24 September, 2011

24 September 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
Germany
24 September, 1944
Sunday Morning          0915
Dearest sweetheart – Wilma,

It’s a gray cold Sunday morning, the kind I’d want to hang around the house taking it easy and interfering with your attempts to get things cleaned up. I can imagine you saying – “Now Greg. Mother A or Mother B will be coming down this afternoon and I have to get things ‘tidied’ up”. Of course that will have no effect upon me whatsoever and the net result is that we end up in a wrestling match with the winner always in doubt because the phone interrupts.

Well – things are quite a bit different this Sunday morning, darling, and we’re far apart and lonely. But it won’t always be thus and I guess that is what keeps us going – isn’t it? I awakened in the middle of last night due to some noise – and couldn’t get to sleep right away. So I got to thinking of you and me – as I always do – and it certainly is a tonic or an hypnotic for me. I forget the moment, I forget where I am. I become imbued with a spirit of thankfulness, of love – which just can’t be described, dear. Love has always been something a little bit unclear to me – although I’ve used the word many many times. But the more I dwell upon it – the more I begin to feel ‘love’ – which I think is the only way the word can be interpreted. And when I feel it – as I do now, I feel so close to you that I’m amazed at my reaction. It’s a possessive feeling, a realization that you are mine, mine – and belong to no one else. You made me even more conscious of that emotion in your last letter when you mentioned that subject yourself. And there’s nothing a man likes better than to know that his sweetheart, his fiancée, his wife – is his alone. I hope, Sweetheart, that you have the same feeling about me.


Yesterday I returned to headquarters and that should end my 3 day visits for awhile, although I’ll be going out for the day from time to time. By the way – our new officer is being given a little to do and relieving me of some of my details. I appointed him Venereal Disease and Sanitary Officer for the battalion and that will cut down on a chore I’ve hated ever since I’ve been in the Army – but for which I was always responsible. I still am responsible, for that matter, but as long as I don’t have to do the inspecting, I don’t care.
Last night was another Saturday night – uncelebrated and quiet. Our chaplain – Catholic – and a pretty nice guy – got his Captaincy the other day and brought out a bottle of cognac. That didn’t last very long, however, among 10 officers. I still have a bottle of Scotch unopened but I guess I’ll save that until V-day. After the cognac was gone – the Colonel, Bruce Silva, the Chaplain and I went to the Medical Tent and played some Bridge. If I play often enough in that fast company, I may learn how to play. They are all pretty good at it – and last night the post-mortem conversation went all the way back from Culbertson’s Gold Book – to Simms, by way of Blackwood. At any rate, we had a good game and I really enjoyed it. It broke up at 2300 which is the latest we’ve all been up for a long time. The funny part is getting back to your tent. It is pitch dark out – these nights and black-out is really complete. It usually takes 10-15 minutes to orient ourselves – groping around in the dark.

Well, Sweetheart, it’s time for me to take care of a couple of matters and get back to the present reality – although I’m reluctant to do so. While I’m writing you, I really forget about all this – and it’s so nice. My love to the folks, darling – and
All my sincerest love,
Greg

P.S. I LOVE YOU.
G.

* TIDBIT *

about "A Bridge Too Far"
Operation Market Garden - Part VIII

The story of the eighth day of Operation Market Garden continues, primarily from the web site "Remember September '44

British 1st Airborne Division
As the situation deteriorates, the Division's pride grows. Acts of courage become commonplace; wounded men stay on the line. Everyone works at keeping morale up in the face of nearly constant combat. On this Sunday morning, an artillery officer and two gunners begin marching around their position singing military songs. Soon the woods resound with the voices of British soldiers. By this time there are 1,300 casualties crammed into cellars inside the perimeter. A temporary cease-fire was arranged to evacuate nearly 500 wounded soldiers. At the appointed hour, the firing gradually died away. A convoy of German vehicles came through the lines and began ferrying British and German wounded back to German medical facilities. Two hours later, the din of battle roared to life again.

Otherwise, the situation hardly changed this day. The British troops were still settled around the 'perimeter' and bravely offered resistance to the stronger Germans. But they knew that all their attempts were useless. Most of the men only had light weapons at their disposal, no match against German armor and artillery. Their hopes for help slowly diminished.

U.S. 101st Airborne Division
Although the Germans abandoned Erp, they still tried to cut the corridor. Von der Heydte’s 6th Fallschirmjägerregiment (paratroops) launched an assault on Veghel from the west. A confrontation between the German and American forces took place in Eerde village, just south of Veghel. The battle was fierce, but eventually American paratroopers prevailed. Further to the south, the corridor was attacked near Koevering, a hamlet between St. Oedenrode and Veghel. Here, around 1700 hours, Kampfgruppe 'Jungwirth' cut the corridor for the second time. Several British trucks were set on fire by German shelling. Contact between the 501st and 502nd Regiment was broken. Reinforcements were sent immediately to Koevering, but the Germans had taken positions along the road and kept it under their control.

From "Operation Market Garden" on Amazing Planet's web site:

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