33rd Field Artillery Soldier’s Diary 1942- 1945

Written by Corporal James L. Schultz, Battery “C”; covers three invasions made by this unit. The 33rd FA was assigned to the 1st Infantry (Big Red 1) Division in WWII.

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Corporal James L. Schultz’s diary was maintained in this SERVICE YEAR BOOK, Printed in 1940.  The inside cover has Schultz’ unit and home address. The inner fly leaves have pasted on AAF Squadron insignia ( 434th, 81st, 83rd, 82nd Bomb Squadrons).  These units he notes “Bombed Sicily softening it for us.”  The diary was maintained over a four year period, each year recording beneath the previous years entries.

Schultz begins with loading on the Queen Mary leaving New York for Scotland.  Later travels by train to Tidsworth, England.  His time in England covers, training, women, with constant repeating of both. His unit is transported to the Mediterranean and the Invasion of Oran (North Africa) on November 8, 1842 (TORCH). Their landing was supported by the British navy, and he mentions the Battleship Rodney.  British destroyers sank a French cruiser; and a peace treaty was signed with the French.  Nov. 11th; German planes attacking, fighting Italians as well.  In January of 1943, writes they were attacked by ME-109s and Stuka dive bombers –

Feb. 18. Made first retreat from Kasserine Pass.

Feb. 21. Made 2nd retreat from Kasserine Pass, attacked by German infantry – 2 men killed, several wounded.

March.   Receiving more air attacks, infantry and tanks- no casualties, but take in many Italian prisoners.

March 23,  Enemy tanks attacked from south – stopped cold by furious artillery fire all day.

March 29, observed a “fine dog fight.”

April 1, Stukas overhead every day.

April 7, Campaign ends- bivouac and clean equipment & trucks.

April 23, favored with random shells from Jerry.

May 3-5,  Moved in echelon near Matour- Bn  under heavy fire – several casualties, 2 killed.

May 14, met a British A.T.S. girl, had great time.

July 9, Onboard ship – pass Malta -on LST 338.

July 10, Made the invasion of Gela under heavy shelling just after unloading the LST.  Bombing and straffing was wicked. I have a piece of shrapnel that “almost” got me.

July 11-30, German tanks came through our infantry – we got credit for 17 of them.  Almost the 2nd .

August 1, We fired 556 rounds of ammo on the City of Tronion in the Division fire “what a battle”  they couldn’t seem to hit us.

August 17, Battle of Sicily ended.  Bivouac at Mt Etna.

August 19, Received burns on hands and forearms, needed morphine at 33rd Aid Station then to  261st Med. Bn.- 15th Evac hospital. here I had a nurse from N.C.  had a lot of fun with Mary.

August 22, Captain Quinten Roosevelt became “Baty C” commander.

August 27, Most of the battery went to hear General Patton give his speech near Liroto, Sicily. {Slapping incident?}

August 28, Bn had a review for Gen. Huebner – hand still bandaged.

Sept. 8, Capt. Roosevelt left and went to Div. HQ.

Oct. 22, Reached dock and loaded on “Sterling Castle” from an LST. Convoy set sail – merchant ship torpedoed, 80 ships -subs pass us.

Oct. 25,  Docked at Algers – Subs -cruisers, dropped ash can or depth charges.

Nov. 1, Ordered to sleep in clothes- keep life preservers close.

Nov 4-5, Past Isle of Man – anchored. Destroyers dropped depth charges- Allied subs came to surface.  Moved up river toward docks.

Nov. 6, Disembarked- walked to railway station at Liverpool – train pulled out 11AM.

Nov. 7, Got off train, loaded trucks at Dorchester, England. Trucks went to Piddlehinton Camp – 6 miles away (beside more women and training not much until—

May 31, 1944.  Left camp 6, a staging area and loaded LST 494 at Plymouth.

June 2, Still in harbor waiting – playing cards and laid in sun on deck. Seen 338 the LST we went to invade Sicily in.

June 4, Left Plymouth went as far as strong point and returned to Plymouth- “D-Day” had been changed.

June 5, Convoy left Bay near Plymouth in readiness for invasion – so many LSTs and LCTs, we couldn’t count them.

June 6, 1944, Today was “D-Day” the invasion of France. Our boat stayed just off shore. The beach was being heavily shelled. We watched the infantry clear the beach about noon – they landed at 6AM. We were supposed to land 6PM June 6, but couldn’t because of the many boats burning on the beach and the tide went out – 16th and `18th infantry started attack. Beach was a terrible mess – plenty were dead.

June 7, We were strafed and bombed last night – navy shot down 2 German Bombers. – Hodge had a bullet go through his shirt sleeve and canteen, breaking button on his shirt – didn’t get scratched. I was in front of him on deck of 494 LST. We unloaded from LST at about 4 o’clock PM- I jumped off on to France to aid trucks coming off- We lost one truck, almost two. Went into first position about a mile from beach.

(Not much recorded until June 21st.  Probably due to constant combat in the Bocage area.)

June 21, Germans threw large shells over our position, fired some – we were in their position.

June 22, Took off underwear – first time since I washed them on LST 494. I feel weak after the wash, ha! ha!.  Clear today – has been raining for past 3 days.

July 20, In 4th Division Sector.

July 24, American bombers are bombing front line softening it for our push- plenty of Jerrys here- had to bury several.

July 25, We were supposed to start big push today – a break through. It was called off (good) – been the largest amount of bombers in history – hit Germans at front line, reported 2900 bombers and hundreds of pursuits. In evening shells came pretty close to area

July 26, Ready to move out on big push.

July 28, We were in position where our bombers had bombed, and we were bombed – eight men seriously wounded and one killed instantly. I helped the medics – hit several of our medicals- what a night, hundreds of planes.

July 31, We were in area, went into position- we were bombed, one AA man hurt, many enemy planes. I was scared to death, nearly.

August 5, We were in Juvigny- what a battle. Plenty of enemy aircraft – enemy shelling in our area stopped.

Sept. 3, Belgium.   German convoy tried to come through our area, 957th F.A. (155HZ) has a hell of a Battle – we were surrounded in this position.  Infantry couldn’t get to us.

Sept. 4, No supply line.  turned another German convoy completely around, but tanks got them.

(Combat and movements thru to Sept. 21).

Sept. 21, Crossed the German border today. 1 mile inside Siegfred line – are firing on the town of Aachen.

Sept. 22, found plenty of German souvenirs in homes where officers had lived for the defense line.

Oct. 2 Aachen. Still in position firing on Aachen -evening throwing large shells over – I do mean large. Germans made an announcement on front line -said we were invaders -they hadn’t bothered us – we should pick up our wounded and go home or we would have a lot more.  What a laugh.

(German)

Nov. 14, In a log hut near Vich, Germany – snowing.

Nov. 16, AAF and RAF bombed ahead of us – very close we had to stay under ground.

Nov. 17, P-47 dropped 2 500 lb bombs in front of our guns – Both luckily had the pins still in them.

Nov. 24, moved into position near Wienwhaler – many Germans and our tanks knocked out here. “Hells half acre.”  Houses completely destroyed.

Dec. 5, We were relieved today by 29th FA- 9th Division.  to go to Belgium for a rest and clean up period.

Dec. 7, Battey commander gave me paper – saying I would be decorated with Bronze Star for work in Africa, and Sicily – Still cleaning trucks.

Dec. 16, Belgium. Montzen.

Dec. 17, Left rest camp at 4AM pulled in to woods for dinner – moved into position to stop counter attack about 3PM with 155 rifles.

Dec. 18, In position near concentration camp.

Dec. 19,  had robot plane land in next field.

Dec. 20, Fighting German’s counter attack in position near German concentration camp. Batry commander gave me warrant today to be TSgt. now.

Dec. 21 Fighting Germans – heavy shelling – German planes bombed us today.

Dec. 22  many robot planes. – still fighting.

Dec. 24, Hard fighting – plenty of flying bombs.

(January 1945  Rest camps).

Feb. 3, Moved to old position- many dean krauts – pulling trucks and jeeps out of mud – Some transferring to 99th Inf. Div.

May 8, Raised our Bn Flag & colors today for the first time ever on Foreign soil.

 

Many other entries, and details of his time in service.  All ink pen entries.  Fine condition.  A Fabulous WWII 1st Infantry Division Diary!

 

CAMPAIGN CREDITS

A gun crew of Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 33rd Artillery, fire a 105mm howitzer in support of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry, during Operation Attleboro, 18 November 1966

  • World War II: Algeria–French Morocco (with arrowhead); Tunisia; Sicily (with arrowhead); Normandy (with arrowhead); Northern France; Rhineland; Ardennes‑Alsace; Central Europe
  • Vietnam: Defense; Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase II; Counteroffensive, Phase III; Tet Counteroffensive; Counteroffensive, Phase IV; Counteroffensive, Phase V; Counteroffensive, Phase VI; Tet 69/Counteroffensive; Summer–Fall 1969; Winter–Spring 1970[1]
  • Operation Iraqi Freedon:”OIF II”, Forward Operating Base Summerall, Iraq 2004

 

DECORATIONS

  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1966–1967 (2d Battalion, 33d Artillery, cited; DA GO 17, 1968)
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation (Army), Streamer embroidered VIETNAM 1968 (6th Battalion, 33d Artillery, cited; DA GO 42, 1969)
  • French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered KASSERINE (33d Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
  • French Croix de Guerre with Palm, World War II, Streamer embroidered NORMANDY (33d Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
  • French Croix de Guerre, World War II, Fourragere (33d Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
  • Belgian Fourragere 1940 (33d Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
    • Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at Mons (33d Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)
    • Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at Eupen-Malmedy (33d Field Artillery Battalion cited; DA GO 43, 1950)[1]
  • Presidential Unit Citation for actions during OIF II, Camp Baji, Iraq

 

 

 

Additional information

Weight .5 lbs