WW2 190TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION FLAG
3’ x 4’ regulation double applique hand and machine embroidered eagle and crest on a red scarlet field, gold fringe. Motto: “SCATTER COME TOGETHER”. Philadelphia QM inspection label dated July 22, 1944.
In the center of the Eagle is the regimental crest upon which is the red Keystone insignia of the 28th Division. The field of the crest is yellow which ties into their old cavalry lineage. 28th division was given the nickname of the “bloody bucket” by the Germans based on the blood red keystone Insignia and vicious fighting tactics after the Normandy landing.
The 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard, would become one of the most famous divisions in World War Two in Europe. The first American unit to march through Paris, bloodied in the Huertgen Forest, decimated again in the Battle of the Bulge where their valiant stand along the Our River helped delay the German 5th Panzer Army long enough for the 10st Airborne Division to reach Bastogne, this division with its red Keystone shoulder patch (aka the Bloody Bucket) underwent several changes earlier before heading off to Europe.
Among these, the 190th Field Artillery Group, 190th Field Artillery Battalion and the 200th Field Artillery Battalion were pulled from the division when it was reorganized. Before the war, many Army divisions were of the old “square” formation – four regiments with support artillery, supply, etc. Proving to be too big and unwieldy, the Army changed most to the “triangular” formation in 1941 – three regiments with supports.
One of the lost units was the 190th Field Artillery Battalion which was originally the old 103rd Cavalry. This unit was also Pennsylvania National Guard and served between the two world wars and had roots to the 53rd Field Artillery Brigade (from which the flag’s crest & motto is derived) before transforming to cavalry. The 190th remained part of the Pennsylvania National Guard and some of its batteries claimed a heritage to before the Civil War and the Pennsylvania Militia.
The battalion was placed in Federal service in January 1941 as the Army was expanding from its peace time small size in preparation for possible war events. They trained at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, where they were part of the 73rd Field Artillery Brigade which also contained the 166th Field Artillery of Pennsylvania. Also, part of the command were units of the Louisiana National Guard. It is said that these northern and Southern commands were last together at Gettysburg in July 1863 except they were shooting at each other.
After training, the 73rd was sent to Northern Ireland in August 1942. After arrival, it was restructured, with the 2nd Battalion becoming the 200th Field Artillery Battalion, and the headquarters into HHB, 190th Field Artillery Group. The command trained hard while getting ready for the forthcoming invasion of France. Receiving 155th MM guns, the 190th remained in the UK training until just before D-Day on June 6th, when they were loaded onto a ship and sent to France landing in Normandy arriving over the next two days. Their first battle action was at Colleville-sur-Mer.
The independent battalion, like so many others of their type in the armor and artillery service, at Corps level where they could be used as needed for offensives of on the defense. They would move between the VI Corps, VIII Corps, and later even Army-level commands. The 190th fired in support of the 28th Infantry Division in the Huertgen Forest, but after that campaign separated from them and returned to independent status. They were sent to the Ardennes arriving on December 23rd and fought in what was left of the Battle of the Bulge. By the end of the war their battle streamers bore the names of Normandy (with arrowhead), Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe.
After the war, the 190th and its sister command, the 200th Field Artillery would be returned to the Pennsylvania National Guard. They underwent several reorganizations, and their remaining elements would go on to form portions of the 200th Field Artillery Battalion, 229th Field Artillery Battalion and 728th Maintenance Battalion.
Their lineage today in the current Pennsylvania National carries on with the 728th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 107th Field Artillery. The current colors of the 190th still bears the streamer for “Normandy” with Arrowhead.