490th AFA Battalion
After Action Report
23 - 28 December 1944 - Defense of the
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
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
28 December 1944
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
Type of Rounds
Red Smoke 12
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
26 February 1945
1500 attack by 87th Division opened, which gained 2-3
kilometers on a 2 kilometer front against medium to
Division Artillery supported Corps operations with
H&I, TOT, targets of opportunity, and preparation
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
27 March 1945
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Approximately 300 Hungarian soldiers surrendered to
various elements of the battalion in vicinity of
A Trains remained in bivouac in vicinity of Rohrbach.
B Trains continued to trail at about on hourís
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
to "Our History")