1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery Regiment (MLRS/Target Acquisition)
In June 2006, the 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery was inactivated and its personnel reflagged as the 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery, part of the reorganized 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
The mission of the 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery (MLRS/TA) was to deploy to acquire counterfire targets and provide rocket and missile fires to support 1st Infantry Division countingency operations with counterfire, SEAD, deep fires, and support to the close fight.
The 33rd Field Artillery was originally organized on 5 August 1918 at Camp Meade Maryland. After being alerted several times for overseas deployment, it was demobilized on 12 December 1918. In the words of the Battalion's unofficial history written in 1950, "The Lion opened one eye, looked around, and went back to sleep."
The unit was redesignated on 1 October 1940 as the 33rd Field Artillery Battalion and assigned to the 1st Division (later redesignated as the 1st Infantry Division) at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont.
After participating with the Division in the "Carolina Maneuvers" and training in England, the Battalion participated in the first of its 3 assault landings near Les Analouses, North Africa. At 0832 hours on 8 November 1942, while firing in support of the 26th Regimental Combat Team, B Battery fired the first US artillery rounds in the European Theater. Throughout the North African campaign, the 33rd Field Artillery continued to support the 26th Regimental Combat Team, including at the battle of Kasserine Pass where the Battalion provided both indirect and direct fires.
On 10 July 1943, the 1st Infantry Division hit Sicily. The 33rd Field Artillery landed at Gela and fought along side the Rangers and the 26th Infantry. The gun positions were less than 500 meters from the sea when the Herman Goering Division launched a counter-attack. "It was either fight the gun or die." Regimental Forward Observers directed the cannon fires and naval gunfire to stop the counter-attack just short of the beach. 8 German tanks were destroyed by direct fire from the 105mm howtizers, while many others were damaged and pulled back.
The 33rd Field Artillery again supported the 26th Infantry throughout the Sicilian campaign. At Triona, fires from the 33rd Field Artillery held back attacks against the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the 26th Infantry, while inflicting some of the heaviest casualties and damage to the German troops in the entire Sicilian Campaign.
The Battalion and battery recon parties landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, while the rest of the Battalion came ashore at D+1. The landing at Omaha constituted the third assault landing for the Battalion. Those 3 landings are symbolized by the 3 points on the lion's tail on the battalion crest. By the 12th of June 1944, the Battalion occupied positions just North of Caumont. Caumont, held by the 26th Infantry, was the point of deepest penetration on the allied front. By mid-July 1944, the battalion had collected enemy and American guns and mortars to the point that the total number of weapons being fired through the Fire Direction Center totaled 51.
The Battalion continued to fight its way through Northern France, including fighting surrounded during the evening of 3 September 1944, until it was relieved by elements of the 26th Infantry. Over 200 of the enemy were found dead in the area when relief arrived.
In October 1944, the 26th Regimental Combat Team received the mission of clearing Aachen. The 33rd Field Artillery, the Direct Support battalion for the 26th Infantry, had the task of coordinating all the fires from various battalions into Aachen. On 21 October 1944 the city surrendered, thus being the first German City to fall to the Allies.
The Battalion supported the 26th Infantry again during the "Battle of the Bulge." The Battalion helped hold the northern shoulder of the "bulge" against the 12th SS Panzer Division, firing over 4300 rounds on 19 December 1944 and over 4000 rounds on 22 December 1944.
The Battalion continued to move westward, providing General Support fires as the 1st Infantry Division crossed the Roer and Rhine Rivers. The Battalion then returned to its Direct Support role as the 26th Infantry moved out of the Remagen bridgehead. The Battalion eventually found itself supporting the 26th Infantry again as the Regiment took Brocken Berg, the highest point in Germany.
When the war in Europe ended on 8 May 1945, the 1st Infantry Division and the 33rd Field Artillery Battalion had crossed the Czech-German border and was attacking toward Karlsbad. In the 2 1/2 years since landing in North Africa, the 33rd Field Artillery had participated in 8 major campaigns (including Tunisia, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe), including 3 amphibious assault landings (Algeria-French Morocco, Sicily, and Normandy). It had accumulated 422 days of actual combat, decorated 655 officers and soldiers, sustained 292 casualties, expended over 175,000 rounds of high explosive ammunition, and taken over 500 prisoners.
The Battalion was relieved 15 February 1957 from assignment to the 1st Infantry Division. It was redesignated as the 1st Missile Battalion (Honest John), 33rd Field Artillery and activated in Schweinfurt on 1 July 1957. It was redesignated as the 1st Battalion, 33rd Artillery on 2 August 1965 and then redesiganted again as the 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery Regiment on 1 September 1971 and then deactivated on 31 March 1974.
The Battalion was reactivated on 3 March 1987 from the 5 batteries and headquarters element of the 2nd Cannon Training Battalion and assigned to Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Sill. 1-33rd Field Artillery was inactivated on 15 August 1995 at Fort Sill and redesignated on 16 August 1995 as A Battery, 33rd Field Artillery and assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany. On 16 August 1996, A Battery, 33rd Field Artillery was relieved from assignment to the 3rd Infantry Division and assigned to the 1st Infantry Division.
On 2 June 1999, the 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery (MLRS/Target Acquisition) was reactivated and assigned to the 1st Infantry Division with A Battery, 33rd Field Artillery being redesignated as A Battery, 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery and B Battery, 25th Field Artillery (Target Acquisition) being redesignated as D Battery, 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery.
12 days after activation, the Battalion participated in its first deployment as D Battery was deployed to support Operation Joint Guardian II. The D Battery "Wolfpack" was the first company size element from the 1st Infantry Division to enter the Province of Kosovo in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. D Battery supported peacekeeping operations in Kosovo until its redeployment on 21 December 1999.
In June 2006, the 1st Battalion, 33rd Field Artillery was inactivated as part of the transformation of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) to the US Army's new modular force structure. As a result, each of the Division's 4 maneuver brigades recieved an organic field artillery battalion, and the Division Artillery was inactivated. 1-33rd Field Artillery's personnel were reflagged as the 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery, part of the reorganized 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
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