"This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with
.................... ......Franklin Delano Roosevelt - June 27,1936
Unit History
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Battery A & B

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Lt Col Wagner J D Alessio
Lt Col Wagner J D Alessio
Commanding Officer

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Recipient
Cpl Lewis Baldwin

Silver Star Recipients
Sgt James D Bates
Pfc Robert W Dodson
2/Lt Robert M Hull
T/5 Estle W Hardwick

The 456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion
Unit History

The 456th PFAB - Pocket Patchhe War Department authorized the creation of the first test parachute artillery battery in February 1942. After the officer and enlisted men chosen qualified as paratroopers, the Parachute Test Battery under the command of Lieutenant Joseph Harris began developing a system to airdrop artillery guns and artillery men behind enemy lines to provide close support fire for infantry units. During the Summer of 1942 they perfected this system which involved disassembling into 9 bundles a 75-millimeter Pack howitzer and air dropping the weapon out of the door or from the bottom of a C-47. With persistent training the 75-mm Pack howitzer could be reassemble in 30 minutes.

On 24th September 1942 the first Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, the 456th PFAB, under the command of Colonel Harrison B. Harden Jr. was activated from the Cadre and assets of the original Parachute Test Battery . The 456th PFAB was permanently attached to the 82nd Airborne Division on 1 October at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The battalion was initially comprised of three batteries, each with 4 x M1A1 75mm pack howitzers. It also had an anti-tank platoon of four x M3A1 37mm anti-tank guns. Throughout WW 2 the 456th would continue to provide Cadres for other Parachute Field Artillery Battalions.

The battalion's first combat jump was in Sicily on the evening of July 9, 1943, in support of the 82nd Airborne Division's 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The battalion's primary mission was to fire at enemy troops and tanks utilizing a high arc, or indirect fire. During the intense Battle of Biazza Ridge, however, the battery had scored its first victory against enemy tanks using direct fire. Following the Sicilian campaign, the battalion was split up. Batteries C and D remained with the 82nd Airborne Division and transferred to England to prepare for the invasion of France transferring the 456th PFAB designation to the European Theater. Headquarters Battery and Batteries A and B supported the 1st Special Service Force and participated in the Italian campaign battles for Monte Cassino, Anzio and Rome. In February 1944 the three batteries were redesignated the 463rd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, with Major Hugh A. Neal as battalion commander. Neal's command was short-lived, however, for less than four months later an enemy shell seriously wounded him. He was replaced by Cooper, who remained the battalion commander throughtout the rest of the war.

456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion - Pictures  Photos 456th PFAB  

R E L A T E D   B O O K S

Ambrose, Stephen E D-DAY June 6,1944: The Climatic Battle of WW II. 6/93, Simon & Shuster ISBN: 0671673343
Badsey , Stephen & Chandler, David G (Editor)  Arnhem 1944: Operation "Market Garden" (Campaign No.24) 1993 96p. ISBN: 1855323028
Breuer, William B Geronimo! American Paratroopers in WWII. New York: St. Martin Press, 1989 621 p. ISBN: 0-312-03350-8
D'Este, Carlo  Patton: A Genius for War 1024 pp ISBN: 0060927623
De Trez, Michel  At the Point of No Return : Pictorial History of the American Paratroopers in the Invasion of Normandy 7/98, D-Day Pub, 200 p. ISBN: 2960017617
Gavin, James M.  On to Berlin : Battles of an Airborne Commander, 1943-1946 ISBN: 0670525170
Golden, Lewis Echoes From Arnhem Penguin ISBN: 0718305213
MacDonald, Charles B  A Time For Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge Wm Morrow & Co (P), 720 p. ISBN: 068151574
Masters, Charles J.  Glidermen of Neptune: The American D-Day Glider Attack  Southern Illinois Univ Press, ISBN:0809320088
McKenzie, John  On Time, On Target Novato, CA: Presidio, May 15,2000. 304 p. ISBN: 089 141 714 1
Nigl, Dr Alfred J & Charles A Nigl  Silent Wings - Savage Death Santa Ana, CA: Graphic Publishing, Dec 3,2007. 288 p. ISBN: 1882824318
Nordyke , Phil All American All the Way: Combat History of the 82nd Airborne Division in World War II Zenith Press, April 2005. 880 pgs ISBN: 0760322015
Ryan, Cornelius  A Bridge Too Far 670p. ISBN: 0684803305
Tucker, William H.  "Rendez-vous at Rochelinval" Battle of the Bulge  International Airborne Books,Harwichport, MS, ISBN:0-9647683-2-1
Wildman, John B All Americans 82nd Airborne. Meadowlands Militaria, 6/83 ISBN:091 208 1007
The Center of Military History The War in the Mediterranean: A WWII Pictorial History Brasseys, Inc., 465 p. ISBN:1574881302

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