I have to leave for one of the batteries this p.m. – so I’m trying to get this written now. Sick-call isn’t quite over yet, dear, but what is still around – is being taken care of by my men.
As I wrote you yesterday, I went back to Liège and saw Frank. He’s a Major now – got it in England; he was long overdue because he was chief of his department – Urology – and that calls for a majority. Anyway – it was over a year since I had seen him and we really had a lot to talk about. One of the first things he asked me about was you, darling. Yes – I was surprised too – and then he showed me a picture of you. He cleared it all up by explaining that his wife – Suzie – or Frances (the latter is her real name), had cut it out of the papers and mailed it to him. He still had it – and as you know, dear, – that was some time ago. Well – I told him all about you and the circumstance leading to our engagement and he wished us luck.
He landed in Normandy in August and his hospital has just started going operational. There have been delays and changes and I guess they’re all fed up with their C.O. Having just come from a combat area – they all wanted to know how I was making out – so I poured it on ‘heavy’; not really, though, dear – but it is strange how the boys in the rear will ask questions and want to know of your experiences etc.
In all – I was there about 2½ hours or so and then I had to head back. That was the best day I’ve had in a long while – it made both of us feel at home again. We really used to have a lot of fun together – especially when we were first getting our practices started. Frank preceded me in Mrs. Tucker’s house by about a month, and when I arrived – he sure was glad to see me – because he had been sitting around with no one at all to talk with. Many a game of cribbage did we play to kill those early hours – a nickel a game, by the way.
I hoped to find mail yesterday when I got back, but there was none at all for anyone. That makes 3 days of no mail for the battalion and it begins to look as if the Christmas pressure were really on. In the evening – we played Bridge at the Colonel’s and I held some good hands. I bid one small Slam and made it. We were vulnerable at the time.
Your account of my mother looking at the moon and imagining me looking at it too – is typical of my mother. She has never stopped being sentimental and romantic and that’s why I love her. She needn’t have worried though, darling – because I can’t remember when I’ve seen the moon at all – let alone a full moon,. That may be difficult to imagine, dear, but it’s the truth – and may give you an inkling as to what kind of weather we’ve had the past couple of months. When it hasn’t rained, it has been cloudy day and night. We know when the moon is bigger than usual – only by noticing that it is a bit brighter out some nights. But I don’t really have to see a moon to feel romantic and sentimental, sweetheart. I’m that way, anyhow.
That sure was a dirty trick they played on you on Halloween. I used to raise plenty of hell when I was a kid – but I don’t think I was ever really destructive. We read from time to time about the juvenile situation in the States – and every comment indicates that it is going from bad to worse. Maybe at war’s end things will straighten out.
By the way – I wrote and asked you the other day if it were Nin who had gone South and if so – what her new address was. I wrote her night before last anyway – just a short letter, but she had been nice to write. I felt I ought to answer her rather than to keep postponing it. And as for Granny Bernstein – by now sweetheart I know her address (although you were thoughtful in sending it) and I jotted her a V-mail just a couple of days before you mentioned writing her. You might tell her, dear, that I don’t mind if she doesn’t write me; I understand and I’ll keep dropping her a line from time to time – anyway.
Well – I’ve got to get going Sweetheart and get something done. I sure do hope I hear from you today, dear, because I’ve been missing you a terrible lot recently and a couple of letters from you – sure would help! All for the time being, then – and love to the folks. So long, dear – and
The Ninth Army Also Began
Parallel to 1st Army's advance through the Huertgen Forest, 9th Army had to advance through the Rur plains. This terrain was fundamentally different from the dense forest, consisting of flat farmland with small villages. Planning for this area for both sides was different, as the Germans expected the Allied main thrust through this area, while it was actually through the Huertgen Forest. One of the reasons for this decision was the dangerous Geilenkirchen-Salient at Ninth Army's northern flank, which would have threatened the American advance. This salient was reduced and rendered harmless in Operation Clipper, by a combined US-British attack that lasted until 22 November. The 84th Division of XIII Corps of the Ninth Army played a major role in this operation.
9th Army's drive was conducted mainly by XIX Corps under General Gillem and was opposed by Köchling's LXXXI Corps as well as the reserve forces of the XLVII Panzer Corps. The plan called for a swift advance to Jülich with its 3 Division. The 2nd Armored Division had to advance in a narrow line towards and from there towards the Rur. In the center 29th Infantry Division had to take the direct path towards Jülich and in the south the 30th Infantry Division had to take Würselen and then continue to the Rur.
As in the 1st Army's sector, Operation Queen began with a massive aerial bombardment against German towns and positions on 16 November. After the air strike was over, the American offensive was launched. 30th Division started a frontal attack against its first objective – Würselen. After four days of slow advance, the town was taken. The German resistance from the 3rd Panzergrenadier Division was hampered due the large area it had to cover. In the center, 29th Division also commenced with its attack. The plan called to advance in between the towns to deal with the fortified strongpoints after they were encircled. This plan however was flawed and 29th Division soon was pinned down making no further progress. With assistance from the 2nd Armored Division, on 18 November its drive was renewed against the opposing German 246th VGD, taking Steerich, Bettendorf and the surroundings of Siersdorf. The understrength 246th VGD was heavily reduced, and by 21 November the Americans were just 1.2 miles (2 km) ahead of the Rur.
Meanwhile in the north 2nd Armored Division also had commenced its attack on Gereonsweiler and Linnich. The advance was very steady, and already on the next day the towns Puffendorf and Immendorf were taken. This alarmed the German command and Rundstedt authorized the release of the 9th Panzer Division for a heavy armored counterattack against the two towns. Attached to this unit was the schwere Panzerabteilung 506 (506th Heavy Tank Battalion) with about 36 King Tiger tanks. At Immersdorf, the Germans were able to break into the town, but were soon repelled at close quarter fighting at dawn. The main fighting however was at Puffendorf. Since 2nd Armored Division also wanted to continue its advance towards Gereonsweiler, the division was caught in the open when about 30 German tanks approached it. In the ensuing battle, the Americans were pushed back into Puffendorf with heavy losses. Fighting continued then around the towns. German losses for this day were 11 tanks, while the 2nd Armored Division lost about 57 tanks in the fighting. However, the stalemate did not last long, as the Americans were able to push slowly forward through combined heavy artillery and aerial support. On 20/21 November, heavy fighting occurred at and in Gereonsweiler, until the Germans retreated and the town was finally in American hands.