143rd AAA Gun Battalion - Page 15
For the first time we used two and three tractors to emplace a single piece of equipment.
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery moved from a school house in Asnieres to the famous Rochschild Chateau on Blvd Suchet in the City of Paris, across from the world famous Bois de Roulogne. The new Positions were more accessible to the City of Paris and to the many good friends that we made there.
On November 13th those of us operating the Trucking Company returned to the Unit and the batteries were once again up to battle strength.
In these placements we had settled down to the fate of fighting the war in Paris and most of us were celebrating our Thanksgiving dinner when that electrifying cry, "March Order!" ran through the batteries. The war had come again to the 143rd and we were ordered to proceed to Huy Belgium, where the reconnaisance parties had preceeded us to receive orders from the 52nd Brigade.
It was a miserable two-day trip in driving rain, sleet and snow. On the second day our recon elements met us with the information that we were to be deployed around Liege Belgium, and with the stories of the V-1's which were starting to drop on the city in great numbers.
We preceeded on reaching our assigned positions at various times up until one o'clock on the morning of November 28th. We went into position and were ready to fire at 1200 o'clock and had the mission of protecting the bridges and supply installations of the city against enemy aircraft.
We all recall our dissappointment at not being permitted to fire on the V-1 robot bomb.....all we could do was to listen , watch 'em and dodge 'em. All too soon the sputtering roar of the bomb was familiar together with that terrifying silence when it cut out in our vicinity, which meant a terrific explosion not too far distant.
They kept coming and coming in increasing numbers and on one unforgettable day we counted one hundred. The cry of the loudspeaker in the gun operations rooms of "Hostile two-niner one Zebra North-west" with the subsequent explosion and the cry, "Remove Hostile two-niner", became all too frequent.
There was much honest effort on the part of all of us to help these bombs keep going over the camp while sweating it out. We were fortunate in all cases of our stay that not one bomb hit any of our positions even while falling all around at distances as close as seventy-five yards.
During this time we watched with admiration the civilian population of Liege under the sustained and wanton attack in which they were helpless to do anything but sit and take it.