HISTORY OF THE
100th CHEMICAL BATTALION, MOTORIZED
The War Department constituted and assigned the 100th Chemical Battalion, Motorized, to the North African Theater of Operations on 7 June 1944. The theater commander was directed to activate and equip the unit. At the same time the 99th Chemical Battalion, Motorized, was also formed and trained with the 100th.
The Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment of the 100th was not activated until 28 August 1944, but on Saturday, 5 August 1944, at La Fagianeria, Italy, the battalion itself was activated under T/O&E 3-25 (7 Sep 43) with Cl, 2, and 3, and as amended by Section V, WD Circular 201, 1944, with an authorized strength of thirty-nine (39) officers and five hundred fifty-six (556) enlisted men including attached medical. The newly formed unit drew the personnel necessary for activation from the disbanded 637th AAA, AW Bn. Lt. Col. Arvid E. Fogelberg was placed in command.
As early as Monday, 7 August 1944, a training program with emphasis on physical conditioning was underway. The four line companies were officially activated on 29 August 1944, but their training had been carried on well before that date. In September the 100th moved to a training area at Follonica where it began training on 13 September under the overall direction of Lt., Col. William S. Hutchinson, Jr. At first hampered by short supply, the 100th was able to report on 23 September that it had all but five of the 4.2-inch chemical mortars authorized. Training continued through October as Lt. Col. Hutchinson drove the 99th and 100th Battalions at a vigorous pace.
On 1 November 1944, Major, Russell E. McMurray arrived, on TDY as the acting commanding officer. That same day Companies A and, C left for the assembly area south of La Posta, and the following day Company A was attached to the 34th Infantry Division and Company C to the 85th Infantry Division. The remainder of the battalion awaited orders at the CWS Training Center. The following Saturday, 4 November, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment moved out and set up a Battalion Command Post at Filigare where they were to remain until April. The line companies were already in action.
On 15 November 1944 the battalion was reorganized under T/O&E 3-25 (29 Sep 44) and redesignated as the 100th Chemical Mortar Battalion. Company "D" was disbanded under the reorganization and its personnel redistributed. Two weeks later Major McMurray succeeded to formal command of the 100th.
During the first month in combat the 100th Chemical Mortar Battalion fired at total of 657 missions, expending 9,355 rounds of HE and 4,192 rounds of WP. Among the observed results were the destruction of four enemy machine gun positions, three German SP guns put out of action, and an ammunition dump hit and destroyed. The only death in the battalion was Sergeant Carl A. Waltrip of Company A, killed by a direct hit on his gun position. In the course of the month all five divisions of II Corps had mortar companies attached at one time or other.
December was a month of little action for Fifth Army and for the 100th. The battalion expended only 3,476 rounds, largely in unobserved harassing and counter-mortar missions. Two men in the battalion were killed and three injured. In January Major McMurray became a lieutenant colonel. Throughout the winter months most firing was of the ·harassing type.
With the arrival of spring in Italy the Allied armies prepared to take the offensive again in a final drive to knock the Germans out of the war. “D: Day” for the 100th Chemical Mortar Battalion came on Monday, 16 April 1945 with the battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company, attached to 91st Infantry Division. So rapidly did the advance go that by 23 April battalion rear moved from Filigare and set up at Casalecchio. The following day Companies A and B fired in support of crossings over the Po. A continued advance brought a further displacement of Battalion Rear to Miradola and on 29 April to Vicenza.
During April and the offensive the battalion fired 637 missions, silenced five enemy MG positions, hit 13 German dugouts, took 243 prisoners of war, and fired 56 special smoke missions. Ammunition expenditure reached a high of 22,159 rounds of which 13,271 were HE and the rest WP. For the period from 16 April to 22 April the Headquarters and Headquarters Company were attached to the 91st Infantry Division.
Hostilities officially ended in Italy on 2 May 1945, just six days before V-E Day. By the 10th the 100th was in bivouac near Feltre, undergoing a program of training, athletics, and education for two weeks. On 27 May the battalion moved to the town of Cortina where it relieved the 339th Infantry in guarding German hospital installations, and Lt. Col. McMurray became the City Commander. By this time the battalion was attached to Fifth Army.
Under various attachments the 100th guarded Cortina until July when it proceeded by rail and motor convoy to the Cecchignola RTA. Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company moved by truck, arriving at Cecchignola on 16 July. From the following week until 27 August 1945 the battalion carried on a training program as outlined by Fifth Army and MTO directives.
On the 28th of August the battalion took the train for Bagnoli on the Gulf of Naples and there staged until 27 September, when it embarked aboard the Transport Alexander Graham Bell for Boston, Massachusetts.
Back in the United States the 100th Chemical Mortar Battalion went from Boston to Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts, where the unit was inactivated on 13 October 1945. The unit, less personnel and equipment, returned to WD control and became a reserve unit in Boston with the designation as the 455th Chemical Mortar Battalion. In July 1952, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 100th Chemical Group. <sic>
The 100th Chemical Mortar Battalion received battle credits for participation in three campaigns- - Rome-Arno1, North Appenines2, and the Po Valley3.
1WD GO 99, 6 Nov 45.
2WD GO 94, 27 Oct 45.
3WD GO 93, 26 Oct 45.