143rd AAA Gun Battalion - Page 17
The sight of mass funerals and whole families living in cellars became common and with all this we remember the friendliness of the Belgian people in Liege.
Here we had our first antiaircraft engagement. The enemy plane appeared, from plots and speeds to be a light reconnaissance plane.
Upon failure to properly identify itself the plane was fired upon by Able and Dog batteries, with Dog Battery claiming one, category two.
Several nights later, another reconnaissance plane returned and was fired upon by Able and Charlie, with Able battery making a category two claim. At several times during this period enemy planes returned apparently observing some results of the landing of buzz bombs.
As a results of the firing during this period batteries A and D were each awarded a category two for aircraft destroyed or probably destroyed.
Starting with December 5th, we started to hear rumors that we were to be attached to the First Army and to move forward to fire on the buzz bombs that were landing on Liege.
Recon parties started leaving the area, coming back with reports of the situation at the front and we heard stories of emplacing batteries within 1800 yards of German outpost positions.
Finally, on December 14th, radars of Hq. and Charlie, together with the recon elements of all batteries left to check the battery sites that had been previously selected by map and ground recon in the vicinity of Mutzenich Monschau and Kaltersherzberg, Germany. The batteries were to follow and set up in front of the buzz bomb launching sites that were then used to attack Liege.
Battle of the Bulge
The Ardennes Offensive (16 December 1944 - 25 January 1945)
At Kaltersherzberg on the morning of December 16th the recon parties received the opening barrage of von Rundstedt's counter offensive, which then was supposedly a local counter-attack.
Part of the recon party returned to Liege on this day and found that the projected move was cancelled. There was a possibility of an all-out German offensive.
A small party returned on the 17th to Isenborn, South of Kaltersherzberg where the 18th AAA Group was located to learn more of this position and to find out what had happened to the radars that had been left there previously.
On arrival the party saw the 18th Group evacuating their position and moving to the rear in the face of the German offensive. Word had been received by both radar crews to return to Liege with the equipment as quickly as possible.
This was accomplished after considerable difficulty due to the roads necessary to travel over in evading enemy forces. One of the radar mounts had shrapnel holes in it and this brought the war a lot closer to us.