71afa.com

71st Armored Field Artillery Battalion WWII

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Dad's Army Service Timeline

   

         T/Sgt William J. Beckley 32068812            Campaigns: Normandy - Northern France - Rhineland - Ardennes - Central Europe     

Communications Chief - Communications Section - Operations Platoon - HQ & HQ Battery - 71st Armored Field Artillery - 5th Armored Division

                      Bronze Star Medal           Good Conduct Medal          American Defense Service Medal          American Campaign Medal

AWARDS     European - African - Middle Eastern Service Medal       WWII Victory Medal       Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII      

                        Expert Badge with Carbine Bar with Machine Gun Bar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Timeline for service in the Army

 Mar 41 to Feb 44 - Stationed & Training Stateside ( 3 Years)

                    (30 Oct 41 to 26 Jan 42 - Inactive Duty)

Feb 44 to Jul 44 - Stationed & Training Great Britain ( 5 Months)

Jul 44 to Oct 45 - Combat and Occupation Duty European Continent ( 1 Year 3 Months)

 

16 Oct 40 - Registered for draft , by order of Selective Training & Service Act of 1940, at Local Board per  Draft Registration Card.  3

09 Jan 41 - 71st Field Artillery Battalion activated @ Fort Jackson, S.C.10

03 Mar 41- Drafted by Administrative selection ( Selectee or Inductee) into the Army. Enlistment site Trenton, N.J. 2     

04 Mar 41 – Reported to Fort Jackson , S.C. for basic training. Status:  Enlisted Reserve Corps. 2

28 May 41 – Transferred to Fort Sill, Okla. Pvt. 1st Class, 71st Field Artillery Battalion. Status:  Army of the United States. 2

01 Oct 41 - Activation date of 5th Armored Division at Fort Knox, Ky. 5

30 Oct 41 - William inactivated from the Army 9   *Reason:  On 18 Aug 41, Roosevelt extended the inductees' period of service to I8 months, releasing those aged 28 and older.

07 Dec 41 - Pearl Harbor bombed by Japan (shortly thereafter William proposes to Alice) 3  

10 Dec 41 - William & Alice  get married.(Knowing he will be recalled) 3

26 Jan 42 - Recalled to Active Service at Fort Dix, N.J. and sent back to Fort Sill, Okla.(Artillery School)  9 & 3

16 Feb 42 - 5th Armored Division transferred to Camp Cooke, Calif. 10

  June 42 - Home on leave with Sgt. stripes. (dated picture3

01 Aug 42 - 5th Armored Division strength up to 15,000 men

14 Aug 42- 5th Armored Division proceeds to the Mojave Desert for Desert Maneuvers. 10

31 Aug 42 - William’s mother becomes ill & dies ( He is allowed home on emergency leave)  3

10 Sep 42 - 71st FA is transferred from Fort Sill to Needles, Ca. (Desert Training Center) Mojave Desert and is

                   redesignated the 71st Armored Field Artillery Battalion after joining the 5th Armored Division.  7

19 Sep 42 - William’s letter home from California discussing mother’s death & heat, dated same. 3

10 Nov 42 - William is transferred to Fort Knox, Ky. (Armored Forces School) for communications training.  6

19 Nov 42- 5th Armored Division finishes Desert Maneuvers and returns to Camp Cooke, Calif. 10

27 Nov 42 - Letter home shows William is in the 9th Co. Training Group Armored Forces School @ Fort Knox. 3

12 Feb 43 - William completes communications training at Fort Knox and returns to the 71st at Camp Cooke, Calif.

17 Mar 43 - 24 June 43  - 5th Armored Division participates in  Tennessee Maneuvers. 10

       Jul 43 - 5th Armored Division transfers to Pine Camp, NY. for more training. 10

20 Sep 43 - 5th Armored's Combat Command B formed with 71st Armored Field Artillery Battalion attached. 7

23 Sep 43 - Baby born( Alice & Bills first child) and passes away same day. William gets emergency leave. 3

8 Dec 43 - 5th Armored is sent to Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, Pa.(Inoculations , tests, final preparations). 10

30 Jan 44– Date on Dad’s Furlough PRSL railroad pass from Phila. To Absecon, N.J.  3

03 Feb 44 - Approx. date of group picture of HQ Battery taken at Indiantown Gap, Pa. 

05 Feb 44- Left Indiantown Gap by train for staging area. Arrived at Camp Kilmer, N.J. the same day.  1

10 Feb 44- Left Camp Kilmer by train for New York Port of Embarkation. Transferred to ferry for trip to pier.  1

11 Feb 44 - Departed U.S. for Foreign Duty from New York aboard the U.S. Army transport Edmund B. Alexander.  1

23 Feb 44 - Arrived Mersey Docks, Liverpool, Great Briton. 1

24 Feb 44- Disembarked ship & marched to train to Perham Downs Camp, Tidsworth, Hants. 1

25 Feb 44– Arrived Perham Downs Camp with help from 3rd AD who had cleaned & prepared the camp. 1

26 Feb 44 - Letter home dated same. 3

01 Mar 44 - Received all our vehicles & equipment except the 18 105mm M7 Howitzers. 1

02 Mar 44 to 11Apr 44– Cleaning, breaking in, modifying vehicles. Conditioning troops, small arms firing, etc. 1

11 Apr 44 - Left Perham Downs for 177 mile road march in trucks to Camp Blairick, Cornwall 1

12 Apr 44 to 23 May 44- This period spent organizing Camp Blairick & 21 smaller camps 1

10 Mar 44 - First letter home from overseas 3

24 May 44 to 3 Jun 44 – D-Day assault troops arrive in camp and are fed & supplied by 5AD 1

06 Jun 44 - D-Day, Troops land @ Normandy - Invasion Day 6th hour, 6th day, 6th month. 3

15 Jun 44– 159 mile march to West Downs Camp, Tilshead, Wilts 1

16 Jun 44 to 22 July 44 – Bivouacked on the Salsbury Plain and trained with the M-7’s , plenty of ammo. 1

11 Jul 44 - Letter home dated same. 3

24 Jul 44– Arrived at Southhamton Docks and began loading Liberty ships for trip to France 1

28 Jul 44- Bn. landed on Utah Beach , Normandy, France. Camped 5 miles N.W. of St. Saviour Le Vecompte 1

02 Aug 44 - Date Entered Combat (Normandy) as a part of XV Corps of Gen. Pattens 3rd Army

02 Aug 44– Btry B , 387 AAAW attached to the 71stBn. as anti-aircraft protection (16 halftracks with mtd. Guns) 1

07 Aug 44 – C Battery fired the units first Fire Mission in combat. 1

08 Aug 44 - Seized city of Le Mans, France. 4

12 Aug 44- Advanced to the edge of the city of Argentan 4

16 Aug 44- Captured the Eure River line @ Dreux 4

30 Aug 44- Passed thru Paris 4

28 Aug 44 - First letter home date-lined France (on Alice’s calendar) 3

11 Sep 44 - 5TH Armored Division first American troops in Germany ,North of Trier (on Alice’s calendar) 3

14 Sep 44- Penetrated the Siegfried Line at Wallendorf 1st Amer. Troops (Bill’s service record form kept by Alice) 3

28 Nov 44 - Letter home dated same.3

    Nov 44- Entered Hurtgen forest & pushed enemy to banks of Roer River in heavy fighting 4

22 Dec 45- Withdrawn to Verviers and placed in reserve 4

25 Feb 45- Crosses Roer River & spearheads push to the Rhine River 4

30 Mar 45 – Crosses the Rhine River 4

12 Apr 45- Reaches the banks of the Elbe @ Tangermunde, 45 miles from Berlin 4

12 Apr 45 - FDR dies, age 63, in Warm Springs, Georgia. 4

02 Mar 45 - V-Mail home dated same. 3

16 Apr 45 -Moves to Klotze to wipe out the Von Clausewitz Panzer Division near Dannenberg 4

28 Apr 45 – Mussolini caught trying to escape into Switzerland and hanged. 8

30 Apr 45 - Hitler commits suicide as Soviet troops close in.

    May 45 - Crossing the Elbe River the 5th was the nearest unit to Berlin prior to V-E Day 5

07 May 45 - Germany Surrenders ( Copy of Stars & Stripes- Germany issue 5-8-1945) 3

08 May 45 - V-E Day WWII Allies accept surrender

05 Jun 45 - Still in Germany (William’s Letter home dated same) 3

13 Sep 45 - End of 200 mile train ride to the coast – Camp 20 Grand (William’s Letter home dated same) 3

28 Sep 45 -Boat leaves 12 mid. from Europe for home(William’s letter home date 9-26-1945 from Camp 20 Grand) 3

06 Oct 45 - Date of arrival in US on Dad’s Discharge Papers 9

08 Oct 45 - Return of 5th Armored from Europe 5

11 Oct 45 - Inactivation of 5th Armored Division 5

12 Oct 45 - Honorable Discharge from Army at Fort Dix Separation Center, N.J. 9

24 Oct 45 - Date on William’s Notice of Classification Card with status as Discharged 3

    Dec 45 - William & Alice go on belated honeymoon to St. Petersburg , Fla. 3

 

*NOTES

1 – Major Herman Smiths journal ( Battalion XO 71stAFA Bn.)

2 - National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946

3 – Family Records of William & Alice Beckley

4 – Wikipedia (5th Armored Division)

5 – Army Fact Sheet ( Battle of the Bulge.com)

6 - William’s Western Union Telegram 7:37 PM, from Needles, Ca.)

7.- Book “Paths of Armor” about the 5th Armored Division

8. - U.S. Army Military History Center (http://www.history.army.mil/index.html )

9. – William’s Discharge Papers

10. -WWII Order of Battle, by Shelby L. Stanton 

 

LATEST NEWS

In Memory Of .. 4/14/2014
Everett Hammock Wilcox  95
Crystal River, Florida
(Former Major in the 71st)
6/27/1918 - 4/14/2014
_____________________
1-02-13
"Letters From Frank"
A short film by Jo Caputo
____________________
New pictures 12-26-12
Restoration of one of the 71st's
L-4 Observation Aircraft going on in Spain
___________________________________
26 NEW PICTURES in
"Photograph Collections"
Collection      1-11-13
_____________________________
9-25-11
Article showing recent services
at Ardennes American Cemetery, Belgium
_______________________