143rd AAA Gun Battalion - Page 13
A battery had moved into a city dump with all of the distinctive aroma that hangs over such a place.
In spite of the conditions the men constructed a small village complete with all the comforts of barracks.
Those of us from Baker Battery, the "Port de Clichy Wolves", remember vividly the weekly battery dances with our friends.
In C Battery there was a nightly war that did not cease with the liberation of Paris and the battery was so well hidden in the victory gardens that the brass hats were continually amazed when they were taken to this position.
Dog Battery had a built up city in close proximity to one of the main captured German equipment dumps with all its advantages.
The early days in Paris were not all quiet as on the night that Wallace J. Newman was shot in the leg while on sentry duty and had to be evacuated to the ZI as our first battle casualty.
Here, too, the war caught up to us in another way and we first realized the tremendous problem of supplying rapidly advancing Armies.
At this point our Armies were racing over the remainder of France and driving the Germans back behind the Siegfried line, moving so fast they were outrunning their supply line.
The AAA battalions with their great amount of mobile equipment were called to augment that tremendous motor transportation service that was to be called the "Red Ball Express".
"I was a truck driver and I remember the day when our motor pools were alerted for emergency duty with Red Ball. On September 19, 1944, in Paris, 98 EM and 2 Officers left the Battalion to activate the 6902nd Provisional Trucking Company whose strength was later increased to 268 EM, 5 Officers and a fleet of 103 vehicles. By convoy we drove over the hilly and battle-scarred roads to a grassy field one mile South-east of Cherbourg."
"Once there, we checked our trucks; mess facilities were arranged and we started to improvise our own shelters. Most of us used our truck tarps and bows to protect ourselves from the rain."
"The day after our arrival we were instructed in the rules and regulations for Red Ball driving, of which there were many. Then came those long days of continuous driving. Twelve hours on the road and twelve in the sack.........or looking for it; because every time an order came down for a truck with a tarp and bows, another home would go."
"It seemed to rain twenty-three out of every twenty-four hours and the field, after constant use as a parking lot, became a mass of soupy mud. Trucks sank in up to their axles and we to our ankles.