Saturday, March 13, 2010

Letter 197- May 20, 1945

May 20, 1945
(Göppingen, Germany)

Dear Folks,

Today I received my first letter from you in over a week. I haven’t been writing for just that reason. It’s wrong, I know; but when I don’t get mail I just can’t seem to think of anything.

Censorship has just come to an end over here, sooo--. I’m located in a small town named Göppingen about halfway between Ulm and Stuttgart. We are living swell in houses—new modern, mostly the homes of German army officers. We don’t do much but guard and train. They would have movies and so forth but it seems that they move us every time we get settled.

Boy, this is the life though. You know what this last month or so has been to me? Heaven. No machine guns, 88’s burp guns and so forth. From Bitche to Heilbronn I never got a good sleep, but now—ahh.

Got my points today but we don’t talk about that. (34) C.B.I. here I come, Japs look out-und so weiter!

I’m getting so I can speak pretty good German. Kommen Sie hier! Sitzens sich Austehen! Raus mit Ihnen Halt! Deutschland ist kaput. I scare ‘em to death, the b_ _ _ _ _ _ ds. I love ‘em though—all those under 3 years old.

Next to the French I hate them best. By the way, you heard about Stuttgart. I was ashamed at what we allowed them to do there. It’d make your hair stand on end. In the next war the German rallying cry will probably be, “Remember Stuttgart.”

Gotta close now.

Best Love,


  1. Dear Greg, I have enjoyed reading your dad's letters. I just recently became a true "follower". I want to thank you for inspiring me to create a blog for my dad. Before he passed away in '99 I had asked him to record his war memories on cassettes. Years later I transferred them to CDs. I wanted to do something special with them but did not know what to do. While researching on the internet I came across your blog and so many others like you. It's been a labor of love and I hope my dad would have liked it. It's still in its infancy (just started a few weeks ago). I would be honored if you'd give it a look and perhaps be a follower. Thanks again for your inspiration. Rewriting all those letters.....that's a labor of love. Respectfully, Liz Bacher

  2. Sorry, Greg, here is the site.

  3. Dear Elizabeth, thank you for your nice words about this blog and my father's letters. It is so exciting to hear from new friends and know that I am not laboring in obscurity as I present this letter collection. It truly is a "labor of love". It is wonderful that you had the foresight to record your father's war memories. I am looking forward to following your blog.
    Regards, Greg

  4. Elizabeth: That's a good idea. I have a tape of my dad collected about fifteen years ago. I have the transcription equipment and can do it. New blog here I come (after I finish my book contract here).

  5. Bill's references to CBI (China-Burma-India Theater) reflects the fatalistic feeling among GIs that they would have to repeat their agony against Japan. Indeed, many men involved in amphibious operations in Europe were already being deployed to the Pacific to get ready for Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan.

    Had Bill known what the planners feared, he would be really worried. The tenacious defense of Iwo Jima and Okinawa (next month on Bill's calendar) would show that the Japanese had no intention of surrendering like the Germans did.

  6. Indeed, Bill would have reason to worry. The official Final Report of Army Battle Casualties in WWII issued by the U.S. Army lists total ETO battle casualties as 586,628 and deaths as 135,576. Projected U.S. casualties as indicated in a Joint Chiefs of Staff study done in April, 1945 estimated total U.S casualties in a 6 month invasion of Japan as 1,200,000 and deaths as 267,000. A study done for Secretary of Defense Henry Stimson projected casualties as high as 4,000,000!


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