Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Letter 116- August 13, 1944

August 13, 1944

Dear Mother and Dad,

It has been now just one week since I received any mail from you and I have to admit that I don’t like it even a little bit. I know it isn’t your fault but when day after day I’m the only fellow in the barracks that doesn’t get mail—well—I get pretty burned up with this army mail service. I find it awfully hard to write when I don’t receive mail from you because of the many restrictions covering what I can say.

Today is Sunday and I’ve been turned down on a pass again. It seems that I have less chance at a pass than anybody around here. I’ve only had one since I’ve been here. They tell us they want us to get acquainted with the people over here but then see to it that we don’t get the chance.

The war news sure seems to be good these days. Monty says I hear, that the German 7th Army will give up within 72 hours. I guess that by the time you get this the situation will be a lot clearer. Everyone over here seems to think that Germany can’t hold out much longer. I hope so.

I’m feeling well although I can’t seem to get rid of this cold. That’s about all I can say now.

Best Love,


  1. The news report Bill refers to is about the Falaise Pocket where the Allies captured about 50,000 German troops. According to the Wiki article this concluded Operation Overlord.

  2. Eisenhower, in his excellent memoir "Crusade in Europe" states that, "The battlefield at Falaise was unquestionably one of the greatest 'killing grounds' of any of the war areas." He goes on to say that when he visited the site, "It was literally possible to walk for hundreds of yards at a time, stepping on nothing but dead and decaying flesh."

  3. Not a small part of the flesh was that of horses. Even in 1944, some 40 percent of the transportation of the German Army was horse-drawn. The British and the Americans were the only armies totally mechanized.

    I'm also thinking that Bill is realizing that he is close to being "in it." So far the Army has been exasperating and boring and fun and everything in between, but now it's about to become serious with the looming prospect of going to France. What a privilege to read of this transformation in his life.

  4. I was surprised to learn that the number of horses and the number of horse casualties in WWII far exceeded that of the American Civil War.

    At this point Bill has no idea that he is slated for the infantry. He appears totally in the dark about what the United States Army has in mind for him. If he only knew what we know about his future!!!


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