21 July, 2011

21 July, 1944


438th AAA AW BN
APO 403 % Postmaster, N.Y.
21 July, 1944

My dearest sweetheart –

I am now sitting in the back of our big truck writing this V-mail to you. It happens to be the driest spot available at the moment – but it’s quite comfortable. As a matter of fact I’ve been rummaging around through some of my boxes and bags and I came across my clarinet and as soon as I’m through writing this – I think I’ll try blowing a few tunes out of it. Anyway – I ought to end up with more room here than there is now!

Greg's "large truck" may have been similar
to this 1/2 ton 4x4 WC54 Field Ambulance

I haven’t heard from you in a couple of days, now, dear, but that’s because of the recent mail set-up which should be corrected in another day or two. I thought so hard of you last night – it was almost impossible to stand it. I just wished so hard that you were with me or I with you – that I had to change my line of thought. Gosh, darling, I do love you a tremendous lot and I can hardly wait to get home and show you what I mean. But I will!! Hope you’re hearing from me regularly now. Love to the folks and

All my love, dear


about A Quiet Period

(L to R) Lt Gen Omar Bradley 1st Army, Maj. Gen Leonard Gerow V Corps
Gen Dwight Eisenhower Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force
Lt Gen Lawton Joseph "Lightning Joe" Collins VII Corps
on 21 July 1944

According to HyperWar's US Army in WWII: ETO Breakout and Pursuit written by Martin Blumenson:
Between the end of the earlier July offensive and the launching of COBRA, there was a lull for about a week. Not only did the period of inactivity permit plans to be perfected and the troops to be better organized for the attack, it also gave the men some rest and time to repair the equipment damaged in the battle of the hedgerows. Units were able to integrate replacements. By the time COBRA got under way, all the divisions on the Continent were close to authorized strength in equipment and personnel and most had undergone a qualitative improvement.

The quiet period before COBRA also made possible increased comforts such as hot meals, showers, and clothing changes. Even though B rations - a non-packaged food affording a variety of hot meals - had reached the Continent early in July and were ready for issue to the troops, the battle of the hedgerows had prevented their being substituted for combat 10-in-1, K, and C rations until later in the month. With kitchens set up to serve hot meals, "it was amazing how many cows and chickens wandered into minefields... and ended up as sizzling platters."

As Allied leaders searched rain-filled skies for a break in the clouds that might permit the air bombardment planned for COBRA, a phrase of the Air Corps hymn came to mind: "Nothing can stop the Army Air Corps." Nothing, they added, except weather. While impatient commanders waited anxiously for sunshine, and while General Bradley facetiously assumed the blame for having "failed to make arrangements for proper weather," the First U.S. Army rested and prepared for the attack.

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