Thursday, November 5, 2009

Letter 148- November 14, 1944

November 14, 1944
(France V-Mail)

Dear Mudder and Dad,

This is my second letter to you from France. I believe I’ll start numbering my letters too. Things are getting a little more settled here. This place certainly is not my idea of heaven. It could be a “helluva” lot worse, however. These letters from overseas are as informative as hell, aren’t they? There’s one thing I can say though and that is, don’t ever let anyone sell you on a trip to Europe. Podunk would look better.

I haven’t heard any news for about a week now, only rumors. The war could be over for all I know. Fat chance, huh? According to the last rumor that wafted my way Gen. Patton is going at it hot and heavy again. I hope so. The war sure has lasted a lot longer than any of us would have thought possible last Sept. I guess it could last for a long time yet.

Chances are that it’ll be quite some time before I get any mail from you. Sure am getting lonely for some.

Best Love,


  1. Bill's in France. I will speculate that he crossed the channel in something like a Landing Ship Infantry and marched or was trucked to a replacement depot. I imagine thousands of pyramidal tents sprouting out of mud and endless lines just like on the troop ship.

  2. After 13 months of service Bill is finally in the combat zone. An interesting odyssey is about to get much more "interesting".

  3. Doing some web research it looks like Bill is at the 11th Replacement Depot at Givet, France, up near the Belgian border. I checked with a veteran of the 82nd Airborne who went through there about the same time as Bill. He told the following story:

    General George Patton arrived and they paraded all the replacements. The vet was there with another 82nd trooper. They had deserted a hospital in England in order to get back to their "home" unit. Patton promised any volunteers who would serve in his tanks commissions as lieutenants.

    Old Blood and Guts inspected the troops and came across the 82nd men who were still wearing bandages.

    "You men are combat veterans?"

    "Yes sir."

    "What happend to you?"

    "Accident. Sir."

    "What kind of accident?"

    "Eighty-eight. Sir."

    "What about you?" turning to my friend.

    "Same as him. Sir."

    Then Patton noticed the division patch.

    "Paratroopers! No God damned paratroopers are going to drive my tanks."

    Patton stormed off and left with several truckloads of wannabe tankers. Statistics show that their survivability was probably lower than in the Infantry.

  4. Their guts and Patton's glory! Bill's letters confirm that he was at Givet. Dispite the imminent danger looming ahead for Bill as an infantryman, he very much wanted to end his status as an unassigned Replacement and get perminently attached to a unit.


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