Re: Commendation for Btry F, 244th REGT, Coast ArtilleryAugust 12 2011 at 2:54 PM
|Alice W. (no login)|
Response to Commendation for Btry F, 244th Bn, Coast Artillery
The relevant references in addressing these questions are Shelby Stanton's World War II Order of Battle (despite its numerous errors in fine details, its overall unit histories are good) and Francis D. Cronin's Under the Southern Cross: The Saga of the Americal Division.
Only the 3rd Battalion, 244th Coast Artillery REGIMENT (formerly New York National Guard), went to the Southwest Pacific, and was attached to what became the Americal Division (back in the States, its HHB & First Battalion were inactivated and its 2nd Battalion became the 289th C.A. Battalion, probably sometime in 1943 or early 1944). The 3rd Battalion consisted of E and F Batteries (155mm guns), and almost certainly an HHB. Along with the mix 'n' match that eventually became the Americal Division, it was sent along to New Caledonia, where both firing batteries deployed to defend the harbor at Noumea. At some point, the battalion inherited some British 25-pounders, the only U.S. coast artillery unit to get them. Whether they were incorporated into E Battery, making it a composite battery, or became part of a provisional third firing battery is not clear, at least to me.
In early October 1942, lead components of the Americal Division were sent to Guadalcanal, including the 164th Infantry Regiment and K Battery, 246th Field Artillery Battalion (the only American unit to bring in and use 25-pounders on Guadal); late in the month, it was the turn of F Battery, 244th Coast Artillery, with its 155mm guns (but which type, I'm not certain). By mid-November, the 245th, 247th, and the remainder of the 246th Field Artillery Battalions left New Caledonia for Guadalcanal.
On January 20, 1943, the 244th's 3rd Battalion became the 259th C.A. Battalion, with former E Battery now becoming A Battery and former F Battery becoming B Battery, as Gordon suggests.
Fighting on Guadalcanal was still fierce, and F Battery--still so designated--provided counter-battery fire, as well as firing on troop concentrations, points of resistance, and other targets of opportunity. I'm not sure what "How was a 155mm coast artillery unit employed against 'enemy batteries'?" means. Whether the old GPF or the new M1, the 155mm gun was after all a field artillery piece, which given some simple add-ons, could be adapted to coast artillery use. All you needed on Guadalcanal and other islands was high explosive ammunition rather than armor piercing, to carry out fire missions against land targets. What's the difficulty?