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4.  All-out Support for the Bridgehead
Artillery played a minor role in the early hours of the XII Corps bridgehead  across the Rhine,
but made up for it later, as will have been noted in the quotation from the 5th Infantry Division unit
history in section 2 of this chapter.  The same source has the following to record for the Corps artillery
which was designated to operate in direct support of the division, in addition to the 19th, 21st, and 46th
Field Artillery Battalions ("divarty"):
"The Division Artillery had been assigned two groups of reinforcing artillery which were in turn
assigned to the 19th (Field Artillery Battalion) with instructions that when the 11th (Infantry Regiment)
crossed, the 182nd Field Artillery Group was then to reinforce the 46th Field Artillery Battalion.  Thus
the lineup of artillery for the 11th Infantry's crossing was the 19th, reinforced by the 21st Field Artillery
Battalion, 177th and 182nd Groups.  The composition of the groups is listed below:
182nd Field Artillery Group
512th Field Artillery Battalion (105 Howitzer)
771st Field Artillery Battalion (155 Howitzer)
945th Field Artillery Battalion (155 Howitzer)
740th Field Artillery Battalion (8 inch Howitzer)
177th Field Artillery Group
276th Field Artillery Battalion (Armored 18 105s)
758th Field Artillery Battalion (8 inch Howitzer)
179th Field Artillery Battalion (155 Howitzer)
191st Field Artillery Battalion (155 Howitzer)
AAA guns and automatic weapons were slow to find employment around the crossing, because
of the Luftwaffe's "double-take" on XII Corps' attack.  But beginning with daybreak of the first morning
scattered nuisance raiders, including jet planes, bore down on the bridge sites.  This, culminated in a
determined night attack with flares on 26-27 March 45.  Between dusk and dawn the enemy made 114
sorties against the crossing installations.  Everything in XII Corps which could be pointed at the sky
opened up, furnishing thousands of innocent bystanders with the most spectacular display of tracers and
air bursts and exploding Jerry aircraft since the days of Utah Beach.  The busy batteries of the battalions
in the Corps' 27th AAA group were credited with 23 planes shot down during the night.
Equally calculated to thwart the Kraut pilots in their earnest efforts to smash the crossing were
the activities of the smoke generator men, with their sizzling smokepots fuming away in  Oppenheim
and Nierstein and vicinity.  They kept a persistent haze over the bridges, for which the corps
headquarters, displacing forward across the Rhine from Bad Kreuznach to Gross Gerau in the early
morning hours immediately after the big night raid, was duly grateful.
Perhaps the most continuously overworked personnel during those days and nights were  the
Corps MPs, and all others who had a share in the responsibility for seeing that the fantastic amounts of
traffic funneling down into the bridges were kept in some semblance of order and regularity of flow.
Capt Maurice ("Smitty") Smith, Corps Assistant PM, furnishes a good example of a traffic
regulator who had to be constantly on the move.  Colonel Ragnar ("Smokey") Johnson, Corps CWS
officer, represented the Corps commander in the vast operation, and was one of those XII Corps
personnel constantly at the water's edge by the bridge sites.  Day and night these officers and men
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