143rd AAA Gun Battalion - Page 22
The planes were engaged with no observed results. Enemy air activity was general throughout the area during the day and in the vicinity of Francochamps, a fighter bomber landed a bomb right in the center of a gun pit that had, been evacuated by one of Charlie battery's guns the day before.
The house adjacent to the gun, which was being used as a forward CP was almost completely destroyed by the blast and four members of the Battalion were injured. No further action occured in the vicinity of Francochamps and on December 31st, we of batteries B and C were relieved, from our present mission and returned on the 1st of January to Aywaille, reverting to our normal AAA mission.
With a sigh of relief we were glad to get back once again into our normal job but at the same time our feeling of pride in the box score that we had made since December 18th, which totalled twelve German tanks destroyed, two "cat one" claims and one "cat two" claim as well as incidental scores and numerous enemy dead. Unfortunately, on the debit side, our casualties were four dead, six wounded with three 90 mm guns and one M-4 tractor lost in action.
On the 3rd of January we were relieved from our present mission and moved to Namur, setting up under the control of the 31st AAA Group as the AAA defenses of the bridges and marshalling yards at Namur, Belgium. Here was our opportunity, to settle down once more and get our equipment and material in shape after our period of close combat.
Here we spent an uneventful but pleasant time in the close vicinity to one of the nicest cities on the Meuse River and gradually got used to the semi-garrison life.
"A" Battery was in position at Erpent; "B" Battery on the southern outskirts of Namur; "C" Battery at Ft. de Surlee; and "D" battery at Champion the various suburbs of Namur. Despite living in tents, we made ourselves comfortable.
Numerous special service facilities were made available in Namur, such as Battalion weekly dances, nightly movies at the city theater, and a lively program of inter-battery basketball.
We, also, enjoyed our first hot showers after what seemed like months. Then there were passes to Brussels, capital of Belgium, a close rival of Paris in gaiety and entertainment.
Just as were becoming accustomed to the routine of our primary AAA mission, again on March 12th we were given march order and moved to Vervieres, Belgium to protect the supply installations, railhead and marshalling yards at Herve, Belgium.
"A" Battery dug positions in a small field at Battice; "B" Battery was at the eastern outskirts of Verviers; "C" battery was located at Le Bouxhe on the road to Liege; and "D" Battery at Wedgnez northwest of Verviers. Headquarters was located in Ecole Publique in Verviers.
We were fortunate here that Liege was not far away and we were able to visit Our friends there and tell the tall tales of our recent experiences.
But we were not to stay there long. On the 28th of March again "March Order" and the battalion was ordered to the vicinity of Duren, Germany. We entered Germany passing through the dragon teeth of the destroyed Siegfried Line at Aachen and observed the crumbling ruins and destroyed buildings of a dead city.