112th Field Artillery

Greg Krenzelok


112th Field Artillery Regimental History
While the present 112th Field Artillery was reorganized from units of the 112th Field Artillery, 29th Division, United States Army, during the period 1920-1924, and Regimental Headquarters granted Federal recognition on January 8, 1924, completing the organization of the regiment, the history of this regiment really extends back to Revolutionary times when on February 13, 1776, the Provincial Congress of New Jersey authorized the raising of two companies of artillery in the colony and provided for their stations, one in the eastern and one in the western division of the State.

Both of the batteries did good service during the Revolutionary War. History shows that they took part in the battle of Trenton, Assunpink, Princeton and Monmouth. On the fourth of December, 1776, the Eastern Company was annexed to Colonel Thomas Proctor’s Regiment of Artillery, Continental Army, and assigned to General Knox’s Brigade of Artillery. By reason of this assignment, these batteries were often referred to as Continental Troops.

The Eastern Company was detailed to accompany the New Jersey Brigade during the Pennsylvania Insurrection of 1794, commonly called “The Whiskey Rebellion” and marched to Pittsburgh and return. During the War with Great Britain, 1812-1815, this battery was called for several tours of duty and was stationed at Navesink and Paulus Hook.

Subsequent laws passed for the better regulation of the Militia of the State provided for the retention of one battery in the eastern part of the State and one in the western, and this status was maintained up to the outbreak of the Civil War.

Upon receipt of the President’s call for troops in 1861, the Eastern Company, then designated Battery A, First Brigade, under command of Captain William Hexamer, with one of the first units to volunteer for service, and was finally accepted and mustered into active service on August 12, 1861. The first battle in which this battery engaged was at West Point, May 7, 1862, where it displayed great gallantry. This engagement was followed by Mechanicsville, May 31, 1862; Gaines Mills, June 27, 1862; Chantilly, August 30, 1862; Cramptons Pass, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Salem Church, Gettysburg, Mine Run, and Cold Harbor.

During the Civil War, this battery furnished officers and men for the formation of Batteries B, C, D and E, First New Jersey Artillery, all of which served in many engagements with honor to themselves and the State of New Jersey.

At the close of the Civil War, the Battery was mustered out and was reorganized as Hexamer’s Battery (Battery A, First Brigade) with station at Hoboken, New Jersey, and was subsequently moved to Elizabeth upon the formation of the National Guard in 1869, and was later re-designated Gatling Gun Company A with change to station from Elizabeth to Orange. Designation was changed to Battery A, Field Artillery, and station change to East Orange in 1900. Prior to the call for duty on the Mexican Border in 1916, Battery C was formed at East Orange from Battery A, both batteries together with Battery B of Camden the former Western Battery served on the Mexican Border.

Shortly after the declaration of War against the central Powers, authority was received for the organization of the additional batteries to complete a regiment of Artillery. Under this authority, Battery D was formed at Atlantic City, Battery E at Montclair, Battery F at Morristown. As the First New Jersey Field Artillery, the regiment was ordered to Camp McClellan, Alabama, for training and, upon the organization of the 29th Division, the regiment less Battery F was re-designated the 112th Heavy Field Artillery on October 10, 1917. Battery F was re-designated as the 104th Trench Mortar Battery and Troops B and D, First Squadron, New Jersey Cavalry, were converted and re-designated as Battery F.

After completion of 10 months training at Camp McClellan, Alabama, the regiment sailed for France on July 5, 1918, arrived at Liverpool, England, July 12, 1918, and re-embarked for France. Arriving prior to the end of July, it was stationed near Poiters, later moving to Meucon for training. Lack of equipment precluded the regiment from participating in the American offensive. The regiment sailed for the United States on May 12, 1918, arrived at Newport News, Virginia, May 21, 1918, and was subsequently demobilized at Camp Dix, New Jersey.

From the close of the World War until 1928, public interest in military preparedness unfortunately waned with a corresponding lack of interest in a properly organized and efficient National Guard. During this period, there was affected a piecemeal reorganization of the 112th Field Artillery, until finally on May 15, 1928, with the organization of a regimental Headquarters Battery, the regiment was again a complete unit.

Each year from 1928 to 1936 aided in the development of the 112th Field Artillery from a standpoint of efficiency, morale and personnel. Each year’s field training period indicated a marked improvement, and in 1936 the regiment was in a position to again aid in the organizing of much needed Field Artillery expansion in the States. In that year, the 157th Field Artillery was organized and the Second Battalion, 112th Field Artillery, was the nucleus around which this new regiment was formed. The degree of efficiency and morale of the 112th Field Artillery in 1936 can be judged by how rapidly and well the new 157th Field Artillery was formed, as well as the complete new battalion organized s the 112th Field Artillery to replace the South Jersey Second Battalion.

When the 112th Field Artillery went to Pine Camp, New York, for their field training period in 1936, 50 percent of the units and personnel was new. Despite this fact, the regiment clicked at once and the mounted review held in camp that year, as well as the field proficiency of the regiment, compared favorably with any previous year.

From that time until the regiment’s induction into Federal service, the training of new officers and enlisted personnel progressed much more rapidly than normally expected of civilian soldiers because of the voluntary extra training of officers and personnel at other than prescribed drills.

In 1937 and 1938, the 112th Field Artillery held its field training exercises at Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania. The service practice records of these years showed a continued improvement in gunnery, and the tactical exercises demonstrated the ability of the regiment to perform its mission of support for the Infantry.

The year 1939 saw further expansion of Field Artillery in New Jersey. This time the senior battalion located at East Orange was the nucleus for the formation of the 165th Field Artillery. To offset this loss, an entire new battalion had to be formed and, after a new armory had been constructed at Morristown, organization of this battalion was started in that city. Eighty new recruits attended the First Army Maneuvers of that year. These men were distributed among the various batteries and they performed very creditably.

It was not long after the formation of the 165th Field Artillery that all the units of the 112th Field Artillery were again formed and Federally recognized. New officers were elected to replace those lost through the organization of the 165th Field Artillery and the regiment’s status was similar to that of 1936 when the 157th Field Artillery was formed. The ability to absorb two such reorganization in four years was an indication of the spirit and interest of the civilian soldier.

The date of April 25, 1940, can be considered as another landmark or milestone in the history of the regiment, for on that date the regiment was transferred from the 44th Infantry to the 21st Cavalry Division. The regiment’s long association as part of the Infantry-Artillery team was ended - and the 112th was assigned as part of the supporting arm for the Cavalry.

This change came after another reorganization of the regiment presented new problems. The 1940 Field Training Exercises of three weeks at Pine Camp and Canton, New York, found the 112th in a new role. The methods of accomplishing the mission was different, but this change like others was taken in stride.

During its years as a National Guard organization stationed in New Jersey, the regiment furnished more than military interests for its members. Polo for the enlisted men and the officers took precedence among athletic activities. Inter-regimental polo for both the officers and enlisted men was particularly successful. The regiment was always represented in the metropolitan area by an outstanding indoor and outdoor polo team. The 1933 team won the Indoor Class C Championship by defeating the 124th Field Artillery in the finals at Chicago. Basketball was an important athletic activity with the regimental championship decided each year. Training in the use of the “45” was aided by Indoor and Outdoor Battery Pistol Matches with Post and Regimental Championship finals.

Another red-letter day in the history of the 112th was its induction into Federal service for a year of intensive training on January 27, 1941. Following its induction at the respective home stations of the batteries, the regiment was ordered to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where it arrived on February 7, 1941, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Richardson Greene.

The training period under Federal guidance for the National Guard was extended by an additional year and the a half during the summer of 1941, and the 112th Field Artillery has set as its goal top place among the Field Artillery organizations. When Colonel Greene was transferred to the Brigade Staff in the third week of March 1941, Lieutenant Colonel Alfred H. Aldridge took command of the regiment. On October 16, 1941, he was promoted to Colonel.

Under his guidance, the 112th has gone through some of its stiffest paces of training. The organization is rapidly developing into a topnotch outfit among both National Guard and Regular Army units.

What the future holds no one knows. However, the 112th Field Artillery will always do its best in keeping with the regimental motto: “A Outrance (To the Utmost)”.

Distinctive Unit Insignia. Description: A gold color metal and enamel device 1 3/16 inches (3.02 cm) in height consisting of the shield, crest and motto of the coat of arms.

Symbolism: The shield is red for Artillery. On the gold bend are the two old gatling guns recalling the old gatling gun companies. The cactus recalls the service on the Mexican border and the fleur-de-lis the service in France. The motto translates to “To The Utmost.”

Background: The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 112th Field Artillery Regiment, New Jersey National Guard on 21 March 1925. It was redesignated for the 695th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, New Jersey National Guard on 29 August 1951. The insignia was redesignated and amended to include the crest and motto in the design, for the 112th Artillery Regiment, New Jersey National Guard on 20 October 1961. It was redesignated for the 112th Field Artillery Regiment, New Jersey Army National Guard on 19 June 1972.

Coat of Arms.

Blazon:

Shield: Gules, on a bend Or two gatling guns on field mounts fessways Sable, between in sinister chief a fleur-de-lis and in dexter base a giant cactus both of the second (Or).

Crest: That for the regiments and separate battalions of the New Jersey Army National Guard: On a wreath of the colors Or and Gules a lion’s head erased Or collared four fusils Gules.

Motto: A OUTRANCE (To The Utmost).

Symbolism:

Shield: The shield is red for Artillery. On the gold bend are the two old gatling guns recalling the old gatling gun companies. The cactus recalls the service on the Mexican border and the fleur-de-lis the service in France.

Crest: The crest is that of the New Jersey Army National Guard.

Background: The coat of arms was originally approved for the 112th Field Artillery Regiment, New Jersey National Guard on 20 March 1925. It was redesignated for the 695th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, New Jersey National Guard on 29 August 1951. The insignia was redesignated for the 112th Artillery Regiment, New Jersey National Guard on 20 October 1961. It was redesignated for the 112th Field Artillery Regiment, New Jersey Army National Guard on 19 June 1972.

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