DIARY

  • 20 June 1944
    The Battalion moved today from the Assembly Area, south of Warminster, Wilts, England, to the marshalling area. The convoy, commanded by Lt. Col. Garton, consisted of Headquarters Battery, Battery A, Battery B, Battery C, Medical Detachment, and Service Battery, and arrived in the marshalling area (RCRP D-9) 202345 June 1945. There were no accidents enroute.
  • 21 June 1944
    The entire day was spent in dewater proofing vehicles on orders of the area commander. The weather was clear and warm. Men dressed in their gas-proof clothing over their regular OD uniforms, perspired freely as they worked. A rumor went around that the invasion had progressed so successfully that vehicles were now able to land without trouble right on the beachhence the dewater proofing.
  • 22 June 1944
    Orders were issued to re-waterproof the vehicles. The job that had been done in from three days to a week had to be done over again, and in one day. Everyone available went to work on waterproofing. By evening, all vehicles were waterproofed, inspected and OK'd by First Army Inspectors, who complimented Colonel Garton on the excellence and speed of the work.
  • 23 June 1944
    Forty-six enlisted men and three officers left in a convoy commanded by Captain Ballard P. Durham, for the Port of Embarkation, Weymouth, England, and embarked at 1100 on LCT 756. The rest of the Battalion relaxed and awaited orders.
  • 24 June 1944
    The Battalion, less the part of Battery C on LCT 756, left the marshalling area for the Port of Embarkation, Weymouth, England, in four serials. Serial 1246, commanded by Captain Robert E. Fiss, consisting of Battery A complete, Medical Detachment complete, 65 enlisted men and 2 officers from Battery B, and 36 enlisted men and 1 officer from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, left the marshalling area at 0845, arrived at the port of embarkation at io2o, and embarked on LST 75 at 1400. Serial 1245, commanded by Lt. Colonel Garton, consisting of 123 enlisted men and 2o officers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, and 49 enlisted men and one officer from Service Company, 33rd Armored Regiment, left the marshalling area at 0855, arrived at the port of embarkation at 1015, and completed embarkation on LST 4oo at 1400. Serial 1248, commanded by Captain William R. Snellings, consisting of 89 enlisted men and 2 officers from Service Battery, and 8o enlisted men and 1 officer from Battery C, left the marshalling area at 1000, arrived at the port of embarkation 113 o, and completed embarkation on LST 374 at 1430. Private First Class T. J. Cooper, Battery C, was killed when a 50 caliber machine gun was accidentally discharged at 1000 as the convoy was leaving the marshalling area. Serial 1249, commanded by Captain John L. Shelton, consisting of 63enlisted men and 3 officers from Service Battery, left the marshalling area at c coo, arrived at the port of embarkation 1225, and completed embarkation on LST 375 at 1630. LCT 756 set sail from England at 0030 on the 24th. The party aboard that craft disembarked at Omaha Beach, France at 0800 on the same day. After dewater proofing vehicles, they proceeded to an assembly area and a CP was opened at coordinates 520813. The troops commanded by Captain Ballard P. Durham were the first troops of the battalion to land in France. The remainder of the battalion set sail from England at 2050 on the 24th. would be any better than supper. Had any U-Boats picked up the convoy? Were the mines swept clean? What would it be like, this adventure before them? How would they feel their first time under enemy fire? The earphones worn by the crew-chief began to crackle. He repeated the message as it came over. "All gun stations! Four unidentified aircraft at 1o o'clock. 8,ooo." The crew dropped their blankets and their thoughts. The gun swung around. The men were at their stations, peering into the blackness, waiting. The ear phones crackled again. "Aircraft at 1o o'clock identified. Friendly." Slowly they picked up the blankets and leaned back against the railing. Wish 1 had a smoke. Wonder if the folks back home know I'm on the way. Wonder where those planes were going. Wonder--
  • 25 June 1944
    The battalion began disembarking on Omaha Red Fox Beach in France at 1823. All vehicles were immediately dewatered proofed, and all serials, in a single convoy commanded by Lt. Col. Garton, proceeded to the assembly area. All vehicles were in the assembly area by 235o and a Battalion CP was opened at coordinates 514813.
  • 26 June 1944
    Each battery of the battalion fired registrations. Battery B fired the first shell into enemy territory at 1856. Second Lieutenant William M. Toneff was conducting and observing fire. The gun crew firing the first shell into enemy territory was composed of Sergeant Billie M. Wascom (chief of section), Corporal Anthony J. DcSalvo (gunner), Pfc Mark P. Hroncich, Private Zelmer R. Ball, Pfc Blaine J. Ashley, Pfc Willie E. McCubbins, and Tec 5 Wilbur F. Bergen. At 2050, the 391st, Armored Field Artillery Battalion was designated a part of Combat Command B, Third Armored Division, and was alerted for a possible move in the zone of the 29th Infantry Division to assist Combat Command A, Third Armored Division, in repelling an attack in that zone and driving the enemy to the south and southeast of St. Lo. During the period from 1856 June 26th to 2400
  • June 27th
    The battalion fired 732 rounds of harassing and interdiction fire.
  • 28 June 1944
    Battery A, 486th AA Bn, was attached to the battalion. The Battalion left the assembly area to take positions forward to support an attack by CCA and the 29th Inf. Division in the area to the north of St. Lo. Bn Forward CP opened at coordinates 56757o6o at 1730.
  • 29 June 1944
    The attack began at 09oo, and was preceded by an aerial bombardment and a heavy artillery preparation. The battalion fired a total of 35 missions, all but 8 from the Air OP. Total rounds expended, 1882. Report from ASP says this is the greatest amount of ammunition expended by any one battalion since D-Day on the Normandy Beachhead. Firing was well coordinated and extremely accurate. One concentration of enemy infantry was reported definitely neutralized. At 1900 one L-4 liaison plane crashed on landing at the airfield. Second Lieutenant John L. Kistler (pilot) and Second Lieutenant Thomas J. Kelly (observer) were wounded. Lt. Kistler was evacuated. Lt. Kelly returned
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