My dad was in the Army fr. 1943-1945.He was in the Battle of the Bulge.I have done research but am still confused about his division.I've even been to a B.O.B.Reunion hoping to find answers.My problem is this..on his honorable discharge,his battalion is listed,but it's so blurry,that no one can be sure exactly what it says.It looks like the battalion is the "639th AAA Virginia Battalion",but I can't find any info on them..?Also,I found 4 "75th Division" patches among his belongings along with several pins,etc. Should I assume he had to be w/the 75th? I can't find a list of Virginia battalions that were attached to the 75th, though.I found a small list once,but it didn't include any # battalion that resembled the one on his papers.I don't know where else to go for answers.Can anyone help? Thanks!Tina Eaton Blackwell,Columbia,SC
(Daddy's name was Glen Edward Eaton; he was from Patrick County, VA. Basic training was Coastal Artillery.
replied to: TinaEaton020354
Replied to: My dad was in the Army fr. 1943-1945.He was in the...
Although, you state that your father's discharge document states "Virginia," as part of the unit identity, this is probably because this unit had been "un-federlized" and transferred back to the Commonwealth of Virginia before his discharge. During the the war no units were officially designated within their identity by their state of origin while in federal service.
According to the Order of Battle for the Bulge from two sources, Wikipedia and Charles B. MacDonald's "A Time For Trumpets" 1984, the 639th AAA AW Battalion was assigned directly to V Corps (Maj. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow) of the First U.S. Army (Lt. Gen. Courtney H. Hodges). There were nine AAA AW Battalions assigned to V Corps for its discretion of employment. They were under direct command of the Corps along with various artillery units, combat engineers and cavalry unit. It was not uncommon for a corps to assign various sub-elements under its direct control to other units such as divisions. But, the 75th Infantry Division was not part of V Corps.
Artillery units had a hierarchy like the infantry. The highest level was "Group" equatable to infantry regiment. A group is made up of battalions, usually three. A battalion in artillery is made up of "batteries" which is equatable to infantry companies. Infantry companies are known by the phonetic alphabet of A for Able, B for Baker, etc. So, are the batteries. Since there are three infantry and a weapons company assigned to a battalion they would be known as A, B, C, and D companies. I'm supposing the same holds true for an artillery battalion. I've seen a reference to D battery for the 639th (see below). You should know that an artillery battalion did not always, and it would be unusual it they did, remain together with all of its batteries. They were usually parceled out over a wide area still under the command of the corps are sometimes an individual battery was detached and assigned temporarily to another unit.
V Corps was positioned on the left or northern flank of First Army and the battle field when the German 6th Panzer Army on December 16, 1944 commenced operations. It punched a hole in V Corps lines and pushed it aside. Much like opening a door by pulling it with the handle in on the right and the door swings to your left. The Corp went from facing east to now facing south.
The 75th Infantry Division did not arrive to the battlefield until December 25. It was assigned to VII Corps until the 29th, then with the XVIII Airborne Corps for four days, back to VII January the 2nd, and again to XVIII Airborne Corps on the 7th.
There was a lot of confusion and mixing of units. It's possible that the 75th or higher authority may have attached temporarily the 639th or one or several of its batteries to the division for the remainder of the battle and patches were exchanged as a memento.
The 75th, as with most infantry divisions, had a AAA AW Battalion assigned to it, the 440th. So it would not appear that 639th was an organic element of the 75th.
Have you access to your father's uniform. Perhaps it may have a patch of V Corps on it. Look up CMH (Center of Military History) on the net and locate V Corps. Their emblem will be displayed.
To get further information of the identity of your father's unit see if you can find what address your grandparents or mother used to mail letters to him? There may be a mention of corp and/or battery. Are any of your father's letters available? Sometimes people kept them in the envelope. Did he join any veteran's organizations such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars? Contact the local chapters in Patrick County if that is where he returned.
I do recommend you look-up on Wikipedia the "Order of Battle for the Bulge" so that you may have a better understanding of the hierarchy of the army/corps/division/regiments/battalions.
Did a web search on Bing for "639th AAA AW Battalion" and found:
● Battery D of the 639th attached to 30th Infantry Division/XVIII in the Bulge from 21 Dec to 1 Jan
● The 639th at Remagan Bridge (airdefenseartilley.com/online/200/ada%20In%20action). Use the menu bar of your browser Edit>Find. Type in 639th AAA AW Battalion in the drop down window and click on right or left arrow.
● The 639th mentioned in action at the Bulge (stpius.addr.com/normway). Again with Edit>Find
Hoping this was helpful to a small degree. It's difficult to follow these non-standard units in time of war (standard being the infantry and armored units). To get a sense of what the times, terrain and weather was like at the Bulge, I recommend "A Time For Trumpets - The Untold Story Of The Battle Of The Bulge" by Charles B. MacDonald. Good luck.
replied to: MichaelPower
Replied to: Although, you state that your father's discharge document states "Virginia," as...
Michael...I am so sorry! I didn't realize that you had replied to my query! Thank you so much...you have explained so much that I would never have known! I am so appreciative that you sent me all this info! Since I wrote last, I DID find a V CORPS patch in a box that daddy had in his old trunk. But, again, I found ANOTHER 75th Division patch AND also a THIRD ARMY one....?.... I also found out that he was definitely at Normandy. I did start remembering him talking about crossing the English Channel and being very sick in those boats. Also, I believe you are right about his being at Remagen, at the bridge incident. On the new discharge papers I received, it did state that his campaigns were: Normandy, Ardennes, France and Rhineland, and Central Europe. He talked a lot about being in Bastogne...
Let me know if you find out anything else! Thanks so much!
I still want to go to the Ardennes someday and see the foxholes that he talked about. He always said that he would never forget how cold he was out there. I wonder, though, if I went, would I be able to ever know if I was in the place that he was?
Take care...God bless! Tina
replied to: TinaEaton020354
Replied to: Michael...I am so sorry! I didn't realize that you had...
Tina, my father also served in the same campaigns as your father did, but, i cannot locate his patches, my father was also in Bastogne, my dad was in Patton's Third Army, i have my dad's discharge papers, but, cannot locate the name or division he was in.. where did you find it? My father was in Normandy, Central Europe, Rhineland,and, France, and, the Battle of the Bulge.
replied to: kirby2010
Replied to: Tina, my father also served in the same campaigns as your...
Tina , Michael and Kirby
My Father was in the Ardennes aswell and I have been typing his letters he sent to my Mother. I have a group picture of what he would call some of the boys. He was in Btry C 639th AAA BN. His Name was Harland H. Hatt from Michigan area.
My E-Mail is firstname.lastname@example.org Put a subject if and when you read this WAR II STUFF I could send you a copy. May or May not be in the picture. Thanks Lee Hatt