197 Anti Aircraft (SP) Battalion

 

23 September 1944: A Battery  went to the Heerlen area in Holland to the North of Aachen. There they took up the new assigment at ASP-122-first, 2nd Platoon departed in convoy first to Heerlen vicinity. There they protected ASP-123. The following morning, 1st Platoon joined the 2nd Platoon at Heerlen. There they protected a separate dump, ASP-124.

 

30 September 1944: Moving closest to the front and the action Battery A, Captain Heitz complained, " A Battery got very little sleep the night they arrived. Nearby, an artillery barrage kept firing their 240mm guns over tje battery's head all night long".

 

1 October 1944:  Night, in the midst of the battle, Captain Heinz recorded, : German bombers dropped flares and proceeded to bomb the artillery around us. Under orders, the guns sat quiet, not wanting to expose the location of the artillery.

 

4 October 1944: Night, bombers were in the vicinity, but one engaged.

 

5 October 1944: All hell seemd to break loose, as reported by A Battery. Ten German FW-190's appeared near several sections at 14.30hrs. The fighter bombers were making strafing attacks on nearby American positions, when the AA men retailiated. Everyone seems to have opened up in this "target of rich environment"!. Heitz reported of his men : The following twelve squads fought well, subjecting the German pilots to a real scare, in the least. Four of the attackers were claimed to shot down. 3 CAT.I and one CAT.II with one plane crashing 300 yards from squad 141. Very little could be found of the pilot.

At 19.15 enemy planes reappeared over the area. This time they bombed andstrafed in an attempt to knock out the nearby artillery established throughout the area. Hoping not ot exposes the artillery positions, A Battery sections held there fire as the raiders dropped flares of every variety. The battery made it through without any damage or injuries. Several Dutch civilians were reported killed and injured in the raid.

 

7-23 October 1944: The position at Heerlen remained unchanged, while the AA men watched  the Battle for Aachen. On 14,15, 18 and 22nd, there was enemy air action around A Battery, with many flares and anti-personnel bombs dropped.

 

24 October 1944: Night, A Battery was subjected to the largest raid in their area to date. Its commander reported: "many large bombs were dropped along a great quantity of anti-personell bombs, no damage or casualties.

 

25 October 1944: A Battery formed convoy in the seembly area at 06.00.

The convoy was separated up into three serlies, nine vehicles per serial, and left Heerlen and went to Luxembourg.