Maryland Regimental Artillery Association, inc.

Preserving Maryland’s Artillery Heritage

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D-Day

On Saturday, October 10, 2009 the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia dedicated a unit plaque to the 110th Field Artillery Battalion for its service on D-Day.  Photographs from the Dedication appear on this page, and the text of the plaque is set forth below.

D-Day landings,

June 6, 1944

Bedford Dedication

On June 6, 1944, elements of the 110th Field Artillery Battalion went ashore at Omaha Beach with the 115th Infantry, and played a key part in the success of the 29th Infantry Division’s operations that day.

© 2009-2012  Maryland Regimental Artillery Association, Inc.

110th Field Artillery Battalion, 29th Infantry Division

 “Sicut Quercus” (“As the Oak”)

 

The 110th Field Artillery (FA), the Maryland National Guard’s senior artillery organization, traces its origin to 28 December 1915, when Battery A, Maryland FA, was activated at Pikesville.  Upon America’s April 1917 entry into World War I, Battery A was expanded into the 1st Maryland FA Battalion, federalized in August, and attached to the 29th Division.  Consolidated with several District of Columbia National Guard units in November, it was redesignated the 110th FA Regiment.  After service in France from July 1918 to May 1919, the 110th was reformed at Pikesville in 1925. Federalized again on 3 February 1941, the 110th moved to Ft. Meade, Maryland.  When the 29th Division reorganized on 11 March 1942, the 110th divided into two units, the 110th and 224th FA Battalions.

 

The 110th FA Battalion embarked on HMS Queen Elizabeth for Britain on 5 October 1942 with its three firing batteries in direct support of the 29th Division’s 115th Regimental Combat Team.  Based in England’s West Country, the 110th did amphibious-assault training until moving into a marshalling area near Torpoint, Cornwall on 15 May 1944.  On 2 June, the 110th embarked on five Royal Navy tank landing craft (LCT) as part of “Force B,” the troops scheduled to land on Omaha Beach behind the initial assault.  Reconnaissance and forward observation teams from the 110th accompanied the 115th  aboard U.S. Navy infantry landing craft slated to land mid-morning on D-Day.

 

Led by battalion commander Lt. Col. John Purley Cooper Jr., the 110th’s advance teams landed at 1030 in Omaha Beach’s eastern sector amid heavy artillery and mortar fire. The enemy’s fierce resistance and grudging defense delayed the scheduled landing of the 110th’s main body until D+1.  The advance teams of the 110th moved up the bluff with the 115th Infantry between the E-1 and E-3 Draws and advanced toward the German strongpoint at St. Laurent.  Eager to provide support to the beleaguered infantry, the advance teams endeavored to direct cannon fire as soon as they arrived.   As the 115th struggled to secure its tenuous beachhead, the tenacious redlegs ran telephone wire from forward positions back to four self-propelled 105-millimeter howitzers from the 58th Armored FA Battalion and under Cooper’s command conducted some of the first fire missions on Omaha Beach, several at point-blank range against snipers in St. Laurent.  For his “sound judgment and aggressive spirit that contributed materially to the success of the operation,” Lt. Col. Cooper received the Silver Star.

Wreckage and beach obstacles delayed the landing of the 110th’s firing batteries until D+1.  C Battery, commanded by Capt. Arthur Flinner, came ashore early that afternoon and soon received the 110th FA’s first fire mission of World War II.  The rest of the battalion landed at 2000.  While advancing up the D-1 Draw through Vierville, Headquarters and B Batteries encountered an intense artillery barrage and suffered seventeen casualties.  Fighting from the outset, the 110th Field Artillery Battalion would remain in combat for the next eleven months.

 

THIS MONUMENT IS PLACED IN LASTING TRIBUTE TO THE 110TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION’S DEVOTION TO DUTY AND CONTRIBUTION TO THE SUCCESS OF OPERATION OVERLORD, JUNE 1944