28 December, 2011

28 December 1944

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
28 December, 1944       1025

Good Morning, Sweetheart –

We’ve finally had a change of weather, and today it’s grey and snowing slightly. It looks as if it could develop into a real snowstorm. We’re comfortable where we are – and I can think back to my school days when I’d be looking out of the window as I am now – but seeing a different picture. I’m not anxious for a two foot snowfall. I don’t care if the pond is covered with snow or remains clean and good for skating; the same snow, the same frozen ponds – but what a difference beyond that! Why – I haven’t even got a pair of skates – or a sled!

I used to like to go tramping across the fields and woods of Franklin Park, usually with a couple of good friends. We’d talk about books we had read, about what we’d do when we got older, about traveling, – about almost everything, but never do I remember talking about war and the possibility of our ever being soldiers. Of the 3 of us who were close friends, one is now dead – committed suicide several years ago after a wild life which followed the death of his father. The other fellow became an engineer, went to California, married a gentile, has 3 or 4 kids and never got into the Army – and here I am. In those days – I never thought I’d ever study medicine; it always seemed to me that I’d end up in business with my father. Things work out quite a bit differently from the way we plan and although I can’t exactly say I planned anything, I just let things happen – and they happened.

I had no ideas about women; it wasn’t indifference, because if I saw a pretty girl I can remember being aware of it. Our gang just didn’t go out with girls – but the boys of 15, 16 and 17 weren’t going out as much in those days as they do now. As I grew older – I couldn’t help but crystallize some ideas about girls, women – about what I’d want in a wife. I knew I’d want to marry – because fundamentally, I was a lonesome sort of fellow and I knew I didn’t want to go thru life single. That was a selfish point of view, I guess, but looking at it from another aspect I figured that I could keep someone from being lonesome too, that I could make someone happy, that I could do a lot for the right sort of woman. That was pretty simple thinking – almost primitive – but if you leave out all the fancy words – isn’t that fundamentally the most important thing of all? I think it is.

Well, sweetheart, I went a long long time before I was able to meet the girl I want to make happy and who I know will make me happy. And if a couple can be happy – it means they get along, love each other, have common interests, have good friends, enjoy their home, want and have a family. I think you and I darling will be just such a couple. All we have to do is get this war over with and the rest will just follow naturally. That’s what I’m waiting for, dreaming of, concentrating on every minute of every day I’m away from you, darling. Always, always remember that.

Have to stop now, dear. I love you so much, I can hardly begin to hit the nail on the head, but you surely know it by now. Be well, darling, send my love to the folks – and for now, so long.

My everlasting love is yours


about "Today in History"
from Pilsen, Czech Republic

From City of Pilsen: From D-day to V-Day on the web site of the City of Pilsen, Czech Republic, comes this status summary for 28 December 1944...
General Eisenhower, the supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe, and Field Marshall Montgomery held a meeting in Hasselt to discuss plans for the next offensive. Meanwhile in the Ardennes, there was still heavy fighting against Hitler's intention to win a route to Antwerp. The Germans were slowing starting to lose steam, though, not only due to increasing pressure from American as well as British troops, but also due to entirely banal reasons – such as the lack of fuel for the Nazi's Panzerwaffe.

The 8th Infantry Division from the Ninth Army's XIX Corps finished mopping up the salient south of Obermaubach.

The 1st Infantry Division from the US First Army's V Corps deflected the enemy's swift attack that attempted to push its units out of defense positions on the Elseborn Ridge. There was relative quiet that day in the operational zone of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Units from the 9th Armored Division's Combat Command B and the 28th Infantry Division's 112th Infantry Regiment were moved in to support the 3rd Armored Division and the 75th Infantry Division. The VII Corps' 75th Infantry Division, currently without the 289th and 290th Infantry Regiments, was reassigned to the XVIII Corps. The Germans broke through the sector under the 3rd Armored Division's Combat Command A and occupied Sadzot, but were pushed back by a swift counterattack. The 83rd Infantry Division relieved the 2nd Armored Division in its positions and took over the sector east of the Buissonville – Rochefort line. The 2nd Armored Division later started to regroup.

Troops of the 28th Moving on 28 December 1944

The US Third Army's 11th Armored Division was released from reserve and placed under the command of the VIII Corps. In the course of the day, the III Corps created a limited advance against enemy delaying units in the area between the Sauer and Wiltz Rivers. Continuing to advance to the southern flank of the German breakthrough, the 35th Infantry Division came under heavy enemy artillery fire southwest of Villers-la-Bonne-Eau. The 26th Infantry Division attempted to break through to Wiltz, but did not achieve any greater success. Part of the 80th Infantry Division that was attached to the 4th Armored Division returned back to its parent division while the 6th Armored Division was reassigned from the XII Corps to the III Corps. In the meantime, the XII Corps received an order to go on the defensive. During the day, the 80th Infantry Division deflected a counterattack led against its units' defense positions near Ringel.

On December 28, 1944, a sizable formation of American bombers from the Fifteenth Air Force once again appeared over the skies of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The targets of the huge formation of 360 four-engine bombers and 480 fighters were the gasoline refineries in Pardubice, Kolín and Kralupy nad Vltavou as well as a fuel storage facility in Hněvice, a small town near Roudnice nad Labem.

Main Square of Pardubice, Czech Republic, today

Part of the formation also headed over the Bavarian city of Regensburg. American bombs caused greater damage mainly to the targets located in Kolín and Pardubice. The fighter escorts, which absolutely outnumbered any potential defense from the German Reich, assailed land targets – first and foremost including railroad transport. This was one of the first very serious warnings for residents of the Protectorate. Once the front had neared, not a day would pass without fighter aircraft sporting white stars on their wings appearing over Bohemia. The aircraft fired at everything that moved along the roads and the railroads. Transportation would grind to a halt and the number of civilian casualties would rapidly rise. On this day in December, the Americans lost at least one fighter aircraft in the territory of pre-1938 Czechoslovakia. A P-51D Mustang from the 325th Fighter Group crashed in Pelhřimov. The pilot, 2/Lt William C. Margets, died of his injuries in the local hospital.

Pelhřimov, Czech Republic, today

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