UNIT HISTORY



From Brest to Paris
On 28 August 1944, the First Signal Radar Maintenance Team was attached to the battalion.

The 2nd Platoon of Battery "A" was the first echelon of the battalion to leave the Normandy peninsula, following the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron to Chateaudun on 28 August, where it resumed its combination AAA defense and homing role at Airstrip A39. It again followed the squadron to Florennes, Belgium on 6 September, where it was destined to have a long and active stay.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the battalion was long to remain in Normandy, the platoons moving by a process of shuttle convoys to the Brest Peninsula. Battery "B" was the first to move, taking up positions around the port of St. Brieuc on 2 September. Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Battery followed and established its command post a few miles outside Rennes on 4 September. The 1st Platoon of Battery "A" on 6 September moved into positions around Airstrip A33 near Vannes, where it was assigned to the 425th Night Fighter Squadron and began operating in a similar role to that under which the 2nd Platoon of the battery had been working with the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron. The move to the Brest area was completed when Battery "C" went into position around the port of Morlaix on 8 September.

MORLAIX
The harbor town of Morlaix as it appears today;
in the background can be seen the local viaduct.

Upon completion of these moves, the Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Battery were attached directly to the IXth Air Defense Command. The two platoons of Battery "A" were now attached to their respective night fighter squadrons, while Battery "B" was under the 50th Brigade and the 114th Group and Battery "C" was under the 108th Group.

The period that followed was one of comparative quiet as the smashing advances of the Allied armies had driven the German forces back until, for all practical purposes, they were out of air range of the Brest peninsula. The period was highlighted only by a dramatic homing rescue of three friendly craft by the lights of 1st Platoon of Battery "A." The three planes, returning to base in heavy fog during daylight hours on 15 September, made three unsuccessful attempts to land and the pilots prepared to bail out when it was suggested that an attempt be made to indicate the location of the runway by exposing a light along it horizontally. The experiment proved so successful that all three planes made perfect landings on the next attempt.

On 24 September, 2nd Lt. William H. Hayden and 35 enlisted men of the battalion were placed on detached service with Headquarters Squadron, IXth Air Defense Command, where they formed a trucking platoon, which, until the middle of January 1945, was engaged in the transportation of AAA units, often extremely close to the enemy lines. While on this duty, PFC Raymond E. Stout of Battery "C" was wounded by enemy artillery fire.

CHARTRES
Approaching Chartres from the west, with the famous
cathedral in the center of the photograph.

During the latter part of September, the platoons and batteries of the battalion began another series of shuttle convoys, moving generally from the Brest peninsula to the Paris area. The 1st Platoon of Battery "A" was the first to move, following the 425th Night Fighter Squadron to Airstrip A58 at Coulommieres on 14 September. The 2nd Platoon of Battery "B" moved to Airstrip A48 at Bretigny sur Orge on 16 September, and the 1st Platoon of Battery "B" took up positions at A54 at Limoges Fourches on 17 September. Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Battery set up its new command post at Bretigny sur Orge on 27 September and on the same day both platoons of Battery "C" began their new assignments, the 1st Platoon moving onto Airstrip A41 at Chartres and the 2nd Platoon to A40 at Dreux. With the exception of Battery "A," which continued to be attached to the two night fighter squadrons, the entire battalion was now attached to the 50th AAA Brigade and 17th AAA Group.


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