143rd AAA Gun Battalion - Page 23
But this not being our destination ,we sped along the Autobahn, Hitler's superhighway into Duren.
Here was a city destroyed beyond repair where only the important streets had been uncovered to permit the passage of military traffic. But this was still a link in the important supply lines to the swiftly receding front and had to be defended against air attack.
On the 12th of April we left Duren to move to the Rhine River to defend the General Hodges bridge near Bonn and the Remagen bridge across the Rhine. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery were established in Bonn.
"A" Battery moved into an apple orchard in Dransdorf; "C" Battery to Ippendorf and across the Rhine on the East bank at Beuel was B Battery, while D Battey set up at Hangelar.
Some of these positions were vacated a short time later due to the First Army A A Units moving forward leaving gaps in the AAA defense ring, necessitating our shifting to cover the spots.
We of A Battery moved south of Mehlem on the river's edge. We well remember "Murphy's" our yacht and the fact that we were the last battery to fire at an enemy plane just before V-E Day.
We of B Battery remained at Beuel with our adjoining private swimming pool.
While we of C Battery moved to a point overlooking the Ludendorif bridge and were just getting settled down when we had to return to Ippendorf.
We of Battery D were at Rossenneau with the Drackinfel's Castle on the hill overlooking our positions.
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, due to the shift ol the lettered batteries, moved too Haus Ernich overlookinig the Rhine river, a former famous resort hotel. It was here that we received the joyous news of V-E Day, May 8, l945.
During our stay here on April 24th, Brigadier General Nathaniel A. Burnell, of the 52nd AAA Brigade, acting for General Courtney H. Hodges, Commanding General of the First United States Army presented men of our battalion with the decorations which they had earned for their outstanding gallantry during the Battle of the Bulge.
General Burnell also conveyed General Hodges' sincere thanks and appreciations for our exemplary action.
Upon the arrival of V-E Day, we began to wonder if we were to take the "banana boat" to the CBI, go back to the States, or stay in Europe.
On May 16th. we received orders attaching us to the 2nd Air Disarmament Wing, 108th AAA Group, to carry out an air disarmament program. "March Order!", we're on the move again.
This time it was an entirely different mission for all of us and even our dispositions were greatly changed. The work proved to be very interesting and we thoroughly covered our sector of Germany.
The great distances between our batteries, necessitated changes in our former methods of supply, communications and transportation.