28 August, 2011

28 August, 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
France
28 (I think) August, 1944

My dearest one –

When I write I think it’s the 28th – I mean it. There’s no one around just now and I’m darned if I know for sure. The past couple of days have been terrifically busy – only with moving around and getting settled. Yesterday – for the 1st time in a long while I didn’t get a chance to write you or my folks. You’ll excuse me, darling, I know. I just wish I could tell you the places we’ve passed thru and seen – ‘passed thru’ is the right term, too, dear; our progress is so rapid that we don’t stay in a spot long enough to look around. It’s really wonderful, though, to realize that we’re doing so well.

Naturally – our mail has been confused – and I hope that you’re getting mine, darling, with some semblance of regularity. Today I got two of yours – the 1st for several days – dated 10 and 14th Aug; also one from Dad A, one from a friend in Italy and finally one from a fellow in N.Y. Yours – I liked best of all – simple a statement as that is. I enjoyed so – reading them – I felt immediately relaxed.

I was sorry to read about the “skunk” incident and I hope that by now the mystery is solved and the scoundrel done away with. Dad B has my sympathy; there’s no fun in seeing a good lawn torn to bits.


Before I forget it – I want to scold you in writing for your writing something you shouldn’t have. Darling – what you don’t seem to understand is that my folks love you for what you are and not because I brought you to them. I don’t like to go into details – but my folks haven’t always acted that way to girls I’ve brought home – for one reason or another – and remember, dear, they loved me in the past, too. No – it wouldn’t take you long to know whether they loved you because of me – or because you were the girl they always hoped I’d marry. You are that girl, sweetheart and they knew it in a very short time. They were very enthusiastic from the beginning, and their enthusiasm soon became love. I know you can feel it and have – already. Do not misinterpret it, dear. Now consider yourself scolded.

As to your being too idealistic – I don’t think so. I think you are very practical too, darling, and I like the combination very well. I know we can hit it off, too, because I believe that despite the paradox – I can combine idealism and realism to the best advantage. At any rate, dear, that’s the gamble you’ll have to take – and you’ve already told me – you’re willing to take it – for which I love you very much and am very happy.

I enjoyed reading that you were down to Winthrop for the weekend of the 11th or 12th. It really must have been hot. That damned house can really get like an oven and I know what you mean when you say it’s impossible to sleep. Again I don’t seem to recall who Rhea White is, dear. Will you enlighten me? And I do love to read that you feel so at home with my family. I thank God that I met you in time, darling. What I mean is – that with you knowing them so well and my getting to know your folks well in a very short time after the war (actually I feel as if I know them very well right now) – we just won’t have to wait any time at all to get married. It will be just the most natural thing in the world (and wonderful – I should add). God dammit – I do get impatient at times, too, sweetheart – but we’ll just have to stick it through.

Well – I’ll stop now, dear, and write again tomorrow – I hope. Take care of yourself, darling, and be well. I love you deeply, strongly and in every way I know how; you must realize it, dear. My love to the folks.

All my love
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about One Day in a Cub

Extracted from "Three Days in a Cub" on the Third Armored Division web site comes this story:

Written in late 1944 by (above, left to right):
Lts Adrian (Ade) Kibler, Don Spear, Jim Lowe & Bill Wade
Pictured in Kornelimunster, Germany, in October, 1944

Thanks to the family of Adrian E. Kibler, Sr. for the article and the photo.

The following describes the activity on 28 August 1944 of 4 soldiers of the 991st Field Artillery Battalion (Air Section, First Army, VII Corps) while attached to the 3rd Armored Division during the advance east of Paris, France. The excerpted article also describes the 2nd and 3rd of September, 1944; they are omitted here.
On the morning of August 28, 1944, the 991st Field Artillery Battalion was in desperate need of maps; and, since there was no ground contact with the column, which was supplying maps, it was necessary to send a plane.

At 1205 Lt. Lowe and Lt. Wade left by plane in search of Division Artillery Headquarters, with no information as to their location other than that they were somewhere north of Meaux. This trip between columns necessitated traveling an undetermined distance over territory not yet entered by our forces. This trip was successfully accomplished and the maps delivered to the 991st Battalion Command Post at 1540. At this time Battalion was cut off from the column it belonged in, the forward elements having gone on, and the rear being stopped several miles short of the Battalion location. The Battalion was under heavy shell fire at this time.

The other Battalion plane with Lt. Spear and Lt. Kibler had been flying steadily for several hours, acting as radio relay and making reconnaissance. They had also located and adjusted fire on a column of 20 German tanks which was dangerously near the Battalion. They were able to disperse the tanks and cause them to withdraw. The supply train belonging to the tank column was also fired on with good effect.

From that time on, both planes were in the air constantly acting as radio relay, which was the only communication the Battalion had, and giving information on enemy units interfering with, or close to the route of advance. During this time they rendered invaluable aid in clearing the rear elements of the Battalion from the town of Nuilly-St Front while enemy vehicles entered it from the other side. At one time they flew at an altitude of approximately 50 feet over three German vehicles entering the town and fired on them with .45 pistols to discourage them from proceeding farther into the town before the two bazooka teams, acting as rear guard, could be picked up.

Lt.'s Lowe and Wade reported a horse-drawn field piece in position to fire across the route of advance and caused it to withdraw before the leading elements came into range, thus avoiding possible loss from ambush. They also adjusted fire on, and silenced, (with suspected destruction of both guns), two enemy guns that were shelling the Battalion. They then transferred the fire on an enemy column in the same vicinity causing it to turn back and abandon seven vehicles.

Both planes stayed with the Battalion giving radio relay and reporting all enemy activity in the vicinity until they were able to report the location of the friendly column on the left flank. During this period there was a large amount of enemy movement sighted and reported.

During this entire period, all air personnel were aware of the fact that due to the small size of the column, they were flying over enemy territory at all times and that there were no allied aircraft in the vicinity to give protection against enemy aircraft. The enemy air force was then active in that area as shown by a warning call from Division during the afternoon, reporting twelve enemy fighter craft near, and the loss of a Cub airplane in the same locality the next day when it was attacked by twenty-two enemy planes. They were also aware of the situation that was developing as darkness came on. The column planned to continue the march after dark. The planes would have to land, and there were no units stopped near which the planes could land for protection of the equipment and personnel.

It was late dusk when the Battalion finally got close enough to get ground radio contact with their column and close enough that they could get support, if necessary, from the column on the left. This was in the vicinity of Braisne [near Soissons]. At that time the air personnel were faced with either attempting to land in the half light on a strange field near the Battalion, which would almost surely result in a crash and abandoning the planes, or returning to a field with which they were familiar and which had friendly troops near.

The nearest field of this nature was at La Ferte s/s [Jouarre] on the Marne River, almost one hour flying time away. A radio discussion disclosed the fact that both planes had enough gas to complete the trip, so it was decided that the better plan was to return to La Ferte s/s.

Since it was too dark to fly contact, the entire trip was navigated by compass with occasional checks on outstanding objects that were discernible. Just a small corridor through this territory was in friendly hands. The trip was completed and successful landings made at 2130, which was 45 minutes past last flying light on clear evenings at that time.

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