Derby has the markings of a Pvt. 1cl and in the Brigade there would have been 23 Pvt. 1cl and their duties would have been any of the following; Chauffeurs, Wireless operators, Telephone operators, Linemen, or Clerks.
Richard Miller shared with me the mission and duty of the 39th Artillery Brigade during 1960 while stationed in Germany during the Cold War. Richard relates:
"I served with the 3d gun Battalion, 39th Artillery, Battery B in 1960, stationed at Dachau, Germany. We were armed with the 280 mm Atomic Annie, M-65. We were a separate battery , had live atomics and reverted to German Second Corps in case of war. We also pulled border patrol behind General Signeous's 11th Cav. as his atomic punch. As secondary missions we were to be used as a roving gun, at night, running up and down the line and firing deep. We also had a mission of Coast Artillery, but of course that was out of the question in Bavaria. I commanded the second platoon, eg., one gun, two per battery. The shell, we had were HE, weighed 600 pounds and had a muzzle velocity of 2800 fps. I thought you'd like to know that the 39th soldiered on."
Richard Miller, Citadel '57
CAPT, Navy, ret.
Date this page was created on 27th December, 2003 and last updated
If you have research comments or additional information on this page e-mail them to: Joe Hartwell