3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment
"Red Knight Rakkasan"
As part of the US Army's transformation towards a modular force, the 3-320th Field Artillery was inactivated from the 101st Airbrone Division Artillery (DIVARTY) and reactivated with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team in 2005.
The mission of the the 3-320th Field Artillery is to on order, 3-320th Field Artillery deploys worldwide within 36 hours to provide direct support fires for 3d Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Also, on order, 3-320th FA conducts Air Assault operations in support of the Brigade scheme of maneuver. The Battalion is made up of a Headquarters and Headquarters Battery ("Lightning"), and two firing batteries, A Battery ("Gators") and B Battery ("Bandit"). Also attached is G Company, a Forward Support Company of the 626th Brigade Support Battalion ("Guardians")
The 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery was constituted on 5 August 1917, as an element of the 82nd All American Division at Camp Gordon, Georgia. The battalion mustered and trained with horse-drawn artillery until May 1918, when the battalion sailed to Liverpool, England, in preparation for combat operations in WWI. In June 1918, the battalion deployed to La Courtine, France, where the battalion was refitted with the French 75mm gun. After 6 weeks of intensive training, the battalion moved south in preparation for the impending Lorraine Campaign Offensive.
On 21 August 1918, C Battery fired the 320th Regiment's first mission in response to an observer in a hot air balloon. On 5 September enemy forces fired on Allied Infantry with mustard gas. In response, the Battalion returned fire with 400 high explosive rounds, which silenced the enemy. A week later the St. Mihel offensive began. During the next 5 days, the Battalion fired over 20,000 artillery rounds to neutralize enemy observation posts, to destroy enemy batteries and to interdict enemy lines of communication. On 25 September 1918, the battalion joined the first American Army attack in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. In the next 6 weeks, the battalion conducted the 320th Regiment's first artillery raid when one gun and two caissons moved forward in range of enemy fire to destroy an enemy machine-gun emplacement. In November, the battalion celebrated victory and re-deployed to Camp Dix, New Jersey, following the war.
On 15 August 1942, the battalion was redesignated as a Glider Field Artillery Battalion. Issued M3 105mm howitzers, the Battalion deployed to Italy to participate in the Sicily Campaign and the Naples-Foggia Campaign. On 6 June 1944, the Battalion assaulted by parachute and glider near St. Mere Eglise, France. For its contributions, the battalion received the Presidential Unit Citation and French Croix de Guere with Palm. In September 1944, the Battalion again assaulted by glider into Groesbeck, Holland, in support of Operation Market Garden. After consolidating artillery forces, the Battalion supported the battle for Nijmegen Bridge.
As a result of its actions the battalion was awarded a second French Croix de Guere with Palm and the Military Order of William. In December, the Battalion supported counterattacking forces in the Ardennes Forest. Continuing the Allied offensive, the battalion fired almost 1,000 rounds to help clear the Ruhr Pocket and establish a defensive position. In its last combat mission in WWII, the battalion crossed the Elbe River and fired in support of Allied forces on 1 May 1945. During WWII, the battalion delivered 68,562 rounds of artillery.
On 2 October 1986, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). The Battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia as a part of Operation Desert Shield on 10 September 1990. On 25 February 1991, the Battalion participated in the largest combat Air Assault in history. As a part of Task Force 3-101, the battalion conducted combat operations in the Euphrates River Valley in the area of Operation Eagle during Operation Desert Storm. The battalion was part of the northern most deployed Allied forces in Iraq. It was the only DIVARTY unit to conduct a mass fire mission in combat.
The battalion redeployed to Fort Campbell on 10 April 1991 to resume its mission of direct support to the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
In November 2001 elements of the battalion began their deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. By the end of January 2002, elements from the Red Knight Fire Support Element and the Radar were engaged alongside their 3d Brigade brethren in fighting Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan and took part in Operation Anaconda.
In 2003 the 3-320th Field Artillery deployed with other elements of the 101st Airborne Division for Operation Iraqi Freedom. It returned to Fort Campbell in 2004 as part of the Division's tranformation to the US Army's new modular force structure. As a result the 101st Airborne DIVARTY was deactivated and the 3-320th Field Artillery was stood down and then reactivated as a component of the 101st Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team. The Battalion was also reduced one Company, with personnel from C Company being reassigned to the newly reformed 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment.
In 2005 it returned to Iraq with other elements of the 3rd BCT, where it served through 2008.
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