Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Letter 156- November 29, 1944

November 29, 1944
(France V-Mail)

Dear Mudder and Dad,

Still a movin’ around and I haven’t the slightest idea where I’m going. It’s sure swell to be with an outfit, however. I was getting awfully tired of being a replacement.

It’s another of those sloppy, dark, rainy days so typical over here. Fortunately I’m inside a warm building so I don’t give a hoot and holler.

I’m all out of touch with the news again and as always when soldiers can’t get news rumor runs rampant. Entire German armies have surrendered. The Wehrmacht is supposed to give up to a man on Dec. 1 etc., etc.

No mail yet. It’s better than a month now. I should start getting it before long. Sure am lonesome for a letter. As soon as I get one or two I’ll be able to write a decent letter.
I am feeling fine. I’ll write as often as possible.

Best Love,


  1. Three things come through in Bill's letter, the importance of mail from home, the wild rumors that circulate when there is no information, and the importance of a soldier "belonging" to a unit.

    Bill is fortunate, in a way, to be placed into a unit with combat experience. The soldiers around him and the leaders have been exposed to fire and have settled in to the deadly business of being professionals. The myths from training are gone and the real soldier qualities of individuals have appeared. Generally replacements were not embraced as one might think since they usually took the place of buddies who are dead or wounded. Bill's words suggest that he is past that and one of the men.

    The regimental history dryly reports of this time:

    On November 28th, the Regiment received orders to move from its assembly area in Moyemmoutier to concentration areas in the XV Corps sector. At 1100, the Regimental CP was established in the town of Niederweiler (W538127). The Regiment and supporting elements closed in shortly after, assembling in both Niederweiler and Schneckenbusch. The last two days of November were spent awaiting further orders with patrols dispatched on reconnaissance of possible routes of future employment.

  2. Bill is glad to be a regular infantry soldier and is about to get his "baptismal under fire". The sequence of combat letters that follow are often terse and "matter-of fact" revealing little directly, but much can be read "Between the Lines". Bill is under the constraints of censorship and a desire to play down the extreme danger he faces in order to allay the fears of his "Mudder" and Dad.


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