07 October, 2011

07 October 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
7 October, 1944        1135

Hello sweetheart!

It’s almost time for lunch but this is the first opportunity I’ve had this morning to sit down for a few minutes of relaxation. I’ll get started on writing this and finish after lunch.

Yesterday nothing much happened – just another Friday. The evenings have been a little bit enlivened the past few days due to the World Series. The house we’re living in has a swell radio and it picks up short wave stations well. I got the broadcast night before last and didn’t know what station I had. I felt kind of homesick, darling, when I heard the announcer say that the broadcast was coming thru over WBOS, Boston. I had never heard of that station.

We’ve run a baseball pool every day – high scorer in any half inning – wins 18 bucks – or I should say 180 marks; we contribute 10 marks each. I’ve had the 1st of the 4th, 1st of the 3rd and last of the 4th – but haven’t even come close so far, dear. Sorry, darling, have to run along now; See you later ––

Well darling, later is now 1545 and it wasn’t because I was so busy. After lunch there was an announcement made that the Engineers near here were putting on “Cover Girl” at 1300 and there was room enough for us – so several of us went down. It was light and entertaining and that’s about all we want these days.

I got some mail last nite, dear, but none from you. I received the 18 Sept. edition of Time and a letter from Phil Blumberg of Salem. He was in Quebec on vacation and dropped a note to say “hello”.

You know, dear, you tell me often how much you miss me and love me and then you add that you do ‘sound desperate”. Gosh sweetheart I don’t remember ever using that word in respect to you although I’ll admit I got that way myself. I miss you so darned much – your loving and your kissing – I hardly know what to do when I get to thinking about it – but what the heck – we’ll just wait it out, that’s all.

I didn’t know that Dr. Berman you mentioned, dear, but that was an unnecessary death if I ever heard of one. Of course – he may have been sicker than you were led to believe, because it is or was not routine to give blood transfusions following a simple uncomplicated appendectomy. But if he died because of faulty typing or cross-matching and because of that alone – that is really tragic.

Before I forget it – thank Lois, Rita and Cyn for their regards. I look forward to meeting and knowing all of them when I get back. As for Lois’s husband – at present time at least there seems to be little chance of my running into him if he’s in the Third Army – although I do get around a bit sometimes and may meet him. Tell Lois – if I can arrange it – I’ll send him home for a prolonged rest rather than do an appendectomy – and then she won’t have to wait until his scar heals.

Dearest – all for now – I’m meeting two of my aid men in back of our aid station. We’re going to decide what to do with our German car. We’re having trouble with it and yet hate to discard it. I’ll let you know the results of the ‘conference’. So – so long for now, darling, and send my love to the folks – and to you –
My sincerest love –


about The Huertgen Forest in Early October
and The First Attack on Schmidt (continued)

About 10 miles from Greg's location, the battle continued.

With movement restricted to small trails and firebreaks - none of which to be found on a map - the soldiers made only slow progress and deployment of heavy weapons posed extreme difficulties. Moreover, likely passages were heavily mined and key positions were under constant observation, each movement retaliated by mortar, artillery or sniper fire. Armored support was for the largest part completely out of the question.

The Americans had not made any pre-attack reconnaissance and the troops got their first impression of enemy positions only when the Germans started to fire. With the advance guard pinned down, the usual approach was to form a maneuvering unit and send it around a flank. Naturally, these units suffered from the same lack of reconnaissance and more often than not, the maneuvering elements were also pinned down and the process was repeated all over. All in all, progress was slow and painful for the American infantry.

After the first day had brought nothing but frustration to the Americans, two minor successes could be achieved on the second day. A Company of the 39th managed to slip through the German lines and deployed in the woods overlooking Germeter, while suffering 29 casualties and killing or capturing 30 men. The rest of the battalion followed. However, without armored support, the battalion commander dared no attack across the open ground. Almost the same situation occurred in the sector of 60th regiment. A full battalion was dug in in the woods overlooking Richelskaul but dared not attack without armored support, after 130 officers and men had become casualties.

During the night of October 7-8, Colonel Schmitz sent reinforcements to the aid of GR 253. Fortress Infantry Battalion 1412 and Luftwaffe Fortress Battalion 5 were also dispatched by LXXIV Army Corps to reinforce the 275th. In addition Schmidt received two companies of civilian police from Düren, hurriedly issued with army uniforms and rifles. He combined the police into an ad hoc formation named Battalion Hennecke (after its commander). Several howitzer batteries from the 89th Infantry Division, an anti-aircraft artillery regiment and elements of an artillery corps were ordered to occupy positions where they could augment the fire of Major Sturm's Artillery Regiment 275.

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