Yes, I know: it should be a 48-star flag... The 115th A.A.A. Gun Battalion, 1943 to 1945

Germany (Part 1)

Germany: "Don't Fraternize -- CO"
Volkssturm roadblock, always ready, but rarely finished.
Volkssturm roadblock, always ready, but rarely finished.

YOU are Now Entering Germany -- No Fraternization.... We were on the move once more and this sign greeted us as we crossed the Sauer River. We were attached to Combat Command A of the 4th Armored Division who were spearheading for the Rhine. Mission -- to strike the Rhine at Mainz and attempt to capture a bridge intact. The Battalion, less Battery D, who were on Security Guard, left Consdorf on the 17th of March (St. Patrick's Day). The weather was good but the same could not be said for the roads. We covered miles of Germany before we stopped for the night at Kochem. Early in the morning of the 18th we crossed the Moselle River once more (Battalion's 5th crossing of Moselle) and started over those mountains. We went up one side and down the other so often it started to feel like a scenic roller coaster. That afternoon (1300) we pulled into Bretzenheim and dispersed and camouflaged our equipment in our usual thorough manner. A short while later we glanced up casually at a flight of planes. It took a moment for us to convince ourselves that they really were FW-190's. It broke up the ball game that had started and almost broke a few legs as the men dived for concealment and cover. We received a temporary mission that afternoon to protect the 4th Armored Division bridges and supply routes over the Nahe River at Bretzenheim and Bad Kreuznach. The gun batteries went into position and before dark that night 23 FW-190's and Me-1O9's had made six raids on the protected area. They were all flying low and only the machine guns were fired. It was that night we also came into contact with the world famous Rhine wines. How much did the barrels hold? How much could the 115th hold? The barrels won but that was due to a March Order that moved us to Bad Kreuznach the following morning. It was a bright warm day and the guns were quickly set up and ready for action. We saw no planes until chow time that night. Many a cup of coffee was spilled as "Stand-To" rang out. It was a single FW-190 flying low, the guns opened up and he dropped his bombs short of the bridge and ran. It was just a short time later that Stand-To rang out again, almost too late -- for the plane was coming in fast. That was our first look at a jet Propelled Me-262. Once again we fired; he streaked across the sky and was gone in a moment. Another jet job followed him but the ack-ack was too intense for him to get near the target.

The morning of March 20th we were informed of the tactical situation. The 4th Armored Division Forward CP was moving to Freilaubersheim. CCA was in Alzey -- CCB was in Albig -- the 11th Armored Division was moving east on the right flank -- the 12th Armored from the 7th Army was moving north but position and destination were secret and the 90th Infantry Division was 7 km west of Mainz. We had our own worries too ... starting at 0930 and lasting until 1830 we had fifteen raids by 45 planes. It looked as if Jerry had all of his planes on display for us, for there were Me-262's, the AR 234 (a new jet propelled job), and of course our old friends the Me-109's and 110's, and the FW-190's. We threw everything at them but the wine we were saving and claimed four Cat I and one Cat II. This was also the day that the 88's tried to knock out the bridge and ford at Bretzenheim. Do you Headquarters boys remember that?

The raids started at 0640 the next morning (what a hell of an early hour). There were four raids by nine jet jobs and one recon mission. Those jets came in from all directions travelling at 500 mph. We claimed one Cat I. A Battery area was bombed resulting in two casualties. They moved up with Headquarters and went into billets at the Schneider Optical Works where the cry was "all these lenses and no cameras". On to the Rhine we hoped, and on it was, early morning the 22nd of March.

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... departs Consdorf, crosses the Sauer River and enters Germany on 17 March 1945. The 115th is now attached to Combat Command A of the 4th Armored Division as they spearhead for a Rhine crossing near Mainz. A stop for the night at Kochem and then on to Bretzenheim and Bad Kreuznach where they provide AA defense of 4th Armored bridges over the Nahe River. The the 115th got their first [quick] look at the jet Me-262.

March 20th was a day of heavy air attack: 15 raids by 45 planes, including Me-262s and another jet, the AR 234, all in daylight. More 500mph jet attacks the next day, and billets at the Schneider Optical Works, then on the Rhine.
Updated Tuesday June 07, 2005 09:10:49 PDT
The original text of The Story of the 115th A.A.A. Gun Battalion, published by the unit in 1945, is in the public domain. So how, you may ask, can I claim that the contents of these web pages are protected by copyright?

The answer is that it is my own transcription of the text and images into electronic format, and compilation into these web pages that is copyrighted. In addition, the web design, art, and annotations, plus all material from my father's personal albums are copyrighted original works. I reserve all rights to how all these materials are used. You may not copy them or store them in any retrieval system without permission.