The continued utilization of technical innovations throughout their history has enabled the artillery to be a decisive threat to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy. Not since the formulation of gunpowder by the Chinese, two technical innovations faced the artillerymen; rifling and breech loading. To the forward looking military arsenal manufacturer, their utility was not in doubt - but the engineering of a reliable design and integrating the geometry of the ammunition into the cannon had many problems. You may be interested in reading about the technical and contractual problems of one such early pioneer, "The Free Enterprise Patriot", who expended many years in building and testing a prototype, but was unable to supply a timely design to the Colonial Army, hence their introduction was delayed until the Civil War Period.
From the historical battlefields of Yorktown and Gettysburg, through the Western Plains, Mexican and Spanish American Wars, the artillery was always there. In fact, the nickname, "Redlegs", comes from that era when artillery uniforms had a 2-inch red stripe on their trousers and horse artillery men wore red canvas leggings. Continuing through the modern days of the European and Asian Theaters of WWII, the Pusan Perimeter in Korea, the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam, to the "Steel Rain" of Desert Storm, "Redlegs" have served with distinction and valor in all of our country's armed conflicts.
The roots of the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery can be traced back to 01 July 1916 when the 82nd Field Artillery was constituted in the Regular Army and organized as the 24th Cavalry at Fort D.A. Russell, Wyoming. On 01 November 1917, the 24th Cavalry was redesignated as the 82nd Field Artillery. On 13 September 1921 the 82nd, comprised of Battery "A", "B" & "C", was the artillery unit assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division when it was organized, at Fort Bliss, Texas.
On 03 January 1941, the tactical significance of the artillery organizations was recognized, with the activation of the 1st Division Artillery Headquarters and Headquarters Battery at Fort Bliss, Texas for extensive field training. By that time the 82nd Field Artillery had expanded to include two battalions. Throughout 1942, the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery underwent extensive training, honing its readiness to a fine edge. In this period of time, the Division Artillery had a significant infusion of personnel by the addition of the 61st, 62nd, 99th, 163rd and 271st Field Artillery Battalions.
In addition to the added personnel, there were numerous new weapon developments during the early years of World War II. Some improvements were based upon experiences of World War I, others were the natural outcome of scientific progress. The new 155-mm howitzer reached the troops in 1942. The 8-inch howitzer was in action, and the 240-mm howitzer soon followed. The introduction of self-propelled artillery and proximity fusing increased the mobility and changed the employment of artillery tactics on the battlefield.
In February 1943, the entire 1st Cavalry Division was alerted for an overseas assignment as a dismounted unit. An impatient 1st Cavalry Division was dismounted and they were processed for movement to the Southwest Pacific theater as foot solders. In mid June 1943, the last troops of the division departed Fort Bliss, Texas for Camp Stoneman, California and later on 03 July, boarded the "S.S. Monterey and the S.S. George Washington" for Australia and the Southwest Pacific.
On 26 July, three weeks later, the division arrived at Brisbane and began a
fifteen mile trip to their new temporary home, Camp Strathpine, Queensland,
Australia. The division received six months of intense combat jungle warfare
training at Camp Strathpine in the wilds of scenic Queensland and amphibious
training at nearby Moreton Bay. In January 1944 the division was ordered to
leave Australia and sail to Oro Bay, New Guinea. After a period of staging in
New Guinea, it was time for the 1st Cavalry Division to receive their first
baptism of fire.
Just after 8:00 on 29 February, the 1st Cavalry troopers climbed down the nets of the APD's and into the LCM's and LCPR's, the flat bottomed landing craft of the Navy. The task force, including the 82nd and 99th Field Artillery Battalions, landed at Hayane Harbor and took the Japanese by surprise.
On 18 May 1944, the Admiralty Islands campaign officially ended. Japanese
casualties stood at 3,317 killed. The losses of the 1st Cavalry Division
included 290 dead, 977 wounded and 4 missing in action. Training, discipline,
determination and ingenuity had won over suicidal attacks. The First Cavalry
Troopers were now seasoned veterans.
On 26 January, conveys were formed and departed for the Lingayan Gulf, Luzon Island, the Philippines. Landing without incident on 27 January, the division assembled in an area near Guimba and prepared for operations in the south and southwest areas. One of the First Team's most noted feats was accomplished during the fighting for Luzon. General MacArthur issued an order "Get to Manila!". The resulting mission, and the participating units, was dubbed a "flying column" by General Mudge. The rescue mission, lead by Brig. General William C. Chase, was divided into three "serials", of which included "A" Battery of the 82nd Field Artillery Battalion and "B" Battery of the 61st Field Artillery Battalion. On 03 February 1945, lead elements of the rescue column crossed the city limits of Manila at 6:35 PM, covering the 100 miles of rough terrain in approximately 66 hours. The first of many "Firsts" was recorded in history;
"First in Manila"
At that time, a reconnaissance party headed by Colonel Charles A. Sheldon, the 1st Cavalry Division Chief of Staff, went ashore to contact the advance party of Lieutenant Colonel Moyers S. Shore which had arrived by plane five days earlier to reconnoiter and select Assembly Area (AA) locations for the landing parties. The initial Assembly Areas were within five blocks of the docks. By nightfall, the troops of the 1st Cavalry Division were occupying staging areas throughout the Yokohama Harbor.
On 05 September, long lines of vehicles, carrying solders and equipment of the
off-loading units, moved west to the designated bivouac area in Hara-Machida
District, where Japanese Signal and Ordnance schools were located. At noon, a
reconnaissance party headed by Colonel Charles A. Sheldon, the Chief of Staff
of the 1st Cavalry Division, entered Tokyo. This embarkment was the first
official movement of American personnel into the capital of the mighty
Japanese Empire. The reconnaissance was without incident. Its mission was to
find bivouac areas for the Division within the city itself.
As soon as the Tokyo convey got underway, transport ships moved to dockside and began their operation of unloading equipment and deboarding of personnel of the 1st Cavalry Division. During the next week, the majority of the units took temporary, makeshift quarters designated in the Meiji Shrine Park located in Tokyo, where they remained for the first week as more permanent facilities were located.
"First in Tokyo"
The first mission of the division was to assume control of the city. On 16 September, the 1st Cavalry Division was given responsibility for occupying the entire city of Tokyo and the adjacent parts of Tokyo and Saitama Prefectures. Artillery Headquarters and Headquarters Troops and other units were stationed at Camp Drake near Tokyo.
1946 was welcomed as a new dawning of peace for the 1st Cavalry Division. The days of privation, hardship, suffering and death were over for the first time since 07 December 1940. They year found the 1st Cavalry Division in control of Tokyo and vicinity, the capital of the war-built Japanese Empire. On 01 March, the 1st Cavalry Division was given the occupational responsibility of seven prefectures of Japan, in addition to the four occupied during the previous months.
The 1st Cavalry Division began 1947 with the continuation of its occupation of the heart and nerve center of the Japanese Empire. Although there was no change in occupational policy, there had been vast changes among the troopers themselves. The combat veterans of the division had been replaced by new arrivals from the states. Their time was spent in receiving advanced training, guard duty, patrolling and specialist assignments.
As the new year of 1948 opened, the influence of the occupation was everywhere. Japan had been converted into a peaceful nation with a framework of government under its new constitution that would make it a lasting democracy. Reduction of troops continued throughout the year.
All ranks looked forward toward the new year of 1949 in anticipation of bringing the division up to standards of combat efficiency and morale for which it stood. Personnel increased approximately 70 percent over the previous levels of manpower. In March, the 1st Cavalry Division was retitled 1st Cavalry Division (Infantry) and organized as a regular, triangular infantry division. By the end of the year, combat effectiveness had risen sharply over that of the previous year. The emphasis on training conducted by the division had netted the desired result.
1950 called for an increased training to improve the ever-increasing combat effectiveness of the division which was soon to be tested.
Their baptism of fire came on 23 July. They were hit by heavy artillery fire and mortar barrage, and North Korean infantrymen swarmed toward their entrenched positions. During the first few weeks,the division artillerymen fighting with small arms along side their thundering artillery pieces. One cannoneer suggested that the crossed cannons of the artillery be changed to one cannon and one rifle. The Korean Conflict was chaotic and difficult for the artillery. Classical front lines disappeared. Artillery units often found themselves surrounded and artillerymen were called upon to fight side by side with the infantry. Artillery personnel was used to perform rear guard actions. To make up for their own lack of artillery, the North Koreans made battery positions their prime targets. Batteries had to fight off invaders in close combat and still fire their guns in support of the combat operations.
The Pusan Perimeter continued to hold. With added reinforcements, Pusan became
a staging ground and depot for United Nations supplies and soldiers from all
around the world. Solders of the United Nations forces became First Team
troopers, when they were attached to the 1st Cavalry Units and fought along
side of them. The defenders now outnumbered the attackers and they had the
equipment and firepower to go on the offensive.
On 25 October 1950, the Korean War took a grim new turn. The sudden
intervention of Communist Chinese forces dashed hopes of a quick end to the
war. In the morning of 01 November, patrols from the 1st and 2nd Battalions,
8th Cavalry, clashed with soldiers clearly identified as Red Chinese. By 28
December, the true extent of the enemy buildup had become clear. There was at
least 20 Red Chinese divisions poised for a drive on Seoul. Now there was
almost a million and a half Chinese and North Korean troops on the Korean
On 27 November, the advance party from the division, left Korea and by late January 1952, all units had arrived on Hokkaido, under the command of Major General Thomas L. Harrold. Arriving in the port of Muroran, each unit was loaded on trains and moved to the new garrison areas. Three camps were established outside Sappro, the Islands capital city. The division controlled a huge training area of 155,000 acres. The mission of the division was to defend the Island of Hokkaido and to maintain maximum combat readiness.
On 12 December 1952, the 7th Regiment, the 77th Field Artillery Battery and Battery "B", 29th Antiaircraft Battalion sailed for Pusan to relieve the 8th Regiment. By 20 December, the 8th Cavalry Troopers were all back in Hokkaido in time to celebrate Christmas.
On 10 February 1953, the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 61st Field Artillery Battalion
and Battery "A", 29th Antiaircraft AW Battalion, departed from Otaru, Japan
for Pusan and Koje-do, Korea to relieve the 7th Cavalry.
In September 1954, the Japanese assumed responsibility for defending Hokkaido and the First Team returned to the main Island of Honshu. For the next three years the division guarded the northern sections of Honshu until a treaty was signed by the governments of Japan and the United States in 1957. This accord signaled the removal of all U.S. ground forces from Japan's main islands.
On 20 August 1957, the First Cavalry Division, guarding the northern sections of Honshu, Japan was reduced to zero strength and transferred to Korea (minus equipment). On 23 September 1957, General Order 89 announced the redesignation of the 24th Infantry Division as the 1st Cavalry Division and ordered a reorganization of the Division under the "pentomic" concept. In ceremonies held on 15 October, the colors of the 24th Division were retired and the colors of the 1st Cavalry Division were passed to the Commanding General of the old 24th Division, Major General Ralph W. Zwicker. "The First Team" had returned, standing ready to defend Korea against Communist aggression.
The redesignated and reorganized First Cavalry was assigned the mission of patrolling the "Freedom's Frontier" (DMZ). In addition to their assigned duties of patrol along the southern border of the DMZ, training remained a number one priority for the troopers and unit commanders. In January 1958, the the largest training exercise in Korea since the end of hostilities, Operation Snowflake, was conducted. This exercise was followed by Operation Saber in May and Operation Horsefly in August.
The 1st Cavalry Division took over the facilities of the former 24th Infantry Division who were stationed at a Headquarters Compound located in the western defense corridor located at Bong il Chong in the Paju City area. The 1st Cavalry remained headquartered at Camp Howze until it went home on 01 July 1965. The division was only stateside long enough to be reorganized and be prepared for a new mission. On 3 July 1965, in Doughboy Stadium at Fort Benning, Georgia the colors of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) were cased and retired. As the band played the rousing strains of GarryOwen, the colors of the 1st Cavalry Division were moved onto the field. As part of the reorganization, the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 11th Air Assault Division Artillery was redesignated as Headquarters, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Cavalry Division Artillery.
In September 1965, the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery units were deployed in
Vietnam. The "Red Legs" of the Division Artillery sailed into Vietnam aboard
the USS Upshur, arriving in Vietnam at Qui Nhon on 05 September 1965. The "Red
Team" was back in combat. The Division Artillery consisted of the 2nd
Battalion, 19th Artillery, the 20th Battalion, 20th Artillery, the 1st
Battalion, 21st Artillery and 1st Battalion 77th Artillery. Their first task
was setting up unit headquarters at Camp Radcliff, the division camp base at
An Khe. In October, units participated in their first major action, Shiny
Bayonet. Their role was to coordinate tube artillery, aerial rocket artillery,
air strikes and forward observers.
Very few major engagements were fought without artillery support. From the 1st Cavalry Division's first engagement with North Vietnamese troops in 1965, the Tet Offensive of 1968, and the many support missions fired, the Field Artillery provided the quantity and quality of fire support that won the admiration and respect of the infantry. As stated by Rudyard Kipling so many years ago: An as their firin' dies away, the 'usky wisper runs, from lips that 'aven't drunk all day: The guns! Thank Gawd, the guns!
04 January 1966 began "Masher/White Wing" which were code names for the missions in Binh Dinh Province. "Masher/White Wing" utilized the a unique innovation. A special sling was developed that allowed the huge C-54A Skycrane Helicopter to airlift 155mm towed howitzers to firing positions previously considered inaccessible for the 13,000 pound weapon. Another innovation, was the successful use of a multiple rocket system which allowed helicopters to carry both SS-11 and 2.75 inch aerial rockets. The mission ended 06 March 1966, with the enemy losing its grip on the Binh Dinh Province; however, its name would be heard again and again during the next six years.
In January 1968, the division moved its headquarters to Camp Evans in I Corps.
From there, the division artillery controlled the firing batteries of the
division as they blasted the NVA from the city of Quang Tri and also from the
walls of Hue, which the enemy had controlled since their Tet Offensive. On 05
April, the forward command post moved to LZ Stud to coordinate relief of the
Marines at Khe Sanh. Later on the 27th of April, the fire support section
shifted to the A Shau Valley to support the assault on the infiltration routes
and supply centers of the NVA.
Although 26 March 1971 officially marked the end of duties in Vietnam for the 1st Cavalry Division, President Nixon's program of "Vietnamization" required the continued presence of a strong U.S. fighting force. The 2nd Battalion of the 5th Regiment, 1st Battalion of the 7th Regiment, 2nd Battalion of the 8th Regiment and 1st Battalion of the 12th Regiment, 1st Battalion 21st Field Artillery, "F" Battery, 28th Artillery, "F" Battery 77th Artillery (Aviation), "F" Battery, 79th Artillery (ARA) along with specialized support units as "F" Troop, 9th Cavalry and Delta Company, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion helped establish the 3rd Brigade headquarters at Bien Hoa. Its primary mission was to interdict enemy infiltration and supply routes in War Zone D.
By 31 March 1972, only 96,000 U.S. troops were involved in the Vietnam combat operations. In mid June 1972, the standdown ceremony for the 3rd Brigade was held in Bein Hoa and the colors were returned to the United States. The last trooper left from Tan Son Nhut on 21 June, completing the division recall which had started on 05 May 1971. With the 3rd Brigade completing their withdraw, the 1st Cavalry had been the first army division to go to Vietnam and the last to leave.
By 13 January 1991, the division moved north toward the juncture of the Saudi,
Iraq and Kuwait borders through a series of defensive positions designed to
thwart any preemptive attack along the Wadi. Meanwhile, the air war began and
other Allied ground forces began to reposition for the offense. The "Red Team"
began a calculated war of deception along the Saudi border. Among the various
actions taken were:
1. The First Team's Multiple Launched Rocket Systems (MLRS) repeatedly lit the sky, battering targets deep in Iraq.
2. Cannon batteries fired Copperhead rounds (computer controlled, rocket assisted projectiles) and thousands of high explosive along with improved conventional munitions into Iraq.
The goal was to lure Saddam Hussein into believing the main ground attack of
the Allies would come up the Wadi al-Batin, a natural invasion route,
causing him to reposition additional forces there. The deception consisted of
three major thrusts:
Operation Red Storm, a VII Corps Artillery-Aviation raid up the Wadi Al - Batin, was designed to make the Iraqis believe that the Wadi was being prepped for the main offensive. It utilized the resources of the 11th Aviation Brigade, the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery, and elements of the VII Corps Artillery. Just prior to 0100 hours, 16 February 1991, the artillery units fired a 3 minute prep on selected targets, followed by Apache attack helicopters crossing the Berm to engage targets of opportunity. In conjunction with this action, USAF assets attacked targets deep in Iraqi.
2. "Operation Knight Strike", 19 February 1991
A reconnaissance in force conducted by TF 1-5 CAV up the Wadi Al-Batin to determine the strength, composition, and disposition of Iraqi forces in the area. This operation, intended to make the Iraqis think that a major attack up the Wadi Al-Batin was being initiated, was the first mounted combat in Iraq during the war. It was also the bloodiest battle of the war for the 1st Cavalry Division.
After thirty-eight days of continuous air attacks on targets in Iraq and
Kuwait, the commander of the Allied Forces, General Norman Schwarzkopf
unleashed all-out attacks against Iraqi forces very early on 24 February 1991.
The 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, reinforced by Battery "A", 21st Field
Artillery Multiple Launched Rocket Systems (MLRS) laid down heavy fire in
support of the 2nd "Blackjack" Brigade's "feint" attack up the Wadi al
This operation was an unqualified success. The enemy reacted as anticipated. Iraqi divisions focused on the coalition threat in the Wadi, and the First Team froze them. The deception worked, in that it tied down four Iraqi divisions, leaving their flanks thinned and allowed the VII Corps to attack virtually unopposed, conducting a successful envelopment of Iraqi forces to the west.
On 28 February 1991, 100 hours after General Norman Schwarzkopf had initiated
the ground attack, President George Bush ordered a cease-fire. In the 100
hours of battle before the cease-fire went into effect, the Iraqis had lost
3,847 of their 4,280 tanks, over half of their 2,880 armored personnel
carriers, and nearly all of their 3,100 artillery pieces. Only five to seven
of their forty-three combat divisions remained capable of offensive
Returning to Fort Hood, the 1st Cavalry Division Artillary continued the constant effort of personnel and equipment readiness preparation. Since that time, they have fielded the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, the M-109A6 Paladin Howitzer, participated in National Training Center rotations, "no notice" redeployments to Kuwait in which soldiers are deployed from each battalion and each separate battery to SouthWest Asia.
The "Red Team" stoods ready to support the "First Team" in the defense of freedom and the security of peace.
Throughout the period of January to May, 2004, the 1st Cavalry Division deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II, and began serving as Task Force - Baghdad. While in Iraq, the DIVARTY Headquarters served as the headquarters element for the 5th Brigade Combat Team (Provisional), 1st Cavalry Division, taking control of several battalions, which served as motorized task forces. On 06 April 2004,in a Transfer-Of-Authority(TOA) ceremony 2004 the 5th Brigade Combat Team assumed the mission of securing Al-Rashid District, Baghdad from the Division Artillery (DIVARTY) Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, a similarly organized provisional brigade combat team.
The DIVARTY Combat Team, the 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, and the 1st Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, led the force protection package at Baghdad International Airport. Later, the unit set up a counter-battery center to combat the mortar and rocket fire into the airport and headquarters of the 1st Armored. In January 2004, they moved to Forward Operating Base Falcon. The 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment and Task Force 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment were later added to the DIVARTY Combat Team and assumed responsibility of the Al Rashid District.
On October 10, 2006, at approximately 10:40 PM., a 82mm mortar round, fired by militia forces from a residential area in Abu T-Shir, caused a fire at an Ammunition Supply Point (ASP) at FOB Falcon. The ASP, containing tank and artillery rounds, in addition to smaller caliber ammunition, set off a series of large explosions. About 100 troops from the 4th Infantry Division were reported to be stationed at the base at the time, but no injuries were reported.
As of late December 2004, Camp Falcon was also home to a spacious PX. For Thanksgiving 2004, meals were provided for 3,000 by Camp Falcon's canteen and kitchen staff.
During their time at Camp Falcon, Assault and Obstacle Platoon of "B", 8th Engineer Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division has 'enjoyed' much on-the-job training. A prime example is the installation of a sewage system, a task usually taken on by civilians or combat-heavy engineers. they had been working this sewage system for a month. With a total of seven weeks work, the pipe system was expected to be complete late January 2005.
The 1st Battalion, 1st Cavalry Regiment and Task Force 2-504th Parachute Infantry (82nd Airborne Division) were later added to the DIVARTY Combat Team and assumed responsibility of the city's Al Rashid District.
On 26 May 2005, following the return from its Operation Iraqi Freedom II deployment, the 5th Brigade (Provisional), 1st Cavalry Division was inactivated at Fort Hood, Texas On 30 May 2005, the DIVARTY, 1st Cavalry Division, which had returned to its traditional role, was inactivated as part of the US Army's transformation towards a modular force.
Need a gift for an Alumni of the 1st Cavalry Division?
eMail Your WebSite Comments.
Return to "MyOwnPages"©.
Revised 17 Nov '12 SpellChecked