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Info on 383rd Field Artillery Bn

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by jaredvv86, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. jaredvv86

    jaredvv86 New Member

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    I'm trying to piece together as much info on my Grandfather's military service in WW2. He never discussed his service with anyone in the family so this been a lot of work. I know he served with the 383rd FA Bn Battery-C, however I am finding very little info on this unit online. I've found a little info at Home they seem to have a fair amount of info on the other units in that division but they are lacking on 383 info.

    I've got a request into the College Park archives, however in the mean time I was wondering if anyone else out there has done any research on this unit and would be willing to share their info. Gramps name was Fred Vanderveen, I'm not entirely sure what he did while he was with the 383. All I have is what he did with another unit he was transferred into briefly before returning back to the states. Any info or anything would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Actually, the 103rd Infantry Division website has a reasonable amount of information. The Morning Reports for Battery C (by date)PDF are color coded to show location and events. Granted, it's not a narrative, but it does provide a lot of specific info as to where and when they were. When you see 2 letters followed by 4 digits followed by either NDG or Nord de Guerre, those are coordinates which can be translated online. According to the MRs, he and 3 others were sent to the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Training Center at Camp Hulen, TX on 30 Jun 1944. When they returned to Battery C, he MOS was listed as 345, Light Truck Driver.

    The Eisenhower Presidential Library has some records of the 383rd FA Bn listed in their finding aidPDF. They are probably similar if not the same as what is at College Park. If you haven't already, you should track down a copy of the 103rd Division history. I believe they were reprinted by Battery Press, so it should be possible to find a reasonably priced copy, or get one on loan from your local library. Regarding your request at CP, be sure to ask for an index (or listing) of their records for the 103rd Division. There are probably records of the 383rd in the Division's records which may not be reflected if you just ask about the 383rd.
     
  3. jaredvv86

    jaredvv86 New Member

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    I'm really glad you mentioned what those 2 letters and four digits were. I'd been looking at those trying to figure out what those were. They sort of looked like radio call letters to me so I am glad that you pointed out what those were. I've been using those MR to construct a geographic timeline.

    You mention the history of the 103rd Div. what would be in that? I've gramp's copy of this book:

    https://www.amazon.com/Report-After-Action-Infantry-Division/dp/B000H5CI08

    What sort of things should I be looking for in here? I had a friend help photograph the pages of that books so I can make a searchable pdf of it.

    Thanks for the suggestion on the index. I will be sure to ask for a copy of that.
     
  4. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Decoding can be a bit tricky. You have to select the correct grid (i.e. Nord de Guerre), and sometimes they only give one letter or none at all. Then you have to know generally what area they are in and figure out which grid square (2-letter code) to use. Also, it's not super precise and the website does explain that. However, it does get you reasonably close.

    That's the book I had in mind. You will not be likely to find a specific mention of your grandfather, and probably not even Battery C. There may be references to the 383rd FA Bn as that was a component unit of the 103rd. General references to "Division Artillery" would include the 383rd. If nothing else, it will give you the larger context in which the 383rd was operating.
     
  5. jaredvv86

    jaredvv86 New Member

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    Question about how accurate that coordinate system would be. I have the following note:

    6/14/1945 Location Mieders, WV 0145, NDG.

    when I put that in to the calculator you linked to above it comes back to a place in France quite a distance from the location in Austria that it should be mapping to.

    Would that be some kind of transcription error perhaps? Or is it some kind of purposeful location?
     
  6. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    This is an example of human error, either on the original MR or in the transcription. My guess is the former, or maybe a little of both. The "Record of Events" states that they arrived at Meiders, Austria. Look it up in Google Maps and compare with the map showing the various grids and you will notice that it is in the North Italy Zone, not NDG. Then looking at the grid map for the Italian Northern Grid, you will find the correct grid square should be rW, not wV. Making those adjustments will put them in the vicinity of Meiders, just south of Innsbruck.
     
  7. jaredvv86

    jaredvv86 New Member

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    Good news! I got a response back this afternoon from the CP archives. Here a verbatim copy of what I got back:

    I will be following up with her regarding the index of records regarding the 103rd. I kind of just want to ask for everything and sort through it on my own, but at $0.80 a page I have a feeling that would cost a small fortune. So where is a good place to start? Hope someone can give me a bit of guidance as to where I should go from here.
     
  8. Natman

    Natman Member

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    I would recommend starting with the three Unit Histories (0.3 Series). Hopefully they will list day by day actions/locations and may list casualties. Hard to say how many pages each one might have.
    For the next 3, I would go for a Unit Journal and File (maybe the January, 45 one), the History 1944 and the General Orders, 44-45. I've seen Journals vary from very useful with good detail to nothing more than "Col. Smith went to Company B - Col. Smith returned from Co B". They are basically information that comes into the HQ Co. by radio, telephone and/or messenger. Getting one will tell you whether the others are worth the money. The General Orders are likely your best chance to find your Grandfather's name if they include orders for medals. Again, they can range from pre-war Guard Duty Orders to lists of personnel awarded medals.
    An alternate plan would be get a Unit History, Journal and File and something else, again allowing you to see what info is in each type of file.
     
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  9. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Natman's advice is pretty solid. I would add that Journals also tend to have less info per page. Unlike histories, they are not narratives. The communications are usually individual entries separated by blank lines. During combat, a Journal may have several pages for one day. At $.80 per page, that can get expensive. I'm not suggesting they aren't useful. However, if cost is an issue, I would recommend the getting Unit Histories first, then consider Journals as needed.
     
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