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HISTORY OF TASK FORCE 45


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#1 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 06:35 PM

HISTORY OF TASK FORCE 45
(29 July 44 to 28 January 45)




FOREWORD


"Task Force 45 was a polyglot task force of American and British antiaircraft gunners acting as infantry, with Italian Partisans, Brazilians and colored American troops fighting by their side. Its artillery were the antiaircraft guns pointing earthward, the guns of tanks and tank destroyers and of captured German weapons. Its engineers were Italian civilians who were not afraid to work within the sounds of guns and who built well. It did much with little. British Tommies who rode forward on American tanks, with American mortars behind and American engineers forward, and the Yanks who stepped out of their foxholes with British artillery pounding protection behind, with Italians at their side and out ahead and with Brazilians on their flanks, learned that different peoples can fight well together."
"Major General Willis D. Crittenberger, IV Corps Commander, on 24 July 1944 advised Brigadier General Paul W. Rutledge, 45th AAA Brigade Commander, of the plans to employ the Brigade, minus some antiaircraft elements and plus elements of some of the other arms, as a Task Force to relieve the 34th and 91st Infantry Divisions. elements of those divisions had then secured and were holding the line of the ARNO RIVER from the 21 Easting to the Tyrrhenian Sea, a front of about 15 miles."
"General Rutledge at once began the conversion of his command to a provisional infantry unit."
Conversion to provisional infantry status was implemented by temporary assignment of an experienced infantry adviser officer to each company (ex-battery), battalion, group and brigade headquarters. Officer vacancies were filled by infantry officers, and support needs (Photo Interpretation, Surgeon, AMG, Engineer, POW Interrogation, Intelligence, Field Artillery) were augmented by assigning experienced officers to fill out the staff.
Each AAA battalion, with a minimum change of personnel, adapted from a four firing battery structure to the infantry design of three rifle companies and one heavy-weapons company.
"IV Corps, on 26 July 44, issued Field Order No. 6 which designated the 45 AAA Brigade as Task Force 45 with the following [initial] missions:
a. Relieve elements of the 34th Infantry Division and the 91st Infantry Division in zone and assume command of sector on Corps order.
b. Hold forward positions and conduct active patrolling in zone to prevent enemy infiltration.
c. Send small reconnaissance patrols across to determine enemy strength and dispositions.
d. Maintain contact with Task Force Ramey.
e. Protect left flank of Corps.
f. Prepare to follow up any enemy withdrawal."
"On the same date, Task Force 45 issued Field Order No. 1 assigning [the following mission to its AAA battalions]:
a. Assume provisional infantry T/O [Table of Organization] at once.
b. Assemble equipment not needed for infantry role at battalion rear echelon where only sufficient personnel will be left to provide security and maintain equipment.
c. Continue intensive training in Infantry tactics, stressing defense of river line, scouting, patrolling, and use of Infantry weapons. ..."
"During its operation, Task Force 45 had at varying times, 3000 to 8000 men attached from the following units:"
  • American Antiaircraft Artillery (AA) Units
  • 45th AAA Brigade, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery *
  • 45th AAA Operations Detachment *
  • 91st AAA Group
  • 107th AAA Group *
  • Battery C, 351th AAA Searchlight Battalion *
  • 403rd AAA Gun Battalion (Mobile) *
  • 434th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion *
  • 435th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion *
  • 439th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion
  • Battery C, 450th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion
  • 536th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion *
  • 898th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion *
  • 900th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion * * = component units of the 45th AAA Brigade at the initiation of Task Force 45.
  • American Field Artillery (FA) Units
  • 68th Armored FA Battalion, 1st Armored Division
  • 125th FA Battalion (105mm), 34th Infantry Division
  • 151st FA Battalion (105mm), 34th Infantry Division
  • 175th FA Battalion (105mm), 34th Infantry Division
  • 185th FA Battalion (155mm), 34th Infantry Division
  • 194th FA Group
  • 424th FA Group
  • Battery C, 194th FA Battalion
  • 338th FA Battalion, 88th Infantry Division
  • 598th FA Battalion (Colored), 92nd Infantry Division
  • Battery C, 697th FA Battalion
  • 910th FA Battalion, 85th Infantry Division
  • American Infantry Units
  • 85th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division
  • 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division
  • 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment
  • 339th Infantry Regimental Combat Team, 85th Infantry Division
  • 370th Infantry Regimental Combat Team (Colored), 92nd Infantry Division
  • American Tank and Anti-Tank Units
  • 2nd Armored Group, Headquarters and Headquarters Company
  • 2nd Platoon, Company B, 13th Tank Battalion, 1st Armored Division
  • 1st and 2nd Platoons, Company D, 13th Tank Battalion, 1st Armored Division
  • Troop A, 81st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, 1st Armored Division
  • 91st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron
  • 751st Tank Battalion
  • 755th Tank Battalion
  • 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion
  • 894th Tank Destroyer Battalion
  • Other American Units
  • 34th Quartermaster War Dog Platoon
  • 62nd Signal Battalion (4 crews)
  • 84th Chemical Company (4.2 Mortar)
  • 179th Chemical Smoke Generating Company
  • 1st Platoon, Company C, 310th Engineer Battalion, 85th Infantry Division
  • Company C, 310th Medical Battalion, 85th Infantry Division
  • 615th Medical Clearing Station
  • 671st Medical Collecting Company
  • 672nd Medical Collecting Company
  • 673rd Medical Collecting Company
  • 1108th Engineer Combat Group elements
  • British Antiaircraft (AA) Units
  • 39th (Br) Light AA Regiment
  • 47th (Br) Light AA Regiment
  • U Troop, 167 Battery, 56 (Br) Light AA Regiment
  • 168 Battery, 56 (Br) Light AA Regiment
  • 71st Heavy (Br) AA Regiment
  • 73rd Heavy (Br) AA Regiment
  • 74th Heavy (Br) AA Regiment
  • 80th Heavy (Br) AA Regiment
  • Brazilian Units
  • 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 1st (Braz) Infantry Division
  • 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st (Braz) Infantry Division
  • 3rd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st (Braz) Infantry Division
  • 1st Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanized), 1st (Braz) Infantry Division
  • Italian Units
  • 5th (Ital) Mule Pack Company
  • 23rd (Ital) Artier [Engineer] Regiment
"It covered fronts of from 12 to 25 miles, both mountainous and on coastal plains and it advanced its initial front twenty miles from the line of the Arno River and Pisa to the Gothic Line of the Hun at the CINQUALE CANAL north of Forte dei Marmi."
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#2 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 06:36 PM

Commendations

HEADQUARTERS IV CORPS
THE COMMANDING GENERAL


10 February 1945

SUBJECT: Commendation.
TO: Commanding Officer, 45th AAA Brigade, APO 464, U. S. Army
1. Upon the occasion of the inactivation of the 45th AAA Brigade, I consider it a duty as well as a privilege to enter upon the record my official commendations for the distinguished contribution it has made to the Allied war effort in Italy. During the eight months period in which the 45th AAA Brigade ahs been a part of the IV Corps, it has successfully executed a wide variety of missions over varied terrain and under all conditions of weather.
2. Although not organized, trained and equipped to do so, it has nevertheless functioned in a role similar to that of combat division in battle. the changes and improvising necessary to facilitate the use of an Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade Headquarters in the capacity of a division headquarters were accomplished with efficiency and dispatch while in constant contact with the enemy.
3. During the time the 45th AAA Brigade Headquarters fought as a part of the IV Corps, it operated not only as an Antiaircraft Artillery Headquarters in a fast moving situation, but also assumed the duties of a Task Force Headquarters which through meritorious performance has established an enviable reputation among the allied troops in Italy.
4. The wide scope of its effectiveness is best indicated by the success of its distinguished commander, Brigadier General Paul W. Rutledge, and able executive Colonel [Gerald G.] Gibbs, in directing operations involving technical employment as antiaircraft; and command of ground troops engaged in the pursuit of the German Army north along the Tyrrhenian coast, the occupation of a defensive line along the Arno River, the subsequent crossing of that river, the capture of Pisa, Viareggio and other Italian cities, and the more recent winter operations in the Apennine Mountains.
5. The flexibility and commendable performance of this headquarters is also indicated by the fact that troops available to it constantly changed, and included both British and American antiaircraft units operating initially in their characteristic role and later as infantry; tanks, tank destroyers, infantry, engineers and all types of artillery.
6. The conversion of American and British antiaircraft units from their antiaircraft duties to the role of infantry and artillery in support of ground troops, which conversion was accomplished while in contact with the enemy along the front lines and without any preliminary preparations, may be regarded as a noteworthy example of American ingenuity and improvisation.
7. In every way this organization has lived up to the high traditions and standards of the United States Army. it is therefore with considerable gratification that I look back on this successful and very satisfactory association of the IV Corps with 45 AA Brigade headquarters in the campaign of Allied armies in Italy in 1944 - 1945.
8. As they go forward to other duties, all personnel, enlisted and commissioned, who have been on duty with the 45th AAA Brigade Headquarters during its participation in the IV Corps pursuit from North of Rome into the Apennines, can have a justifiable pride in the part they have played in the success of the Allied Arms in Italy
WILLIS D. CRITTENBERGER,
Major General, U. S. Army,
Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY
A.P.O. #464, U. S. Army


12 February 1945

SUBJECT: Commendation.
TO: Commanding Officer, 45th Antiaircraft Brigade, A.P.O. #464, U. S. Army
1. Although the headquarters of the 45th Antiaircraft Brigade and some of its remaining unit served under my command for but a brief time before disbandment and diversion to other tasks, I have learned, through reports and records, of the splendid record of accomplishment of that command. I desire here to note its accomplishments and to express my admiration for the outstanding manner in which it handled each of the many difficult and diversified tasks assigned to it during its existence with the Fifth Army.
2. I have heard nothing but praise for the performance of the men and organizations of the 45th Antiaircraft Brigade both in their antiaircraft role and in ground action as a front line element of the Fifth Army. They functioned at all times throughout all of the operations of the Italian campaign in which they participated in a highly commendatory manner making a notable contribution to the traditions of the Coast Artillery Corps as well as those of the Army as a whole.
3. I regret that conditions have necessitated the inactivation of such a fine command, but I am pleased to have so much of its personnel remain within Fifth Army in other units [primarily the then-activated 473rd Infantry Regiment] where I know they will carry on in the same outstanding manner that has characterized their performances in the past.
4. I compliment you and every member of the 45th Antiaircraft Brigade on your enviable record of achievement. You have earned the respect of all who have known you and may now be rightfully proud of a job well done.
L. K. TRUSCOTT, JR
Lieutenant General, U. S. Army
["1st Indorsement" to the above commendation]
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY, Office of the Antiaircraft Commander, (Rear),
A.P.O. #464, U. S. Army, 13 February 1945


TO: Commanding Officer, 45th AAA Brigade, A.P.O. #464, U. S. Army
1. Upon the disbandment of the 45th Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade and the 45th Antiaircraft Artillery Operations Detachment, I wish to add my appreciation the Army commanders' commendation fro the admirable and gratifying performance of the difficult and varied assignments which were so successfully carried out by your command. The work of the Brigade in the role of directing antiaircraft units in infantry missions and acting as a divisional headquarters has been outstanding and is well deserving of great praise.
2. It is with great deal of pleasure that I pass this commendation on. I am well aware of the contributions made to the traditions of the Coast Artillery Corps by the officers and enlisted men of your organization. I wish to take this opportunity to extend my sincere best wishes to every individual of your unit for continued success in his new assignment.
AARON BRADSHAW, JR
Brigadier General, U. S. A.
What happened then to the 45th AAA Brigade?
On 14 Jan 45 the 473rd Infantry Regiment was activated from the following "assets":
- HHC 2nd Armored Group and 435 AAA Bn -> Headquarters and Headquarters Co, 473rd Infantry Regt.;
- 434th AAA Bn -> 1st Bn, 473rd Infantry Regt.;
- 532nd AAA Bn -> 2nd Bn, 473rd Infantry Regt.; and
- 900th AAA Bn -> 3rd Bn, 473rd Infantry Regt.
On 24 Feb 1945 the 473rd Infantry Regiment was attached to the 92nd Infantry Division. The 'provisional' infantrymen officially became 'grunts'!

Task Force 45
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#3 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 06:38 PM

Does anyone have any additional information on Task Force 45? A little bit more detail on thier action and units?
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#4 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 05:44 AM

"One officer and 15 enlisted men formed the nucleus of the 92nd Division Mule Pack Battalion, which included an Italian veterinarian, two blacksmiths and 600 Italian volunteers who were given American uniforms and even wore the Buffalo insignia. The Americans scoured the countryside for mules and horses, which the U.S. government then purchased from locals. They eventually procured a total of 372 mules and 173 horses. Because the U.S. Army lacked the necessary equipment for pack animals, the blacksmiths had to hammer out their own horseshoes from German barbed-wire pickets. The animals brought up water, ammunition, anti-tank guns and other crucial materiel and transported the wounded to where they could receive treatment. As it turned out, however, the mules were apparently spooked by the smell of dead men and balked at carrying corpses."

HistoryNet - From the World’s Largest History Magazine Publisher » African American 92nd Infantry Division Fought in Italy During World War II
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#5 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 23 August 2008 - 02:45 PM

Bumpers
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#6 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 08:18 PM

Recieved this from Robersabel in an IM :). I wonder how many troopers from Task Force 45 are still around and know this?

"According to the guideline, members of Task Force 45 are eligible for the CIB.

"One of the questions not answered in the unit history is when or whether the AAA troops converted to provisional infantry were eligible for the Combat Infantry Badge. It appears, from feedback, that the CIB was not awarded to AAA troops in Task Force 45, but was to those who were later 'converted' to the 473rd Infantry Regiment. The 473rd Infantry is discussed briefly at the bottom of this webpage."

I do not know when the paragraph was written, but War Department Circular 408 dated 17 October 1944 justifies awarding CIB to personnel involved."
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#7 LRusso216

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 03:59 PM

I just came across this forum. My father served in Co. K of the 473rd. He was originally in the 900th AA/AAW Battalion. He died in 1990, but I have all of his service medals. He was awarded the CIB and the Bronze Star, as General Marshall recommended.

If you want more info about the 473rd, there is a combat history that is very good. I have a copy, but I would also recommend Patrick Audinet's website devoted to the 473rd. (The 473rd Infantry Regiment In WWII)

Neat site.

#8 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 08:37 PM

Thanks for posting that :). Its always good to get more info on Lesser known units like this.
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#9 LRusso216

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 09:55 PM

Thanks for the reply. I've begun uploading the Combat Tips booklet that my father received when the 473rd was brought into the 5th Army. The first pages are in the forum for WW2 documents. Let me know what you think. I also have other materials about the Italian front, especially the Salerno campaign (9Sept-6Oct 1943) and Salerno to Florence that goes to 8Sept 1944. I think the remaining info is in the Battle History of the 473rd.

Lou

#10 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 10:20 PM

Thanks for posting those too :).
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For the first time I have seen "History" at close quarters,and I know that its actual process is very different from what is presented to Posterity. - WWI General Max Hoffman.

#11 Robersabel

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 10:12 PM

lrusso216,

>I just came across this forum. My father served in Co. K of the 473rd. He was originally in the 900th AA/AAW Battalion. He died in 1990, but I have all of his service medals. He was awarded the CIB and the Bronze Star, as General Marshall recommended.

I have been attempting to receive approval to requests for the CIB involving veterans of Bataan, and Battle of the Bulge. According to guidelines, members that served as infantrymen regardless the MOS were entitled.

I discovered documents revealing hundreds of combat infantrymen without the MOS of an infantryman awarded the CIB. It was not until the 1960's when the requirement was listed.

As recent as 2003 Congressman Patrick Kennedy (RI) presented the CIB to a former member of the AAF that fought in the Philippines during 1941/1942. According to documents, Commanding Generals, and below authorized the CIB to those in accordance with the WD Circulars dated 1943, and 1944. Many did not possess the MOS of an infantryman.

Yet today, the Army refuses to follow the guidelines exclusively to WWII era. The Army does not recognize those that participated in the Battle of Bataan and Battle of the Bulge based on their MOS.

If interested, please provide copy of the General Orders or Separation paper of your father, obviously with personal information removed.

Robert





I just came across this forum. My father served in Co. K of the 473rd. He was originally in the 900th AA/AAW Battalion. He died in 1990, but I have all of his service medals. He was awarded the CIB and the Bronze Star, as General Marshall recommended.

If you want more info about the 473rd, there is a combat history that is very good. I have a copy, but I would also recommend Patrick Audinet's website devoted to the 473rd. (The 473rd Infantry Regiment In WWII)

Neat site.






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