Unit History

The 1/92nd Field Artillery
Association - Vietnam


"Brave Cannons" in Germany, June 1945


Part II
October 1944
to July 1945

On 1 October the 92d A.F.A, was in position in the Young Forest, 1500 yards due west of Grotenrath, Germany awaiting H-hour for the attack on the Siegfried Line south of Geilenkirchen. The Battalion was in direct support of Task Force #2 of CC "B", 2 A.D. This Task Force, commanded by Colonel S. R. Hinds, 41 AlR was to follow combat elements of 30 Div across the bridge at Marienberg and take the Siegfried defense from the flank by attacking north. 1 October was originally designated as D-Day, but due to ground haze and rain which precluded the proposed air strike, D-Day was postponed until 2 October.

2 October dawned cold and clear but for occasional clouds. The air strike scheduled for 1000 was only a fraction of the proposed strike, and the attack jumped off at 1100 with only artillery preparation having paved the way. The 92d fixed prearranged fires for 30 Div and air-observed fire on enemy gun flashes throughout that day.

Task Force #2, CC "B" was committed 3 October at 1200 hours and crossed Marienberg Bridge at that time. By nightfall it had fought its' way into Ubach. The 92nd remained in position and fired in support of this attack. Enemy artillery was the most active the 92d had encountered yet in Europe. Also, for the first time the enemy showed evidences of massing his artillery and fired tremendous concentrations on the bridge site and arterial roads within the Siegfried Line. There was evidence of the massing of as many as three battalions, apparently using several different caliber weapons. There was, however, no evidence of the use of Time-on-Target by the enemy. Task Force #2 continued the attack on the 4th, progressing slowly.

The 92d displaced to the vicinity of Grotenrath to render closer support, firing at ranges up to 6000 yards, but the majority of fires were at ranges of 2500-3500 yards. Enemy artillery fire continued heavy on roads, bridge sites and front line troops, but there was as yet no evidence of counter-battery. The attack continued on the 5th. Late in the afternoon positions were reconnoitered across the Wurm River in the vicinity of Zweibruggen and "C" Battery immediately displaced. The Battalion lost PO Suenka who was wounded, and FO Sergeant Ronczka who was killed by mortar fire on this day. Orders were then received to secure the area the Unit had gained and revert to a defensive role. On the 6th the only offensive action was to push out to secure outposts on commanding ground. "A" Battery and the Battalion CP were displaced across the Wurm River. CP was 1 km north of Palenberg. Heavy shelling continued in the area all day. The 92d's Average Range was 2500 yards.

The first enemy counter-battery encountered by the 92d occurred on the 7th at 0600 hours A concentration of about 40 rounds fell in the Battalion area, the majority in the position of "C" Battery. PVT Perko, PFC Geiger and PFC Wilkinson were killed. Two others were wounded. The battery was forced to displace in direction of Frelenberg. There was no more shelling during the day.

From 8 October to the end of the month the Battalion remained in the vicinity of Paltenberg-Zweibruggen in direct support of troops occupying the line to north and northeast. TEC 5 Smith was killed 11 October and 3 others were wounded. Positions of firing batteries changed occasionally either because of harassing enemy artillery fire or because of conditions of weather which rendered the standing for the 92d's N7s a quagmire. The troops utilized basements and lower floors of bombed and shelled houses for protection against enemy shelling and the weather. Occasionally enemy aircraft were active, usually about dusk or slightly thereafter, but they did practically no damage. Twice bombs from friendly planes were dropped in the Battalion area with no damage reported. The first fires conducted by the Battalion from 8 October 31 October were defensive fires, harassing fires, and counter-battery missions fired with air OP observation.

Enemy activity was generally greatest from dusk to 2300 hours when supplies were brought up. Only six days during the month of October were clear enough for excellent air observation. Visibility during the rest of the time varied from poor to no visibility.

On 1 November the Battalion was in position in the vicinity of Palenberg, Germany in direct support of 2/405 I.R. whose defensive mission was to hold the sector from Immendorf to approximately 1,000 yards south of Geilenkirchen. The Battalion was relieved by the 379th Field Artillery on 7 November 1944 and reverted to general support of CC "B," firing on targets of opportunity until 12 November when it reverted to Division Artillery Control. During the period 12-15 November plans and preparations were made to support the Division's attack on the Floverich-Loverich- Puffendorf objectives. Six enemy tanks were knocked out by the Battalion.

The attack on Merzanhausen, 22 November was supported by the 92nd and new forward positions occupied just north of Durboslar on 23 November when the Battalion reverted to direct support of 41/AIR. Direct support was given the attack through Merzenhausen (27 November) to take Bermen by a rolling barrage. Heavy fire was placed on the northern edge of the town when enemy tanks attempted to retake Merzenhausen after dark. The 92d's fire forced the tanks to withdraw to Barmen. One vehicle was left burning and heavy casualties were inflicted on the supporting infantry. Barmen was taken the following day.

The Battalion continued to support the 41/AIR in defensive positions during 29-30 November. On 1 December 1944 the Battalion was in position north of Durboslar, Germany in direct support of CC "A" which was holding a line generally along the Roer River from Barman, Germany to Koslar, Germany. A total of 31 enemy gun positions Ūrere fired on during the 1st and 2nd, the majority located east of the Roer River.

The Battalion was relieved on 3 December and moved into a rest area east of Usach, Germany and remained there for three days. The 92d was then placed in direct support of CC "B" holding the Barmenlkoslar Line. On 6 December a smoke screen was fired in support of the 29th Division. From 6 December to 20 December the Battalion remained in position north of Durboslar, Germany in general support of CC "B." Throughout the period the front was generally quiet with the normal amount of harassing and interdiction fires and some counter-battery being fired. Combat Command "B" was relieved by 115th Infantry (29th Division) on 20 December, but the Battalion remained in position under Division Artillery control in general support of 116th Infantry.

The Battalion was alerted to move to an assembly area in the vicinity of Huy, Belgium to support the Division in the counter-drive to stop the enemy drive to the Meuse River. The Battalion moved out closing into the new area north of Pair, Belgium. On 23 December the Battalion moved to position just east of Havelange, Belgiurn in support of road-blocks established by the 32nd Reconnaissance Battalion. The Battalion was placed in direct support of CC "A" 24 December 1944 and moved into position in the vicinity of Corbion, Belgium, later displacing to Haid, Belgium. One mission was fired by Air OP on an enemy column south of Navrenne, Belgium knocking out and burning three vehicles. Observers were assigned to CC "B" of CC "A" on 24 December as well as CC "A" and 4th Cavalry Squadron. Targets were generally enemy vehicles with a total of thirteen trucks being set on fire and three Mark V tanks.

Five tanks supported by infantry tried to retake Navrenne, Belgium, at first light of 26 December, but the Battalion completely smashed the infantry and stopped the tanks which were all knocked out by direct fire from tanks and tank destroyers. The Battalion fired preparation fires in support of the CC "R" attack on Humain, Belgium on 27 December 1944 and close support missions as called for by FOs with CC "R" and CC "B." 1st Lt Gisone was killed in action.

The Battalion spent 1, 2 and 3 February 1945 in the area vicinity of Hormay, Belgium, devoting time to training, maintenance, rest and rehabilitation. The Battalion moved out through Verviers - Belgium, Eupen - Belgium, and Gulpen - Holland to new assembly areas in the vicinity of Waterop, Holland. The period 4-8 February was spent in assembly area in vicinity of Waterop in training and preparation for future operations. The Battalion moved under Division Artillery control to position areas in vicinity of Altdorf, Germany.

A halt was made in Aachen, Germany in order to move into position under cover of darkness. The Battalion was under Division Artillery control with the mission of reinforcing the fires of the 30th Division Artillery in support of the 30th Division's attack across the Roer River. The Battalion remained in position in the vicinity of Altdorf, Germany from 8 to 22 February 1945 awaiting D-Day, (Crossing of the Roer River). The period was spent in maintenance and as much training as was possible under the circumstances. The Battalion area was shelled at frequently throughout the period, causing some vehicular damage and personnel casualties On 14 February 1945, the Battalion lost its' first M-7 since landing in Europe (9 June 1944) when an enemy shell caused one to burn and the ammunition inside to burn and explode.

The Battalion reinforced the fires of the 30th Division Artillery in the attack across the Roer River. Preparation fires were fired throughout 23, 24, and 25 February 1945. The Battalion moved under Division Artillery control in direct support of CC "B" across the Roer River via Julich, Germany to positions in the vicinity of Steinstrass, Germany. The Battalion continued to reinforce the 30th Division during 26 and 27 February until released and reverted to direct support of CC "B." The Battalion displaced to the vicinity of Kircherten, Germany in order to be in position to support the attack of CC "B" at daylight on 28 February The jump-off of CC "B" was supported by preparation fire and observed missions by observers with the assault battalion. Positions were occupied in vicinity of Garzweiler, in vicinity of Juchen, and in vicinity of Gubberath.

The Battalion crossed the Rhine with the 9th Army on 28 March 1945 and the final push had begun. The Lippe River and the Dortnund-Ems Canal were quickly crossed and the 92d reached the Elbe on 12 April 1945. The reduction of Magdeburg on the Elbe was completed on 20 April 1945. The men got their first glimpse of Russian troops after the 9th Army link-up with the 113th Cavalry Group. The Battalion's combat mission was soon over and it started occupation duty in Berlin on 4 July 1945.

Germany - June 1945
Photo credit Master Sergeant
Charles Maxwell Cole (Mac)

NOTE: A special thanks to Ms. Linda Gall who gave of her time to research and write this history.

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