457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion

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Note: This page is currently being adapted from this page: http://www.ww2-airborne.us/units/457/457.html

457th PFAB shoulder patch
The cadre for the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion (PFAB) was formed at Fort Bragg, N.C. in January 1943 from the 456th PFAB which was activated on 24 September 1942. They moved to Camp Mackall, N.C. to form the 11th Airborne Division and were formally activated on 25 February 1943 under the command of Maj. Douglass P. Quandt.

During a training exercise on 29 October 1943 a fatal accident occurred when a C-47 carrying members of Headquarters Battery attempted an emergency landing after losing power to an engine. The 10 casualties of the ensuing crash were the first for the 457th PFAB.

In July, 1944, Lt Col Douglass Quandt moved to Division Staff as Gen. Swing's G-3 and relinquished command of the 457th PFAB to Maj. Kuelkhe who was the battalion's Executive Officer (XO). Capt. Nick Stadtherr assumed the responsibilities of the XO at that time. The next month Maj. Kuelkhe was reassigned to Division Parachute Maintenance Officer and Maj. Nick Stadtherr was promoted to the 457th Commanding Officer.

The 11th Airborne Division moved again during the early weeks of January, 1944 to Camp Polk, La. for advanced training and ground maneuvers. On 28 April 1944 the division arrived at Camp Stoneman, Ca. to complete final preparations for overseas deployment. The Division arrived in New Guinea during the late part of May, 1944 and established their camp at Buna-Dobodura, a deserted Air Corps airfield.

After spending a month getting acclimated to the heat and humidity, the Division was ordered into an intensive training cycle to learn jungle warfare in preparation for the invasion of the Pilippines. For the next 5 months the 11th Airborne sweated in the jungles and mountains of New Guinea and had several training jumps. Finally on November 11th, the Division boarded transports for their objective.

From 18 November to 27 December the battalion participated in the Leyte Campaign in the Manarawat and Rock Hill areas in support of the 511th PIR. On December 24th, Batteries B & C of the 457th fired on positions west of Burauen in the hills near Abuyogna to repel a Japanese attack. Two days later on December 26th Captain Holloway, Battery A Commander, moved to within 25 yards of the Japanese positions on Purple Heart Hill. He directed an artillery concentrations along the entire ridge in support of the 2nd Battalion of the 188th GIR who were eventually forced to engage in hand-to-hand combat to take the hill. After these successes most of the division units withdrew to the Bito Beach base camp. However, the 457th PFAB remained in position outside Burauen in support of the troops still in the hills until 15 January 1945 when they too returned to Bito Beach and rejoined the rest of the 11th Airborne Division to prepare for the invasion of Luzon.

Headquarters Staff of the 457th PFAB circa 1944.
On 31 January 1945 D Battery of the 457th PFAB landed ashore at Nasugbu in support of the 188th GIR. On 4 February the rest of the Battalion jumped on Tagaytay Ridge as part of the 511th Regimental Combat Team (RCT). From there the 511th RCT moved to the Paranaque and the Pasay area and fought in the Ft. McKinley and Alabang area until 19 February 1945. Two days later all organized Japanese resistance had ceased in the areas of Mabato Point, Nichols Field, and Ft. McKinley.

During the Los Banos Raid on 23 February 1945, D Battery of the 457th PFAB under the command of Captain Lou Burris was given the assignment of positioning the Battery's artillery in support of the 511th PIR rescue efforts. D Battery fired on some machine gun emplacements initally at Mayondon Point and maintained artillery cover until the evacuation was successfully completed.

In early March the 11th Airborne's mission was to clear southern Luzon as part of XIV Corps southeastern drive through the Lipa Corridor. The 457th PFAB reinforced by the 472nd PFAB would directly support the 188th GIR in the area southwest of Manila at Ternate. A month-long war of attrition was waged against the innumerable well-camouflaged cave postions throughout this sector. In April the Battalion was involved in action around Mts. Macolod and Malepunyo. The 11th Airborne spent the next few weeks mopping up resistance throughout the southern areas of Luzon.

The 457th PFAB along with the rest of the 11th Airborne Division moved from Luzon to Okinawa in the early part of August, 1945 to spearhead the occupation of Japan by escorting General Douglas MacArthur into that country.

Additional Reading

  • The original source of this page is "The Angels: A History of the 11th Airborne Division" by Lt Gen E. M. Flanagan Jr. USA (Ret.)