JACK J. KRON

Lieutenant Colonel | Field Artillery

 

Field artillery units in the first year of the Korean War were fraught with difficulties not often faced by cannoneers since the turn of the century.  Often overrun, constantly attacking and retreating, understrength, undersupplied, and completely overwhelmed, after two weeks in combat the three 105mm battalions had been combined into just one provisional battalion for the defense of Taejon.  Major Kron, the 13th Field executive officer, saw that the situation was grim.

It was perhaps the toughest period of his career that spanned a decade and several theaters of war.  He commanded a battery of 155mm cannons with the 36th Field Artillery from the Tunisian desert through Sicily and into Italy.  The regiment is credited with firing the first artillery round into continental Europe, an achievement his battalion in Korea could later claim as well.  He left the European theater in 1944 to return to the States before serving in China during the final year of the war.  Five years later, he was in the Far East once again.

He pressed on through 1950 and tried to maintain morale within his unit.  In mid-May, Kron took over command of the 52d Field Artillery from Marshall Armor, a welcome change for his new unit.  Armor had not earned much respect among his men who did little to see him off after the change of command ceremony.  During his tenure as commander of the 52d, Armor had recommended only one man for an award of the Bronze or Silver Star and it was himself.  Kron cared much more for his subordinates and was genially welcomed into the new battalion.  At this time the artillery war in Korea became much more predictable and stable once a stagnant front was established.  Only outposts frequently changed and a hill or ridge might be contested over by the infantry, but the cannoneers could rest a bit easier knowing that they would no longer need to defend their guns in hand to hand fights.

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