Where did my grandfather fight during WWII?

I know that he was in the Army.  He was  a Technician Fifth Grade 38 215 662 for the Battery A 400th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion.  His Enlisted Record and Report of Separation - Honorable Discharge shows that he served in the Siciian; Rome-Arno; Naples-Foggia; Rhineland GO 33 WD 45.  He received a EAME Campaign  Medal with 4 Bronze Stars and I Bronze Arrowhead; Good conduct medal; Victory Ribbon; 4 Overseas Service Bars.

I want to know more detail about the battles he was involved in, etc.

  • Dale,

    Your grandfather’s unit, the 400th AntiAircraft Automatic Weapons Battalion (Semimobile) was equipped with 32 40mm Automatic Gun M1 on Carriage M2A1 similar to this image:


    The 400th, along with two other battalions, one equipped with searchlights and another armed with 90mm cannon, formed at first Coast Artillery Regiments (Antiaircraft) (Semimobile), then, later in the war, AntiAircraft Artillery Groups.

    The regiments and groups had the mission to provide low to medium altitude air defense to specific areas.  These areas contained lines of communications targets and Army Air Forces airfields.  So the 400th was not normally close to the fighting fronts where the infantry and armored divisions performed their missions.  Those combat units had their own antiaircraft artillery automatic gun battalions (mobile), whose weapons were mounted on armored halftracks that could keep up with a war of movement.  The 400th instead guarded key infrastructure targets such as ports, airfields, supply and fuel depots, bridges and the like.

    Your grandfather’s war consisted of moving the guns to the target area to be protected, emplacing the weapons, erecting and calibrating the battery’s fire control instruments, laying in communications wire for command and control, and then standing watch with the guns awaiting the next German air attack.  At some point when air attack was no longer a risk, the battery would reverse the process and redeploy to a new location.  When the gun was in action, the gun crew had a squad leader, gunner, assistant gunner, one loader on the gun mount itself, and two or three of other loaders who took the four-round clips from the ammunition cans and passed the clips to the on mount loader.  You can get an idea how the setup works (or doesn’t) by watching the second half of Steven Spielberg’s 1979 classic comedy 1941 where Dan Ackroyd provides unique instructions on the 40mm Automatic Gun M1.

    I hope you find this information useful.

    A. J.

  • Dale,

    Here is some information on the unit and overall operations of AAA-AW BN in ETO. Please follow the links. Attached a photo of men from Battery D.

    According to early records he was attached to the following in 1943. Which at that time was with the 5th Army

    45th AA Brigade:

    107th AAA Group, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery; attached:

    400th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion [-Battery D]

    409th AAA Gun Battalion (Semi-Mobile)

    https://usacac.army.mil/sites/default/files/documents/carl/eto/eto-038.pdf

    http://www.alternatewars.com/Nafziger/Pt_I_1943-1945/943uamd.pdf

    The 45th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Distinctive Unit Insignia, often called a unit crest or DUI for short, was approved on 23 September 1966 at the height of the Cold War that defined the trajectory of the unit’s destiny. In its center is a Florentine fleur-de-lis, symbolic of the organization's battle honors for service in Italy during World War II. The red cone has the appearance of a field of fire, with a sunburst inside it representing the power of artillery fire which denotes the air-defense mission of the unit. A pair of birdbolts (short blunt arrows for killing birds without piercing them) are an allusion to the accuracy and striking power of the Brigade's missiles and air-defense artillery weaponry. The unit motto, "Deter Or Destroy," simply listed the only two acceptable options for dealing with the possibility of an incoming enemy missile.

    Constituted as the 45th Coast Artillery Brigade (Anti-Aircraft) on 26 April 1942 and activated 1 June 1942, the 45th Air Defense Artillery Brigade is credited with participation in three campaigns in Italy during World War II (Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno, North Apennines) and was inactivated on 13 February 1945. The unit’s exact lineage is almost impossible to discern after this point, but at some time in the 1950s it became the 45th Artillery Brigade (Air Defense) and was assigned to the Air Defense of the Chicago-Milwaukee area. Its original headquarters was at the Museum of Science and Industry from 1952 to 1957, at which point it moved to the Arlington Heights NIKE Site.

    The Brigade was probably redesignated as the 45th Air Defense Artillery Brigade in 1972, and likely inactivated at the latest with the termination of Army Air Defense Comand (ARADCOM) in 1975.

  • The WWII Order of Battle shows the 400th AAA arrived in North Africa on June 22 1943, Italy on September 21, 1943 ( this is two weeks after the Invasion of Italy by Allies), Corsica on March 26 1944 and France on November 11, 1944.

    In addition to the records held at the National Archives, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library has them in their collection: This index lists the army units for which records are available at the Eisenhower Library

    Personal account for a soldier who served with the 400th AAA with some locations: Austin ‘Bert’ Fernald — U.S. Army during World War II | News | newsmirror.net

    Lisa Sharik

    Texas Military Forces Museum

  • Thank you for this information.  It certainly gives me a better understanding of what my grandfather did and where he was during the war.

  • Thank you for the reply and all this information. 

  • My grandfather never spoke of the war.  We were not encouraged to ask him about it.   This information is very helpful.

    Thanks.

  • Dear Mr. Deneen,

     

    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

     

    We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the World War II Operations Reports, 1940-1948 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917 - 1985 (Record Group 407) that includes history-war diary (Sept.- 1943-Nov, 1945), report of operations (Jan-Mar. 1944), general orders (1943-45) and special orders (1943-45) of the 400th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion during WWII. For more information about these non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov. We were unable to locate specific records of Battery A.  Records of lower echelon units sometimes were incorporated into the files of the battalion or regiment.

     

    We also located the Station Lists, 1942 - 1953 in the Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917 - 1985 (Record Group 407) that include World War II. The lists are arranged by theater or command (such as European Theater of Operations) and thereunder by date. The lists are generally monthly or biweekly.  Each list is arranged by type of unit and thereunder in order by unit name or number.  The nearest town is listed for each unit. For more information about these non-digitized lists, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.

     

    Plus, we located Muster Rolls and Rosters, 11/1/1912 - 12/31/1943 and Morning Reports, ca. 1912 - 1946 for Army units that may include rosters and morning reports of the 400th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL) at stl.archives@nara.gov. Rosters for units serving in World War II from 1944 - 1946 were destroyed in accordance with Army disposition authorities.

     

    You may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2 and RL-SL. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience as we balance mission-critical work and the safety of our staff during the pandemic. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates for the latest information.

     

    If you haven’t done so already, we suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after October 1912 and before 1960 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. In Section 1, Item 1, where it asks which items you are requesting, please check “Other” and specify that you want the entire file. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know, you may omit it or provide estimates (such as for dates), but the more information you provide, the easier it will be to locate the correct file if it survived the fire. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.

     

    We searched the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) and located the World War II Army Enlistment Records database that includes a file pertaining to your relative, though please note that there are gaps in these records. If you locate an entry for your grandfather, please use the information in this file when requesting a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF).

     

    Please be aware that NPRC is prioritizing the requests for separation documents needed by veterans and their dependents to prove eligibility for a variety of benefits. NPRC expects to eliminate this portion of the backlog by fall 2022, and restore their pre-pandemic response times of under ten days for these requests later this fall. It will take considerably longer to eliminate the backlog on other types of requests, such as genealogical requests for complete copies of records. For more information, please refer to Onsite Operations at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.

     

    Lastly, you may wish to search the U.S. Army Center of Military History website for additional information and/or resources about the 400rd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion during WWII. Also see the U.S. Army in World War II Series.

     

    We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!

     

  • My Uncle was in the 400th in Battery D through out the war . Do you have any additional Information about the Battery. I have the Narrative written by the Battalion Commander. 

  • Hey Dale. My great-great uncle was also in this unit. He was from Berrien County, GA. His name was John Eddie Hall Sr. Were you able to locate any information such as pictures? Right now, I am trying to locate a picture of my ancestor.