Hello again, Linda Banks !
Thank you for your informative response.
This was called a Bastard Battalion because it was non-divisional, meaning that it was never assigned to a division on a permanent basis.
Instead, it would have been assigned to a senior unit on an as-needed, where-needed basis.
My unit, 985th FA BN,fell in the same catagory. We fired first for one Army Corps, then another, often returning to the same Corps unit frequently.
During the final drive out of the North Apennines into the Po Valley, we fired in support of the British Eighth Army.
Your dad's unit may have performed the same type of operation.
This is a brief history of 938th FA BN :
The unit manned a batteryof 4/ 155mm Howitzers (Long Toms), which were truck drawn stateside, then tractor drawn overseas;
Activated at Camp Blanding, FL, 7 Mar 43
(as 1st BN, 166th FA);
Following training, departed NY P/E, 21 Aug 43;
arrived North Africa, 2 Sep 43; (Training only, no combat)
arvd. Italy, 26 Nov 43;
arvd. France-ETO, 14 Aug 44;
arvd.Hampton Roads, VA, P/E, 26 Oct 45;
inactivated at Camp Patrick, VA, 26 Oct 45.
Location at war's end, 15 Sep 45, Ammerland, France.
I don't have any casualty data, but you can bet that it was HIGH.
It is speculation, but since he mentioned the 45th IR and his back to the sea in his statement to you, I think that one could safely conclude that he was in support of the 45th ID, which came ashore at Anzio, 22 Jan 44, the startup date for the campaign.
Counter to that, the 34th ID crossed the beach at Anzio,
25 Mar44, and the 36th ID crossed 22 May 44, both of which were relatively late dates for this operation, which ended 24 May 44.
Re: "X-Mas at Cassino", the II Corps had unassigned FA there about that time. My unit first fired at Cassino in that phase. (I hadn't come in as a replacement yet. That came above Florence).
The 34th remained in Italy, while both the 36th and 45th landed to assault Southern France, 15 Aug 44, where his unit may have fired for either or both
I am sorry, but that is about all I can come up with right now.
I hope that it fits the profile you are developing on him.
Please extend my best regards to your dad,and my wishes for a long life.
Louie F. Turner.
A SALUTE FOR THE FUTURE, "TO THE LAST MAN STANDING" !