Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Effingham Hussars: Battery A, 1-118th Field Artillery

By Major William Carraway

Historian, Georgia Army National Guard

Left: Battery A, 1-118th Field Artillery Regiment in 2014. Right: The Effingham Hussars, Sept. 10, 1901. Georgia National Guard Archives.


The Springfield-based Battery A, 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment has a long rich history. Although federally recognized as the 48th Military Police Company March 22, 1948 during the post-World War II reorganization of the Georgia National Guard, the Springfield unit also carries on the lineage of the Effingham Hussars which was raised in 1846.

Early History

Capt. Henry Strobhar
The Effingham Hussars entered Confederate service in April 1861 and served in and around Savannah initially under the command of Captain Edward Bird. In January 1863, the Hussars were assigned as Company I, 5th Georgia Cavalry under the command of Capt. Henry Strobhar. Also serving in the 5th Georgia Cavalry were the Georgia Hussars and Liberty Independent Troop who would go on to serve in the Georgia National Guard’s 108th Cavalry Regiment.

The 5th Cavalry served in South Carolina before returning to Georgia in 1864 whereupon it took part in the battles of the Atlanta Campaign. The 5th Cavalry surrendered in Hillsboro, N.C. April 26, 1865.

Reorganization and Mobilization

Following reconstruction, the Effingham Hussars were reconstituted as a unit of the Georgia Volunteers July 11, 1872. The Hussars were dissolved in 1910. Reconstituted June 18, 1921 as Company A, 164th Engineers, the company was redesignated Company E, 133rd Engineers May 7, 1924 and subsequently designated the 30th Military Police Company June 1, 1928. The 30th MP Company was accepted into federal service September 16, 1940 and served in the European Theater of Operations with the 30th Division. Landing at Omaha Beach June 10, 1944, the 30th was heavily engaged in action against St. Lo and again at Mortain August 6, 1944. Driving east across Belgium, the 30th assaulted the Siegfried Line and helped stem the German offensive in the Ardennes in 1945. Crossing the Rhine March 24, 1945, the 30th advanced through Germany reaching the Elbe. The 30th returned to the United States in 1945 after more than 280 days in combat and its units were inactivated.[1]

The 48th Military Police Company in 1947. Georgia National Guard Archives.
Post World War II and the 48th Division

On November 13, 1947, the Georgia National Guard was authorized to reorganize the Springfield unit as the 48th Military Police Company. The unit was federally recognized March 22, 1948 and assigned to the 48th Infantry Division. In 1953, the 48th MP Company won the Governor’s Trophy, which was presented annually to the company that achieved the highest percentage in weapons qualifications at annual training.

The Springfield-based Battery C, 230th Field Artillery Battalion in 1958. Georgia National Guard Archives.
In October 1955, the 48th ID was reorganized as an armored division. The 48th MP Company was designated Battery C, 230th Armored Field Artillery Battalion[2] and equipped with 105 mm self-propelled howitzers. As part of Division Artillery, the 118th and 230th FA Battalions were equipped with the M7 and M54 105 mm self-propelled howitzers while the 179th FA fielded the M55 155 mm self-propelled howitzer.

Left to right: an M54 and M7 105 mm self propelled howitzer of the 48th Armor Division. Georgia National Guard Archives.
In January 1956, Soldiers of Battery C assisted in the search for a missing hunter in Effingham County. After a two-day search, the man was found unharmed.[3]

Over the Labor Day weekend in 1958, Springfield Soldiers assisted Georgia State Patrol in Operation Deathless, an effort to reduce traffic fatalities over the busy holiday travel period.

A June 1959 Army-wide reorganization redesignated the Springfield unit as Battery C, 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment.[4] Battery C was recognized July 1, 1961 with the award for the best drilled howitzer section at annual training at Fort Stewart. The unit continued its exemplary performance with a superior rating in the 1962 inspector general’s inspection, a feat that it would accomplish several times over the years.

Loss of the 48th Division and the M109 Era

As part of an Army-wide restructuring, the Georgia National Guard lost the 48th Armor Division January 1, 1968. This reorganization prompted the Springfield unit’s redesignation as Battery C, 2nd Battalion 214th Field Artillery Regiment.[5] The 2-214th, with units in Savannah, Springfield and Statesboro was part of the newly established 118th Field Artillery Group (redesignated the 118th FA Brigade in 1980) and was issued the M-109 155 mm self-propelled howitzer in fiscal year 1970.

M-109 Howitzers of the Springfield-based Battery C, 2nd Battalion 214th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Stewart in 1973. Georgia National Guard Archives.
When a tornado struck Springfield in November 1972, Battery C responded with personnel and equipment to clear debris. The unit was again called to respond when heavy snow blanketed the state in 1973.

Specialist 4 Isaiah Brown sets the cradleon the gun tube of
an M-109 of theSpringfield-based Battery C, 2-214th
Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Stewart in 1983.
Georgia National Guard Archives.

During the 1983 annual training, the 2-214 became the first reserve unit in the United States Army to pass nuclear fire qualification testing. Conducted over 65 hours under field conditions at Fort Stewart, the nuclear firing test required the Guardsmen to complete 51 firing exercises under grueling time and accuracy standards. The 2-214 far exceeded the standard of 80 percent by successfully completing 50 of 51 missions.[6]

The Georgia National Guard underwent a major reorganization in 1993 which brought about the loss several units including the 118th Field Artillery Brigade, 122nd TLAT and the 2-214th.[7] As a result, the Springfield unit received its current designation as Battery A, 1-118th Field Artillery[8] and was assigned to the 48th Brigade. The 118th accompanied the 48th to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif May 25 to June 15, 1996.

War on Terror 

The 118th FA deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the 48th Infantry Brigade. With the brigade’s reorganization as the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 118th traded in its Paladins for 105 mm towed howitzers. Battery A mobilized to Afghanistan in 2010 and was recognized with a first-place finish in the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence competition in 2016. The battery again deployed with the 118th to Afghaninstan in 2018 and returned in 2019. Just months later, the 118th was tasked to support the state's coordinated response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Beginning in April 2020, the 118th staffed infection control teams and assisted hospitals and food bank operations.

Soldiers of  Battery A, 118th Field Artillery Regiment fire live rounds from their M777 Howitzer at Fort Stewart Dec. 11, 2018. Photo by Maj. William Carraway

[1] “30th Division: Old Hickory.” https://www.armydivs.com/30th-infantry-division#:~:text=The%2030th%20Infantry%20Division%20arrived,Lo%20break%2Dthrough.

[2] NG AROTO 325.4 October 17, 1955 effective November 1, 1955.

[3] “Springfield Battery Hunts Lost Hunter.” The Georgia Guardsman. January February 1956, 14.

[4] RA 73-59 June 10, 1959 effective July 1, 1959.

[5] RA 71-67 December 14, 1967, effective January 1, 1968.

[6] “214th Gunners Pass Nuclear Firing Test.” The Georgia Guardsman, June July 1983 1 and 8.

[7] Georgia Department of Defense. Annual Report, 1993, 6.

[8] RA 169-93 August 9, 1993, effective September 1, 1993.

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