228 F.A. Group in ETO 1944 – 45?
Compelling visual story of the 228th Field Artillery Group’s campaign in Europe.
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Of all the campaign maps I have seen published by individual units, corps, or armies, this map of the European Theater by the 228th Field Artillery Group is one of the most visually engaging. It sheds the seriousness exhibited by other operational maps for a lighthearted caricature of operations through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
The route of the unit is shown in red, and in the negative space are numerous illustrated references to components of the campaign that would have been of particular interest to the artilleryman. The dense and troublesome bocage (hedgerows) can be seen in the French countryside while spotting planes fly overhead and direct the guns below. Local drinks, Cidre and Calvados, are shown adjacent to a peaceful orchard, which may have been a memorable spot for a brief rest by the group.
Outside of Paris, a Free French soldier can be seen running a Nazi out of the city with a shotgun, while a nearby mademoiselle offers a smoke. As the route nears Germany, the smash up Siegfried Line appears to offer little in the way of defense against the onslaught of artillery. Nazi territory is shown in grey, with an hourglass as a potent metaphor that time has run out for Hitler. The continued existence of the Wehrmacht, the depiction of the front lines, and the question mark after 45 in the title suggests this map was drawn and published before V-E Day, an irregularity among maps of this kind.
The map also comes with a press photo showing (presumably) an earlier version of this map which includes the name of its likely author, Corporal L.E. Fox. This version is extremely scarce. A second map with a similar title and visual style was published after the war, in a history of the battle group.
The 228th Field Artillery Group was comprised of the 9 battalions listed at the top of the map, adjacent to illustrations of their respective guns. The group operated as part of XIX Corps and the First and Fourth United States Armies and commanded by Colonel John Hinton; each is given credit adjacent to the title cartouche.
Publication Date: 1945
Author: Corporal L.E. Fox
Sheet Width (in): 28.60
Sheet Height (in): 21.70
Condition Description: Faint stains in the lower left and right corners and creasing in the sheet from where the map was previously folded.