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US Army artillery replacements system

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by Albertross, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. Albertross

    Albertross recruit

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    My wife came home from the hospital today and said she got talking to one of the volunteers there who told her he was a WWII veteran. Remarkable enough in itself as he's worked there for the past 17 years and must be 89 years old! When she asked what regiment or battalion he was with, he told her he was in a field artillery replacement unit and never had a permanent unit. He said his crew would be assigned to relieve other crews in different outfits all along the front whenever they got "down time" (R&R?), but they were kept so busy they never got any down time themselves!

    I know infantry riflemen were sent off as indivdual replacements and stayed wherever they were put, but I have never heard of artillery replacement crews being handled in this way.

    He remembers being in a tented camp in South Wales for about a month in June 44 and landing in Normandy about four weeks after the invasion, everyone very relieved to have missed the carnage of D-Day; he went on to fight in Normandy and the Bulge. My wife has another appointment there next week and will try to talk with him some more
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    Sounds exciting. I've had no luck searching for unattached FA units. I did find this, but all units are numbered.

    As of 8 May 1945 there were a total of 238 separate field artillery battalions in the ETO, including:

    Four 75mm howitzer battalions:


    The 463rd Parachute, 464th Parachute, 601st Pack, and 602nd Pack;

    Thirty-six 105mm howitzer battalions:

    The 18th, 25th, 70th, 74th, 76th, 115th, 130th, 162nd Puerto Rican, 170th, 193rd, 196th, 241st, 242nd, 250th, 252nd, 255th, 280th, 281st, 282nd, 283rd, 284th, 394th, 401st, 512th, 522nd Nisei, 569th, 580th, 583rd, 627th, 687th, 688th, 690th, 691st, 692nd, 693rd, and 802nd;

    Sixteen 105mm Armored Field Artillery Battalions (105mm SP):

    The 58th, 59th, 62nd, 65th, 69th, 83rd, 87th, 93rd, 253rd, 274th, 275th, 276th, 400th, 440th, 695th, and 696th;

    Seventeen 4.5" gun battalions:

    The 172nd, 176th, 198th, 211th, 215th, 259th, 770th, 771st, 772nd, 773rd, 774th, 775th, 777th Colored, 935th, 939th, 941st, and 959th;

    Seventy-one 155mm howitzer battalions:

    The 2nd, 17th, 36th, 81st, 141st, 177th, 179th, 182nd, 183rd, 186th, 187th, 188th, 191st, 202nd, 203rd, 204th, 208th, 209th, 228th, 254th, 257th, 333rd Colored, 349th Colored, 350th Colored, 351st Colored, 521st, 550th, 665th, 666th, 667th, 670th, 671st, 672nd, 673rd, 686th Colored, 689th, 751st, 752nd, 753rd, 754th, 755th, 758th, 759th, 761st, 762nd, 763rd, 764th, 767th, 768th, 776th, 805th, 808th, 809th, 937th, 938th, 940th, 942nd, 943rd, 945th, 949th, 951st, 953rd, 955th, 957th, 961st, 963rd, 965th, 967th, 969th Colored, 974th, and 975th;

    Thirty 155mm gun battalions:

    The 190th, 200th, 240th, 244th, 261st, 273rd, 514th, 515th, 516th, 528th, 540th, 541st, 546th, 547th, 548th, 549th, 559th, 561st, 634th, 635th, 731st, 733rd, 734th, 976th, 977th, 978th, 979th, 980th, 981st, and 989th;

    Six 155mm SP gun battalions:

    The 174th, 258th, 557th, 558th, 987th, and 991st;

    Thirty-eight 8" howitzer battalions:

    The 194th, 195th, 207th, 264th, 529th, 535th, 578th Colored, 630th, 656th, 657th, 658th, 659th, 660th, 661st, 662nd, 663rd, 736th, 738th, 739th, 740th, 741st, 742nd, 743rd, 744th, 745th, 746th, 747th, 748th, 787th, 788th, 790th, 791st, 793rd, 932nd, 933rd, 995th, 997th, and 999th Colored;

    Five 8" gun battalions:

    The 153rd, 243rd, 256th, 268th, and 575th;

    And fifteen 240mm howitzer battalions:

    The 265th, 266th, 267th, 269th, 270th, 272nd, 277th, 278th, 538th, 539th, 551st, 552nd, 553rd, 697th, and 698th.

    http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/usarmy/artillery.aspx

    See if your wife can get more information about his service. I hope she can.
     
  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Wow - that's actually slightly in excess of the artillery battalions organic to divisions, around 225 depending how many the airborne divisions had. And the majority of the separate battalions are 155mm or better, more than doubling the firepower of the front line divisions.
     
  4. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    Dang it LRusso........ya went and left out my dad's group which was mentioned down at the bottom......the 545th Field Artillery...yep hard to find any specifics on these groupings.....always have hoped to find a member of that group that could tell us all about their service when and wheres. I am one of those who should have asked a lot more questions of my dad.........but I thought I had until trying to get the "whole picture" showed me I had not.
     
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    Sorry Victor. I thought I had copied them all. Looking back, I obviously missed a few. My bad.
     
  6. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    Honestly now......it is no problem as there are so many of them....it would be so easy to miss several....I sometimes think that is why details of these groups are so hard to find.....also read many were attached to marine units so each time I read about a marine action I am trying to see if there were any Army attached to them.....something that is rarely mentioned.
     
  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    This sounds like a tale of Chinese whispers. Your post is based on a story told by an old man and repeated by your wife. It doesn't sound right. Artillery replacement units was a holding pool for individual replacements. As the name suggests they replaced soldiers lost through casualties in fighting units. It may be possible that individual replacements might have been sent to a unit temporarily and then withdrawn, e.g. to cover some temporary losses from sickness. I find it hard to believe that the US Army would retain a surplus of artillerymen when there was an acute shortage of infantry replacements. Ask the wife to check the story.
     
  8. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Sheldrake raises an interesting point.

    An artillery unit was integral to a Division and it would seem like the height of folly to withdraw an entire unit and then try to plug in a replacement unit. Artillery is an extremely complex arm, with a myriad of map coordinates, unit codes, communications channels and so on, all tying it into a division down to the company level at a particular time and place.

    I know that there were supplemental artillery units held at Corps and Army level that were released for particular operations. Perhaps the vet in question was in one of these units? Or perhaps there were trained artillerymen who replaced individuals in a unit... I just can't imagine pulling out an entire battery and trying to plug in a replacement battery.
     
  9. Albertross

    Albertross recruit

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    I'm almost certain this gentleman was assigned to one of the Field Artillery Groups that were formed to operate at corps level
    http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/eto/eto-065.pdf The organization of these groups was extremely fluid, to say the least!

    There's a hint of a clue here: http://www.seemyaccount.com/558thFAB/Docs/WWII%20558th%20FAB%20History.pdf
    "However, during combat, batteries, platoons and even all 12 individual sections were detached for short missions to other units of the Third Army." So in one outfit at least, they definitely were pulling out entire sub units as temporary replacements.

    Interesting!
     
  10. Chuck Armstrong

    Chuck Armstrong New Member

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    Looking for information on the 282nd field artillery battalion ww2. I think they entered Normandy the first of August then straight to St. Lo breakout. Any information would be grateful. Chuck
     
  11. Natman

    Natman Member

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    Chuck, I would suggest you start your own thread on the 282nd under this same category (Info Req). Most folks are going to think you've made a comment on the original subject of this thread. Let us know what info you've already gathered (saves us from duplicating work you may have already done), if you had a relative that served in the unit, and, if so, posting any paperwork you may have on him is very helpful.

    Good luck with your search.
     
  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Chuck,

    The 282d FA Bn was activated 25 June 1943 at Camp Rucker, Alabama. It departed New York 22 June 1944 and arrived England 29 June, then landed in France on 10 August 1944. It was a 105mm Howitzer battalion, truck drawn and was non-divisional. Typically those units were assigned to armies and attached to corps, where they would be attached to divisions as reinforcing artillery, supplementing the 105mm direct support howitzer battalions of the division. I know it was attached to the 90th ID 30 December 44- 1 January 45, but that is about it. You could request their records from NARA, I don't think they completed a unit history.
     
  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Lou, no need for an apology, that is my ETO list. The 545th was Pacific.
     
  14. Chuck Armstrong

    Chuck Armstrong New Member

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    Thank you for your support in researching my father unit the 282nd field artillery battalion. I have several pictures of the Concentration Camp Ohrdruf he took personally and I have many stories he passed on to me as well as pictures of them in the field during the war. I like many should have my rear kicked for not asking him more. I will be happy to share anything I have with anyone interested. Thank you again Chuck
     
  15. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    Hi Chuck. Welcome to the forum. I would suggest you start a new thread and exhibit the photos and relate some of the stories. They will be treated with the respect they deserve, and we could all share them.
     

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