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

Germany (Part 3)

Autobahn demolition, half successful.
Autobahn demolition, half successful.

We enjoyed our first trip on an Autobahn, the super-duper highway system on which the Führer planned to move his armies so quickly. Now backfiring on him the Allied Forces were making the best of them. We sped north through the once beautiful city of Frankfurt am Main to . . .

. . . HERSFELD many miles to the north. At Hersfeld the gun batteries settled down at the four points of the compass around the town. Furthermore our three-star General George Patton wanted the men of Headquarters Battery -- combat men, understand -- to live in the buildings around his spacious quarters as "Palace Guards". Needless to say George slept well while we were there. Battalion Headquarters took over some flats, and it was in one of these that our Dental Officer found offices and a laboratory all set up with the latest gadgets. Fortunately our stay in Hersfeld was short and we didn't fall under his hand.

Just about the time that we were nicely settled two gun batteries and a part of the S-3 Section moved to Weimar on a hurry call, only to find on their arrival that it was a "dry run". The Third Army had changed its mind on its tactical direction. The batteries returned to Hersfeld only to start out the next day, the 18th of April, with the entire Battalion in the new direction the Third Army Spearhead was taking. This led us south, and our objective was . . .

Germany needs a little reconstruction!

. . . SCHWEINFURT, the ball-bearing center of Germany. Our mission ... to guard the Main Supply Route to the front.

We weren't to protect it for long, for the Third gained steadily and the MSR was changed to a highway further south. On the road again. It was at ....

. . . SCHEINFELD that Headquarters found the Castle Schwarzenberg, a real old Bavarian Castle that had been modernized and was quite livable. It looked too big for Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Battery; we moved in nevertheless and closed off a lot of rooms in which DP's had left evidence of their ransacking and looting. What a joint! No crowded quarters, light, large kitchen, beer on tap in the brewery, those huge 17th century things they called stoves, paintings on the ceilings of those women in their under-rationed clothes. This is the life. Stay here a while? No, "March Order" and on to the Bavarian Plain, many kilometers to the south.

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... leaves Dexheim 14 April 1945 and travels on the Autobahn through Frankfurt to Hersfeld. There the men of Hq Battery serve briefly as Gen. Patton's "Palace Guards", until leaving for Schweinfurt the 18th of April in defense of the Main Supply Route to the front.

They are soon on the road again to Erlangen (22 April) and Scheinfeld (24 April), where Hq Battery occupies the Castle Schwarzenberg.
Updated Tuesday June 07, 2005 09:10:56 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.