Brief History
The 658th US Field Artillery Battalion

By Bill Mullen

The 658th Field Artillery Battalion (8" Howitzer, Truck Drawn) was activated 10 April 1944 at Camp Forrest, TN. The Battalion (Bn) became attached to the 415th Field Artillery Group together with the 659th, 790th and 791st Field Artillery Battalions. Enlisted personnel were obtained by transfer from inactivated Coast Artillery units which had been stationed along the New England Coast.
Immediately upon activation, training and testing was inaugurated including trips to the Spencer Range area. On 27 September 1944, the Bn departed Camp Forrest and traveled by motor convoy to Fort Jackson, SC arriving on 28 September 1944. Additional personnel joined the Bn at Fort Jackson.

On 3 February 1945, the Bn began its journey to the ETO departing Ft. Jackson by rail en route to Camp Shanks, NY and arriving there the next day. A week later on 10 February the Bn departed Camp Shanks by rail en route to New York Port of Embarkation (NYPE) and boarded a ship designated USAT 288. The following day the Bn departed NYPE for the ETO via water. On 23 February, the Bn arrived at Le Havre, France harbor. The next day they debarked USAT 288 and traveled by Government vehicle to Camp Lucky Strike where staging duties were performed. On 7 March the Bn departed Camp Lucky Strike and traveled by Government vehicle to Dieppe and billeted in town.

The Bn arrived in Aachen on 5 April 1945 having traveled there from Dieppe, France. The Bn strength at the time was 25 officers, 2 warrant officers and 540 enlisted men. The Bn was attached to XXII Corps, 15th Army. In addition to being security guards, they assumed complete administrational control of Camp Brand with over 14,000 displaced persons (DP). The Suermondt Museum building in Aachen served as the Security Guard Headquarters. In mid April, the Bn also assumed control of DP Camps Alsdorf, Hertzogenrath, Mine, Telebinden, and Zopp. There were a number of unit attachments, including Belgian units, during the duty at Aachen. (Details can be provided if they are of interest.) The Bn departed Aachen on 22 June, bivouacked in Remlingen, and arrived at Bogen, Germany on 23 June 1945. Just prior to departure, the Bn was reassigned from the 15th to the 3rd Army.

There is not much detail about the duties at Bogen. Most of the Unit Journal entries just say "usual occupational duties". However, it is known that the Bn made use of buildings on the premises of the Bayerische Dachziegelwerke company which manufactures roof tiles and is still in business.
On 10 July 1945 the Bn departed Bogen and traveled to Burglengenfeld where they continued to perform "usual occupational duties". On 22 July they departed Burglengenfeld and traveled to Regenstauf for more of the same. At Regenstauf, some of the men were billeted in the Eich Muhle building on the Regen River. The building became a restaurant in 1988 and is still in use.

On 27 October the Bn was attached to the 4th Armored Division. After that it appears that members of the Bn were scattered to various units as needed which seems to have been typical of the Occupation. A remnant of the Bn processed for redeployment and returned to the States where the Bn was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, NJ on 2 January 1946.

Site design & initiative: Hans Houterman
Page text by: Bill Mullen
Page created by: Jeroen Koppes
Last update: 27.07.2003-CSS