17 June, 2011

17 June, 1944


438th AAA AW BN
APO 403 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Somewhere in France
17 June, 1944

Hello darling!

I know you don’t like V-mail letters – but I’ll switch to Air-mail at the first opportunity. From the heading – you can see we are now allowed to state our general location. I understand that we now have an APO here for outgoing mail so I hope this gets to you soon.

No doubt you’re anxious, dear, to know about all that has happened – but really, darling, nothing much here. I’m well and safe and not the least bit worried. Naturally, it has been thrilling, but hell – to have been in the Army for 2 years and have missed this – would have been disappointing. Anyway, dearest, all is under control and I’m taking good care of myself for you – so don’t worry too much! Remember, dear, I love you and miss you. Will write more when I can. Love to the folks

All my love

The Route of the Question Mark

Part of Page 11 of The Route of the Question Mark gives this time frame:
June 17: Headquarters Battery arrives in Normandy, D plus 11, and we participate in the Invasion as part of the 109th AA Group, VII Corps, First Army, taking part in the Normandy Campaign, the Race to Paris, the drive across Northern France, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Battle of Germany.
Pages 21-22 include this portion:
The Greek ship Hellas, which certainly lived up to the first syllable of its name... The confusion of the marshalling area... The congestion on the docks at Southampton, and the misery experienced by all... Headquarters Battery doggedly carrying its baseball equipment right into the face of the enemy... The thrill of seeing the coast of France, Hitler's Fortress of Europe, the real thing, not a news-reel, for the first time... Utah Beach, where all the ships in the world appeared to be waiting to unload... The antiaircraft barrage... The false gas alarm... The interminable delays... The de-water-proofing area, and the first fox-holes...
Troop Ship Nea Hellas
Normandy... The famous hedge-rows... The dead cattle... The stunned civilians... Ste. Mere Eglise... Valognes and Montebourg... Our first glimpse of what War can do to a town... Mines cleared to hedges... The unbelievable concentration of traffic and equipment on the roads of the beach-head... The summer weather... The heat... The apple orchards... The Ten-in-one rations... The first free rations of cigarettes... The crashed gliders... Parachute silk for 'kerchiefs... The start of our long itinerary........

U.S soldiers take cover behind dead cattle in Normandy.
Beach-head Traffic

Ten-in-One Rations
Ten-in-one rations were designed for troops in all areas to be used in advance of arrival of field kitchens. Each case provided food for ten men for one day. Items were non-perishable and could be eaten either hot or cold. Five menus were offered, with each ration providing 4,100 calories. Each case included cigarettes, water purification tablets, matches, salt, can openers (The famous P-38), toilet paper, toilet soap and paper towels.

Crashed Gliders
in Normandy.

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