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FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION
The menu below provides a detailed history of this unit from the official Operational Reports obtained from the National Archives. It includes an official report of the training of the unit during 1942 and some stories of combat as told by my Dad and his friend, Lt. Sullivan, at a reunion of this unit.
The 328th Field Artillery Battalion is one of the 3 artillery units that made up the artillery support of the 85th Custer Division. The 328th Field Artillery(or FA) Battalion trained at Camp Shelby, MS and entered combat in May 1944 with the Custer Division. They participated in capture of Rome, attack of the Gothic Line, heavy fighting in the Appenine Mountains, crossing of the Po River and drive to the Alps.
The 85th Division consisted of 328th, 329th, 403rd and 910th FA Battalions. A typical Battalion consisted of 3 batteries, each containing four 105mm howitzers. The 403FA Battalion was a medium battery that fired 155mm Howitzers. Each battery was sighted in together and could fire at same targets simultaneously after initial ranging shot. In July of 1944, two additional guns were added to the battery. Later, a group of self-propelled artillery was designated as Battery "D" of 328th FA Battalion.
Also, generally, one artillery battalion was assigned to one infantry regiment and one battery was assigned to a specific infantry battalion (or 4 infantry companies). Thus, 328th FA was assigned to support the 337th Infantry Regiment and Battery B was assigned to support 2nd Battalion of that Regiment. However, due to the fluidity of the battle command, this changed a lot as the groups rotated through reserve status.
Staff Sergeant Newton F. Cole, Battery B, at his Observation Post somewhere in Italy.
Main Menu of 328th FA Battalion
Origin in WW1 - Brief history and photos from World War I.
Group Photo of HQ Battery from WW1.
Re-activation in WW2 - Brief history of early formation and organizaton at Camp Shelby.
DUI Pin & Flag - (or see below) - Unit Crest of 328FA as displayed on uniform and flag.
Operational Reports - Monthly Reports of 328th FA's action in Italy obtained from the National Archives.
General Order Table of Orders issued by 328th FA Battalion; includes names of members.
Examples: General Order No 1 & General Order No 10 and Scanned Orders(PDF forma)
Stories from Italy - by Sgt. N. F. Cole and Lt. W. E. Sullivan and other veterans.
Photo of Battery HQ - Group photo of Headquarters Battery of 328FA dated 1943.
Photo of Battery A - Group photo provided by family of Major George Biggs.
Photo of Battery B - Group photo taken December 1943 before departure for Italy.
Includes Roster with Names, rank & serial number.
Photo of Battery C - Group photo of Captain Dempsey's battery.
Photo of Service Battery - A smaller unit that maintained the equipment.
Officers of 328th FA - A Group photo & a complied list of all officers of 328FA.
Duties of a Battery Detail - Quote from a 1939 Artillery Field Manual.
Lieutenant Bill Neubel(far left) and Lt. B.B. Darnell(far right) pose with men of the 328th FA.
Photo courtesy of Bill Dempsey, son of Lt. Bill Dempsey, Battery C, and the nephew of Lt. Neubel.
Other Related Links
Camp Shelby - History of this basic training camp and modern museum.
Desert Training Center - History of the camp for desert warfare training.
310th Engineer Battalion - History of support unit.
Biography of S/Sgt Newton F. Cole of Battery B.
Biography of 1st Sergeant Erich Bauch of Battery B.
Biography of S/Sgt Walter Keane of Battery A.
Biography of Captain William Dempsey of Battery C.
Biography of PFC Clarence Mills of HQ Battery.
WW1 Group Photo of 328 Field Artillery, HQ Battery
328th Field Artillery Battalion
The DUI pin for the 328th Field Artillery was a brass pin with red enamel. The pin has a band forming an inverted "V", which contained 13 shells. Below this was a rams' horn and the motto: "WE ARE READY".
Explanation of pin: Red is the traditional color for the artillery. The ram's horn refers to the Battle of Little Big Horn and General George Custer, which ties this unit to the 85th 'Custer' Division that was formed at Camp Custer, Michigan during WW1. The 13 shells can represent both the 85th Division and the 328th FA Battalion. By summing the number 3+2+8 or the number 8+5, the total will still add up to 13.
DUI Pin of the 328FA pin. This one is made of brass and
the Ram's Horn is gold colored.
The pin attaches with a horizontal pin with clasp. I have seen
a version that has the screw & nut attachment.
Another example of the 328FA pin that is typical for a pre-war
design. This DUI is a little different style with curved side to shield
and Horn is reversed. It does not have a banner under the
shield with the motto.
Three different styles were produced. I'm trying to research
this pin to find out when it was made and when(or if) it was
worn by the military.
A posed photo of PFC Finnis Treadway, Battery B, of Moulton, AL. This photo was taken with his brother but I have edited him out of the picture.
PFC Treadway is wearing a 328 FA DUI pin on only one of his lower lapels. The round pins on the upper lapel are the "US" & artillery collar devices. A marksmanship badge is pinned to his pocket flap. This is the only photo record that I have seen of a soldier wearing the 328FA DUI pin.
PFC Treadway is not wearing the DUI correctly. The DUI pin is optional, but if worn, then one is centered on each lower lapel. The DUI in the photo is too low and only one is shown. It may also be worn on the overseas cap, in place of the "US" disc.
My guess is that he was wearing the DUI pin on his overseas cap. When he posed for this photo with his visor cap, he quickly decided to take the pin off of his overseas cap and temporarily pin it to his uniform.
Insert - closeup of DUI pin.
Photo provided by Midshipman Matthew Roberts, grandson of Finnis Treadway. Matt is currently a cadet at the Merchant Marine Academy in NY---when he is not at sea.
A nice photo of Sgt Condon E. Davis, Battery B, of Decatur TN. In this photo, Sergeant Davis is wearing the dress uniform with the rank of Sergeant and the 328FA DUI pins on his lower lapels. He is wearing the rank of Sergeant but no campaign ribbons. This is the only photo that I have seen of a soldier wearing these DUI's.
The photo is not clear enough to see details of the pin, except the inverted chevron. Sgt Davis was a member of the 328FA and he was mentioned in Sgt. Cole's photo album.
This photo was probably taken at his last visit to his home in November 1943 before the 85th Division shipped out for Europe.
For more examples of DUI pins worn by units that served in Italy, go to: DUI Pins.
Flag of the 328th Field Artillery Battalion
Flag is made of a light silk material with gold fringe. It contains the Coat of Arms of the 328FA in the center and the motto on a banner clenched in the mouth of the eagle. Above is the Minute Man statue that denotes a National Guard unit.
The story behind this flag is amazing. Flags such as this were issued to rifle companies, artillery battalions, quartermaster companies and other units. When the unit was deactivated, the flags were usually retired and placed in storage. Some may have made their way to a muesum or returned to the Quarter Master Museum at Fort Lee, VA. In most cases, the location of many flags is probably unknown to anyone in the Army.
Sgt. Keane was a member of Battery A of the 328FA. After the war was over, he and about 10 other men were selected to take a 10-day vacation to Nice, France. When they returned, they found that the 328FA and the 85th Division had shipped out for home in late August 1945. Eventually, Sgt. Keane caught a ship home and arrived in Virginia.
When they disembarked off the ship, they entered a large warehouse where everything on the ships had been unloaded. Soldiers were dumping their old uniforms and boots as well as crates of other items from the other ships docked in the port. Sgt. Keane spotted the both flags of the 328FA lying on the floor. One was the artillery flag shown above and the other was the National Flag. He retrieved the flags and packed them away in his duffle bag.
Photos submitted by Patricia Corbett
US Army News Photo15 FEB 45 5/MM-45-2392
Official US Signal Corps photo
Photo Caption reads:
FIFTH ARMY, RAMAGNOLA AREA, ITALY
GUN CREW OF 105 MM HOWITZER, BATTERY B, 328TH F.A. BN., 85TH DIV., RELOADING GUN TO FIRE ON GERMAN POSITIONS IN THE APENNINE MOUNTAINS SOUTH OF CASTEL S. PIETRO ON HIGHWAY #9.
PHOTO BY HARTMAN
3131 SIGNAL SERVICE CO.
Note: Ramagnola is ~26Km south of Castel San
Compare the details of the photo above with this one.
Note the shack made out of ammo crates and the GI's reading the newspaper.
An Action photo of 328th Field Artillery Battalion.
Photo shows a crude shelter with a stove pipe sticking out the top.
A 105mm firesIn the background, while two GI's read the newspaper.
Photo is on display at the Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby, MS.
Photo of Battery A taken at Ramagnola probably the same day as the above photos were taken.
Photo was snapped at the instance two guns fired. You can see emplacements for 4 guns.
Photo courtsey of Alan Biggs, son of Major George Biggs, XO of 328FA
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