History of the 1st Guided Missile Brigade

46th Field Artillery Group

46th FA Group Unit Insignia from the Army Lineage Series: Field Artillery, Part 1

This Group was originally activated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 46th Field Artillery Brigade, at Camp Livingston, Louisiana, on 10 February 1941. The unit was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 46th Field Artillery Group on 16 September 1943. The Group was inactivated at Camp Livingston on 31 January 1944. There it was attached to the Southern Line of Communications and assigned to Seventh Army.

On 18 February 1945, the Group moved to Epinal, France, and on 21 February it moved on to Hochfelden, about 15 miles northwest of Strasbourg, where it was given the mission of supporting VI Corps, reinforcing fires of the 36th Infantry Division with the 938th Field Artillery Battalion. Shifting to the northeast, towards the German border, the Group continued during March to furnish general support, harassing and interdiction fire for VI Corps sector. During the week of 21-28 March, the Group was attached to the 13th Field Artillery Brigade.

By 1 April, the Group had moved south to Rheinau on the left bank of the Rhine and continued to operate as “T” Force, VI Corps, indexing and investigating targets assigned by Seventh Army and investigating targets of opportunity within the VI Corps area. On 5 May, the Group reached Innsbruck, Austria. It was still acting as “T” Force, VI Corps, at the end of hostilities. Following a few months of occupation duty, the Group returned to the United States and was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, on 16 November 1945. It is credited with participation in the Rhineland and Central Europe Campaigns.

The 46th FA Group was reactivated in June 1954. Colonel Thomas J. Badger assumed command in 23 August 1954. The Group was assigned to 1st GM Brigade.

On 1 December 1954, the 550th FA Rocket Battery, 762mm, self-propelled, was attached to the 46th FA Group.

The 601st FA Missile Battalion was activated on 15 February 1955 and attached to the 46th FA Group approximately 1 March 1955. The 531st FA Missile Battalion was attached to the 46th FA Group upon its activation on 1 March 1955. On 1 April 1955, the 557th FA Missile Battalion was activated and attached to the 46th FA Group.

By 1 May 1955, the 601st had grown to approximately 400 men and 9 officers. About 10% of the Ordnance Corps’ Corporal equipment was available by 1 May 1955, but the receipt of sufficient Corporal equipment to commence Annual Target Practice on 15 May 1955 appeared extremely doubtful.

“Corporal camoflage exercise being completed by the 603rd Engineers.” WSMR Photo.

The 550th FA Rocket Battery shipped one launcher, wind set, 5-ton ammo truck, pole trailer, and dummy missile to Fort Benning, Georgia on the 27th of April for demonstration and firing. Sixteen men and two officers followed by air to Fort Benning to perform the mission. The launcher and wind set were then subsequently shipped to Fort Sill, Oklahoma on permanent change of station orders.

Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 46th FA Group moved to the field on 18 April 1955 and participated in Exercise Breechblock B until 28 April 1955. Attached units for this operation were the 294th FA Battalion and the 247th FA Missile Battalion. The outstanding highlight of the exercise, according to Colonel Badger, was the flexibility and versatility shown by Group Headquarters in completing their mission.

On 24 June 1955, the 531st, 557th, 558th, and the 559th FA Missile Battalions were re-activated, adding to the nucleus of the 46th Field Artillery Group. All units under their new redesignation were assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas as Field Artillery Missile Battalions.

In September, the 550th deployed for Operation “Big Delta” to Alaska. One platoon of this unit went to Stallion Site and the 3rd platoon to WSPG to complete research and development of the 762mm self-propelled rocket for Continental Army Command (CONARC) Board Number 4.

The 530th, 543rd, and 570th FA Missile Battalions were activated and attached to 46th Group Headquarters. Thus, in less than a year and a half the 46th Group had grown from a Headquarters Battery to a Group consisting of eight FA Missile Battalions and one Rocket Battery.

After successful completion of Army Training Tests, the units of this command were selected to become a part of the European Continental Defensive Plan. With the departure of the 532nd in January 1956, the Group completed the movement of its first battalion deployed to Germany.

The 557th FA Missile Battalion departed Fort Bliss for Germany in February 1956, followed by the 601st and 558th FA Missile Battalions in March 1956. With the departure of the 559th and 530th FA Missile Battalions for Germany in April 1956, the Group had completed the movement of six Corporal Battalions to Germany.

After successfully completing their Army Training Tests, the 543rd Field Artillery Missile Battalion departed for Italy in September 1956, followed by the 570th Field Artillery Missile Battalion in November 1956. This completed the movement of two Corporal Battalions to Italy.

The 550th Rocket Battery deployed elements of the Battery in September 1956 to Fort Benning, Georgia in support of demonstrations and firings.

The 259th Field Artillery Missile Battalion was attached to the 46th FA Group by General Order Number 26, 1st Guided Missile Brigade, dated 18 September 1956.

The 46th Group as of November 1956 consisted of its organic Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, the 550th Rocket Battery, and the 259th FA Missile Battalion.

On 16 February 1957, the 247th FA Missile Battalion and the 523rd FA Missile Battalion was attached to the 46th FA Group from the 2nd Guided Missile Group.

In February, the 259th FA Missile Battalion successfully completed Army Training Test 5.

Also in February, the 550th FA Rocket Battery sent detachments to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Carson, Colorado, and Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, for purposes of testing Honest John and Little John equipment.

Early in the month of March, 46th FA Group units began supporting overseas units for their Annual Service Practices.

On 15 March, the 550th FA Rocket Battery was redesignated the 550th FA Rocket Battalion.

The 523rd FA Missile Battalion and the 550th FA Rocket Battalion each had displays set up for the public on Armed Forces Day, 18 May 1957.

The 550th FA Rocket Battalion sent a detachment of men to Fort Sherman, The Canal Zone, Panama early in early June.

On 14 June, the 247th FA Missile Battalion and the 259th FA Missile Battalion each fired a missile as a demonstration for West Point Cadets.

6 July was Organization Day for the U.S. Army Air Defense Center. All units in the Group had some type of concession along with static displays of equipment.

At the present time, the 46th FA Group is under the Command of Colonel Charles J. Blake, Jr. The Group continues to be very busy testing its own equipment and supporting Annual Service Practices for the overseas units.

8 thoughts on “History of the 1st Guided Missile Brigade

  1. Wonderful article and I enjoyed learning about this unit. I have the same pin that belonged to one of my mothers brothers but it isn’t yellow it is red or burgundy colored. Would this be from another battalion? Any information would be appreciated.

  2. This is a wonderful one and ai enjoyed reading about this battalion. I have the same pin but it is t yellow. It is red or almost burgundy colored. It belonged to one of my mothers 3 brothers but I don’t know where they served or anything about their military careers. Any information or assistance about the pin would be appreciated.

  3. My father served in the 1st AAA Guided Missile Bn. Started out as a machinist and ended up as personnel sgt major before being discharged in ‘46. I’ve been wondering about the graphic with the red and yellow v-2 that appears on the title page of each chapter. Is it an official insignia of the unit?

    1. Good Morning, thank you for your comment! The logo depicted is not an official insignia recognized by the US Army Institute of Heraldry. However, it was used as the unit’s unofficial logo and appeared on several unit history documents from the late-1940s into the 1950s that we have in the museum archives.

      1. Thanks so much! I plan to be at the range for a NASA sounding rocket launch in August. I’d like to learn whatever I can about the early history when my father was there.

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