774 US Field Artillery Battalion

 

The 774th Field Artillery Battalion was not an organic unit of the 7th Armoured Division.

It was attached to 7th Armoured Division during the time that 7th Armoured Division was in combat in the Netherlands, from 30 September 1944 - 21 November 1944.

 

The period ending 31 October 1944 marked the first month of combat for this Battalion. The Battalion was attached to the 7th Armd Div prior to 1st October 1944 for duration of what was expected to be a short campaign to drive the enemy to the East of the Maas river in the area bounded on the North of  Overloon, Holland on the west by Asten, Holland and on the south by Weert, Holland.

 

The attack started 30 September 1944, direction of thrust South through Overloon, Holland. 774th FA Bn in general support and reinforcing fires as tactical conditions indicated. Progress was extremely slow and many German counter attacks were experienced.

 

The Battalion occupied 3 positions: From 1 October to 7 October, Northwest of Overloon, supporting the attack on Overloon, from 7 October to 30 October, vicinity of Asten, supporting attack on Meijel, from 30 October to 4 November, vicinity of Weert, supporting attack on Meijel.


On 6 november 1944, plans were received for withdrawing the Division from this sector to allow a short rest period and regrouping in vicinity south of Maastricht, Holland. A billeting party was dispatched and the Battalion moved to an area assigned by 7th Armoured Division in vincinity of Eijsden, Hollanf on 9 november 1944 where it remained until 21 november 1944. During this period training consisted of maintenance of equipment including personal equipment.

 

A total of 639 missions firing 10.513 rounds were conducted during that period. A break down by positions and type of missions follows:

 

A. First position:

(1) Observed by Air OP; Missions, 31, rounds 565

(2) Observed by Forward Observer: Missions, 20, rounds 453

(3) Unobserved fire: Missions, 130, rounds 1324

(4) Total missions, 181, rounds 2342

 

B. Second position:

(1) Observed from Air OP: Missions 55, rounds 1324

(2) Observed by Forward Observer: Missions 78, rounds 1204

(3) Unobserved Fires: Missions 370, rounds 5558

(4) Total: missions 503, rounds 8086

 

C. Third position:

(1) Observed from Air OP: Missions 2, rounds 23

(2) Unobserved Fires: Missions 7, rounds 62

(3) Total missions 9, rounds 85



Company Morning Report

A. Battery


1 October 1944, Btry fired on enemy held territory approximately 12000 yards South-east.


3 October 1944, one gun, fourth section went out to occup a position away from the battalion. Fired indirect fire and returned to battery at 06.00hrs


5 October 1944, Btry still in position, fired pre-arranged concentrations, no counter enemy action has been encountered.


7 October 1944, Departed bivouac area De Rips , 14.00hrs arrival new biviuac area, Asten, Holland


8 October 1944, Usuall combat duties, station Asten, Holland


14 October 1944, Usuall combat duties, station Asten, Holland, Battery started to fired British 4.5inch ammunition in lieu of American 4.5inch ammunition.


15 October 1944, Usuall combat duties, station Asten, Holland


19 October 1944, Btry fired interdiction fire from 20.00hrs to 06.00hrs 18 October

total rounds fire, 60.


20 October 1944, Usual combat duties, station Asten, Holland


21 October 1944, Usual combat duties, station Asten, Holland


22 October 1944, Usuallcombat duties, station Asten, Holland


24 October 1944, Battery fired concentrations im enemy held territory, total rounds fired 140.


25 October 1944, Battery fired 24 rounds in enemy territory


26 October 1944, Battery fired into enemy territory, 64 rounds fired.


27 October 1944, Battery fired on enemy held territory a total of 139 rounds


28 October 1944, Battery fired 368 rounds into enemy territory


29 October 1944, Battery fired 432 rounds into enemy area from 15.00hrs 28th to 15.00hrs 29th.


30 October 1944, Departured bivouac area Asten, arrived at Weert at 102.5hrs, travelled 12 miles.


1 November 1944, Usual combat duties, station Weert, Holland


2 November 1944, Improvement of battery installations. 283 rounds fired into enemy territory


3 November 1944, Battery fired 395 rounds into Nederweert area.


4 November 1944, Departed bivouac area Weert, arrived area Nederweert, travelled 5 miles.


9 November 1944. Departed bivouac area Nederweert arrived new area Eysden 21.20hrs travelled 20 miles


Company Morning Report

B. Battery


30 September 1944, Battery at De Rips.


2 October 1944, Battery fired 200rounds on enemy target very effectively.


3 October 1944, Battery adjusted on enemy gun battery by Air Observation at 07.59hrs. Air observation very clear. enemy gun battery destroyed at 09.13hrs, total rounds fired 50


4 October 1944, Battery fired 167rounds at enemy target at bridges, town, enemy aircraft battery and road intersection 1st section esd detailed as roving battalion, gun firing was very effective.


5 October 1944, Battery fired 199 rounds on enemy targets as enemy OP church, three Anti Aircraft guns enemy rocket Gun and road intersections all were effective roving gun of 1st section of the 1st section returned at 06.05hrs.


6 October 1944, Battery fired 247 rounds on enemy targets on enemy troop in woods, enemy vehicles and enemy troops, Guns were loaded battery did not fire, unloaded guns at 17.33hrs. Fired on enemy troops in woods between 1915hrs-20.29hrs.


7 October 1944, Departed bivuouac area, De Rips 14.00hrs, arrived new area Asten, Holland at 16.45hrs, distance travelled 11 miles.


8 October 1944, no change


9 October 1944,  Battery moved to new position at 12.03hrs roads fair, weather good, distance travelled 1/2 miles, arrived at 12.36hrs, battery fired 11 rounds for registration.


10 October 1944, Battery fired 6 rounds check point registration, usual field duty


11 October 1944, Usual combat duties


13 October 1944, Battery fired 158 rounds at enemy troops and enemy equipment, firing was very effective.


14 October 1944, Firing consist of pre-arranged data for push off of H.Hour fired 48 rounds total.


15 October 1944, Battery fired 71 rounds on enemy troops, British ammunition is being used for the first time very satisfactory firing very effective


16 October 1944, Usual Combat Duties


17 October 1944, Battery fired 148rounds at Enemy target at 11.30hrs, Enemy rocket guns 11.58hrs, enemy rocket guns 15.15hrs what is known as Hitlers Barrage, firing very effective at 16.00hrs, Enemy rocket guns, target was not observed.


19 October 1944, Usual combat duties


20 October 1944, Total of 130 rounds fired


21 October 1944, Battery fired 33 rounds at Enemy artillery


23 October 1944, Battery fired 56 rounds at enemy artillery and assembly area

Battery fired 136 rounds on eney gun battery observation.


24 October 1944, Fired 122 rounds on enemy personnel and equipment.


25 October 1944, total rounds fired 89 targets at 11.50hrs enemy battery unobserved 16.20hrs, enemy mortars very effective 16.45hrs, enemy battery unknown 18.00hrs.


26 October 1944, Battery fired 144 rounds on enemy artillery, very effective.


27 October 1944, Enemy shelled near battery position at 07.00hrs and 14.00hrs fired consisted of concentration on enemy attack.


28 October 1944, Battery fired on enemy tanks, enemy shelled near gun position at 16.00hrs.


29 October 1944, firirng consists of enemy gun battery, enemy mortar, enemy personnel.


30 October 1944, Departed bivouac area, Asten, arrived Weert 12.45hrs, travelled 12 miles.


1 November 1944, Battery fired few rounds interdiction fired observation, very poor


3 November 1944, Firing consist of enemy gun battery, unobserved enemy CP and assembly area, inf troops in the open, enemy mortars firing very effective.


4 November 1944, Joseph M. Manion KIA.

Departed bivouac area Weert, arrived new area Nederweert at 13.30hrs, travelled 5 miles


7 November 1944,  Battery fired upon enemy anti aircraft battery, enemy troops, enemy tiger tank.


8 November 1944, Departed bivouac area Nederweert, arrived new area Weert, Holland, travelled 7 miles


21 November 1944, Departed Eysden area 15.30hrs, arrived Geilenkirchen, Germany 16.30hrs, travelled 29 miles roads poor.


Company Morning Report

C. Battery

3 October 1944: Usual Combat duty

7 October 1944: Departed bivouac area De Rips , Holland 14.00hrs, arrived at new area Asten 15.45hrs, distance travelled 11 miles.

8 October 1944, Usual combat area duties

17 October 1944, Usual combat area duties

20 October 1944, Usual combat area duties

21 October 1944, Usual combat area duties

22 October 1944, Usual combat area duties

23 October 1944, No unusual occurances

24 October 1944, Battery fired 16 rounds total on two enemy targets

25 October 1944, Battery displaced to a forward position in the same general area, guns moved by platoon to maintain ability to fire. A total of 70 rounds were fired on 8 targets for period of 16.00hrs 24 October to 16.00hrs 25 October.

26 October 1944, total of 107 rounds fired from 16.00hrs 25 october to 16.00hrs 26 october, 58 rounds fired on 7 enemy targets 49 rounds interdiction fire.

27 October 1944, Battery fired 388 rounds and 28 concentrations at enemy targets during the past 24hours. Position formerly occupied shelled by enemy, Morale excellent.

28 October 1944, Battery allerted for possible tank attack, positions dug in and strenghtened, outpost established, battery fired 124 rounds on 11 targets.

29 October 1944,  total of 486 rounds fired on 16 enemy targets, enemy air activity in vicinity at night of 28 october 1944.

30 October 1944, Departed bivouac area Asten 10.25hrs, arrivednew area Weert 12.45hrs, distance travelled 12 miles.

31 October 1944, total of 8 rounds fired on one concentration, no usual events.

 

Personnel losses:

 

Battery Commander C Battery, Missing in action since 30 September 1944 (later reported POW)

 

The Battalion had functioned smoothly and efficiently throughout the period. Maximum use was made of Air OPs. Ground observation was very poor due to limited positions of observation. Frequent and detailed reconnaissance for new positions were made in forward as well as flanking and rear areas.


Awards of Purple Heart


2nd Lieutenant Donald.F. Nims, for wounds received as a result of enemy action on 20 October 1944, in the Meijel area, Holland. Entered the military service from Massachusetts


Tech 3, Wesley.T. Farrow, for wounds received as a result of enemy action on 5 November 1944, in the Nederweert area, Holland. Entered the military service from Alabama.


Tech 5, Dale H van Hyning for wounds received as a result of enemy action on 6 November 1944, in the Weert area, Holland. Entered the military service from Ohio.


Private 1st Class, Robert W. Brown for wounds received as a result of enemy action on 4 November 1944, in the Weert area, Holland. Entered the military service from Ohio.


Private  Henry.F, Hansbarger for wounds received as a result of enemy action on 5 November 1944, in the Nederweert area, Holland. Entered the military service from Ohio.


Private Benny.A. Marzullo for wounds received as a result of enemy action on 4 November 1944, in the Weert area, Holland.  Entered the military service from Ohio.



 

 

Donald Gammie HQ Battery Fire Direction, May 1945 in Germany (J. Long)
A. Battery 4.5inch guns in action, November 1944, at Asten, Holland (J.Long)