US Army Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) in Normandy

Discussion in 'US Units' started by Earthican, May 6, 2014.

  1. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Mmdumas

    I would suggest you register with our sister site they are USA based and more likely to be able to answer your question(s).
    We are more British & Commonwealth country based.

  2. Patrick Lewis

    Patrick Lewis New Member

    I will send you an email.
    I may have info you need
  3. Shelly Jakob

    Shelly Jakob New Member

    I am looking for information from my grandfather. He was in the 204th Battery D. I know he was on Omaha, trying to piece together his military history.
  4. Patrick Lewis

    Patrick Lewis New Member

    Gentlemen and ladies< I have done extensive research on 197th AAA AW Bn and wrote a book about them.
    First of all, the 49th AAA Brigade controlled DDay AA units after landing on both beaches. Brig. General "Big" Ed Timberlake was in charge. He actually landed on Omaha.
    Technically the 197th was under direct command of 1dt Inf Div for the first # of hours. Once 49th brigade people arrived, they took recontrol of the battalions. Interestingly, the 1st ID seems to have no acknowlegment of their attachment, but I have orders copy that they were released from the temp attachment. I suspect similar arrangements for the assaulting early wave AA units
    As to records and what is avail in US... the Military Personnel Record Ctr here in St Louis County Missouri has limited info. They have individual records of servicemen. Also they have Morning Reports on microfilm. The Morning Reports seldom give detailed info, but things can be learned. Primarily they are an attendance record that was sent in everyday by a clerk on a printed one page form, similar to a teacher taking attendance at start of a class day.

    The reports tell you where a company or battery was on a date, how many men on duty, AWOL, on leave or sick. They many times list the men wounded or KIA for an earlier date. Not necessarily the AM Report for say June 6 lists men KIA, but an AM report on perhaps June 16th will. AM reports don't give much action.

    Interestingly, the 197th did have an oddity to their AM reports. They attached the roster list of men who boarded each LCT. I have checked other assaulting units that arrived on LCTs in the early waves and no other Bn added those records attachment. Quite a find!
    For After Action Reports (AAR), those are at the National Federal Archives outside DC in College Park MD next to University of Maryland.
    The AARs give some good summary of the units activities for an action. Read skeptically though. Since they are penned by officers of the units, they tend to expound on the units achievements, and usually don't mention negatives. After all, it is their reputations. The best AAA action report I read was the 367th Provisonal MG AA unit that landed on OMAHA. The surviving captain who wrote it was very direct and minced no words.

    My expertise is centered on Omaha, and so can't speak to the units much on Utah.
    The 207th AAA Group landed on D+3 from my records
    thanks for everyones passion on this subject, by sharing our finds, we help honor these terrific men!
  5. Shelly Jakob

    Shelly Jakob New Member

    Thank you for your input! I look forward to visiting the center.
  6. Jack Barnes

    Jack Barnes New Member

    Bang on research. 118th AAA was at Omaha Beach (this photo is from Maastricht Holland ) The 118th AAA_49th Brigade_ (4).jpg 118th_AAA_49th_Brigade_Map_version_2_.jpg - will post my dad's involvement there if any interest develops in this natter-box. Let me know.
    Osborne2 and Owen like this.
  7. Patrick Lewis

    Patrick Lewis New Member

    Mike, It is very very easy to get confused by the AA as you have to really dig and be on your toes to catch errors etc. Correction to your statement about the 11 Brigade....none ever existed. Force U which was the collection of initial AAA units hitting UTAH were lead "technically" under the 49th Brigade. That brigade contingent landed on Omaha as planned. Brig General EW Timberlake of the 49th lead all initial AA American units for both beaches. The assaults were Force U for Utah lead by the 11th AAA Group (essentially a regiment) Force O was at Omaha initially lead by 16th AAA Group. That DDAY AM, the 467th AW (SP) was attached to that assault group. Force B were reserves/follow on units for 6/6. They were all to land on Omaha, none at Utah.That Force B was the 18th AAA Group. Interestingly, the 440th AW was in that force and temporarily attached to 18th Group. After D-day, they reverted to reporting to 16th Grp. Likewise, the 467th SP unit that hit with 29th ID reverted back to 18th Grp on 6/7.
    Hope this minituae helps everyone. Thanks for everyone's passion and enthusiasm for these great warfighters!

    Sources: WWII Order of Battle, also ADA magazine published by US Army.
  8. Jack Barnes

    Jack Barnes New Member

    Feel free to share with your fellow researchers...From Cpl. Melvin M. Barnes - 118th AAA Gun Battalion - Mobile[​IMG] Groups and Mobile Gun & AW, etc. of the 49th AAA Brigade...My dad brought this home in his Army Chest of souvenirs...
  9. John Picinisco

    John Picinisco New Member

    Hello, my uncle Bernard J Picinisco served with D battery of the 110th AAA bn out of Camp Edwards Massachusetts. He was part of the invasion and in a published news paper article discussed the unit landing near the Vierville draw and coming under enemy fire from a pill box and church tower. They set up outside of Vierville and Ernie Pyle spent a night with them in their position. He later wrote about it in his book “Brave Men” . Julias Reiver was my uncles commander.
  10. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake All over the place....

    AAA was landed early in the operation. On the British beaches AAA was some of the earliest artillery equipment to land. These were not from the assaulting formations, but from the AAA Brigades that would set up the beach AAA defences. On Omaha many of these soldiers would have landed while the beaches were under heavy fire. These are some of the unsung heroes of Omaha as most people have heard of rhe Bedford Boys, the Big Red one and the Rangers. But no one has made any movies about the guy in an M16 or from a 90mm AAA battery.

    Op Overlord was a combined Joint operation. The plan for all of the beaches was similar/. Otherwise it would have confused the hell oput of the the Navies. The AA arrangements for Omaha kind of mirrored Gold, because these beaches would become the Mulberry Ports and Utah mirrored Juno and Sword. I am not an expert on the US AAA but these remarks are based on what I know of the British and joint efforts.

    AA Defence is the under told story in Normandy. 75 years of hind sight and air force spin have painted a picture that there qas too much AAA and it was unnecessary gioven allied air superiority. I even met an American historian conducting an ROTC party in Caen making fun of the Air Defence battlefield study I ran for a British Air Defence unit.

    Given the German air response to the landings in Sicily, Salerno and Anzio, the Germans could be reasonably expected to pose a serious air threat and spring nasty surprises such as the guided air to surface missiles and bombs. Historically, the Luftwaffe burned their bomber force in the 1944 Blitz, the attrition by the escorted daylight raids over Germany had eroded their fighter force, the jet fighters weren't ready, contrary to Hitler's orders no one had built a Jet bomber that could penetrate allied air defences and the main Luftwaffe effort would be the V1 campaign. But they did not know that before D Day. In the event the German air forces was very active at night and by day over the eastern corner of the beachhead.

    An AA Brigade was assigned responsibility for the large number of AAA units on each beach. Following AA Brigades would become responsible for airfield defence and, as the beachhead expanded, ports and key river crossings. There as a sophisticated air defence system based on the UK Dowding system encompassing early warning radar and tight control of day and night fighters, AAA and passive measures such as smoke and barrage balloons. There was a lot of thought to avoid the surface to air friendly fire incidents that caused so many problems and casualties in Sicily.
  11. Jack Barnes

    Jack Barnes New Member

    Mark - if this illustration helps find more information for you please share it with other researchers.

    (You wrote- Any information from anyone about Edward Russell Jones, my uncle, who was at Omaha beach with an AAA? 50 % died going ashore, he fought to st lo then was shipped home, grannies only boy. Thanks Mark June 11, 2018 )
  12. Bin There

    Bin There Member


    The figures you cite for the 452d's landing reflect limits placed on initial deploying strengths by the operational plans. The 452d, like most units, deployed initially at "light scales of personnel and equipment." In the case of AAA AW Mobile battalions, deployment levels were supposed to be capped at 538 men and 104 vehicles. Within very minor variations, all the other AAA AW Mobile battalions deployed at the same levels. And those were exactly the levels allotted to the 452d in the troop First Army troops list/deployment schedule.

    Personnel and vehicles that exceeded those levels were diverted into special holding camps in the UK to await their eventual deployment via the buildup shuttle service sometime after D+15. In the case of the 452d AAA Battalion (AW/M), the remainder of its strength - 279 men and 101 vehicles - were scheduled to come in on the eighth increment for Utah Beach in the buildup shuttle. The First Army plan didn't attempt to predict what day that increment would actually land, just that the buildup shuttle would begin after D+15.

    So the main body of the 452d deployed initially at about 2/3 personnel and 1/2 vehicles not because a battery was detached to land on D-Day, but because all such units were capped in that manner, and it always intended to land at that strength.

    That does not theoretically preclude a last minute change that sent a battery in early, but neither is it an indication that it necessarily did so.

    Did you ever obtain the 452d's History? I'd love to see it if you did. Good luck.


    Attached Files:

  13. Glenn Della-Monica

    Glenn Della-Monica New Member

    Does anyone have any information on the 110th Anti Aircraft Bn on and after D-Day? My wife's father was a radar crewman in that unit, but I cannot find any information regarding radar deployment dates for Normandy. His discharge papers list Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe in the battles and campaigns box. His name was Joseph F. Gaynor.
  14. Bin There

    Bin There Member


    I'm not entirely sure what you meant by "the 1st ID seems to have no acknowlegment of their attachment" but I may be able to shed some light on what I think you meant.

    Annex 3 (Troop List, Beach Omaha - Force O) to the 1st Division's Field Order #35 (Neptune) clearly shows the 197th and it's immediate headquarters (the 16th AAA Group) as attached to the 1st Division..It further shows the 197th was then attached down to the 16th RCT. But that attachment was very brief. As the footnote the the 16th RCT Troop list states, the 197th was "Attached to the 16th AAA Group for operations, to CT 16 for movement only." So once the ramps were dropped and the 197th touched down in France, the 16th RCT had no further control or responsibility for the 197th, and they would not be included in after action reports, etc.

    I suspect the very brief period of attachment would account for the 197th receiving very little attention in 1st Division reports. The 16th AAA Group was scheduled to come in as part of the 'Division troops' at H+180. But the 49th AA Brigade HQs (which, as you note, upon arrival would assume operational control of the 16th AAA Group) was due in With Force B. So the 1st Division only had responsibility for the 197th for a matter of hours, perhaps a day at most? I wouldn't think it would play a major part in the division's reporting during that first critical period.
  15. Glenn Della-Monica

    Glenn Della-Monica New Member

    I found some AA Battalion info for the 110th. The two documents were PDFs of the originals, and I have transcribed them.

    The first is a commendation for the whole battalion:

    49th anti-aircraft Artillery Brigade
    APO 230
    U. S. Army

    10 May 1945
    SUBJECT: Commendation of performance of Duty in the Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland, and central l European Campaigns

    To : Lieutenant Colonel William F Curran, Jr,
    Commanding Officer, 110th AAA Gun Bn,
    APO 230 U. S. Army

    1. At the conclusion of our Victorious campaign through Europe, I want to express my deep appreciation to you, and through you, to the officers and men of your hard-bitten battalion, pretty astounding Drive, tenacity of purpose, and aggressiveness which the 110th AAA Gun Battalion performed all combat missions Normandy, northern France, Rhineland, and Central European Campaigns.

    2. Narrative

    a. The 110th AAA Gun Battalion landed on Omaha Beach, near Vierville-sur-Mere, Normandy, France, as part of the Assault force "D" on 7 June 1944, under concentrated artillery, mortar, and small arms fire. Fighting its way to previously designated positions, it proceeded in a minimum of time to establish an impregnable AAA defense of its sector of the beachhead, shooting down, what is claimed to be, the first German plane in France by 90 mm fire on 080130b 1944.

    b. On 26th July 1944 the Battalion, and his ground role, closely supported the attack of the VII Corps, which resulted in the Breakthrough at St. Lo, by destroying the ammunition dump at Feugeres, France, (T-333678), the German MSR Bridge at (T327673), and the town of Marigny, France, (T-386616). During the Allied race through France, Belgium, and deep into Germany, the 110th AAA Gun Battalion moved aggressively and progressively forward, defending vital Army installations, airfields, and river crossings in the zone of action of the FIRST U.S. ARMY.

    c.: On 25 August, 1944, the Battalion Reconnaissance party entered Paris via the Pont D’Orleans at 1200 hours, and penetrated as far as the Luxembourg Gardens before being stopped by heavy German fire. This is understood to be the first instance of American troops entering Paris during the Second World War by this route. The Battalion occupied the above-reconnoitered position early on 26 August 1944, and repelled a hostile attack of approximately 60 planes on the Seine Bridge the same night, with devastating damage to the attackers.

    d. When the German counter offensive of the Ardennes was launched on 16 December 1944, the Battalion, with elements of the 602nd AAA Gun Battalion and the 639th AAA AW Battalion, was immediately deployed in the anti-tank role in the vicinity of Stavelot – Spa - Stoumont, Belgium, and was solely responsible for the stopping of two German armored thrusts on 19 December 1944 aimed at capturing the 3,000,000 gallon gas dump between Stavelot and spa. Had the gas-hungry 6th Panzer Army captured these supplies, incalculable damage might have been done. During this period an unwary ME-109 was destroyed by one round of 90mm using anti-tank sights. This is the only incident of this kind on record.

    e. On 2 March 1945, the Battalion defended the vital Roer River Crossings in the vicinity of Duron, Germany, (WF1145), by shooting down twenty-one of fifty enemy planes committed, and was then rushed forward to cover the crossings at the Rhine at Remagen against concentrated suicidal attacks by the Luftwaffe.

    f. When the FIRST U. S. ARMY broke out of the Ramagen Bridge head, the 110th AAA Gun Battalion continued to perform its AAA mission in the protection of vital army installations and Main Supply Routes in the zone of action of the Army.

    g. The termination of hostilities on 9 May 1945 found the 110th AAA Gun Battalion well on the road to Berlin, with the record that no objective defended by it, from the initial assault on the Normandy Beaches to the Weser River had been damaged by aerial attack. During the entire European Campaign, the 110th AAA Gun Battalion, performing all combat missions in a superior manner, had participated in six hundred and one aerial engagements, destroying sixty-five enemy planes; had twenty-two ground engagements, destroying eleven tanks, eighty armored and motor vehicles, as well as innumerable gun positions, bunkers, ammunition, and supply dumps, and greatly facilitating the advance of front line Infantry.

    3. The fighting instincts, esprit de corps, and outstanding efficiency of the officers and men of the 110th AAA Gun Battalion during the crucial battles of the entire European resounds to the glory of the Battalion as a whole, and reflects the leadership, high degree of personal courage and tactical and technical skill of Lieutenant Colonel William f. Curren, Jr, who led the Battalion from the Normandy Beaches to the banks of the Weser, in the great military campaigns of history.

    E. W. Timberlake
    Brigadier General, U. S. A. ,

    The second is the march orders for Battery A of the 110th AA Bn:

    Battery “A”
    110th AAA Gun Bn (Mbl)
    APO 230

    Official “MARCH ORDER” of Battery “A” as compiled from the Morning Reports since leaving the United States of America.

    December 23, 1943 – Left New York by NY 675 “Queen Mary” at 1610 hours for foreign service. Battery chosen to man Anti-aircraft guns on Queen Mary for entire trip overseas.

    December 29 – Arrived Gourock, Scotland by NY 675 for duty in the ETO at 1130 hours.

    January 1 – Arrived in Reading, England en route to Station at APO 230.

    January 2 – Arrived in station at Nottlebed, Oxfordshire, England.

    February 24 – Left Nettlebad at 0750 by truck convoy for permanent change of station. Reached Exmouth, Devonshire, England at 1745 after trip of 145 miles.

    April 7 – Arrived in AA Firing Range at Tofanau, Wales at 0840 after trip of 260 miles.

    April 15 – Arrived in Exmouth, Devonshire, England on return from AA Firing Range at Tofamnau, Merioneth, Wales.

    April 18 – Arrived in training areas at Broadsands, Paignton, Devonshire, England for practice waterproofing of vehicles and guns.


    April 26 – Arrived in Field Artillery practice at North Molton, Devonshire, England at 1315.

    April 28 – Arrived in Exmouth, Devonshire, England after completion of Field Artilery practice.

    May 15 – Arrived in Staging Area at Camp K-5, somewhere in England.

    May 17 – Transferred to Camp K-6, somewhere in England.

    May 29 – Arrived in Camp K-4, somewhere in England.

    May 32 - Left Camp K-4, Liskoard, England and arrived at Plymouth, England, LST 498 at 1030 hours.

    June 6 – Watched Invasion of Normandy for LST 498. Battery scheduled to land on Omaha Beach, Dog-Red, at 1600 hours but impossible to bring LST 498 to shore.

    June 7 – Approached beach to within 150 yards. Backed off because of enemy artillery.

    June 8 – Disembarked from LST 498 at 1400 hours on Omaha Beach, Dog-Red. Arrived in area at Vierville, France at 1630 hours. Engaged 2 aircraft. Claimed Category 2.

    June 9 – Engaged enemy aircraft. Claimed one Category 1 and one Category 2.

    June 10 – Engaged 1 enemy aircraft.

    June 11 – Engaged 6 enemy aircraft. Claimed three Category 1 and one Category 2. One Category 1 confirmed.

    June 12 – Engaged 2 enemy aircraft.

    June 13 – Arrived at new area Louviers, Calvados, France. Engaged 3 enemy aircraft. Claimed one Category 1. One Category 1 confirmed.

    June 16 – Engaged 9 enemy aircraft, Claimed one Category 1 and four Category 2. Claim for Category 1 and one Category 2 confirmed.

    June 17 – Engaged 2 enemy aircraft. Claimed one Category 2.

    June 18 – Engaged 3 enemy aircraft. Claimed one Category 1. Claim confirmed.

    June 19 – Engaged 6 enemy aircraft. Claimed three Category 2. Claims confirmed. Awarded individual citations from General Gorow for our work with V Corps on invasion o Normandy.

    June 20 – Engaged 3 enemy aircraft.

    June 21 – engaged 4 enemy aircraft. Claimed one Category 2.

    June 22 – Engaged 2 enemy aircraft. Claimed one Category 1. Claim confirmed.

    June 28 – Engaged 2 enemy aircraft.

    July 1 – Engaged 1 enemy aircraft.

    July 2 – Arrived in Isingny, France at 1230 hours.

    July 8 – Engaged 1 enemy aircraft. Caliomed one Category 2.

    July 10 – Engaged 1 enemy aircraft.

    July 11 – Engaged 1 enemy aircraft.

    July 20 – Arrived in St Jean de Daye at 1100 hours.

    July 24 – fired on FW-109 with 50 cal. MG’s.

    July 25 – Fired Field Artillery missions at 2100 hours. Engaged 1 enemy aircraft at 0120 hours.

    July 26 – Fired Field Artillery mission. Bridge on road to Nesliers demolished. Category 1 confirmed by V Corps Artillery.

    July 28 – Engaged 1 enemy aircraft.

    July 29 – Engaged 2 enemy aircraft. Claimed one Category 1.

    July 30 – Arrived in area at Pont Hebert, France. Engaged 1 enemy aircraft at 2320 hours.

    August 2 – Engaged 2 enemy aircraft.

    August 8 – Arrived in area at St Lo, France at 0930 hours.

    August 10 – Left area at St lo by truck convoy at 0930 hours.

    August 11 – Arrived at new position near St Hilaire du Harcourt at 1100 hours.

    August 12 – Arrived at new position at Hilaire du Harcourt, France at 1630 hours.

    August 14 – Arrived at new position at Hilaire du Harcourt, France at 1815 hours.

    August 21 – Arrived in position at la Loupo, France, at 1510 hours.

    August 24 – Arrives in position at Limours, France at 2215 hours.

    August 25 – Battery Reconnaissance party entered Paris, France as part of the Battalion Reconnaissance Party. This group were the first Americans to enter France through Pont D’Orleans. Battalion given commendation for “Entry into Paris.”

    August 26 – Arrived at position in Paris, France at 1630 hours. Engaged 9 enemy aircraft at 2330 hours. Claimed two Category 1. Claims confirmed.

    August 27 – Left positions for new area in Paris – Bagneux section of city.

    August 31 – Arrived in third position in Paris, France in St Quen section. Of the city.

    September 8 – Arrives in new position at Mezieres, France at 1645. Distance travelled 150 miles.

    September 29 – Arrived in position in Liege, Belgium at 1\845 hours after a trip of 110 miles.

    October 17 – Arrived in position at Vervier, Belgium at 1430.

    October 26 – Arrived in position at Spa, Belgium at 1005 hours. Mission at this position being protection of First Army Headquarters.

    October 26, 1944 to December 17, 1944 – Buzzbombs continually flying at 300 feet directly overhead towards Liege – could not fire.

    December 17 – Engaged 1 enemy aircraft at 1945. Two 90mm guns and two 50 Cal. MG’s took up anti-tank positions.

    December 18 – Entire Battery alerted for Tank Destroyer mission in defense of Spa. Enemy columns reported in vicinity. Ordered to “Hold at all costs.”

    December 19 – Entire Battery deployed as TD in the vicinity of Stoutmont, Belgium. Enemy infantry and armored columns approaching.

    December 22 – Battery in new TD position near Malmady, Belgium in support of 30th Infantry division.

    December 25 – Battery continues TD Mission near Malmady. Enemy shelled Battery area – no casualties. Morale excellent on Christmas Day. Alerted for enemy Paratroopers on Christmas Eve.

    December 26 – Positions occasionally hit by shelling. 50 Cal. MG’s fired at low flying JU-88.

    December 27 – Battery continues TD mission. 50 Cal. MG’s fired at low flying enemy aircraft.

    December 30 – bomb CPand demolish ammo, Lt. Gardener, T/5 Stein, T/5 Cohen, PFC Reinert awarded Purple Heart for wounds received during the bombing.

    January 1 – Low flying enemy aircraft engaged at 0850 by our 50 Cal. MG’s. Three were knocked down Claimed five Category 1. One claim confirmed. Alerted for enemy Paratroopers.

    January 15 – Battery returned to AA role and sets up near Mont, Belgium, near Malmady.

    January 18 – Battery left Mont, Belgium for permanent change of station. Arrived in Spa, Belgium at 1331 hours.

    January 21 – Capt. Silverman and 1st Sgt Guanci awarded Bronze Star medal for action during Battle of the Ardennes.

    February 26 – Arrived om Eschweiler, Germany at 1200 hours very near bridge over Roer.

    February 28 – Arrived in Konzendorf, Germany at 1200 hours very near bridge over Roer at Duren, Germany.

    March 1 – Engaged 8 enemy aircraft between 2130 and 2335 hours. Claimed three Category 1 and 1 Category 2. One Category 1 and one Category 2 confirmed.

    March 2 – Engaged one enemy aircraft. Claimed one Category 2. Claim confirmed.

    March 11 – Arrived in position at Merten, Germany at 1100 hours.

    March 12 – Arrived in position at Odingen at 1550 in defense of Ludendorf Bridge at Remagen. Engaged one enemy aircraft at 1500 while en route with 50 Cal. MG’s.

    March 13 – Engaged FW190 at 1515 hours with 50 Cal. MG’s, one ME262 “Jet Plane” at 1747 hours and one FW-190 at 1750 hours with 50 Cal. MG’s.

    March 14 – Engaged two ME-262 “Jet Planes” at 1600 and 1604 with 50 Cal. MG’s. Claimed one Category 2. Claim confirmed.

    March 19 – Engaged 1 enemy aircraft at 2153 hours.

    April 6 – Arrived in position at Niederbreisig, Germany at 1530 hours.

    April 13 – Arrived at Ohlenberg, Germany at 1500 hours.

    April a8 – Battery and 110th went out of operations as AA in ETO effective this date.

    May 7 – “CEASE FIRE IN ETO” received officially.

    May 8 – Received commendations from 111 Corps. General Van Fleet, for work at Ramagen.

    May 9 – European War officially ended.
    Dave55 likes this.
  16. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Note that Battery A sailed from New York on the Gray Ghost, the Queen Mary.
    Pretty neat that they also manned the ships AA guns.
  17. Glenn Della-Monica

    Glenn Della-Monica New Member

    Yeah, it was pretty neat. My wife's father was in Battery A. He was high-tech, too. A radar operator

Share This Page