319th Field Artillery Regiment (United States)
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|319th Field Artillery Regiment|
Coat of arms
|Active||5 August 1917 – present|
|Distinctive unit insignia|
World War I
The regiment was administrative constituted on 5 August 1917 as a National Army (USA) unit, the 319th Field Artillery Regiment, and assigned to the 82d Division. It was first physically formed ('organized') on 2 September 1917 at Camp Gordon, near Chamblee, Georgia. It went overseas with the 82d Division and was present during the St. Mihiel offensive, the Meuse-Argonne, and the Lorraine advance of 1918. Returning to the United States, it was demobilised on 18 May 1919 at Camp Dix, New Jersey.
Reconstituted 24 June 1921 in the Organized Reserves as the 319th Field Artillery and assigned to the 82d Division. Organized in January, 1922 at Decatur, Georgia.
World War II
The regiment was reorganized and redesignated 13 February 1942 as the 319th Field Artillery Battalion. It was then ordered into active military service on 25 March 1942 and reorganized at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. Reorganized and redesignated 15 August 1942 as the 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion. During World War II the battalion was present for the Invasion of Sicily, Naples-Foggia, the Normandy landings, where at Ste Mere Eglise it gained a Presidential Unit Citation, the invasion of the Rhineland (for which two operations it was granted an arrowhead distinction), and Ardennes-Alsace. It was also given the general campaign credit Central Europe.
The 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion saw its first combat action in Italy in September 1943 when it was chosen by Col. Darby of the U.S. Rangers to be his only artillery unit to support his Rangers in a seaborne invasion of the Naples coast designed to clear the way for the upcoming Allied invasion of Italy at Anzio. The 319th was the first U.S. Airborne artillery unit to fire against and engage the enemy in WWII. Fighting alongside the Rangers and small detached units from the 82nd Airborne, it effectively repelled numerous German counterattacks and kept the roads to Naples through the Chiunzi Pass clear until the US and British forces could gain control of the Sorrento Plateau after fighting their way up the coast from Anzio.
The 319th gained distinction as the first Allied unit to enter Naples and formally liberate that city from the retreating German forces. After serving as a "military police" unit to clear rubble, provide aid, food and shelter to the civilian population and also help dispose of German time bombs and other armaments left behind, the 319th was relieved of its civilian police duties and sent to Northern Ireland where it rejoined the rest of the 82nd Airborne to begin training for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. For its role in this offensive, the 319th was awarded its first Presidential Unit Citation, the first battalion of the 82nd Airborne to win such an honor in WWII. (Note: some smaller sized units of the 82nd also won the award because they were selected by Col Darby to be part of his Ranger force along with the 319th)
The 319th and its sister GFA battalion, the 320th, are the only two glider field artillery units to make two glider assaults behind enemy lines during the Second World War; on D-Day, at St. Mere Eglise and in Holland at Nijmegen. The 319th lost approximately 40% of its strength due to death, wounds and injuries sustained by glider crashes and enemy fire on the evening of June 6, 1944 during the Normandy landings.
Because all of their howitzers were damaged by crash landings, the 319th fought as infantrymen for the first few days supporting the paratroop and glider infantry of the 82nd Airborne during the battles to control the Merderet bridgehead. The glider carrying the commander of the battalion, Col Todd, crash-landed behind German lines and he and the survivors had to fight their way back to the original landing zone to rejoin his men.
Once the battles in Normandy had subsided, the 319th was sent back to England to recoup and regroup along with the rest of the 82nd. A few weeks later, they were ordered to begin preparation for Operation Market Garden, a joint US and British assault on Northern Holland to secure the Rhine bridges for a planned invasion of the German Rhineland. The 319th glider landings in Sept 1944 took place in daylight (as opposed to the night landings during D-Day) and there were fewer casualties although several gliders did land across the border in Germany (most of these men did not survive). The 319th provided artillery support for the 508th and 504th Parachute Regiments (82nd) during this campaign and aided in the paratrooper's capture of the critical Nijmegen Bridge.
After almost two months of combat, the 319th was then sent to Northern France for R & R in mid-Nov 1944. However, less than a month later, they were quickly brought to the front near St. Vith (Belgium) to support the American infantry which sustained heavy losses following the German assault in the Aredennes (Battle of the Bulge). During this engagement, the 319th fought close combat action against several SS Panzer units, frequently with little infantry support (the 82nd lines were stretched over a wide area to the south of St. Vith as a holding action until more US troops could be brought to the battlefront to stem the tide of the advancing SS Panzers).
The 319th then fought with other 82nd units through the Huertgen Forest and across the Rhine into Germany and continued to fire high explosive shells against the enemy until April 1945 when they reached the Berlin region and encountered advancing Russian or Red Army troops. The 319th along with other units of the 82nd Airborne served as the U.S. military honor guard in Berlin after the German surrender in May 1945.
On 15 December 1947 the battalion lost the 'Glider' from its title and became again the 319th Field Artillery Battalion. Withdrawn 15 November 1948 from the Organized Reserve Corps and allotted to the Regular Army. Reorganized and redesignated 15 December 1948 as the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion.
It was relieved 1 September 1957 from assignment to the 82d Airborne Division; concurrently reorganized and redesignated as the 319th Artillery, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System. During the Vietnam War it was granted campaign credits for the Defensive phase, Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phases II & III, the Tet Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive Phases IV-VI, the Tet Offensive, Summer-Fall 1969, Winter-Spring 1970, the Sanctuary Counteroffensive, Counteroffensive, Phase VII, Consolidation I, and Consolidation II.
Redesignated 1 September 1971 as the 319th Field Artillery. In 1983, the 1st Bn (Abn), 319th FA took part in the Invasion of Grenada as part of the 82d Airborne Division, for which it gained an Armed Forces Expedition credit. Withdrawn 2 October 1986 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System. During the mid-1980s, the other two FA battalions in the 82d were reflagged as 2-319th and 3-319th, and in 1989 they took part in the Invasion of Panama for which they gained Armed Forces Expedition credit, with arrowhead. In 1990, along with the rest of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 319th's three battalions deployed to Saudi Arabia to defend against a feared Iraqi offensive. It then participated in the Gulf War of January–March 1991. For these operations the regiment gained the Southwest Asia, Defense of Saudi Arabia, Liberation and Defense of Kuwait, and Cease-Fire Armed Forces Expedition credit.
On 16 September 2006 a new battalion of the 319th was activated as part of the Southern European Task Force. For many years Battery D, 319th Field Artillery, had served as the SETAF airborne battalion's assigned artillery support. With the decision to expand the SETAF airborne battalion task force into the reformed 173d Airborne Brigade, Battery D, 319th Field Artillery, was reorganized and expanded into 4th Battalion (Abn), 319th Field Artillery Regiment. The battalion was reformed from elements of Battery D, 319th Field Artillery and 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery at Warner Barracks in Bamberg, Germany. The Army traces its lineage back through Battery D, 319th Field Artillery to the Battery D of the original 319th Field Artillery Battalion. The battalion is nicknamed the “King of the Herd” battalion. Since activation in 2006, the 4th Battalion has participated in Operation Enduring Freedom Rotation VIII with the rest of the brigade.
The 319th also gained Armed Forces Expeditions credit for the invasion of the Dominican Republic.
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered CHIUNZI PASS (319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion cited; WD GO 41, 1947)
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered STE. MERE EGLISE (319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion cited; WD GO 83, 1944)
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered DAK TO (3d Battalion, 319th Artillery, cited; DA GO 42, 1969)
- Presidential Unit Citation (Army), Streamer embroidered DONG AP BIA MOUNTAIN (2d Battalion, 319th Artillery, cited; DA GO 15, 1972)
- Valorous Unit Award, Streamer embroidered DEFENSE OF SAIGON (2d Battalion, 319th Artillery, cited; DA GO 52, 1974)
- Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1965 1967 (3d Battalion, 319th Artillery, cited; DA GO 48, 1968)
- Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1968 (2d Battalion, 319th Artillery, cited; DA GO 22, 1976)
- Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered SOUTHWEST ASIA (1st and 2d Battalions, 319th Field Artillery, cited; DA GO 1, 1996. 3d Battalion, 319th Field Artillery cited; letter, TAPC-PDA [600-8-22], to Commander, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, Subj: Meritorious Unit Commendation [MUC], 26 August 1998)
- Army Superior Unit Award, Streamer embroidered 1983 (3d Battalion, 319th Field Artillery, cited; DA GO 9, 1987)
- Army Superior Unit Award, Streamer embroidered 1994 (1st Battalion, 319th Field Artillery, cited; DA GO 15, 1997)
- French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered STE. MERE EGLISE (319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
- French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered COTENTIN (319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
- French Croix de Guerre, World War II, Fourragere (319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
- Military Order of William (Degree of the Knight of the Fourth Class), Streamer embroidered NIJMEGEN 1944 (319th Glider Field Artillery Bat¬talion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
- Netherlands Orange Lanyard (319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
- Belgian Fourragere 1940 (319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
- Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at St. Vith (319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
- Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in the Ardennes (319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
- Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action in Belgium and Germany (319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
- 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment
- Field Artillery Branch (United States)
- Coats of arms of U.S. Artillery Regiments
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Center of Military History document "McKenny, Janice E. (2010). "319th Field Artillery Division". Field Artillery Part 2. Army Lineage Series. pp. 1301–1315. CMH Pub 60-11 (Part 2).". This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Army Center of Military History document "4th Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment Lineage and Honors".
- Streamer embroidered STE. MERE EGLISE (319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion cited; WD GO 83, 1944
Official Unit History of the 319 Glider Field Artillery US War Department Archives Silent Wings, Savage Death Nigl, A. and Nigl, C. Graphic Publishers, Costa Mesa, CA 2007