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Antiaircraft Artillery Units in WWI AEF


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#1 mccooper

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 04:58 PM

Would appreciate some information on the anti aircraft artillery units in WWI. Recently purchased a uniform with the patch seen in the photo. Dalessandro identifies it as 5th Anti Aircraft Artillery. 5th what? Battery? Battalion? Can find little on these units; am now reading "Archie In The AEF" by Kirkpatrick, and he names a 5th battery which served on the line for 37 days, with one victory. Is this patch that group? An interesting topic with little readily available information. Thank you for any input you can provide.

 

mccooper

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  • patch - Copy (396x450).jpg


#2 gomorgan

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 05:40 PM

Looking at Battle Participation of Organizations of the AEF, it lists a 1st and 2nd Battalion AA and a 1st & 2nd AA MG Bn's, but nothing for the 5th.



#3 mccooper

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 04:56 PM

gomorgan-

 

     Thanks for the data. No idea as to what the 5th means. I have seen this patch several times before, feel it is OK. The collar disc is AA over crossed cannons, which should be correct. Still a mystery. Any further ideas?

 

mccooper



#4 1SG_1st_Cav

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 05:41 PM

Very nice patch.



#5 atb

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 08:38 AM

The WW1 Order of Battle Vol. 3, Part 3 Zone of the Interior shows these units-

 

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 Antiaircraft Battalions as being organized (the 11 to 23 were authorized, but not organized).



#6 gomorgan

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 12:17 PM

I'm thinking Battery (5th) to what battalion or Regt. but do think they were lettered by Battery A  B  etc. I know regular field arty units were lettered.



#7 mccooper

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 03:25 PM

atb-

 

     Thanks for the info. This uniform does not have any overseas stripes. Possibly it is the 5th Battalion, Zone of the Interior, assuming it to be correct. All identification of the patch so far has been vague at best.

 

coop



#8 atb

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 03:40 PM

The 5th was overseas from Oct 1918-Jan 1919.



#9 mccooper

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 06:34 PM

atb-

 

     Thanks again for the info. Still a mystery - just hope it is OK. Time -and more digging - may tell. All the best,

 

coop



#10 world war I nerd

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 04:07 AM

Coop,

 

These won't help you in respect to the information you requested regarding the 5th Anti Aircraft Battalion, but it's always nice to see additional examples of a particular WW I era SSI ...

 

More of the same - from left to right: Your 5th Anti Aircraft, another similar example, and a felt on felt example.

Attached Images

  • Anti-Aircraft SSI 1.jpg


#11 world war I nerd

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 04:13 AM

Upper left: a felt on wool example of the 5th Anti Aircraft Battalion SSI.

 

Below that is either an Engineer Regiment insignia from the 82nd Infantry Division or an odd variation on the  5th Anti Aircraft Battalion Insignia. Your guess is as good as mine, because I don't know?

 

To the right is the only period photo I have of a soldier wearing what looks to be a 5th Anti Aircraft Battalion SSI.

Attached Images

  • Anti-Aircraft SSI 2.jpg


#12 mccooper

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 07:02 AM

nerd-

 

     Many thanks for the additional information and pictures. Very glad to see other examples. All the best,

 

coop



#13 mccooper

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Posted 14 November 2015 - 01:57 PM

Upper left: a felt on wool example of the 5th Anti Aircraft Battalion SSI.

 

Below that is either an Engineer Regiment insignia from the 82nd Infantry Division or an odd variation on the  5th Anti Aircraft Battalion Insignia. Your guess is as good as mine, because I don't know?

 

To the right is the only period photo I have of a soldier wearing what looks to be a 5th Anti Aircraft Battalion SSI.

 

nerd-

 

     Found the 82nd patch on a website sewn onto a named 82nd Div. engineer's uniform, with paperwork. That would seem to answer that question. Thanks again for your help. All the best,

 

coop
 



#14 Ranger-1972

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 01:46 PM

Kirkpatrick's book (Archie in the A.E.F.: The Creation of the Antiaircraft Service of the United States Army, 1917-1918) indicates there were two numbered Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalions in the AEF Nov 1918 (1st AAA Bn with First Army, 2nd AAA Bn with Second Army), each with four lettered firing batteries (A, B, C, and D) that were permanently assigned to the battalion.  In addition, the HQ of the Anti-aircraft Artillery Service of the A.E.F. had three numbered (battalion-size) "A.A. Sectors" (each with four or more numbered A.A. firing batteries) -- the 8th A.A. Sector, 9th A.A. Sector, and 10th A.A. Sector.  The A.A.A. School had eight additional numbered (battalion-size) "A.A. Sectors" -- the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 12th, and 13th A.A. Sectors -- each with four or more numbered A.A. firing batteries.  Kirkpatrick wrote that the numbered A.A. firing batteries were not permanently assigned to any A.A. Sector, but were task organized depending on the mission.  All of these Anti-aircraft artillery units were formed from the Coast Artillery Corps (though the majority of men actually were French soldiers -- about 1,000 U.S. troops versus about 2,400 French troops in the AAS).

 

There were also six numbered A.A. machine-gun battalions, which were manned by the Infantry.  1st A.A. MG Bn was assigned to the Second American Army, 2nd A.A. MG Bn was assigned to the American First Army, and the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 141st A.A. MG Bns fell under the AAA School.

 

Finally, the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Service of the A.E.F. included the 56th Engineer Regiment (Searchlight), which had 10 searchlight companies, each with 5 platoons.  These platoons were task organized under the A.A. Sectors or assigned to the Chief of the A.A. Service of the First or Second Armies.

 

I think the patches you are showing are those of the Anti-Aircraft Service of the A.E.F., rather than a distinctive patch for an individual battalion or battery.  That would explain the Engineer letter "E" below one of the patches.  And it would explain why someone who served in the 5th A.A. battery (or the 5th A.A. Sector or the 5th A.A. MG battalion) could say it was the patch they wore. 

 

See:  https://archive.org/...00fort_djvu.txt

 

Per the CMH 60-16-1 Organizational History of the Field Artillery, a January 1918 modification of the TOE added 12 anti-aircraft artillery guns to each FA Regiment (in addition to the existing anti-aircraft machineguns).

 

Per the CMH 60-5 (Air Defense Artillery) provides the lineages of all ADA units in the Army -- but only mentions the 1st Anti-aircraft Artillery Battalion from WWI.

 

Kirkpatrick's assertion about there being only two numbered AAA Battalions in the A.E.F. is contradicted by the Biographical Register of Graduates of the US Military Academy (vol 6), which lists several officers who were assigned to (including serving as commanders of) the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalions in France during WWI.  These were MAJ Gooding Packard (1st AAA Bn), MAJ Harry A. Schwabe and MAJ Ira A Crump (both commanding 2nd AAA Bn at different times), CAPT Joel G. Holmes (Adjutant, 4th AAA Bn), MAJ Charles R. Finley (5th AAA Bn), MAJ Bird S. Du Bois (6th AAA Bn), and MAJ Christain G. Foltz (7th AAA Bn)

 

Has anyone discovered any additional Anti-Aircraft shoulder insignia from WWI (e.g., is there a different patch for the 1st AA Bn, 2nd AA Bn, 1st AA MG Bn, 56th Engineer Regiment (Searchlight), etc.)?  The only other shoulder insignia I've seen is a First Army "A" with the letters "AA" at the bottom and the number "5" in the upper opening.



#15 AustinO

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 05:19 PM

Excellent details Ranger. 

 

I've added a link to West of The Meuse, which was written by Major Oliver Quane:

https://play.google....over&pg=GBS.PP6

 

Book is a great read (free online) and has some good details on the formation of the AAMGBs.

 

Quane commanded the 4th AAMGB, and is seen here wearing their Battalion insignia (a gold gopher superimposed on a red diamond, which is sometimes confused for the post-war Minnesota based 205th IR):

2017-12-30_19-12-50.jpg

 

Quane's WWI highlights: 

 

Responded to call of President July 15, 1917. National Guard drafted into federal service Aug. 5, 1917. Entrained for Camp Cody, Deming, N.M., Sept. 27, 1917; on duty with 136th Infantry till Oct. 26, 1917. In command of 127th Machine Gun Battalion, 68th Brigade, 34th Division, from Oct. 26th to Dec. 26th 1917. Attached to 133rd Infantry from Dec. 27, 1917, to Feb. 9, 1918. Transferred to Aviation Camp, Waco, Texas, and in command of Third Provisional Regiment, Aviation Section, Signal Corps, from Feb. 27th to April 2nd, 1918. Transferred to Camp Wadsworth, Spartanburg, S.C., and attached to Third Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Battalion form April 5, 1918 to July 3, 1918. Fourth Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Battalion form April 5, 1918, to July 3, 1918. Fourth Anti-Aircraft machine Gun Battalion organized July4, 1918; in command from that date until organization was disbanded Sept 8, 1918; landed at Brest France, Sept 21, 1918. In command of US Toops aboard U.S.S. "Zeelandia" on voyage to Europe. Entrained at Brest Sept 29, 1918 and arrived at Saint Ciergues, France, Oct. 1, 1918. Ordered to report to Chief of Anti-Aircraft Service, 1st Army, under Par 123, S.S.No. 296, G. H.G., A.E. F., dated Oct. 23, 1918. Attached to Second Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Battalion and joined organization at Variennes, France, Oct. 27, 1918. With it participated in final phase of Meuse-Argonne offensive; gassed in action near Brieulles, France, Nov. 2, 1918. Joined First Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun Battalion, with P.C. at Noviant, France, Nov. 8, 1918. Recommended for promotion to Chief of Anti-Aircraft Service, 2nd Army. Sailed from Brest Dec. 31, 1918. In command of U.S. troops on Cruiser "Seattle" -- 4th A.A.M.G. Bn., 4th Anti-Aircraft Sector; 8th Anti-Aircraft Sector, 309th Trench Mortar Battery, Landed in Hoboken, N.J., Jan. 12, 1919. Honorably discharged at Camp Dodge, Iowa, Jan. 27, 1919.

 



#16 qmjones

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 09:10 AM

An illustration of the 2nd AA-MG Battalion patch. 

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  • IMG_1629.JPG


#17 gomorgan

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 09:34 AM

On your patch question ref. 56th Engr's they wore a circular red/white patch which portrayed a aircraft caught in a search light beam. This patch often times worn in conjunction with a 1st Army patch.

#18 qmjones

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 12:37 PM

My Great-uncle Cpl. Harold L.F. Packman  2nd AA MG Battalion, is mentioned in the book that was linked, in Chapter X: "Real War of Movement", which is on page 79:
 
"At Nantillois we learned that one of the corporals of Company C was killed near Brieulles late yesterday afternoon. The place was being subjected to heavy shell fire as the platoon went into position, but he was the only man hit. The lieutenant (2nd Lt. Samuel F. Telfair) gave him first aid, and helped carry him to a dressing station, but he died soon after it was reached."

 

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  • mg2.jpg
  • mg3.jpg


#19 littlewilly

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 08:25 PM

Upper left: a felt on wool example of the 5th Anti Aircraft Battalion SSI.

 

Below that is either an Engineer Regiment insignia from the 82nd Infantry Division or an odd variation on the  5th Anti Aircraft Battalion Insignia. Your guess is as good as mine, because I don't know?

 

To the right is the only period photo I have of a soldier wearing what looks to be a 5th Anti Aircraft Battalion SSI.

Here is something to chew on, guys..............The Air Service had an Engineering Section that handled redesigns and reconfigurations/improvements to aircraft and equipment during hostilities.  Could this AA/Engineer Castle patch represent Anti-Aircraft Service Engineering Section, for improvements to the AA guns during hostilities?  I have not come across any mention of an engineer element to AA forces, but it seems like a logical conclusion.  Probably not a very large organization, either.  MHJ



#20 Cobrahistorian

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 07:47 AM

Hi all,

 

Sorry I'm late to the game here.  Ranger-1972 cites the correct information regarding WWI AAA units.  Kirkpatrick's book is literally pulled verbatim from the primary source documents at the National Archives.  I've been through all of them and have read "Archie in the AEF" several times as I've been developing our WWI AAA storyline.  Of the battalions organized, only the 1st and 2nd AAA Gun Battalions saw combat.  Same goes with the AAA MG Bns.  Several separate Batteries saw combat as well, beginning in April 1918.  The 5th (separate) AAA Battery was a semi-fixed French 75 Battery and did score a single confirmed kill during its tenure in combat. 

I've identified the 1st and 2nd AAA MG Battalion patches (we have a beautiful, named 2nd AAA MG patch on Lt. Cornelius Hagen's uniform in the museum) but patches like the one above I have been trying to identify.  There are a few purported to be US AAA patches, but I have not been able to associate them with a particular organization. I've attached them here. 

We will be opening the new Air Defense Artillery Museum next spring.  One of the highlights is going to be a reconstructed DeDion-Bouton Auto-Canon, the French 75 gun truck used in combat by the 1st and 2nd AAA Gun Battalions so successfully in WWI. 

v/r

 

Jon

 

Jonathan Bernstein
Director,

US Army Air Defense Artillery Museum

Attached Images

  • wwi aaa patch 2.jpg
  • ww1 antiaircraft pic 3.jpg
  • ww1 antiaircraft pic 4.jpg


#21 world war I nerd

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:42 AM

Jon would it be possible for you to add a photo of your museum's 2nd AA MG patch to this thread? I'm sure that everyone would like to see a real example.

 

Regarding the airplane flying over a shell design, the right hand example in the attached montage was identified as being "6th Division, Anti-Aircraft".

Attached Images

  • Anti-Aircraft-1.jpg


#22 world war I nerd

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:45 AM

Here's another head scrather. I've no idea if the shoulder patch worn in this image from Bay State Militaria's website is an AA patch or not, but it's possible.

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  • Anti-Aircraft-2.jpg


#23 world war I nerd

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:47 AM

This is what I think the insignia in the above image might be. The insignia shown is reputed to represent the 32nd Division's AA section.

 

Can anybody verify whether this assertion is true or false?

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  • Anti-Aircraft-3.jpg


#24 world war I nerd

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:51 AM

This is another, so-called, anti-aircraft anomaly. I've seen this insignia placed between the legs of the First Army "A" patch, and all by itself as a stand alone patch.

 

It too is reputed to be an anti-aircraft insignia. But for which AA outfit?

Attached Images

  • Unknown-AntiAircraft-MG.jpg

Edited by world war I nerd, 08 February 2019 - 11:52 AM.


#25 world war I nerd

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 11:56 AM

Then there are the following five "red devil" motifs, most of which have been associated with AEF anti-aircraft MG battalions.

 

This particular example remains unidentified. However, due to its similarity to the following designs, there's a strong possibility that it may also be an AA insignia.

Attached Images

  • 1st-2nd or 3rd AA Mg Battalion.jpg

Edited by world war I nerd, 08 February 2019 - 11:56 AM.



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