01 August, 2011

01 August, 1944


438th AAA AW BN
APO 403 % Postmaster, N.Y.
1 August, 1944
Wilma, darling –

It’s 1600 hour right now – but this has been the first opportunity I’ve had today to write. We’ve been on the hop the past few days – sort of keeping up with the smooth progress of our army. I haven’t been able to go to the hospital for 3 days now and they are a good distance behind us. I don’t know when they’ll move or in what direction – but I’ll keep on the look-out for them. If they don’t show up – I’ll try another hospital. Of course, if we keep moving this rapidly I’ll not be able to make contact and do any work – but that’s O.K. with me – because the more we move – the quicker I’ll get home and that’s what I want more than anything else – darling.

Here it is August – and half the summer gone. I hope there’s enough time left to clean up the Germans before Fall and Winter. It seems from here as if they ought to crack-up soon – but they’ll have to be whipped a bit more yet. All sorts of bets float around here on the end of the war – from 100 hours to 100 days. I think a good bet is about six weeks – but then that’s my opinion only.

Sweetheart – that’s all for now except to remind you I love you and all these thoughts about war’s end are only in terms of you. Love to the folks.
All my love

The Route of the Question Mark

From Page 25 from The Route of the Question Mark:

(A) Dangy to (B) Hambye (8 miles)
30 July to 1 August 1944

August 1... Hambye. We had a cloud-burst that turned our orchard into a swamp and flooded all our fox-holes and Capt SILVUS took pictures on his movie camera of the damage after the storm. We helped the farmers in the next field with their haying and were rewarded with pitchers of cider.


about General Barton's Intent

From July 25 to August 1, the VII Corps pushed 40 to 50 kilometers south of an area that had previously restrained American forces to hard fought gains of minimal value. Although the cost of success was high (17,267 casualties), the gains were considered to be phenomenal.

On the 4th Division right, the Combat Commands A and B of the 3d Armored Division in the meantime had driven toward Gavray and Hambye to cross the Sienne River abreast. Of the two, CCB (Combat Command B) had less difficulty, despite poor country roads and wrecked German vehicles that had to be pushed off the roads before the columns could pass. Reaching Hambye in early afternoon of 30 July, CCB found a damaged bridge and met small arms fire from the south bank, but a small reconnaissance party supported by fire from the advance guard was sufficient to drive the Germans back. Engineers repaired the bridge by late afternoon, and the combat command continued the march south toward Villedieu-les-Poeles. Like the infantry, the armor ran into increasing resistance when nearing Villedieu. Since portions of the combat command still had to cross the Sienne before a full-scale attack could be mounted against the objective west of the town. Colonel Boudinot halted CCB and established perimeter defenses for the night.

Not until the evening of 31 July, after the arrival of the 8th Infantry, was the 4th Division altogether ready to drive south. Calling his principal subordinates together. General Barton made it clear he had in mind rapid, sweeping advances. "We face a defeated enemy," he told his commanders, "an enemy terribly low in morale, terribly confused. I want you in the next advance to throw caution to the winds . . . destroying, capturing, or bypassing the enemy, and pressing"— he paused to find the correct word— "pressing recklessly on to the objective."

The units of the 4th Division and the attached armor took General Barton at his word when they renewed the attack on 1 August.

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