UNIT HISTORY



Invasion!
Four officers of the battalion, Captain Albert S. Gilles of Battalion Headquarters, 2nd Lt. Nicholas Sparks of Battery "A," 1st Lt. Stephen I. Berland of Battery "B," and 1st Lt. Frederick W. Eggert of Battery "C," had been sent to the 18th AAA Group before the unit left Newcastle-on-Tyne, and on 11 June, D plus 5, these officers landed on the beachhead, where, despite dangers from minefields and enemy fire – which still menaced most of the beachhead – they conducted a series of reconnaissances which enabled the battalion, upon landing upon the Continent, to move rapidly into position.

Meanwhile, the battalion "proper," alerted during the hours of darkness on 13 June, borrowed vehicles from an engineer battalion which was stationed at Druid's Lodge and moved from that camp to C16, a marshalling area outside Southampton. Here the battalion was scattered over the the area in four different camps, adding to the difficulties of briefing and supply, so on the following day, 14 June, the battalion moved to C19, another marshalling area lying on the outskirts of Southampton.

OMAHA ON D+12
Omaha Beach shown on June 18, the day that Battalion Headquarters
and Headquarters Battery landed in France. (Photo courtesy U. S. Signal Corps.)

On 17 June, the personnel of Battery "A" landed at St. Laurent sur Mer (Omaha Beach), where they were joined the following day by Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Battery and the Medical Detachment. These were the first American searchlight units to land in France, and the 225th remained the only American searchlight unit in France for the following month and a half.

Upon landing, both "A" Battery and Headquarters Battery moved to a transit area about a mile inland from the beach, where they promptly dug in, awaiting selection of a permanent headquarters. This headquarters, which was occupied on 20 June, was located near Deux Jumeaux and was sited in an apple orchard, bordered by the type of hedgerows which played so large a part into the fighting across Normandy. The site was ideal from a tactical point of view, the ditches beneath the hedgerows themselves affording excellent concealment. Operations tents were immediately dug in and thoroughly camouflaged.


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