RR Guns - Alsace Alice

Discussions on the fortifications & artillery used by the Axis forces.
JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 07 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:15

07 February 45, Wednesday

278th FAB - Feb. 7 to 13
The 278th engages in counter battery missions to knock out a German railroad gun harassing the town of Colmar.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 09 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:16

09 February 45, Friday

117th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mecz) in World War II
Elements of the Squadron continued to occupy positions on the south side of the Moder River. Scattered rounds of heavy caliber enemy artillery fire fell in the vicinity of our forward positions. The men were all well dug in, and no casualties were suffered.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 10 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:16

10 February 45, Saturday

VI Corps Arty
Oberhoffen drew several moderate concentrations, and heavy caliber fire was reported on various points in the Haguenau area during the day.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 12 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:17

12 February 45, Monday

567th AAA Bn - INFORMAL HISTORY
Dettwiller, the weather was very nice and warm for a change. While we were at Dettwiller the Germans opened up with there 280’s, and we sweated it out for a few nights, with shrapnel coming close to some of the sections. The sections were inspected by high ranking Generals, and it was at Dettwiller that the sixth section, under the command of Sgt. Joseph W. Haalford received a very good letter of Commendation from General Townsend.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 14 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:17

14 February 45, Wednesday

VI Corps Arty
The 380mm gun which shelled Brumath during the night is the same type as that which shelled Saverne and Saaralbe the latter part of January from a position on the RR line vic of Hornbach. Groove bearings obtained by the 36th Div Arty indicate that possibly this same gun has now moved to a location about 1000-1200 mils azimuth from Brumath, and may be operating on the railroad vic Rastatt, where a fork NE of the town is very, suitable, or near Lauterbourg - both locations being about the same range as HORNBACH-SAVERNE. As is usually the case, many flashes were reported during the night, and one of these flash intersections south of Hoffen was intersected by the ray of a reported 170mm caliber shelling today vic 097-200. This is a common trick to use another heavy caliber firing from a different direction to cover the firing of these railroad guns.

Map fork NE of the town
http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x331/FJTM/RR%20Guns/Rastatt%20bend_zpsp4aefyoc.jpg
Last edited by JABIER on 06 Mar 2017 18:58, edited 1 time in total.

JABIER
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Posts: 116
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Alsace Alice - 15 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:18

15 February 45, Thursday

VI Corps Arty
a 380mm RR gun put 12 shells, including 3 air burst for adjustment, into Saverne in the early hours of the morning. Sound and flash were unable to get more than "C" accuracy plots on it, but these indicate the gun was firing vicinity 068-352. The Groove bearing from the shelled area passes very close to this same location also. It is now believed that this same gun shelled Brumath the night of Feb 13-14th, very possibly from the RR bend N of Hoffen, which was one of the locations indicated by flash intersections on that night.

36th Signal Co.
On the night of 15 February, the front line came to us, for a period of several hours. A high-velocity railroad gun, situated across the Rhine River, commenced to drop mammoth shells into Brumath every fifteen minutes. They exploded with considerable concussion and inclined everyone to take to the cellars. One shell destroyed a building some fifty yards from the signal bivouac. The effect of "Alsace Alice", as we observed in the morning, was hardly inferior to that of a blockbuster; it made a building look like Shredded Wheat. The annoying thing about high-velocity guns is that their projectiles do not whistle; the pleasant thing about high-velocity guns is that it takes so long to load them that the bursts may be anticipated with some accuracy.

Map wR068352
http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x331/FJTM/RR%20Guns/RR%20wR068352%20-%20Surbourg_zpsfcayr3tu.jpg
RR bend N of Hoffen
http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x331/FJTM/RR%20Guns/RR%20bend%20N%20of%20Hofen_zpsk01t7ahs.jpg
Last edited by JABIER on 06 Mar 2017 18:46, edited 1 time in total.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 16 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:18

16 February 45, Friday

VI Corps Arty
The 380mm gun did not show up, due possibly to bridges being destroyed on the railroad S of Wissembourg.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 17 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:19

17 February 45, Saturday

VI Corps Arty
On the night of 17/02, despite a ground haze which prevented an accurate location, 2 FOB - “B” Batt flash obtained an area flash location on this gun, which in conjunction with flashes turned in by OP´s of the 938th and 194th FA Bn, was sufficient to identify the RR bend W of Surbourg as the location. The “track runner” consisting of a TOT and batt volleys every 100 yards along the bed were fired by the 936th, x77th and 36th FA Bns, with harassing until daylight by 939th FA Bn. The railroad gun commander was killed by this harassing fire when he came to look for his wounded men. This PW statement, believe reliable, substantiates a previous PW reported of damage to the gun and casualties to the crew. Congratulations to all the above units for their work in the first known instance that American arty has located and fired on one of those railroad guns while it was in firing position.

Map
http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x331/FJTM/RR%20Guns/RR%20Bend%20W%20of%20Surbourg_zpsplshpkhf.jpg
Last edited by JABIER on 06 Mar 2017 18:44, edited 1 time in total.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 18 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:19

18 February 45, Sunday

VI Corps Arty
4 rds from a 380mm RR Gun fell in Saverne wQ-7515.

About midnight the 380mm RR gun made an unsuccessful attempt to adjust on Saverne. After firing 4 rounds, flash rays showed his location to be very close to that he used on the night of 14-15 Feb and retaliatory fire was immediately laid on. A TOT followed by harassing fire stopped his activity for the night and it is hoped that our fire either caught some of the crew or damaged the piece. However due to poor visibility today Tac/R could not make an estimate of the results.

117th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mecz) in World War II
The Squadron continued to maintain the defensive line between Hagenau and Kaltenhouse, making contact with the 101st Airborne Div on the left flank and the 143rd Infantry of the 36th Division on the right.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 19 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:19

19 February 45, Monday

117th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mecz) in World War II
No change was made today in the Troop's holding the line, and with the exception of some unusually large caliber artillery falling in our area, estimated to be 380mm, and dubbed by the GIs as "Alsace Avalanche", very little activity occurred during the day. This artillery is 100MM, larger than the "Anzio Express" enemy artillery piece, which gained much respect on the beachhead in Italy.

14th AD - Russel Bracco
Early this a.m., heavy guns sporadically thundered through the night´s silence. I was on duty at 03:00 a.m. Every time a burst was heard, you could see the gun flashes. At first, I thought the Germans were at it again. We expected the town to be shelled by the big 380mm RR guns the Jerries are using. Saverne has been the target for the last few days. Clark told me about it. 5 Q.M. boys were killed one night. The explosion shook the building in which Clark was billeting, like a toy. The say the gun range is a good 35 miles (firing from across the Rhine in Germany no doubt)

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 20 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:20

20 February 45, Tuesday

14th AD - Russel Bracco
It seems as if the Germans are firing those big guns only at night time, for fear of being detected at daylight. Who said “the night is still.” […] The Air Force was out. Hope they sight the “Alsace Alice”, name for RR gun at Anzio. It was the “Anzio Express”.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 22 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:20

22 February 45, Thursday

VI Corps Arty
The heavy caliber gun which shelled Saverne about 0300A is believed to be the elusive 380mm RR gun which has made a midnight-shuttle run on the Haguenau -Wissembourg line on several past occasions. Last night flash plots' located it on the RR bend at Soultz-sous-Forets. Counter battery fire caused it to march order after shooting three rounds, but as yet air rcn during the day has not reported results other than that. The next probable location for the gun to occur is the bend N of Hoffen.

The 380mm RR gun fired three rounds into the Saverne area at 0246A, 0257A, and 0316A. Immediately after first round was fired a harassing program was initiated along the RR track on points that had previously been determined as possible and probable firing positions for this gun. On the second round "B" battery, 2 FA Obsn Bn, flash OP#1 reported an azimuth of 40 and this ray inter¬sected the RR track just west of Soultz at wR099373. A tangent to the curve on RR track gave a line directly towards Saverne. Based on this information the 36 Fa Bn fired 44 rds along the RR track in this area over a period of one-half hour. On the 3rd round fired by the RR gun the Obsn Bn obtained a two ray flash plot which confirmed the location west of Soultz. Utilizing this information a harassing program was put into effect covering a stretch of track from wR0975-3720 to wR1005-3735 from 0400A to 0700A. Damage to the RR gun caused by counter battery fire was undetermined but it is significant that this gun fired only three rounds and none after fire was placed west of Soultz.

Map
http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x331/FJTM/RR%20Guns/RR%20Soultz%20wR097372%20to%20wR10053735_zpsm3rjhecg.jpg
Last edited by JABIER on 06 Mar 2017 18:57, edited 1 time in total.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 23 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:21

23 February 45, Friday

VI Corps Arty
PW-noncom of 8th Co heard from replacements, coming up from Surbourg that a German Railroad gun has been in position behind that town. About 7-8 nights ago this gun fired during the night, unmolested by Americans, the next following-night they got a few shots off, after which American artillery opened up, hitting an ammunition dump nearby, causing many losses amongst the men and putting gun out of commission.

582nd SAW Bn
Dettwiller - Nice spring day - Saverne still being shelled by Alsace Annie.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 24 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:21

24 February 45, Saturday

VI Corps Arty
A Battery of the 36 F, which was harassing the RR between Soultz and Hoffen in case the 380mm tried to open fire, received 50 rounds of counter battery fire from two light batteries.

Harassing fire by Corps Arty during the night was placed principally on known enemy battery locations and junctions of main supply routes. Based on information from intelligence sources that the German 380mm RR gun was to fire during the night, harassing fire was placed on two possible locations for this piece, one west of Soultz, the other north of Hoffen.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 25 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:22

25 February 45, Sunday

VI Corps Arty
The 12 rounds; including 5 .airburst for adjustment, which fell into SAVERNE during the night, appear to be of 280mm caliber, pre-rifled, of the same type as the old Anzio-Express.- This type of gun is known to have a very long range, possibly 50 miles, for Dover, England was shelled from across the Channel by it. Fragments recovered from one air burst and the known shell holes are definitely of this type, and although the 380mm gun active in the past may also have fired at the same time,, no fragments of it were found and it seems improbable that it did, for its possible firing positions were under harassment at the time. Moreover, it is doubtful that the Germans would adjust with the 380mn and fire for effect with the 280, considering the dispersion of the pieces, ranges involved, ballistic characteristics of the guns, and difficulties of communication. Grooves from the shelled areas and the dispersion pattern also, indicate that the 280mm fired from the Zweibucken-Hornbach spur, possibly from the wQ7265 [Hornbach] vicinity, where RR guns have-been active in the past. In view of the rather rapid rate of fire far effect and also from the dispersion pattern, two 280mm guns located on the same spurs, rather than one, may have been responsible.

Harold Weslyn Culver Jr.
Wes served in France during World War II. He arrived in Marseilles on 29 October 1944 and remained in France until C Company barracks was hit in Saverne on 25 February 1945 by 380mm German railroad gun “Alsace Annie.” According to the Division history, eleven men were killed, and thirteen were wounded, including Wes who nearly lost his arm. After spending years in various hospitals and undergoing many, many surgeries, Wes’ arm was restored under remarkable circumstances.


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