12 August, 2011

12 August, 1944


438th AAA AW BN
APO 403 % Postmaster, N.Y.
12 August, 1944        0950

Good morning, Sweetheart –

We almost slept in a 15th century chateau last nite – but just missed out. Maybe it’s just as well – because the walls weren’t very thick. When we make a move – a reconnaissance party precedes us and picks a site – according to our tactical needs. If there’s a farmhouse or building at the spot – they take over. Then they radio us their position – and we meet them. Something went wrong. They had the beautiful estate all picked out – but when they returned – someone else had moved in. The French persist in saying “C’est la guerre” to that – which I guess it is, darling, although I always reply with every other French saying I can think of such as “Cherchez la femme”, “On y soit qui mal y pense” and Pauline La Fouef. Anyway – we picked another spot – and it was just as noisy, dear.

The nights here – I should say evenings – are beautiful, darling, and make me miss you horribly. I have lots of time to think – in the evening and the night – and it’s always about you and us, dear – and always satisfying. That’s what I like about it. Soon, I’m sure, our love will have a chance to be translated, sweetheart, and whether literally or figuratively – I sure am looking forward to it! All for now, dear. Love to the folks – and

All my love is yours –


about When the French Angered the Americans

On 12 August 1944 the population of Alençon awoke in the early morning in a liberated city. The capture of Alençon by the French 2nd Armored Division, which had arrived on Utah Beach on 1 August as Part of Patton's Army under French General Leclerc, had upset German General Eberbach's strategy to reorganize a front line south of the Falaise pocket. The 116th Panzer-Division had been assigned the mission to occupy the area of the Orne River. But the Germans suffered losses when they arrived at the north gate of Alençon, where the French had installed a defense.

Generals Leclerc and Eberbach

Without further ado General Leclerc launched his combat commands northward. The French armored column named "Putz" advanced toward Sées skirting east of Écouves Forest. The 5th American Armoured Division under Major General Oliver entered Le Mans from the east. American General Regnier's Combat Command A penetrated into Sées around 10 a. m. ahead of the Panzergrenadier Regiment of the 116th Panzer-Division. Without any tank or artillery support, the Germans were pushed back. One hour later the arrival of the "Putz" column caused a huge traffic jam and aroused the Americans' anger. Intervention by American General Haislip, who commanded the XVth Corps, was required to settle the disagreement.

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