05 August, 2011

05 August, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 403 % Postmaster, N.Y.
5 August, 1944        1330

Dearest, sweetest darling –

I got your letter of 22 July yesterday – along with one from my Dad of the same date. I’m a little worried about the latter although I wouldn’t want the family to know it. Lawrence had written me some time ago about my mother going to the Pratt Diagnostic and I didn’t like the inference one bit – because it isn’t like my mother to be going to hospitals unless she wasn’t feeling very well. I hate to think about it but I’m just sitting tight and praying that she’s all right and only over-tired.

My father happened to mention that he had seen some invasion money and it dawned upon me, dear, that I hadn’t sent any for you to see – therefore the enclosure. There’s all kinds of money floating around here – that printed by the U.S. – the German and the French. I didn’t have any of the latter to send along at present. It’s scarce and apparently being hoarded by the French. The money comes in different sizes, colors and shapes and it’s really difficult to keep in the wallet. The pound note I happened to keep when I left England and I thought I might as well send that along too. Remember, dear, the franc is worth 2 cents – as set up by the U.S.

I was amused at your story of a pseudo date and quite pleased, darling, at the family’s loyalty – particularly Mary’s. Give her my thanks. No – you didn’t tell me about J. Bern’s brother. It certainly is a sad story about the fellow in the Army. I’m sorry to read about Jews who for one reason or another change their religion.

Sweetheart – you can’t possibly miss me any more that I do you – believe me! Your reminiscing about the early days when we first met certainly made my mouth water. Gosh we did have a lot of fun – Stan included. I kind of thought in those days that you liked Stan a great deal. I was sorry, too, because I felt you were being charmed by his manner etc. I’m glad for my sake (and yours) that you changed – and, sweetheart – I often ask myself how you came to love me. Anyway – I’m damned lucky you did.

Incidentally – it’s a month now since I last heard from Stan and apparently he just doesn’t intend to write any more. I never did hear from him whether he got that Zippo – and all in all – the more time passes – the smaller a man he appears to be. Is he still in Washington – or haven’t you heard, dear?

Oh I got a letter from Charlie Wright the other day. I had answered his letter but didn’t know whether it reached him. It had. He is now working in a General Hosp. in Atlantic City – doing anesthesia. He is still in the Army but trying his darndest to get out. His wife is in Phila. and they keep an apartment there. Polly knows all about the affair – but they plan to go on as before. He has been remarkably frank about it all. He certainly seemed to miss the outfit and the experience of coming to France. I’ll write him in a couple of days.

About news from here, dearest, these isn’t much to write. We’re moving at a good clip for the time being, at least. I’m out of contact with the hospital where I was working. The distance between us is too great to travel every day. If the rapid pace continues – I won’t try to contact another hospital because there’s no point in working at one for 1-2 days and then having to leave. But in a choice – I’d rather not do hospital work and move along swiftly – than to sit at one site and get a chance to operate. The latter implies a slow advance. The former means we’re getting nearer to Paris and the sooner we get there – the sooner the war will end. That’s what I want.

The Colonel, a couple of other officers and myself are sleeping in a large stone farmhouse tonite. It’s a new spot and seems safe enough. Besides it’s dry and surprisingly clean. We’ll use our own bedding rolls and mattresses – of course. There are a lot of chicken and turkeys about and I wouldn’t be surprised – well – I wouldn’t be surprised –

Darling – that’s all for now. I’m hopeful too – like everyone else – and soon I’m sure – our love will have a chance to express itself! Love to the family and for now

My deepest love

The Route of the Question Mark

From Page 25-26 from The Route of the Question Mark:

(A) Hambye to (B) La Chapelle-Cecelin (13 miles)
1 August to 5 August 1944
(Exact route unknown)

August 5... La Chapelle-Cecillin. The old sow had a litter of 14 pigs; S/Sgt BOGARDUS got a German truck for us, pushing the dead Jerry out of the cab to get it; Sgt BADEN started the pool to pick V-E day; The Ammunition Section under Sgt ROSE set up what they called a Hobo Jungle; We collected chickens from the flocks that wandered around the farm; T/5 CHEETY waiting in his fox-hole for a chicken to wander by and the quick way that it disappeared into his tent; And apple throwing became a new popular sport.

[Note from FourthChild: S/Sgt Roger Bogardus, was born on June 2, 1915 and passed away on Monday, May 31, 2010. Roger was a resident of Wells River, Vermont.]


about the Debut of Patton's Third Army
and Continued Movement of Hodge's First

Patton's Third Army's battle record began on 1 August 1944 at 1200 hours, when it officially became operational as a combat army. After Lieutenant General Courtney H. Hodges' First Army punched a hole in the German defenses at St-Lô, the Third Army began roaring through the hole with their Sherman tanks. They began an attacking advance that moved in every direction on the compass all at the same time. They captured Vannes and moved east toward Le Mans, southand southwest through Laval, west toward Brest, and north toward St. Malo before the enemy knew what was happening. Two tank columns of the 6th Armored Division, commanded by Major General R.W. Grow, forced the Germans to withdraw into the fortified ports of St. Malo, Lorient, St. Nazaire, and Brest.

Meanwhile, Hodge's First Army, meeting stiffer resistance, continued to advance beyond Mortain. The 4th Division struck determined resistance in the hills just north and northwest of St. Pois on 2 August. The 3d Armored Division's Combat Command B, (CCB) attached to the 4th Division and spearheading the attack, was not far from St. Pois, but the armor awaited arrival of the infantry before resuming the attack. The rest of the division moved south from Villedieu in what appeared to resemble a gigantic traffic jam on 2 August, but what was in actuality a rapid movement. General Barton had decided that "the quickest way to get them there [was to] put them all on the road at once." From the forward positions just north of St. Pois, Barton had to advance about six miles and seize three objectives, each two miles apart. The 116th Panzer Division had been hastily withdrawn from the line near Tessy on 1 August to counter the American thrust toward Brécey, and this force had been committed in time to halt CCB and the 4th Division.

Impatient to attain the three objectives so that the 4th Division might go into reserve for rest as promised, General Barton applied a lesson learned at Villedieu. On 3 August he sent a task force of infantry and armor to bypass St. Pois on the west. Moving about five miles without firing a shot, the task force crossed the Sée River at Cuves, four miles west of Chérencé-le-Roussel. On the following day CCB and attached infantry fought eastward from Cuves along the south bank of the Sée River, then crossed the river again at Chérencé-le-Roussel and established a bridgehead on the north bank of the Sée. While the task force was thus outflanking and enveloping the enemy, three regiments of the 4th Division attacked abreast from the northwest toward St. Pois.The going was difficult against the guns of the 116th Panzer Division, and by evening the objectives were still not secured.

When the attack was halted and orders given to dig in for the night, the rifle company officers of a battalion of the 8th Infantry requested and secured permission to continue as a measure of respect for their commander, Lt. Col. Erasmus H. Strickland, who had been wounded that day. At dawn, 5 August, the regiment was ready to repel the strong but obviously final German counterattack. Although St. Pois technically remained in German hands that morning, the town was virtually encircled. The Germans began to withdraw to the southeast. From the hills around St. Pois, men of the 4th Division hastened the enemy's departure by bringing down artillery fire and calling in fighter-bombers to attack the columns. The cannon company of the 8th Infantry fired 3,200 shells and burned out three howitzer tubes, the 4.2-inch mortar company depleted all its ammunition stocks, and the 81-mm. mortars expended 3,000 rounds. The division mission completed by the end of 5 August, General Barton released CCB to control of the 3d Armored Division, assembled the 4th Division at St. Pois in the VII Corps reserve, and looked forward to giving his troops four or five days of rest, replete with hot showers, hot food, USO shows and Red Cross doughnut girls.

1 comment:

  1. I just found your blog -- I have many many pages to catch up on, but wanted to say Thank You for posting this! My Grandfather, Gerald Salter, was part of the 438th and he has mentioned The Route of the Question Mark before and I have never been able to find a copy. So THANK YOU!