relevant answers in the Fowler articleSeptember 9 2011 at 8:58 PM
|Nelson (no login)|
Response to 244th CA (AA)
A careful reading of LTC Henry G. Fowler's "Narrative of 3d Battalion, --- CA, 1942-43", in the July-August 1944 Coast Artillery Journal, 87(4): 19-21, reveals some answers to questions arising in the later thread originated by me on September 6, 2011. First, good find by Jim Broshot, considering the cryptic "3d Battalion, --- CA", with the oh-so-essential "244th" being obliterated from the title (but why such journal security in late 1944 puzzles one). Some of the questions arising, from either other posters or me, find their answers, at least in part, in this article.
The following passage clearly confirms the four 25-pounders given to this coast artillery battalion and used subsequently in a beach defense role on New Caledonia.
p. 20, "With a battalion already called on to man four Australian 25-lbrs. [pdrs] on beach defense missions, the job of manning and providing range sections for these widely separated positions presented serious problems both as to personnel and equipment."
As revealed or hinted at in the next passage, F Battery, 3rd Battalion, 244th C.A. Regt, arrived in early November 1942 (either the 1st or 3rd, depending upon which one prefers to believe). And as Bob Burns has already pointed out, the personnel of H Battery arrived in early January 1943, so it did not precede F Battery there, thus Gordon Rottman's info is mistaken. It may be that such battery designation did not exist until these men reached Guadalcanal, but whatever, it is virtually certain they did not bring 25-pounders to the island.
p. 21, "In December, 1942, the battalion was called on to organize a provisional battery to relieve Marines manning 5-in/51 naval rifes on barbette mounts at Guadalcanal. The arrival of a New Zealand Heavy Artillery Regiment (the equivalent of a Coast Artillery battalion) permitted the withdrawal of the platoon which had taken over Battery F's original position and around this was built Battery H, which arrived at Guadalcanal early in January. While this battery never fired a shot in anger, its positions close to a fighter strip brought plenty of excitement and experience. They could never be sure whether the strip or the battery was the target of Jap bombers."
The third passage mentions only 155mm GPFs--and their Panama mounts--but no M1 155mm guns, as long-range ordnance available on Guadalcanal.
p. 21, "Early in April, 1943, the battalion was reassembled at Guadalcanal where, with the seacoast elements of three Marine Defense Battalions, it formed the Seacoast Defense Command of the Guadalcanal-Florida Area. Again a provisional battery was organized to man two naval 6-in/50s, in addition to the GPFs and 5-in/51s. Again Panama Mounts were constructed but this time with the active assistance of Engineers."
The final passage confirms that a typical C.A. battery armed with mobile weapons could function in a field artillery role, firing counterbattery and/or in support of attacking infantry. That is, it had the necessary training, math smarts, and shooting ability to do the job. One must note, however, that this battery fired from static or semi-static emplacements, so whether it had the necessary vehicle train and other materiel allowed by its TO&E to keep up with a modern mobile field army under other conditions elsewhere is, of course, the real question.
p. 21, "At Guadalcanal the battalion proved that well-trained Coast Artillerymen can outshoot any other artillery at normal field artillery targets. This fact, together with the capabilities of Coast Artillery against seaborne attack, makes the Coast Artillery Battalion a highly valuable unit in amphibious operations where economy of personnel and equipment are of paramount importance, The normal sequence in such operations makes it possible to utilize the Coast Artillery as the primary long range weapon in support of ground operations without interfering with its missions against hostile naval operations. Even in those situations where the two missions cannot be accomplished from the same positions, the time factors involved will frequently permit one unit to handle both successfully by judicious selection of alternate positions. The fire missions assigned to 155mm guns in ground operations can in many, if not most, instances be handled by one or two guns."