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 736th Field Artillery Battalion WWII Reunions Web Page

      HISTORY of the 736th FABn  Courtesy of Ken Roll      (Page 6)

Chronology of the 736th  across Europe   (continued)
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15 Oct 1944:      The 30th Special Service company of XX Corps presented two vaudeville shows.
18 Oct 1944:      Battalion S3, Major Brice was informed by the tank destroyers outfit that two enemy
patrols of 20 men each were observed advancing toward our positions. This was
confirmed by the infantry.
21 Oct 1944:      The American Red Cross clubmobile visited the battalion and served coffee and
doughnuts.
22 Oct 1944:      The battalion experienced its first buzz bomb. It was undecided at the time whether
it was a buzz bomb or a new jet propelled airplane. It was a silver cigar-shaped device
with squared wings, flying about 3 or 4 hundred miles an hour at about a 500 foot altitude.
25 Oct 1944:      XX Corps Special Service presented movies. An unidentified plane came over at
night
taking photos with an intermittent flashing light.
26 Oct 1944:      “C” Battery  was attached to 90th Division Artillery to reinforce the fires of the
345th FA
battalion. “C” battery occupied a position in the vicinity of Vellers Les
Rombas on a special
mission to support an infantry attack on Merzieres-Les-Metz.
The battery was strafed by
German planes but no casualties occurred.
27 Oct 1944:      The battalion received some recreational equipment from the Group Special
Service Officer. 
“C” battery was told it must destroy a cement schoolhouse which
was
a German stronghold in Mezieres-Les-Metz, did it. Infantry found about 90
dead Germans and 3 alive. They took
the town.
28 Oct 1944:      A Captain from XX Corps Artillery visited the battalion and requested that he
might
witness the firing of the Russian 12.2 cm howitzer. The S3’s opinion on the
gun was that it
sprayed ammunition like a jose spraying water. The German 88’s
had proven to be extremely
accurate. Firing tables for both guns were worked out
in FDC (Fire Direction Center) as exact information was not
readily obtained from the
enemy.
30 Oct 1944:      XX Corps Special Service Officer presented a 5 man vaudeville show.
During October the battalion took advantage of the stabilized situation and the
meager amount
of firing, to improve its position, build shelters for protection
and comfort for all personnel.
 2 Nov 1944:      A message was received from Group Headquarters that the tops of all 1/4 and
3/4 ton trucks
will be down except during rain.  A buzz bomb went over the area.
Another one followed. 
his one was fired at ny the 90 mm AA and machine guns,
as it was plainly seen.
3 Nov 1944:      The battalion moved from St. Marcel and marched forward to a concealed bivouac
area
in the vicinity of Ottange. “C” battery rejoined the battalion at this place. From this
bivouac, several light vehicles and working parties were infiltrated to positions in the
vicinity of Soetrich from time to time, but the howitzers were not moved until 1800.
4 Nov 1944:      The battalion closed in positions in Soetrich in the Thionville sector.  2nd Lt. Roy
Von Inns
was promoted to 1st Lt.
7 Nov 1944:      The battalion fired several mission from the Soetrich position.
8 Nov 1944:      Lt. Glick, out on an observation post was cut off by an enemy patrol. German patrols
were
spotted by Headquarters battery wire section when they were repairing lines. The
Germans
never saw Lt. Glick and he continued OP operations including registration on
two towns
across the Moselle river. Lt. Col. Stocks was relieved of command and Maj.
Martin Weiss
took command of the 736th. The battalion stayed in this position until
the 14th.
14 Nov 1944:      At 1325 “C” battery displaced forward to Garche on the west side of the Moselle river
closing at 2100 hours. Thereafter Headquarters battery displaced to Cattenom also on the
west side of the Moselle river.
15 Nov 1944:      At 1510 “B’,  “A”, and “SV” batteries left Soetrich and marched across the Moselle
river
via the pontoon bridge at Thionville and occupied positions near Basse-Ham.
16 Nov 1944:       “C” battery and “HQ” battery marched from west of the Moselle river at 0958 and
crossed the
river via the Cattenom pontoon bridge, they took up positions near
Basse-Ham at 1032.
18 Nov 1944:      The battalion left Basse-Ham and marched to new firing positions at Metzeresche
closing there
at 1432.
19 Nov 1944:      At 1010 the battalion left Basse-Ham positions and marched to Bettlainville closing
there
at 1200.
20 Nov 1944:      The battalion marched back along the same route it had taken, as far as Basse-Ham.
Capt.
James Ball, 1st/Sgt Joseph Manning and Cpl. Desmond Williamson were hurt when
the
command car of “C” battery ran over a mine on the main road 2 miles south of
Basse-Ham.  
Capt. Edgren was ordered to take command of “C” battery temporarily. 
The battalion
continued on to Evendorff.  Owing to traffic conditions the battalion did not
entirely
close in there until 1100 on the 21st of November.
21 Nov 1944:      At 1145 the battalion displaced to the vicinity of Rustroff, all batteries finally arriving
by 1900.  The first round fired into Germany by the 736th was #3 piece of “C” battery,
time 1515. The battalion stayed here until 26 Nov.
23 Nov 1944:      Lt. Morrison returned to the battalion from Group and assumed command of “C”
battery.
26 Nov 1944:      At 1543 the battalion marched to Waldweistroff  closing at 1733. The battalion
stayed here until
29 November.
29 Nov 1944:      At 1345 the battalion marched from Waldweistroff to Schwerdroff, the last battery
closing
in by 1906 hours.  We were now within walking distance of the German border.
1  Dec 1944:      The battalion was still attached to the 195 Field Artillery Group.  Lt. Wagner failed
to complete
a takeoff began in heavy mud. One Cub damaged. A B-26 bomber damaged
by German AA
fire, plunged into the battalion area. The bomber was piloted by 2nd Lt.
McDugald while flying
a mission over enemy territory.  One of the motors was shot up
and the crew was forced to
bail out.   All landed safely except the tail gunner whose
parachute was slow to open.  He was
given first aid and taken to a hospital. The plane
 was #459, 9th Bomber Group Command,
322nd Bomber Group. It was abandoned
while heading towards enemy territory but circled around towards the battalion area
almost hitting the CP. It crashed on one of  “A” batteries outpost, killing Pfc. Clifford
Bainter and burned  two others, Pvt. Walter J. Izak and Pvt. Gerald E. Wymer so
seriously that
they died later in a hospital. One other man at the outpost escaped
without a scratch.
5  Dec 1944:      The battalion displaced to a new position in Guerlfangen  This marked the end of
the
offensive drive which took Metz... a fortress which was on of the best defended
in Europe
and had not fallen to direct assault in 2000 years.
10 Dec 1944:      The Battalion CO, s3 and battery Exec’s went to a firing ground 15 miles east of
Metz for
a school and demonstration of a new type of fuze. The VT or Proximity
(Pozit) fuze emits
a radio signal and goes off when it detects enough of this signal is
being reflected back from a
hard object. The VT fuzes had a minimum arming time
of 5 seconds, so it could not be used
for close-in defense. The minimum range for it’s
use with an 8” howitzer was 6000 yards.
13 Dec 1944:      2nd Lt. Olen E. Jones joined the battalion replacing Lt. Cocroft who was sent to
the hospital.
Lt. Jones was assigned to “A” battery. The battalion was in the 90th
Division sector.
16 Dec 1944:      The Battle of the Bulge started when 3 German armies smashed through the
American
lines  on a front between Monschau in the north and Etchernach in the
south.  They had
amassed  over 250,000 troops, nearly 2000 artillery pieces and
1000 tanks.  As the fighting
in the Ardennes grew in  intensity men were being
transferred to units involved in that battle.
Twenty seven EM were transferred
to the infantry.
19 Dec 1944: Twenty six more EM’s were transferred from the battalion to the infantry. The
battalion
was notified that a counterattack was expected at approximately 0400.
21 Dec 1944:      At 0837 the first elements of the battalion began withdrawing back into France
in the
vicinity of Grindorff-Ewig, the entire battalion closing there by 1215 hours.
23 Dec 1944:      A fire broke out in a room occupied by T/4 Dean J. Korth, T/5 P.C. Baker,
T/5 J. R. Walk and
T/5 B. B. Collins, all of “HQ” battery. The stovepipe got too hot
for a shelter half stuffed
around it for blackout purposes. The shelter half blazed up
and set the loft on fire. The battalion
fire marshall called on local citizens for aid, asking
in broken German for a water pump. The
citizens brought a tire pump. Luckily no
casualties except for the shelter half.
25 Dec 1944:      Christmas Day, the battalion was notified that 50 paratroopers had been dropped
in the
Group area. The report was unconfirmed.  Two planes appeared friendly, P-47
types and
opened fire on battalion positions. Excitement spread as word of the huge
German attack
in the Ardennes got around. The new Pozit fuze was used for the first
time by “B” battery.
26 Dec 1944:      Two members of the 736th picked up a suspect and three Russians in the position.
They
were taken to 90th Division CIC. Here the French suspect confessed to
harboring a German
soldier for 2 weeks, giving him clothes, concealing a German
weapon and not registering
the man when authorities came to register everyone in the
village. The Russians, members of a
forced labor battalion, had escaped from Germany
and had started on the return journey
to their own country. The Frenchman was
held for trial.
28 Dec 1944:       The battalion was given “Close Station March Order”. The unit was relieved of
attachment
to XX Corps and attached to XII Corps. Major Weiss was transferred to
the 915th FA Group. 
At 1300 the battalion marched from Grindorff-Ewig to
Medernach,  Luxembourg, where it
occupied positions with the mission of general
support of action of  the 80th Infantry Div.
Supervision of fires to be handled by 410
Field Artillery Group Fire Direction Center. The
battalion closed at Medernach at 2247.
29 Dec 1944:      Battery “B” of the 452 AAA, was attached to the battalion, it consisted of the 1st
platoon
of the 1st Company. Two officers and 78 colored EMs. While returning with
rations for the
battalion, between the towns of Merhsh and Arlon, Luxembourg, S/Sgt
Witcer, T/5 Lonnergan
and Pfc. Malcolm Smith, all of “SV” battery, had an accident.
The road was being strafed by
an enemy plane and an American tank taking evasive
action,  skidded on the ice and ran
into their truck. They were taken to the 72nd
Medical Battalion. The battalion was visited
by Col. Day of the 410th FA Group, Major
Miller 410th FA Group Exec and Major Kindred, Major Cooper and Capt. Murphy of
the 183rd Field Artillery Group. 
The battalion was strafed by another enemy plane.
30 Dec 1944:      At 1610 a platoon of “B” battery was detached and marched to Berbourg, where
it took up
a position with the mission of reinforcing the fires of the 20th Field Artillery
Battalion
of the 4th Infantry Division.  The rest of the battalion, lees one platoon of
“B” battery
stayed in position at Medernach.  The following casualties were suffered
during the period.
S/Sgt Robert E. Witcher, T/5 James E. Lonnergan, Pfc. Malcolm
Smith, Pfc. Clifford I.
Bainter, Walter J. Izak and Pvt.  Gerold E. Wymer. 1st Lt.
Wagner received the Oak Cluster
for the Air Medal. 1st/Sgt Lippert, S/Sgt Smith,
Sgt. Puntoriero, T/5 Gemmell, Cpl. Thorton,
Pfc. Ford, Pfc. Brindle, Pfc. Smith,
Pfc. Callori, Pfc. Mitten, Pvt. Bottini, Pvt. Houston and
Pvt. Craig received the
Purple Heart. A total  of 300 tons of HE shell was fired at the
enemy during the month.
2 Jan 1945:      The battalion was located in the vicinity of Medernach, Luxembourg, in the
5th Infantry
Division sector with Zone of Action being that of the 80th Division.
The battalion was
visited by Col. Day of 410th FA Group and General Lentz, XII
Corps Commander.
6 Jan 1945:      “HQ” battery, “A” Battery and one howitzer from “C” battery displaced to a
new position
in Schieren, Luxembourg arriving there at 1115 hours. At 1407 they
arrived back at
Medernach, having been ordered to return.
8 Jan 1945:      The battalion received a letter authorizing a campaign star for “Northern France”.
While in
the city of Luxembourg, Lt. Glick had his jeep stolen.
10 Jan 1945:      Lt. Glick's stolen jeep was found abandoned near battalion position. Battalion
was notified
of an expected counterattack, and to be on the alert for enemy agents
who had infiltrated
the lines in American uniforms and equipment.  The battalion
was notified that the Germans
had crossed the river to the front and to be ready
or a quick move.
11 Jan 1945:      At 1600 “A” battery was detached and moved to Bondeler, Luxembourg. It
was attached
to the 244th Field Artillery Battalion for fire direction with fire
capabilities into the
ZA (Zone of Action) of the 4th Infantry Division. It arrived
there at 0300.
15 Jan 1945:      Battalion positions were strafed by four planes then by two more. The battalion
  received
13 reinforcements.
16 Jan 1945:      The battalion received 12 more reinforcements and moved to positions in the
vicinity of
Schieren, Luxembourg. From here it was capable of fires into the 4th, 5th
 and 80th Infantry
Division sectors. “A” battery rejoined the battalion at this place.
 22 Jan 1945:      “A’ battery and “B” battery displaced forward to a valley above Bastendorf,
Luxembourg.
  23 Jan 1945:     “C” Battery displaced to Bastendorf. “HQ” battery displaced to Diekirch,
Luxembourg.
 25 Jan 1945:      A German soldier in full uniform was found hiding in a cellar in the middle of
the battalion
area. Two unidentified people were halted in front of the CP and ran away.
 26 Jan 1945:      The battalion was relieved from the 410th FA Group and attached to the 182nd
FGA  Group.
The battalion had fired 6305 rounds of ammunition (630 tons).
28 Jan 1945:      “B” battery was displaced to a new firing position in the vicinity of Bech. The
battery was
attached to the 273rd Field Artillery Battalion and was in the 76 Infantry
Div. sector.
1 Feb 1945:      General Lentz of XII Corps presented awards to the battalion, including one
Silver Star,
one Soldiers Medal and 50 Bronze Stars.
2 Feb 1945:       The battalion was visited by Lt. Col. Sawyer of the 182nd FA Group.
4 Feb 1945:      All howitzer batteries were displaced to Haller, Luxembourg, closing at 1947.
“HQ” and 
“SV batteries established themselves at Waldbilling, Luxembourg. The
ZA was of the 5th
80th and 76th Infantry Divisions. Both batteries were heavily shelled.
6 Feb 1945:      While directing an M4 prime mover into position, Cpl. Frank Ruzika of “C” battery
slipped and fell to the soft ground and both of his legs were run over by the tractor.
7 Feb 1945:       “A” battery was counterbatteried. A shell burst near one of the howitzers, injuring
Pvt.
Everett M. Robert who was given first aid and sent to the hospital.

8 Feb 1945:
     “C” battery received a direct hit on one of its power pits. 81 power bags were
burned, one
of the howitzers was hit and the tires caught fire.
10 Feb 1945:      The Germans really worked over the battalion. Three men were killed and ten
wounded. 
Pfc. Joseph L. Poltorak of “A” battery was one of those wounded.
11 Feb 1945:       Counterbattery fire had ceased. “A” and “C” batteries displaced to a new position
northwest of 
Consdorf, Luxembourg.
         
                           
Near Consdorf, Germany
        Near Consdorf, Luxembourg




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