2nd Battalion (Airborne), 321st Field Artillery Regiment
The 321st Field Artillery Regiment was first constituted on 5 August 1917 as part of the National Army and was assigned to the 82nd Division. This Regiment, along with its sister regiments, the 319th and the 320th was officially activated as part of the 157th Field Artillery Brigade on 29 August 1917 at Camp Gordon, near Atlanta. Organized initially as horse-drawn artillery, the 320th and 321st were authorized 4 3-inch guns per battery, while the 319th was authorized 4 6-inch howitzers.
After the Regiment's training on American soil the 321st arrived in LeHarve, France in early June 1918. They were issued French 1897M1 75mm field guns as its primary artillery piece. The "French 75" was adopted rather than the US made M1902 (3 inch gun), because the "75" had a higher rate of fire, greater accuracy and a highly advanced technological recoil system.
The 321st first saw action during World War I during the Lorraine Campaign. The following month the 321st saw more action during the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. During the final days of World War I the 321st moved from Imecourt to Les Islettes where it was encamped when the Armistice was declared. Upon returning to the United States the 321st was demobilized.
The unit was reconstituted on 5 June 1930 in the Organized Reserves, and concurrently, consolidated with Battery B, 321st Field Artillery (active). This unit had been first constituted in July 1923 in the Organized Reserves as Battery B, 452d Field Artillery, and organized in Georgia. The consolidated unit was designated as Battery B, 321st Field Artillery, an element of the 82d Division.
During World War II, the 321st Field Artillery was reorganized and redesignated on 13 February 1942 as Battery C, 321st Field Artillery Battalion, before bring ordered into active military service. It was reorganized and redesignated on 15 August 1942 as Battery C, 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion, an element of the 101st Airborne Division.
During the Normandy and D-Day invasion the 321st Glider Field Artillery Battalion initially landed on Utah Beach aboard the John S Mosby, a "Liberty" ship. By 9 June 1944, the 321st was firing in support of a coordinated offensive action undertaken by the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment (GIR) as they crossed the Douve River.
The 321st continued offensive operations supporting the 327th GIR throughout this early campaign. Once across the Douve, the 321st set up its guns near Catz, laying fire on the far banks of the canal. It was relieved from action on 10 July 1944 and sailed for the base camp in England aboard a Landing Ship Tank (LST) on 13 July 1944. The unit was inactivated on 30 November 1945 in Germany.
It was redesignated on 18 June 1948 as Battery B, 518th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion and withdrawn on 25 June 1948 from the Organized Reserve Corps and allotted to the Regular Army. This unit was activated on 6 July 1948 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. It was inactivated on 1 April 1949 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. The unit was again activated on 25 August 1950 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky and inactivated on 1 December 1953 at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky.
The unit was activated on 15 May 1954 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and redesignated on 1 July 1956 as Battery B, 321st Airborne Field Artillery Battalion. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 25 April 1957 as Battery B, 321st Artillery, an element of the 101st Airborne Division.
It was relieved on 1 February 1964 from assignment to the 101st Airborne Division and assigned to the 82d Airborne Division. The unit was reorganized and redesignated on 25 May 1964 as Headquarters, Headquarters and Service Battery, 2d Battalion, 321st Artillery, with its organic elements constituted on 6 March 1964 and activated on 25 May 1964.
The unit was redesignated on 1 September 1971 as the 2nd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery and inactivated on 2 October 1986 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and relieved from assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division.
The unit was redesignated on 1 October 2005 as the 2d Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment and assigned on 16 June 2006 to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division and activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
B Battery transformed from 2 4-gun Ml19A2 howitzer platoons to 2 2-gun Ml19A2 platoons and 2 M198 platoons with associated fire direction centers (FDC) to meet deployment mission requirements during 2006.
B Battery deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VIII in January 2007. Upon arriving in country, the Battery immediately had a change of mission. It was tasked to occupy 4 forward operating bases rather than those originally tasked requiring the M198-trained platoon to store, certify on and man M119A2 howitzers.
Once set, B Battery occupied a footprint of more than 1,000 miles and encompassing 4 different Afghan provinces, providing close, indirect fire support in the battlespace of 4 different maneuver headquarters in both Regional Command East and Regional Command South. The platoons of B Battery conducted more than 10 air-assault missions in support of maneuver operations and participated in and fired in support of Operations Achilles, Maiwand and Khiyber. During Operation Achilles, 4th Platoon served as the adjusting element for a multinational coalition battery including both British L118 and Canadian M777 howitzers responsible for more than 60 enemy killed in action.
Elements of the 2nd Battalion, 231st Field Artillery (Airborne) continued to serve in Afghanistan into 2008.
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