World War One

15th Field Artillery Regiment

World War One
The 15th Field Artillery (FA) Regiment was organized in Syracuse, New York on 1 June 1917 from cadre transferred from the 4th FA Regiment. Assignment to the 2nd Infantry Division followed on 21 September 1917, and training took place at Pine Camp, New York. The Regiment left the United States on 11 December 1917 and sailed onboard the SS Adriatic for Liverpool, England.

SGT Harry A. Chappell
HQs Company, 15th FA Regiment, taken in Neuweid, Germany, April 1919.  SGT Chappell served as a Drummer in the 15th FA Regimental Band from Nov 1917 until August 1919.  Band members also doubled as Litter Bearers and guarded enemy prisoners when necessary. From the collection of Dan Gillotti, Historian, 15th FA Regt.

The Regiment landed in at Le Harve, France in February 1918, and was initially staged at Bourmont, France. On 21 March 1918, the Regiment deployed against the German Army on the west face of the St. Mihiel Salient. By 1 June 1918, the regiment occupied positions northwest of Chateau-Thierry and on 14 July 1918, was relieved by elements of the 26th "Yankee" Division in order to prepare for the Soissons Counteroffensive. On 18 July 1918, the Regiment participated in its first major offensive near Soissons. During July - October 1918, the Regiment supported the 2nd Infantry Division in operations in Soissons, Marbache, and Champagne. The Regiment also provided artillery support to the American 36th Division and the French 78th Division.

Battery A, 15th FA Regiment crossing the Rhine River
into Germany for Occupation Duty, late November 1918
Photo: US Army History Institute, Carlisle, PA & Dan Gillotti

On 10 November 1918, the Regiment fired in support of the Meuse River crossing and three days later crossed the Rhine River at Remagen for Occupation Duty. The War Records indicate the 15th FA Regiment was in continuous action from July till November 1918, and participated in the Lorraine; Aisne; Ille de France; Aisne-Marne; St. Mihiel; and Meuse-Argonne campaigns, and earned them the unofficial nickname as the Indianheads.  

Meuse-Argonne streamer

Streamer image: Institute of Heraldry

The Indianheads of the Fighting Fifteenth fulfilled every mission assigned to it, never fired rounds short, and expended 285,000 rounds of shell and shrapnel. This was the greatest number of artillery rounds fired by any US Army Artillery Regiment during the war, and is a fact in which it can be justly proud.

75mm Howitzer 
of the 15th Field Artillery

Credit: Jim and Rosalie Nicholson

Historical information - 75mm Howitzer in WW1
   By: Dan Gillotti, 15th Historian

The US was not prepared for WW-I, especially in equipment.  The only American-made Artillery weapon of any value was the 4.7 inch Gun (approximately 120mm). My research with Rock Island Arsenal indicates only three American Field Artillery Regiments were armed with 4.7 Guns. I don't think any of them saw action as the ammunition supply would have been a huge problem. 

As a result, the United States Army was equipped in France with mostly French and British-made Artillery pieces. The majority of American Divisions were armed with French 75mm Howitzers in the Direct Support Artillery Regiments that included the 15th Field Artillery (FA) Regiment.


The woods of Belleau

50 Batteries were working on the woods of Belleau.
Capt. Hyatt, with megaphone, of Battery F, 15th F. A. (Light), 2nd Div., 
receiving reports from observation posts on the effectiveness of his fire
Photo: LTC James Miller

GEN John J. Pershing decorates the Regimental Colors of the 
15th FA Regiment in Neuweid, Germany, 1919
Photo credit: Dan Gillotti


Along with other units of the 2nd Infantry Division cited for outstanding performance in the Meuse-Argonne and the Aisne-Marne campaigns, the 15th FA Regiment received three awards of the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. Additionally, each member of the Regiment was authorized to wear the Fourragere in the colors of the Croix de Guerre. After the Armistice in November 1918, the 15th FA Regiment remained as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany until the summer of 1919. Returning to the United States in August 1919, the 15th FA Regiment took up permanent residence at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

"Calamity Jane"

Credit: Photos of the Great War

The coat of arms of the 15th FA Regiment above the shield contains a French 75mm Howitzer with the Indianhead of the 2nd ID patch incised in the wheel. The upper left hand corner of the shield represents a smaller shield of the 4th FA Regiment who provided the initial cadre that organized the 15th FA Regiment. The red colors on the overall shield represent the blood that was spilled by the members of the Fighting Fifteenth who helped win WW-I. And the five silver stripes running east and west on the shield represent the five rivers the Regiment fired in support of, assisted in holding, or crossed in combat.

Written by: Dan Gillotti (15th Historian)

French 75mm with ammo 

Credit: Photos of the Great War





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