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

Germany (Part 2)

DEXHEIM

When the Third Army made its first crossing of the Rhine we were right there. We moved in on Dexheim on March 22nd, and on the next day the combat engineers had completed a pontoon bridge across the Rhine. With its completion came the remnants of the Luftwaffe in strong attempts to stop the 5th Infantry Division of the Third Army from crossing. Jerry had to guess where the bridges were, though, for a vast smoke screen covered miles of the river successfully hiding the bridges. And our guns made it plenty hot for Jerry. For the first three days action came mostly during the late evening hours though the stutter of our machine guns and the pom-pom of the 40 mm's could be heard through till daybreak. Jerries from the north, Jerries from the east, high and low, fast and slow ... all the common varieties of Jerries -- and even jet plane Jerries. They really put on a show bombing and and strafing the bridges between Oppenheim and Nerstein, and dropping flares and flash bombs. We put on a pretty good show ourselves claiming 5 Cat I's, 14 Cat II's, prevented damage to the bridge.

Some of those bombs that missed the bridge came down in Battalion Headquarters and B Battery areas but we had no damage and no casualties. We avenged that dastardly deed the next day when eighteen planes came in over fourteen raids and we got 3 Cat I's. All three planes were seen to crash. It was altogether an interesting day with one heavy enemy shell landing near Battalion Headquarters (no damage or casualties) and one of Dog Batteries cats stepped on a mine. It lost a track and the crew lost three sets of underwear but that was all.

The 25th was a quiet day until 1945 about 53 planes made 17 raids and put on a beautiful 4th of of July show with green target flares, illuminating flares, photo flash bombs, bomb flashes and tracers from their machine guns while they were strafing. We added to the display with our own guns and made several bright flashes with our shells and their planes. We claimed 3 Cat I's and 3 Cat II's. This does not include the flares shot down by the machine gunners despite reports from AW Battalion to the contrary. The importance of preventing his destroying the bridges is obvious. Not once was a bridge touched by his action.

And then we rested and rested and rested from our labors. We were still in operation but Jerry had had enough and left that area strictly alone. All we had to do then was watch Col. Hopper as he acted as town major and a very good one. On the 9th of April "D" Battery rejoined us with tall tales of their adventures while on Security Guard and we regaled them with equally tall tales of what we had gone through. Things grew very dull then, truck convoys were out hauling gasoline to the 4th Armored Division and hauling PW's back. Our wine supply began to run low, nerves were on edge.

Three weeks at Dexheim with the Third Army continuing its armored thrusts and steamrolling far east of the Rhine. . . . We felt as though we had been forgotten -- we knew it when a Com Z outfit came in to relieve us. So March Order finally found its way to us and we were happy to be on our way again, on the 14th of April.

 

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... is on the scene at the Third Army's first Rhine crossing: a pontoon bridge, 23 March at Dexheim. The 115th defends its crossing by the 5th Infantry Division. All the Rhine bridges between Oppenheim and Nerstein are under heavy air attack for several days. "We put on a pretty good show ourselves claiming 5 Cat I's, 14 Cat II's [in one day], prevented damage to the bridge."

But after these few days of heavy action, things get quiet enough at Dexheim for the 115th to be glad they are leaving after three weeks.
 
Updated Tuesday June 07, 2005 09:10:53 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.