05 March, 2012

05 March 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
5 March, 1945      1730

My darling Wilma –

This time I’m in a really modern home – and surprisingly preserved. This little town for some reason or other managed to escape most of the artillery and bombing and it’s quite a treat to be able to set-up in a house that has a couple of windows in – and a roof. I’m in one of the bedrooms right now; my bedding roll is on a single bed and there’s a small stove going. It’s really quite comfortable but could be tremendously complemented and supplemented by your presence, sweetheart. What this bedroom needs is a woman’s ‘touch’ – and when I write ‘woman’ – I mean only you.

I have to write fast now because it’s starting to get dark – rapidly. It should be easy to surmise, dear, that I’ve been on the go of late – and the hours are irregular. As a result – time is where you find it. A couple of hours ago I didn’t think I’d be able to write you. Last night when I got to bed – I felt dizzy and nauseated – for no reason whatsoever. I hadn’t been drinking and I had eaten nothing unusual. Well I went on from there – spending a very miserable night – and this morning I really felt sick. It seemed like ptomaine – but I can’t figure the source. Anyway – I wasn’t able to eat all day. In the early p.m. I started sipping some canned orange juice – and so far it has managed to stay down. I didn’t go to supper – and here I am. I can’t remember ever feeling this way before although I’m now about 80% cured, but I sure felt like giving up the ghost last night. It’s so rare that I’m ill – I hate it. I’ll be O.K. in the morning – because I can think of food now – and not mind.

The mail, naturally, has been a bit jumpy – and we don’t mind – if it’s for the reason it is. The last real chuckle I got was in your letter telling me about what Uncle Ab had to say one day. It certainly was considerate of him to look out for you and me – but where do you get away with that “and me so naive too” stuff. Who told you you were naïve, darling? Certainly – it wasn’t I! But anyway – dear – you must take care of yourself, so please! Be more careful!! After all!

By the way – I don’t remember whether or not I told you – I received a Valentine’s Card from Dr. Finnegan with a little note stating that he felt I wouldn’t be getting many from the girls – and that’s why he sent his. I got a kick out of that too and I must write him and thank him for his thoughtfulness.

And darling – it’s almost dark here now and I’m getting a little more headache than I started out with. Damn it – I don’t get headaches and here I am complaining of one. Well – I’ll try to get some sleep tonite – I got precious little last nite. And as usual I’ll drop off to sleep with pleasant thoughts of you and me – together again – I love that theme! My love to the folks, dearest, and so long for now.

All my sincerest love,

Route of the Question Mark


(A)Elsdorf to (B) Kenten, Germany (5 miles)
2 March to 5 March 1945

March 5... Kenten. Mr SANDRI milked the goat and we collected scores of radios and thru furniture out of windows while the inhabitants wept. All in all we completed the destruction of the town.


about Operation "Lumberjack"

From "U.S. Army in WWII European Theater of Operations: The Last Offensive" by Charles B. MacDonald for the Department of the Army's Office of the Chief of Military History, published in 1973 in Washington, D.C. comes this excerpt:
As the 3rd Armored, 104th, and 8th Divisions drove toward Cologne on 5 March, resistance was strongest in the north, where General Rose's armor faced the seemingly ineradicable 9th Panzer Division, and in the south where the 8th Division at the end of the day still was two miles short of the city limits. The relatively slow progress of the 8th Division reflected not only the difficulties of attacking through the coal-mining district but also the fact that the division was striking the north flank of the LVIII Panzer Corps.

The armor nevertheless broke into Cologne soon after daylight, to be followed two hours later by the 104th Division from the west. In a precursor of what was to come as Allied armies fanned out all across Germany, the stiffest fight developed around an airfield where the Germans turned sixteen stationary 88-mm. antiaircraft guns against the tanks of Combat Command Hickey. The tanks finally eliminated the guns in smoke-screened cavalry-like charge. Almost all resistance by the 9th Panzer Division collapsed a short while later when the division commander, Generalmajor Harald Freiherr von Elverfeldt, was killed. As evening approached, the First Army commander, General Hodges, shifted the southern boundary of the VII Corps to the southeast to provide room for the 8th Division to drive to the Rhine south of Cologne and cut the enemy's last landward escape route.
Now a pile of rubble from thousands of tons of Allied bombs, Cologne had once been the Queen City of the Rhine, the third largest city in Germany, and was the largest German city to fall to the attack of British or American forces in this war.

The first 5:39 minutes of the following video shows Americans entering Cologne (Köln), Germany on 5 March 1945, and the remainder is from 6 March 1945. Turn off the sound if it annoys...

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