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Which AAA Unit?

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by jones6780, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. jones6780

    jones6780 Member

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    Hello all,
    My first post here. I am searching for the AAA unit my Father, Richard Charles Jones, service number 34 354 347, served in. Here is what I know.
    1. He was in Battery A, 7th Antiaircraft Training Battalion, Fort Eustis Va., September 1942. I have a photo with names listed.

    2. His discharge papers list, B Battery 124th AAA GN BN.
    Note: Battles and Campaigns list, Rome-Arno, Naples-Foggia, Tunisian, Southern France, Rhineland, Central Europe. The 124th did not serve in North Africa, Tuninisa. What unit did?

    3. My Father told some stories of North Africa, Italy, and being a guard after Dauchau was liberated. I have a photo of him on a donkey, I believe in North Africa, read somewhere about donkeys used to move equipment up the mountians. I have a photo also in a MP helmet and armband.

    4. Dad said there were 4 small anti-aircraft guns placed around the big gun in the middle. Their job was to keep the aircraft away from the big gun.

    I have about 80 photos of his WWII service, some of locations that I would like to identify. His records were in the section that burned.

    Thanks
    Russell
     
  2. jones6780

    jones6780 Member

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    Attached discharge papers.
     

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  3. 4jonboy

    4jonboy New Member

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    Hi Russell

    Could you please post some of your photos up so we may help with the locations?
    My father was in North Africa and Italy too.

    In Italy the winter weather was so atrocious they used mules to get supplies up the mountains to the men.

    Lesley
     
  4. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Welcome

    By doing a "goggle" search (my eyes scanning a book), I found one unit that might fit.

    The 72nd Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion (Mobile) has
    Anzio
    Ardennes-Alsace
    Central Europe
    Rhineland
    Rome-Arno
    Southern France

    Then as 1st Battalion of the 209th Coast Artillery Regiment (Antiaircraft)(Semimobile)
    Tunisia
    Naples-Foggia
    Rome-Arno

    It was the only CAR I spotted with Tunsia but not Sicily and all the others.

    I believe campaigns for Anzio and, the Alsace part of, Ardennes were approved later (~1946) and may not have made it to your father's record.

    This is just a possibility, something to get you started. Hopefully you can find confirming evidence and then solid documentation.
     
  5. jones6780

    jones6780 Member

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    Thanks for the leads. Here are a few of the photos.

    I also have photos of Dad's ID card,

    Russell
     

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  6. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Testing my Google foo, I took on the challenge of identifying the cathedral pictured with the German troops.

    My prejudice led me to look in France but I soon learned few French cathedrals have that style. Nancy was the closest with a few of the elements.


    Poland was my next choice and it looked promising. The cathedral in Opola has all the elements but the wrong shades (colors change) and the wrong proportions (not likely to change). Still I think it is worth researching further.

    Kościół katedralny Świętego Krzyża w Opolu
    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/9072882

    This one in Poland has similar elements but the wrong spires
    http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bazylika_katedralna_Opieki_Naj%C5%9Bwi%C4%99tszej_Maryi_Panny_w_Radomiu

    Of course cathedrals in Poland could have been destroyed in the battles of 1945.


    I am convinced if a modern picture were found the identification would be definite. So I checked Germany too and only found that the cathedral in Fulda had similar capitals on the spires.

    I fail.
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I do not believe he served with the 124th through his time in the US Army because, as you mentioned, the campaigns for that unit do not match up with the ones he is credited with.

    It is interesting to me that he was in Tunisia, but not Sicily or Algeria/French Morocco. Then he is credited with Rome/Arno & Naples but not Anzio. Then he moved with the Seventh Army that assaulted Southern France and fought its way up into Southern Germany, which would have easily put him at Dachau at war's end.

    My theory: He was part a AAA unit attached directly to II Corps in Tunisia. I do not see him being attached to a lower unit, such as a division, since he said they manned guns protecting a larger gun. He either defended an HQ or harbor or other high-value, soft-skinned target that would draw the attention of high-altitude bombers. I think he stayed with 2nd Corps during the early part of the Italian campaign. His unit then was transferred to the 7th Army or one of its corps and participated in the landings on Southern France and went with them on into southern Germany. In Germany, near the end of the war, his AAA unit was either combed out or disbanded outright to provide infantry replacements and/or men to form MP units, as large numbers of AAA units were no longer needed due to a markedly diminished German air force.

    It will take a large amount of tedious research finding out what AAA units were attached to what HQs, if it can be discovered at all. I looked at the campaigns that the AAA battalion listed on his Form 53-55 participated in and cannot find one that had those and only those campaigns listed on your father's discharge, which leads me to think he changed units or was with another unit during the war. It was not at all uncommon for men to come home with different unit with which they served and then have that unit placed on their records.

    Regardless, that disastrous fire in St Louis has left you in the same spot as so many others who have little direct knowledge of their family member's service.

    I wish you success.
     
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  8. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    I encourage you to continue following the leads offered by Earthican and Slipdigit. However, if you are willing to spend some money, you can look at hiring a researcher who specializes in WWII service records. They will probably be able to track his service through morning reports and other records which were not destroyed in the 1973 fire.
     
  9. jones6780

    jones6780 Member

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    Thanks to all for the pointers and leads. I will try to sort through and see what I can find. As for morning reports, where would those be stored, National Archives?

    I remember one story Dad told about North Africa. He said they were in a bunker, might have been a dug in gun position, and a bomb landed close by and caved in the sandbag wall. One soldier was covered up with the sand and everyone was down on hands and knees pulling the sand back from the face of the soldier so he could breathe, with more sand pouring in. They were all digging and crying trying to save that soldier and they did save him. The Sargent got a Bronze Star and the rest got nothing, but they were all there digging and crying.
     
  10. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    They are stored at the NARA in Saint Louis, MO.
     
  11. jones6780

    jones6780 Member

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    I went over to my Mother's today and asked a few more questions about Dad's service. She went in the back room and came back with a small didi bag and in side was a few foreign coins tied up in a tan sock and a box with a U.S. Army North, or 5th Army patch and an overseas service patch with 6 gold bars. It also had a fragile and tattered paper. I was able to read the date of August 1943 and Hq 209th CA (AA) General Order 12 for the award of the Good Conduct medal. I will have to increase the humidity so I can get it to lay flat and piece it back together before I can read the rest. The pieces are falling in place.

    View attachment 20029

    Russell
     

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  12. jones6780

    jones6780 Member

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    The attached photo and 2 pieces of paper script money is the only other thing in the box. I have no idea what this might be. It has the number 26 stamped on both sides, copper or maybe bronze, 1 5/8 inch long. Anybody have an idea what it might be?
     

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  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    With the paper, try a clothes iron on medium heat and low or no steam.

    The 209th Coast Artillery Regiment (AA) (Semimobile) was a NY National Guard outfit inducted into service in 1941. Don't worry about it being from NY; most NG units had about lost their state identity by they time they saw combat.

    The 209th CA moved to various locations in the US and UK, then participated in campaign in North Africa, landing 3 Jan 43. It landed in Italy 28 Oct 44, where it was attached to the 5th Army. On 14 Mar 44, it was broken up into:
    Headquarters and HQ Battalion -> HHB 209th AAA Group
    1st Battalion -> 72nd AAA Gun Battaion
    2nd Battalion -> 898th Autoweapons Battalion.
    3rd Battalion -> 335 AAA Searchlight Battalion

    credited with Tunisia, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno Campaigns

    The 898th AW Battalion credited with Rome-Arno, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe Campaigns

    The 72nd AAA gun Battalion credited with Anzio Rome-Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe Campaigns

    He could have ended up in either battalion. Without knowing more about his duties, it would be hard to determine which he was in, but I am leaning toward the 898th Autoweapons, based on his comment that he protected other guns.


    Here is some information on the 898th AW Battalion:

    http://www.100thww2.org/support/898/898combat.html

    Apparently they were attached to the 100th Infantry Division 7 Nov 44 until 11 May 1945

    At the bottom of the page is this:
    It might be of some benefit to you in searching for info.
     
  14. jones6780

    jones6780 Member

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    So I can say for sure that my Father was in the 209th CA (AA) August 16, 1943. His name is mostly gone on the attachment but his service number, 34 354 347, is there. The orders state Good Conduct ribbon for the previous 12 months. Only problem is my Father did not depart U.S until Dec 10, 1942 and arrived overseas at what ever location Dec 26, 1942, for just over 8 months of service. The APO 512 is located in Algiers, Algeria and was established Nov., 25, 1942, based on this link. http://www.trailblazersww2.org/pdf/APOS.pdf

    The location may be in error as I saw 2 other locations for APO 512

    I have a few very small pieces that I will try to place on the document, but I may not be able to.
     

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  15. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Since your father was in the Headquarters Bn. of the 209th, it would seem that when the 209th was broken up, he went to the HHB 209th AAA. This was attached to the II Corps of the 5th Army as of 8/1944

    US 5th Army
    14 August 1944
    ...

    II Corps:
    Corps Troops:
    HQ & HQ Company
    71st AAA Brigade, HQ & HQ Det
    71st AAA Operations Detachment
    3rd Platoon, D Co., 84th Engineer Camouflage
    Battalion
    231st Army Ground Forces Band
    8th AAA Group, HQ & Hq Battery
    209th AAA Group, HQ & Hq Battery
    67th AAA Gun Battalion (Type A)
    401st AAA Gun Battalion (Type A)
    105th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion (Self Propelled)
    ...

    I don't know if this helps, but it's something.
     
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  16. jones6780

    jones6780 Member

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    The way I read it he was in B Battery.
     
  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Ah, yes it is. You have the pages in the wrong order and I did not notice. B Battery it is--> 898th AutoWeapons Batt.
     
  18. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I made the same mistake. I only looked at the first page. It looks as though Jeff is correct.
     
  19. Earthican

    Earthican Member

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    Jeff, have you overlooked the Southern France campaign credit on the discharge document?

    Assuming the CA regiments were lettered as other US Army regiments, B Battery should be 1st Battalion therefore after re-organization -> 72d AAA Gun Bn. That would also match the Southern France campaign credit.

    Still just evidence until other documents are found.
     
  20. jones6780

    jones6780 Member

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    Man oh man ya'll are a wealth of knowledge. I am looking into ordering info from NARA on the 209th CA (AA) from Jan 43 until re-organization. Do ya'll know if someone already has that info and whether they would share?

    Russell
     

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