Hedgerow Country
The battalion was delayed in taking up its operational mission by the fact that a heavy storm, arising shortly after the first units had landed, had strewn the landing beaches with wreckage and made further unloading temporarily impossible. It was not until 28 June that all equipment and personnel had been unloaded, and on that date the batteries moved into their first tactical positions on the Continent.

654th EB LANDING (29 K)
The landing of the 654th Engineer Battalion on the evening of 3 July 1944.
The searchlights depicted in the painting surely those of the 225th, the
only searchlight unit on the Continent at the time.

At this time, the unit was attached to the 1st U. S. Army and was under the tactical control of the 49th AAA Brigade and the 18th AAA Group. The first mission assigned the battalion was the protection of six beachhead airstrips, with the first priority of illumination being for low-flying aircraft automatic weapons fire. Battery "A" was assigned to Airstrips No. 6 at St. Mere Eglise and No. 10 at Carentan; Battery "B" to Nos. 2 at Cardonville and 3 at Criqueville; and Battery "C" to Nos. 1 at St. Pierre Dumont and 4 at Deux Jumeaux. The second platoon of Battery "A" moved into positions around Airstrip 10, while those positions were still under enemy artillery fire, but by means of a thorough job of digging in, it managed to escape casualties to either personnel or equipment although units located in adjoining fields suffered losses in both.

The hedgerow country has not changed much since 1944, as can
be seen in this modern view of the road from Carentan to St. Lo.

The battalion remained in Normandy until the first week of September, although the missions assigned the various batteries and platoons and the assignments to higher headquarters varied from time to time. The entire battalion was transferred from the 18th to the 17th Group on 1 July, and on 30 July, Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Battery were transferred directly to the 55th AAA Brigade, Lt. Col. Terrill being appointed Brigade Searchlight Officer in addition to his duties as battalion commander.

On 2 August, the Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Battery moved to a new location, this time another apple orchard located near Lenauderre, a small village a few miles east of Carentan. The first platoon of Battery "A," made only one move while in Normandy, that coming when it was assigned a role in the AAA defense of the port of Cherbourg on 4 August, coming under the 47th AAA Brigade and the 92nd Group.

Move Back!
Return to Base!
Move Forward!

[ Main Menu | Ten Hut! | Sign In! | First Aid | History | Members | Memories ]
[ Photos | Credits | Signals | Links | Allies ]
Contents & Layout © Copyright 1996-99 Skylighters
Comments welcome at webmaster@skylighters.org