WWII Maps

The attached map on the right is the 1:100,000 topographic map for the Trier (Germany) area that was published by the War Office in 1944.

At this scale 1 inch equals 1.58 miles. It is an original map that was carried by Major James P. Clay (Atlanta, GA) during the war. Major Clay was in charge of the 945th Fire Direction Control Center (FDC). The FDC coordinated not only the 945th fire missions but also insured that multi-battalion “time on target” missions were properly coordinated.

Two files are provided with the larger file providing enhanced detail. The map can be used along with the Daily Journal (see the “About the 945th” section) to locate the 945th Headquarters (denoted by a flag symbol), routes of travel (the blue line), and fire missions. For example on December 26, 1944 the Daily Journal states that the “Bn closed into new position area at Consdorf, coordinates 995-321, Luxembourg”.

The battalion command post is denoted by a blue flag on the map and it can be easily located on the lower portion of the map at the indicated coordinates. Look just to the left of “00” on the horizontal scale along the bottom of the map and slightly above “32” on the vertical scale along the left side of the map (look directly above Major Clay’s note in blue for “Christmas Day”).

An example of a fire mission can be found on December 29, 1944 where the Daily Journal states that between 0600 and 1800 “H and I” (harassment and interdiction) missions requested by “Coat” (code name for the 182nd Field Artillery Group under XII Corps, see note at end of 12/28/44) were fired on the German village of Schankweiler by B battery. A total of 18 HE (high explosive) rounds were fired during this 12 hour period in an effort to disrupt German troop movements.

This village is near one of the locations where the Germans had crossed the Our River at the onset of the offensive, and it is safe to say that periodic shelling by the American 155s slowed troop movements at this location. The Daily Journal entry lists the coordinates for this fire mission at 029-452. To locate Schankweiler on the map go to the intersection of “03” on the horizontal scale and “45” on the vertical scale.

It is possible that the German troop and/or vehicular activity at this crossroads was noted by aerial observers in L-4 aircraft that were part of the 945th FAB as no American troops were across the Our River on this date. Assuming B battery was close to the battalion Hq at Consdorf the distance to the target was about 8.5 miles, well within the range of the 155 M1 howitzer.

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