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.... Patron

    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.


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