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Dated: Aug 11,  2007

328TH Field Artillery

National Archives Records

Main Menu of Operational Reports

    In 1970, John Regan obtained a copy of 328th Field Artillery Battalion Operations Report from National Archives, contained in 42 pages. During the war, the 328th FA Battalion issued a report each month with a general overview of the events at the front and locations they placed their artillery. I obtained from National Archives the general orders for the 328th FA Battalion. These contained memos that relates to training, promotions, commendations, and even demotions. The only commendations that the Battalion was authorized to issue were the Good Conduct Medal and the Purple Heart. I've included a few samples of the memos.
    The complete set of Operation Reports is included here that covers every month from April 1944 to May 1945. Since all Operational Reports are in this one file, you can search through them for names or places by using the "find in page" feature in your internet software.
    Some pages had a large de-classification "CANCELED" stamp dated 1946. Some of the monthly reports have references to footnotes. Since most footnotes only stated "attached appendix" which was not included, I've omitted these footnotes. I've included a few that have documents identified. Also, the last few reports have a number in parenthesis after a geographical location, which refers to a map coordinate.
   Some operational reports include names of individuals, who were killed or promoted, which I've highlighted in bold face for ease of search. Other names & events I consider interesting or important are also highlighted or underlined. The Italian names of geographical places were double and tripled checked for spelling errors. I did make a few minor spelling and punctuation changes from the original (my spell checker got the upper hand). My personal comments are included in {blue brackets}.
    I would like to dedicate this page to John J. Regan of Massachusetts, a member of 328th FA, HQ Company. He was very active in the reunion efforts of the 337th Regiment and Attached Units for many years. He was very dedicated about contacting and writing the veterans and their families and was a real inspiration to all.
                                                                                                               Steve Cole

      Operations Report of  328th Field Artillery Battalion
Letter 1970 Letter explaining how documents were obtained from NARA. For reference only.  A photo image file.
First Year
Brief History of acitvation of 328th FA.  Training in USA- 1943.
April 1944  April 11 - Setup in combat area  Cava di Calcare, Italy
May 1944 May 11 - Offensive starts. Day-by-day account of events and places.  First month of combat saw 407 fire missions
June 1944  Liberation of Rome, June 4.  
July 1944 Div. Rest Area at Castel Porziano and
Foro Mussolini
Baseball series
August 1944
    2 parts
More rest and Army beer.  Arno Front.
6-gun battery & D-Battery.
Baseball championship.
Italians friends & foe.
September Attack on Gothic Line
Crossing swollen Santerno River.
Firenzuola & Gigio Pass
October Heavy fighting at Il Futa Pass.
Heavy casualties among Forward Observers.
Sgt Cole described as "Worst week of my life"
November Rest and re-calibrate guns.
Silver Star Commendation PFC Viall.
6-Month Summary of medals and ammo.
Good GI humor.
Montecatini Rest Center
December 44
Rest period during Christmas. On alert at Lucca & with 92 Div.
January 1945 More action with 92nd Div and IV Corps Battery "D" added. 
February 45  Successful firing missions against German patrols and tanks  
March 1945  Attached to British XIII Corps  Support of 10th Indian Div.

April 1945
 Mad dash across Po Valley to the Alps and not enough targets to fire at.  Po River crossing. Voltaccio, Nuvolato, Verona, Vicenza
May 1945  Armored task force pursue into Mountains. Prisoners taken.  Quiet of peace. 
Dazed disbelief.
 June 1945  Leave, Tours, Education and Sports.
 Calm after the storm.
 July 1945 Troop transfers and Re-organization.
 Peace-- but still the Army.
August 1945 Preparations to go home.
General Order #1 A typical order awarding Good Conduct medal(ribbon only).  Dated Feb. 24, 1944.
General Order #9 A typical order awarding Purple Heart, including Lt. W. Sullivan. Dated July 7, 1944 
(A photo image file.)
General Order #10  A list of many men of 328th FA awarded Good Conduct Medal  Dated July 10, 1944

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April 1944

1 JANUARY 1943 – 31 DECEMBER 1943
(2 May 1944)

     The Battalion started the New Year of 1943 with a series of Regimental Combat Team exercises on 2 January 1943.  These were completed about the middle of February and we started “D” Series Maneuvers approximately 21 February 1943.

    On 10 March 1943, Major Emmette Y. Burton, Jr. was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

    The Battalion left with the Division on 6 April 1943 for Louisiana Maneuvers, changing stations from Camp Shelby, Mississippi to Kurthwood, LouisianaManeuvers against the 93rd Infantry Division started 12 April 1943 and were completed 6 June 1943.

     Another change of stations occurred at this time, the Battalion leaving the Division on 19 June 1043.  Arrived at new station, Camp Pilot Knob, California, 11 miles west of Yuma, Arizona, 22 June 1943.

     Small unit, preliminary desert training was carried on for approximately a month.  At this time, 13 August 1943, the Battalion again moved with the Division to new station at Camp Coxcomb, California.  Desert training continued and the Division phase of Desert Maneuvers was begun.  Several officers were assigned to the Battalion as overstrength during this period.

     After nine days of this training, desert maneuvers were called off as we received new change of station orders on 27 September 1943.

     We moved to preliminary staging area on 6 October 1943 and arrived at Fort Dix, New Jersey 10 October 1943.  Outfitting, equipping and other staging preliminaries were carried on until 17 December 1943 when we left for Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia.  Overstrength officers were dropped at this time.  Arrived 18 December 1943, completed staging operations and the Battalion boarded the U.S.S. General A. E. Anderson on 24 December 1943.

    The evening of 31 December 1943 found the 488 Enlisted Men, 2 Warrant Officers and 30 Officers of the Battalion on the high seas, at last, headed for combat.
{In the book, "The Ghost Raiders", it describes the rescue of American POWs on the Philippines by a Ranger Battalion in 1945.  It said that the USS General Alexander E. Anderson was used to return the POWs to San Francisco.  The movie "The Raid" was based on this book and at the end of the movie are actual film footage of the USS General Alexander E. Anderson bringing home the POWs. }


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April 1944
APO 85, U.S. Army
28 May 1944

2300, 11 April 1944 - 2400, 30 April 1944.

    The battalion left Mt. Massico, Italy and arrived in the combat area of Cava di Calcare, Italy at 2300, 11 April 1944. On 12 April 1944 the Battalion Commander registered battery "B"on a base point and check point. That same day Batteries "A" and "B" had their OP's shelled with no damage resulting. On 23 April 1944 Brigadier Generals Sloan and Crane visited our Command Post. At 1050, 24 April 1944 the enemy registered artillery on the battalion area. At 1315 that same day, the enemy shelled batteries "B" and "C" with their artillery resulting in two (2) casualties in Battery "C" and three (3) in Battery "B". The enemy continued harassing fire the remainder of the day and night which resulted in five (5) casualties in Battery "B". On 28 April 1944 "C" Battery received light shelling of five rounds with no damage resulting. On 30 April 1944, thirteen rounds of enemy artillery fire fell in the battalion area - no damage.

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May 1944
APO 85, U.S. Army
17 June 1944

0001, 1 May 1944 - 2400, 31 May 1944

On 2 May l944, the Fifth Army Commander inspected the battalion. The battalion area was again shelled by enemy artillery on 3 May 1944.

On 6 May1944 Headquarters Battery displaced to Minturno, Italy; the firing batteries remaining at Cava di Calcare. On 7 May 1944 the battalion was relieved from direct support of the 337th Infantry Regiment and was reverted to general support, reinforcing the fires of the 329th Field Artillery Battalion. On 9 May 1944 Battery "A" gun positions were shelled by enemy artillery destroying 270 rounds of ammunition and starting a large fire in the battery area. That same day Battery "A" received two (2) casualties from mortar fire at their OP.

From 2300 to 2345, 11 May 1944 the battalion participated in the artillery preparation for the Fifth Army main front Offensive. Battery "B" received a few scattered rounds of enemy artillery after the preparation was fired; no damage. On l2 May 1944 Battery "C" area was shelled resulting in two (2) casualties. On the same day the fire of the battalion broke up counter attacks on Hill 66 and Hill 109, two of the strongest points in the zone. First battalion 337th Infantry took Hill 66 but had very little strength left. Battalion fired barrage in front of them allowing reinforcements to come up. Santa Maria fell to the 88th Infantry Division.

On 13 May 1944, another counter attack on Hill 66 was broken up by our fire. Hill 131 was taken. Enemy withdrew to Scauri.

On 14 May 1944 at 0200 our troops forced to withdraw from hills 131 and 85. At 0705 both were retaken. Small counter attacks on hill 66 again broken up by our fire. Mt. Braucci fell. At 1730 our troops took hills 108 and 80. The 88th Division took Cape D'Acqua.

On 15 May l944 the battalion reverted to direct support of the 337th Infantry. On 16 May 1944 the battalion displaced from Minturno, Italy to the vicinity of Mt. Penitro, Italy. On 18 May 1944 the battalion again displaced to Maranola, Italy after the fall of Castelonerata. On 19 May 1944 the attack continued, Formia and Gaeta falling to cur troops. Advance halted and Command Post was established at Stazione d'Itri. Infantry and light tanks taking Itri.

On 21 May 1944 the battalion reverted to direct support of the 337th Infantry. The battalion moved to vicinity of Fondi. Commanding General 85th Infantry Division and Commanding General II Corps visited the command post. Battalion displaced to vicinity of San Biagie at 2015 after that town had fallen to the 337th Infantry.

On 22 May 1944 battalion went into general support reinforcing fires of the 910th Field Artillery Battalion; 337th infantry placed in reserve. At 1820the battalion again went into direct support of the 337th infantry when they were committed to Terricina zone. Battalion moved to vicinity 3000 yards south of Mt. Croce. Battalion fired large concentration on cemetery north of Terricina.

Next day, 24 May, 1944 Terricina fell. Battalion reverted to general support.

On 25 May 1944 the battalion moved into position at Cas Pelligrini. Battalion was attached to 6th Field Artillery Group.

On 26 May the battalion left its position and moved to Cavi di Pietra.

On 27 May 1944 our infantry took Sezze, Mt. Trivi and Mt. Nero. Division was pulled out of the line and moved to an area in vicinity of Sabaudia for re-equiping

On 28 May l944 the Corps Commander spoke to the officers of the division and presented medals to a number of officers and enlisted men. S/Sgt Slaughter of Battery "B" received the Bronze Star.  {Ira Slaughter attended the 1986 Reunion, see photo.}

On 29 May 1944 the battalion arrived in old 3rd division area five (5) miles northwest of Cori, Italy. Battalion was in general support of 39th Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division.

The battalion was assigned the mission of reinforcing fires of 10th Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division and fired a number of missions for them. Battery "B" received five (5) rounds enemy artillery but had no damage or casualties.

On 31 May 1944 the battalion was in direct support of 337th and made preparation fires for continuance of the attack. Preparation on Lariano not fired as our patrols entered the town. Advance continued. Able forward observer, Lt. Usvolk, slightly wounded.

That night enemy planes bombed the battalion area and strafed Able battery but no damage was reported. Twenty-two (22) missions were fired during the 24-hour period. For the thirty-one (31) day period fifteen thousand and eighty (15,080) rounds were expended on four hundred and seven (407) missions.

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June 1944
APO 85, U.S. Army
17 June 1944

0001, 1 JUNE 1944   -   2400, 10 JUNE 1944.

    On 1 June 1944, Division Artillery Commanding General visited the Command Post. The battalion moved to a position one-half (1/2) mile east of Lariano after that city fell to our infantry. Valamontone reported as surrendering to us and highway six (6) was cut.

    At 2200 "A" Battery position was strafed by enemy plane with no damage reported. Nine hundred and five (905) rounds expended on seventeen (17) missions.

    On 2 June at about 0300 battalion command post was bombed but no damage resulted. One thousand five hundred and thirty-seven (1537) rounds expended on fifty two (52) missions. As a result of excellent observation on Castelaccio, Jerry was on the run and presented many targets for us. Battalion moved to Mt. Castelaccio.

    On 3 June the Commanding General Division Artillery visited the command post. The battalion moved to a position one-half (1/2) mile south of Rocca Priora.

    Rocca Priora and Monteporzi both fell. Our infantry continued their advance heading directly toward Rome stopping short five(5) miles southwest of it, near Roma Vecchia on 4 June 1944. American forces entered Rome the night of 4-5 June 1944.

    Enemy continued to withdraw with practically no resistance. Battalion moved to area eight (8) miles North of Rome along highway #2.

    On 7 June the battalion moved to a position south of Monterosi and later moved to a position two (2) miles north of Monterosi after that town fell.

    On 8 June, the command post was visited by Commanding General Division Artillery. Battalion remained in same position until 10 June 1944 at which time the Division was relieved from operations.

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July 1944
APO 85, U.S. Army
4 August 1944

1 JULY 1944 to 31 JULY 1944

    During the first two weeks of this month, the battalion remained in the Division Rest Area at Castel Porziano, west of Rome, and just south of the Via Ostense.

    The daily schedule of calisthenics, foot-drill, classes and section training, continued each morning, with maintenance, care and cleaning of materiel, organized games and swimming, each afternoon. The athletic period extended from 1430 to 1700, in accordance with the practice established when the battalion entered the rest area the previous month.

    The policy of giving the greatest possible number of one-day passes to Rome was continued, subject only to the limitations of the Division quota; and an effort was made to distribute these as equitably as possible among the batteries. Within the batteries, they were allotted to the men at the discretion of the chiefs of section.

    A limited number of four-day passes to the Fifth Army Rest Center at Foro Mussolini were also granted. Both officers and men had at least two days each in Rome, counting passes issued in the latter part of June, and some who had been to the Rest Center had as many as six days in the city.

    Headquarters Battery continued to defeat all comers at soft-ball, losing only four games out of twenty-five to thirty played during their stay at Castel Porziano. They won the Battalion and Division Artillery championships, and their claim to 85th Division championship was unchallenged, although no competition for this title was arranged.
    The battalion had its best opportunity to get its clothing in good condition since coming to Italy. Duffle bags were returned to the men, and "Mamma Mia" laundry service was easily obtained. However, the quartermaster Bath and Clothing Exchange Unit was made available to us on several occasions, and most men preferred to use its facilities.

    In spite of the relaxation from front line conditions, discipline and morale remained high. As was to be expected, a few men overstayed Rome passes by a few hours, and had to be disciplined, but these were cases of "lateness". No man deliberately stayed away.

    On July 10th, just before leaving to move into reserve closer to the front, Headquarters Battery suffered a very regrettable accident, when a vehicle bringing three men back from Rome overturned on a curve. Private John Spagnolo, South Bend, Indiana, was instantly killed; Private First Class William S. Dugger, Jacksonville, Florida, was seriously injured; and Private Albert B. Wright, of Frostberg, Maryland, was slightly hurt.

    On the morning of July 14th, the battalion broke camp at Castel Porziano, leaving duffle bags in storage.

    In the afternoon we began to move northwards on the coast road, travelling in convoy to Grossetto, then turning inward to Roccostrada. We arrived after midnight and bivouacked in an olive grove beneath the town.

    In this position the drill schedule was made more rigorous, with the addition of foot-marches.

    Movies were still permitted in this area, which was still well short of the front, but swimming, while permitted, was impractical because of the distance to the nearest beach at Follonica.

    The weather in Roccostrada was very hot, interrupted by one violent rainstorm. The heat and the very dusty ride from Rome made a "shower detail" to the quartermaster Laundry very welcome.
    {On 17 July, two additional 105mm howitzers were added to each battery of the 328th, 329th, and 910th Field Artillery Battalions.  This was the first time any artillery batteries had operated with a total of 6 guns each. (Reference: "The 85th Custer Division", P. Schultz, page 113)  }

    On the morning of July 19th the battalion again moved north through beautiful country to a bivouac near Rosignano in Marittimo. This town had been the scene of a very difficult three-day battle, and the fields, as far as the eye could see, were marked with closely spaced shell holes.

    Our new position, just inside the Corps Light Line, was in a gravel pit, and on its surrounding hills.

    Although still a considerable distance from the front, we could see the flashes of our big guns, and hear heavy artillery barrages from the direction of Pisa and Leghorn.

    Enemy planes frequently flew over our area at night, and about eleven o'clock on the evening of July 21st, bombs were dropped and casualties inflicted on a unit only three miles away.

    At Rosignano, the drill schedule was further tightened, to continue the process of reconditioning the battalion for front line service, after its rest. Two hour hikes, in the heat of the day were ordered, with this purpose in view.
     {On 29 July, the 776th Tank Destroyer Battalion was added to the Divisional Artillery.  Later, this unit would become Battery "D" of the 328th Field Artillery Battalion.  See August 13th entry in next report.}

    Within the Corps Light Line, movies were no longer available, but a limited number of men were able to go to Lily Pon's concert at Cecina, on July 30th.

    Swimming facilities were within reach at Rosignano Solvay, about three miles away, and the men were also able to use the quartermaster Bath and Clothing Exchange.

    On the morning of July 31st the battalion moved eastward, in convoy, to a new position about six miles north of Volterra. This left us about the same distance from the front, but in the Florence sector, rather than in the Leghorn-Pisa area.

    The new bivouac, half a mile from the highway, over dirt farm roads, was in rolling valley land, and the battalion was well dispersed in orchards, and in patches of bushes bordering oat fields. The area presented excellent concealment for both vehicles and men.

  During the whole of July, the giving of four-day passes to Foro Mussolini continued. The battalion remained in reserve, but during the latter part of the month, gradually moved closer to the front, the end of the month finding them centrally located behind the lines, so placed that they could be easily dispatched to any sector of the Fifth Army Front. A desire to return to the front was widely expressed by both men and officers.
{ Foro Mussolini - Originally the plush resort for the Fascists in Rome, this resort was taken over by the US Army and became known as the 5th Army Rest Center.}

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August 1944  Part 1
APO 85, U.S. Army,
9 September 1944

1 AUGUST 1944 to 15 AUGUST 1944

    From the first to the fifteenth of August, the battalion remained in bivouac in a farm valley, six miles northeast of Volterra, Italy. Although within the "Corps Light Line", and the sounds of the guns, we were well out of range of enemy gunfire.

    Semi-permanent pup-tent installations were made, and our program of preparation to reenter the line was continued. The daily schedule consisted of calisthenics, foot-drill, and section training each morning, with care and cleaning of materiel, and organized games each afternoon.

    A Quartermaster Bath and Clothing Exchange was made available, but as it was south of Stazione di Volterra, the round trip was just under thirty miles, and because of the dusty roads, the men were as dirty after their bath as before.

    During our stay in this bivouac, Special Service announced a Fifth Army Baseball Championship, and it was at first decided to choose one man from each organization in the Division, to represent the 85th. However, as Headquarters Battery of our Battalion had already defeated almost all opposition within the Division, we asked for an elimination tournament. A play-off was arranged, and a battalion team, composed of eight men from Headquarters Battery and one man each from "C" and "B" batteries, won the Division title, defeating the 310th Medical Battalion in the finals. In order to present the strongest possible combination from the Division, the best players of the defeated entrants were drafted for the 85th Division team, and the final lineup contained six men from Headquarters Battery, one from Battery "B" and one from Battery "C", 328th Field Artillery Battalion; one man from the 85th Reconnaissance, and one man from the 310th Medical Battalion.

    In a very close game, the Division Champions, composed mostly of men from the 328th was defeated one to nothing by the Second Corps Champions, ending a very successful baseball season.

    The new radio, supplied to the Battalion, by Special Service, was adjusted for use as a battery set, and with the war news apparently bringing victory closer every day, intense interest was shown in all news broadcasts. As usual at such times, rumors started easily, and some of the more optimistic managed to stay a week to ten days ahead of the news. In this regard, the German radio always gave us the news of Allied progress before the more conservative official announcements from the British Broadcasting Corporation, which confirmed German admissions as much as three to four days later. On one occasion, "Stars and Stripes", depending on a German broadcast, announced the fall of Chartres, and described the American entry into the city some three days before the town was officially in Allied hands.

    Throughout the Battalion, Battery Funds were drawn upon to purchase a beer ration for all personnel. The beer, when it arrived turned out to be Schaeffer's and Rheingold, packed especially for army export, in "keg-lined" cans. It was definitely the best beer any of us had since leaving home.

    On August 8th, a reconnaissance and survey party went forward to examine a new forward position, but after awaiting orders for six days, this disposition near Montelupo, was cancelled, and a new reconnaissance was made near S. Miniato. [Note 1]

    On August 13th, our Battalion was given two truck-drawn three inch guns, and personnel was drawn from all five batteries, to man them. They were commanded by a sergeant, and as "Dog Battery", they subsequently gave an excellent account of themselves, despite very little practice with their weapon.

    On the night of August 15th, the Battalion moved out, in convoy, to a temporary assembly area at Pod'e Guado, preparatory to moving into the Allied Line near S. Miniato. [note 2]

    This training and rest period just completed was an extension of the rest period employed by us upon completion of the march from Minturno to the north of Rome. It however was not just a rest and training period but a period of plans for future operations. There were many false starts and moves that seemed pointless and unnecessary to the officers and enlisted men of the battalion but later proved themselves a part of the grand scheme of deception on the part of the Mediterranean forces.

    The movement and planning stage are exemplified by the Pistoia Plan [note 3] and the additional scramble plan in which the 328th was to be part of a task force if resistance were light after the crossing of the Arno. [note 4].

1 - Movement Order #4
2 - Advance party for Relief
3 - Pistoia Plan
4 - Scramble Plan


August 1944  Part 2

APO 85, U.S. Army,
  11September 1944

15 AUGUST 1944 to 31 AUGUST 1944

      Leaving the bivouac area northeast of Volterra at 2335, 15 August, 1944, the Battalion proceeded in convoy to an assembly area at Pod'e Guado, arriving about 0400 the following morning.(1)  A forward party continued to the new position to dig in installations, and the Battalion as a whole moved up the following night.  While travelling east, on a road roughly paralleling the front, two heavy German shells exploded just behind our column.  It is believed that these were part of a regular harrassing mission, rather than observed fire on our convoy.
    The new Battalion position was just southwest of S. Miniato, in a broad deep valley, in intensely cultivated grape and fruit country.
    Because all the buildings in the vicinity were inhavited, not only by the rightful occupants, but by many refugees as well, our Battalion Command Post was set up in a tent, with protective slit trenches inside it.
    Our mission to defend the Arno River along the front of the 337th Infantry.(2) 
    We had attached to us a major (white), and three other officers (colored), together with seeral colored non-commissioned officers, from the 92nd (Negro) Division, shortly thereafter to go into the line for the first time.  The three colored officers stayed with the firing battries, but the major and two colored non-commissioned officers, an Operations Sergeant and a Horizontal Control Operator, remained in Fire Direction Center, studying combat operations.
    Our area of fire extended from a line just short of the Arno, to Castelfranco on the west, and the Elsa River on the east.
    In addition to our own eighteen 105 MM. Howitzers, and two 3 inch Guns, we had attached to us one Platoon of tank Destroyers, and one Battery of British heavy anti-aircraft guns, converted ground attack.  A Battery of Newfoundland 18-pound Field Artillery, which later took over our fires, also had positions in our area.
   For the added protection of our area, 5th Army also attached a Platoon of the 105th A.A.A.
   This new assigment gave the Battalion its first opportunity to put the new six-gun battery to test since its authorization.  The circumstance and situation did not in any way tend to fully prove the practicability of the six-gun battery, primarily because of the drastic cutting of ammunition allowances and the quietness of the sector.  However, if was found that the additional guns and vehicles presented no additional problem to movement and created only a little more trouble in selection of position.  Communication problems were in no way increased by the addition, nor was the length of time of survey affected in anyway.
   The effectiveness of fire was increased by half giving sudden effective fire of short duration and heavy volume on targets undertaken by surprise fire.  One battery has the effect of half a Battalion of ordinary light artillery without the problems of coordination.  The possibilities of having tremendous fire-power ready for other emergencies that may crop up at the time one battery is attacking a target can not be over-looked.
   We adjusted our batteries, and fired effectively on many enemy targets, starting several fires.  One concentration, according to an Italian who crossed into our lines from German-held territory, caused sixty casualties.
    The British 164th Field Artillery Regiment, composed of Newfoundland troops, also adjusted through the facilities of our Fire Direction Center, using a Division Artillery plans for observation.  During our stay in this area, the British officers were frequent visitors to our Command Post.
   On the night of August 19th, a concentration of approximately forty 170mm German shells fell in our area, just short of Able Battery.  Only about one in five exploded with noticeable concussion, and it was at first believed that most of them were duds.  However, in the opinion of an Ordnance Bomb Disposal officer, they were Fuse Delay shells which buried themselves so far in the soft ground that their explosion was so far beneath the surface that the sound was completely muffled.  In support of this theory, no duds were found at the time, although one was discovered later.  Those that did explode on the surface caused no damage, except for a shell hole in the road to Able Battery gun position.  From that time on, from five to ten shells came into the area almost every night, but they were widely scattered, and no damage was caused.
   On the 22nd of August we furnisehed on officer and four enlisted men with observing equipment to operate a flash base in the division sector.  The purpose was to improve corps surveillance for enemy artillery that was becoming more active.  The results of this venture are unknown. (3)
    Our Able and Baker Forward Observation Posts were in the town of S. Miniato, which was shelled frequently both day and night, but luckily none of our installations were hit, and we had no casualties.  Our Charlie OP, in a very exposed position, on high ground over-looking the Arno, was also shelled frequently, without damage.
    Our last day in the S. Miniato area, the Germans fired two high bursts, adjusting on the Newfoundland 18-pounders, but their subsequent concentration landed in a field, doing no damage.
   Early in the occupation of this position, an Italian youth, Didi Renzo, whose home was in S. Croce, across the Arno, volunteered through our Battalion, to lead a patrol across the river into German-held territory.  He gave much authentic information about the German dispositions, although he told us nothing we did not already know.  His offer was not accepted.
   On two occasions, a light believed to be signaling, was observed on the top of a hill to the south-west of our position.  Patrols sent to investigate could find no one, but on August 22nd a local Carabinieri reported that a man, known to be a fascist, and of whom they were all afraid, had been flashing a light from the church tower on top of the hill, and that every time he had done so, he had drawn German fire.  The Carbinieri sent their informant to us and we sent out a patrol under the guidance of an anti-fascist Italian.  He led the patrol to a supply of hand grenades which he said belonged to the man in question, but the man himself could not be found.  As we were leaving, we returned the case to the local Carabinieri.  {Carabinieri were a special Italian police force.}
   On the 24th of August all units were notified that the division was to be relieved and pulled back to a rest area during the nights of 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th. (4-5)  After clearance of the Division, the Division Artillery was to move into position to support the attack plan as outlined in Operations Memorandum #22. (5) 
   On August 28th, a forward party went ahead to the position originally assigned to us near Monelupo.  The Battalion followed the same day, leaving at 2115, and arriving at 0005, 29 August.  (3-4)
    The guns were placed in a valley, and the Battalion Command Post was set up in a house belonging to the Benini family, on the crest of a ridge.
    None of the positions could be reached without coming under direct enemy observation from Mount Albano, and the Command Post itself, while fortunately surreounded by trees which hid our activity, was in full view of the enemy at all times.  While adjacent areas were shelled, no shells fell in our positions during the Battalion occupancy.
   We expected to remain in this position, as Corps Artillery, until the Division Infantry was committed, when we could go into direct support.  However, on very short notice, we were loaned to Fourth Corps as Group Artillery, to help a forthcoming attack in the area west of S. Miniato.  All orders were verbal.
   We left "Casa Benini" at 1945, 31 August, and travelled in convoy, without incident, to an assembly area established in our previous position south-west of S. Miniato, arriving about midnight August 31 - September 1st. (2)
(1) - FA Annex to Operations Instructions #8, Hq 85th Inf. Div.
(2) - Maps: Italy, 1/25,000 sheets 105 II SE & 105 II SW.
(3) -  Operations Memorandum #1, Hq 85 Div Arty.
(4) -  Operations Memorandum #13, Hq. 85th Div Arty.
(5) -  Memorandum, Hq. 328 FA Bn.  Map: Italy, 1/50,000 Sheet 106 III.

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September 1944
APO 85, U.S. Army
15 October 1944


    About 0200, the morning of 1 September 1944, the battalion rendezvoused in its old firing position southwest of San Miniato while a forward reconnaissance was being made. This was the first time a night reconnaissance of position was made by this battalion while in action. At this time the battalion was operating under the control of the 424th Field Artillery Group, IV Corps Artillery. We were to support the attack of the 1st Armored Division across the Arno River.

    The following morning armored columns were moving north toward the Arno. This seemed strange because the attack was not to occur until the following midnight. An order was received to move as close to the Arno as possible. After receipt of the order, and through further inquiries, the battalion discovered that night patrols had found "niente Tedeschi" on the other side. With this information, higher headquarters had decided to cross the river immediately, leaving us virtually stranded. Our orders were not to cross the Arno under any circumstances because we were to revert to Division Artillery control after a successful crossing was made. In all this time not a round was fired, nor did we expect to fire until returned to our own division.

    Throughout Saturday we awaited orders to return. The following day we experienced the first of the infamous Italian rainfalls.

    In anticipation of a recall, a route reconnaissance was made. Fills and bridges were washed out in all directions. We were marooned until bridges were rebuilt or the waters receded. The evening of that same day orders to return were received.

    Sunday afternoon the rain stopped falling. That night a bright moon shown. As usual, on such a night, "bed-check Charlie" dropped bombs and strafed all around the battalion position and on the roads. No damage was done. Monday morning saw us on the same road to Castelfiorentino for the third time. The columns had to by-pass bridges and ford creeks, but finally reached its destination at Casa Benini near Malmantile where it went into rendezvous.

    On 5 September 1944 verbal orders were received from Division Artillery to occupy positions on the north side of the Arno. A daylight reconnaissance was made in the vicinity of Brozzi. That night the battalion moved up and forded the Arno in pitch black passing through the outskirts of Florence. Again a general support mission, with the resultant inactivity. However, some missions were fired and roads were harassed.

    The morning of 10 September 1944 instructions were received to reconnoiter a rendezvous area prior to crossing the Sieve River. We moved forward through Florence, the ancient city of Art. There was evidence of demolitions and German shelling generally on the outskirts of the city. The battalion had its first glimpse of the art center. The route along Highway 65 was rough and hazardous. Demolitions of roads and bridges was as complete as any seen during our previous experiences. The rendezvous was finally reached. There the battalion awaited further orders while reconnaissance was being made north of the Sieve River.

    The same night the Sieve River was crossed and positions occupied in the vicinity of Bosso. Morning showed us the towering heights of the Gothic Line overlooking the entire Sieve valley. Luckily the positions were defiladed by a low hill.

    On 12 September 1944 we were notified that the division was to pass through the elements of the 91st Division to attack the Gothic Line and that the division was to make the main effort. For the first time in over two weeks we were to support our own infantry. The morning of the 13th, the 338th and 339th Infantry Regiments were in the line. Our own regiment, the 337th Infantry, was in reserve.

    It was a great relief to us to once again operate with our own infantry. Due to our being light artillery a general support mission meant nothing but a series of moves with little or no firing. We all looked forward to a much busier time.

    On the 13th of September the battalion moved into position in the vicinity of Villa il Fango. Never before had the battalion been in such an exposed position. However, we did manage to get "piece" defilade although the flashes were plainly visible.

    Two of our artillery Battalions received counter-battery fire because of exposed positions. The small amount of cover we had was evidently just enough to prevent an easy adjustment.

    The progress of the battle was watched from the windows of the Command Post from where we could watch our own concentrations falling. Many preparation fires and observed missions were fired with excellent effect materially aiding the advance of the infantry. Movement of our troops was slow because of stiff resistance from well-fortified positions. "Jerry" has learned that he must fortify the highest peaks as well as the approaches.

    We remained in the position firing steadily until the 25th of the month when orders committing the 337th arrived. The following day our mission changed to direct support.

    A reconnaissance was made and the firing batteries moved by echelon to support the attack of the 337th Infantry on Mount Pratone. The Command Post remained in the same position.

    All Liaison and Forward Observer parties reported to regiment the night of the 15th, keyed up for a rougher job than any had faced before. There the mules were loaded and the parties made ready. The 16th passed with an expenditure of 3773 rounds on preparations and targets of opportunity. Also our observers and Liaison officers adjusted 8-inchers and 240's on dug-outs and concrete emplacements with signal success. On the 17th of September they were sitting astride the Gothic Line. On the 18th of September the 2nd battalion cleared hills 1081 and 1040.

    The following day the battalion moved up as far as possible into the hills of the vicinity of Grezzapo to support any further advances. We were now up against a blank wall. No further advances by artillery could be made in this sector. We must wait until the Giogio Pass is cleared and in the meantime to follow and support the infantry to maximum range. If necessary, our missions were to be relayed to long range artillery.

    Orders were received on the morning of the 20th to reconnoiter to the north of the Giogio Pass. The road had been cleared. The reconnaissance detail crossed the Gothic Line and saw again the death and destruction caused by artillery in the attack. That day saw the start of the fall rains and exposed us for the first time to the infamous Italian fall weather. Reconnaissance for position was made with great difficulty; positions seemed almost impossible. Positions were pieced and the battalion was ordered forward but on order of higher headquarters the battalion was pulled off the road.

    The following morning the battalion occupied positions in the vicinity of Barco. Because of the gumbo all artillery units of three divisions plus engineers and other installations were in position along a three-mile stretch of road. Vehicles were jammed in small areas and most installations were in plain view of the enemy, yet very little fire was brought down on these "juicy" targets.

    After the 338th Infantry cleared Firenzuola the battalion moved up to the vicinity of Casanova. It was in this position that the battalion received its first counter-batter fire since the attack on the Gothic Line. "A" and "B" batteries received about 20 rounds of 170mm. Some rounds hit within a few feet of the guns and the kitchen. "Jerry" makes a mistake when he uses fuse delay in counter-battery. All he succeeds in doing is to throw a little dirt. A few rounds landed around the Command Post at the time decorations were being awarded; our heroes were no where to be found.

    On the 24th of September the battalion was to move to positions near Rovina. In the meantime the 91st Division and our 338th Infantry on the left were making no progress in attempting to take the high ground northwest of Firenzuola. The only crossing of the Santerno was at that town. "Jerry's" artillery had been pouring into Firenzuola in heavier concentrations than had ever been seen before. Luckily the battalion moved through without incident and occupied positions forward of any other divisional artillery.

    On the 25th of September 337th was sitting on Mount La Fine far ahead of the rest of the Fifth Army on the "White Line"; to support them effectively we had to move. Our division and corps left flank was still tied down. No forward move could be made in that direction. Permission was obtained to move into the 88th Division sector. We then moved to the vicinity of Coniale.

    From this position many targets of opportunity were attacked.  Now "Jerry" was out in the open.  The juiciest target was a five-gun battery. Results: ammunition pits set afire, battery effectively neutralized. Our six-gun battery fire-power was really proving itself.  Corps threw in a little more just to cinch it.

    Once more it started to rain. "C" battery was in position on the north side of the Santerno River, which it had to ford to get into position. We received storm warnings and it was decided to pull "C" battery back across the river the following morning.  The rain continued all that night. The river was swollen. Nevertheless, "C" attempted to cross it.  Lt. Nuebel tried walking across the river with a winch cable to pull the sections across. The current was too swift. Lt. Nuebel was forced to use the breast stroke. One howitzer section was brought across after which the project was abandoned until a more opportune moment presented itself.

    That same day it was reported that the 338th had scaled the precipitous Mt. Canda taking the pinch off the division left flank.

    On the 29th verbal orders were received from Commanding General, Division Artillery to displace forward by October 1st. In the meantime the 337th was to hold on Mt. La Fine until units on the right and left pulled up the "White Line".

    On the 30th a reconnaissance was made back in the division sector. The Reconnaissance parties took a route around in front of our most forward elements. The battalion followed through rain and mud and with great difficulty occupied positions in the vicinity of Monte Piano at 1700 hours. Mortar and machine gun positions were within a stone's throw of the batteries.

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October 1944
APO 85, U.S. Army,
16 November 1944

1 OCTOBER 1944 to 12 NOVEMBER 1944

    The first of October saw this battalion remaining in the same Position at Monte Piano performing its mission of direct support of the 357th Infantry Regiment. The weather was foul; the mud sodeep and sticky that ammunition had to be unloaded at the road and hand-carried down to the batteries, carried 300 yards in the case of "A" Battery.

    The regiment jumped off at H-hour, 0600 the first. At 1700 the 2nd battalion was on Objective "A". The next day the infantry continued its slow but steady progress against stiff enemy resistance. Numerous targets of opportunity were attacked with telling effect. The third day saw the 337th still out front and moving ahead. Those flanks were beginning to look quite exposed.

    On the 4th of October the battalion moved as far forward in its zone of action as possible and occupied positions to the north of Piancoldoli. In this position a few partially fair days permitted air support. Targets were marked as pre-arranged; the planes doing an excellent job. The bad weather seemed to be holding everything up.

    On the 5th of October Operations Memorandum #28, ordering resumption of the attack, went into effect. The 338th passed through the 339th and the 337th moved ahead. The 1st battalion, 337th was advancing against resistance, taking prisoners. That evening a call from our Liaison Officer with the 1st battalion informed us that a counter-attack was taking place against them. The defensive concentrations of this battalion and numerous Corps and Division Artillery battalions were poured in front of the 1st battalion, successfully stopping the counter-attack. The reinforcements the enemy received seemed to be giving them some added punch. It was here that our Baker forward observer, Lt. Tanzer, exhibited some of his coolness and courage that materialized in a recommendation for a high award. {Lt. Tanzer earned the Silver Star and was severly wounded on 8th October. See Stories by Sgt Cole.}

    Our infantry had moved far enough to warrant another move, but positions were scarce. The only means of moving forward in our sector was over a ridge trail that was treacherous and almost impassable. Nevertheless, on October 7th, "B" and "C" Batteries were moved forward along this route into the only available positions just off the top of a ridge at Spedaletto. "A" and Headquarters remained in the old location our communications forward were now greatly extended. Wire-lines were being shelled out and cut up by floundering vehicles. Somehow the wire was kept operating enough to keep us in contact with the infantry.

    On the 8th of October we were notified that our Baker Forward Observer, Lt. Tanzer, was missing. A later report stated that he was found wounded in action and evacuated (the second of our forward observers to be wounded).

    The morning of the 9th another attack was launched with a heavy preparation fire laid down. Limited objectives were taken but Monerenzio was still not in our hands.  Another attack was launched the morning of the 10th.  Minor gains were made.

    On the 10th of October the battalion moved by echelon to the vicinity of Borgo di Bisano. "A" Battery was to leave at break of day and occupy a position before the next battery was to move. The route was long and difficult. "A" Battery occupied a position and was ready to fire at 1300. The skeleton Fire Direction Center was also operating. At this time it was decided to release Headquarters Battery and "B" Battery to permit their arrival in the new positions before dark. A radio and skeleton Fire Direction Center crew were left behind to fire "C" Battery. Headquarters Battery arrived in due time, but "B" Battery had missed a turn in the dark and didn't close into position until the crack of dawn on the 11th.

    "C" Battery was released the morning of the 11th and closed into position at 1100 the same morning. That same day a report was received from our Command Liaison that two of our forward observers, Lieutenants Stark and Richards were wounded by shellfire. Private Viall, was killed in action and Pfc. Enghusen was also wounded; both were in the Able Forward Observer Party. {See November Ops Report for commendation for PFC Viall}

    The morning of the 12th, 1st battalion was on Objective #9, Monterenzio. Every hill and group of buildings had to be fought for at close quarters. The nature of the fighting had been increasingly severe. Our forward observer details had been in the thick of it all. Baker forward observer (Lt. Kitts) was wounded on this day, making a total of four observers wounded in four days action. {See Stories by Sgt Cole about Lt. Kitts.}

    The afternoon of the same day Division Artillery notified us that "Pearl" reported a counter-attack planned on our troops on hill 572. Time of the attack was unknown. {Who was "Pearl"; a spy?}

    The 13th was spent by our infantry in cleaning up the rest of Objective #9. Command Liaison reported a counter-attack developing to the northwest of Objective #9 at 1745. Defensive fires were laid in front of the infantry. The counter-attack was broken up before it could be formed. That night and the following morning the 337th Infantry was finally relieved by the 339th Infantry. Our battalion reverted to general support.

    Verbal instructions were received from Division Artillery to establish observation posts. An observation post was established at Castel-Nuovo di Bisano and another later at Monte Delle Formiche.   These observation posts were used for Fire Direction Center personnel and other Command Post personnel to gain experience in the conduct of fire and observation.

    On the 15th Operations Memorandum #34 informed us that the 34th Division was to take over part of the Division left sector and that II Corps made a coordinated attack the same day.

    From the 15th to the 20th the battalion assisted the division in its slow forward advance. The firing was light and observed targets few. Most of the ammunition was expended in harassing and preparations. In the meantime our forward observers, liaison officers and infantry were enjoying a well deserved rest.

    On the 20th of October 2nd battalion, 337th infantry was attached to the 88th Division as of 1800 to assist in the attack to the northeast. The balance of the regiment was to follow and assist according to plan. We were once again in direct support.

    The commitment of the regiment required another move forward. The battalion displaced to the vicinity of C. Stella and Battalion Headquarters in the vicinity of Molinetto in a ravine knows as "dead-ass gulch" because of 7 dead mules in the vicinity. The position of the Battalion on the left flank of the division with regiment on the right flank made an extended communications net. The only means of access to the Battalions and regiment was over the most difficult type of mountain trails.

    On the 21st of October the 337th Regiment was back in division control. We were to participate in the final assault to the Po Valley.  On the 22nd we received Operations Instructions Number 6 from Headquarters 337th Infantry giving plan of attack to occur the night of the 22nd and 23rd. The 2nd Battalion moved up that night on Objective 12, occupying it with practically no opposition.

    With the advance of 2nd Battalion it seemed necessary to move again. A reconnaissance for position was made. No possible artillery positions could be found in our sector. The only other possibility was to move into the 88th Division sector, which would make supply and communications to the rear for additional support almost impossible. It was decided to remain in this position until the situation wou1d become more clarified. In the meantime we could easily support the attack on Objective Number 13.

    On the 24th we received a false report that Baker forward observer (Lt. Barrow) was killed. It was a case of mistaken identity.

    From the 23rd to the 25th many reports of enemy reinforcements were received from all sources. Despite this reinforcement, 1st Battalion was finally on Objective 13 the morning of the 25th of October after heavy and severe fighting. The infantry was to consolidate and await further orders. The heavy rains had made most trails impassable, washed out bridges and all in all made an impossible situation.  Another reconnaissance was made in the 88th sector; positions were reserved for the future push.

    At 1705 the 25th a counter-attack took place against the 1st Battalion. Barrages were fired and the counter-attack was beaten off. At 1445 the 1st Battalion was again counter-attacked. Other counter attacks were reported in the 88th Division sector. The counter attack was in great strength and all possible reinforcing fires were poured in. Again the counter-attack was stopped.

    Baker battery received counter-battery fire suffering three enlisted casualties and no material damage. We also received unofficial word that the left regiment of the 88th Division was driven back and received heavy losses. This was later confirmed. The 339th was also driven off its first objective. With the poor supply situation and the now completely exposed flanks of our regiment, the situation looked desperate.

    At 1200 on the 27th word was received from Command Liaison that our infantry was to withdraw. This was later substantiated by Operations Memorandum Number 38, 85th Infantry Division Artillery.

    On the 28th we were organizing defensive positions.   A few Brazilian officers accompanied by General Mallett visited our Command Post to observe our operations on the 29th. That day and the next were spent in improvement of positions in preparation for defense.

    On the 31st we received notice that our allotment of ammunition was now 300 rounds per day. Mute evidence of a bad supply situation.

    The 1st, 2nd and 3rd of November were spent in comparative quiet. Positions were continually improved. On the 2nd of November at 1400, the Battalion received 40 rounds of counter-battery causing no casualties or materia1 damage.

    At 1515 the same day 5 rounds fell in Charlie battery area. One man was killed and two men wounded. There was no material damage. At 1630 2 more rounds fell in Charlie battery injuring two more. Tedeschi didn't only concentrate on us but ranged up and down the valley. Our front lines were only slightly harassed.

    On the 4th of November Battery "A" received one round of enemy artillery wounding one man. At 1630 a heavy concentration of artillery dropped over and short of the Command Post. Three men were wounded and two men scratched. The Colonel was one of the scratched. The shelling seemed to tie in with an unidentified plane in the area.
{S/Sgt Cole told of an incident where shrapnel nicked him and Colonel Burton. The Colonel suggested they go to the Aide station and pick up their Purple Heart. Sgt Cole said he would not step foot in there with all the seriously wounded men and complain of a tiny scratch.  This report seems to match up with Sgt. Cole's account.}

    Sunday the 5th of November was an extremely quiet day until 1600 when once more "Jerry" artillery began to play its tune up and down the valley.  No damage reported.  As has often been observed, during a period of stalemate enemy artillery searched the rear areas, particularly the artillery positions. The infantry received only light harassing fire.

    On the 6th of November the first inkling of a relief leaked out.  A reconnaissance was made to the rear.  That afternoon the valley was again heavily shelled.  On the evenings of the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th, enemy planes were active, strafing and bombing artillery positions and bridges. Two bombs were dropped in Able battery position the evening of the 10th.  Luckily, no casualties occurred.

    The 11th (Armistice Day), the counter-battery was particularly vicious. Over 100 rounds of artillery fell in the battalion area. Able battery had one man killed by a stray round.  That evening 11 planes flew over strafing and bombing.  Six bombs were dropped in the general vicinity.  Two bombs caused heavy casualties in the vicinity of Height rear Command Post.

    On the 12th of November the quartering party left for the rear bivouac area. The guns were all calibrated. At 1515 a verbal message was received from Colonel Flay, 67th FA Regiment (British): "Your battalion relieved from further operations. We will take over."  At 0245 the morning of the 13th the first battery left for the long awaited rest.

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November 1944
APO 85, U.S. Army,
16 December 1944

12 NOVEMBER 1944 TO 30 NOVEMBER 1944

    On Sunday, 12 November 1944, the 328th Field Artillery Battalion was relieved from its position along the river Idice, in the Bologna spearhead.

    In the morning the guns were calibrated - a necessary check because we had fired so many rounds since the last calibration near Rome.  Many of our tubes had been replaced, but Charlie Battery still had one tube that came all the way from Camp Shelby where the Division was activated.

    On 12 November 1944 orders were received relieving the Battalion from front line duty as of 1530.  We didn't move out until after dark but we began to strike tents and roll bedrolls as soon as the order was received.  The Battalion had had an extremely heavy concentration of Jerry shells in its area the previous day, and everyone was anxious to get away from that particular position, which was something of a hot spot.

    It was three o'clock Monday morning when we finally cranked motors, and even with ten searchlights making a pattern of "G.I. Moonlight", it was as black as a Supply Sergeant's heart.  One half-track slipped off the road twice in a quarter of a mile, delaying the whole convoy, so that when it first began to get light we were still in the front-line road-net, well within range of Jerry's new dusk-and-dawn air-strafing tactics.  Sunday morning he had strafed and bombed all along our road, and we didn't much like the prospect of being caught in convoy.  However, he didn't show up, probably because of Allied Fighter Patrols.

    The weather had been wet but warm in our combat positions, near the Po Valley, but as we moved south, we climbed higher into a colder climate.  We pulled into a bivouac area on Highway 65, about 25 miles north of Florence, and set up our battery areas in and around buildings, with as many men indoors as possible.

    Dental appointments, movies, a PX distribution, a beer ration issued, and a really generous allotment of passes to Florence; it was a G.I. soldier's dream come true!  Then they cracked down with calisthenics, foot-marches, section training and care of clothing and material.  Nobody much likes the garrison stuff, and some of the men even said they'd rather be back in the lines, the dopes.  But as far as most of us are concerned, - Boy, we'll take section training!

    We regret to announce the death of PFC Donald D. Viall, 11083227 of Able Battery.  A posthumous award of the Silver Star was made, which is quoted below:

"DONALD D. VIALL, (1083227), Private First Class, Field Artillery, Battery "A", 328th Field Artillery Battalion, United States Army.  For gallantry in action on 9 October 1944 in Italy.  When the artillery observer of the forward observer party of which he was a member found it necessary to advance to the crest of a nearby hill in order to gain observation for the accomplishment of his mission, Private First Calss VIALL, fully aware that he would be exposed to intense enemy small arms, mortar and artillery fire, volunteered to accompany him and relay his sensings to the radio operator.  Disregarding the intensity of the enemy fire which was directed upon the slope just as the observer reached the crest of the hill, and despite the warning of the observer, Private First Class Viall courageously made his way up the slope and remained in position, greatly assisting the observer in the accomplishment of his mission, until killed by hostile small arms fire.  Entered the military service from Waterbury, Connecticut.  Next of kin: Wendell P. Viall, (Father), 23 Edgehill Avenue, Waterbury, Connecticut."
    On Thursday, 23 November 1944, Charlie Battery went to the new Fifth Army Rest Center at Montecatini to enjoy a well earned rest.  They returned to the Battalion bivouac area on the 28th.  On the same day Baker Battery left for Montecatini, followed by Able, Service and Headquarters on the 29th.  The new style Rest Center was a famous "Spa", patronized by wealthy Italians and tourists before the war.  The men were quartered in hotels, and except for a hike each morning, and two hours of section training each afternoon, they had free run of the town from three in the afternoon until ten o'clock at night.  There were bars, movies, USO shows, and baths - both of the G.I. and civilian variety, and the Battalion made the most of its opportunities. The end of November found the 328th still in the rest areas, and enjoying a very high morale.

    Since the Battalion entered combat on 11 April, the Battalion has received the following awards:

    Commendations:  5
    Bronze Stars: 51
    Bronze Star with one cluster: 3
    Silver Stars: 5
    Purple Hearts: 49
    Purple Hearts with one cluster: 4
    Air Medals:  5
    Air Medal with one Cluster: 2
    Air Medal with two Clusters: 2
    Sevice Troops W.D. Meritorious Service Unit Plaque: 1
    Since 11 April 1944, the Battalion has fired 103,240 rounds of 105mm ammuntion.

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December 1944
APO 85, U.S. Army
19 February 1945


      During the first three weeks of December, the 328th Field Artillery Battalion remained in its training area near Gagliano, about ten miles south of Futa Pass.  The last of November and the first of December, the battalion spent four days at Montecatini - the Fifth Army's new Rest Center.

    The men didn't know what to make of "Catini".  What with bars, baths and movies - with restaurants and signorinas - it was too much like the Hollywood idea of ahw a soldier spends his time behind the lines, and even with a six-hour daily drill schedule, (designed to lessen the shock of too much enjoyment), the boys expected to wake up any minute.  One or two nearly did!  We were there only four days, but to hear some of the men tell it, you'd swear no one could cram so much mischief into forty.

    After our return to Gagliano, on the 3rd of the month, passes to Florence were on a more strictly limited quota, but we still had movies at "Division", and there were reasonably frequent trips to the baths and clothing exchange.
    Our days began with calisthenics and foot marches, and progressed through "section training" and "care and cleaning of materiel", which doesn't sound very exciting.  It wasn't - but its very lack of excitement was what made Gagliano a rest area, and the men seemed to like it that way.  A surprising number preferred to remain in bivouac rather than got to Florence on pass, and those who really cared to go to the city were consequently able to go quite  frequently.

    On the 7th of December, we lost our Headquarters Battery Commander to the cause of higher education, when Captain Richard L. Tryon left us to return to the States (to take a course at the Command and General Staff School).  At the same time, Lieutenant T.E. Mitchell became Headquarters Battery Commander, and Lieutenant W.E. Sullivan of Baker Battery joined Headquarters as Assistant Communication Officer.

    New types of winter clothing, sleeping bags, and special water-proof barracks bags were issued to all personnel; dental and medical work was completed, and finally, to make the battalion ready for combat once more, the guns were re-calibrated.  This had been done the previous month, just before leaving our line positions, but the acquisition of six new tubes, made necessary by the heavy firing in the Gothic Line campaign, meant that we had to do it all over again.

    The middle of the month found the men tense with the approach of Christmas, and wondering whether the Germans would match their Western Front attack {referring to Battle of Bulge in Germany} with any activity here in Italy.  Some of the men were planing a Christmas tree for the local Italian children, when, just three days before Christmas, the battalion was alterted.  The next morning, on December 23rd, we moved out in convoy, through Florence, Pistoia and Lucca, to go into general support for IV Corps, in the Western Coastal Sector.  Just as expected, the Germans were threatening some activity on the Italian Front, and we were on our way to back up the 92nd Division.(Note 1)

    We bivouacked just north of Lucca, and remained on a three hour alert(Note 2). Nevertheless, as only soldiers can, we settled into farm buildings, and although prepared to move on short notice, contrived to have a very good Christmas Eve.  Christmas Day was even more successful for we hit the ration jack-pot with turkey, cranberry sauce, dressing, rolls, fruit, nuts, and all the trimmings.  The Italians nearby were invited to join the chowline, and the expression on their faces brought us more of the spirit of Christmas than anything else we saw that day.
   {Sgt. Cole said he spent Christmas of 1944 in Lucca.}

    On the 26th our alert was shortened to thirty minutes, and we were expecting to move all day, with the trucks loaded, all ready to pull out.  The following day, the tension relaxed somewhat, and we settled into our quarters again.  Most of the men were in bed, when at ten o'clock, we received an unexpected march order.  Even though many of the men had been awakened from a sound sleep, the battalion was on the road, waiting in convoy formation for some minutes before the order came to move out.  At about 2245, we left Lucca, and moved northwest and north through one range of mountains and up the coast road through Viareggio, to positions near Motrone.

      1- Appendix #1; Movement Order #8, Hq. 337th Inf. Regt.
      2 -Appendix #2; Operational Instructions #4, Hq. 337th Inf. Regt.

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January 1945
APO 85, U.S. Army,
19 February 1945

26 DECEMBER 1944 to 31 JANUARY 1944

  On the 26th of December 1944, upon the arrival of 85th Division Headquarters at Lucca, the 328th Field Artillery Battalion reverted to their control. At 0900 hours that morning, verbal orders placed us on a one-hour alert. The enemy was gaining ground in the Serchio valley. A reconnaissance was made that day for defensive positions to stop the German drive.

   The following day a brigade of the 8th Indian Division went into defensive positions on the east side of the Serchio river. Our battery commanders reconnoitered for battery positions and started preparations for their occupation. We were all set to do our bit in the Serchio valley defense. Nothing had occurred on the west coast. There had been no enemy contact nor noticeable threat. Suddenly, at 2130 hours, 27th of December, orders were received to move the battalion to the west coast sector at once to support the fires of the 599th Field Artillery Battalion {92nd Division}. This was a new situation. Positions were to be selected for us by the 92nd Division Artillery. At 2300 hours the advance parties left for the 92nd Division Artillery Command Post, just north of Viareggio, and from there to make what reconnaissance was possible before the arrival of the battalion. At 2330 hours the battalion moved out on the road.  {This was not the first time that the 328FA was assigned to support the 92nd Infantry Division.  In November 1918, the 328FA was sent to the front lines and attached to the 92nd Infantry Division only a few days before the end of the combat in WW1.}

   The forward detail busied itself with preparations. The batteries were held on the road just a short time in the vicinity of the new positions. At 0430 hours, 28th of December, the batteries were in their respective areas and at 0655 hours were laid and ready to fire. The morning sun showed the beautiful coastal plain and the mountains to the north and east looking down on us. At first there was a slight feeling of discomfort because we were under observation, but this soon wore off. Our first round in over a month was fired by "B" Battery at 0815 hours when registration started.

   Liaison was established with the 599th Field Artillery Battalion. No fires were required of us. "Tedeschi" made no threatening moves during the day. A verbal message from the 92nd Division Artillery arrived at 1340 hours stating that we were to be relieved by the 125th Field Artillery Battalion, 34th Division, at nightfall. Another night move in prospect with little chance for a night's sleep ahead.

   The 125th Field Artillery Battalion relieved us at 1830 hours the same day. The battalion then proceeded to its old bivouac at Monte Bonelli at 2045 hours and took advantage of the opportunity to get some sleep.

   The following morning, 29th of December at 0915 hours, an order was received to move all service and supply installations south of the Serchio river; also to submit defense plans for bivouac areas in event of infiltration, attack by parachutists, or armored attack. The batteries were instructed to submit local defense plans so that battalion could consolidate them. The results were amazing and amusing. The rigid requirements for local defense gave us some indication of the threatening nature of the situation. We were ready and waiting for any emergency to present itself. Again we expected to relieve the enemy pressure on the Serchio valley defenses.

   The 8th Indian Division had successfully stopped the advance of the enemy and was already re-occupying some of the lost ground. The battalion proceeded further with defense and counter-attack

   At 1645 hours, 29th of December, orders were received to occupy positions in the vicinity of Camaiore, Italy, on December 30th in defense of the west coast sector. The following morning reconnaissance was initiated. The battalion moved into positions just southeast of Camaiore (03.6-89.8) at 1415.{see Map Coordinates} The battalion was now attached to the IV Corps and was part of the IV Corps Artillery.

   The front lines were just within maximum range of our guns. No registration could be made. The temperate climate in this vicinity surprised everyone after the inclement weather of the western Appenines. We were ready and willing to spend the balance of the winter in this area. Two Observation Posts were established. Our mission was to cover the withdrawal of the 92nd Division Artillery in case of a breakthrough in the coastal sector.

   At 1500 hours, December 31st, the battalion was notified of a possible move of 3000 yards to the northwest. At 1520 the reconnaissance parties moved forward to select positions. At 0645, 1 January 1945, the first battery moved out. The battalion closed into position at 0730 hours in the vicinity of Servagliana (00.6-89.9). Registration completed the battalion was ready for any emergency. Here the battalion was exposed to previously unknown luxuries. The buildings were untouched by war and proved to be very comfortable. Running water and, in some cases, electric lights were available. The next few days were spent firing some night harassing missions but no observed missions. All observed activity occurred beyond our range.

   On the 6th of January our "C" OP picked up big enemy guns firing on one of the 92nd Division Artillery battalions. Report was made to IV Corps. The guns were taken under fire by Corps Artillery.

   At midnight, 6th of January the 85th Division Artillery called for an advance party to report to the division Command Post at Gagliano the morning of the 7th.

   The morning of the 7th of January at 0600 hours we were released from IV Corps control and reverted to 85th Division Artillery control. We were to start back to Gagliano at 1430 hours, Monday 8th of January. The battalion arrived at Lucigliano at 2200 hours that night after a 107-mile motor march in bitter cold. Once again we were in the dreary Apenine country.

   Preparations for return into the line were made immediately. Forward Observers and Liaison sections were sent to their respective infantry battalions. The reconnaissance parties left for forward areas at 1015 the morning of the 9th and orders were received to move at 0900 hours the morning of the 10th.

   On its way up the battalion passed by its old positions now covered with a thick blanket of snow. The few buildings were battered and war-torn in contrast to the lovely coastal sector. We closed into position at C. Calanco (97.3-28.9) at 1400 hours and took up direct support of the British until the 337th Infantry completely reoccupied its former positions on Montecalderaro and Cuccoli ridge. The 1st British Royal Artillery was temporarily in control of our fires and remained in control until the night of 15-16 January.

   On the night of the 12-13th an enemy patrol entered our lines taking one man prisoner. One of the enemy patrol was captured and then killed while trying to escape. From the 13th to the 17th of the month, the battalion fired a normal amount of harassing missions but few observed missions because of poor visibility and ammunition restrictions. During this time many shuttle details were active moving our infantry up to the front. The 85th Division took over command of the sector the night of the l6th-l7th of January.

   At 1445 hours, the 17th of January, our Liaison Officer with the 1st Battalion got a helping hand from some unknown radio operator wanting to relay his call. This station shut down upon challenge from the Net Control Station. Seems like Tedeschi may have had our frequencies. At 1135 hours, the 18th, the battalion took an enemy gun and personnel under fire. Results: gun silenced, personnel not so active.  {Tedeschi is Italian for 'German'.}

   On the night of the 19th of January at 1915 hours, our Liaison Officer with the 1st Battalion reported 25 enemy vehicles moving north in the 00-25 square {see Map Coordinates}. Previous G-2 reports indicated that a road in that square was being used very heavily. Our S-3 placed the fire of all three batteries along various parts of the road using VT shell. Immediately after the firing reports of fires started were called in by the infantry. Division Artillery fired the 403rd Field Artillery Battalion and some of Corps Artillery just to add a little more punch to the fire.

   The morning of 20 January 1945 saw the first enemy artillery concentration hit our positions since our last operation on Highway 6531 in November. "Jerry" threw in 24 rounds of medium artillery wounding one man in Baker Battery, two men in the British Anti-Aircraft battery adjoining Baker, and one British Counter-Mortar officer in our battalion Command Post building. Our medics very capably treated and evacuated all the casualties. It is believed that the cause of the shelling was a high wind that made our smoke screen inefficient.

   On the 22nd of January, six M4A3 Tanks, armed with 105 mm howitzers, of the assault platoon of the 755th Tank Battalion were attached to this battalion. Our Battalion Survey Officer surveyed their positions, which were to our battalion rear and wire communication was established to their positions. In reality, these six guns became a fourth battery in our battalion as they have the same characteristics as our guns with the exception that they cannot shoot high angle fire. This new battery was called "Dog" Battery.

   The 23rd was a clear day that saw many small groups of two or three enemy carrying wine jugs, tools, shovels and other miscellaneous items seemingly oblivious of our observation on them. Our observers immediately started to demonstrate their clarity of vision and induced the "landsers" to move underground.

   The next few days were occupied firing on small groups of the enemy. Occasional night TOT's using the new VT fuze, were fired on areas of suspected enemy activity. It would be interesting to see the effect of this new shell on the ground.

   On the 24th of January the battalion was ordered to reconnoiter for rear positions in an area designated by Division Artillery. This reconnaissance and the preparation of these positions were considered necessary in the event the German should counter-attack in this sector and force a withdrawal of our troops from the commanding ground directly to our front.

   The last days of the month were spent in completing our rear positions, preparing counter-attack plans, and firing our normal observed and harassing missions. Our month was brought to a grand climax when the Division Commander accompanied by the Division Artillery Commander visited our Command Post. The commanders found everything in fine condition and left us with the feeling of a job well done.

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February 1945
APO 85, U.S. Army,
19 February 1945


    The first three days of the month were very uneventful except for harassing missions and TOT's{Time On Target}{First time this Army clerk spelled "harassing" correctly with one 'r'.  My  Spell Check corrected the typos on the other usages.}

    In the early morning hours on the 4th we fired pre-arranged fires in support of a combat patrol with excellent effect and helped them out of a very tight spot.

    On the morning of the 5th, we received orders to fire some concentrations in our left sector in support of an attack by the 34th Infantry Division.  Whether the fire helped or not when the smoke cleared away they had made gains on both flanks. (Note 1)

    The 7th found our Charlie forward observer keeping his shooting eye in practice by destroying an enemy observation post and a dugout on Mt. Castellaro; using a medium battalion.  The next few days were spent firing a few harassing missions and TOT's.

    On the 13th, we received a verbal order from the Commanding General, Division Artillery to observe for unusual signs of enemy activity as there were indications that the "Boche" might try something sensational.  However, nothing outside of his usual activity occurred.

    The night of the 18th we fired a preparation for a combat patrol, but during the preparation one of the "super-race" walked in and gave himself up so the patrol was called off.

    Baker forward observer {Staff Sgt. Cole was a Baker F.O.}added his bit to the war effort on the 19th.  He caught enemy personnel in the open twice during the day.  Both times he directed fire against them and both times they had to carry some of them away.

    On the 20th our Charlie forward observer directed medium artillery fire on two tanks.   He got a direct hit on one but the other one got away. {On 20 February, the headquarters of the 1st Battalion of 337th Infantry Regiment received a direct hit from a 120-mm mortar shell. The Battalion commander and 4 others were killed and 12 were wounded.  Sgt Cole said he walked out of the command post only minutes before the shell hit.  Captain Bill Dempsey, commander of Battery C, also said he left the HQ just prior to the explosion. (Reference: "The 85th Custer Division", P. Schultz)  }

    Charlie forward observer made the hit parade again on the 22nd.  He adjusted fire on a dugout forcing the occupants to race to the safety of another, but he promptly got a hit on that one caving it in.  Work parties came to their rescue with a red cross flag, so we just stood by with time fire and as soon as the flag disappeared we turned it loose.  More casualties were the results.  The "Boche" admitted that the casualties were their fault for taking the flag away.

    The 26th we received an order to patrol our position area for long range patrols supposedly operating behind our lines.  The men in the battalion liked this very much at first but now they are afraid they are not going to catch anything.(Note 2)

The remaining days of the month found us rather secure in our well dug positions.  We are now protected from shell and weather alike.

1 - Appendix #1:  Operations memorandum #8, Hhq 85th Div Arty.
                    Operations Instructions #12, Hq 337th Inf.
2 - Appendix #2:  Operations memorandum #14, Hq 85th Div Arty.

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March 1945
APO 85, U.S. Army,
8 April 1945

1 MARCH 1945 TO 31 MARCH 1945

    The battalion, in the first week of March, continued to provide fire support for infantry combat patrols, harassed the enemy continuously at night and fired on targets of opportunity picked up by our forward observers.  The types of targets included small groups of enemy in the open, dugouts, enemy occupied buildings and the perennial jerry self-propelled.  Lucrative targets, which were so characteristic of our advance on Rome, were difficult to find.  On the receiving end, the battalion area was harassed sporadically by a German 210mm and several close rounds were reported in the vicinity of A, B, and Hq Batteries.  During that period, all eyes were focused on the smoke screen in San Clemente, as the whole battalion area would have been under observation, had the smoke screen failed.

    On March 8, the battalion received orders contained in Operations Memorandum #15, 85th Inf. Div. Arty.  (See Annex #1), covering the relieve of the 85th Inf. Div Artillery, less the 328th F.A. Bn., which was ordered to remain in position and support the 10th Indian Div. Scheduled to relieve the 337th Inf. Regt.  The relief of the 337th began the night of 10/11 March and was completed on the following night.  (See Annex #2).  On the 13th of March, the 328th was relieved from control of the 85th Div. Arty. and attached to 97th Kent Yoeman{Yeomanry} Regt. R.A.{Royal Artillery}, 25th Brigade, XIII Corps, Fifth Army.  The change necessitated the preparation of new defensive fires or "Tasks", as they are called by the British.  Once again, the terms "Stonk, Murder and Hate" came into common usage around Fire Direction Center.

    For the succeeding week, the battalion supported units of the 10th Indian Divisoin using both our own and British observers to adjust our fire, but despite that fact, the amount of ammunition expended decreased sharply.

    The battalion was relieved from XIII Corps on 20 march and reverted to 85th Div. Arty. Control.  That same morning, it moved back to the familiar bivouac area of Lucigliano, after having spent ten weeks in the line.  Preparations were immediately made to comply with Operations Memorandum #17, 85th Div. Arty. (See Annex #3 w/attached overlay), which stated that the 85th Div. Arty. would relieve the 91st Div. Arty. in support of the 34th Inf. Division.  Our reconnaissance parties were to go forward on the 24th and the battalion was to move into position the night of the 26th.  We were to play a general support role in this phase of the operations and to reinforce the fires of the 910th FA Bn, which was in direct support of the 168th Infantry {34th Division}.

    From 23 March to 26 march, the combat team participated in river crossing training at C. Nuove training area, west of Pisa, following which, the battalion returned to its bivouac area at Lucigliano on 26 march.  Upon receipt of Operations Memo #18, 85th Div. Arty., (See Annex #4), we discovered that our mission, as outlined in Operations Memo #17, was changed from that of general support to one of direct support of the 133rd Infantry Regiment and that our move was postponed to the night of 27/28 March.  In addition, "A" Battery was to be attached to 910th F.A. Bn., for operations and was to occupy positions on the same night.  Positions for "B" and "C" Battery were in the vicinity of L(87-23) and for "A" Battery in the vicinity of L(87-25).

    One howitzer was brought up and placed in position during daylight hours on the 27th and registered the same afternoon. That night the battalion moved to its new position at 94.13-22.51 and, shortly after its arrival, was prepared to take over the fires of the 916th F.A. Bn.{91st Division}, which was being relieved. Ammunition was plentiful in the new area and our average allotment was one thousand rounds per day for two batteries. There was a definite scarcity of observed targets but we managed to expend a good percentage of the allotment on unobserved shoots, and by increasing the tempo of our harassing missions.

    The remaining days of the month saw the battalion pour thousands of rounds into enemy positions with not a single incoming shell reported. However, the main road from Loiano to the battalion area was somewhat of a "Hot Spot", as it was under Jerry observation, and the Krauts made the most of it, knocking out several friendly vehicles and causing casualties. Service Battery was forced to deliver ammunition and rations over a rough trail which formed a back entrance to the battalion area but which was in defilade most of the way.  Our vigilance paid dividends, however, as not a single vehicle was damaged nor a single man injured as a result of enemy fire during that time.

Annex #1 - Operations Memorandum #15, Hq 85th Div Arty dtd 8 Mar 45
Annex #2 - Plan of Relief 337th Inf by 25th Bri Brig, Hq 337th Inf, 7 Mar 45
Annex #3 - Operations Memo #17 & Overlay, Hq 85th Div Arty dtd 18 Mar 45
Annex #4 - Operaions Memo #18, Hq 85th Div Arty, dtd 24 Mar 45

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April 1945
APO 85, U.S. Army
15 May 1945

1 APRIL 1945 TO 2 MAY 1945

   Easter Sunday found the battalion still in support of the 34th Division and occupying a position area in the vicinity of Roncobertolo. Observed targets were few but the amount of ammunition expended in comparison to the winter operation was considerably greater. This was due in great part to the extensive preparation fires which were part of the plan of stepped up artillery fires prior to the Spring offensive. Our observation posts searched in vain for signs of enemy activity but the Germans knew the value of staying under cover during daylight hours and lucrative targets were not to be found.

   In accordance with Operations Memorandum #21, Headquarters 85th Infantry Division Artillery, 5 April 1945, (see Annex #1) the battalion moved to Lecci (255-733) on April 6th and joined the remainder of the division which was in bivouac in that area. Our stay in that area was short lived, however, as the Battalion Commander was ordered to make a reconnaissance for a position area in the vicinity of Vergato.

   Operations Memorandum #ly22, 85th Infantry Division Artillery, 8 April 1945, with attached overlays (see Annex #2) informed us that we were detached from the 85th Division and attached to IV Corps to support the IV Corps attack on D - 3. Our mission was one of general support and also to reinforce the fires of the 605th Field Artillery Battalion, part of the 10th Mountain Division Artillery. On the night of 9 April the battalion moved into its new position at Abba, over treacherous mountain roads and in complete blackout, without mishap. The next few days were spent in digging in and preparing positions prior to the attack, with a registration by "A" Battery sandwiched in on the 11th.

   After two (2) twenty-four (24) hour postponements, the IV Corps Artillery preparation (see Annex #3) began at 09l0 on 14 April. When this devastating fire was lifted, thirty-five minutes later, the infantry moved forward to attack the strongly held German positions on the ridges to the north. Prisoners of war later captured, testified that the initial air and artillery bombardment inflicted extremely heavy casualties on the enemy. One German regiment, 755th, had suffered such heavy casualties from the preparation that it had been impossible for them to withdraw in an orderly fashion to the next defensive line.

   By 16 April, the aggressive 10th Mountain had moved forward against heavy small arms fire, moderate mortar and light artillery fire and had seized all the high ground to the north, including gigantic Mt. Pero, which wasnecessary before the battalion could displace to the next valley. That morning, reconnaissance parties went forward and, when positions had been chosen, the battalion was ordered to move up and occupy positions near Cereglio. The move was a difficult one as the only usable road was a one way road which had been bulldozed through the mountains, and it was jammed with vehicles and supplies moving forward. Fortunately, the road through Vergato and Susano later opened up and alleviated traffic conditions for all but "A" Battery, who did not close into position until 0400 of 17 April, after almost twelve hours on the road.

   The situation was moving so rapidly that a reconnaissance was called for the following morning. By this time, Jerry seemed to have recovered somewhat from the initial attack and began to use his dreaded self-propelled guns. The town of Tole, five miles north of Cereglio, took a pounding as did all the approaches heading northward. This was what had been anticipated and dreaded and was reminiscent of the drive on Rome the year previous. The reconnaissance to the vicinity of Rodiano was an eerie affair, as the whole valley showed no sign of either friendly or enemy troops. Finally, a friendly mule train was sighted several hundred yards to the north and the tension eased.

   The battalion displaced forward at 1630 that afternoon and, while on the road, received harassing fire which caused casualties on an armored vehicle that was moving along in our column. During all these moves, observed fires were at a minimum and the majority of our fires were delivered as preparations. The firing batteries, however, were always close behind the leading elements and always in a position to deliver fire when needed.

   In compliance with Operations Memorandum #23, Headquarters 85th Infantry Division Artillery, 18 April (see Annex #4), the 85th Division relieved the 1st Armored Division and elements of the 10th Mountain Division. The 337th Infantry Regiment was committed and we reverted to Combat Team control. A preparation was fired at 0915 on the 18th of April and the 337th continued the attack. For the first time in several weeks, we were again supporting our infantry and we were "in the groove" once more.

   From Rodiano we made two successive jumps in two days to Borra and then to Bell'Aria, which put us in the last hills before the Po Valley, an objective we had been striving for since the previous Fall. Intelligence and Reconnaissance elements reached the valley but stiff opposition was encountered in the town of Casalecchio. The Combat Team Commander requested all available artillery on the town and this battalion alone fired thirty-six volleys. Suddenly the order came to cease firing when it was learned that the 6th South African Division was preparing to enter the town.

   On Saturday, Apri1 21st, the battalion made a triumphal entry into the Po Valley and took up positions a few hundred yards short of Highway#9 at Anzola dell'Emilia. It was a tremendous relief to know that the enemy was no longer looking down on our every move. The advantage was now ours. We had a stronger and better organized force and there was no advantage of observation on either side.

   Another displacement took place on 22 April and the battalion kept moving until it received a fire mission and made a rapid occupation of position at Voltaccio. From the latter position to Nuvolato, just short of the Po, we made rapid moves and did little or no firing. The infantry had been motorized and was meeting little resistance. Scattered groups would resist for short periods finally surrendering to superior fire power and armor, making the need for artillery almost nil.

   At 2030 that evening, the battalion, less "B" Battery, moved forward to positions at Staz. di Staggia. "B" Battery remained in position to support the right regimenta1 sector. The following morning "B" Battery moved up and joined on the tail end of the reconnaissance party as it moved forward to select new positions. In this one instance, the reconnaissance party and "B" Battery were in front of the 3rd Battalion and had to wait for the latter to catch up. Resistance had become disorganized and the forward progress of the infantry was never halted for any length of time. The roads were so crowded with vehicles that the remainder of the batta1ion eventually caught up to the rest of the column and it merged into one complete column.

   As we approached the Po, the batteries moved into firing position 1500 meters short of the river to support the crossing by our infantry. It was in this position that "C" Battery captured a total of eighty-nine (89) prisoners, quite a haul for a field artillery unit. On the morning of 24 Aril, the battalion fired a fifteen minute preparation on the northern bank of the Po and, at 0545, the first wave of infantry crossed in assault boats, with no opposition from the northern bank. We later fired at several enemy tanks and other targets of opportunity. Then we stood by waiting for orders from the Beachmaster to move across the river. There were no bridges in our sector and all crossings had to be made on Dukws and rafts. The plan was to provide an assembly area on the northern shore of the river and to make reconnaissance and move into position from the assembly area. On 25 April, all howitzers were moved across the river on Dukws and unloaded at an assembly point to wait for the prime movers to make the crossing. Permission was finally granted the remainder of the battalion to make the crossing over the bridge in the 10th Mountain sector. The prime movers picked up the howitzers at the assembly area and the battalion continued northward, finally occupying a position at Zera at 0150, 26 April.

   The next move took us to the outskirts of Verona the following day, the great communication and rail center south of the Brenner Pass. Once again the Jerries were occupying the heights and looking down on us. However, there was still no resistance from enemy forces. That same evening, "A" Battery moved forward about 2000 yards followed by "B" and "C", and on Sunday, April 29, the Command Post moved up to join the batteries. Here, we went into a defensive position until alerted for a move to the East Coast in the vicinity of Venice. This occurred on 30 April and, that evening the battalion moved eastward. Plans, however, were changed and the battalion was pulled into an assembly area at Creazzo, near Vicenza. Next morning, another long move carried us to the vicinity of Pederobba. From there to Anzu on May 1st and on May 2nd, to Gron where the battalion went into position, expecting to stay but a short time. In this position, the German Armies in Italy surrendered and we were in that position for several days. In that time, thousands of German prisoners streamed back to the Prisoner of War enclosures, a poor facsimile of the once proud Wehrmacht.

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May 1945
APO 85, U. S. ARMY
7 JUNE 1945

1 MAY 1945 TO 31 MAY 1945

   The evening of the first of May the battalion was in rendezvous at Pederobba, (416-005) Italy,{see Map Coordinates} standing by to support the armored task force which consisted of the 2nd Battalion 337th Infantry, one company of tanks, one company of Tank Destroyers, engineers, and our "B" Battery. This team was to move through Feltre after its capture by the 88th Division and was then to move generally north up highway #50. Feltre was cleared that night and the battalion minus "B" Battery moved into position just south of Feltre at (403-147) ahead of the task force to cover its advance to the north. Positions were occupied at break of day the 2nd of May. At approximately 0700 the first elements of the 2nd Battalion, mounted on tanks and tank destroyers, passed by our positions.

   At 1000 hours the task force had advanced so far that it was decided to catch up and remain in column until trouble was encountered by the infantry. At 1230 the battalion occupied hasty positions at Gron (533-297). The task force was stopped by resistance of undetermined strength. It was found to be the tail end of a retreating German division. After a short stiff firefight, surrendering negotiations started. Rumor had it that the German armies in Italy were surrendering. The fighting ceased at 1400 but official word of surrender had not been received until later in the afternoon.

   Somehow it seemed unbelievable that there was to be no further fighting in Italy. Even after official word was received the general effect was dazed disbelief. For the next few days the battalion tried to make itself comfortable while marking time for further orders. In the meantime our pieces had to remain in firing position to remind Tedeschi that we still held the whip-hand while he was bickering to keep his arms.
{Sgt Cole told of traveling in lead elements of an armored task force driving toward the Alps to capture a German column. He tells about some GI's on the lead tanks being killed--so close to end of the war. Along the narrow mountain roads, they caught up with the German column and had a short firefight. A truce was called to discuss surrender. The Germans wanted to keep their small arms but the Americans said 'No'. So fighting erupted again. Seeing they had no option, the German column surrendered unconditionally. They were ordered to toss all their rifles, machine guns and pistols off the road into a deep ravine. (My dad brought back home a nice Luger pistol. I always wondered if he picked it up from that ravine. If only he could have selected a rare artillery Luger.)}

   On the 4th of May we received our first training memorandum from Headquarters, 85th Infantry Division Artillery (see appendix 1), with some mis-givings. The schedule consisted of three (3) hours drill and maintenance in the morning and three (3) hours recreation and athletics in the afternoon. The schedule was a pleasant surprise and was definite proof that the fighting had ceased. The 339th Infantry moved through the 337th to seal the Austrian border. The 337th's task was then to gather together and evacuate the surrendered units in its zone.

   On the 5th of May the first spit and polish order came through from Headquarters 85th Infantry Division Artillery (see appendix 2) but we took that in our stride. Enjoying the peace was too pleasant to permit orders to interfere.

   Orders from Headquarters 85th Infantry Division Artillery received on the 7th of May assigned the battalion an area of responsibility to occupy and patrol upon release from combat team control. (see appendix 3).

   The battalion was released from combat team control and moved into its area the 10th of May. Headquarters was established at Lentiai (475-191). Routine patrols were instituted. Memorandum #27, Headquarters 85th Infantry Division Artillery was received that day (see appendix 4) instructing us to cooperate with the partisans in clearing out the scattered German elements hiding in the hills.

   On the 11th of May there was a change in battalion patrol areas and the battery zones were re-shuffled (see appendix 5). For the next few days routine patrols picked up a few scattered Germans in civilian dress. On the 13th Training Memorandum #13 (see appendix 6) was received from Division Headquarters and Training Memorandum #7 was received from Division Artillery the following day (see appendix #7). A more detailed schedule was to be followed but n essence it was no different from the schedule followed during the past week.

   Six prisoners of war were picked up on the 15th, three more the fol1owing day, and thirty-nine more were picked up on the 18th. (see appendix 8). From the 19th to the 27th routine patrols captured scattered prisoners of war with the help of the partisans.

   Division Artillery Memorandum #30, 27 May, notified us of the imminent relief of our division from its present duties by the Folgore Group{*}(see appendix 9). The battalion was to move into an assembly area with the rest of Division Artillery. On the morning of the 29th the battalion moved into its assembly area in the vicinity of Pez (446-204)(see appendix 10). Upon completion of the move the training and recreation program was re-instituted. Attesting to the wise well-balanced program of training, athletics, recreation and education was the extremely high morale and wel1-being of the men. There was no further unusual activity for the rest of the month.
{* The Folgore Group was a combat group made up of Italians. About 6 such groups were organized late in 1944 and each group was approximately 9,000 men in strength and wore British uniforms. Gruppo di Combattimento 'Folgore' originated from the 184th Parachute Division. }

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June 1945
APO 85, U. S. ARMY
5 JULY 1945

1 JUNE 1945 TO 30 JUNE 1945

     The first of the month of June the battalion was marking time in the vicinity of Pez enjoying the light training program and the athletic activities.  Throughout the first week films such as “Two Down and One to Go” and “On to Tokyo” were shown to all personnel (See Appendix #1).  In compliance with the division directive a school questionnaire was accomplished and some limited subjects taugh while awaiting arrival of the books ordered.  The enrollment for school was very gratifying, a total of 304 enrollments were accomplished for the 12 courses offered (See Appendix #2).  This despite the fact that we were not full participants in the Army Educational  Program and that our category was indefinite.
{Sgt. Cole left Mississippi A&M College 6 months before graduation to join the Army and his diploma was mailed to him. He taught classes on Agriculture during this post-war period.}

    Our athletic program was rolling full blast.  Our soft ball team fell into its old stride and was, so far, unbeatable despite the fact that the infantry could choose a team from 3000 men while we had no more than 540 men to draw from.  To compete favorably in league ball, Headquarters, 85th Division Artillery sent a letter requesting the artillery battalions to submit names of men for a division artillery team and that first practice was to be held 8th of June 1945.  (See Appendix #5).

    On the 9th of June our first conducted scenic tour left for the Austrian Border.  90 men participated in this activity (See Appendix #4).  On the same day the formal school opening date was announced as the 12th of June.  All classes were to be held in the afternoon while the morning was dedicated to physical training and the care of material (See Appendix #5).

    On the 16th of June our first large group of 32 high score men left for home.  The men were in a way reluctant to leave their old unit, but looked forward with great anticipation to being home once again.  The evening of the 16th the division amateur contest was held.  It was by far the best military show seen in Italy.  The amount of talent in this division was unbelievable (See Apendix #7) and (Appendis #8).

    Their (sic) was still no official announcement of the division category but on the 17th we received our first shipment of high-point personnel from the 10th Mountain Division.  On the 19th of the month 15 officers and 220 enlisted men with low Adjusted Service Rating Scores were altered to leave the division at 0400 hours the morning of the 20th for the 34th Infantry Division. On the evening of the 20th 4 officers and 105 enlisted men with high Adjusted Service Rating Scores were assigned to the division.  This mass change of personnel interfered with the operation of the unit school which was closed temporarily.  The transferring of men went on without a hitch.  The official Army Educational Program Questionnaire was distributed and accomplished during the next two days and a report was submitted to Headquarters, 85th Infantry Division.  The number of students showing a desire to enroll in all types of educational activities was very satisfactory (See Appendix #9).  Official enrollment day and our first day of scheduled classes was to be the 25th of June, however, on the 22nd  of June the division announced our official category and indicated the possibility of sailing for home in August.  The reaction amongst the men was that it would be foolish to start any classes with so little time remaining before sailing. As a result the enrollment for the battalion school was poor.  A campaign was started and the enrollment was built up to 77 men, a very small number in comparison with the previous enrollment. 
{Soldiers with a high ASRS score were transferred out of units designated to remain as occupation forces and into unist such as the 85th Division, so the veterans could go home.  Recent recruits with low scores, were transferred into these occupations forces, such as the 88th Infantry Division.  See page: ASRS score. }

    Our athletic and training program was resumed without trouble.  The new men blended in well with the men remaining in the division.  Tours and competitive sports were resumed, the battalion making its’ usual good showing in all competitive sports.  Our first three men to attend the Army University, Cpl. Harry T. Wellington, S/Sgt. Wm. Kriedler, T-4 Roy D. Black, left for Florence on 27th of June (See Appendix #10).

    During the last few days of the month small groups of the low score men (Adjusted Service Rating Score), in the division were sent to various units in the theater.  No other major events occurred during the month.

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July 1945

APO 85, U. S. ARMY
  3 AUGUST 1945

1 JULY 1945 TO 31 JULY 1945

    On the first of July 1945 the 328th Field Artillery Battalion was still in the throes of redeployment struggle.  The face of the unit was undergoing drastic changes.  Personnel changes preceeded smoothly but the outgo was far greater than the influx. The lack of certain key personnel such as drivers, cooks and clerks was beginning to be felt, nevertheless with the conversion of the new men to fill the vacancies all necessary work was accomplished on time.
    The first three (3) men to take advantage of university courses at Florence left for the university training center on the first of July.  In the meantime the reorganized unit school was continuing but with comparatively little success.  Attendance was poor because of the many interruptions by military duties, passes and the personnel shortage.
    1st Lt. George Wahl was transferred to the 88th Infantry Division per paragraph 17, Special Order #125, Hq. 85th Inf. Div., on the first of July.  On the same day nine (9) officers and eighteen (18) enlisted men joined the battalion from the 34th Infantry Division.  The following day nine (9) enlisted men were transferred to the 34th Infantry Division, twenty (20) enlisted men were transferred to the 527th Field ARtillery Battalion, one (1) enlisted man to the 3838th Gas Supply Depot and six (6) enlisted men to the 10th Mountain Division.  On the 4th of July eight (8) enlisted men were transferred to the 102nd Signal Light Construction Battalion and fifty-two (52) more were transferred on the following day to the 88th Infantry DivisionCaptain Edgar H. Keys, M.C., was transferred from the 21st Station Hospital to this battalion.
   During the next few days there were no changes in personnel.  The battalion strength had dwindled to a little more than 200 men and officers.  Preparations were made to move to the Volturno Redeployment Training Area.  Once more the unit school was closed down and the sports and pass programs were curtailed.  On the 9th of July one (1) enlisted man was transferred to U.S. Occupational Forces in Austria and one (1) to the 3rd AAF Depot.
   At 0400 hours the morning of the 10th July officers and men traveling by train left for Vicenza {interesting that the rail lines were operational so soon after the war ended}.  At 0800 hours the same morning the truck detail left for the Volturno Redeployment Training Area.  The majority of men although realizing that this move was one step nearer home left the beautiful north country with a touch of sorrow.
   The truck convoy passed through much of the country that was fought over by the division.  Many thoughts and memories were recalled to mind by the passing scenery.  Two Hundred and Fifty (250) miles were covered on the first day; the column bivouaced at Pisa at 0015 hours the following morning.  At 0845 hours the same morning the convoy left Pisa and arrived at Rome at 1845 hours after covering Two Hundred and Sixty Eight (268) miles.  A night bivouac and once more they were off on the final leg of the journey arriving at the Volturno Area (N 26.4-83.0) Map Caserta #172 II, Scale 1:50,000., at 1405 hours, 12 July 1945.  {This is a complete map reference with name and coordinates.  The 1:50,000 scale Map name was "Caserta" and the number in the upper right-hand corner was 172 II.  Each numbered map was 1:100,000 scale and was divided into 4 quadrants and the 1:50,000 scale map of each quadrant was designated by a Roman Numeral.  These then could be subdivided into 1:25,000 scale maps that were identified by a dash(-) and compas directions, NE, SE, SW NW.  Even smaller maps of 1:12,500 scale could be printed with -1, -2, -3, or -4 for the quadrant.  The coordinates were referenced by the 6-digit number written as 26.4-83.0 or more commonly as 264830.  This coordinate reference could be used on any of the map made from the top numbered map. See Map Coordinates , below}
    The trip by train was made by coach leaving Vincenza{sic- Vicenza}at 0800 hours the 10th of July and arriving in Caserta at 1230 hours the 12th July.  Both trips accentuated the great difference between the north and south of Italy.  the extreme poverty and greater destruction in th esouth was much more noticeable after our pleasant stay in the north country. 
   On the 13th July Division Training Memorandum #15 designated training areas and the schedule to be followed during our stay in the Volturno Area (see appendix 1).  Liberal pass and entertainment policites were re-instituted by the division.  Men and officers were sent to Salerno, Capri, Rome, Mondgragone Beach, Caserta and Naples on TDY or day leave.  {TDY is temporary duty assignment.}
   The artillery battalions were now so small that it was decided to re-open and consolidate the unit schools as one Division Artillery School.  Even so it was difficult to keep up attendance because of large guard rosters and huge pass quotas.
   On the 16 of the month four (4) enlisted men were transferred to the 527th Field Artillery Battalion.  On the following day two (2) more men were transferred to the 7th Replacement Depot for immediate trans-shipment to the United States on the 21st July.  From the 22nd to the 27th one (1) officer and fifteen (15) enlisted men were transferred to various units in the theater.
   The many wild rumors of sailing were finally quieted when Division Headquarters officially announced "D"Day.  On the 25th July the first of the movement bulletins were received and the final processing of personnel and equipment started.  Becuase of the number of men on TD and pass the processing prceded in a catch-as-catch-can manner.
   The film "Troop Ship" was shown to all available personnel (see appendix 2).
   On the 29th July the battalion was notified that it would move on the following day into the 310th Medical Battalin area (see appendix 3). 
   The 31st July was pay day and greatly welcomed by the rest center bound G.I.

{The report seems to abruptly end here at bottom of Page 2.  The following pages are parts of the Unit Journal and gives a daily accounting of the number of troops transferred out.  Occasionally it listed names of officers who were re-assigned new duties or transferred.}

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August 1945
APO 85, U. S. ARMY
  26 AUGUST 1945

 0001  1 AUGUST 1945 TO 2400 25 AUGUST 1945

{This last entry into the Operation Reports were full of typos.  That is what (sic) means.  It indicates that a new clerk or some alternate was asked to make this entry. }
   The first week of August was spent "sweating out" sailing time.  Rumors of changes and postponemtnts(sic) were flying thick and fast.  "D" day was set tentatively for the 13th of August.  In the meantime despite the absence of personnel on pass the final processing was taking place in good order.
   The wild rumors, paper work, formations and the uncertainty of mind tended to keep the state of nerves at the high pitch.  Finally on the 8th of August "D" day was set as the 15th of the month.  All work went on smoothly.  Inspecting teams from MTOUSA checked supply and personnel records finding little if anything, wrong.  Division movement orders came through with the regularity of clockwork making easy the final processing.

   The the(sic) 13th of August saw the end of the passes and the disolution of the Provisional Truck Company.  The bulk of the battalions' vehicles remaining were turned in that evening.  On the 14th of August all baggage belonging to enlisted and officer personnel was inspected for customs clearance.  On that day the final movement order arrived.  The battalion was to leave the Volturno Redeployment and Training Area at 0335 the morning of the 16th.  The 15th rolled by with nothing to do but to accomplish the final physical inspection.  The last vehicles were turned in that night.

     The 16th of August at approximately 0800 hours the battalion was aboard the huge U.S.S. WEST POINT.  Our worries, jitters and doubts were no more.
   The trip was pleasant and uneventful with only the question of destination, whether New York harbor or Hampton Roads was to be our port of debarkation, to bother our minds.  Finally our debarking orders were received.  We were to dock at Hampton Roads, Virginia at 0700 hours the morning of the 25th of August. We docked at 0745 hours and started to unload.

   The efficinecy(sic) of the transportation corps in unloadig this huge shipment of men will never cease to be a source of wonder to all the men.  Everything was done without a hitch.  There was not tedious long hauls of luggage by hand. In no time we were comfortably set in our barracks and then were treated to the best meal we have had in the army.  Nothing was left to do but to wait for trains to take us to the Separation Centers.  At 2400 hours the night of the 25th of August 1945, the 328th Field Artillery Battalion became part of the history of a great war.

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Map Coordinates
Map Name & Identification
   Maps issued for front line use were identified by a Name and a Sheet No.  The Name would be a name of a town or village on the map. Maps identified with a Sheet number was usually a large 1:100,000 scale.  Each of these maps were further sub-divided into 4 grids that were identified by an additional Roman Numerals and each of these were issued in maps of 1:50,000 scale., or more detailed view.
  For example:  Sheet 89 would be divided into maps identified as:  89-1, 89-II, 89-III, and  89-IV.  Then more detailed maps were issued that were 1:25,000 scale and were identified as:    89-I-NW ,  89-I-NE, 89-I-SW, 89-I-SE. 
    The super-details maps of 1:12,500 scale were further further sub-divided and identified with letter suffixes: (a), (b), (c) or (d).  This map would be identified as
Sheet 89-II-SE (a).

Map Grid Numbers
Map Grid Letters
Map Grid Coordinates:
   In this report, Map coordinates for towns are shown as two sets of three digit numbers.  Example:  Gron (533-297).   Most artillery coordinates used a 6-digit number for the map coordinates.  An example of this is found in the January 1945 Report: Camaiore (03.6 - 89.8).  The coordinates corresponded to the map grids for the 1:25,000 scale map issued for that area.  
   The map had grids marked off with 2-digit coordinates.  While reading the map, the user would further divide the grid lines into 10 increments for more accuracy.  Thus the first 3-digit coordinate defined the "X" or east-west direction and the second 3-digit number defined the "Y" direction.

See examples of actual 1:25,000 scale maps used in the war:  Army Maps.

Example of a Map
                                                                        Sheet 88-III
Map Sheet 88 III
Coordinate for M. Grande, point 608(noted with a small triangle) would be Map Coordinates  998 - 323.

End of Monthly Operational Reports

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