AFTER ACTION REPORT 71st Armored Field Artillery Battalion
5 SEPT 44
Received march order and overlay from CCB. We are to support CCR's crossing of the Meuse River near Sedan. Bn moved out at 1615 in the order Bn Co, BC parties, A,FDC,C,B,Hq,Sv and, after marching 22 miles closed in position at 1915 1200 yards SW of Singley.
6 SEPT 44
In position all day awaiting the arrival of our trains. Gasoline supply exhausted - only enough for 20 miles. Unit performing necessary maintenance and care of equipment.
7 SEPT 44
Trains arrived at noon with gasoline for 150 miles. At 1545 orders arrived from Div Arty directing this unit to move in order to reinforce the 95th Armd FA Bn. At 1645 Bn moved out under exec in order A,B,C,Hq, Sv and crossed the Meuse River on the engineer pontoon bridge in Sedan and closed in position 300 yds E of
Givonne at 1920. Bn marched 27 miles. So far have marched 711.4 miles in combat.
8 SEPT 44
CCR column moved out at 1100 but made slow progress on account of demolitions, obstacles, mined areas and road blocks. 71st to leap-frog with 95th AFA Bn. Bn moved out at 1555 in the order C,B,A,Hq,Sv. The FDC was on ahead with the Bn Co and BC parties. Bn entered Belgium through the Bois De Pure Forest
between Messincourt and Chassepierre, Belgium and closed in position at 1830 1000 yds W. of Pinard S of
the Semois River. Marched 22 miles after relieving the 28th Inf Div. Bn registered and fired two time
9 SEPT 44
Bn Co, BC Parties and FDC moved out at 0855 followed by the Bn at 0900 in the order C,B,A,Hq,Sv. At 1035 the Bn closed in position 1500 yds E of Tintigny - marched 8 miles. Survey complete and Bn registered by Air OP at 1150. The column was held up by a blown bridge and mined bridge approaches. Bn Co, BC parties and FDC moved out at 1400 followed at 1410 by the Bn in order A,B,C,Hq,Sv and closed in position at 1605 400 yds SW of Habay La Neuve. Marched 8 miles. Bn moved out at 1745 in order C,B,A,HQ,Sv. Bn Co, BC parties and FDC left at 1645. Bn crossed border into Luxemburg at 1912 and closed in position 400 yds S. of Huttange Luxemburg at 1950. Bn marched 4 miles. Bn registered at 1947 and fired interdiction and harassing fires throughout the night. All roads to the N, S, and E were interdicted. Bn expended 154 rounds.
10 SEPT 44
A Btry moved out at 0820 as part of the advance guard of CCR. They followed married B. Bn Co, BC
parties and FDC moved out at 0900 followed by the Bn under the Exec in the order B,C,Hq,Sv. At 1100 A Btry in position 1/2 mile N of Mersch and Bn closed in same area at 1130 after marching 10 miles. The bridge across the Saur River in Mersch was blown just as CCR's advance guard entered the town. Bn registered by Air OP and fired 8 Bn concentrations. Expended 264 rounds. Many foot Inf and horses were killed and dispersed. Many horse drawn vehicles were destroyed along with several automotive vehicles and guns. The Air Corps also had a field day attacking the retreating German columns as they raced E to the "Fatherland".
Bn moved out by Btry at 1537 and crossed the newly
planked RR bridge in Mersch. Bn closed in temporary bivouac area 400 yds N of
Beringen at 1755. Marched 3 miles. At 1820 the Bn moved out in the order
parties, A,B,C,Hq,Sv and closed in position 2000 yds SW of Stegan and 1500 yds NW of Schrondweiler at 1937. Marched 5 miles.
11 SEPT 44
Bn relieved from reinforcing 95th AFA and now to support CCB. At 1245 the Bn Co, Surv O, Bc Parties and FDC moved out followed by Exec with the Bn. Bn departed at 1310 moved cross country to Stegan and closed in position 1000 yds S of Hoscheid at 1502. Bn marched 16 miles, went by the Brandenburg castle in the Brandenburg pass. Bn registered by Air OP at 1630. B Btry 71st AFA was the first Arty unit to fire onto
German soil. Bn fired interdiction and harassing missions throughout the night and expended 230 rounds.
22 SEPT 44
At 0415 all troops retired W of the river at Wallendorf into Luxemburg. The Div accomplished its mission - to draw all the mobile reserves from the major portion of the lst US Army front. The casualty rate in the Div. was fairly high but low in proportion to what damage was caused to personnel and vehicles of the enemy. CCR now outposting the line Ammildingen - Dillingen on the W bank of the river. The 71st to organize and man the static OPs. Bn displaced at 14l0 to positions one mile SE of Gilsdorf. Marched 3 miles. Bn registered by Air OP at 1535. Bn expended 560 rounds during the day.
23 SEPT 44
Weather rainy and foggy. Expended 208 rounds.
24 SEPT 44
Weather rainy and foggy. Expended 230 rounds.
25 SEPT 44
Weather rainy and foggy. Expended 310 rounds and neutralized two 105mm How Btrys.
26 SEPT 44
Weather rainy and foggy. Div Spec Svcs Off provided a movie film for the Bn. The movie was
Casanova Brown with Gary Cooper and Jennifer Jones. Bn expended 636 rounds.
27 SEPT 44
Bn displaced at 1400; moved in order A,B,Hq,C and closed in position 400 yds NE of Meternach at 1510. Bn marched 4 miles. At 1625 Bn registered by Air OP. At 1630 an American Red Cross Club Mobile served coffee and do-nuts to the Bn except for Sv Btry which was in Stegan 4 miles away. The Div SSO provided a
re-showing of Casanova Brown. Weather was rainy and foggy most of the day. Bn expended 535 rounds.
28 SEPT 44
Day was clear and sunny. Air OPs up all day and Bn expended 449 rounds on observed tgts. Bn has 2 ground OPs that are manned 24 hrs daily.
The 5th Armd Div will be relieved soon by the 8th and 83rd Inf. Divs which are now a part of 3rd Army but soon to be a part of the new US 9th Army. Sent truck convoy for the stored duffle bags. German JU88 bombers have flown very low over our position nightly for the past several days. They are apparently searching for our guns as we are the only ones firing from around this area.
29 SEPT 44
Rained during the night. The day was clear and sunny. Our Air Corps
P47s were out in strength. Bn expended 267 rds.
30 SEPT 44
Weather foggy, cold and rainy. Expended 225 rds.
1 OCT 44
Weather cold and foggy. Bn expended 16 rds of smoke marking targets for the P47s.
2 OCT 44
Bn now in a semi-rest period performing maintenance and care of equipment. At 0830 billeting parties left for new position area SW of Aachen in the VII Corps area. Weather clear and sunny. German Recon aircraft still flies over our area at night even though our unit is not firing. Our fires have been taken over by the 95th AFA.
4 OCT 44
Bn moved out of bivouac area at 0915 in order Hq,A,B,C,. This is an administrative move to confuse the
enemy intelligence prior to our moving to the North. Closed in bivouac area 1 mile NE of Moesdorf at 1050.
Marched 12 miles. Bn received our duffle bags and removed our overcoats. Bags will now be stored in
Luxemburg City. LnO 243, Lt Frazer, arrived from CCB at 1530 with the march order. CCB will move North at 0600 5 OCT 44. All unit markings will be covered with mud, shoulder patches to be removed or covered and radio silence will be observed during the march. 7lst to follow Hq CCB in march column. A special unit with 5th AD markings on their vehicles will move in tonight to take our place. They have a few disabled armored vehicles, and some dummy ones. They will have radio traffic and remain here until we are again committed.
5 OCT 44
Bn moved out at 0715 in order B,Hq,C,A. Sv Btry to move with CCB trains. Bn closed in position 1 mile
NE of Faymonville, Belgium. Marched 79 miles. Bn received 3 Oct 44 issue of the Stars and Stripes which contains the first disclosure of the presence of the 5th AD in combat. It was a good write-up but left out some of our deeds that we thought were of great importance.
6 OCT 44
Bn in bivouac performing necessary maintenance on equipment and material. Weather was warm with plenty of sunshine. At 1550 a formation was held for the presentation of awards by Gen Oliver, the Div Commander. Silver Stars to Lts Martin, Henschel (absent, wounded in hospital in UK), and Frazer; Bronze Stars to
Capt Wilcox, Lt Harrison (absent, wounded in hospital in UK), S/Sgt Porter, S/Sgt Clark, Cpl Dodge and
Sgt Wisnower; Air Medals to Lts Francies, Nicol, and Sorensen.
7 OCT 44
Usual camp duties of maintenance and care of equipment. Mobile clothing store was in the Div area during the day. At 1400 the Div SSO provided a movie for the Bn. The show was, "Three Men in White". The day was warm and sunny. Lt R A Smith, 754th FA Bn, brother of the Exec visited the CP.
8 OCT 44
Bn started receiving a B ration. We are now using our kitchen trucks for the first time since this unit entered combat. It is quite a change from cooking by individuals and sections. Day warm and sunny.
9 OCT 44
Bn started a regular weekly training schedule. 2nd Lts Martin and McNeese received battle field promotions to lst Lts. Day rainy, cold and foggy.
11 OCT 44
At 0830 CCB was placed on a 6 hr alert for possible move North to the vicinity of Aachen to counter a
possible German Armored counter-attack from the SE. CCB on l hr alert status at 1945. Weather was cold, cloudy and rainy.
12 OCT 44
On 6 hour alert since 0800. Day cold, cloudy and rainy.
13 OCT 44
Submitted recommendations for award of the French Croix de Guarre: Capt. Roueche, Lt Weems, and
T/Sgt Haunschild. At 1400 Bn saw the SSO provided movie, Gas Light with Ingrid Bergman and
Charles Boyer. Bn turned in two FO tanks for replacement. Received one new with Wright power and
one new with Ford Power. Day cold with intermittant sunny spells.
15 OCT 44
CC went on one hour alert at 0930. At 1230 alerted for immediate movement. RO parties left at 1345 and Bn moved out at 1535 in order C,Hq,B,A, and Sv with CCB trains. At 1730 Bn recrossed the border into Germany through anti-tank dragons teeth and AT obstacles at Lichtenbusch. Bn closed in position at 1945 1000 yds SE
of Oberforstbach and 500 yds NW of Schleckheim, Germany. Rained hard all afternoon and night. Weather muddy, cold and miserable. Only 10% of personnel have received issue of bed rolls and overshoes; all have overcoats.
1 JAN 45
At 0912 7 ME109s strafed our Bn area. They caused no casualties or damages. Our attached AAAW shot down 5 of them.
2 JAN 45
Ln #3, Lt Alexander Frazer and Sgt Harold Freeman were killed on 28 Dec in Verviers, by a German bomb. They were at the 77th Evac Hosp taking a shower. A German Jet Propelled ME262 dropped the bomb.
8 JAN 45
Bn Exec returned to duty from 15th Gen Hosp in Liege. CWO Tipton appointed 2nd Lt on Battlefield
19 JAN 45
Major Wills released from assignment to 71st and ordered to 3rd Armd Div. Lts Francies, Sorensen and McWain promoted to lst Lts.
20 JAN 45
Lt Ray Smith 754th FA Bn, brother of the Exec, visited overnight. Lt Barry promoted to lst Lt.
25 JAN 45
At 0600 Bn received orders to join CCA on projected move to vicinity of Roetgen. Bn now in XIX CORPS.
26 JAN 45
At 0900 Bn CO, Surv O and BC Parties left on reconn. 71 AFA assigned to reinforce the fires of 308th FA Bn of the 78th Inf Div Arty. CCA to take the towns of Konzen, Lammersdorf, Imgenbroich and Eicherscheid. Bn moved out at 1100 in the order of C,Hq,B,A,Sv and closed in an assembly area behind the positions at 1510. The position area is 2000 yds N of Lammersdorf. The 903rd FA Bn wsa occupying our positions and not to move out until tomorrow. Our Hq Btry doubled with them in their Hq area and the Btrys bivouaced in over a foot of snow. Our 6th time into Germany.
27 JAN 45
At 1300 Btrys of the 903rd FA Bn had cleared and our Btrys were closed in position. Bn CP in a German Concrete pillbox. B Btry registered at 1410. Three observers were sent out at 1800 to OPs in the vicinity of Simmerath and Kesternach.
28 JAN 45
Bn expended 101 rds on harassing and interdiction fires.
30 JAN 45
Expended 90 rds.
31 JAN 45
The 78th Div and CCA 5th AD took their objectives at 1100. Bn expended 701 rds. Bn has now expended a total of 41,800 rds in combat.
1 FEB 45
Received fone call from 78th Div Arty at 0714 which relieved us from reinforcing their fires. We now revert to support of CCB. At 1000 Bn moved out in order Hq,A,B,C,Sv and at 1245 closed in position at Montzen, Belgium. All personnel in the Bn were put into billets. Tech Sgt Haunschild appointed 2nd Lt on battlefield
5 FEB 45
At 1830 Bn moved out in order Hq,A,B,C,Sv under the Exec and as a part of CCB. Bn closed in position
in Kunrade, Holland at 2200. All personnel putinto billets. All vehicular markings and shoulder patches were
removed. Units received new code names and made new unit signs prior to the move.
We are now in XVI Corps of the 9th US Army.
7 FEB 45
As of 1300 today we are now in XIII Corps, 9th Army, 21st Army Group.