The true history of U.S. Army Antiaircraft Artillery is best told through the accounts of individual units and their soldiers. It is hoped that this section of antiaircraft.org will grow into a comprehensive online reference source for families seeking information on the antiaircraft units their relatives served with during World War II. Perhaps it is also the best tribute to those soldiers who served, as these are their stories told in their own words.
This section is very much a work in progress and will be expanded as information is researched. Only a small fraction of the hundreds of antiaircraft battalions active during the war are represented here. Most units listed are from the European Theater, but we are adding histories of units that served in the Pacific.
YOUR KIND DONATION CAN HELP ADD MORE UNIT HISTORIES TO THIS SECTION
The chronicles of the following battalions are provided as PDF files or text-only transcriptions and are taken from histories published by the unit or from information preserved by the U.S. Army or the National Archives and Records Administration. Where noted, the text-only histories have been lightly edited for clarity. Occasionally, supplementary information has been added, but these additions have been set apart by brackets and the use of an italicized font.
7th AAA AW Bn (Semimobile) This antiaircraft battalion found itself involved in frontline action during the Guam, Leyte and the Ryukyus campaigns. The unit would subsequently be awarded the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
104th AAA AW Bn (Mobile) Formed from new and existing units of the Alabama National Guard in 1940, the 104th would travel to Australia, New Guinea and Luzon. In addition to their primary mission, elements of the battalion provided seacoast and infantry defense as needed.
109th AAA Gun Bn (Mobile) The 109th defended Luxembourg City during the Battle of the Bulge and was part of the massive antiaircraft build-up protecting the captured Ludendorff Bridge across the Rhine River at Remagen.
125th AAA Gun Bn (Mobile) After being trained in the California desert, the 125th spent the winter of 1944-45 in Europe. The battalion participated in the air defense of Antwerp and Liege, then was pressed into an anti-tank role during the Battle of the Bulge.
134th AAA Gun Bn (Mobile), D Battery Participating in the defense of Liege against German buzz bombs, the 134th saw both antiaircraft and anti-tank action during the German breakthrough in the Ardennes.
141st AAA Gun Bn (Mobile) The 141st provided air defense for Ninth Army installations in Europe.
184th AAA Gun Bn (Mobile) This battalion served in Iceland during 1942 as part of the 61st Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment before being redeployed to England in the summer of 1943. The 184th AAA compiled a stellar record as part of the Antwerp diver belt and helped defend Namur, Belgium during the German Ardennes offensive.
197th AAA AW Bn (SP) The 197th was one of the AAA battalions that landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day. Later, the unit found itself in the thick of the Battle of the Bulge. A separate history of Battery A is also included.
203d AAA AW Bn (SP) Attached to the 7th Armored Division, the battalion took part in significant action around St. Vith during the Battle of the Bulge, and was part of the heavy concentration of antiaircraft units protecting the Rhine bridgehead at Remagen.
227th AAA S/L Bn The 227th AAA Searchlight Battalion was active in New Guinea and the Philippines. The unit is credited with several searchlight "firsts" in the Pacific Theater and was awarded the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
390th AAA AW Bn (SP) Arriving in Europe in July 1944, the 390th AAA was attached to the 26th Infantry Division and served with Third Army. The battalion found itself thrust into the Battle of the Bulge with the Yankee Division.
439th AAA AW Bn (Semimobile) After entering the war in North Africa in 1943, the 439th AAA was temporarily converted to a provisional infantry unit in Italy as part of Fifth Army's Task Force 45. The battalion then moved with Seventh Army through Southern France and Germany.
440th AAA AW Bn (Mobile) The 440th AAA battled across France and was pressed hard during the Battle of the Bulge. The unit was credited with bringing down the first Me-262 German jet on the Western Front during action in the Colmar Pocket.
447th AAA AW Bn (Semimobile) Attached to the 28th Infantry Division for much of the war, the 447th AAA was one of the antiaircraft units assigned to protect the Omaha Beach landings on D-Day. Later, the unit fought in the Hurtgen Forest and tangled with German ground forces during the opening days of the Battle of the Bulge.
457th AAA AW Bn (Mobile) The 457th AAA Bn was one of the antiaircraft units slated to land at Omaha Beach on D-Day. The battalion was soon assigned to Third Army and provided excellent support for the rapid movement of General Patton's troops.
461st AAA AW Bn (Mobile) The 461st provided protection to Eighth Air Force airfields in England during 1943. Arriving in France one week after D-Day, the battalion was involved in the Falaise Gap and saw ground action during the Battle of the Bulge.
462d AAA AW Bn (Mobile) An attachment to the 2nd Infantry Division brought the battalion to Butgenbach for the Battle of the Bulge, and then on to the Rhine River at Remagen to defend the Ludendorff Bridge.
473d AAA AW Bn (SP) During their time in Europe, the 473d AAA was attached to five different Infantry Divisions for short durations before ending the war in a run with the 8th Armored Division.
481st AAA AW Bn (Semimobile) Two batteries of this organization participated in the offshore antiaircraft protection of the artificial harbors at Omaha and Utah beaches, which was a necessary and notable departure from antiaircraft doctrine. The battalion was at various times under First Army, Third Army and the IX Air Defense Command.
486th AAA AW Bn (SP) This self-propelled AAA unit saw significant action attached to the 3rd Armored Division. The battalion was credited with downing the first Luftwaffe aircraft with guns emplaced on German soil.
513th AAA Gun Bn (Semimobile) The 513th AAA was one of the few 120mm gun battalions to see enemy action during the war. Arriving in Leyte in January 1945, the unit soon moved on to Manila. The battalion was involved in the operation of a 120mm gun school and an AAA staging area in the Philippines.
548th AAA AW Bn (Mobile) Attached to the 102d Infantry Division, the 548th AAA played a significant role in protecting that division's push across the Roer River. The unit tallied a very respectable shooting record during just two ETO campaigns.
556th AAA AW Bn (Mobile) The 556th saw its first significant combat action during the New Year's Day 1945 raids. The battalion went on to distinguish itself in protection of the Ninth Army's Rhine River crossings.
557th AAA AW Bn (Mobile) Attached to the 84th Infantry Division , the 557th AAA provided effective support for the infantry as it crossed the Roer and Rhine Rivers. The organization compiled a commendable record in action against both enemy aircraft and ground targets.
562d AAA AW Bn (Mobile) Arriving in France in mid-October 1944, this Ninth Army unit took up defensive positions in Holland during the Battle of the Bulge. The battalion then moved on to the Roer and Rhine Rivers with Ninth Army.
563d AAA AW Bn (Mobile) Spending most of their time in Europe as part of First Army, the 563d arrived in Belgium just in time for the onset of the Battle of the Bulge. The organization was among the AAA units defending the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen in the spring of 1945.
573d AAA AW Bn (SP) Although a relatively late arrival to the European Theater, the 573d did have its share of scrapes with the Luftwaffe and German ground troops.
580th AAA AW Bn (Mobile) Arriving in France in March 1944, the 580th spent the closing months of the war in Europe as part of First Army and Ninth Army operations. The organization was briefly attached to the 82nd Airborne Division to support the crossing of the Elbe River at Bleckede.
601st AAA Gun Bn (Semimobile) The 601st was the first American AAA gun battalion to fire on German V-1 buzz bombs in defense of England. The unit would use their expertise in this area again as part of the Antwerp X air defense of that Belgian city's important port facilities.
602d AAA Gun Bn (Semimobile) After completing a stateside air defense mission, the 602d traveled to Europe and participated in action near Eupen, Belgium and Kalterherberg, Germany during the Battle of the Bulge. The unit was later part of the highly effective Antwerp X defense against German buzz bombs.
749th AAA Gun Bn Activated in February 1942 as the 26th Separate Coast Artillery Battalion (Harbor Defense), this organization was deployed around Reykjavik, Iceland during the summer of that year. Following reorganization and redesignation, the 749th AAA traveled through England, France, Belgium and Holland before entering Germany.
776th AAA AW Bn (Semimobile) Known as the Liberty Bell Battalion, this organization arrived in France assigned to First Army, then transferred to Third Army for a period. The unit was also under the IX Air Defense Command.
778th AAA AW Bn (SP) Arriving in France in mid-December 1944, this battalion quickly found itself at the epicenter of the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne.
863d AAA AW Bn (Semimobile) The 863d AAA was incorporated in the air defenses around Buffalo, New York before embarking for Europe. While overseas, the battalion compiled an impressive record and was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for its action in the opening days of the Battle of the Bulge. The unit's Battery A was also decorated for activities in Belgium.
894th AAA AW Bn Starting the war as Second Battalion, 67th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment, the organization arrived in Oran, Algeria in January 1943. After defending installations of II Corps in North Africa, the unit was moved to Italy and then to Southern France. This history covers the period up to January 1945 in an Army report format.
Third Army Antiaircraft Artillery A summary of Third Army antiaircraft operations in Europe from 1 August 1944 through 8 May 1945. Includes claim statistics for all AAA units attached or assigned to Third Army organizations at anytime during the period.
Saipan Antiaircraft Artillery A pictorial of Army antiaircraft operations on the Pacific island of Saipan, which was an important B-29 bomber base. No locations, dates or unit designations are given due to Army censorship regulations. The units represented most likely include the 206th AAA AW Bn, 230th AAA SL Bn, 269th AAA SL Bn, 501st AAA Gun Bn, 738th AAA Gun Bn, 751st AAA Gun Bn, 752d AAA AW Bn, 864th AAA AW Bn, 865th AAA AW Bn, and the 867th AAA AW Bn.
D-DAY: In Their Own Words Excerpting reports and unit histories from AAA battalions that participated in the Normandy landings, this page was originally presented on this website in 2009 as a 65th anniversary tribute to the antiaircraft troops of D-Day.
YOUR KIND DONATION CAN HELP ADD MORE UNIT HISTORIES TO THIS SECTION
OTHER AAA HISTORIES ON-LINE
The following are links to other websites hosting historical information on specific Antiaircraft Artillery units. We have given a brief description or review for each site. If you know of a site that should be included or encounter a broken link, please contact us.
80th Airborne AAA Bn Unit history, memoirs, photos, citations and honor roll for the organic antiaircraft/antitank organization of the 82nd Airborne Division.
81st Airborne AAA Bn Page dedicated to the organic antiaircraft/antitank organization of the 101st Airborne Division.
115th AAA Gun Bn (Mobile) A well-designed Internet layout of this battalion's published history, crafted as a tribute by the son of a 115th veteran. Also included is a separate account of the unit's B Battery. An excellent remembrance of this 90mm battalion.
119th AAA Gun Bn (Mobile) This website includes the history of Headquarters Battery, unit photos, and more.
132d AAA Gun Bn (Mobile) Short history of this Ninth Army 90mm battalion.
137th AAA Gun Bn (Mobile) 90mm guns in the Pacific. Transcription of the history of Battery A of the 137th.
152d Airborne AAA Bn Roll of Honor for the organic antiaircraft/antitank organization of the 11th Airborne Division.
155th Airborne AAA Bn Photos and honor roll for the organic antiaircraft/antitank organization of the 17th Airborne Division.
225th AAA Searchlight Bn (Semimobile) Official website of the 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion Veterans Association, Inc., and perhaps the best World War II antiaircraft website on the Internet. A wealth of information on searchlight equipment and operation, antiaircraft artillery, and the war in general. Don't miss the excellent collection of photographs taken by members of the 225th during the war. You could spend hours at this superb site and never lose interest.
385th AAA AW Bn (Semimobile) An excellent collection of photographs, both individual and group, accompany the complete battalion roster. This site should be an invaluable resource for any seeking information on this ETO semimobile AAA unit and its officers and men.
387th AAA AW Bn (SP) Site appears to be a work in progress, but does offer a small selection of photos taken by B Battery personnel.
443d AAA AW Bn (SP) This copyrighted history traces the journey of this veteran battalion from training through North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Southern France, and into Central Europe.
445th AAA AW Bn Very brief combat history, a link to an oral history from a C Battery sergeant, and a few photos of both older and more recent vintage.
455th AAA AW Bn (Mobile) Impressive site dedicated to the "Rabbs" of the 455th. A brief history of each battery is presented, along with a unit timeline, unit roster, and a list of installations and other Army units protected by elements of this battalion.
489th AAA AW Bn (SP) Although this site is not a comprehensive history, it presents interesting information and personal anecdotes complied by relatives of 489th veterans.
532d AAA AW Bn (SP) Reproduces (with permission) some copyrighted material on the history of the battalion and of D Battery in particular. The movements and attachments table is of historical interest.
533d AAA AW Bn (Mobile) A storehouse of information on this battalion that includes rosters by battery, unit attachments, locations of battalion HQ, photos taken by unit members, and other generic material of interest. Especially fascinating are the scans of a portion of three actual maps used by B Battery that have the positions of the battery's firing units marked. This is very illustrative on how an automatic weapons AA defense was set up. Unfortunately, it appears you have to sign-up to purchase the unit history book. (Note: we do not endorse, recommend nor have any involvement with the e-commerce on any website linked to on this page.)
574th AAA AW Bn Military newspaper articles, veteran tributes, and the battalion history are offered at this site remembering the 574th.
815th AAA AW Bn (Semimobile) "Scratch One Messerschmitt" is a well-written personal account of Robert Gallagher's experiences as an antiaircraft artilleryman in the ETO. A nice selection of personal photographs and Government images enhance Mr. Gallagher's compelling narrative. Highly recommended for insight into the life of the "average GI" in antiaircraft service.
898th AAA AW Bn (Semimobile) This is a section of a website dedicated to the 100th Infantry Division in World War II. The 898th AAA AW Bn was attached to the “Century Division” from November 7, 1944 through the end of the war in Europe. The combat history segment is interesting and well done.
Fifth Army AAA Units Excellent HTML reproduction of the Fifth Army Antiaircraft Artillery publication recounting the campaign in Italy, complete with photos. Covers the period September 1943 to September 1944. 11 gun battalions, 24 automatic weapons battalions of all types, and 4 searchlight battalions are represented, but not individually chronicled. A very readable period account.
AAA Unit Attachments and Assignments Antiaircraft Training
© Copyright 2008-2011 Brian L. Brooks