176th Field Artillery Battalion History (WWII)

*Private First Class (PFC) Joseph Cerf Loeser served in the United States Army, 176 Field Artillery Battalion, during World War II. His unit fought across France and in the Battle of the Bulge. Joe Loeser was, at this time, a young private in the United States Army. Mr. Loeser was born in Louisville, Kentucky, January 17, 1914 and died there on January 12, 1989. Mr. Loeser had a copy of the unit history of the 176 FA Battalion for the period July 2, 1944 to approximately April 29, 1945. The following is a retype of this history:

"ETO HISTORY" 176th Field Artillery Battalion

Submitted by Ed BENNINGFIELD, 176th Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Army

* The 176th Field Artillery Battalion left Boston Harbor on the USS Wakefield at 0800 hours 2 July 1944. After an uneventful trip across the Atlantic docking in Liverpool Harbor, 1615 hours 9 July 1944.

* Battalion debarked and was transported by train to Chepstow, England (Wales) and billeted at the Chepstow Race Course.

* On 10 July 44 Battalion received orders assigning it to the Third US Army and attaching it to XII Corps and the 402nd Group.

* 24 July 44 the Battalion was attached to the 33rd Brigade.

* 10 August 44 the Battalion relieved attachment 402nd Group and attached to 422nd Group. While stationed at Chepstow the time was spent in drawing equipment and making prep for entry into combat.

* 15 August 44, closed station at Chepstow, proceeded to marshalling area, south of Dorchester, arriving late afternoon. The following AM 16 August, Departed for POE at Weymouth (Portland) England, arriving aboard LST's and moved out in the Harbor for the night.

* LST's left bouys in Portland, England, 17 August 44, in the AM, and set out across the English Channel.

* At 2225 hours, 17 August 44, LST's landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France. Battalion debarked at 0200 hours on the 18th moving to the transit area field no. 26, area B, south of Cherbourg, near St Mere Eglise.

* 26 August 44, Battalion moved from transit area to bivouac area south of St. Hilaire, near Landean, Fr., orders received here on the 21st relieved Battalion of attachment 422nd Group and attaching it to the 404th Group, general support of XII Corps, reinforcing the 80th Infantry Division.

* Battalion moved to its first position area at Saran-Fluery, north of Orleans, arriving there 23rd, where the Battalion fired its first rounds in combat, the first rounds being fired by B Battery.

* From the 1st position area the Battalion moved to position area across France until reaching the Moselle River, where the Battalion met stubborn resistance.

* 28 August 44 Battalion crossed the Seine River, 29 August crossed the Marne, and on 2 Sept the Meuse River, arriving position area vicinity of Limey, just west of Pont-a-Mousson, on the west bank of the Moselle River.

* The Battalion occupied various position areas along the west Moselle River bank and crossed the river on 26 September 44.

* On 14 September 44, while occupying position area near Griscourt, just west of Dieulouard, Bing Crosby and his troupe put on a show for the Battalion, which was most enjoyable for all.

* 22 September the Battalion assigned mission of reinforcing fires of the 35th Infantry Division.

* 28 October 44, Battalion mission changed to general support of the 26th Infantry Division, reinforcing fires of the 101st Field Artillery Battalion. After crossing of the Moselle River the entire theatre sector was put on the defensive until 8 November when the offensive began.

* 8 November Battalion mission changed to direct support 2nd Cavalry Group. On 11 November additional mission was given of reinforcing fires of the 101st Field Artillery Battalion. 15 November mission changed to general support of entire 26th Division. 27 November Battalion mission changed to reinforcing fires of the 101st Field Artillery Battalion.

* The offensive began 8 November continued taking the Battalion from position area to position area up to Sarre-Union on December 5, where the first rounds of the Battalion fell on German soil. Position area north of town.

* 7 December Battalion mission changed to general support of the entire 26th Infantry Division. The offensive continued and the Battalion moved in a north and easterly direction until arriving position area east of Woefling at Brandelhuffinger Farm, arriving 13 December 44. Relieved of attachment 410th Group and attached to 33rd Brigade, no change of mission. While in this position area the Battalion received its worst counter-battery fire, causing one fatality and six casualties on the AM of 15 December. The first Battalion installation (O P) on German soil was established in the vicinity of Gersheim on the 16th.

* On the morning of 19 December 44 news of the breakthrough at Bastogne was received in orders to prepare for a long march. At 2130 hours on the night of 19 December Battalion moved out of position area and proceeded to bivouac area vicinity of Ethe, Belgium on the night of 20 December. Battalion relieved attachment XII Corps and 33rd Brigade and attached to III Corps, 20 December Battalion was attached to 203rd Group in general support of the Corps.

* 22 December the Battalion occupied its first position area in the vicinity of Keckbous, northeast of Arlon.

* While in position vicinity of Dellen, Luxembourg, on 4 January 45, 1,644 rounds were fired. This was the largest number of rounds fired by the Battalion in one day.

* 7 January 45, the Battalion received notice of first battle credit for participation in the German Campaign no. 1.

* 8 January 45, Battalion relieved attachment 203rd Group and attached to 183rd Group, no change in mission.

* 10 January 45, Battery "C" gun tubes replaced after firing a total of 13,492 rounds. The following day "B" Battery gun tubes were replaced after firing a total of 12,829 rounds, on the 14th "A" Battery gun tubes were replaced after firing 12,357 rounds.

* 27 January Battalion relieved attachment 133rd Group and attached to 203rd Group in general support of the VIII Corps. After occupying numerous positions in the Bastogne area, and to the east, on 24 February received orders to move to the southern part of the Third Army Sector. Battalion was relieved attachment VIII Corps and 203rd Group and attached to XX Corps and 5th Group in general support of the 95th Infantry Division.

* 19 February the Battalion received word of being awarded a second battle star credit for participation in the Northern France Campaign No. 2.

* On the afternoon of 24 February the Battalion crossed the Moselle River at Remich into Germany arriving at position area (first in Germany) vicinity of Weiten, south of Trier.

* 28 February the Battalion crossed the Sarre River to occupy position area vicinity of Serrig, Germany. During the period 2 March to 5 March the Battalion assisted the 5th Ranger Battalion with fire.

* On 9 March Battalion relieved of attachment with 5th Group and attached to the 204th Group, general support of 65th Infantry Division, and moved farther south on the left flank of the Corps area. On 10 March Battalion CO was ordered to report to HQ THIRD US ARMY, Luxembourg City, and on 11 March was awarded the Croix-de-Guerre with palm by order of the French Provisional Gov. On 11 March the Battalion was relieved of attachment 204th Group and was attached to and in general support of the 65th Infantry Division.

* On 14 March Battalion was relieved of attachment 65th Division and attached to XX Corps, 416th Group with mission of general support 316th Provisional Cavalry Brigade. On 15 March Battalion was relieved attachment to 416th Group and attached to 204th Group with mission of general support to 94th Infantry Division. On 17 March Battalion was ordered to support the 12th Armored Division. From there on we held on to our hats.

* On 27 March Battalion was relieved attachment 204th Group and attached to 193rd Group with mission of general support XX Corps and reinforcing the fire of the II Armored Division. This was the beginning of a very ridged, rapid, and interesting mission. On 28 March the Battalion crossed the Rhine River at Oppenheim and mission was changed to reinforcing the fires of the 6th Armored Division.

* On 29 March the Battalion crossed the Main River at Frankfort and proceeded towards Kassel, 6th Armored objective. This objective was later changed and on 5 April Battalion arrived at Kliengrabe just north of Mulhausen. On 8 April, while in this position, Battalion was assigned mission of direct support 86th Cavalry Squadron. On 11 April mission was changed to general support of CCB, 6th Armored Division and Battalion started once again across Germany. This took the Battalion due east across Germany arriving on 16 April at Grosse-Stadten, southeast of Leipzig.

* On April 17 Battalion's mission was changed to reinforcing fires of 65th Division and Battalion moved to vicinity of Bamberg.

* On 29 April while in position at Thalhof, just west of Regensberg, Battalion was relieved of attachment XX Corps, 193rd Group and mission of reinforcing fires of the 65th Division and attached to 195th Group and Provost Marshall, TUSA, with mission of caring for Allied Military Prisoners. This ended the Battalion's active combat duty after spending 249 continuous days of active combat duty, traveling 2,112.3 miles from position area to position area and firing 55,717 rounds of 4.5 ammo.

PERTINENT FACTS

 

Total rounds fired

55.717

Average rouhds by day

224

Largest no. fired in one day

1.644

First round fired 23 August by "A" Battery  
First round landed on Germany soil, 5 December 44  
Round of 88 ammo fired

3.023

Miles traveled

2.112

First round fired at Saran-Fluery, France  
First PW 30 August 44  
Total PW captured

371

Total days of continuous combat

249

EM promoted to 2nd Lieutenant

1

Total casualties

26

Killed in action

1

Non-combat casualties

54

Silver Star

5

Air Medal

7

OakLeaf Cluster To Air Medal

26

Bronze Star

76

Purple Heart

23

Croix de Guerre

1