ANTIAIRCRAFT ARTILLERY

 
 

ANTIAIRCRAFT ARTILLERY COMMAND AND STAFF ORGANIZATION IN THE ETO

 

ARMY GROUPS

The antiaircraft artillery staff elements in the 6th Army Group and the 12th Army Group were dissimilar: 6th Army Group had an antiaircraft artillery subsection of two officers in its G-3 Division; 12th Army Group had a separate staff section to that at Theater Headquarters, headed by a brigadier general. the subsection in 6th Army Group was small and incapable of rendering much assistance to army units. It proved to be practical only in its capacity of advising the army group G-3 on antiaircraft matters. The staff section of the 12th Army Group; on the other hand, was large enough to render valuable aid to antiaircraft units in the armies of the 12th Army Group. The chief of section, being a brigadier general, had considerable authority in coordinating antiaircraft artillery allocations between the armies and in personally advising the army group commander. This section exercised no command function whatsoever. it performed the following functions:

 
  (1) Moved antiaircraft artillery units between armies.
  (2) Gave technical and supply assistance to subordinate antiaircraft artillery echelons.
  (3) Obtained reinforcements, ammunition, and equipment through the Antiaircraft Artillery Section of Theater Headquarters.
  (4) Coordinated with IX Air Defense Command in establishing weekly the location of the Army Group Rear Air Boundary.
  (5) Supervised tactical, technical, and training activities of the antiaircraft artillery in the armies of the 12th Army Group.
 
ARMIES

Antiaircraft Artillery Section. Each American army in the European Theater of Operations contained an antiaircraft artillery section on the staff of the army commander. The sections were organized under the provisions of Table of Organization 200-1, 1 July 1942. The functions of this section were:

 
  (1) To submit recommendations for missions of antiaircraft artillery units in the army.
  (2) To coordinate all means of active defense against hostile air operations with the air units cooperating with the army.
  (3)
 

To issue direct to subordinate army antiaircraft artillery units, in the name of the army commander, normal operation orders (letters of instruction) necessary to accomplish the antiaircraft artillery missions.

  (4)
 

To prepare, publish and supervise the execution of memoranda and technical training bulletins which pertained to subordinate antiaircraft artillery units.

 

One Antiaircraft Artillery Brigade was normally assigned to each army. ( An exception existed in the case of the Seventh Army, which at one time, had three antiaircraft artillery brigades.) The relationship of this brigade with the Antiaircraft Artillery Special Staff Section was that in each army there was an uneconomical duplication of effort with a resultant loss of time and efficiency in the antiaircraft artillery structure. The senior antiaircraft artillery officer in the army commanded antiaircraft artillery troops ( the army antiaircraft artillery brigade ) but performed no staff duties. These staff duties were performed by the chief of the army antiaircraft artillery special staff section, who commanded no troops, but acted as adviser to the army commander.

 

Army Antiaircraft Artillery Command. This command was authorized by Table of Organization 44-200-1, 26 October 1944. A sizable headquarters ad headquarters battery under the command of a major general ( antiaircraft artillery ) was made organic with army headquarters. This headquarters may be authorized with a major general only when two or more brigades or the equivalent in groups are included under an army. It may be utilized with the commander as brigadier general in lieu of major general when the equivalent of one brigade is included under an army. It is not authorized when only one brigade, including brigade headquarters (T/O E 44-10-1) is included under an army. None of the United States armies in the European Theater except the Seventh Army, reorganized under this new table of organization, although some armies used a few of the grades and rating to promote some of the officers and enlisted men in their antiaircraft artillery section.

 
CORPS

An antiaircraft artillery group was normally attached to each corps. The VI Corps, which had an attached brigade, was an exception. The group ( or brigade) commander acted in the dual role of commanding the antiaircraft artillery troops in the corps, and of advising the corps commander on antiaircraft artillery matters. When antiaircraft artillery groups were attached, rather than assigned to corps, unit of purpose, mutual cooperation and morale suffered. The group staff, because of its small size, found it difficult to:

     
  a. Render required technical service (radar, gun and automatic weapon fire control) and air warning service to subordinate units.
  b. Process efficiently and make field research for claims on enemy aircraft destroyed or probably destroyed.
  c. Organize inspection teams for purpose of maintaining the desired standards in subordinate units.
 
DIVISIONS

One antiaircraft artillery automatic weapon battalion (mobile or self-propelled) was attached to each infantry and armored division. It was the usual practice for the battalion commander to act as the antiaircraft artillery staff officer, and, as such, to have direct access to the division commander. In many cases the battalion was attached to the division field artillery. The latter practice is not considered advisable since the special interests of the field artillery may be permitted to prejudice the best interest of the division as a whole. An impartial viewpoint is essential.  

 
 

 

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