77th Artillery WWI OOB & History to WWII

Fourth, 4th Division (Regulars)

Nickname: Ivy Division

39th, 47th, 58th, 59th Infantry (Inf.)
13th, 16th, 77th Artillery (Art.)
10th, 11th, 12th Machine Gun (M. G.)
4th Engineers ( Eng. )

Major Generals Commanding: John L. Hines, M. L. Hersey.

Engaged: Chateau Thierry, Ourcq Heights , Vesle, Argonne, Rhine .

Patches and Insignia:

 

77th US Field Artillery
and 77th Field Artillery Regiment
History - 1917 TO 1942

The 77th U. S. Field Artillery received its official designation November 11, 1917, one year before the Armistice. June 6th of that same year had seen the 2nd Cavalry divided into three units, namely the 2nd, the 18th and the 19th. On July 20th the 19th Cavalry Regiment, then at war strength, was changed to an artillery regiment and became the "19th Cavalry, Provisional Artillery."

When the 19th was designated as a provisional Field Artillery Regiment, it was recruited to full strength by volunteers who had enlisted for the duration of the war. Colonel Guy H. Preston, a great field soldier and disciplinarian, was in command, and rapidly moulded the regiment into shape. When orders were received, changing the regiment to a regular Field Artillery unit, the Cavalrymen had several months training as Field Artillerymen. For field pieces, they had been using the running gear of escort wagons with a log mounted thereon to simulate a gun. Enough guns had been received on September 1st to equip one battery. Each battery had the use of this materiel one day each week.

Early in the fall of 1917, the 77th was moved from Fort Ethan Allen to Camp Green, near Charlotte, N. C., where it became an active part of the 4th Field Artillery Brigade and the 4th Regular Army Division. There the huge division trained its components with the assistance of French and English officers who had been serving in the trenches.

April 21, 1918, the 4th Division started movement by rail to Camp Merrit, New Jersey, where preparations were made for the trip overseas. The 77th departed from New York on May 22, 1918, and arrived in Liverpool, England, on the 31st. Then, after a few days, the regiment moved to Camp de Souge in France, where the 4th Field Artillery Brigade was scheduled to go into training.

On arrival at Camp de Souge, early in June, the 77th received its full complement of French 75’s, French instruments, and American telephones, switchboards, and radios. Officers and enlisted men went to school. Three full crews were trained for each gun.

Training over, the 4th Field Artillery Brigade left by train for Chateau Thierry, leaving Camp de Souge at midnight July 28-29. When they arrived at their destination, they found the city in ruins and transportation demolished. Orders came to detrain, harness and hookup. That night, and for five nights thereafter, the 77th marched toward the sound of guns. Finally the faint rumble and the sheet lightning became more distinct. The regiment took its first real battle position near Fismes on August 8th supporting the Infantry of the 4th Division. It also received its baptism of fire that night when about 3,000 shells of all caliber were dropped in the vicinity. The 4th Division was replaced by the 77th New York Division on August 11-12 but the 77th Field Artillery stayed on the line five more days and nights.

The 77th was relieved at midnight, August 16th and moved by rail and marched into the Reynel Area, where it was re-equipped and obtained replacement of men and horses. The regiment, in action in the Vesle Sector, had proved the courage, fortitude, and training of the men and officers. Men of one gun had been killed but no delay in fire from the other

guns resulted. An executive had his arm blown off but the chief of Section kept up the fire till another Executive arrived. Line guards were wounded while making repairs in wire but others went out to complete the task. Sleep was hard to get and food was harder to get, but the spirit of the men was always at high level.

The Americans were preparing to take the offensive. The 77th participated in Division exercises stressing liaison. The 4th Division was moved to the Vavincourt area and rehearsals for the St. Mihiel Offensive began. Reconnaissance for battle positions were made and on the night of September 7-8, the 4th Field Artillery Brigade moved into position. The 13th and 77th Regiments were attached to and supported the 26th American Division. The massing of troops for the offensive had been kept an absolute secret. All movements near the line were under cover of darkness and during the day the men and materiel remained hidden. About 300.000 men were involved, yet traffic and activity was made to appear normal to any German observers.

At exactly 1:00 A. M. on September 12th preparations were begun. The night was dark with a little mist. Until 1 o’clock, it was as quiet as any countryside. Then, without warning, the artillery opened fire. Gas, smoke, and HE, 75’s, 155’s, railway artillery, and the 12" mortars rained projectiles on the enemy position for four hours. The flash of the guns made enough light to read by and the roar was continuous. At 4 o’clock the rolling barrage started, and the infantry swept forward. The artillery fire was so effective that, by the afternoon of the second day, September 13th, the infantry had established a line three miles beyond their objective, and the St. Mihiel salient was completed. The 75’s of the 77th Field Artillery had followed close behind their infantry, keeping down hostile fire, and permitting the infantry to advance with minimum opposition.

On the night of September 15-16, the 77th Field Artillery, with the other regiments of the 4th Field Artillery Brigade, were started marching to positions in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Secrecy was vital and again all movements were made at night. Artillery was massed for the initial assault. The 4th Field Artillery Brigade was reinforced by four regiments of artillery. All guns had two days of fire at initial positions and all caissons and limbers filled. At 2:30 A. M. on September 26th, the artillery opened the preparation, and the big allied offensive, ending with the Armistice, was on. In 18 days the 4th Division advanced 8 miles, fighting was severe, and the causalities staggering. On the night of September 23-24, the 77th Field Artillery, with the remainder of the 4th Field Artillery Brigade, was withdrawn from action for rest. But the rest was short. Artillery was needed, and four nights later the guns were back in position, firing in support of the 3rd and 5th Divisions. The crossing of the Meuse by the 5th was ably supported and protected by fire from the guns of the 77th Field Artillery. The entire regiment was east of the Meuse River when the Armistice was signed.

When the Armistice was signed, the 77th Field Artillery had 53 days of the severest fighting behind it. Twenty of its men had been killed and some 200 wounded. By its actions, the 77th has five battle streamers which fly from the Regimental Standard, namely, the following engagements: Vesle Sector, August 8-16, 1918: St. Mihiel Offensive, September 12-15, 1918: Meuse-Argonne Offensive, September 26-October 24, 1918: Meuse-Argonne Offensive, November 1-11, 1918: Defensive Sectors in Champaign and Lorraine.

On the afternoon of November 11th, the regiment moved out of position east of the Meuse River, and marched 75 miles by easy stages to Pont-Sur Meuse, south of St. Mihiel. There the regiment was re-equipped and received replacements for men and animals, in preparation for the march into Germany. The march was begun November 20th, at which time the 4th Division became a unit of the IV Corps of the Third Army. The Third Army marched to establish a bridgehead at Coblenz. On December 17th, the 77th Field Artillery arrived at Kaisersesch, Germany, and the troops were billeted in nearby towns. Battalion and Field Services Exercises were still held and Service practice was held once a week. Men were encouraged to take furloughs. They received free train transportation and were fed and billeted by the American Army.

The 4th Division started movement by rail to Brest, France, July 9th. On July 31, 1919, it set sail for the United States. On arrival at New York, the Division was moved to Camp Merrit, New Jersey, where most of the men were discharged. The few who remained were moved to Camp Lewis, Washington.

On arrival at Camp Lewis, the 77th received equipment and horses for a 75mm horse-drawn regiment. It was recruited to about two-thirds strength and regular peacetime training began. On July 27, 1921, General Orders Number 33, War Department, 1921, made the regiment inactive. All personnel were transferred to the 76th Field Artillery.

On January 1, 1935, by letter, War Department, dated October 26, 1934, the 77th Field Artillery was reconstituted at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and the 1st Battalion was organized. Battery C, First Field Artillery, became Battery A, 77th Field Artillery, and the Military Police Detachment became Battery B, 77th Field Artillery. Headquarters Battery, the Battalion Combat Train, and the Battalion Section of the service battery were made up of men who transferred into the new organization and recruits recently enlisted. Colonel Vincent Meyer was the first Battalion Commander having served with the 77th overseas. He instilled the old spirit of the 77th into the new organization. The 77th became a regiment of the 4th Division and the First Battalion served at Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, until February 5, 1942.

Final reconstitution of the 77th Field Artillery was made on November 1, 1935, when Colonel Robert H. Lewis rehabilitated the post at Fort D. A Russell, Marfa, Texas. The Adjutant General in a letter dated June 17, 1935, stated, “The 77th Field Artillery (155mm Howitzer, less 2 Bns) is to be reconstituted after September 1, 1935, at Fort D. A. Russell, Marfa, Texas."

Colonel Robert H. Lewis was assigned the task of both Post and Regimental Commander. Fort D. A. Russell had been unused since January 2, 1933, when the 1st Cavalry went to Fort Knox, Kentucky. The abandoned Fort had almost fallen down. In July a group of 30 men came to Marfa from the 82nd Field Artillery to make the Post ready for troops. A cadre of 40 men arrived October 1st. The recruits, about 450 in number, followed. The actual organization took place November 1, 1935, and the training of recruits began.

At first the whole group worked under many hardships and trying circumstances. The fall and winter seasons made it inadvisable to have any night operations, due to the fact that proper clothing was not in stock to be issued. All the equipment was slow in arriving.

Clothing, signal equipment, transportation, engineer equipment, foot and wall lockers were not available at first. Some of the training materiel did not arrive till the following January, when most of the men were about ready to be turned to duty.

The 77th at Fort D. A. Russell was made up of Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, Service Battery and Batteries C and D. Headquarters and Headquarters Battery was organized August 1, 1936. Service Battery was inactivated and became Battery F, May 1, 1939.

Colonel Robert H. Lewis remained in command until he was promoted to a Brigadier General. On March 2, 1940, Lieutenant Colonel Bertram Frakenberger became the Post and Regimental Commander.

April 1, 1940, Battery C of the 2nd Battalion was designated Battery E, and Battery E, formerly the Regimental Combat Train, at Fort Sill was designated Battery C, making Batteries A, B, and C at Fort Sill in 1st Battalion and Batteries D, E, and F at Fort D. A. Russell in 2nd Battalion.

The 77th Field Artillery became a part of the 18th Field Artillery Brigade in December 1940, which was assigned as Corps Artillery to the 8th Army Corps.

January 9, 1941, both Service and Ammunition Battery, 1st Battalion, and the 75mm and Antitank Battery designated as Battery G, were organized at Fort Sill. On March 12, 1941, the same batteries were organized at Fort D. A. Russell with the Antitank Battery designed as Battery H.

G and H Batteries and the Antitank Platoon of the Battalion Headquarters Batteries were inactivated on December 15, 1941, and reactivated as part of the 818th Tank Destroyer Battalion.

Colonel Francis T. Armstrong assumed command of the 77th on August 3, 1942,

18TH FIELD ARTILLERY BRIGADE
and 77th Field Artillery Regiment
History - 1918 TO 1942

The 18th Field Artillery Brigade was originally organized at Camp Travis, Texas, in September 1918, as a unit of the 18th Division of the World War. With the war coming to a close within two months, the brigade did not see service overseas and was demobilized at Camp Travis, February 14, 1919. The 18th Field Artillery Brigade consisted of the following units:

Brigade Headquarters (HQ) and Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC),
18th Field Artillery Brigade
   1st and 2nd Battalions, 77th Field Artillery Regiment,
   142nd Field Artillery Battalion,
   349th Field Artillery Battalion,
   2nd Field Artillery Observation Battalion, and the
   818th Tank Destroyer Battalion

On October 1, 1933, Headquarters, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, was constituted as an inactive unit of the Regular Army, and in 1936, the World War Headquarters, 18th Field Artillery Brigade, was reconstituted and consolidated with the inactive unit.

The Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Battery was activated at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, June 1, 1940.

The 18th Field Artillery Brigade consisting of Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, the 77th Field Artillery Regiment, the 349th Field Artillery Regiment, and the 2nd Field Artillery Observation Battalion came into being on November 4, 1940, as the artillery brigade for the VIII Army Corps.

The 77th Field Artillery Regiment, less the 1st Battalion, was stationed at Fort D. A. Russell, Texas; the remaining units of the Brigade were stationed at Fort Sill. On January 6, 1941, the 142nd Field Artillery Regiment (National Guard, Arkansas) was inducted into the Army of the United States and assigned to the brigade.

The first commander of the brigade after reactivation was Brigadier General G. R. Allen, who assumed command in November, 1940. General Allen remained in command until February, 1941, when he was succeeded by Brigadier General Leroy P. Collins.

The present commander, Brigadier General Vincent Meyer, assumed command of the brigade in November, 1941.

NOTE: The above information is extracted verbatim from the Pictorial History book of the 18th Field Artillery Brigade, 1942, Army Press, Bona Allen Building, Atlanta, Georgia. Transcribed by R W Tagge, member 77th Field Artillery Regiment Association and 1st Cavalry Division Association, 11 April 2008

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Last Update - January 9, 2014