31 August, 2011

31 August, 1944

V-MAIL

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
France
31 August, 1944         1930

Hello darling!

This will be a quickie and I guess a shortie all in one. We’ve really been busy, dear, and I’ve crossed so many bridges – I’m dizzy. We’ve really been passing thru some hallowed ground – and it amazes me to realize that it took so long to go through in the last war – and we just get into our cars and ride thru it. A few spots I passed today still show evidence of the beating they took 25 years ago.

Two snapshots approaching Charly-sur-Marne,
liberated by the Americans on 28 August 1944


Yesterday I had a chance to visit one of the Rothschild’s estates and I’ll try to tell you about it tomorrow when I write. It’s late in the day now, Sweetheart, and I still have half a hundred things to take care of. I don’t like to write you choppy letters, dear, but I know you’ll understand.

Haven’t heard from you another day – but I don’t wonder. Have to stop now, dearest – something coming up I have to take care of. My love to the folks, darling and remember at ease or in a hurry – I love you very very much!!

My deepest love for now, darling,
Greg

Route of the Question Mark

(A) Gretz to (B) Charly-sur-Marne (40 miles)
29 to 31 August 1944

August 31... Charly-sur-Marne. We took over a mansion on the edge of town; had pay-call on a little mound in back of the house; swam in the Marne; bought champagne at a hundred francs a bottle; the civilians gathered outside out gates and gave us drinks of wine and calvados, not to mention grapes, eggs, and tomatoes; Pfc CRISCIONE danced around in a yellow dress and a bandanna.

* TIDBIT *

about The Movement of VII Corps

From Mission Accomplished, The Story of the Campaigns of the VII Corps United States Army in the War Against Germany (1944-1945) comes this:
Corps units crossed the Seine at Melun on August 25th. On the 27th bridges our engineers built across the Marne carried our troops into the battlefields of World War I, past places famed for the glorious fighting of American troops in 1917 and 1918 - Soissons, Chateau Thierry, Belleau Wood. On and on, beyond Aisne, past the ancient fortified city of Laon, the advancing VII Corps dashed - the Spearhead (3rd Armored) Division leading, closely followed by the 1st and 9th Infantry Divisions and screened on the south flank by the Corps mechanized cavalry. So quickly did these flying columns move that the German command did not know where to expect them next. Motor convoys were overtaken trying to escape to the east. Even railroad trains, loaded with troops and supplies operating in what their crews believed to be the safety of rear areas, were surprised and destroyed by our armored spearheads. Everywhere in France the German Army was in chaos, and there seemed no safe place to reorganize short of the German border.

On August 31st our orders were changed, and the direction of our attack was altered from northeast to north. Perhaps we could cut off the retreating enemy columns, headed for the refuge of the West Wall fortifications.

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