RR Guns - Alsace Alice

Discussions on the fortifications & artillery used by the Axis forces.
JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 26 02 45

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:22

26 February 45, Monday

14th AD History
At Saverne, Alsace Annie, a German 380mm (15 inches) RR gun firing from 30 miles away, was laid on supply installations in the city and the Germans fired every Wednesday and Saturday night. They kept it hidden in the daytime so the air Force could not take it out. And at Saverne, from this gun, the 136th (Ordinance) suffered its gravest loss. One round hit squarely in C Co barracks - 11 men were killed and 13 wounded.

14th AD - Russel Bracco
136th Outfit “C” Co is moving into our area. They suffered 25 casualties in last night´s shelling of Saverne; 10 boys were killed. A big pounder. No doubt “Alice Alsace” Germany´s RR gun was the killer. Talked to some of the boys who were in the building that was hit. A terrible experience for them.

JABIER
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Re: RR Guns - Alsace Alice

Postby JABIER » 06 Mar 2017 14:23

Unknown date

Michael F Toohig, Co. B 411th - 103rd ID
So I went back to Sarreguemines and it was Yellow Jaundice. I was up on top floor of a school building which was the hospital. And that was the time they had Alsace Alice. Alsace Alice was the railroad cannon. It was shelling the area. The shells were like a freight train coming in. There was an article recently in one of the Washington papers by the nurses telling that every time they heard Alsace Alice the casualties started pouring in. They wanted to get everyone down in the basement. I said I was too sick. I said that shell is too heavy; it will go through the top floor. So I just stayed there and slept through the whole thing. When I came back the outfit had just started the March attack.

PAPA'S WAR, PART 4
We got occasional reminders that we were not completely safe, however. The Germans had a huge railway gun, nicknamed "Alsace Alice," that they used to lob shells into Division Rear, in Saverne, nearly 20 miles behind us. The shells sounded like freight trains going overhead. Luckily, the gun, which backed up into a railroad tunnel to hide after firing a few rounds, was located. A tactical air strike sealed off both ends of the tunnel and that was the last we heard from Alice.

INFORMAL HISTORY OF THE 567th AAA Bn
“While attached to the Seventh US Army, Battalion performed the additional missions of supporting field artillery of the 101st Airborne Division near Haguenau, and supplied air protection for the 101st Airborne in staging area near Saverne and Sarrebourg. Batteries were subjected to fire from enemy heavy artillery, including the shelling of Battery C at Saverne by 380mm railway guns. As a result of this action, two enlisted men were slightly wounded. At Sarralbe, Battery D was subjected to fire from 280mm guns which destroyed a highway bridge 40 yards long. Bridge was located within thirty yards of the battery command post.”

Regards,

JABIER
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RR Guns - Alsace Alice

Postby JABIER » 19 Mar 2017 13:37

Info from 10th Armored Division, 23 March 45
725 RR Arty Bn
The PW from this unit had the following entry in his paybook:
1st battery, 725 RR Arty Bn. He explained that the 1st battery is now called 725 battery under 640 RR Arty Bn control, while according to the PW, a 725 RR Arty Bn also still is in existence. The battery had as armament 2 280mm RR Guns and recently attached to it a French RR gun, which he estimates as being 340mm caliber. The unit is said to have retreated along the following route: Schiffweiler [Neunkirchen] Kusel, Kaiserlautern, Hochspeyer, Neustadt, Speyer. It may have left the French gun behind.

The ammunition still available on this side of the Rhine consisted of 120 rounds for the French gun and only 25 rounds for the 280mm RR guns. The PW asserted that they were only firing during the night, and expended an average of 25 rounds per night. During the daytime the guns were kept in RR tunnels. The strength of the battery is said to have been 180 men approximately. CO: 725th Btry, 1st Lt Schumann. CO: 640th RR Arty Bn, Maj Römer. The PW knew about the following 3 other RR Arty Batteries: 765, 686 and 688. The 765 RR Arty Btry, he explained, has 2 280mm RR guns, while the 686 RR Arty Btry has 1 280mm RR gun and one French gun (Possibly 340mm). FPN: 725 Btry - 40650.

Regards,

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 05 01 45

Postby JABIER » 19 Mar 2017 13:43

05 January 45, Friday

100th ID - G2
About 1900, 3 rounds estimated 270mm fell into Rohrbach (6549) believed to be coming from railroad guns.

Boxcars and Burps, Easy does it.
The Nazis tried to break our morale while we were at the Rohrbach railroad station [from 2 to 5 January] by throwing in enormous shells from one of their railway guns. One night, two shells landed in our area, shaking us up badly but causing only one casualty - a man from another outfit. The concussion was like that of an aerial bomb. It shattered windows and tore tile from the rooftops. Shell fragments rocked buildings and leveled trees. At the point of impact, coffin-sized blocks of frozen earth were hurled a score or more yards. One of those rounds could have demolished a house and killed its occupants to a man. One shell missed our CP by about 75 yards and the other struck in the backyard of another house. The side of the house was knocked in, and a man in the toilet was lacerated by splintered glass. The Air Corps had spotted the railway gun and flew many unsuccessful sorties against it. The enemy hid the gun in a tunnel and was so harassed by the air raids that they dared expose it only at night. The bombardiers, we later learned, finally destroyed the gun by skipping bombs into the tunnel.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 17 01 45

Postby JABIER » 19 Mar 2017 13:45

17 January 45, Wednesday

Journal of Major Robert Thorne, Assistant G-3 and Air Operations Officer, 70th ID
17 Jan, Reichshoffen
Artillery hit close by early this AM. It was all large caliber; one missed this CP by 300 yds – shell over 11” in diameter – probably railway gun. Looks at though by the number of shells in near vicinity that they were after this place. Sure did shake this house and rattle windows. Some plaster fell but no other damage.

82 Fighter Control
On January 17, 1945, orders were received to return to Gugenheim and go into operations again. The trip back was made without incident, and the unit was operational on January 19. While we were away, a signal company had taken over the barracks, but we were able to place everyone in buildings in town. The stay in Gugenheim this time was very short. The Germans crossed the Rhine above Strass-bourg with about 50 tanks and we were forced to pull back again. This move took place January 22, 1945, and the new location was at Saverne, France. The operations at Saverne were strictly routine. Nearly everything in the town was off limits, so everyone was practically confined to the camp area. The only recreation was provided by the theater run by VI Corps. Soon after arriving in Saverne, Lt. Colonel Amos F. Riha succeeded Major Ready as Commanding Officer. Here we renewed acquaintances with German long range railroad guns. For several nights this gun threw its large shells into Saverne. Some of the shells burst quite close to our area and rained shrapnel all around. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the men on duty in the VHP and operations vans spent many uncomfortable nights. The gun was finally spotted by a reconnaissance aircraft, and taken care of by a flight of P-47's. Forward Sector Operations 1 remained at Saverne til March 28,1945. On this date it moved and went into operations at Edenkoben, Germany. Soon after our arrival, we were joined by 64th Fighter Wing Headquarters and additional personnel. This changed us from a forward sector Ops into a control center. Forward Sector Operations 1 ceased to exist and Control Center 1 commenced operating again.
Last edited by JABIER on 19 Mar 2017 13:54, edited 1 time in total.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 20 01 45

Postby JABIER » 19 Mar 2017 13:47

20 January 45, Saturday

187th Engineer History
Beginning on the night of January 20th and continuing for the next few nights, Bouzonville was shelled by an unknown weapon. Shells exploded at regular eight-minute intervals. Windows were broken and Able company´s officers´ quarters were filled with debris when a shell landed just 30 feet from their billets. Luckily nobody was hurt.
The weapon was discovered to be a giant 380mm railway gun, hidden in a tunnel by day, to avoid being spotted from the air, and brought out at night to hurl high explosive shells into Bouzonville. After a few days, division artillery located the gun and put it out of commision.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 22 01 45

Postby JABIER » 19 Mar 2017 13:48

22 January 45, Monday

82nd Fighter Control Squadron
The Germans crossed the Rhine above Strassbourg with about 50 tanks and we were forced to pull back again. This move took place January 22, and the new location was Saverne.
[…]
Here we renewed acquaintances with German long range railroad guns. For several nights this gun threw its large shells into Saverne. Some of the shells burts quite close to our area and rained shrapnel all around. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the men on duty in the VHP and operations vans spent many unconfortable nights. The gun was finally spotted by a reconnaissance aircraft, and taken care of by a flight of P-47s.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 29 01 45

Postby JABIER » 19 Mar 2017 13:49

29 January 45,Monday

An Informal History of the 697th FAB
Finally on January 29th B-1 was sneaked far fordward to Petit Rederching to fire on a 380 mm railway gun. Thus the front remained in a static condition throughout the remainder of the winter.

JABIER
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Alsace Alice - 08 02 45

Postby JABIER » 19 Mar 2017 13:51

08 February 45, Thursday

82 Fighter Control
While the lines in northern France were quite static, our corps was sent to help clean out the Colmar pocket. We were in that area from January 26, 1945, to February 15. Our first night (Feb. 7) in the city of Colmar was very quiet. However, the next night we were shelled out of the city, presumably by large Jerry railroad guns.


Curtiss H. Anderson, S/Sgt. 65th Signal Battalion XXL Corps, Cryptographic Technician
At Colmar the code room was an elegant tiled bathroom of a "liberated" mansion south of the General's headquarters in the basement below. Some spy with a short wave radio gave our exact location to the Germans across the Rhine. Every nine minutes a shell came in from a huge railroad gun across the Rhine. I lost several buddies that night, but we learned to dive between the Signal Corps safes every nine minutes. The purple tile came off the wall, but we capt the code room going. Next day U.S. Air Force took out the railroad gun.

http://i1176.photobucket.com/albums/x331/FJTM/RR%20Guns/RR%20Colmar_zpslpoqya44.jpg
Last edited by JABIER on 19 Mar 2017 14:04, edited 1 time in total.

JABIER
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Posts: 122
Joined: 27 May 2008 07:46

Alsace Alice - 15 02 45

Postby JABIER » 19 Mar 2017 13:53

15 February 45, Thursday

82 Fighter Control
I personally joined the VI Corps at Saverne, France, on 5 February 1945. My initiation began on the early dawn of the 15th of February when "Alsace Alice" started to harass us. She was a 380- millimeter railroad gun, spurting out a projectile which weighed 1100 pounds. The Germans fired a dozen shells into our area, three of which landed just a few feet from the Command post. Experts claim that it was firing from a position about 30 miles away; but we all agreed that it was too close for comfort. Again at 0100 hours on the 18th of February "Alice" was active, but there were only four rounds issued that time. Gradually her ammunition shortage became apparent, because only three rounds visited us on the 22nd. Her last attempt was made on 25 February, when together with her sister (the 170 mm gun) she gave us a dose of a dozen shells. From reliable reports it is believed that our fighter-bombers eventually put her out of commission.


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