Biography of Joseph D. Cornelius

Senior Leader, CCC Man, Company 1101, White Mountain National Forest, West Campton, New Hampshire

Staff Sergeant,  Platoon Sergeant, 1st. Platoon A Battery 569th Anti Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, Mobile, USA, WWII


569th. AAA. AW. BN MBL



   The original 569th, was organized on 10 May. 1943 and designated as a Coast Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion at Camp Haan; Riverside, California. Authority for organization was Headquarters AntiAircraft Command, Richmond, Virginia; 03 April 1943. Sources from which personnel was obtained was a cadre from the 461st, Coast Artillery AA Battalion and draftees, largely from New England and Ohio.

   It was reorganized on 14 June, 1943 into a headquarters Battery and A. B, C and D Batteries with Lt. Col. Hoyt C. Stevens as Battalion Commander from 10 May 1943 to 09 November. 1943.

   So how did you happen to end up in this outfit? Well I will narrate as to how I ended up here and it must be somewhat typical as to how the US Army was handling inductees 17 months after Pearl Harbour! In March of 1940 I was discharged from a two year hitch in the Civilian Conservation Corps, (CCC; Roosevet's Tree Army.) At the Louisville reunion I learned that Ted Nicopolis also served in the C’s. (There must be more?) I was stationed in W. Campton. NH in the 1101 CCC Camp in the White Mountain National Forest.

My CCC Days. 1938-1940 in Camp 1101 W. Thornton, NH

   I graduated from Salem High School in 1936 and although there was no one at home that needed any financial help from me in that my Mother was an RN and working, my Step-Father was Foreman at Stones Express in Lynn, Mass and my Sister was working! I never gave college a thought and there were no jobs to be had.

   I chummed around with a friend who came from a large family of seven and only an older brother was working. He had been in the CCC’s at N. Adams , Mass., and was thinking about going back in to help out at home; so after lounging around for a year and a half, he and I decided to apply for the CCC’s. In 1938 he was accepted and I was not. I had bought a model A Ford and was making payments on it and had a factory job for a month and a half and got laid off. I worked as a helper on Retail Stores Delivery in Lynn, Mass., when there was a need and a friend in Salem who knew somebody at Town Hall in Salem asked me if I still wanted to go into the C’s. After giving it some thought I said yes, and the next thing I knew was to report the following Monday morning!

   I had never been farther west than N. Adams, Mass., and had ideas of going as far west as I could get so after Salem that Monday morning we were shipped to the U.S. Army Base in Boston for physicals, and final sign-ups., and then to Fort Devens, Ma., for assignment! There were four of us that got aquainted on the trip to Devens and we angled and paid a couple of bucks to an Army Sgt., to get us in a camp far from home and keep the four of us together. Never happened - He got the money and I was assigned to Co. 1101 in W. Campton, NH. I had never been in the White Mountains before so at least that was a break but we learned real fast - never try to angle anything for money etc.

   About four days and we shipped out by train and headed for NH. It was great to see the hills and mountains of NH appear and when the train stopped, we were in Plymouth, NH. We got off and they had trucks lined up and we loaded on and headed up old route 3 to W. Thornton where the camp was located. This was the month of March and the mountain air was real chilly at night and in the morning and I was assigned to no. 1 barracks, next to a fellow who was six foot six and a half, who was on leave at the time. His name was Horace and we became real good friends when he came back from leave.

   The next day I was assigned to a work crew that was building a wooden bridge across a road in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest near Mt. Osceola, which was about twenty miles from camp. The trucks we loaded in each day was a “Rack” truck which holds about 23 men. We had a bag of sandwiches apiece, the air was so fresh and invigorating and there were dump trucks hauling gravel for a road the camp was building to make it possible to quickly get into the mountain area in case of fire, making it possible for people to go through the mountains and enjoy the outdoors, make the area accessible for skiers etc. The CCC’s had their own bulldozer, shovel, compressors, jackhammers and built their gravel pit, dump trucks and stonecrusher.

   After 2 weeks on this job, I was assigned to the Forestry Garage in camp. This was run by a Forester and I was working on the Reo Dump Trucks, relining brakes, putting in new springs, and all the miner repairs. Anything big was sent to the main Forestry Garage in Bartlet, NH.

   After about 2 weeks on this job, one of the dump truckdrivers got stuck somewhere and he opened the governor to try to get out. Their was a cardinal rule-never touch the govenor, as a result he was removed and I was assigned his truck. I used to haul the dirt from the shovel to the stonecrusher and the other dump drivers would then take it out and dump it on the highway. I enjoyed this duty in that-no KP nor table waiting. About one month of this I was then given a rack truck to drive. This was a great deal in that you brought the fellows out to the work areas and was available to take the Foresters where ever they had to go. They were in charge of the road building!

   During this time we got a call that a Forester had fallen in the woods while conducting a timber survey in Lincoln, NH. At that time Lincoln was at the end of the road off route 3; so we loaded our truck This was a real good deal. You were always dressed in OD’s and available for any driving the Camp Army Commander required. I always went to the RR staion in Campton each morning to pickup the milk and any other pakages for the camp. I took the outgoing mail to the US PostOffice in W. Campton and brought back the incoming mail. On Sundays I took a load of fellows to church. Either Catholics to the church in Lincoln or Protestants to the church in Campton. I used to do errands for the Company Commander in Plymouth and made the “licquor” pickup at the store in Plymouth. The US Army Commander was 1st. Lt. Bernard J. Duffey who had a home in Campton - Wife and two children. Many times I would drive his car, a Buick in the morning and pickup his boys and drive them to school. Also drove the Ball Team to various towns for a ballgame with the locals. Great duty.

   Around September 29th., we had rain for about 3 days and it was actually a flood situation and the fellows were raising Hell in the barracks and the Forestry Superitendent told them they better get some sleep they might be called out in the morning. Well he was right--about 4am the siren went off and everybody was up and after chow we brought our trucks up and they loaded in. Well mine didn’t have a canvas on it but they didn’t seem to mind. Well we went to the Campton Pond Area and they loaded up with shovels, picks and sand bags. We started up the Waterville Valley road and I went as far as I could before the front wheels were going to drop off into the water. They and the Forester got off and I backed up until I could get turned around and headed back to camp. About noon the rain let up and the winds came up. It was the 1938 hurricane that swept the entire east coast. The route 3 going north at the end of our camp road was flooded and I went down there with a bunch of fellows and watched the storm. About a half-mile up the road there was one of our dump trucks, stranded with the driver wading through water up to his waist, making it to our camp road. It was Horace and he was soaked through and through, but made it to camp.

   That Christmas, the Senior Leader was driving the truck back to camp around mid-night when he went off the road and damaged the truck. No injuries except the truck had to be replaced. The CO asked me if I wanted to drive the truck to the Boston Army base, which I said yes - of course. He gave me a short leave to visit my folks in Marblehead. MA, which I enjoyed and then picked the new truck up and started back to camp. Still have the letter he had given me to present to the CO of the Army Base in Boston! (I’ll attach a copy.)

   The first of April, 1939 I was promoted from Private to First Sergeant. (Member to Senior Leader) This was quite a jump in my pay which was $30 a month to $45 a month. When I joined I signed up to send my Mother $10 a month to pay for my model A that I had bought. When it was paid she sent me the money each month plus I was putting $12 dollars into Soldiers Deposit and the Balance I drew at the paytable! When my car was paid for I was drawing $23 each month! Quite a sum in 1939!

   While I was home on leave just before being made Sr. Ldr., my Step-Father and I went to Lynn, Mass. to look at a car I wanted to buy. It was a ‘35 Ford Conv. Cpe. in great shape and $250. Now it was against the rules to have a car within 100 miles of the camp but one of the previous Sr. Ldrs. had a car and he kept it in a Locals garage - about a 10 minute walk from camp. He had been long gone and there was no car in the garage so I made arrangements to keep my car there for $3.00 a month!! Meanwhile there were about four other guys who had cars and they used to keep them in the woods not far from camp. Weekends they would take fellows home to Mass and back for $3 a piece. I did that a couple of times and one time I took fellows to Portland, Me.

   One day while Duffey and I were going over the camp he said to me, “Joe - If you know anybody who has a car down in the woods, you better tell them to get rid of them or I will discharge them if I find them!” I said, “Yes Sir!” I told those guys that had cars to get them out of there and if they were caught to keep quiet about my car! Well Duffey found the cars and discharged the fellows. Evidentally they never mentioned my car!

   For Thanksgiving of 1939 we had a special dinner with a printed menu that included the Camp Roster (CCC Company 1101 Roster and 1939 Thanksgiving Menu.

   I really had it made in those days. At the end of my term I received an Honorable Discharge (Honorable CCC Discharge, Front, Back).

   I drove all the Forestry and Army trucks and the last year was First Sergeant although the CCC title was Senior Leader as you couldn’t use military terms! Mothers were afraid our boys were being trained for war!! My Company Commander was an Army Reserve Captain of a company of 200 men. With this Army experience, when I was inducted and had the choice of all branches of the service; I said, “Army!”

   Met my wife to be in Plymouth. NH in 1939 and we were married in August of 1941 in Plymouth. NH but lived in Marblehead. Mass.. driving a truck for Retail Stores Delivery, a division of Stones Express of Lynn. Mass. (Draft board said my 1A status would change to 3A if married otherwise we would have not married at that time!)  


   Now - Where were you when the Japs bombed Pearl Harbour?? My wife and I and three of my buddies from Massachusetts were in Plymouth, NH climbing Stinson Mountain. At 4:00 in the afternoon when we got bade to my wive's folks house we learned the Japs had - etc. Well my three buddies, all single said let’s get home to Mass and sign up for the Air Force!! Me??? Married couldn’t go along. They did and I was finally called to report the day after the 4th of July 1943. Prior to that when I went into Boston for my physical and passed, I had my choice; Army, Navy or Marines! Well I tried to get in the Navy when I graduated from Salem High School, Salem, Mass. in 1936 and they wouldn’t take me. My top teeth overlapped my bottom ones???; and I wouldn’t consider the Marines and after 2 years in the C’s I said Army!

   On the 5th of July my Mother-in-law and my Wife accompany me to the RR station in Beverley, Mass, and after kisses and a few wet eyes I’m on my way, once again to the US Army Base in Boston. I had been this route once before when I went into the CCC’s. That night we are in Fort Devens, Ayer, Mass., and we had it planned that my wife would drive out to see me that week - end?? (Which was not to be!)

   Completed the written and code tests for IQ evaluation/qualifications etc., and ended up being interviewed by a couple of Tech Sgts. With my record they were talking truckdriver and I said I wanted something in the radio line - signal corps or air corps! Well they asked me some circuit/technical questions which I answered correctly and one said to the other, That’s all I know” and they wrote something down on my papers and I said to myself, “I got it made no truckdriving!”

   Never got KP while at Devens - the one thing I dreaded. Never had KP in the Cs either. One advantage of being a truckdriver! When you were going to be on KP during the night they went around and tied a big white towel at the foot of your bunk. Well that Friday I was awake early and heard a couple of non - coms coming down the aisle to get the “white - towel” boys for KP and I looked at the foot of my bunk and sure enough - a white towel. I cringed as they got closer but they checked their clip board made a note and moved on?? Good reason, we were shipping out that day: No week - end to meet my wife plus no phone call - nothing!!

   We loaded on pullman trains and left Devens for who knows where??? Being on pullmans we knew it was not a short ride and everybody is speculating as to where and what branch of the Army. I had the same experience when I left Devens on a train when in the CCC’s; hoping we were heading out west somewhere? Where did I end up? W. Campton, NH - my native state having been born and brought up in Portsmouth, NH on the seacoast - well at least I would be in strange country - up in the White Mountains! It was July hot all windows open and never having been further west than N. Adams, Mass. it was interesting to see the strange cities and country side slipping by. Got my first view of corn country - Kansas. Miles and miles of nothing but wheat and corn. Bradshaw remembers the train stopping in a small town where a farmer was stopped for the train and he had a load of watermelons. Someone talked him in to selling them for .10 cents each and he sold them all but at the end they were going for .25 each! I think this was the same spot that some of the guys were trying to find a store to buy some booze?? Didn't find any as I remember.

   Remember heading into the Rockies and seeing the tail end of our train back in a canyon with a locomotive pushing and up front a couple pulling. (Still didn’t know where we’re heading - plenty of rumours but I told my wife and Mother - in - law when I passed the physical that I would probably end up in California.) That went over like a lead balloon at the time!!!

   One night around midnight we were pulling into a station somewhere and at that time of night all windows open it was hot and poking your head out the window it was even hotter outside and as we pulled into this little RR station a sign said. “Needles.” One of the hottest spots in the nation!

   Never been back! Remember seeing a RR station sign, “Santa Fe” with a couple of Indians standing around! Then we got to San Bemadino and on into Riverside where the RR tracks ran parallel to the highway and streets right through town. Just the west side of Riverside we could see B25 bombers landing and taking off on a field on our left and we figured, “We’ve got it made - the Air Corps??” Well pretty soon on the right looms this large artillery park - barracks, guns, trucks barbed wire everywhere. Now we don’t know which - not for long! We unload on the right and trucks are there and where do we end up. Army - Camp Haan! Now we know. (No Air Corps!.)

   The following is a war time description of Camp Haan from a pamphlet produced locally at the time) "History of Camp Haan Extensive, ever - growing Camp Haan in Riverside County, California, some sixty - five miles from Los Angeles, has become the largest anti - aircraft artillery training center in the nation and the growth has taken place in little more man a year.

   It was early in 1942 - shortly after Pearl Harbor - when Haan was activated into an anti - aircraft artil - lery training center. Today - it can claim first place in size of all similar camps in the United States.

   Here soldiers are born.

   In an amazingly short time, officers mold civilians into hard - fighting and accurate - firing anti - aircraft gunners.

   In a few weeks men who were office workers, students, cigar store clerks, aircraft workers, elevator boys, movie actors, and followers of a hundred other occupations and professions are trained to shoot and bayonet and march - and become ready to serve alongside all branches at the service in any part of the world.

   As the new soldier assimilates the fundamentals of movement, of firing, of living in the field, of camouflaging, of becoming a fighting unit, he is hardened physically as well.

   But there is more to training than just work. Soldiers play, too. Many of the pictures in this booklet will show soldiers as they relax and enjoy shows and motion pictures; as they skate, swim, dance, sing and play ball; as they attend church, as they lounge in their day room and their service duds and enterain Sunday visitors.

   For the Army has great faith in the adage which says that all work and no play makes Jack a dull soldier.

   This huge California camp was named after General William George Haan, commander of one of the most famous divisions of the last war - the 32nd. General Haan commanded the 32nd from it's formation at Waco. Texas in September, 1917, and directed its activities when it sailed to France and saw action in four fronts: At Alsace; on the Aisne - Morne front; during Germany last big push; at Chateau'Thierry, and in the Argonne.

   Today - in 1943 - the spirit of General Haan is carried on in the person of Major General Homer R. Oldfield, who is commanding officer of the Anti - aircraft Artillery Training Center at Haan. General Oldfield spent three years in charge of anti - aircraft defenses of the vital Panama Canal Zone before being assigned to the Southern California camp for which he was recently awarded the Legion of Merit.

   He and his capable staff are turning out first rate fighting men who will play a decisive role in winning this greatest of wars.

   Colonel Charles H. Mason, who has seen battle action in four theaters of war and has carried out many a military diplomatic mission during his more than forty years in the Service, has been commanding officer of Camp Haan since early in 1942.

   When the final battle of this War of Survival is fought and won for the United Nations, a significant part will have been played by thousands of men who first received their training in warfare at Camp Haan, Riverside County, California."


   John Bradshaw III of D Battery submits his recollections up to this point in time: “I remember going down to the train at Ft. Devens, 4 days in a row. I figured I had it made, I would have a week - end pass! Friday they loaded me on a troop train with the other 600 or so from New England and we were on our way, to where we knew not. Somewhere in Kansas, I think it was Kansas the train stopped right on the main street of a small town. There was a farmer with a small truckload of watermelons for 10 cents each and before we left he had no melons all. I think at the end they were selling for 25 cents!” I recall that same stop and some guys were getting off trying to find somebody selling “booze.” I believe they got some and I remember my concern was. “would they be back on the train when it started up - I believe they made it!” I spent a good deal of time playing bridge. - Back to Bradshaw’s account: Not knowing where we were going as we rode across the dessert and saw some of the camps we said. “keep going.” When we pulled out of Riverside and to the train siding, we saw B24’s taking off from March Field and everyboby was cheering as we were heading for the Air Force. The train stopped stopped at the siding and there on the right was Tent City Camp Haan. Oh happy day! A few weeks later we were out on one of those desert camps we had passed on the way to Camp Haan. I wore sun tans on my first pass to Los Angeles and I froze my butt off; so never again did I wear sun tans to LA.

   First over night hike I was soaking wet from the march so that night before bedding down I put my fatigues over the top of my shelter - half and climbed in. The next morning they were soaking wet and cold; never tried that trick again. (Let me add my memories of that first overnight bivouac at this point): we were on the edge of a large orange grove and I had my new bedroll that we all had an opportunity to buy - in fact I finally dumped mine in LeHavre when I left for home! Back to the bedding down. I put all my clothes on the outer half of the bedroll and climbed in for the night. In the morning the dew had them drenched - Oh how we learn!)”

   Let’s add John Lally’s input at this point: “MY MEMORIES OF WORLD WAR II”

   A lot of the guys remember a lot of things that happen during their duty while in the service. Some remember good times, some remember bad times, some exciting, some happy, some sad. ME; I saw. I heard, I did, I served, I came home. That’s it.

   My Army life started in Woburn, Mass. in June 1943 with a march through the center of town to the railroad station, then a train ride to Boston and then to Fort Devens, Ayer, Mass., Where my life changes from a boy to a man. We spent a couple of days there where we got our uniforms that were the right size???? and started to learn how to be soldiers. Then we boarded trains for a long ride to California, to an Army camp called Camp Haan, just outside Riverside, California.

   From there, that’s when the change over from a boy to a man took place. I started to learn what life was all about. You do that when you come from a small city and life was all fun and games. I could tell you about a lot of things that happened to me, but the only thing that I can remember is all the guys who I met and lived with for the next couple of years.


   I was first assigned to C Btry during this initial indoctrination period and was interviewed by one of the officers, with my records in hand, and had me assigned to the motor pool for truckdriver! I said, “Sir, I don’t want to drive a truck and again using my ham radio background requested anything in the communication area. He pushed and I pushed and he finally said. “How would you like to go to radioschool for 6 months?” I sure said great and to myself said, “I’ve got it made.” Next day I was transferred to A btry and the following morning after chow and at the battery formation; four names were called out to report to the motor pool! Yup - I was one of them and the other three were Schubert, Weaver and Duclous?? Oh well, one advantage of being a truck driver - no KP and no assignment to a gun section for training; until much later!!

   Now we had to take a drivers test to qualify for the Army driving permit. (I had one in the CCC’s in 1938 - didn’t count?) Barney was the officer that was giving the test for the four of us. Having driven army and forestry trucks with all their dual ranges, front wheel drives and all and not one to read the manual for anything until I’m in difficulty and then!!! Well I start of with Barney and when I went to put it in 4th gear and grind - grind and I couldn’t imagine what was wrong and embarrassed to say the least and then I checkout the plate mounted overhead in the cab with shift range displayed AND it was then I knew that 4th and 5th were reversed in this deuce - and - one - half! Anyway I passed! Wonder if Barney remembers??

   While we’re spit and polishing our vehicles in the motor pool each day the gun crews are getting their training on the operation of the 40mm anti - aircraft gun, the director and power supply and the old Army water cooled 5O cal. machine gun. (The 4 - 50cal. quad mounts would come later!)

   Another advantage to being a truckdriver at that time was the quite frequent occasion when we were loaned out to another outfit to transport their units etc. We got to see the surrounding countryside and driving many miles over those hot desert highways - long stretches you would swear there were lakes up ahead and when you got there nothing but dry desert land. Coming from the East coast and being brought up on the Atlantic ocean in Portsmouth, NH you were just hoping for some lakes and water - still nothing but miles of mirages. Now on one convoy of air force personnel near Muroc, CA, up ahead by gosh it was a battleship and Yeah - water?? When we got there no water but Battleship yes; it was made of concrete, camouflaged right there in the middle of the desert. The Air Force used it for bombing practice with flour bags of course.

   Another “boy from massachusetts” John R. McKenzie “D Btry” relates how he ended up in the 569th. Just after his 18th. birthday on the 29th. of December 1942 he registered for the draft. Classified 1 A on 06 Mar 43 and on 05 May 1943 had his final physical and sworn in at the Commonwealth Armory in Boston. After his indoctrination and, a train trip to Camp McQuaide, California, was assigned to D Btry of the 101st Coast Artillery for basic training; a 155mm outfit. Camp McQuaide was right on Monterey Bay just a few miles north of Fort Ord. The previous training battalion was sent to the Aleutians and his Battalion, with the exception of three, including himself, ended up in New Guinea. The three of them were given a choice of OCS or ASTP - John chose ASTP and was sent to Stanford University for two weeks of tests and interviews and then shipped to Eugene, Or. Co. A ASTV 3920 for basic engineering traing. At end of first semester, passed everything except chemistry and although was offered a second semester and turned it down and was shipped to Camp Haan on 13 Dec 1943 and assigned to ‘C - Btry 783 AAA AW BN. This outfit was shipped to the South Pacific as replacements and John ended up being assigned to “D” Btry 569th. He then found out that the ASTP program was shut down and assumed the Army needed combat troops more than engineers! He considered himself lucky to have the experiences prior to being assigned to the 569th and maybe a guardian angel was looking over him and avoiding real danger!

   Johns, reference to the guardian angel makes me think of my own experiences. Had I been accepted in the US Navy in 1936 I might never have made it to this present day of 82 years! Gives one something to think about???

   I remember the first casualty of the 569th. The officers were learning the 40mm operation and the “by - the numbers" method for raising and lowering the 40mm from wheels for mobile to jacks for firing position; whence came the famous 40mm cry, “March Order.” which means lowering the jacks and raising the 40mm back on wheels. Well a Lt. Jones of A Btry, while handling the front tow bar was killed instantly when the bar came up and hit him on the head while learning this “march order” sequence of operation.

   Jerry Cahill. “A” Btry. writes he became 18 in April ‘43 - still in high school and got a deferment in order to graduate! Was called up on the 23rd of June and via Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio ended up in Camp Haan. After processing determined he was a good candidate for radio schooling he ended up in “A” Btry on his way to Camp Irwin, the Mojave! His first assignment was to take a weapons carrier, with radio and set up an outpost at some lonely spot in the desert during one of our many manoeuvres. Cant you still hear the clanking of shovels trying to dig in a 40mm in that desert caliche?? Now Jerry had never driven before, scared to death, but took off with the emergency brake on (didn't even know where it was), Smelled a “strange” odor - didnt know what it was and finally ended up where he was supposed to be, burnt out brake and all. After that he was taught to drive, got a license. We’ll pick up Jerry’s story somewhere in England later on!

   John C. Kryah, just seventeen and graduated from high school went to work for the Wheeling, WV Steel mills and in January of ‘43 decided to enlist in the Navy! “I failed the eye test and rejected - BUT in February a miracle occured!! The Army accepted him and now has 20/20 vision? John doesnt say what outfit he was assigned to at that time but ended up on the Mojave for desert traing and they all thought they were going to Africa but not for John. He ended up at Coyne Electrical school for 4 months, then Camp Kilmer for 2 months and was shipped back to California/Camp Haan and assigned to the 569th. Here he met Clair “Pappy” Dorland, Ernie Goslin and Eugene Eckert. Guess He spent most of his leave time at the Lick Pier in Ocean Park, CA. where Goslin taught him how to dance which he attributes to his success during his dating years! (All his words - not mine - JC!)

   Charles E. Hagar has contributed a nice account of his time in D Btry. as a 1st. Lt. in the 2nd. Platoon which we will pick up when completing our overseas activities, as this section is just covering our indoctrination and up to our departure “across the Atalantic” on the Sea Quail.

   An interesting account of Paul D. Rash’s induction into the Army and assignment to the 569th! Before he got called up and was still in school, his school had a machine gun and used to clean it all the time?? When He arrived at Camp Perry, OH and being indoctrinated, they asked if anyone knew anything about a machine gun, as they were forming a new unit in California and they needed machine gunners??? Paul being 18 and yet to learn, “dont volunteer for anything", made it known that he used to “clean” them; so he ended up in the 569th. at Camp Haan He started with the old air cooled 50’s and ended up as machine gunner on the M51 mount througout his time in the outfit! (As an aside, I wonder if Paul could, today; give me the proper definition of “headspace and adjustment of the .50?) I attended Capt. "Machine - Gun Kelty’s” school for a week at Camp Haan and had to teach the .50 cal in A Btry. Paul was D Bty and great buddies with Jim Mastrangelo and both have a lot of fond memories of the good and bad times of it all, which now, after 57 years makes the reunions very enjoyable. (Both Paul & Jim were at the New Orleans reunion.)

   Remember the 'fantastic' chocolate malts in the PX after a hot day in the gun park, motor pool, KP or whatever and the routine shower, retreat and chow? Of course the 3.2 beer also hit the spot! I always enjoyed the retreat parades when they had the Army band. In A bty we had Pete Christofero from Woburn and Bill Bowers from Lynn who played instruments. I got them both to send home and Christofero got his trumpet and Bowers the trombone. They never did get to play in the band as I remember it but I always had a desire to play the trumpet, having played a bugle in the Boy Scouts drum and bugle corps! Ask how many guys were sick of me trying to play "The Sheik of Araby” when we were billeted in the Krakenhause in Sinsheim, Germany??

   It wasn't long before we made our first trip to Camp Irwin, out on the Mojave. Up at 4am through Riverside. San Bemadino. Cajon Pass, Victorville and turn North at Barstow. Remember seeing the sign for Las Vegas straight ahead - something like 160 miles if I remember correctly. We now are in pyramidal tent areas and no shade anywhere! We hit the rifle ranges for qualifying on the Garand M1, the Thompson sub - machine gun, later replaced by the “grease - gun”, the Garand carbine and .45 automatic. We also crawled under the barbed wire with all our gear while the machine guns sprayed the air above us, part of the obstacle course and then the climb the tower and down the rope net! I remember one of our members had a tough time at the top with all his gear and rifle trying to get over the top and onto the net. We were afraid he wasnt going to make it in that he really wasnt all the agile; but he did! Think he was from Brooklyn.

   The following more from the war time description of Camp Haan from a pamphlet produced locally at the time:

   "Camp Irwin

   Camp Haan's Sub - Post

   After receiving their basic training at Camp Haan, our soldiers spend the next phase of their training period at Camp Irwin, a sub - post in the Mojave Desert about 150 miles North of Haan, near Barstow, California, where one of the finest firing ranges in the world is located.

   Here they participate in desert maneuvers, firing practice, and go through further training. At Irwin soldiers live and are trained under simulated war conditions - targets bob up and down, men fire at moving and difficult objects in the air and on the ground.

   Camp Irwin was named for Brigadier General G. Leroy Irwin, Commander of the 37th Field Artillery Brigade during World War I.

   But here too, as the pictures will show, there is time for recreation and relaxation"


   After the 8 gun crews for our battery was formed and had training we then convoyed back and forth to Camp Irwin quite frequently and would have to dig in the 40’s out on the East Range for firing practice at sleeves towed by the Air Force! (The 90mm Anti - Aircraft outfits used to go to the west Range for their firing practice. Many the mornings, and they could be cold out there on the desert, we would have to wait around for the Air Force to show up! Also when the 40mm tracers were getting a little too close for comfort for the pilot, he would drop the sleeve and head for home! Remember the paint we used to put on the shells for identifyng how many hits for which battery??

   Then we had alt those on manoeuvres/exercises where the markers for each section were placed in the afternoon and the gun sections didnt move out until after darkness and those little peep’ lights out front and nothing but mojave sand and dust? Then all you could hear all over the desert was the clinks of shovels trying to dig in a gun pit and director hole in the “Caliche” hard stuff that makes up the Mojave; trying to be ready for inspection and in firing position by day break?? I remember well, when the location for one of our machine gun positions was right in the middle of one of those dry lake areas. No shade - no nothing but flat, flat flat and when the air force showed up attacking the positions for our sections to get their practice, they would smother that position wtth their flour bag bombs. Couldnt camouflage that spot!

   All our trips to and from Camp Irwin are well documented as to dates and days etc., in the Battalion History compiled by the Archival Research Intl., as well as dates of departure, arrivals, camps, places, Officers/Enlisted men status, etc., and I have inserted much of their accurate information where it fits in these narratives.

   As a truckdriver of a duece and one - half I was assigned to number one gun section - A bty.and shortly after was made Chief - of - section but due to the absence of our Platoon Sgt was acting Platoon Sgt. up until we moved to Fort Bragg and was then assigned permanently until the end of the war and to LeHavre. My first attempt at this history was mostly my own experiences to get it going and had put the word out for others to offer their “stories” so this wouldn’s be mine. nor No. 1 gun section Platoon A btry., etc., and as a result I am now trying to redo and insert the thoughts and memories of others, while John Lally is compiling as much as He can of the after the war experiences of our members which should be available as booklet/history sometime in November - 2000. (So back to the history!)

   Ralph Christie of Woburn Ma., was right out of High School, having worked as an usher and doorman at the local theatre while in school. He volunteered for the Air Force but ended up in Camp Haan with the rest of us? He experienced the same feeling when the troop train arrived along the highway at Camp Haan on the right and March Field on the left, “Ah, we’re in the Air Force." Nope - Anti - Aircraft Artillary - Camp Haan. Ralpth has the distinction of being the first man from the 569th. to end up at the medics in Camp Irwin with a "Scorpion Bite!” Remember sleeping out there on the East range on the ground and seeing all those stars overhead and listening to what my New Hamphire bringing up told me were crickets?? Turns out next day watching one of our boys from Kentucky playing with a side winder and hearing that same noise I heard the night before? Ah - one learns!!! Ralph had his first leave, home to Woburn while the oufit was on the move to Fort Bragg. He received a telegram telling him to report there and ended up with a few more days at home.

   Myself, I didn’t make the troop train cross country to Fort Bragg in that Lt. Barnd, 1st. Platoon A btry (Barney), had bought a car a few nights before the troop train was to leave and asked me if I would drive it to Ft. Bragg for him. Great, I figured a couple of buddies and what a time BUT, it turns out I’m to drive his wife, Lt. Pearce’s wife, Warrant Officer Larson’s wife! Troop train left on a Wednesday, I believe and I with gas rationing coupons for 16 gallons per fill and this Pontiac left Thursday morning for Riverside to pick up my passengers. Well, turns out there are three afore - mentioned plus the Sister to Larsons wife, plus a dog plus all their luggage and I remember, a hat box!! Me in uniform and four gals and a dog take off! The gas guage doesnt work, Dottie Barnd and I have to keep track of the miles and estimate when to refill to maximixe the coupons and in the Indio Desert the first day out, the clutch gives out! Garage, replaced clutch and, “On the Road Again” as Wilie Nelson would say! I’ve just got to insert a picture here of the group while on the road. It was taken by Lorraine Larson somewhere along the way!! When we hit El Paso we all said. Hey, we’ve never been in Mexico before lets just drive across so we can say we’ve been to Mexico, Got to the bridge and no way could we cross. OK, let’s get out and walk across - well here I am, in uniform, hot, four girls in shorts and a dog on a leash walking down the street with all these Mexicans eyeing us and I said. Girls, Let’s get back in the car and on our way. We did and never made Mexico. (Irony of it all in 1968 - 1973 I lived in Laredo, Tx. and worked in Nuevo - Laredo Mexico!!!) We dropped Lorraine's sister off in Shreveport. La. to catch a bus home to Minnesota and on we went to Ft. Bragg getting there the day after the troop train arrived.

   The next day after I arrived I was called to the orderly room and informed that my Mother had died so I went home on a fifteen day leave and when I returned to Fort Bragg, my wife and I drove back in my old ‘38 Chevy convertible. She and Charley Jordan’s (D Btry) wife Jerry rented a place together until we knew that we were moving to Camp Kilmer, then they went home. Think I’ll also include a picture of my Wife Fluella, my Chevy and Me while on that leave.

Joe and Fluella Cornelius at home on leave July 1944. Photo taken in Beverly, Mass.

   Don Larson, Battalion CWO sent me his service activities and that he was the 569th Reconnaissance Officer while at Camp Haan and Asst. to Major Hulcher, who supervised the training for the outfit and mentions the many hundreds of training films they looked at to decide which ones to use for training! I’ll pick up his overseas input when I get to those narratives, sometime in the future. When Don sent me his input He didnt realize he was writing to the guy that drove his wife cross country back in ‘44. We have had a nice exchange of memories since and his wife Lorraine enjoyed the picture I sent her so much that she sent it to her Sister’s daughter in that her sister died in ‘94. The picture I have was sent to me by Lt Pearce’s son Russell, one that his Mother had and she is presently in a nursing home, but passed along her Hello’s. Russell is on the compiled list of located 569th. members as son of!!!

Joe Cornelius, Dottie Barnd, Lt. Pearce's wife and Don Larson sister-in-law. Picture taken enroute by Lorraine Larson June

   Ed Nobriga of New Bedford, MA., sent in his "diary" of service 1943 - 1946. His followed the same path from Boston, Camp Haan, Fort Bragg. "on the Sea Quail", The battle of Colmar - The Rhineland, LeHavre. Belgium and home to Fort Dix. NJ and discharge.

   Vin Robinson of Lowell, Ma.. gives us a brief description of what the "USA" was like in the days of our service! He was assigned to D Btry and his wife Myrt was out in California during his training days. She was one of our "Rosie the Riveter" gals, working for Consolidated Aircraft running a radial drill. When Vin got his first 15 day leave in June of 44. they went home to Massachusetts by train, (I made the same trip at a different time); and they sat on their suitcases all the way to Chicago and an elderly couple gave them their seat. I have always said, "You havent lived unless you made a long trip on a steam engine - driven train in war time!" Ah. nostalgia! When Vins leave was up He and Myrt headed back to California with their car and when they arrived at Haan, found out the 569th. had left for Fort Bragg - they gave him three days to rest up and then they turned around and headed for Fort Bragg. While enroute the treads came off the tires, (remember the re - caps and re - treads - times were tough!; they had stamps to get another tire and completed a harrowing trip. Myrt's experience got her a job at Pope Airbase while at Fort Bragg - rivetting C - 47's. When the outfit, shipped out for Kilmer, Myrt and three other wives headed for home to. "keep the home fires burning!"

   While at Bragg, we were pretty much on manuevers with a side trip to Fort Fisher for a night firing practice with both towed sleeves and remote controlled, small planes. When they started loosing too many planes (I think they were called - RQ2A's), they quit using them. I remember my No.1 gun section was representing A btry. for the night firing, with a three day pass to the best gun crew?? Well, Red Moore was feeding the forty shell dips into the chamber with Washburne - range setter and Snyder and Bill Hall on the scopes! The entire battalion watching. The first tracer was low and to the rear of the sleeve, the next one a little higher and closer, the third and fourth going on the target and everyone could just see the fifth tracer hit the sleeve, BUT: just a click and no shell in the 40! Red and everybody was so excited and watching to see the sleeve hit that Red forgot to put the next clip of 4 in the 40!! We all got a three day pass for the performance.

   One other story comes to mind and I wonder how many of A btry. guys remember? Competition was very keen among the gun crews of each platoon and between first and second platoon. On one manoeuvre, again a three day pass to the crew that does the best overall job of digging in, camouflage - the whole bit. This maneuver lasted around 5 days and the weather was typical southern hot sticky and everybody was pretty beat from the training grind. Well one morning I was sleeping on the ground and felt someone waking me up - it was Capt. Dye! My guards were asleep and He ruled us all casualties and out of the manoeuvre. My crew of fifteen were assigned out to all the other sections and I was relieved and ended up at the CP (Command Post), running the switchboard. One day of this and with my pride in hand went to Capt. Dye to be reinstated as No. 1 gun crew.  Nothing doing - back to the switch board. Well later on he found a gun crew in the second platoon in real bad shape and told me to report to that crew and take over!"

   Well I was sure grateful to get away from that switchboard and when I got to the crew (seems to me it was No. 6 gun crew) we all had a little talk and I told them that I had screwed up and they had screwed up and WE are going to redeem ourselves! (Remember now, my crew is spread out all over the other sections.) Well the crew did one great job and when the manoeuvre was over over - who do you think won the three day passes? We did! Just one of my darker moments. Shortly after I was given the choice of having either the Motor Pool or the First Platoon by Capt. Dye, I took the first platoon and served as Platoon Sargeant throughout the war! (Ah, there's always salvation - have faith!) This is sure getting long winded and I havent really touched on much of our training days, but let's continue with some more input from some of the members who have sent in their memoirs for this attempt at a 569th. AAA AW BN (mbl) History!

   Tony Picano of Cranston. Rl., when he arrived at Camp Haan, ended up on sick call, dispensary of the 461st. AAA outfit. He was picked out of a group by a Cadre Sgt. and assigned to the 569th. Medical Detachment for Medic training! He said he couldnt stand the sight of blood but was told, "You'll get used to it!' He attended classes conducted by a Capt. Samson, MD of Crowiey, La. and got to like the job! During our training at Haan and Bragg he was assigned at different times to different batteries and finally ended up in B Btry. 2nd. Platoon..where he served throughout the rest of the war, up to LeHavre. We'll pick Tony's exploits up again later, when the overseas narratives get updated.

   Jim Mastrangelo submits how he was assigned to the 569th. D Btry, (which was reported to be the best Btry. in the Battallon - His words!) There are many who will take umbrage to that remark including myself, but we all must remember the competitive spirit that develops in all outfits within, sections, platoons, batteries, battalions and, "away we go!" Jim comments on being assigned to No. 3 gun section under Sgt. Don Parsons and his close buddies, Americo Pastore and Paul Rash. He remembers the days of early roll call, policing the area, close order drill, gun park training, trips to Camp Irwin through Cajon Pass, the hot days on the firing line and the week end passes to, "civilization." The UFO dances alleviated his feelings of homesickness! For some reason, his recollection of Fort Bragg was more the introduction to moonshine whiskey and Southern Belles and their gracious hospitality than our training - again, his words! His mind wanders to the days at Camp Kilmer and going through the gas chamber exercises which still brings tears to his eyes!! We'll pick up more of his overseas experiences in later chapters.

   I remember Kilmer, more for the short hikes we used to have almost daily, not too much short order drill and 12 hour passes while waiting for the big, "shipping out day." Ah the chances we used to take! I remember Washburne Garafolo and I getting a 12 hour pass and getting into NYC airport by bus and a plane to Logan, Boston for a day at home and then back to NYC where we would meet someone from the outfit who would meet us and have another dated 10 hour day pass to get back into Kilmer!! When my Wife and I left her Mother's house in Beveriy, Ma. we picked up Garafolo in Lynn and was on our way to Logan when Gary forgot his Army Overcoat, back to pick it up, met Washbume at Logan and just manage to make the plane. It was an early flight and rough!! I said to the stewardess, "a little rough?" She said she had an earlier flight that morning with a load of Sailors and they all got "seasick!' Well I let Gary sit next to the window and when we got up to altitude, that plane dropped, recovered - it was rough. Well Gary had to head to the rear and while he was in the "head" the plane made another real deep drop and when he came out his face was as white as a sheet and on Garafolo who was a wee bit dark complexioned really showed - He was sick but we made it, met our Buddies, got our correctly dated passes and back in the gates. Never did that again!

   The last submission I have is from Owen McCafferty of Ohio, who like the rest of us thought we made the Air Force when he arrived at the RR siding at Camp Haan. with March Field on the other side of the highway! He remembers Father Hemmelgarn, the Battalion Chaplain greeting the group with, "You will go through hard times and good times but would mostly remember the good times!" How true to this day! Owen covers the eariy days of hustle and bustle, double time, hubba - bubba, fall in - fall out, strip those butts police the area, (He doesnt mention. Lucky Strike green has gone to war??) remember that one? Then there was guard duty and, "I'll walk my post in a military manner and take no shit from the Battery Commander.11 The boring days in the gun park cleaning the 40mm with a toothbrush. The days on the Mojave fining the 40's and 50's while the Italian prisoners nearby in their compound enjoying a pleasant day of soccer. The 25 mile hike stands out and well I remember my own! 25 miles on the dusty desert is not a cake walk! Owen mentions the welcomed moments spent in the PX with those nickel beers of 3.2 beer after a grueling day in the heat of the desert and the vivid rememberances of the visiting dentist with his foot treadle, sewing machine type drill. Ah but the week - end pass if you passed inspection and having a friend from home who had a friend in Long Beach and extended his generous hospitality of his apartment when He and His wife were on vacation - what a deal! (Those were days - His words!)

   Owen comments on the fact that being an 18 year old and Just leaving the loving and tender care of the Sisters of Charity Holy Name High School and his first pass to LA. Alone and walking the streets of LA taking in the sights of the big city. along with another million troops, it's getting late and was time to find a place to sleep. All hotels were full, every movie house had a mile long line waiting to get in and he finally spied a "room for rent sign. While inquiring was asked, to steep in? He finally realized he was bartering for a room in a bordello. The Nuns hadnt prepared me for this", He states! Again, "Those were the Days!" (His words.)

   Owens comments on the move from Camp Haan to Fort Bragg certainly coincide with my own thoughts of the change. Being from the East in my case New England and Owens in Ohio, California temperature/climate was always clear blue sky - not a cloud anywhwere and real warm while the desert, Camp Irwin was very hot and dry. 115 to 120 degrees dally and when you sweated it would evaporate immediately leaving a salty coating on your skin. After 5 months we finally received some most welcomed rain. Now we move to N. Carolina and the temperature isnt as hot but the humidity is oppressive and you sweated - it stayed on your skin, soaking wet, very difficult for us Northerners to get used to! We never did get a break in that weather until we moved north to Camp KHmer again. To quote Owen, "Those were the days!"

   We'll pick up Owens memoirs in the overseas narratives at a later date. This initial narrative of mine is now revised to include the input of those contacted members who sent me their items and I am struggling to get this completed so that Lally, "The Teddy Bear", (although I call him Grizzly)will be able to include this updated version in the 569th., history/booklet that he is going to have published and distributed sometime this November, 2000, to those members who have attended the reunions, paid dues. A.very generous donation from Marvin (Micky) Weiss has made this finished booklet a reality for publishing and will include delivery to the wives/family of those contacted members who have since passed on!

   For my part, I have been working at this 569th. history kind of hit or miss over the past 6 years and being blessed with a decent memory, have enjoyed putting my thoughts to print and have enjoyed the computer and all it's capabilities for the past 14 years! Being in A battery, first platoon, you dont associate nor have much contact with the other platoon let alone the other batteries and I didn't attend the first 3 reunions but made the one in 1999 in Louisville, Ky. That was the first opportunity to meet fellows from the other batteries and it was certainly great to compare notes of those days of training and the overseas/war experiences which differed, battery to battery. Thinking back over the yaers it seems too bad that we were so late in getting an outfit reunion going, on the other hand, after that many years, fifty - plus; it has a greater emotional feeling of camaraderie, like the old axiom, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." The down side of waiting so long to get together is the loss of contact of many and the ever increasing members who have passed on; so the final message of this narrative, I guess, is to make the most of the days ahead, enjoy the memories and contacts of those remaining and, "Keep - in - Touch."


   On the 6th. of November, 1945, the day President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was re - elected for a fourth term; our battalion with two other outfits was was aboard the Liberty Ship "Sea Quail". If I remember correctly it was around noon under a slightly overcast sky that we were leaving the pier and heading out of the harbor for the open sea. I was never seasick in my life and I never succumbed on this trip but admit to a somewhat queasy feeling as we saw the statue of Liberty fade away and were feeling the swells of the outer harbor.

   Once the fact of leaving the States was absorbed and with everybody on deck with, I am sure mixed emotions, the entire "gang" started singing the "Good Old Oldies" of Wortd War I "Forty Five Minutes from Broadway", "Roses are Shining in Picardi" and of course "Over There." When we reached the open sea there was a convoy of ships forming and we were to fit in there somewhere? We had seen movies of this kind of thing but now - here we are - The Real Thing! With the sight of land long gone and ships everywhere it was something to watch the destroyers of the US Navy that would escort us the entire way! We could now feel the real swells and to watch the destroyers rise and fall and drop completely out of sight and then - there they are!

   We were assigned our bunks, tiered five high, issued our "Mae Wests" - life savers with the little red lights attached with a BIG safety pin! Gathered on deck for instructions regards, "Rules of the sea during war time."No cigarettes, lights of any kind at night, lifeboat drill everyday, learned where our mess hall would be set up and where to go for all the other necessities of existence at sea. A trip to the rolling, pitching "head" up in the bow and seeing all those that were deathly sea - sick was enough to almost make the most stalwart sea - goer seasick!

   After the first night at sea we now are settled in for many days at sea! (Took us thirteen days to cross. Rumors flew as to how many days, where we were going and where/when we would land! As we headed east the ship would sway starboard to port all the time and I really got a kick out of getting back in the stern as far as I possibly could and lay back against the stern and watch the superstructure of cranes, towers and smokestack sway first to the right, dipping way down and seem to quiver and then start up and go full swing to the left, dip and repeat continuously. Made you wonder how this thing could stay afloat! These "Kaiser" Liberty ships were being turned out at the rate of one hundred a day and many of them did break up when put to sea! By now these movements are taking it's toll on the many who got seasick and for some it got even worse and lasted the entire trip for them. We had one guy they called "Cheeko" who was very dark complected with a heavy black beard and he was so sick he never got out of his bunk the entire trip! Couldn't eat, couldn't make lifeboat drill - he was gone for the trip!

   Eating - going through the chow line was an experience in itself! You took your mess kit and went through the chow line and then placed it on a table about chest high and it had a raised board around the edges to keep everything from sliding off! Bracing yourself for the left to right swells - holding on during the extreme swings and eating when somewhat vertical. First time at chow, Brownie, our little rebel from Paducah said wow, I put my messkit loaded with chow on the table and the boat swung to the right I grabbed onto the railing - mess kit went travelling to the right and when it came back I grabbed it and it had two extra pieces of butter on it!!

   With three different outfits on the ship - crowded to the "gunnels" the poker games and crap games were ongoing everywhere. Some guys reading - others just roaming around the ship and watching the sea and all the ships in the convoy. A sight to be remembered! Our Chaplain, Father Hemmelgarn was organizing different activities, trying to bolster morale/boredom. Excitement wears off and long days at sea takes it's toll on morale. Well the Chaplain was organizing a chess tournament and somebody told him I played! He wanted me to get into it and I tried to get out of it. Told him I played but was not good enough for a tournament! Net result - I Played! it was to be two out of three games. I beat my first opponent and my next opponent was a Captain from one of the other outfits. He was an arrogant type individual and I felt - he felt be was playing below his level. When he took one of my pieces he would knock it over and remove it; so as the game progressed he made a faux-pas and lost his queen! He immediately got up and walked off-conceding the match to me! My next opponent was a fellow from Philly! Talking with him, he belonged to a chess club back in Philly and believe me, I was no match for him. Needless to say, he won the tournament.

   Another fun situation. I was by myself out on the deck going by the Merchant Marine kitchen. You could look in the portholes and it was Just like the good old "Diners." Stools to sit up to the counter and a menu over - head to select from. Now the chow we were getting was not the best in that trying to prepare chow for this many under seagoing conditions was not the ideal setting. Well as I was strolling by the MM "diner9, one of their cooks stuck his head out the door and hollered, "you guys on that detail come on in and order up!" Evidently he got some of the GIs to help heave some garbage over the side; so I figured I'll walk in with these guys, which I did and sat down and ordered up a nice plate of liver and onions, cup of coffee - don't remember if I had dessert or not. What a meal but while I was eating I noticed some guys from my outfit looking in the portholes so I kept my head down and shielded my face - finished a great meal and left went on my way?? (fun story!)

   The entire crossing was uneventful but at night when you were sleeping or trying to sleep you would hear depth charges exploding that were being dropped by those destroyers. Some Officers and men were known to sleep up and out on the decks!!! At night while looking over the rail at the sea slipping by, the phosphorescence of the seawater would sparkle and during the day it seems we always had porpoises accompanying us. Once we were outside the three mile limit cigarettes were only five cents a pack. I was never a great gambler but did play a little friendly poker but there were some real pros at some of those poker and crap games and there was BIG money changing hands. You always hear of the guy who made a bundle and shipped it home. Didn't know of one myself but they were there!

   Lot's of room here to add any experiences on our crossing if you want to send to me for insertion? Just can't all be A Btry!

   (Lot's of room here to add any experiences on our crossing if you want to send to me for insertion? Just can't all be A Btry!)

   On the 19th. of November we arrived in Southampton, England. We were all lined up at the railing as we were docking and the smart - ass chit chat was flying between the Englishman on shore and all these Yanks.

   One thing that stood out in my mind was the size of some railroad cars there on the pier. They looked like toy trains which made you soon realize you were in another country! When we were completely unloaded we boarded a train and were on our way to Bournemouth! It was dark when we got off the train and after living through the "brown outs" they had at night on the east coast of the States we now are in a "blackout!" The difference? You couldn't see your hand in front of your face and here we are, the entire battalion marching down the street and you can hear the steps but can hardly make out the guy in front of you?

   That night we stayed in a big hotel and I guess all of A btry. Was in one big hall, bunks set up and this is the first time all of A Btry is together under one roof since the outfit was formed in 1943. Most of the night was spent telling Jokes and out of 200 guys there are always the few who "never was off the farm" before they got in the army and the bulk of the Jokes were oldies, these guys had never heard them before and it was a barrel of laughs just listening to their laughter!

   Next day back on the trains for a ride to our final destination in "Jolly - old - England." At the time it was said that our outfit was scheduled to land in France, not England; but our guns and equipment ended up in the wrong place and as a result we were rescheduled for England. (Hope someone can verify this as to fact or fiction!)

   In any event being here instead of France resulted in the 569th. Missing the "Battle of the Bulge!" As we neared our destination we heard we were going to be in one of the best camps in England? Well we ended up in Camp Ranikhet, Berkshire, England which was Just outside of the city limits of Reading, England. The previous occupants of the camp was the Screaming Eagle Div. of paratroopers.

   We quartered in barracks with double bunks and the springs were made of metal carton strapping and you could shoot peas through the mattresses. The latrine buildings were centrally located to accommodate a group of barracks. Now in the States we used to read of 15OO+ planes bombing Germany. Well at night when you stepped outside and looked up into the sky under total blackout conditions, it seemed as though all the stars above were moving but it was just the sky loaded with planes grouping for their nightly raid over the continent. Sure was something to see. We could always hear V - bombs (buzz bombs) exploding in the distance. London and other big cities were their targets and we being 6O odd miles west of London were never near where one would land, but close enough to hear!

   Along the paths that connected the barracks and latrines were ditchs to jump into in case on any bomb attacks and the first or second night, I remember Rastus Traynor went for a shower and when he was returning after a nice shower and watching all those little lights moving east, he fell in one of these air - raids ditches and walked in the barracks with his longjohns on, soaking wet which naturally was good for a lot of laughs - no sympathy!

   I am sure you all remember the pub, "The Ben", that was just down the hill on the way into Reading. You could walk it or ride the electric buses! The old beat up piano and the British Seargeant that used to play it? And the bar tender who at 10:00 every night would holler, "Time Please", which meant no more beer and the grunts and groans of, "what a helluva time to close up." I was back there in 1973 for a visit and like all past memories and towns - it's never the same!

   Just got word (July 1999), that Charley Scalia died! Remember he used to keep the big furnace going which maintained hot water for the mess hall and showers! He was a few years older than the rest of us and we all felt that he should be home - not here. Well he "had connections" with the mess hall and one day he said "I'm cooking a roast pork today so be around at 11:00"? Well Washburne and I were there long before 11:00 and Charley had a roast on the end of one big long iron stoker, with the furnace door open and a chair in front holding and turning that roast. Well the smell was fantastic and compared to our mess hall grub, we were sure looking for that roast to be finished. The window was wide open but quite high above the outside ground and who is walking along outside? Capt Dye and Lt Barnd and they I am sure could smell the roast and as we looked out, Capt Dye said. What are you guys up to? And Charley said cooking a roast and held it up for them to see they said, "we'll be in" and Charley got off a great one liner saying, "Sorry Captain, just for the EM" (Enlisted Men).

   Thanksgiving dinner was the usual soup to nuts typical meal but prior to the clatter of dishes to start the meal we had a short message from our Battalion Colonel. Seems as though, the night before seven turkeys were missing from the mess hall while the cooks were getting everything ready! Most ended up in some local English - man's home but I sure know where one of them ended up! (We always had butter, jelly and stuff in the barracks and a 20 odd pound RAW turkey cut up and cooked in mess kits on top of the barracks stoves wasn't the greatest meal but sure tasted good that night!)

   Bunch of us spent Christmas eve in a small pub in Reading putting away a good number of "pints." Remember passing a tin cup around the locals for a "collection for, "our Boys Overseas!" Englishmen, that is! As usual the pub closed at 10:00 and it was a crisp December night - no snow but a lot of icy spots and we walked all the way back to camp.

   Didn't get to see much of England at this time. Had one trip to London and met a friend from home, got to Oxford and that was about it. In August of '45 while in LeHavre did get back to London and rode the "Royal Scot" train to Scotland and while spending two years in Ireland in 1962 - 64, had many return trips.

   That's about it for this episode and have plenty of room to add any items that anyone would like to have entered. Nobody seems to want to enlarge on these episodes?? Time will tell how this history will develop or fold!

   Next issue/attempt will go back to the beginning - July 1943 when the 569th reached it's full quota of personnel and became a full fledged AAA AW BN MOBILE!



Jan. 29,1945 to Feb. 3,1945

   Using Stan Hall's diary was very helpful in pinning dates to these narratives. It was on January 27, 1945 that we again were in South Hampton, England and boarded a Polish hospital ship for our crossing of the channel to LeHavre, France. It would be an overnight crossing, the weather was cold and bleak but we were all filled with excitement and expectation! (Have now included data from the Archival Research Infl 569th. history.)

   19th. of January, Battalion was released of assignment to Third US ARMY!; assiigned to the 7th. US ARMY. (How many knew we at that time was actually pan of the 3rd. ARMY?); 4th. of February attached to XXI Corps.

   We had all our gear in our dufflebags; army overcoat, web belt and canteens and our muzette bags (poop - bags) and shelter halves when we boarded. Our trucks, guns, 40mm's and 50's and drivers were on other ships and we would catch up with them somewhere in France! I thought I would be smart and instead of packing my dufflebag with all my belongings and have to carry it, I packed only my bedroll and helmet, which was a joy to carry as compared to most everybody struggling with all their gear! My gear - I put in another duffle bag and put it on our weapons carrier, which I would retrieve later on. Well when we boarded ship all the duffle bags got stored in a pile and sadly for me - individual identity was lost.

   The crossing was uneventful with the exception that we had hammocks for bunks aboard ship. Can't say that I enjoyed them nor did I get a good nights sleep. The Navy can have them! We arrived off the coast of LeHavre in the afternoon; again cold, bleak and LOW tide! The long down - the - side gangplank was lowered which we would use to embark and the Coast Guard had LCFs to take us ashore. Soon the order, "Grab your dufflebags and let's go." Well no way could I find my nice, light dufflebag and the one I grabbed must have been the heaviest one in the pile. It had to have had everything the guy ever owned or picked up in his travels? As I struggled in line toward the gangplank some of the others up ahead were either by accident or design dropping their dufflebag and down the gangplank it went? They not having to carry the load!

   The LCI I was in hit the shoreline and the Coast Guard had one hell - uv - a time lowering the front end so we could get ashore and they sure took a verbal beating. Finally we stepped on the ROCKY beach and that was one long struggle with that bag I had to reach the area where we were to congregate. I could have killed that guy who's bag I had. It was Christofero and he had my nice light bag!!!

   Now it's getting later in the afternoon, darker and we have a glimpse at the bombed out buildings of the part of LeHavre that we were at, and the rumors were flowing thick and fast as to how far do we have to go, do we hike or ride!! Well it's getting darker, colder and there's a few flurries of snow here and there. Finally we fall in and hike a few blocks and lo and behold there's a line of trucks lined up for us to load onto! I again thinking how clever I was?? There was one truck with no canvas and I said to myself. "I'm getting onto that one so I can see the sights." Again, turned out to be a bad decision because instead of a short haul it turned out to be about a 60 mile ride Rouen. (Camp Twenty Grand)

   I was never so cold in my life, an open truck, snow swirling about and everytime a truck convoy of the Red Ball express was going or coming, we were sidetracked while they passed. Finally three of us side by side decided we had to do something so we finally managed to undo our shelter halfs and helped each other wrap ourselves in them to try to get some relief from the cold. In fact it was so bad that one fellow, his name was Turnage, a fellow from Maine, had had enough and at one point in the middle of nowhere he got off the truck.

   Turned out he was probably the smartest of the group because he got picked up by some truck driver and rode the front seat into Camp Twenty Grand!

   It was late at night when we arrived. A pyramidal tent area, small snow drifts around the tents, no stoves inside just army cots not made up - that's it. We just grabbed a cot made it up got our bedrolls on it and jumped in clothes and all and finally got warm. My error, there were stoves but not going! The next morning we were told we could get a helmet full of coal at the coal pile, which was guarded around the clock! We finally had a warm tent while we assembled into a once again 569th, AAA AW BN (MBL). Our own guns and equipment and on January 29,1945, in convoy started our trek across France for the Colmar area.

   What was most impressive to me was the type of destroyed enemy equipment everywhere. Not many heavy tanks and such as compared to horse drawn wagons and dead cattle. It was a sign of a very embattled force retreating with whatever means they could muster. It was said that the "duece - and - one - half" won the war and you could almost believe it when you saw convoys of trucks, men and equipment and of course the number of GI and Jerry gas cans that were literally everywhere. Having been bom in September of 1918, just a couple of months before the end of WWI; as kids, we played the usual cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians and war games. I remember most all the kids had relatives back from WWI and we played with Helmets and gasmasks that seemed very plentiful and of course there were the "pulp" magazines of the times and I honestly believe I had read them all and to be here, travelling through France through the towns of Soissons, Rheims, Nancy and the like and realizing you were participating in a war with Germany and actually being in the places where famous battles of WWI took place - you just have to have been there to realize the thrill of it all!

   After we passed through Nancy and heading toward Luneville, we knew we were getting closer to the action. The damaged equipment strewn by the wayside was more military, buildings demolished, the smell of dead animals and freshly burning buildings. The smell of the dead animals and burning wood on a damp and rainy day is a smell you just never forget. We were part of the seventh army assigned to the first French army and when we arrived in the St. Die, Saint Marie - aux - Mines area we met up with the advancing famous 3rd. Division of the Seventh Army. (Audio Murphy's Division.) It was cold and damp, some snow here and there and our biggest complaint was, "no overshoes." We stayed in this area a day or two and was then told we were to move into the Colmar area where the Free French Army and our Forces were battling for the city of Colmar; which history refers to as the Colmar Pocket. Colmar had changed hands back and forth between the French and the Germans a number of times.

   The day before we made this move, our Battery Commander, Capt Harold A Dye and his jeep driver had made a reconnaissance trip to the Ostheim area and I know they had seen a German jet plane over the area and had heard they had been strafed, truth or fiction? Somebody else will have to verify that one?? Seeing a jet plane in flight though had to be a first. Having been schooled in air - craft recognition, they knew an ME - 109 ME - 232 but this one????

   The move from the St. Die area to Ostheim, just outside of Colmar was to take us up and over the Vosges Mountains and down into Alsace - Lorraine flatland area adjacent to the Rhine River. I remember making up strip maps of the towns and route we would be taking and going over them with the Chief - of - Section of each gun crew in the first platoon. Curley Powell, weapons carrier driver and myself stayed behind until the last truck in our platoon left and then we left, to spot any stranglers or problems. Lt. Shoemaker, our First Platoon officer was to have a road guide on the highway at Ostheim, to direct our gun sections into the town as they arrived?

   When Curley and I arrived at the Ostheim area on the main road to Colmar there was no guide. At that point, I didn't know if the guide had been stationed this side of town or the far side of town; so we went on the highway, knowing we were leaving Ostheim. Well as it turned out some other chief - of - sections took the same view and as a result we ran into one gun section in a small town beyond Ostheim and we directed them and we turned around and headed back figuring we better turn off the highway and go into the town. Sure enough, there was the guide, I believe it was Bob Dwyer from Swampscott, Mass. I had a few words with Lt. Shoemaker and he took it - nuff said.

   Mike Videtta, a truck driver from Lynn, Mass and his Chief - of - section ended up driving right in to Colmar where they were fighting building to building, dead soldiers on the sidewalk and woman in fur coats stepping over them, so they said? When they realized where they were, those guys hopped out of the truck disconnected the 40mm and got it rehooked turned around and got the hell out of there fast. I don't remember what gun section Mike Videtta was assigned to - maybe some of you reading this can affirm or correct or add to this episode. I think Mulvey was on this truck - what gun crew was he on?

   The move from the west side of the Vosges over and down into Alsace and Lorraine was like going from Boston, Mass. in the winter to Sarasota, Florida, It felt like spring and was wonderful after Saint Marie - aux - Mines. In addition to finally receiving overshoes, each gun section received a 26 man squad tent and portable stoves?? Our platoon CP received a pyramidal tent. (Luxury, if and when we could use it?)

   Ostheim was a small town with the road into town circling it and coming out again and it was completely demolished - the smell was horrible. At this time I'd like to mention that while doing a little research, Ostheim was the most Northern Point reached by Julius Caeser in his march to England before turning west. (A little trivia.)

   Our entire battalion bivouaced in this area prior to being assigned around Neuf - Brisach & Colmar as anti - aircraft protection for the 240mm Heavy Artillary outfits. I was fortunate enough to revisit the town in 1963 and the road in around and out was just the same and fresh in my mind but the buildings, in fact the whole town was new. (Rebuilt)

   If anyone would like to add their comments, experiences, corrections or additions to this period of our move across the channel and into the Colmar area and would like to send it to me I will be glad to include it in the above and submit the final draft for any future Batallion Historian???

(Archival data inserted here.)

   Battalion bivouaced at Soissons, France on 01 Feb. after a motor march from Camp Twenty Grand, Rouen. 02 Feb. Bn. Commander received verbal orders to proceed toward Ste. Marie Aux Mines. Verbal orders given to Battery C0's which left on the 3rd. to occupy positions. A Btty. CP located at Fortschwihr, 1st. Platoon giving AA protection to the 278th. FA Bn. near Ostheim - 2nd. Platoon giving AA protection to the 773rd. FA Bn near Fortschwihr.

   B Btry. CP located near Ribeauville, 1st. {platoon protecting bridge in Ribeauville; 2nd. Platoon giving AA protection to Line of Communications in area.

   C Btry. CP located near Ostheim. 1st. Platoon AA protection to 999th. FA Bn. near Reidwihr; 2nd Platoon AA protection to th II RACL (French) Bn. near Reidwihr.

   D Btry CP located in Guemar, 1st. Platoon protecting 575th. FA Bn. near Holzwihr; 2nd. Platoon - held in reserve with Btry. CP.

   08 Feb. A Btry. 3 & 4 gun sections were the first sections to fire at an enemy plane. Pfc. John R Louc from Cambridge, Ma, manning an M - 51 .50 cal quad mount was the first to open fire! They fired at 1 Me 262 at 1310 and at 2 ME 262's at 1315. 29 40mm rounds and 400 .50 cal rounds were fired. No hits - no damage to friendly installations. (NICE GOING JOHN.) (Just a little zinger from the author Joe Comelius - also one of the original authors of the "Bty. A Slop Sheet" printed in Falken - Gessas! - more on this one later!)

   10 Feb. Battle of Colmar Pocket ended. Commendation given to Battalion by XXI Corps.

   22 Feb. 2 Escaped German prisoners were captured by Lt. Diedicker at Maxstadt.

   26th. Feb. Battalion regrouped in the Merlebach/Bremerhof area.

   Wounded in Action;

   Bales, James J. Sgt. A Btry. 16 Feb. 1945

   Gushing. Phillip G. Pvt. A Btry. 05 Feb. 1945

   Molnar, Frank T - 5 A Btty. 16 Feb 1945

   Macko, John Pfc B Btty. 28 Feb 1945

   Gautreau, Robert G. Pfc C Btty 1945

   Cavin. Dena F. Pfc C Btty 1945

   Non - Battle Casualty;

   Pearce, Russell H; Jr. 1st. Lt. A Btty. 17 Feb 1945 (18 Feb. Transferred to Detachment of Patients 2nd General Hospital, Nancy, France. Received injuries in movement.)

   (The above extracted from Archival Research Int'l 569th. Battalion History)


   (by Joe Cornelius - 53 years later - 1998)

   During the battle for Colmar, France - Feb. 1945; as First Platoon Sergeant of A Btry. 569th. AAA AW Bn, we were assigned to 240mm field artillery Bn. to provide anti - aircraft protection. The 240mm field piece was the largest field piece that the US Army had in Europe. There was only two gun sections per btry., as compared to our eight! When on the move, the gun travelled in 2 sections, one prime mover hauling the carriage, another prime mover hauling the barrel (the tipping parts!) Each btry had a prime mover with a crane which was used to hoist the tipping parts onto the carriage, once the carriage was dug in and positioned for firing at targets 16 plus miles into enemy territory.

   I mention the size of the artillery in that they and we were dug in position in and around Neuf - Brisach, Ostheim and Colmar which is only three odd miles from the Rhine river on the French side in Alsace - Lorraine with the Battle for Colmar going on! Had these artillery positions, including ours, been overrun; the equipment would have been blown up as it would have been impossible to "march order" them! This also points up how close to the front lines the Army had such heavy equipment. Their targets being into Germany 15 odd miles East of the Rhine was interesting in that: if they knocked out their target on the first few rounds and another target was east or west by 5 miles or more; they would have to have there cranes come in, lift the tipping parts, reposition the carriage in azmiuth for the new target!!

   Lt. Barnd, A - Btry. Platoon Officer, here - in - after referred to as "Barney" and myself visited one of the 240mm outfits. Their Battery Commander had built himself a house trailer on a small one - ton trailer which served as his command post, sleeping quarters and luggage when on the move. [Boy, this is a long - winded prelude to, "How our trailer was conceived, built and got it's name!!] Our immediate reaction - wouldnt it be great to have one of these - what luxury in the field!! Well the first part of our goal was accomplished when Chiancone one of our jeep drivers and Bob Dwyer our platoon CP communications operator did a little reconoittering on their own and visited a farm house where a First French Army unit had their CP set up. A lonely one - ton US Army trailer was sitting there apparently unused! Somehow it became possible for them to book the trailer onto the jeep and they rolled into our position with "a trailer." Appropriated was the operational name for the endeavour; or if you prefer - moonlight requisition!

   With the Battle for Colmar over and the city in French hands; it had changed back and forth between the French and Germans a number of times during the war, our outfit was to move North. I remember at night the sky in the direction of the city of Colmar was lit up and the locals and the French Army were celebrating in great style while in all other directions was the usual sound of artillary throughtout the night. One other story re the big cannons, 240mms. I don't remember the village but Barney, myself and Shoemaker (the other platoon were staying in a farmhouse - first floor,which had tall windows that reached from floor to ceiling and the family was living upstairs. Our gun sections were dug in around the area and some of them under the line of sight of these 240's. We knew there was a firing mission one night and while we were bedded down they started firing!! We should have opened the windows because the concussion took out the windows - glass everywhere and our gun sections sleeping on the ground were bodily raised off the ground as the salvo started!!

   Well we headed North West, back up to Nancy and then North - East toward the Karlshrue/Permassens area of Germany. I dont remember the small villages that we stayed at but we had gun sections dug in around a German town of Merlebach, a mining town just over the line from France into Germany. One of our gun crews actually m Germany and supposedly the first 40mm outfit dug in position on German soil! Rumor or fact, I dont know; anyway this was what precipitated the Battalion publicity officer to setup an official visitation by the Colonel and I guess a General with Marlene Ditriech - pictures/press and all. I thought it was Sgt. Fred [Smitty] Smith's section but Barney thinks it Was Sgt. Rastus Traynors! In any event, by the time the entourage arrived the 40mm had been pulled out of position and was up on wheels for our next location. Not being in a combat/picture position - Miss Dietrich wouldn't even bother to get out of the command car! Gun section crew and Chief - of - section had a book for her signature and were looking forward to the publicity; instead, zilch! Barney took time off from our project to observe the "publicity a - la Ditriech" leaving me at the camp area - working on the trailer!! [He was just doing his duty!!!]

   While this was going on. Barney and I had located a group of barracks/camp area where supposedly the "pregnant German" girls were housed to have their babies to further the Aryan Race!! The camp was made up of living quarters and each had little kitchenettes with real fancy/wooden cabinets - glass doors and furniture. [No German girls!] The US infantry had been through there and everything was pretty well shot up; but we went through many of them to find one set of cabinets without bulletholes to use for our trailer house. For the frame, we had to knock back the walls at the floor level and tear off the wall board siding to expose the floor framing which we were going to use for our frame on our trailer. The studding was not 2x4's but it was strong enough and we did it. The picture at the beginning of this memo is a picture of the finished product We even located a little stove and had it with pipe out the back and up. [Think you can make it out in picture!] We had two bunks across the front and one along one side. It was a fun project at the time and I really can't remember sleeping in it that much but when we were on the move, it sure held a lot of personal gear and "loot!"

   While making a move Easterly into Germany, using the autobahn where possible and getting off at the blown bridges and down into the gullies and temporary crossings made by combat engineering outfits; I was driving the weapons carrier with Barney alongside when we had to get off the autobahn and started down into a crossing that an engineering outfit was working on, when a 2nd. Lt from the group looked up and saw us coming down the bank with our house trailer on behind the weapons carrier. He looked up, held his hands up and shouted to us, "You cant haul that Tabernacle down through here!" Barney stood up in the weapons carrier and said, "Sir, I am a 1st. Lt and outrank you and we are going across." We did, and that is how it became the "Tabernacle."

   It stayed with us up to the end of the war and in May when we left Germany for LeHavre on July 4th. 1945 the trailer went with us.

   Back when we were in the town of Merlebach and I dont know if it was in France or Germany - havent been able to locate it on any map that I presently have; it was a coal mining town and our Btry. CP got word to all of our men that we could use the shower room at the mine and it would be a nice gesture if we left any soap behind at the plant, as soap of course was a scarce item. Convoy's were arranged and we got to real hot water showers. I remember the dressing area! They had big grappling hooks up near the ceiling held by chains that were latched on the walls at floor level When you undressed we hung our clothes and personal belongings on these hooks and then raised them up to the ceiling and latched them to the wall while we showered! Beats keys and lockers, eh what??

   I'm sending this to Barney as well as a disk with this on it and whomever reads it and cares to critique it, criticize or remember details I may have missed, any errors omissions or what have you - feel free to comment and subtract or whatever and maybe it just might be the beginning of an narrative/history of the A Btry - 569th. WWII?

   My next effort might be to pick up where this leaves off and take us up to Forbach, France prior to moving up to the Rhine on the 26th of March for the 7th Army's crossing of the Rhine North of Worms.

If this develops into a 569th history - may I suggest for a title:


Joe Cornelius

Feb. 12,1998

Forbach to the Rhine

   This is the only photo I have of the pontoon bridge that was installed by the 40th. Engineering Combat Group - 7th. Army.

   A & D battery were assigned to this area for anti - aircraft protection and B A C btr/s were about 4 miles north providing protection for the installation of a "foot" treadway bridge across the Rhine.

   4 Miles south at Worms another pontoon bridge was being installed and 4 miles south of that another treadway bridge.

   This was the 7th. Armys Crossing of the Rhine which started at 2:30 am on the 26th. of March, 1945. "Our Bridge" was not completed until ll:00am and then all kinds of armoured divisions were arriving and crossing into Germany on the East side of the Rhine.

   While in the Forbach Sanguemmes area, we were still assigned to the 240 mm artillery units and our gun postions were many kilometers apart; which meant we had to cover a large area to maintain contact with our 1st platoon sections. Curly Powell, Barnd and I were going through Forbach one morning when a large gathering of French civilians were having some kind of brawl. We stopped to find out the reason and they told us that they had just caught a Frenchman who had been spying for the Germans! We didn't stick around for the outcome. On the way back in about the same area there were German shells hitting buildings on our left with debris raining down - no casualties!

   From Forbach, we moved into Bitchie, France and once again the entire Battery moved through the Siegfreid line into Germany and I stayed behind with the platoon CP and the next day we would move in and meet Barnd in Pirmassens. We had our weapons carrier, jeep and a duece - and - one - half. That night after we had our c - rations Chiancone and Dwyer wanted to take a run into Bitchie? We were outside of town. I said go ahead but be careful, it was dark when they got back and said they had spotted a jeep parked in a back alley, behind a building and the coil to distrubutor wire was removed? Well - didn't take long to find some wire and they took off and shortly after returned with 2 jeeps. In the glove compartment was an officers cap, clip board and a chrome plated revolver!! We figure he must have been shacking up with some French gal - what a surprise when he decides to leave. We were going to be on the road in the morning and figured [somebody] is going to be looking far that jeep - so we lowered the cracked windshield (which would have been a giveaway) tied a bedroll over it and in our maintenance gear we had some OD and white paint; so we quickly painted over the jeep markings and applied our 569A.AAA AW BN logo.

   I can see Barney now when we met him in Pinnassens and he saw our little "convoy."

   We're now in Germany and the rules have changed - no more sleeping in the fields, we just pick out a house and let the inhabitants know we are moving in and they can shift for themselves, in most cases there was never any men or young boys as they were all retreating and serving leaving the old folks behind. It was in the Kaiserslautem area where we located a house for our platoon CP. We used the first floor which was like a shop with tall floor to ceiling front windows. The family of an old couple and about three young girls stayed upstairs and the pigs and hens were in the cellar below us. Our guns and the 240's were scattered about the immediate area. One of our gun sections was located a few hundred yards, right under the muzzle of that big old cannon? That night just after dark they started their firing mission. Well that blast just about raised the guys right off the ground and it also took out our front panels of glass. Glass was falling everywhere and the woman and children upstairs were hollering and looking out the windows? Had we realized the commotion the firing mission would create we could have given some warning - we learned too?

   Now when we get the orders fix - a move to a new location, I used to hit each section and the old routine, "Let's go, this is it" and the usual response, "Yeah, yeah we know."

   Well this time it really was "it" but with the usual response and I had a tough time convincing them that this was really, "it" It was the morning of me 25th. of March 1945 and we were to move up to the Rhine River to provide anti - aircraft automatic weapons protection for the Cobat Engineering group that was to put in the Heavy Pontoon Bridge for the 7th. Army's Rhine Crossing. The crossing by the infantry was to begin at 2:30 am of the 26th. We moved up to Rhine at 11:00pm on the 25th. I was in a jeep with Lt Shoemaker and Lt Barnd. It was dark of course and as we drove along the west bank of the Rhine we stopped at the last building on the righthand side of the road, which turned out to be a bar or pub. We each dropped our bedrolls on the sidewalk outside of this building and then directed each of our 4 first platoon gun sections along the road and men off the road to the right and down into a "fielded" area.

   Now for the life of me, I could never figure out the timing of this affair. The Germans on the other side manning their gun positions for any possible invasion could hear all of our motorized equipment moving along the west bank of the Rhine at 11:00pm and the infantry isn't going to start their crossing until 2:30am??? The Germans hearing all this must be calling their commanders for more troops, knowing that something must be happening. They had 3 1/2 hours to get whatever reinforcements they could. As our gun crews started to dig in. Barney and I are walking toward one section when all Hell broke loose! I think every one of our 40mm and all our quad 50 calibers were firing. As the tracers were lighting up the sky I said to Barney, "what the hell are they iring at!" He said. "plane. plane, fire, fire!" I can imagine, again; the Germans on the other side sure know by now something is about to happen.

   Well I figured I wanted to see this action and with a couple of other fellows, can't remember who, sat out on a bank beside this bar building and waited for 2:30am. Sure enough about 2:15 and it was pitch dark, we could hear the clank of amuntion, grenades and marching feet and here comes the infantry down the road and started peeling off into the fields on the right hand side of the road. Right then, I was mighty happy that I wasn't in the infantry. At 2:30 all hell broke loose. Tracers flying overhead, 20mm and 88 canon fire, but we were down below street level and felt safe until - - We heard the "plop" of mortar fire and they could drop right down on us and I said that's it, I'm getting inside the building and ran for the backdoor but there was a tall wire fence running from the street way back. Now what do I do? I made a quick decision and jumped up on a truck which was parked near the fence, in the line of fire and jumped down into the back yard of the building and ran up and dropped down by the back door. There were about five other guys laying there and a dog. I then figured I would jump up and go inside, which I did. Well the infantry medics was using the whole place for a hospital/medics station. The only place I could find, floorspace was a spot behind the bar. It had been a long day and all the excitement, I was pooped and with all my gear, overcoat and all I curled up on the floor behind the bar and was shivering, combination of cold, tired and fright?? I had to do something so I figured I would try to find my way to the front door and go out on the sidewalk and grab my bedroll. By this time the wounded from the crossing are coming in and getting patched up but I got to the door and peeked out Across the street I could see infantry guys all over the place, 20mm tracers going in all directions with the snap of a bull whip as they passed the buildings. I jumped out grabbed a bedroll and worked my way back in behind the bar and wrapped myself to get warm and fell asleep. I was awakened by Barney kicking my feet and as I opened my eyes there was a group of Germans captives in uniform, sitting on a bench and Barney saying to me, "Hey, you've got my bedroll" Now I'm awake and I said Oh, evidentally you didn't go out on the street last night to get yours??

   With daylight, some of our gun sections were moved right down on the river bank where the pontoon bridge was started and I remember Capt. Dye standing there as a piper cub scout plane with our markings was zooming over the bridge. Capt. Dye's orders were to shoot anything down that came near that bridge and in spite of the plane's markings he said, "if he zooms one more time - shoot him." Fortunately he didn't.

   When the bridge was completed, D Battery moved their gun sections to the East side and dug in over there. During the day there were search light batteries that came in and set up and at night they had the downflowing stream illuminated for any possible sabotage of the bridge.

   As the troops that were in the rear areas waiting for the bridge to be completed came up to the river they would say, "is that the Rhme?" By this time mere were MP's directing traffic flow and many outfits were arriving with all kinds of German cars they had "mobilized" on the way, many were absolute beauties. The MPs wouldn't let one cross the river and directed them down in the field - west bank. It was like a fancy used car parking lot with some Mercedes you could drool over.

   With all the Allied Armies now across the Rhine, our outfit and others like ours couldn't keep up with the infantry as they advanced into Germany; so we were then converted to Security Police. Our duty was to move into whatever area we were assigned to and maintain law and order, confiscate all weapons and be alert to any fifth column/enemy action that could endanger our security. The Germans in desperation had boys of 12 - 15 years old and old men with rifles and German bazookas defending many of these little towns and villages. We usually first contacted the Burgermeister of the town and told him what we required and he in turn notified the town folk. By this time the German air - force was practically non - existent, in fact as we moved along sections of the autobahn that were passable, there were cutouts among the woods every 70 odd yards with a fighter plane sitting there intact. They were using the autobahn for a runway until that was bombed making it impossible to fly and the advance was so swift now and all German forces in rapid retreat. At one small town there was a beautiful streamlined modern railroad train in it's entirety, not a soul around.

   From here on in the story gets quite entertaining, as the comment used to be about the Army, you had one guy shooting and three looting!

   There's an awful lot of space here for anyone who would like to add any of their personal or section happenings to this so that somewhere along the line of time it just might end up being a "story - book" history of the 569th.

   My next effort will be from The Princess of Leiningen's Palace in Amorback to the wooded/farm area of Falken - Gesassis which I can't locate on any map! A little trivia, I was in the courtyard of the Palace in Amorbach on the 12th of April - the day I heard that Pres. Roosevelt had died. I also got back to that courtyard in 1963 with my wife, my son and three American Girls who were working for me in Ireland. I tried to finagle a tour through the palace but all I could get out of one of the servants was that, "the Prince is sleeping" - it was 10:00am at the time!!

Again any comments, corrections, additions or whatever:

East of the Rhine

   Around the 1st of April, we headed into Germany as Security Forces. The forty odd mile trip to Amorbach was through wooded - mountainous country. The A Boy CP and second platoon were to be quartered in Amorbach and the 1 st. Platoon went on to Mudau - about 10 miles south. We picked out 2 small hotel buildings in this small town one across the street from each other.. With 3 gun sections turned loose to "stake their claim" for sleeping quarters, it was every man for himself. On the second floor of one building, Barnd, Shoemaker and I had a room. Meanwhile number three gun section was left behind somewhere in the mountains east ofAmorbach. They were assigned to a little village to guard an under - ground cache of "boozer - high class goods"! The local Burgomeister told Smitty that the Germans had spent 3 months hauling it in from France and storing it in the underground caves in this little town. I never got to see it but Smitty said the cases were stacked about 14 cases high and as far as you could see. Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house?

   I'm not sure but if my memory serves me correct, I think No. 1 section was putting up in a small house on the edge of the town; up the street from the rest of us and that Garafolo found a German uniform in one of the dresser drawers. insert a picture of the uniform with me "modeling" it? (Should have seen the German kids eyes pop when I stepped out the front door with that on.)

   While we're all getting settled, about 3:00 pm; one of Smitty's trucks pulls in with the mail and one footlocker case of champagne (individual bottles wrapped in straw), three cases of Martels cognac and a half case of cointreau (about six bottles.) I had never seen cointreau so I grabbed a bottle of that - tasted great so I went to work on that! Meanwhile across the street the champagne and cognac was soon distributed with whomever wanted what and I remember going into one room with about six guys in there; smoke so thick you could cut it with a knife and each guy in the process of consumming the bottle of his choice! Another room (bathroom) there's Brownie, the little rebel from Paducah, Ky., in a tub full of soapsuds swigging away on a bottle of cognac and I remember one fellow named Thompson working on a bottle of champagne; (his Father played in the Chicago Symphony orchestra) - does any body else remember these fellows and wonder what happened to Thompsons name on our revived rosters?

   Story has it that Schubert and Weaver and some others were trying to get a cow into the hotel with the wierd thought of maybe obtaining some steaks?? Anybody want to comment on this one?

   This is the picture of Joe Cornelius with me German Uniform on, taken outside me front door of our hotel in Mudau. If you look closely in the upper part you can see the white flags of surrender still hanging out the windows after the infantry forces had gone through.

   Also, you might think that's a pretty sharp uniform but, again close scrutiny will reveal a pair of GI pants! The rest is all German - medals, sword, gloves and all.

   I wonder if Garafolo ever sent the uniform home and does he still have it or did he sell it? The rules on sending things home was that it had to be of enemy military in nature; but this rule was loosely interpereted!! I sent home a stein and small chess set from this hotel.

   Everybody had an eye out for pistols, particularly lugars; swords and cameras, particularly leicas. What an inventory list we could put together on stuff sent/carried home? Alas - to the victor goes the spoils.

   I had to make a trip into Amorbach to the Btry. CP. I remember the day so well. It was April 12, 1945 and I was in the courtyard of the Prince of Leiningens Palace when l heard the word that Pres. Roosevelt had died. I don't remember who it was that showed me around the palace and even though it was a mess from the number of our troops who had been through the place; but everywhere were items marked, "HRH". beautiful paintings on the walls and stairways and across the courtyard in the stables were drawer after drawer - all glassed in, an enormous butterfly collection; but the grand prize was when somebody said, "Take a look at this!" We went back across the courtyard into a door and as you faced a staircase going upstairs, on the right they had discovered a secret door which led into a fair sized room which contained all the silver service for the palace. What a display. There were large coffee and tea sets, pitchers and silver service of every kind - many with fancy engravings and such. I picked up a small piece in the form of a wild boar. It was a pepper shaker finely engraved and the head was removeable for filling and the markings of the silversmith was on the rim. I "stashed" it in my pocket and still have it in my possession. It was after the war when we were in LeHavre that I happened to read a paperback on Queen Victoria of England. Making a long story short. Queen Victoria's Mother was a widdowed Princess of Leiningen who married the Duke of Kent, whose child (Victoria) would be heir to the throne of England. After realizing the historical value of Amorbach and my "purloined" pepper shaker; I fed that sometime in the past the Queen of England had to have handled that pepper shaker.

   When I revisited the palace in 1963 I tried to explain to the head butler or whomever he was, that I had this pepper shaker that I had taken from the palace in 1945 and I would like to return it and felt in return it would be nice if the prince would give myself, my Wife, my Son and three American girls that were with me a tour of the palace. All I got was, "The prince is sleeping." Well I said, "We will be sightseeing the main street in town until 11AM and if the prince is interested, he could send for us?" Never a word and I still have my prize!

   On the 14th. of April, the entire battery had moved to Mainbemheim, into a cookie factory owned by the Gebruder Scmidt Brothers. We quartered in the mainhouse and throughout the grounds and factory. The German money, paper and silver was still in the cash drawers and pay envelopes and of course the entire place got a good going over by our troops plus you can imagine what the troops ahead of us had "looted." It was pretty hard for a foot soldier to carry much but with us being a mobile outfit with all our trucks, and of course old "Tabernacle"; we had room. I know someone had found some rare rifles all boxed and one gun mechanic had a rare find of a beautiful Lugar with a .22 barrel and receiver for it I'm sure it was Joe Strayer and 1 often wondered if he still has it? (Sure worth a good buck today)

   One fellow had a large postage stamp collection along with a lot of nice German First Day Covers. He had no particular desire for them and showed them to me as I collected stamps. After looking through the album I could tell that the owner in a hasty retreat had taken many of the early/valuable issues from the album. Anyway I said, I'll take it" and later when we were in Sinsheim I sent the collection home. Still have - no great value but a mess of stamps and covers.

   At this point, I have one photo taken here at Mainbemheim. A picture of some of the guys cleaning .50 Cal machine guns sitting under the "Apple Tree" blossoms on a nice spring day with the war winding down, beautiful weather and the smell of spring in the air.

   The picture is a little dark and the only one I know for sure is Bill Bowers, sealed - lower left. The other two in the foreground I recognize but can't come up with their names. I wonder if anybody else has any pictures taken at the "Cookie Factory.'' By the way do you remember the cookies??

   Nice, round and glazed and packed in a beautiful cookie tin with name Gebruder Scmidt on it. Remember Ken Snyder and Red Moore eating and throwing them all around and Snyder "crying" we came over here to fight a war and what are we doing, "Guarding Cookies." Oh well - the things you remember?

   Here at Mainbemheim was the farthest East we went into Germany and now we turn south and the next place we stayed and for some numder of days was: 1st platoon in Gerstetten and the Battery CP and I believe the 2nd. Platoon were put up in an SS Barracks in Heidenheim. Visited there and remember going through the SS barracks. Top floor was stored all the musical instruments. Guys had a great time with that I took a set of German army silverware, service for eight shipped that home from Sinsheim.

   About 1955, I used to crew on a 35 foot yawl out of Marblehead, Mass. and in a weak moment, donated the set of silverware to the ships galley. The yawl was owned by our family Doctor who has since died and most of the crew are gone and who knows where my SS silverware ended up. Some day I just might see it for sale at a flea market. Wish I had it now.

   On the grounds of the cookie factory was a large number of pens housing prize Belgian rabbits. Never saw such big ones; well Schubert, you'd never know it but a farm boy - reached in and grabbed a male rabbitt and put him in with a female and before he was through that collection of prized rabbitts sure got mixed up! Schubert's first name was Dan, not Daniel. He said His Father had two horses one named Dan and don't remember the name of the other; but the Father named his two boys after the two horaes! (Like I say, "The strange things one happens to remember.


   This is updated on June 1,1999 to include data from the Battalion History compiled by Archival Research International, Washington, DC; plus some input from Harry Wiesler - No. 2 Gun Section - A Btry.

   On the first of April 1945 orders from the 34th. AA Brigade relieved the 569th. From the bridge defenses across the Rhine and assigned the Battalion to security duties in occupied territory. 1st Of April A & C Batteries bivouacked at Laudenbach with B & D Batteries at Heppenheim. Official orders were to establish road blocks, provide 24 hour guard on all vital bridges and installations and establish Dp (Displaced Persons) centers and direct DP's to these centers.

   7th. Of April, B Btry - lst Platoon fired at 2 HE 111 on reconnaissance - no hits. A Btry - fired at 1 HE111 strafing positions - vicinity of Amorbach - hits claimed and probability plane crashed in vicinity! C Btry. 1st Platoon fired at one JU88 bombmg at low level. D Btry fired at 1 JU88 - 1 hit approved by 7th. Army and shared with 43lst. AAA Bn. C Btry. fired at 2 JU88's on reconnaissance - no hits. All firing done with the M51 Mounts. (4 .50 Cal mach. Guns/electric controlled mounts.)

   9th. April C Btry - 2nd platoon fired at 1 ME109 - no hits. B Btry moved to Bad Mergentheim on 10 April

   27 April A &B Batteries ordered to return their 40mm guns to new storage area. (I believe this was in Ulm.)

   27th. April A Btry was moved to Heidendeim/Gerstetten area with one gun section relieving the 108th. AAA of targets in the Heidenheim area.

   28th. Of April Hq's. Btry Commander left on recon for new CP and relocated at Herbrechtingen.

Official Battalion Records for this Period: 2 Killed in Action:

Turkington, Douglas J. Sgt D Btry.

Raiola, Pasquale Pfc. B Btry.

Wounded in Action:

Sheibe, Edmund J. 1st Lt A Btry.

Strayer, Joseph R.Tech.4 A Btry.

Duckett, Charles H.Tech.5 B Btry.

Non Battle Casualties Killed:

Shafran, Sidney Pfc. B Btry.

Blue, William Jr. Tech.5 B Btry.

   As we head south from Mainbernheim (The Cookie Factory - Gebruder Schmidts), as security troops, we are loaded down with German paper and silver money taken from the payroll drawers still intact left behind in hasty retreat as the infantry plowed on into Germany. The money could buy anything if you could find anything to buy and there were no sellers! I found an interesting buy that I will mention later on.

   From the 14th. Of April to the 27th we moved through the towns of Gross Almerspan, Gerobronn, Kirchberg and Ilsophen rounding up enemy troops and transporting them to POW holding areas, confiscating military equipment, rifles, swords, small arms, ammunition and such, being alert for any fifth column activity and maintaining law and order. During this period the roads and countryside was filled with DP's heading west to escape the advancing Russians. Men, Woman, Children all ages carrying whatever personal belongings they could cany, while our forces/convoys are heading east. A very sorry and sad picture of human existence!

   My main duty seemed to be the acting Burgomaster in these small towns in the absence of my 2 platoon officers who were involved in overall Battery/Battalion activities. Shoemaker and his jeep driver was usually reconnoitering the advance positions that we were to occupy and Barney had his activities assigned from the Btry. CP.

   As the Burgomaster I was issuing passes to mid - wives to be on the streets after 7PM curfew; instructing the German Burgomaster of the town as to his duty to inform the local citizenry to have all military personnel in or out of uniform to turn themselves in , collect all firearms and ammunition and store at the Rathaus (Town Hall) plus many strange situations would arise? The "Tabernacle" was acquiring quite a collection of swords, rifles and small arms. Lugars, P38's, Mauser Automatics, Berettas never made the pile) Everybody became a collector? Every so often, as the pile grew and everybody had grabbed whatever they thought they wanted to save was disposed of by our Gun Mechanic - Joe Strayer. (This was how he and Lt Scheibe were wounded - disposing of enemy equipment) They had a large pile to dispose of and laid a powder trail from the pile and instead of fusing the trail - they just put a match to it and when it exploded it peppered them all about the face and arms - plus both lost their moustaches and eyebrows which resulted in a trip to the field medics for treatment and qualifying for a purple heart Injured due to enemy action/equipment!!

Of course the better - more choice weapons never made the pile and were saved by whomever laid claim to an item. I remember one civilian who when turning in his rifle, which was a beautiful sport mauser with deer engraved on the receiver and wooden stock extended to the end of the barrel scratched his name on the wooden stock with the hopes he would be able to retrieve it! I was going to keep this one but instead just threw it on the pile in the Tabernacle. When we had moved to another spot, our Medic - Andy Garda had brought out this rifle and was showing it off and I mentioned that I was going to save but!!! He said, "You want it?" I said yes and ended up sending it home with 3 other nice rifles! I sold that rifle in 1947 and the proceeds bought a nice 8x14 rug for our first home we bought in Marblehead, Mass. (Wish I had the rifle now!)

   27th. Of April our Btry. CP located in Heidenheim a former SS barracks and our 1st Platoon CP was located in Gerstetten, a nice little house with white sheets still on the beds! The first day there as burgomaster a very distinguished lookin man came in and introdnced himself as a retired military Doctor and wanted some petrol for his car so he could administer to his patients in the surrounding country side. We filled his tank and he was on his way. We became somewhat friendly with his visits for gas and one day I asked him if he could locate a good radio so that we could listen to the US via short wave. We would pay for it - cookie factory money! He located one from some farmer and we paid for it - it was a beauty. We set the transformer for 110 and would hook our power supply into the house wiring - local power non - existent We always checked first!

   A few days after we purchased the radio a memo came in from Headquarters stating that you could not give petrol to any local German citizens. I guess it was the following day when the Doctor arrived and wanted some gas. I informed him of the memo we had received and said I couldn't give him any and he said "Come and I followed him out to his car. He opened the back door and a German Mother was sitting there holding her son (about 10 yrs. Old) and his arms were around his Mothers neck and his left leg was bloody and almost amputated! I hollered, "get some gas", and we filled him up and he headed for the hospital Sometime later he stopped by and said the little boy didn't make it! The boy had been playing in the woods and found a German Panzeriaust (bazooka). Never saw the Dr. again and we moved on!

   In Gerstetten there was an area of housing that was occupied by Dutch refugees that had been shipped into Germany to man factory operations. One Dutch boy of about 19, clean cut and speaking excellent English, German, French and Flemish. We fed him and oufitted him with GI dothes and he stayed with me as an interpreter. When I had problems with the local Burgomaster I would have him with me and I always told him to get my message over in the same manner in which I had presented it in English! Interpreters name was Gale Kollard and he at first seemed a bit timid in speaking harshly to a man who had previously been the the local Mayor. Gale stayed with us and eventually served Capt Dye as his interpreter and ended up in LeHavre. Capt Dye had a jeep take him home to his home in Rotterdam. Gale, in about 1951 went to Aruba to work and mailed me a card on the way. Shortly after that he was on his way back to Holland with his new bride and stopped in and visited with us in Marblehead, Mass. I again located him in 1978 in Newton, Mass. As far as I know he might still be living there. (Long story.)

   We usually had 2 to 4 men patrolling the town for curfew enforcement and one night it was around 9 - 10PM and they weren't back and when my old friend Shoemaker came in he wanted to know where they were? I said, "on patrol!" and he said, "at this hour?" I said yup and that was it. Next day three young German girls came in and with Gale interpreting had a long story and complaint of some kind. I noticed they would occasionally be smiling at the fellows who were on patrol the night before and it then dawned on me why they were there and didn't need to know any more.

   One other day, around 2 in the afternoon I was lying on a sofa, when a knock on the door! I opened it and there was a German with a cap and moustache and carrying a briefcase. He opened the briefcase and had me look in and then pulled out this beautiful lugar and handed it to me, nodded and left! It was a beauty, same part number on all parts similar to a 1911 US colt National Match! All selected parts - more valuable and accurate. That one came home with me. I acquired another one around that time and gave that one to Barney.

   Another time while on patrol in the jeep with Chiancone and Shoemaker we turned off onto a dirt road leading to a small castle - like estate. A servant escorted us into the main hall and a very matronly older woman introduced herself as the Madam of the estate. The walls were lined with glasses in cabinets containing a tremendous collection of rifles but the places where the small arms had been - of course they were not there and her explanation was that US soldiers had taken them!!! (Thinking back, I'll bet she had them hidden somewhere.) Shoemaker told her to have all the weapons taken out and put in a couple of big trunks that were there and we left. When we got out we said. Let's get a trailer and get back here and load up those weapons - what a find. Well when we got back there and headed up the dirt road a short ways; there was a big ditch across the road, a GI helmet and an officers cap beside a blown up jeep! Somebody got there before we did - fortunately for us!!

   Another time while riding with Barney, we ran across an abandoned German tank and decided to have a look! I climbed down inside and pulled out a beautiful tank radio receiver/transmitter with it's earphones and genemotor. When we got back to where we were staying - got the thing running on our 12 volt truck battery. Could hear Germans talking but didn't do a thing for us - just another fun item!

   At one area our number 3 gun section was located on a beautiful German farm and the day I checked in our their location they had the greatest piece of homemade cake you could find anywhere. It was Smitty's Birthday, (Sgt. Fred Smith Chief of Section No 3 Gun Crew.) and the old woman that owned the farm made it for his birthday. Now here is where some members of his crew to do a better job relating this story than I???

   Another time we stopped and looked over an anti - aircraft observer/spotting tower and climbed up to the top platform. What a view and there was a very large pair of telescopic binoculars on a very heavy tripod mount The fields around were covered with aluminum foil strips that were dropped by our airforce to thwart the German radar spotting positions. Took the binoculars back to where we were located and had fun scanning the countyside - they were powerful but we left them there when we moved. We may have been a mobile outfit but you just can't carry everything!

   I mention these little items hoping to trigger some thoughts and memories of others and as I have said before, "relay any of your items that you believe would be an interesting addition to this rambling narrative and I will insert and re - issue!

   After leaving Gerstetten and travelling south through Bavaria; Curley Powell, Gale and myself were to meet Shoemaker in some small town in a beautiful section of Bavaria - don't remember the town but it would be in a class with Palm Springs, Ca. Usually when we relocated, we'd just move in to any home and tell the inhabitants to "rouse" or however you spell it and they would get out and we would move in. Well I sent Gate in to this beautiful home to let them know we would be takmg over the preimscs and he came out in a hurry and said it was taken over by a load of Free French! We got out of there in a hurry and headed for the Rathaus where we were to meet Shoemaker. While parked there an officer from some outfit came up to us and wanted to know where our commanding officer was. I explained our situation and he told me to follow him into the Rathaus - The General wanted to talk to me!! Well it was big room loaded with brass and I was told to have my platoon officer report to him as soon as he showed up! It was, "yes sir - saluted and left."

   When Shoemaker arrived you can imagine what he said when I told him, "the General wants to see you!" He went in and when he came out he jumped in the jeep and said, "let's get the Hell out of here!" Seems the American troops were very small and the Free French Army had taken over the town and there was nothing but rape, riot seduction going on and the General wanted our outfit to come and help maintain order!! Shoemaker convinced the General that our outfit was on the move and had orders to be at a certain location - so we were off the hook on that one! Like I have said, "the things you remember!"

   When moving to a new location. Shoemaker would locate a place while we were march ordered and waiting for word and his directions or he would lead our convoy into the area! We arrived in the Weilheim area, located our gun sections and followed Shoemaker to where our CP was to setup. We drove into the driveway of this beautiful Alpine/Bavarian home and as Curley Powell parked the weapons carrier, I saw Shoemaker coming out of the house with a German woman crying and hollering and I could hear Shoemaker say, "see the Sergeant, he will take care of you!" WELL, the woman was all over me telling me she was no Nazi (funny thing you couldn't find a Nazi anywhere!) and her husband had been an English banker and she had no where to stay if we moved in. She wasn't concerned about herself - just her four Italian workers! Well I told here we were movmg in and if she and the local Burgomaster couldn't find a place for her workers to stay we would give them a tent and they could pitch wherever they wanted to. Never saw she nor her workers all the time we were there. Guess she and they made out OK.

   The home was beautiful, wax still on the floors, big beautiful radio with a motor controlled dial (Listened to Boston Mass every night); propane gas still in a tank at the stove in the kitchen. First order of business - CP personell scoured the local area for eggs! "Habensee eyire"somethmg like that - have you any eggs! Well we ended up with a couple of helmet - fulls and sure had a feast of scrambled eggs surrounded by that beautiful Bavarian/Mountainous landscape! As usual while setting up Gale plugged my radio into the house socket and they still had 220 in the system and poof - there went my radio that I bought with "cookie money." Gale felt real bad and of course so did I but anyway we had the one in the house while we were there. (on our way out of Gennany we were in some town not far from Heidelberg and Gale went into the town to try and get the radio repaired but no parts - so we dumped it - end of radio.)

   Our gun sections were spread out on different assignments and each day I checked each section, sometimes more than once depending on the need. Well Harry Wiesler has sent me an item of his number 2 gun sections's assignment while in this area and I don't remember the details and assignment. I do remember one section guarding what at the time I thought was an SS officer's wife and family? Must have been the same, anyway - Harry believes it was Barney who led Sgt. Dumachel's No. 2 Gun Section into a beautiful picturesque estate, surrounded by a dense forest with huge steel gates at the entrance. The assignment was to guard this estate and prevent the plundering by the "looting" GI's or others, protect the wife and the daughter and allow NO ONE to enter. This was the property of Admiral Horthy - former Regent of Hungary! When they took on this assignment there were 2 command cars in the driveway and supposedly they were there to take the Admiral to be interviewed by Eisenhower. They also were told that the Admiral was the President Roosevelt of Bavaria? Harry sure enjoyed this assignment - home was staffed by two cooks, three maids, a houseman (butler) all English speaking plus a couple of gardeners. That first night they sat out on the veranda, drinking champagne, lookmg at the tops of the Swiss Alps and listening to the radio broadcast that the war was over. He'll never forget that assignment, but like most of them - they didn't last long enough. (My recent research says that Horthy as Regent was a real Hungarian Nazi Sympathizer and when in the face of Russian forces he was going to surrender to them - SS Colonel Skorzney (the one who rescued Mussolini) abducted Horthy out of Hungary. The Hungarians wanted to try him for treason after the war but he slipped into hiding - don't know whatever happened to him!)

   It was at this time and in this area that we were crossing the Danube river when we met a deuce - and - a - half loaded with GI's going the other way and they were shoutmg and hollering, "the war is over - the war is over!" That's where I was on VE day!

   The Archival Battalion History for this period 1 - 31 May lists the following statistics:

Wounded in Action:

Weaver, James F. Tech.5 A Btry.

Wright, Clarence Pfc. D Btry.

Points of Interest

3 Officers and 20 Enlisted men - 3 Day passes to Paris.

2 Officers and 10 Enlisted men - to XXIst Corps. Rest Center. (R&R at Dijon, France).

   3 May D Btry. Captured 2 German pilots

   10 May Official declaration of armistice and under terms of armistice, 100 German soldiers, each division, were authorized to carry arms and be identified by white brassards. German vehicles operated by German soldiers will not be molested and German Officers will retain and wear side arms. POW cage for our area was at Rottach.

   11 May message from brigade to Battalion to consolidate all Batteries in their present security zones and await orders to move to the rear.

   14 May All Batteries notified to put under arrest all German diplomats released by the Swiss Government and submit name and location in which arrested.

   16 May All Batteries on recon for new CP's in vicinity of Mannheim.

   17 May Battalion CP closed in Weilheim and opened in Bad Rappenau. A Btry. to Sinsheim, B Btry in Unter

Schwarzach, C Btry. to Siegelsbach and D Btry. in Kirchardt. All Batteries assumed security duties in new zone 'D' and took over guard of all vital installations in the area.

   30 May The Battalion held a Memorial Day Parade in the town of Bad Rappenau, Germany. (I had a snapshot of this parade but couldn't locate it!)

   While at Weilheim and prior to locating to Mannheim area, all Batteries were arranging some sight - seeing trips for the troops! I was never very eager to jump on a deuce - and - one - half for a sightscemg trip. (Never took the one to Death Valley Scotties nor Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear); but I did take one to Oberammagau and Brenner Pass. (Was able to say I hit Italy during the war! Just stepped inside!)

   On this sightseeing trip we visited Oberammagau, Garmisch - Partenkertchen, (1936 Olympics Held in Garmisch.) Innsbruk and Brenner Pass. Had a picture taken outdside of the Anton Lang Pension in Oberaminagau. Anton Lang played the part of Christ in the Passion Play that is held in Oberammagau every ten years and again I was fortunate to be able to revisit there in 1963; as well as Garmisch and Brenner Pass! Can't locate picture but have a slide of my wife and I at the same spot taken there in '63. Bavaria was not hit that hard during the war and we saw very little remaining damage other than some buildings still showed bullet marks but in 1963 while traveling through there and staying in pensions you could detect some animosity toward, "us Yanks!" When checking in to a pension in the Black Forest the proprietor had a big beautiful German Sheppard behind the counter. My son, 12 at the time and always having a dog spoke to the dog and WOW that dog growled, showed his teeth and the proprietor told us to leaw him alone and his looks showed like some of the natives we saw in 1945 when you, "couldn't find a Nazi anywhere!"

   Group Picture - preceding page submitted by Harry Wiesler - ABtry. Was taken around Jul 5,1945 while we were leaving Germany enroute to LeMans, France to turn in our guns and then on to Lehavre, France.

The ones we can identify are: (ABtry.)

Seated/Squatted left to right: U Shoemaker, Lt Barnd, Capt Dye, Lt. Rasch

Kneeling - second row" ( ? ), S/SgL Douglas, S/SgL Joe Cornelius, (?)

Back row standing: Sgts: Dumouchal, (?), Bales, Smith, Messier, (?), Manzi, Grubb, Traynor, Manning.

   When we left Bavaria (the Weilheim Area) we started our move to the rear by way of Ulm to pick up our 40mm's., and as I have mentioned south here in Bavaria showed very little signs of war but as we travelled northeast of Ulm, the first fair sized German city was Heilbronn and that city was nothing but rubble! What we saw was typical of scenes of Berlin as the result of Allied bombing and artillery fire.

   The Battalion CP was in the Bad Rappeneau area with A Btry. Located in a three of four story Hospital in Sinsheim. We called this the "Krankenhaus!" I believe this was German for House for the Insane?? What few words of German I use is only what I remember after these 54 years; anyway the building contained rooms and wards on each floor and they were still filled with test tubes and lab type equipment through!?

Sinsheim - Falken - Gesass and On to LeHavre

   As the entire A Btry. arrived at the hospital/sanitarium and began unloading it was a case of, "every man for himself" as to where you wanted to bed down! The building was three or four floors, with long wide halls and stairways and naturally - no elevators running. I picked out a room on the top floor for myself and I remember my old number one gun section (the whole crew) were at the end of the hall on my floor in a large ward that accommodated the entire crew offset from the main corridor. It was the latter part of May, weather was great with a beautiful view of the country side from wide open windows and situated on the main road and a circular driveway around the rear of the building and a large courtyard! The traffic on the road, other than US Army vehicles was constantly a moving mass of DP's walking/carrying their meager possessions and some with horse drawn wagons - all either going home, in search of their family or escaping the Russians!

   With the entire Btry scattered throughout the four floors, the first morning's reveille was a disaster! Capt. Dye, 1st Sgt. Gregory and the Btry Officers were lined up in the courtyard as a few early risers were strangling out! The next morning was to be better. A hand siren with big crank was found and Gregory was cranking away at reveille with a little better results but still resulting in a very disturbed Btry. Commander!'

   Well - Barney to the rescue!! I am in my own little room enjoying the piece and quiet and Barney pops in and asks in a sort of orderly - informative way that he had discovered a large box of electric sirens in the cellar boiler room and would I be willing to wire the building so that their would be no doubt as to the time to rise and shine and fall in for reveille in the morning. Naturally I said, "yes - sir" and rounded up Smitty (No. 3 Gun section Chief) for my helper. We went into the basement and there was loads of wire and the box of sirens. Well we put one at the end of each hall with the main switch in the first floor orderly room - never tested it - it would get it's test the next morning. I thought I would add a little zinger to the installation in that on my floor at the No. 1 gun section end, instead of locating the siren at the end of the hall, we put it inside the offset corridor right on top of the entrance to the ward room where the whole crew were set up. (Again all electricity supplied by our power supplies - Another advantage of being a completely mobile outfit)

   Well the next morning when Gregory pushed that switch, believe me, the whole country side heard it and there was no excuse for anyone not being accounted for at reveille from that day on as long as we were in Sinsheim.

   While in Sinsheim security duties were minimal, One morning an effort was made to have the entire Battery run around the building for morning exercise and it certainly showed the physical condition of the group. (I barely made it!) At one retreat ceremony in the courtyard we had a formal award made of the Purple Heart to I believe at the time it was to Schiebe and Strayer??

   From Sinsheim we moved into the Falken - Gesass area. I have not found a map to pinpoint the town/area but it was east of Mannheim and a wooded area. Our Btry/guncrews were spread out among the area with the Btry. CP on the little dirt road leading into the area and my 1st Platoon CP and a couple of gun sections in a 3 story home up the road from the Btry. CP about one - half mile. For meals we would converge on the Btry. CP bldg. All outlying areas were in touch by phone lines laid by our communication group under Sgt Bales. (Remember the old EE - 8A?)

   During this time the "point system for discharge" had been established and we were having many "high pointers" from other outfits transferred in and the transferred out on their way to LeHavre for shipping home for discharge. Our point rating was low in comparison as we were late in arriving but we all were hoping we might be slated, as an anti - aircraft outfit, for the Pacific, by way of the states! Everyone is speculating and rumors are prevalent as to when, where and what we might be doing. Which brings me to an imeresting little "fun story."

   The Btry CP was going to have a beer party for some of the high pointers leaving and Barney was going to the nearest local brewery for a barrel of beer. I got our weapons carrier and drove him in and parked out by the 1oading platform while he went in to "negotiate." A truckdriver for some other outfit was also there and he came over and started chatting with me and spying the 569th. markings made the following comment to me, "So you're the outfit thats going to LeHavre to guard ship gangplanks for blackmarket operations?" I acted as if I knew and got all the info I could and as I mentioned above, everybody is wondering what and where we're going etc.! When we had the barrel of beer onboard and we' re heading back, I said to Barney, "Well Sir, do you really want to know where we as an outfit are going?" He looks at me and laughs and say's, "OK now what?'' I had to make the most of the moment and string him along with the comment, "If you want the real poop - I'll tell you!" Making this long tale a little short I told him - he just laughs - drop him and the beer off and head up to my CP. Wasn't long before the phone rang and the message, "Capt Dye wants to see you in the orderly room.''

   I drive down, go into the orderly room and report to Capt. Dye with Barney off in corner and I'm sure I detected a slight grin and Capt Dye in his usual Georgian Drawl says, Cornelius, what's this I hear about you spreading nunors as to where we' re going? I replied with, "Spreading rumors? Not me, I'm just like every one else - speculating where we're going and just passing on the latest heard? He says, "Well I'm concerned that the Battalion Colonel and I just got back from Command Hdqtrs. and were told we are going to LeHavre to guard Liberty Ships for black market operations and I'm concerned just where the leaks in security are?" I never did say where I heard it and on the side told Barney, "I'll save that one for the boat'' (Assuming we'd all be heading home together.)

   In an attempt to keep the troops morale and physical alacrity in shape, each morning when we all arrived at the Btry. CP we were all "fallen in'' for exercise!!! Not sure what Officer started it but it was some of that old, "Lt Pearce - HUT - HUT type effort'' One morning with no Officer giving the instructions, our Mess truck driver T5 Duclos was selected to conduct it? Duclos always said he managed a gym back in New Bedford, Ma. Well you all know the routine, "we will do the following to the count of four - hands to the side - overhead etcl" Well our friend Duclos screwed up and at the end of four we were hung up with our hands over our heads instead of at our sides) Naturally this caused a few chuckles and titters among the group and poor Duclos, instead of admitting the gaffe started a, "who said that? etc - etc" to no avail and we broke for chow with the laugh of the day, (Boy, these stories get long to tell!.)

   That night, about 10 pm back at the CP, four of us; Red Moore, Neil Arnold, Ken Snyder and myself gathered around an old German typewriter we had and the thoughts flowed freely as we created a facsimale of a newspaper and I drew up the front page to resemble the "Boston Daily Globe" but we named it, "The Btry A Slop Sheet" and for Head lines we printed in "Duke F___'s up Once More." Want to keep it clean but in this day and age of anything goes you could probably spell it out but just can't come to terms with "barracks language" as common useage! Well we garnished the 2 pages with other titillating bits and at 2:30 in the morning Red Moore takes a jeep and runs down to the Btry CP and posts it on the bulletin board right there on the street outside the building!

   I planned to drive down a little later in the moniing for chow in order to see the reaction and as I drove up there was a large group at the bulletin board with Barney standing looking over the group and reading and believe me there were some real belly laughs going on! I snuck up by Barney and said, "What's going on?" and He looked at me and said, "Of course you don't know? - knowingly) I never let on - another one for the boat We published, I think 2 more issues with stories too long to include here. They all went over with a bang - great for morale and I was told they went home with Capt Dye. Wish I had a copy or two now they would be great at one of the reunions or included here?

   I think it was New Yeare Eve in LeHavre when Duclos and I were sitting around having a drink and I told him I was the culprit behind the Btry, A slop sheet All good for laughs and no hard feelings. The paper was great for morale at the time and even one day at the orderly room Capt Dye asked me to put a note in the paper asking all of the troops to get their coke bottles turned back in. (Free cokes in glass bottles were passed out at the time). I naturally pleaded innocent of any connection with the Btry. A Slop Sheet but believe me, in the next issue there was a notice to get those bottles the hell back to the CP! We panned others at the time and even attached a photo or two. Remember panning Dan Schubert as the tough 2 1/2 truck driver all through the war and what was he doing now??? "Driving the Btry. Commander's Jeep!!"

   While in this area there were two sisters who used to visit and they had baskets on their bicycles and they would arrive with all kinds of film and developing solutions - all instructions on boxes in German, of course. Well practically everyone had German cameras of one kind and another, so it seems that everybody was taking pictures and developing their own. In fact when we left the house that we were in, the floor was one awful mess from the developmg activity that I felt so bad for the poor woman, whoever it would be, that I pinned one wall with a great deal of the "Cookie Factory" money/notes that we still had. Figured it might help in one way or another??

   I could go on and on but let's leave room for somebody else's "war stories!" A lot of you guys must remember these incidents and hopefully I have triggered some thoughts? Feed them to me and I'll insert them into this "569th yarn". I haven't made the last 3 reunions but planmng to make the 4th. In Louisvilte. Bring them along!

   When we left Sinsheim we had an uneventful convoy to LeMans, France where we left all our artillery! Right in the raceway where the famous LeMans races are held. The Tabernacle stayed with us - loaded with all our GI gear and "loot".

   To enter the port and all installations and to board all ships! I had "inspection of the Guard duty" every third night with my own jeep and driver although usually I went alone! Douglas, 2nd. Platoon Sgt. and somebody else shared this duty?

   At this time the area around LeHavre was crowded with camps, such as "Lucky Strike", Twenty Grand" etc. and loaded with high pointers waiting to board their ship back to the States! With all this activity, the town of LeHavre was one active place. Now the 14th of July was coming up, Bastille Day; which is the French equivalent of our 4th. Of July and this is going to be the first free Bastille Day since the Germans occupied France in 1940!

   Each of our Btry's were going around looking for volunteers to participate in this Bastille Day parade in Le Havre. I volunteered and to this day I have to admit it was a great thrill to have participated. Here we are, an American unit mixed in with all the other Nationalities parading before Frenchman lined 10 - 12 persons deep along the side of the route and it being their first free Bastille day since their surrender to Germany and their enthusiastic clapping and cheering as we passed really sends the old tingles up the spine. As I remember, it was Capt. Schwartz of D Battery that was leading our contingent and believe me he made a very commanding, impressive appearance for our group. (Will never forget it!)

   About two weeks after our stay in the fields outside of LeHavre, we moved down into town, nearer the docks, in a walled in area with pyramidal tents for quarters. We posted guards at all entrances 24 hours a day. I had the first tent to the right as you entered the main gate and to the left was the orderly room. LeHavre at this time was getting to be one of the most dangerous ports for troops waiting to go home. It was so bad, the MP's were patrolling in no less than groups of five. Remember Life magazine running a article on the hatred of many of the French for the Americans, black market operations and all those GI's with loads of bar rooms and time on their hands waiting - waiting! We used to go into town tip a few and take in a movie but it got so you would only tackle this in the daytime!!

   Another bad situation was the fact that over the five years of German occupation all the good cognac, champagne and booze in general was shipped out of France into Germany and with all the GI's creating a demand that the French couldn't keep up with, the French bootleggers were taking a good bottle of cognac and splitting it into five bottles adding water and a dose of chloroform to give it a kick. Guys were going out of their mind drinking the stuff! One of our guys, I remember who but the name doesn't matter, left our tent area in search of something to drink and he was back inside of one - half hour and he was GONE! Sure he recovered, but what a squash!

   Another example was one of our own guards, on duty right outside the orderly room about 9:00pm. I was at the desk in the orderly room, Arnold Nield was in the room with me getting ready to take over as Corporal of the Guard for the upcoming shift when - Ted Nicopolis, Cpl of the Guard on duty came running into the office and ran behind me hollering, "He's going to kill me!" I looked up and there in the window was our guard with his Ml rifle aimed right at Nicopolis with me in between looking down the barrel! He was out of his mind and swearing to shoot Nicopolis. Cpl Niel couldn't be seen by the guard and suggested he pick up one of the carbines on a table and I said, "Don't touch it!" and proceeded to talk the guard to back off and go back on his post!! He did and then Nicopolis ran out grabbed him, disarmed him and we put him under guard and posted a new one. He eventually was court martialed - don't remember name, results of court martial nor what battery he came from. No names after all these years - let the story suffice!

   An interesting period for me in that all the Officers in our Btry. were shipped out with the exception of Lt. Lenning and he was in the hospital having his appendix removed; so I end up being the Btry. Cmdr, Chief of all I surveyed! Was greatly relieved when Lt Lenning returned to duty. Spent Christmas and New Years in Le Havre waiting for my ship to come in! Remember Barney ended up in charge of a POW camp. I visited him there on a couple of occasions. The others, I can't recall where they all went. I along with Frank Molnar left for Antwerp, Belgium to await our ship and returned to the States in March of 1946.

   Back across the pond in another Liberty ship! Going over, the ship went starboard to port all the way across! Going home the ship went bow to stern, bow to stern and some times the stern came up out of the water and the screws revved up scaring the hell out of us and then would settle back down; again the things you remember! Officially I gather the 569th terminated as a unit while we were in LeHavre.



APO 758. U.S. ARMY

(Copy of Original - submitted by Ted Nicopolis - A Btry.)

31 MARCH 1945

SUBJECT: Commendation

TO : All Officers and Enlisted Men;

569th AAA Auto WpnsBn (Mbl)

   As antiaircraft officer with the XXI Corps, I desire to express my deep appreciation to all members of the antiaircraft units attached to the Corps for the splendid work done during our recent advance from the vicinity of Sarraguemines, France. After breaking through the remainder of the Maginot defenses, storming the Siegfried line, then driving rapidly to the Rhine river, the Corps climaxed it's effort by successfully establishing a strong and rapid expanding bridgehead across the Rhine.

   During this drive your performance of duty has been outstanding. You have worked hard; much of the time under very difficult conditions. You have followed closely the advance elements of the Armor and Infantry in furnishing timely protection for bridges and other critical points along the routes of advance. You have given protection to marching columns and troops in position. You have carried out your mission with courage and enthusiasm. The alertness of gun crews, as well as their accurate firing, prevented any damage being done to material and equipment.

   It gives me a great deal of pleasure to commend you on your magnificent achievement - the highlight of which was your successful protection of the Rhine river crossing of the XV Corps. I am confident that the limited number of attacks on our bridgehead can be attributed to the terrific beating you gave the enemy the night of 25 - 26 March, the night the crossing began, when you destroyed six out of twelve planes attacking and probably destroyed three more. As we press forward on our relentless drive against the enemy, I have full confidence in your ability and determination to meet every situation that arises in a manner that will reflect continued credit on the Antiaircraft of the Seventh Army.


W J. B. Fraser

Colonel, 23 AAA Group



L. A. B.

- - - - - Joseph Cornelius

EMAIL (change AT to @ without spaces and DOT to . without spaces) corn1 AT ktc DOT com


Honorable Discharge, Joseph D. Cornelius, Staff Sergeant,  Platoon Sergeant, 1st. Platoon A Battery 569th Anti Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, Mobile, USA, WWII

Enlisted Record, Joseph D. Cornelius, Staff Sergeant,  Platoon Sergeant, 1st. Platoon A Battery 569th Anti Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, Mobile, USA, WWII

Honorable Discharge Certificate, Joseph D. Cornelius, Staff Sergeant,  Platoon Sergeant, 1st. Platoon A Battery 569th Anti Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, Mobile, USA, WWII

Diplome, Republique Francais, Recognition Certificate from France for WWII Service, Joseph D. Cornelius, Staff Sergeant,  Platoon Sergeant, 1st. Platoon A Battery 569th Anti Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, Mobile, USA, WWII

Honorable CCC Discharge, Front, Joseph D. Cornelius, , Senior Leader, CCC Man, Company 1101, White Mountain National Forest, West Campton, New Hampshire

Honorable CCC Discharge, Back, Joseph D. Cornelius, , Senior Leader, CCC Man, Company 1101, White Mountain National Forest, West Campton, New Hampshire

CCC Company 1101 Roster and 1939 Thanksgiving Menu, Joseph D. Cornelius, , Senior Leader, CCC Man, Company 1101, White Mountain National Forest, West Campton, New Hampshire

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