Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Letter 169- December 29, 1944

December 29, 1944

Dear Mudder & Dad,

Received another letter from you this morning. They’re coming quite regularly now and they sure pep me up. The god awful thing about this war to me is the distance, both in time and space that I’m away from you. However, these letters are now arriving in 12 & 13 days and that’s OK.

Daddy says that he was becoming more isolationistic. I’ll bet not half so much as I. These Europeans want us here like I want hives. They just aren’t like us. They just live from day to day not caring who gives the orders as long as they don’t. I really don’t think we can establish any lasting peace over here.

That’s enough orating. No packages yet, dammit. I’m getting mad. Some of these bums back in rear echelon aren’t on the ball. If I had such a nice job like they I’d do something to deserve it.

Bestus Love,


  1. One reason that Bill's packages are slow in reaching him is that the logistic situation in northern Europe was precarious for the Allies. Every bullet, every can of beans with wieners, and every drop of gasoline had to be shipped across the Atlantic, offloaded at only-recently repaired ports, and transported over badly damaged railways and poor roads. Logistics defined the Allied advance.

    In addition, the response to the Germans' Ardennes offensive siphoned off much materiel and transportation. Given a choice between a stack of presents and one of food, the food caught the train. But the letters are reaching him which is obviously a great comfort.

    Those of the Republican persuasion were generally isolationist before the war and the tendency persisted through the conflict. Bill and his folks probably didn't see kindly to FDR's election to a FOURTH term as president. Indeed, the Republicans will see a sweep of elective offices in 1946.

  2. It seems a miracle that the mail gets through at all considering the logistical challenges faced by the U.S. military.

    I'm curious as to why Bill says that the Europeans don't like the American troops. I do not recall any discussion with my father about this. It seems that the euphoria surrounding the late August 1944 liberation of Paris seems to have worn off by Christmas.

  3. Correction: Please note that I made a typo in paragraph 2, sentence 4 of this letter. It should read, "They just AREN'T like us" not "They just DON'T like us". I have corrected this mistake. The original V-Mail is included with this post. Just "click" on it to read the original.

  4. Mr. John Day, who is an active member of the 100th.Infantry Division Association and a surviving member of Bill's Company A, 399th. Infanty Regiment, wrote me and made the following comments about this and the previous letter:

    "Your Dad and I were not getting (the same) treatment for Christmas 1944. We did have the same meal but I never saw any US beer 'till after VE Day. We did have a keg of French beer which I didn't get any of 'till the next morning {I think I was probably standing guard duty} and by then it was flat and tasteless. We never saw any candy bars except those which someone might have gotten from home and there was never any place to spend money for anything. The PX did not exist in the combat zone."

    "As for the local population not liking us, I have no idea how he got that feeling. Today the people in France where we fought treat us like heros. When we were in St Louis de Bitche {'44} a family there fed us dinner even though they had almost no food because of the Germans and food shortages."


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