634 AAA Battalion 

 

On 15 September 1944, the 634th AAA AW Battalion left the area of Laon, France, for its new mission which upon starting, was supposedly in Belgium. The reconnaissance party arrived at the orginal only to be met by officers of the Group who imparted the information that the mission had been changed due to the rapid progress of our troops in that particular sector. This presented no problems to the "recce" as the "mobility and Deployment Drill"was in fine working order and a Report center had been established. The Battalion made the working order and a Report Center had been established. The Battalion made the change-over without a hitch, arriving at the final Report Center just as the Battery Commanders with parties got nack from their reconnaissance, and as the S-3, Major Carl W. Morgan, rolled back bearing the news that once again the mission had been changed, now entailing a short trip to Holland.

In this case reconnaissance and occupation of positions had to be simultaneous, but in spite of the difficulties involved and the long 200 mile march, three batteries were set up and "in action"the same night. The fourh Battery Btry D. commanded by Captain Ralph. A. Wilmot, was assigned the defense of an objective impossible to reach as the bridge intended for their crossing of the canal was not to be found. In their attempts to find a crossing, Lt Harrell and one gun section were rolling around in territory that was taken by the American Infantry a week later.

 

The darkness was so complete that they did not notice the absence of friendly faces coming back without the knowledge that by rights they should have been all been Missing In Action.

The Battalion Commander finally put them in a bivouac area after it had been ascertained that there was no way in which to reach the intended VA.

The next day this battery was given a mission on the West bank of the Albert Canal while the enemy was still on the opposite bank. Artillery fire was constant in their area for the first four days and after one escape only 20feet the Battalion Commander, Lt-Col A.E. Rackes, tempered his valor with caution.

 

During this period there were only two slight casualties as all were well dug in. A week later, when 600 Germans were taken from the Island from there positions, it was learned that one Bofors gun site had been within 150 yards of the Germans for the entire week. It was the desire of the Germans to keep their positions a secret that saved this gun and crew from a brief and final taste of mortar fire.