The Artillery Jeep Plane

From “Combat Lessons” No. 4 comes this tribute to the U.S. artillery spotter planes in World War II:

The Artillery “Jeep Plane” Colonel Russell P. Reeder, Infantry Regimental Commander, Normandy.

“When our division commander asked us what we wanted our reply was ‘Keep those artillery jeep planes in the air.’

“These planes were the most effective means of stopping German artillery fire on our troops. We would be taking a real pasting from their artillery until one of these planes would show up skittering across the sky. Immediately the German artillery would stop firing. After one or two incautious enemy batteries had continued to fire and disclosed their position to the air observer, with ‘sudden death’ results, the others learned that discretion is the better part of valor.

Artillery Jeep Plane

“Even their mortars respected the eagle eye of the jeep plane and would suspend fire rather than risk detection of their positions.”

COMMENT: This disinclination of German artillery to fire under the threat of disclosing their positions to air observers has also been reported from both Sicily and Italy.