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490th AFA Battalion
After Action Report

23 - 28 December 1944 - Defense of the Meuse River

23 December 1944
Battalion cleared bivouac near Falais, France and traveled approximately 72 miles to bivouac near Damville, France. Departed Falais at 0640, closed Damville at 1258. Roads good, weather cold and misty. Pfc. Raymond J. Lanigan, C Battery, wounded by accidental machine gun burst and evacuated. Battalion strength: 32 officers; 2 Warrant Officers; and 481 enlisted men.

24 December 1944
Battalion cleared bivouac near Damville, 0700, and marched to Laon, France, closing in bivouac in French barracks at 2120. Distance traveled 153 miles. Roads good, weather clear and cold.

25 December 1944
Battalion completed road march across France, closing in bivouac, an apple orchard south of Jonval, Belgium, at 2150, after clearing Laon at 1630. Distance traveled 59 miles. Roads good, weather cold.

26 December 1944
Battalion remained in position, becoming strategic reserve in defense of that sector of the Meuse River between Mouzons on the North and Verdun on the south. Batteries did not occupy firing positions but reconnaissance by ground and air took place for suitable routes of approach, bridges, positions, and observation posts from Jonval to the Meuse River and five miles east of the river.

27 December 1944
Reconnaissance continued. Battalion remaining in previous position.

28 December 1944
No change.
Results of Action 23 - 28 December: Battalion completed march from Cherbourg started 22 December, was in position to defend against further enemy penetrations towards the Meuse.

29 December 1944 - 11 January 1945 - Engagement at Chenogne, Rechrival Valley

29 December 1944
Preceded by reconnaissance parties, Battalion cleared bivouac south of Jonval, Belgium at 0700, marched to Respelle to bivouac, closing at 2100. Reconnaissance parties, preparing positions south of Freux, came under artillery fire. Distance traveled 74 miles.

30 December 1944
0300 the Battalion cleared bivouac at Respelle and occupied firing positions south of Bougnimont.
490th AFA Bn was in direct support of Combat Command A (CCA), consisting of the 63rd Armored Infantry Battalion, 42nd Tank Battalion, with elements of the 41st Cavalry Recon Squadron, 56th Armored Engineer Battalion, 5th AAA Battalion, 133rd Ordnance Maintenance Battalion, 602nd Tank Destroyer Battalion, and 81sr Armored Medical Battalion.

CCA jumped off from vicinity of Rondu, objective Remagne, as the Division began a drive towards its objective of securing the LíOurthe River line.

0700, the 490th fired its initial rounds in combat, a volley by B Battery, closely followed by A and C Batteries. Target was tanks in wooded area.

At approximately 1000, 2nd Lt. Hadley Neff, a forward observer with a medium tank company, was killed in action by mortars on a ridge NW of Rondu. Beginning at noon the Battalion displaced by bounds to new position 2000 yards NW of Bougnimont and continued firing. Toward the afternoon light counterbattery fire was received. Results of dayís action: attacking elements gained high ground NW of Rondu, then withdrew; one officer killed.

31 December 1944
0030 the Battalion displaced to Le Prey, moving into firing position at 0408 after 20 miles over slippery roads. Weather cold. Fire in support of continued attack by CCA was opened at 0500 as leading elements pushed forward from vicinity of Moret towards Lavaselle and Rechrival, Belgium. Results of Dayís action: CCA gained initially; Batteries firing in support entire day.

1 January 1945
Battalion continuing direct support fires. While abandoning an observation post, 2nd Lt. Robert W. Dunaway was struck by a machine gun bullet in the leg. Sgt. Herman W. Westmeyer, his assistant tank commander, dressed the wound under fire, but was seriously wounded himself and evacuated. In the Battalion position area, T/5 Charles R. Smith, HQ Battery, was slightly wounded by counter battery fire. Dunaway and Smith treated and returned to duty. Results of dayís action: leading elements reached Rechrival, Belgium; 1 officer and 2 EM wounded.

2 January 1945
Battalion at Le Prey continuing supporting fires on targets of opportunity, interdiction and harassing missions. 63rd AIB and 42nd Tk Bn in Rechrival. 2nd Lt. Earle V. Maynard, A Battery, was wounded by mortar fire while observing fire on ridge NE of Rechrival. His Recon Corporal, Francis Jorgenson, also wounded. Both evacuated. Results of action: Rechrival secured, 63rd AIB occupying ridge running from N to NE of town; 1 officer and 1 EM wounded.

3 January 1945
Battalion reverted to general support artillery for 194th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 17th Airborne Division which relieved the 63rd AIB. Rechrival remained under continuous shell and mortar fire. Results of action: 194th consolidated positions on ridge previously held by the 63rd.

4 January 1945
Battalion in general support as 194th attacked north to Hubermont, Millomont, Renuamont. 490th observers operated from Hubermont. Results of action: Hubermont and Millomont taken. Renuamont taken but was repeatedly counterattacked by enemy. Elements later withdrew to Hubermont. Artillery instrumental in breaking up two counterattacks.

5 January 1945
Battalion continuing in direct support, our front lines having withdrawn during the night. 1st Lt. John H. Cunningham, 1st Lt. Carroll H. Wood, Cpl. Alfred Smith, and Cpl. Patrick E. Flynn, while on reconnaissance north of Millomont were surrounded by an enemy patrol, forced to surrender. Germans opened fire with rifles and Lt. Wood returned alone, seriously wounded. Other three members of party presumed mission in action.

1600 Battalion cleared firing positions at Le Pery and marched four miles to occupy new positions around Villeroux, Belgium. Roads very slippery, weather cold. Closed in new positions at 1800. 490th became reinforcing artillery for the 680th Field Artillery of the 17th AB Division, which was in direct support of the 193rd Infantry Regiment. Results of action: Infantry effecting reorganization.; 1 officer wounded; 1 officer and 2 EM missing in action.

6 January 1945
Battalion at Villeroux reinforcing fires of the 680th. Observers functioning east of Mande St. Etienne. Batteries registered by air. Results of action: 193rd Inf Regt prepared for attack.

7 January 1945
193rd attacked north, objective Flamizoulle, from Monte through Mande St. Etienne. Pfc. Ulysses S. Grayson, B Battery radio operator, wounded in foot by mortar fragment and evacuated. Results of action: 193rd initially gained woods 1200 yards NW of Mande St. Etienne, later withdrew 400 yards to woods which were 800 yards NW; 1 EM wounded.

8 - 11 January 1945
Battalion continued in reinforcing role, firing 1873 rounds during this period.

12 - 16 January 1945 - Engagement of Bertogne, Houffalize

12 January 1945
1400 Battalion march ordered, displacing 5 1/2 miles via Bastogne to firing positions 200 yards south of Longchamps, Belgium, closing in position at 1710. Roads slippery, weather cold.
Battalion reverted again to direct support of CCA which replaced elements of the 11sst Airborne Division on line south of Longchamps.

13 January 1945
Battalion supporting CCA which attacked north from Longchamps and captured initial objective, Bertogne, in afternoon. Batteries under light counterbattery fire which wounded Sgt. Thomas C. Davis, C Battery, and T/4 Anthony Mobarak, A Battery. Results of action: CCA advanced into Bertogne, then withdrew to contain that town from high ground to south; 2 EM wounded.

14 January 1945
Battalion continued direct support CCA which contained Bertogne from high ground to south while elements to right flank cleared woods to east and SE. Harassing and observed fires placed down. In mid-afternoon, 2nd Lt. Robert W. Dunaway, forward observer with a medium tank company was killed in action, together with Sgt. James P. Creegan by a mortar shell on high ground south of Bertogne. Pvt. Charles R. Kinney was seriously wounded by friendly 105 round which landed in C Battery position. Bodies of Lt. John H. Cunningham and Cpl. Alfred Smith, missing in action since 5 January were discovered north of Millomont, Belgium by searching party of this Battalion. S/Sgt. Wallace Widelski, Recon Sgt. C Battery, , seriously wounded and Pvt. Thornton Chamberlain, C Battery, missing in action after coming under mortar fire near Bertogne. Results of action: reorganization and consolidation;1 officer and 1 EM KIA; 2 EM WIA; 1 EM MIA; 1 officer and 1 EM changed from MIA to KIA.

15 January 1945
CCA attacked eastward toward Compogne, Belgium, took Compogne with light losses. Attack east after dark was halted by strong anti-tank fire. Body of Cpl. Patrick Flynn, missing since 5 January, found by Battalion searching party. Results of action: Highway from Bertogne to Compogne secured and CCA in position to attack east toward Houffalize; 1 EM changed from MIA to KIA.

16 January 1945
CCA attacked from Compogne and advanced to high ground SW of Houffalize, Belgium. Battalion displaced from previous position to area SE Bertogne, distance approximately three miles. Roads slippery, weather cold. Pvt. Chamberlain missing since 14 January reported killed in action. Results of action: CCA overlooking Houffalize; 1 EM changed from MIA to KIA.

17 - 31 January 1945 - Engagement of Boeur and Buret

17 January 1945
The 42nd Tank Battalion remained on high ground SW of Houffalize as the 63rd AIB was relieved and withdrew. 490th displaced to Cobru, Belgium at 1430, closed in position approximately 1800. Distance traveled 9 miles. Results of action: CCA being relieved by elements of the 17th AB Division.

18 January 1945
490th reinforcing fires of the 491st AFA which furnished direct support to CCB.

19 January 1945
Battalion at Cobru reinforcing 491st fires. Reverted to direct support CCA.

20 January 1945
Battalion displacing from Cobru to firing positions at Rachamps, Belgium at approximately 2000. CCA moving east from Longchamps. Results of action: CCA moving to positions for attack toward Boeur and Buret.

21 January 1945
CCA attacked with minimum resistance, though mach was slowed by numerous mines, roadblocks, one blown bridge. Attained objective of Buret in early afternoon and the Battalion completed displacement to firing positions in vicinity of Wanderbourcy and Boeur, Belgium at 1530. Results of action: Division objective attained as Division pinched off to right by the 6th Armored Division and to left by 17th AB Division.

22 - 31 January 1945
Battalion in rehabilitation period at Wanderbourcy and Boeur. Reconnaissance frequently to NE, East, and SE.

Period 23 December 1944 through 31 January 1945

Summary - The Battalion supported directly, generally, and in reinforcement, Combat Command A of the 11th Armored Division, and elements of the 17th Airborne Division. Rechrival Valley secured, Bertogne and Houffalize reached and Buret taken with minimum resistance.

                            Total Rounds Fired         Type of Rounds
Harassing & Interdiction            6,517               M-48   13,787
Counterbattery                        709               M-54    2,769
Registration                          333               WP      1,018
Serenade & TOT                        763               M-67        4
Targets of Opportunity              7,653               Red Smoke  12
Preparations                        1,462               M-84       14
Defensive Fires                       167
Total                              17,604

Casualties included 7 KIA and 10 WIA. Replacements received were 8 officers and 7 EM. Battalion strength as of 31 January: 34 Officers, 2 Warrant Officers, and 467 Enlisted Men.

Awards and Decorations: Silver Stars to Major Harold H. Davitt, Jr. and 2nd Lt. Hadley N. Neff (Posthumous). Bronze Stars to: 2nd Lt. Morton J. Blumenthal; Sgt. Golden L. Landgren (HQ Btry); and Sgt. Herman W. Westmeyer.

Campaign: Belgium, Luxenbourg, and Western Germany
1 - 28 February 1945

1 - 4 February 1945
February 1 saw the 490th in a non-firing position at Boeur and Wanderbourcy, Belgium, continuing a rehabilitation period which began 22 January. The period continued through 5 February 1945
Battalion was placed in general support of the 11th ADís Reserve Command (CCR) and displaced to firing positions 600 yards south of Bei Auel, Belgium. Cleared Boeur at 1115 and closed in position at 1500, passing through Luxembourg and traveling approximately 21 miles over muddy, crowded roads. Firing positions were approximately 500 yards from the German border.

First round fired into Germany by the 490th was by C Battery, which opened with a high burst adjustment.

CCR, reinforced, relieved elements of the 90th Infantry Division, and responsibility of the Division sector was assumed.

6 February 1945
CCR attacked to objective Hill 568 at 0400. 21sr and 55th Armored Infantry Battalions advanced abreast with the 21st making the main effort. Progress was swift, despite fortified, mined and booby-trapped areas, and the Division Objective was attained at 0830. Lutzkampen, Berg, and Grosskampenberg were taken in the advance. Cpl. George Brey, A Battery, returning to his 1/4 ton vehicle near Heckuscheid to secure fresh batteries for a portable radio, captured 15 prisoners from a pillbox off the road. Recon parties consisting of Battery Commanders and Battalion RO made reconnaissance for observation posts and routes.

7 February 1945
CCR consolidated positions, received artillery fire and repulsed a counterattack of company strength at 0700. Patrol activity was limited due to mines and small arms fire. 490th fired harassing and counterattack missions diminishing enemy fire and assisting in repulsing a counterattack.

8 February 1945
Infantry of CCR in position, receiving sporadic fire. 41st Cavalry, which had previously withdrawn from Lutzkampen, reentered and sent patrols to Grosskampenberg. Battalion observers firing at targets of opportunity.

9 February 1945
Battalion remaining in position near Bei Auel, continuing harassing fire as the 63rd AIB relieved the 21st AIB in position.

10 February 1945
Infantry cleared pillboxes in the sector. Battalion continued harassing and interdiction fires. 2nd Lt. Robert P. Kelsey, A Battery, serving as forward observer was wounded in action by Nebelwerfer fire at Hechuscheid and evacuated.

11 February 1945
No Change.

12 February 1945
Battalion displaced from Bei Auel to firing positions at Breidfeld, Luxembourg. Left at 0830 and closed in position at 1330 after marc of 15 miles. Established Battery Commander and forward observer OPís at Lieler for direct support of the 21st AIB, which held defensive positions in that sector. The observation posts overlooked outer portions of the Siegfried Line. No firing on this date.

13 February 1945
Battalion firing from Briedfeld, harassing, interdiction, and targets of opportunity in defense of this sector.

14 February 1945
21st AIB continued defense of sector.

15 February 1945
Defense of sector continued. CCB maintained contact with 6th AD on right and CCR on left with the 90th Infantry Division on the left of CCR.

16 February 1945
Defense of sector continued. Artillery firing at bunkers and pillboxes.

17 February 1945
490th placed in general support of CCR, attacking south. Grosskampenberg recaptured and positions established.

18 February 1945
CCR advanced south to capture Leidenborn, 490th remaining in General Support.

19 February 1945
CCR advanced 1-1/2 km, captured Herzfeld and Sengerich. Lt. Harrison, C Battery, installed captured German 88 mm gun in position in Lieler and fired at vehicle assembly area, destroying one enemy vehicle by direct fire.

20 February 1945
CCR consolidating positions. Battalion continued general support from Breidfeld with observers firing at enemy observed around pillboxes.

21 February 1945
CCR resumed attack, capturing Roscheid, Reiff, and occupying high ground to the south and west of Reiff. CCB cleared area through Roscheid. 490th in general support of CCR.

22 February 1945
CCR occupied Harspelt and Sevenig; completed, with CCB, in clearing the enemy from Division zone; and consolidated positions. No firing done.

23 February 1945
Troops of CCR and CCB returning to assembly areas. No missions fired by Battalion.

24 February 1945
CCR and CCB withdrawing. No missions fired.

25 February 1945
Battalion displaced to firing positions vicinity NW of Manderfeld, Belgium passing through a section of Germany and the Siegfried Line enroute. Left Briedfeld 0930 and closed in position 1500. Weather wet and cold.

Battalion placed in direct support of CCA, which was to protect the left flank of the 87th Infantry Division, attacking east. CCA, to seize intermediate objective on call, occupied positions NE of Losheim, SE 3000 meters to a point east of Krewinkel. (63rd AIB and 41st Cavalry on line)

Following artillery was attached to the 490th: B Battery, 174th FA Bn (155 SP guns); B, C, and D Companies and six 105 Howitzers from the 42nd Tank Bn.. a total of 52 guns was, then, under control of the Battalion Fire Direction Center. Dual FDCís were set up under central control of Major Rusk, Battalion Executive Officer.

26 February 1945
1500 attack by 87th Division opened, which gained 2-3 kilometers on a 2 kilometer front against medium to heavy opposition.

Division Artillery supported Corps operations with H&I, TOT, targets of opportunity, and preparation missions.

27 - 28 February 1945
Continued attack by 87th Division, making limited gains against heavy resistance.

Summary of Operations
Battalion spent the greater part of the period as General Support. No fire lines brought about by the character of the infantry mopping up operations hindered firing, which is evidenced by the resultant total of 8,131 rounds expended in February as against the nearly 18,000 during the previous month which saw the 490th concentrating on Direct Support missions. Fire against pillboxes proved generally ineffective, however, Battalion observers did at all times call upon heavier artillery when desired to bring about destruction of that type obstacle.

Further evidence of the change in type of operation is shown in the battle casualty total, which lists only one man wounded, as against seven killed and ten wounded during the previous month.
No trouble with mines in position areas was experienced, though frequently mines were located in nearby sectors.

No fire which could accurately be termed counterbattery fire was received. Harassing rounds fell in the general vicinity of the batteries at Bei Auel, Briedfeld and Manderfeld but caused no inconvenience.

Observation posts were far superior to those of the preceding period, but limitations mentioned above limited their value. Suitable artillery targets were, in general, rare and difficult to locate. Several small groups of men were successfully neutralized.
Awards for the period included Silver Stars to 2nd Lt. Robert W. Dunaway and 1st Lt. John H. Cunningham (both posthumous) and 2nd Lt. Robert P. Kelsey of A Battery. Bronze Stars went to S/Sgt Wallace G. Widelski, C Battery; Pfc. Cecil C. Todd, B Battery; T/4 Nathaniel Silverman, B Battery; and Cpl Arthur R. Camin, HQ Battery. Air Medals were awarded to 1st Lt. William H. Tate, HQ Battery and 2nd Lt. Tom L. Green, B Battery. The Purple Heart went to 2nd Lt. Robert P. Kelsey, A Battery.

Battalion strength as of 28 February was 33 officers, 2 Warrant Officers, and 470 enlisted men.

1 - 3 March 1945
The beginning of March found the 490th in firing positions near Manderfeld, Belgium, in direct support of CCA, protecting the left flank of the 87th Infantry Division, which was attacking east.

4 March 1945
Battalion displaces with CCA to new position vicinity Dausfeld, Germany. Distance marched 37 miles. Battalion relieved from CCA and joins Division Artillery. No rounds fired.

5 March 1945
Battalion displaces to position near Budesheim, Germany, a distance of approximately 12 miles. Enemy artillery lands near position areas.

6 March 1945
Battalion in general support of CCB, prepared to join CCA when it crossed the Kyll River. Battalion displaces to position near Dockweiler, Germany, a distance of twelve miles.

7 March 1945
Battalion is stripped for march to Division objective, Andernach, Germany, and moves out on march, bivouacked at night near Schizeim, Germany. Colonel Davitt, Battalion Commander, wounded and evacuated. Major Rusk assumes command.

8 March 1945
Battalion continues march with CCA towards objective, against some resistance. Assistant S-3 vehicle accidentally hit by 37 mm fire of the 4th Armored Division. S/Sgt Bradbury and Pfc. Kofmehl, injured and evacuated. T/5 Strecker given first aid. Battalion goes into position near Boxberg, Germany to fire, moves out at 2100 for an all night march.

9 March 1945
Battalion goes into firing position at Plaidt, Germany

10 March 1945
Battalion is supporting CCA in mopping up operations in the vicinity of Andernach. One German plane identified as a Stuka flew low over position and strafed vehicles on the outskirts but no damage resulted. Plane fired on but apparently not hit. A large number of prisoners was taken during the period.

11 March 1945
Continued to support mopping up by CCA.

12 March 1945
CCA occupied and cleared Andernach. Battalion firing in support.

13 March 1945
CCA relieved at Andernach by the 6th Cavalry Squadron. Battalion continues firing.

14 March 1945
Battalion, as part of Division Artillery, is in direct support of 6th Cavalry Group. Battalion inflicted severe casualties on enemy infantry and destroyed three machine guns.

15 March 1945
Battalion continued rehabilitation, performed maintenance of vehicles, radios and weapons and supported the 6th Cav.Gp. with fires. OPís were maintained in Andernach.

16 March 1945
Battalion left Plaidt along following route: Neidermendig, Kaiseresch, Weiller. Blackout majority of the distance. Lt Maynard sent as Liaison Officer to CCA. Three forward observer tanks sent to 42nd Tank Battalion.

17 March 1945
Battalion closed on Weiller, Germany, 0130 under operational control of 33rd FA Brigade in direct support of CCA. Battalion attached to Task Force Ahee with order of march as follows: A/41st Cav; Co/42nd Tk Bn; Co/63rd AIB; Btry/490th AFA; 42nd Tk Bn (-); A/56 Engr Bn; Co 63rd AIB; Plat/705th TD Bn; 490th AFA Bn (-); followed by CCA, TF Brady, A Trains, and B Trains. Crossing of the Moselle River made without incident, at Bullay. Battalion marches 63 miles during day No firing done.

18 March 1945
Battalion continues march towards objective as part of TF Ahee. Firing positions are occupied near Driesch, Germany when resistance is encountered by advance elements. Good results were reported.

19 March 1945
TF Ahee continues its rapid advance to objective. Crossed Glan River. Resistance moderate. Column moves all night in advance.

20 March 1945
heavy enemy mortar fire against battalion. Column stopped, infantry wiped out resistance, and advance continues. Battalion in position at Simmern. Movement of elements curtailed as objective had been secured.

21 March 1945
Battalion moves to Stettin, town is screened and PWís are brought in from the fields and sent to PW cage at CCA. Maintenance period with first echelon maintenance being performed. No firing done. Battalion captured 22 prisoners of war, who were sent to CCA. Military government organized in town. Major Rusk as Military Governor.

22 - 23 March 1945
Unit is alerted to move NW preparatory to Rhine crossing. Maintenance period continued. No firing.

24 March 1945
Battalion now under CCA control. Moves out on march to Alsheim and goes into firing positions. Five PWís taken. No firing done.

25 March 1945
Battalion still in defensive positions. No firing during this period.

26 March 1945
Division Commander presents awards to members of the Battalion at a formation, defensive positions, but no firing done.

27 March 1945
No changes.

28 March 1945
Battalion moves out as part of CCA column, crosses the Rhine River at Oppenheim at approximately 1500 under heavy smoke screen. Battalion in bivouac between Bauschheim and Konigstadten for three hours while a bridge is repaired. Unit has been under XX Corps control during march but is released to XII Corps late at night while still in assembly area; and prepares to move SE with objective of Fulda. One Battery 155 mm towed howitzers of the 176th FA Bn are attached to the Battalion. No firing.

29 March 1945
Battalion leaves assembly area at 0100 and continues march with CCA column, crossing Main River about 0700. Enemy resistance is encountered so battalion goes into position near Hanau until it is wiped out. Battalion continues march and goes into firing positions near Ruckingen for the night.

30 March 1945
March continues, with firing batteries going into positions on order to fire missions as called for by observers. Excellent results obtained with air adjustments by air observers. Sixteen plane support furnished.

31 March 1945
Battalion displaced at 0730 with CCA, going into hasty firing positions several times when called for. About 150 French conscripts are liberated at Breitenbach. After the town is cleared, CP is set up in Breitenbach, with firing batteries in firing positions immediately adjacent.

Summary of Operations - the monthís operation was essentially that of rapid movement and breakthrough. The Battalion was in direct support of CCA the majority of the month. During the month the Battalion moved many miles over roads in many cases extremely difficult. Even with very nearly continuous movement and inadequate time for maintenance, no vehicle was forced to fall out, but at the present time tracks and bogies are beginning to show wear. Even now repair and replacement of track blocks, etc. is consummated during short breaks.

Ammunition resupply has become a major problem in view of the extended supply routes. Supply roads are under constant danger of enemy action making an armed escort mandatory. Resupply vehicles have been gone as much as seven days attempting to return to the unit.
Through the wooded area of South Central Germany, it has been found that Fuze M48A1 is a very effective anti-personnel weapon in view of the air bursts that are received.

The Battalion had rendered close and continuous support by its rapid movements into and out of position and by displacing by echelon. Rapidity of clearing positions and closing on new positions was increased by stripping all non-essential vehicles out of the column and placing them in trains. Having road priority, it is possible to double columns so as to spend the minimum time out of position. However, in the extremely precipitous terrain south and east of the Moselle River, positions for artillery were many times non-existent due to narrow defiles. Support was secured by leaving the battalion in position longer, making greater single jumps and firing at longer ranges. March discipline was excellent, interval was good and for all the distance traveled it is commendable that there was no serious accident.

High morale was demonstrated by the conduct of the men under direct and indirect fire. The men were uncomplaining of the long hours, continuous fire and difficult marches.

With the Battalion Commander accompanying the Combat Command Commander or Executive Officer, the majority of the time during contact, close liaison was maintained and more effective fires were delivered as well as allowing for an early appraisal of the terrain for new positions.

The effectiveness of the artillery fires were enhanced by an artillery conscious Combat Command staff. Not only the immediate objective, but the secondary objectives received consideration for artillery concentrations.

With the battery commanders and the Battalion Commander selecting the majority of the new positions, the Reconnaissance Officers were used very nearly exclusively for forward observers and with the Reconnaissance sections split into two parties, the assistant executive officer in the batteries could alternate with the forward units for relief of the RO.

The Air Corps found their targets much more readily after they had been marked by colored smoke.
To adjust on likely enemy OPís and to maintain a constant air OP, counterbattery fire was reduced materially. It was found that counterbattery fires would cease after the practice of interdicting logical OPís had been instituted, even though activity could not be observed.

White phosphorous projectiles were in constant demand. The demoralizing effect upon the enemy caused by burning buildings reduced resistance not only in the immediate town, but in other defended town, for word of our action was found to travel fast.

The Air Liaison plane was used continually, not only to adjust fire, but to observe for road blocks, AT guns, and enemy activity. Such observation saved many vehicles from destruction, saved many casualties and enabled the ground forces to rapidly reduce resistance and speed the attack.

The Bronze Star was awarded to the following: Cpl Cornelius J. Haggerty, C Battery; Cpl. Frank E. Draper, A Battery; Cpl George D. Brey, A Battery; Col. Donald D. Fontaine, HQ Battery; and Pfc. John M. Gumerson, B Battery. Purple Hearts were received by: 2nd Lt. Sam Bookman, HQ Battery; Pvt. Robert F. Anderson, A Battery; Lt Col Harold H. Davitt, HQ; T/5 Thornton D. Strecker, HQ Battery; S/Sgt James I. Bradbury, HQ Battery; and Pfc. M. J. Kofmehl, HQ.

Casualties for the month included four battle casualties and ten other losses. Eight reinforcements were received. Battalion strength as of 31 March was 30 officers, 2 Warrant officers, and 467 enlisted men.

1 April 1945
The Battalion less Trains was in firing position at Breitenbach, Germany while Trains were coiled at Hanau. Head of battalion column moved out on continuation of mission at 00830. Pfc. Eugene Caupp was killed while flushing woods near A Battery position near Breitenbach. Eighty prisoners were captured by the Recon section of A Battery. Battalion is in direct support of CCA. Firing batteries and Headquarters took up firing positions in the vicinity of Reichenhausen after a 70 mile march for the day. Service Battery left Hanau at 0300 and arrived at bivouac area at Kressenbach at 0900. At approximately 1500 bivouac received two rounds of artillery fire, but rounds were duds so not damage was done. No firing by battalion.

2 April 1945
Battalion moved out in continuation of the march traveling 19 miles to Bauerbach where orders were received to arrange perimeter defense. Sgt. Gru and Cpl. Oren are evacuated to hospital. 26 German PWís are brought in by Battalion S-4 and are sent on to CCA PW cage. Time is advanced on hour at 0300. Service Battery left Kressenbach at 0800 and arrived at Henneback at 1600 after traveling a distance of eighty miles. The objective remains Suhl. C Battery has been advance guard.

3 April 1945
Battalion left firing positions in the vicinity of Bauerbach at 0700 in continuation of support for CCA in the direction of Suhl. Roads are particularly poor necessitating many by-passes and constant work by the engineers. The route into Suhl leads over some difficult mountains and the routes are narrow. C Battery occupied a position in area five km south of Suhl, while HQ, A, and B Batteries assumed firing positions around Altendambach. Effective fires were delivered, but due to the construction of Suhl, few buildings burned. Men returning from pass to Paris ran into a fire fight out of Hanau. Volksturm who had been organized on the 1st of April were defending Suhl, but couldnít hit much with their arms evidently lacking experience in their use. A German NCO came upon our OP unexpectedly while riding a motorcycle and was killed by CCA Executive Officer. Cpl Fontaine, HQ Battery, accidently injured by discharge of captured weapon. Battalion captured a German Battalion Commander, Medical Officer, and two other PWís. Service Battery remained at Henneback. Battalion traveled 21 miles during the day.

4 April 1945
Service Battery leaves Henneback at 0600 and arrives Suhl at 1300 having traveled 35 miles. Battalion moved from Altendambach to Suhl a distance of five miles to take up firing positions and support clean-up operations to the north and east of Suhl. Hot food is served, men get showers, and have an opportunity to rest somewhat and begin maintenance. Sniper and other small arms fire still present in Suhl when occupied by unit.

5 April 1945
Battalion continues to occupy positions in Suhl and to support activities of task forces sent out to clear area NE of Suhl. Maintenance continues.

6 April 1945
Battalion continues to occupy positions in Suhl and to support activities of task forces. Col. Davitt returns from hospital to assume command of unit. Orders received for movement to Hilburghausen for the 7th. No firing done by battalion.

7 April 1945
Battalion moves out at 0800 to accompany CCA to Hilburghausen to group and continue to the first objective of Coburg and vicinity. Firing batteries occupy hasty firing position approximately 1000 yards north of Neuhof. Again hasty firing positions are occupied in vicinity of road junction just north of Klost Vessra and fire to the East. Battalion moves on to Slegritz where it occupies hasty firing positions. As battalion is moving out a salvo of counterbattery fire lands on road with no casualties to the unit, but seriously injuring a man of another unit. Battalion closed to positions on NW edge of Hilburghausen at 2152. Distance traveled during day 20 miles.

8 April 1945
Continued firing from positions in Hilburghausen, some fire being adjusted by liaison planes. Maintenance being carried on and vehicles being cleaned. Reorganization for the further advance. Targets of opportunity taken under fire by observers during the course of the day.

9 April 1945
Battalion still in firing position rendering support to patrol activities and laying down defensive fires when called for. Maintenance continues. Planss received for movement toward next objective, Neustadt.

10 April 1945
Early morning firing was conducted to neutralize two hills south of Hilburghausen. Battalion cleared IP on march toward next objective at 0840 in support of CCA. Little enemy opposition met. Battalion occupies position immediately west of Drossenhausen for firing of leaflets directing surrender into Rodach but no apparent results.. Fired on enemy infantry and later Air OP fired on vehicles and destroyed same. Moved out at 1455 and reached position at Oberlautern for the night at 1530. Firing began immediately. Artillery induced occupants at castle sitting above Coburg to wish to surrender and as indication of same, two officers arrived at CCA CP on truce status. Battalion moved twenty miles. A Trains moved from Hilburghausen to Obergtuger. On the move, the rear vehicles of A Trains were fired upon from the left flank by enemy machine guns so the AAF strafed the enemy machine gun positions and knocked them out.

11 April 1945
Batteries continue to fire from positions near Oberlautern. Battalion is alert for possible continuation towards objective. Coburg surrenders after the majority of the German troops had left. Battalion moved out at 1900 traveling four miles to Enberg. Went into firing position and put out security for the night. Composition of CCA changed so that the 42nd Tank Battalion was replaced by the 22nd Tank Battalion, and the 63rd AIB was replaced by the 55th AIB. Observers switched to corresponding lettered companies.

12 April 1945
Battalion left Emberg at 0810 on continuation towards objective in support of CCA, direct support of Task Force Wingard which consisted of 22nd Tk Bn (less Med Co); rifle company 55th AIB; Advance battery 490th AFA; platoon of A Company 705th TD Bn; HQ Group, CCA; and the balance of the 490th. Battalion went into firing position in the vicinity of Fecheim, but did not fire. Battalion later went into position just east of Oberwasuncen but did but fire. Battalion went to firing position 2000 yards east of Bieberbach but did not fire. The reconnaissance element operates in such a way as to obtain the maximum from the element of surprise so that .50 caliber machine guns are used to great advantage and artillery is used less. The fire power of the artillery is replaced by the element of surprise. Battalion occupies firing position approximately 1500 yards east of Gestungshausen and commences firing immediately. Battalion occupies position for firing in vicinity of Scheckenlohe, but moves out again on short notice, and continues march to Schmolz where positions are selected and occupied for the night. Traveled a distance of 16 miles during the day. Resistance light the majority of the way. A Trains moved from Obertugel to Schmolz, traveling a distance of 24 miles. B Trains captured one German Captain.

13 April 1945
Battalion moved out at 1000 and continued in route of march supporting CCA. Firing positions occupied on north side of Rugendorf and registration completed. March order given and movement continued to Stadt Steinach where battalion occupied positions for the night. A Trains moved from Schmolz at 1100, arrived vicinity of Stadt Steinach at 1700. Traveled 17 miles.

14 - 15 April 1945
Remained in position, not firing but maintaining guns in position for possible support. Period was spent in maintenance of vehicles, radios and equipment.

16 April 1945
Continued maintenance in position. Enemy plane strafed Service Battery position. No damage done. Intense AA fire, but no hits scored.

17 April 1945
Battalion leaves Stadt Steinach enroute to join elements of CCR in vicinity of Marktschorgast and arrive 1440. Battalion registers. Battalion is place on two hour alert status for movement during the evening. March of twelve miles during the day.

18 April 1945
Maintenance is resumed. Orders received relative to next objective of Grafenwohr. No firing.

19 April 1945
Battalion leaves Marktshorgast traveling NE in CCA column towards Grafenwohr. Battalion goes into firing position east of Bayreuth, but did not fire. Battalion arrived vicinity of Grafenwohr 1930. Traveled nearly fifty miles during the day. Service Battery took three prisoners during the day.

20 April 1945
Battalion continues in position at Grafenwohr. Vehicles are painted and general maintenance is resumed. Russian Yak planes over area. No firing done.

21 April 1945
Battalion continues in position at Grafenwohr firing on appropriate targets. Maintenance continues. Sixteen reinforcements join the battalion an are assigned to batteries. Battalion alerted for movement on the 22nd. No firing.

22 April 1945
Battalion reaches IP at 0700 in support of CCA whose objective is Cham. Firing position at Meider occupied and fire is called for. Column moves slowly due to road blocks and very poor roads. Battalion held up for several hours while bridge was being reinforced, crossing the Naab River. Firing position occupied north side of Nabburg. Distance traveled 42 miles. A Trains moved from Pressath at 0945 arriving Pfreind 0200 23 April. Representative of Hungarian Army unit went to CCA CP under truce attempting to surrender 18,000 men.

23 April 1945
Battalion leaves Nabburg on continuation of drive to Cham with CCA meeting very light resistance. Several thousand Hungarian troops are received all with complete military equipment with the exception of arms and ammunition. Hungarian units were militant, neat appearing and cooperative. They were obviously glad to have an ending to hostilities as far as they were concerned. Hundreds of liberated Poles, Russians, British, and Americans line the roads, all jubilant over their release. Signs among them of malnutrition and deprivation. Numerous graves freshly dug are seen along the road and upon examination prove to contain Polish and Russian prisoners systematically killed by the German. Battalion occupied positions at Cham after forty mile march. A number of Americans liberated there and were place in a hospital for all were suffering pitifully from starvation. The story of a Jewish Gentile segregation among our men was received and verification of the brutal murder of the Jews was received. If there had previously been small reason to hate, the presence of this bestiality was ample to increase the ruthlessness of the men. A Trains moved from Pfreind 1200, arriving Cham 2000. Distance traveled 42 miles. Roads very bad a portion of that distance.

24 April 1945
CCA follows CCB and Division Headquarters leaving Cham at 1415, progressing in road march to Viechtach, distance of sixteen miles. Enemy planes over position at Cham and Viechtach, one hit, but did not crash within our observation.

25 April 1945
Battalion leaves Viechtach 12200 and arrives Grafenau, distance traveled 35 miles. Two enemy planes over at 1500, neither knocked out. Three planes over position at 1912, one knocked out. Registration complete 1915. A Trains left Viechtach 1530 closing Rosenau 0200,26 April. One gas truck turned over, but slight damage. Ammunition trucks unloaded to haul prisoners.

26 April 1945
Battalion continuing in support of CCA moves out at 0800 towards objective of Freyung. At 1040 battalion occupies firing position in vicinity of Hoslach. At 1245, six enemy planes are over area. No effective results observed. Five enemy planes over position at 1425, results one crashed, one on fire, all hit. At 1640 two enemy planes flying high over position. Closed on Unter Grainet and registration completed by 1645. At 1750, P-47ís knocked out three enemy planes.

27 April 1945
Battalion remains in position at Unter Grainet firing H&I fires. Enemy planes over at 0530. Our fires ineffective. At 1810, three enemy planes fly high over position. No firing by battalion.

28 April 1945
Battalion continues in position and supports with defensive fires. Maintenance continues. Observers continue operations with patrol. No firing.

29 April 1945
Continued support of patrol activities with alert to move on the 30th. Lt. Kelley accompanied patrol which crossed Czechoslovakian border. No firing by battalion.

30 April 1945
Battalion moves out in support of CCA with objective Linz. Battalion in direct support of second task force and so did little firing until arriving in position vicinity of Kassberg to fire on Wegscheid. Firing continues through the night. Neutralization, H&I, and precision problems were all quite effective. Roads during he day had become very difficult and in some cases alternate routes had to be used even though the Engineers worked on them constantly. 25 rounds expended on direct fire on enemy vehicles knocking out two of them.

Summary of Operations - By cannibalizing track blocks and utilizing all free time, the battalion had no vehicle fall-outs for many more than a few minutes during the entire period. Time was given to painting and re-numbering vehicles with a resultant increase in each manís pride in his vehicle.

Even though we have been using a check point system for identification of towns over the radio, the system has been compromised in view of an inadequate number of check points and transmissions such as "We are now at King Able town which is one km east of William Howe town and two km north of check point 822." It is recommended that a greater number of check points be used so as to obviate the necessity to compromise.

In many cases a precision registration with one gun was found to be more effective than bracket adjustments. By converging a sheaf and applying corrections greater damage was done for the same expenditure of ammunition.

In view of the number of positions occupied it was thought well not to uncouple trailers on the M-7ís, until the fact had been established that the position would be occupied for several missions. This practice allowed for faster "March Order".
To reduce the traffic by radio the practice of increasing the amount and speed of wire has been initiated. Although it is still secondary, the wire has been quite worthwhile. However, when commercial lines were tapped into, since German phones were still operative, it was fund that the messages were intercepted.

Infiltration of Krauts behind the leading elements, the tenuous position of the lead elements and the nature of our advance, made necessary an order to allow no single peep to travel after dark and no peep with a single occupant to travel during the day.

The fluidity of our situation necessitated constant liaison between the battalion and all elements of the task force so as not to fire on elements of our own task force. Such was particularly true of the reconnaissance elements.

After two men from the 945th FA Bn were taken prisoner as a result of their wandering off only a short distance from the position, men were ordered not to leave the batter position except on definite instructions to the contrary.

We inhibited our anti-aircraft firing by an order directing fire only when attacked, so that the AA unit attached could follow tracers and thereby make their fires more effective.
The 1:100,000 map was found to be unsatisfactory in view of the inherent inaccuracies and the difficulty of inspecting in targets and positions. A larger scale map, when used, more amply allowed a terrain study and increased the speed of firing. A real effort has been made to locate German-made larger scale maps.

While the men in the gun sections particularly, continue to stand 24 hour watch, individual cooking or cooking by section was found to be easiest.

For the month, 3697 rounds were fired. The Bronze Star was awarded to Cpl. Francis Jorgenson, A Battery. There were 2 non-battle casualties and 23 reinforcements were received during this period. Battalion strength at the end of April was 30 officers, 2 Warrant Officers, and 467 enlisted men.

1 May 1945
The 490th began the month in direct support of CCA, the firing batteries were in firing position in vicinity of Kasgberg, Germany. A Trains were in bivouac in vicinity of Wallaberg. B Trains, consisting of kitchen, gasoline, ammunition, and supply trucks, plus non-essential vehicles, stripped from batteries, were in bivouac immediately north of Kasgberg.

At 1245, Headquarters and firing batteries crossed the German-Austria border on the Kasgberg, Wegscheid, Kollerschag, Sauedt, Ceretschlag and Peilstein road.

At 1600 firing batteries went into firing position on north edge of Peilstein. HQQ Battery captured fourteen German soldiers while establishing installations in buildings in Peilstein. Distance traveled during day approximately ten miles.

A Trains crossed the Austrian border at 1745 and at 1920 went into bivouac just north of Peilstein. Distance traveled 17 miles.

HQ and firing batteries advanced against moderate enemy resistance and all columns encountered enemy aircraft. Observation was poor throughout the day due to snow flurries. Considerable difficulty encountered with roads.

2 May 1945
At 0700 the battalion less trains left Peilstein moving SE on route Peilstein, Oepping, Hehenberg, Rohrbach, Scheibthof, Neundling, Hogling, Obfeuchtenbach, Unter Feuchtenbach, and Neufelden towards Linz.

At 0750 firing batteries were moving off the road into firing position just west of Oepping, but did not fire. Enemy infantry estimated at battalion size (Hungarian soldiers plus a few Germans) surrendered to the unit.

Through the interrogation of enemy soldiers and civilians at Oepping information was obtained that the German soldiers in Rohrbach moved out at 0200 this date with orders to withdraw to Linz. On the outer edges of Linz they were to set up hasty defensive positions but not to fortify the city. Also learned was information that the Linz city police would cooperate with the Americans but fight the Russians.

While in the vicinity of Liebenstein, TOT was called for while the battalion was on the road. Registration was completed within a few minutes and fire for effect followed immediately, thereafter with a resulting sizable fire in Neufelden.

Anticipating the Muhl River crossing before dark, the battalion left Liebenstein at 1500 and at 1550 went in position in vicinity of Neufelden.

At 1740 march order was given and batteries were prepared to move out immediately. But at 1820 order was given to prepare for action and that the battalion probably would remain overnight in Neufelden.

There was no enemy opposition to the battalion during the day but observation was again hampered quite a bit by snow flurries. The distance traveled this date was twenty miles.

A Trains left Peilstein at 1200 and closed in bivouac in vicinity of Rohrbach at 1530. B Trains continued to trail tactical elements at one hourís interval. No enemy opposition encountered by trains.

3 May 1945
At 0710 the battalion started fording the Muhl River in vicinity of Neufelden. Tracked vehicles crossed under their own power and towing wheeled vehicles. As elements crossed the river they moved into an assembly area about one mile NE of the crossing. At 1015 all elements had assembled in their proper places in the assembly area and resumed he march towards Linz.

It was learned that friendly engineers opened the dam below the Muhl crossing dto lower the water, and right after that the enemy opened the dam above the crossing thus bringing the water back up.

At 1130 firing batteries went into action in the vicinity of Neuhaus-Niederwald and started firing on enemy entrenched along the main road.

The battalion took up positions in vicinity of Perlsder for the night. Distance traveled approximately 16 miles.

Approximately 300 Hungarian soldiers surrendered to various elements of the battalion in vicinity of Perlsder.

A Trains remained in bivouac in vicinity of Rohrbach. B Trains continued to trail at about on hourís interval.

4 May 1945
The battalion remained in firing position in vicinity of Perlsder and fired on targets of opportunity until 1600 at which time it left Perlsder and proceeded on towards Linz.

At 1740 after passing through Perlsder, Windner, Herzogsd, and Gortzer, and over some very difficult roads and terrain went into positions just NW of Gramastetten. Distance traveled approximately twelve miles.

Immediately after the battalion occupied that position, the enemy attempted to shell it with high velocity guns but due to excellent defilade of our positions, we suffered no casualties or materiel damage.

At about 230 the enemy stopped shelling and at 2330 confirmation was received for two 88 mm enemy guns which were knocked out and six others which were neutralized.

A Trains left Rohrbach at 1400 and at 1830 closed in bivouac at Herzogsdorf. B Trains continued to trail tactical elements at about one hourís interval. Weather clear and warm.

5 May 1945
The battalion remained in position in vicinity of bridge over the Rodt Bach until 0930 at which time it moved out in continuation of the march on Linz. At 1220 advanced arties entered the city of Linz without encountering enemy opposition. The city and enemy troops therein surrendered to Commanding General, CCA at 1230.

The battalion after traveling approximately 15 miles on the route Gramastetten, Edtmayer, Untgeng, Hellmonsodt, Geichenau, went into bivouac just south of Reichenau. At 1510 the battalion commander and party returned and moved the battalion to the north of Reichenau.

A Trains left Herzogsdorf at 1545 and after traveling approximately 13 miles closed in bivouac at Waxenberg. B Trains continued to trail at one hourís interval. Weather, raining.

6 May 1945
No enemy activity reported in CCA Zone. Personnel are performing first echelon maintenance. No rounds fired. Vehicles of B Trains joined their respective batteries. A Trains remained in bivouac in Waxenberg.

7 May 1945
No enemy activity reported in CCA zone. Personnel are performing normal bivouac duties. It is reported that the German radio at Flensburg announced that Grand Admiral Karl Doenitz had ordered the surrender of all German forces to the Allies and that the German high command declared it effective. No rounds fired today. A Trains still in bivouac in Waxenberg.

8 May 1945
No enemy activity reported in CCA zone. Batteries are moving into bivouac in vicinity of Reichenau. At 1430, A Trains left Waxenberg and closed in bivouac in vicinity of Reichenau at 1540.

Summary of Operations - This combat period was in part a battle with terrain and the resultant difficulties that arose when a combat command moved out on narrow, mountainous, dirt roads. As for the Artillery displacements, single lane roads rendered doubling of a column virtually impossible. Doubling by a 1/4 ton was even impossible at times. In view of the continued rain and snow, by-passes capable of taking tanks were very difficult to find. The problem of chuck- and mud-holes was partially solved by each vehicle carrying some stones and logs.

The value of defilade was demonstrated when counterbattery was directed at the battalion but proved ineffective in view of our defilade position.

Time fire proved effective in holding bridges intact until the tanks could cross. Tanks were sent out buttoned up with time fire over the bridge. The fire was lifted after the crossing, when the tankers could dispose of any enemy personnel left for demolition.

A Silver Star was awarded to Capt. Robert Reitan, A Battery. Bronze Stars went to: Pfc. Thomas McDermott, A Battery; 1st Lt Earle Maynard, HQ Battery; T/5 Clifford N. Torgerson, A Battery; 1st Lt. Robert Kelsey, A Battery; and Pfc George E. Johnson, A Battery. 1st Lt. William H. Tate, HQ Battery, received the Air Medal, 2nd Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Air Medal, 1st Oak Leaf Cluster was awarded to 1st Lt. Tom L. Green, B Battery and Tate. Receiving the Air Medal were 1st Lt. Sam Bookman, HQ Battery, and S/Sgt Claudius A. Wold, B Battery. Purple Hearts went to: T/5 William W. Plum, T/5 Otto H. Collins, T/5 Clifford N. Torgerson, Alvin R. Polnick, Pvt Earl Mickey, and Pvt George E. Shanks, all of A Battery; 1st Sgt Harry G. Innis, HQ Battery; and Pfc Vernon F. Heim, C Battery. In addition, Service Battery received the Meritorious Service Unit Plaque.

Rounds fired during the month totaled 1173.

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