This map follows the movements of the 278th from their arrival in the UK to the end of the war. The pink section is the path they followed on the Colmar campaign.
"Helpless" in Northern France
- Sept. 1- 7,1944
The battalion marches through Normandy and points East, passing through St.Lo, Orleans, Troyes, and many other towns.
- Sept. 7
CO Lt. Col. Taylor reports to Brig. General J.M. Lentz of XII Corps, and is instructed to bring the 278th into position near Toul. At this time the 278th was attached to the 183rd FA Group and assigned the code name "Helpless."
- Sept. 11, 1944
The 278th FA fires its first combat rounds from the vicinity of Viterne.
The battalion is attached to the 410th FA Group and sent to the vicinity of Nancy, France.
- Sept.- Oct., 1944
Fighting in and around Nancy, including lengthy stays in Eulmont and Ecuelle. On Oct. 18, the "A" Battery appeared on NBC's Army Hour program.
- Nov. - Dec, 1944
The 278th is attached to the 33rd FA Brigade and displaced to the area of Chambrey. Throughout November and December the weather proved to be a real difficulty as the battalion was hampered by mud, snow, and more mud. Fighting continued in various positions near the French/German border, including Obreck, Nebing, Albestroff, and Achen, and Kulhausen. On Dec. 7, the "B" battery fired the first rounds into Germany, at the town of Medelsheim. The 278th spent Christmas 1944 encamped at Willerwald and Hambach.
The Colmar Campaign
- Jan.26 - 29, 1945
Word came that the battalion must march over 100 miles to meet the XXI Corp for fighting in the Colmar pocket. The route taken by the 278th went from Puttelange to Sarralbe, Sarre-Union, Phalsbourg, Saverne, Wasselonne and Molsheim before ending at St. Marie Aux Mines. With 18 M-6 tractors with worn treads, and the other heavy machinery of the 278th, the 100-mile trip took four whole days to complete over snow-packed mountain roads.
- Jan. 30 - Feb. 6
The batteries of the 278th take up positions in Ostheim (in an abandoned cheese factory), Ribeauville, and Guemar. They were assigned the mission of destroying a railroad bridge over the Rhine at Neuf-Brisach in support of the XXI Corps; the bridge had been serving as an escape route for Germans retreating from the Colmar pocket. By Feb.6, the Colmar pocket had been cleared and the bridge destroyed.
- Feb. 7 - 13
The 278th engages in counter battery missions to knock out a German railroad gun harassing the town of Colmar.
- Feb. 14, 1945
The battalion leaves Colmar and marches back to its original position 100 miles to the north. On cleared roads, the trip now takes only 14 hours.
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