31 May, 2012

31 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 339 % Postmaster, N.Y.
31 May, 1945      0820
Leipzig

My dearest sweetheart –

In case you haven’t already noticed, our APO had been changed to 339 – the Ninth Army number. There’s not much significance to the change – as I see it. The First Army headquarters is no longer in Europe so we had to give up our First Army APO. But our attachment to the Ninth – is administrative only, and when the time comes I’m pretty certain that this outfit and this corps will be right back with the First Army – the best Army of them all. With this change, by the way, dear – this outfit has had something like two dozen APO numbers. For one reason or another we seem to have been attached to more outfits than you can shake a stick at. Don’t forget that for a while in England and in Normandy, our APO was 403 – and that, dear, is the Third Army APO.

Well – we finally got a rainy day here – and it’s quite refreshing. I guess this section of Germany needed it, too, if the crops were to get going.

We had a short, but very impressive ceremony for Memorial Day yesterday, darling. We held it out front and had a group down from each of the batteries. A symbolic casket was made and covered with the American Flag. Flowers were all around it. Our executive officer made a speech and then the chaplain spoke – honoring the dead of past wars and particularly those of our own battalion. Then he called out the separate batteries and as he did – one soldier from that battery came forward, knelt, picked up a wreath and waited while the Chaplain spoke out the names of the dead of that battery. Then the wreath was placed on the “casket”. It was all very well done and left a good impression on everyone.

I still have a few of your letters dear – as yet unanswered. I’ve just re-read one of them written 19 March. I mention that one particularly because in it you tell me your reaction to what I had written you – about going into business. When I wrote that, sweetheart – I can’t say honestly that I was purely kidding, although by no means was I entirely serious. I suppose I wrote it when I was particularly blue, fed up with the Army – and what not. But I have become terrifically rusty as a physician, darling, although I’ve been managing to read my medical journals which still come to me. They help a lot in keeping my medical vocabulary from becoming entirely extinct.

1100

Sorry, dear. I was called away and I’ve just got back. Looks like a busy day coming up – but nothing especially important. I see that the barometer on my desk has climbed since I left – which means the weather ought to clear up later today.

Hell – we haven’t had a decent rumor in 2 or 3 days now. The question of points has died down in the discussions – and now the subject of when we get home leads them all. Most seem to think it will be sometime in July – which seems like a pretty good guess. It’s a sure bet the First Army won’t do a thing without 7th Corps.

Well, sweetheart, it’s a sure thing anyway – that one of these very fine days I will actually be on my way home to show you how much I love and want you. Tomorrow is June, it can’t be very far off now! I’ll have to stop now, dear, but keep thinking over and over again that I love only you and waiting perhaps won’t be so difficult.

Love to the folks – sweetheart
All my deepest love –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about Deciding to Use the Atomic Bomb

From the Notes of the Interim Committee Meeting, 31 May 1945 comes this section titled "EFFECT OF THE BOMBING ON THE JAPANESE AND THEIR WILL TO FIGHT", written before the bomb was tested, and continuing to demonstrate that its effects were under-estimated...
It was pointed out that one atomic bomb on an arsenal would not be much different from the effect caused by any Air Corps strike of present dimensions. However, Dr. [Robert] Oppenheimer [lead scientist on the atomic bomb project] stated that the visual effect of an atomic bombing would be tremendous. It would be accompanied by a brilliant luminescence which would rise to a height of 10,000 to 20,000 feet. The neutron effect of the explosion would be dangerous to life for a radius of at least two-thirds of a mile.

After much discussion concerning various types of targets and the effects to be produced, the Secretary [i.e., Secretary of War Henry Stimson] expressed the conclusion, on which there was general agreement, that we could not give the Japanese any warning; that we could not concentrate on a civilian area; but that we should seek to make a profound psychological impression on as many of the inhabitants as possible. At the suggestion of Dr. [James B.] Conant [Director of the National Defense Research Committee] the Secretary agreed that the most desirable target would be a vital war plant employing a large number of workers and closely surrounded by workers’ houses.

There was some discussion of the desirability of attempting several strikes at the same time. Dr. Oppenheimer’s judgment was that several strikes would be feasible. General [Leslie R.] Groves [military director of the project], however, expressed doubt about this proposal and pointed out the following objections: (1) We would lose the advantage of gaining additional knowledge concerning the weapon at each successive bombing; (2) such a program would require a rush job on the part of those assembling the bombs and might, therefore, be ineffective; (3) the effect would not be sufficiently distinct from our regular Air Force bombing program.

30 May, 2012

30 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
30 May, 1945      0820
Leipzig

Wilma, darling –

When I wrote yesterday that today makes 3 yrs. Away from Boston – if I did write that – I was wrong of course. I meant merely that it was the 3rd Memorial Day – and that’s long enough. Here at Battalion we’re going to have our own Memorial Services at 1600. I believe the whole Army is doing the same. It will be to honor and remember the boys of this battalion who were killed in action.

Yesterday I had a pleasant afternoon. We “found” some tennis racquets and balls and played some tennis! They have a beautiful Sport Club – private – near here and they keep their courts in excellent condition. I was pretty rusty – but so was the other fellow and I got a good work-out. Then we came back here and had a nice swim. Furthermore – we learned yesterday that there was a golf course not far from here – open to the Military. If we can get some golf balls – we’re all set. I might as well take up where I left off, darling. By the time I get back – I’ll be all set in several sports – and at home, as I’ve told you before, dear, I’m planning on taking up wrestling. Now – don’t be frightened!

I got 3 V-mails yesterday – one from Stan in Washington, and 2 from you – 17 and 21 May. The service has definitely picked up in this direction. I hope the reverse is true. A funny thing about your writing me your telephone number, darling, is that I was thinking about it one day – and for the life of me – I couldn’t think of the exchange. I finally had to look it up. I ought to be ashamed of myself. And I haven’t forgotten the Holyoke number – because I had that written down too.

Stan had little to say in his letter except that Bernie Covich had been down to visit him and was now on his way to Dutch Harbor. As I remember it, he had been on sick leave – wasn’t it, dear? Just what was the matter with him?

I don’t remember whether I’ve already told you – but I certainly laughed when I read about Mother A. worrying already about my coming home in July and not having any place for me. If that isn’t like my mother, I don’t know what is. Of course – I could always pitch my pup tent anywhere; I’m really pretty good at that – having had a fair amount of experience. But if your offer to stay at your house, darling, still holds, – well I hope I get home in July so that I can take advantage of it. But then people would talk – and you’d just have to marry me. Oh Boy !!

I did enjoy Bennet Serf’s “Try and Stop Me”. I read it some time ago – one of the boys who used to proof-read for a publishing house, had it sent to him. I never did quite finish it – we started to move swiftly then – but it certainly was packed with a lot of laughs.

Well darling – so many words already this morning and I didn’t tell you yet that I love you and you alone! I do, sweetheart – so very very much I can hardly wait to see you and tell you about it. These next weeks – maybe months – are going to be really tough waiting out, but heck, the war is over here, and I am coming back – and that’s so much more than I had to look forward to even a month ago. So hold tight, darling and we’ll soon be together. For now, so long and love to the folks.

Yours alone for always, dear –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about Yamamoto Loses in Burma

The below maps show Burma in 1945 and Myanmar today.
As Burma's name was changed to Myanmar, so have city names changed.
[Click to enlarge]


From the WWII Database website comes this Battle of Rangoon Timeline:

2 Apr 1945  Louis Mountbatten announced that the planning for Operation Dracula against Rangoon, Burma was to be resumed, with a target execution date of 5 May 1945 at the latest.
11 Apr 1945  Anglo-Indian troops captured Pyabwe, Burma at dawn; 2,000 dead Japanese bodies were counted in the region after the fierce battle. To the southwest, mechanized Anglo-Indian troops reached the Taungdwingyi area.
14 Apr 1945 Anglo-Indian troops captured Taungdwingyi, Burma.
16 Apr 1945  Indian 5th Division captured Shwemyo, Burma during the day, while by nightfall the Anglo-Indian 4th Corps reached within 240 miles of Rangoon.
21 Apr 1945  Louis Mountbatten scheduled Operation Dracula against Rangoon, Burma for 2 May 1945. William Slim hastened his units overland toward Rangoon in an attempt to reach Rangoon before Dracula commenced.
22 Apr 1945 In Burma, Indian 7th Division attacked Yenangyaung while Indian 5th Division attacked Toungoo.
23 Apr 1945  The 150 officers and 3,000 men of the 1st Division of the Indian National Army, an anti-British resistance group aided by the Japanese, surrendered to the Allies at Pyu, Burma. Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Heitaro Kimura, despite having been given orders of defend Rangoon, Burma to the death, ignominiously abandoned the city without issuing any orders to the Burma Area army.
24 Apr 1945 Indian 5th Division captured Toungoo, Burma and advanced further to Penwegu.
26 Apr 1945  Indian 17th Division reached Daiku, Burma.
27 Apr 1945  The British East Indies Fleet sailed from Trincomalee, Ceylon to begin a series of strikes prior to the capture of Rangoon, Burma; this force of battleships, cruisers and destroyers would take it in turns to fuel and then screen the carriers hitting airfields, installations and coastal shipping in the Nicobars, the Andamans and along the Burma coast. Meanwhile, on land, Indian 17th Division was attacked by a Japanese suicide offensive north of Pegu; it was repulsed after the Japanese suffered 500 killed.
28 Apr 1945  Anglo-Indian troops captured Allanmyo, Burma. Elsewhere, Indian 17th Division reached the heavily-defended Pegu, where the Japanese built the final major stronghold north of Rangoon, which was 47 miles to the south.
29 Apr 1945 The two-prong assault by Indian 17th Division on Pegu, Burma was repulsed.
30 Apr 1945  Anglo-Indian forces gained a beachhead on the west bank of the Pegu River at Pegu, Burma.
1 May 1945  Indian 50th Parachute Regiment was dropped near Rangoon, Burma as the spearhead to Operation Dracula. Meanwhile, determined to preempt Operation Dracula in the conquest of Rangoon, William Slim carelessly attempted to enter the city himself by air; his aircraft was damaged by Japanese anti-aircraft fire and the American pilot, Captain Robert Fullerton, sustained injuries in his leg so severe that it had to be amputated later.
2 May 1945  In Burma, Indian 26th Division of the Anglo-Indian XV Corps made an amphibious landing near Rangoon, Burma. To the north, Indian 17th Division secured Pegu and advanced toward Rangoon; it would not beat Indian 26th Division in the race for Rangoon.
3 May 1945  Rangoon, Burma was captured by Indian 26th Division with little resistance. Fleeing Japanese were slaughtered not just by British and Commonwealth troops but by Burmese guerrillas and tribesmen who rose up against their former occupiers.
6 May 1945  In Burma, Anglo-Indian XV Corps linked up with IV Corps, which had been advancing down the Sittang River, and effectively cut off 20,000 sick, hungry and increasingly desperate Japanese from their bases in Indo-China.

30 May 1945
 

The remainder of General Seiei Yamamoto's troops in Burma was effectively wiped out.

29 May, 2012

29 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
29 May, 1945      0820
Leipzig

My darling fianceé –

It’s a start of a warm day here today and I’ll bet the weather at home must be swell about now. It usually is around Memorial Day time. Tomorrow will make the third one away from Boston, because 3 years ago we were on a train out of South Carolina and heading for Camp Edwards. I’d like to be heading for there right now. It will be nice if we get to Edwards or Devens rather than to one of the New York camps. I’ll have you in my arms that much sooner, darling. I saw “Brewster’s Millions” the other night (it smelled, I thought), but at the start of the picture – a soldier gets home after a couple of years overseas. I watched the scene of his homecoming very carefully – because it’s what I’m going to do one of these days – not that I need any coaching, dear. Did you see the picture? There’s no getting away from it – that will be a tense moment – but I’m sure we’ll all master it without difficulty – and then we’ll talk and ask each other a bunch of foolish questions – that have no bearing on anything at all. It probably won’t be until the next day that we can sit down, look each other into the eye and realize that we’re together again. That’s the time I’m looking forward to, darling. Don’t get me wrong when I say “foolish questions”; I don’t mean that – or that you and I will necessarily ask them. I mean questions like “I’ll bet you didn’t have any dinner yet”; or “Was it a rough ocean crossing”; or “I’ll bet you’re tired from carrying that bag”. All solicitous and kind, sweetheart – and human, too – but it will take several hours for us to realize what we’ve wanted to realize for so long – and then we’ll talk as we’ve wanted to talk. Anyway, darling, that’s the way I see it now – and it may be entirely different. I don’t care how it is; all I know is that when I finally lay my eyes upon you and I know that I’m back – even for a little while, I’ll be the happiest guy in the world.

We played Bridge last night – and the Chaplain and I won again. We seem to hit it off as partners pretty well. He’s a keen player. I fouled up a couple of hands – but we managed two bids and made one grand and 2 small slams. Someday I ought to read up on the stuff. I started playing by watching at first. I ought to begin to learn some of the fine points.

It was funny – your dreaming of my things in Liverpool and Wilma Too etc – as you wrote me in a recent letter. And you piloting the plane! It was all due to that late ice-cream at St. Clair’s – I’m sure. About our trunks in Liverpool – we heard recently that all of them are in Soissons, France – and I think arrangements are begin made to have them picked up. I’ve nothing in mine except some khaki trousers and shirts – which we don’t wear here – anyway.

And by the way – thank Shirley G. for the note – and what in the world is a rum-butter coke?

Have to leave you now, sweetheart. I’m arranging for the showing of a Sex film – so called – to the Bn. Oh yes – fraternization or non-frat. – the V.D. problem is a major one here. The Sex Film shows the boys the horrors etc.

Darling, I love you more and more! When am I finally going to be able to show you!!

Love to the folks –
All my sincerest love –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about Moscrip Miller's Favorite War Story

Moscrip Miller
LOOKWar Correspondent

The following, written by Moscrip Miller and published in LOOK magazine on 29 May 1945 with the title "My Favorite War Story".
It was on my way back from China that I heard my favorite story of the war. Several of General Chennault's fighter pilots going home on the rotation plan were shooting the breeze. Lt. Col. EdwardD. McComas, an old-time Chennault ace at 26 and commanding officer of the Black Lightning Squadron, was talking with pride of "his boys." Here is the story:

Twenty-one-year-old Capt. John E. Meyer of Birmingham, Ala., with four Jap planes to his credit, was leading a flight of P-51's in a raid on Jap shipping at Kurkiang. The ack-ack was heavy as the planes, flying in formation, dropped their bombs on the target with pin-point precision, then swung around in a sharp bank to go back and finish off the job with low-level strafing.

It was on the steeply-banked turn that a 40-mm shell hit the nose of Meyer's ship, exploding on impact and blinding the young pilot with shattered glass. Miraculously, he was not killed - but his plane was falling out of control as he called calmly over the inter-plane radio, "I'm out of it, boys. That hit blinded me. Polish off the - - - - for me."

But Meyer's wingman, Lt. John F. Egan, also just 21, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had other ideas. Sizing up the situation at a glance, he called to Meyer, the only casualty of this bomb run, to follow his instructions.

As Egan gave the orders by radio, the blinded Meyer, responding almost automatically, pulled back on the stick while bringing his left wing up, and leveled off the falling plane. But then the blind pilot faced a new threat - from a flight of Jap Tojos and Oscars coming in to finish off the obviously crippled plane.

The alert Egan saw them and called a warning. He had Meyer continue on course, but the other planes of his flight rallied around the crippled ship, as if they were running interference in a football game. The other Japs hesitated, in spite of their numerical advantage, and that hesitation saved Meyer again.

Egan was now flying side by side with his blinded pal, keeping up a steady stream of conversation over the inter-plane radio.

"How you doing, Stinky? This ought to be a cinch for you. You always were good at blind flying, and this is it - but good! More right rudder, there. Nose down a bit. You're doing fine. Only another half hour and we'll be home." It was a one-sided conversation. Meyer was too weak from loss of blood, too shaken to do more than just follow the instructions that kept ringing in his ears. Egan's voice was serving as his eyes.

Then, suddenly, he heard Egan talking to the control tower at the home field. They were going to land. The realization roused Meyer.

Once around the field with half flaps into the wind. Egan was calling out the air speed and altimeter readings as he flew alongside Meyer. Then the ground came up gently to meet the approaching planes. Egan had guided the sightless pilot squarely onto the runway.

John Meyer crouches on the wing of "Stinky, Jr.," a P-51, 118th T.R.S.

Warned in advance by the control tower, medics were waiting for Meyer. Eventually, he would regain his sight. But two days later, while Meyer was resting in a hospital, Jack Egan was lost over Hong Kong.

28 May, 2012

28 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
28 May, 1945      0810
Leipzig

My dearest sweetheart –

Yesterday, the 27th – I actually received a letter from you postmarked the 19th and that was really something. Apparently you’re not getting anywhere near the same service in you direction, although you may be, by now.

I was glad to read you got the package containing the scarf. I bought it when I was in Paris. I also got some perfume for Mother A, B and Ruth – but there’s been no mention of that arriving – as yet. The Star of David interested me also. I found it in an obscure corner of the big place when we were on the Rhine. I don’t know what it was doing in that house. As far as we knew, the Count was a Nazi. I tried to contact him to find out about it, but I never could. Anyway, coming out of Nazi Germany, I found something symbolic in it and thought I’d save it. I guess you’re right about the furnishings. I don’t know, dear, where you’re putting all the stuff – but I’ll bet we’ve got a bunch of it. It’ll be fun sitting down and telling you about where I got this or that, just as I anticipate telling you all about the snapshots I’ve sent back. Seems to me you ought to have quite a bunch of them by now. It’ll take months for me to tell you all about them – but heck, we’re going to be together for a long, long time.

Yes, yes – you made me kind of jealous mentioning Stan Berns and his fianceé’s doing a little loving – although I don’t think it’s quite the best taste to go visiting and bill, coo and neck all over the place. Nevertheless – I’d sure love to do a little of that with you. Boy – have we got a lot to make up for! You mention that if they asked your advice – you’d say to get married soon and that you wouldn’t waste another opportunity and then you go on and wonder whether you would or not. Well, darling, as far as I’m concerned – I’m thru wondering. I’ve changed from the man I was when I left. You want to know what the advantage would be if we had to be separated again. Well – to that, I’ll ask – ‘What would be the advantage of just being engaged?’ The way I feel now, darling – so long as we’re certain we love each other and want no one else in the world – we ought to be married, be man and wife and have the satisfaction of knowing that in fact – we belong to each other. Even if I have to go to the Pacific – that war is going to fold up soon. Wait and see. And with what we read in the Stars and Stripes about 14 or 15,000 MC’s in the States are going overseas – I think I may have a good chance of staying put once I get back. Of course we’ll have to wait and ‘talk things over’ – but I’m just giving you fair warning what I’m going to talk about!

Yesterday, Sunday, was a quiet enough day. It continues cool and we’re missing out on some swimming – but it will probably warm up soon enough. They’re starting to give out passes to Paris and Brussels again – but it’s almost not worth it for 3 days. They’ll soon be giving Leaves, too, to England and the Riviera. I might be interested in that. I guess the Army is doing its best to help kill the time – but nothing will really help, sweetheart, until I can get home, tell you and show you how much I love you – marry you – and – what the heck – that’s a good place to stop – isn’t it, dear?

Love to the folks – and to you, darling.

All my everlasting love and devotion
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about Bill Leahy and the Seventh War Loan Drive


The war bond campaign was a unique fusion of nationalism and consumerism. Seeking to stir the conscience of Americans, it invoked both their financial and moral stake in the war. The sale of war bonds provided a way in which patriotic attitudes and the spirit of sacrifice could be expressed, and became the primary way those on the home-front contributed to the national defense and war effort. One observer noted, "It was a program that instead of seeking to eradicate differences...would make them a source of strength and unity by finding a common cause in which all could work for the financial security of themselves and of their country." While the initial goal of the war bond campaign was to finance the war, the positive impact on the morale of home-front Americans was perhaps its greatest accomplishment.

Elaborate plans were made for the Seventh War Loan Drive. Nationally planned special promotional events far surpassed those planned for any other bond drive, and the Office of War Information pledged 50% of all available radio time to advertisement of the Seventh Loan. An additional $19.1 million was contributed to advertising in support of the drive, and the combined estimate surpassed $42 million in free advertising. Beginning on May 14, 1945, just a few days after V-E Day, some officials feared the goal of $14 billion would not be reached if Americans believed the surrender of Germany made full subscription unnecessary. These fears proved unfounded, as the individual sales goal of $7 billion - the highest of any war bond drive - was surpassed by $1.6 billion. The final tally recorded sales of over $26 billion dollars during the six weeks of the Seventh War Loan drive.

From TIME magazine, 28 May, 1945, Vol. XLV, No. 22  comes this article with the title "US at War: For a United People". It tells of Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, Presidential Chief of Staff, and the Seventh War Loan Drive.


Your sons, husbands and brothers who are standing today upon the battlefronts are fighting for more than victory in war. They are fighting for a new world of freedom and peace. We, upon whom has been placed the responsibility of leading the American forces, appeal to you with all possible earnestness to invest in War Bonds to the fullest extent of your capacity. Give us not only the needed implements of war, but the assurance and backing of a united people so necessary to hasten the victory and speed the return of your fighting men.

This appeal, being given the widest publicity, (3,000 magazines with a combined circulation of 175,000,000 are printing it in one form or another) came from the nation's five-star admirals and generals—Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur, Arnold, King, Nimitz and Leahy. They knew, as well as anyone, that the Seventh War Loandrive was primarily a campaign against inflation. But support by the public would also demonstrate the nation's will to see the conflict through. To the leaders of the armed forces this was important. They anticipated the anguish which would arise when the people, now celebrating a victory, came face to face with new griefs and separations. They also knew, as military men, the importance of giving the last enemy no rest, or time to entrench himself against the final onslaught. Delay would raise the cost in American lives.

In its various ways last week the public got behind the drive. In Chicago Musi-comedienne June Havoc auctioned off two pairs of nylons at $1,300 worth of bonds a pair. The three survivors of the six-man detail which posed for the famed flag-raising picture on Iwo Jima — Pfc. Rene Gagnon, Pfc. Ira Hayes and Pharmacist's Mate John Bradley — rode through the rain to inspire the cheering citizens of Boston. In Tampa, a 75-mm. cannon boomed hourly from Plant Park. In Indianapolis, Mayor Robert Tyndall gave "the order of the day": Over the top. Indianapolis. Cheyenne County, Wyo. held "pie socials." Funnyman S. J. Perelman and Author John Roy (Under Cover) Carlson exhorted the people of Pittsburgh. Troops simulated airborne attacks on Chicago. In The Bronx, bond-buyers were allowed to ring a replica of the Liberty Bell. In Manhattan, buyers were permitted to eat their way through a five-layer, six-foot-high cake, or take a trip through a model aircraft carrier.

The "Mighty 7th" War Loan drive, with the highest goal yet for sales to individuals, got off to a better start than any drive so far. In the first week 23% of the "little man's" $7 billion quota was subscribed. The rest would come harder — when enthusiasm had cooled.

Of the five-star military leaders who had signed the appeal to the public, none understood the critical need better than the man who bears the expansive title of Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Army & Navy. And yet, among the seven signers, Fleet Admiral William Daniel Leahy is the least known.

Fifty-two years in the Navy shaped the thinking of Bill Leahy, born on a farm near Hampton, Iowa. As a midshipman at Annapolis he sailed aboard the leaky, century-old frigate Constellation. As an ensign, he was a member of the crew that took the Oregon racing around the Horn and bellowing into Santiago Harbor. In 1937, by appointment of his old friend Roosevelt, Leahy became the Navy's top dog — Chief of Naval Operations. The Chippewa Indians made him an honorary member of their tribe — "Great Man Sailing Around."

Leahy knows that victory over Japan is certain now, unless the determination of the people slackens. His prayer at the end of a long career is the same prayer he had in 1938: that the military leaders will continue to get implements they need and "the assurance and backing of a united people."

27 May, 2012

27 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
27 May, 1945      1125
Leipzig

My dearest darling Wilma –

I’m a little late in writing this morning – for 2 or 3 reasons – but I’ve just returned to my room and I should be undisturbed until lunchtime, anyway.

When I got back from visiting Dog battery yesterday p.m. I found the swellest bunch of mail in a long while. There were 3 from you – the 8th, 13, 14 of May. One was a sort of sad one – but I liked it just the same. You apologized for having missed writing me a day or two before. Hell, girl – I understand and you don’t have to mention it, dear. I’ve often wondered how you’ve managed to do so well. And that’s fiddle-sticks about my letters being more interesting. If they are for you – that’s good, but don’t forget, your letters are that way for me. Remember also that where a married woman, Nin for example, can’t find enough to write to her husband – the circumstances are vastly different. Not only are we not married, (yet) we didn’t even have a long courtship. So every letter I get from you, sweetheart, helps me explore you, know you better – regardless of what you think about the letter. I hope my letters do the same for you.

I also heard from Mom B. – a sweet letter thanking me for the flowers. I’ll write her soon and please make sure that she understands she doesn’t have to answer every time I write. There were letters from Sgt. Freeman, Dad A, Steve and Barb Tucker. The letter acknowledged the receipt of a check I sent her for flowers for Mrs. Tucker. I was going to do the ordering myself – thru Salem – and when the time came – I couldn’t for the life of me remember the florist – So Barbara handled it for me – thru Schenectady, no less.

I was glad to read you had had a nice evening out at my house – the night the Rabbi was over. Dad A had written about it and said he thought everyone had a nice evening. The Rabbi is an interesting man. I really don’t know him too well. I met him in Salem, belonged to the Synagogue – but I wasn’t very active. Then he ran into Dad A. in Dorchester and got my address and wrote me. I’ve always answered. I think Salem lost a good man.

In your letter of 14 May, darling, you still hadn’t heard from me in May and you were so anxious to receive a VE day letter. It’s not very long ago – but honestly I don’t remember just what I wrote – but I think you’ll agree I write a bit differently now. I somehow was afraid to wish for too much while the war was on; I was afraid of the consequences in case I got hit. It affected all of us – and I was no exception. If I never let you or the family suspect that, I’m very happy. But with war’s end – I felt free, I felt I could tell you and ask you more. I want to marry you, darling, and the sooner the better. It’s a damned important thing – marriage – and in our case – there’s a lot of room for discussion. Grammy B. was cute in her suggestion, too. I wonder how the consensus of opinion at home runs – anyway. Give me an idea, will you darling, so I can begin sharpening up on the arguments.

Well, honey, I’ve got to go eat or I won’t get anything. I’m enclosing some more photos. Some of them that I’ll be sending the next few days will be rather old. I came across a couple of rolls that I didn’t know I had – one from Paris, the other along the Rhine. Say – how’s that Scrapbook – and am I sending you too many pictures?

All for now, dear. Love to the folks. I love you, sweetheart, and never, never forget that.
All my deepest and sweetest love –
Greg


* TIDBIT *

about News of the Japanese-Chinese Conflict

On 27 May 1945 Nationalist Chinese troops won an important victory in southern China by capturing the city of Nanning, the capital city of the Kwangsi Province. The loss meant that the 200,000 Japanese troops in Burma, Thailand, Indochina, and Malaya were cut off from the Japanese Army in China. The following article, titled "Chihkiang Loss is Blow to Japanese Hopes", headlined the Hump Express (Vol. 1, No. 21), published by the India China Division, Air Transport Command on 7 June 1945.

Hq., United States Chinese Combat Command, China - Ragged, war-weary troops of the Chinese armies have successfully overcome the Japanese threat to the forward airbase and town of Chihkiang.

For the first time the Japanese have been denied an important objective. They had been willing to commit a large force to the taking of this area, and they failed. Many military observers believe this may mark a turning point of Jap conquest in China. Not only did the Allied soldiers hold the enemy at Chihkiang, stopping them and turning the attack into a rout; Chinese troops have also entered Nanning, important point on that vital Japanese routes of supply and scene of a former 14th AAF airbase.

Troops Flown In

Although credit for the victory must go to the hard-pressed local Chinese troops, the defensive action (and the resultant offense) would not have been possible without the reserve support of the 14th and 22nd Divisions of the Chinese New Sixth Army. This complete army, including military supplies, rations, ammunition, mules, horses and other equipment, was transported to the combat zone by planes of ICD (Intercontinental Division) under the direction of the China wing, marking the first airborne transport of an entire army in world history.

Seasoned troops of the Chinese New Sixth Army
wait at Chanyi Airfield to be airlifted to Chihchiang.

Operating into Chihkiang when the Japanese snipers were at the very edge of the airstrip, (one fighter pilot was shot while he sat in front of the alert shack) flight crews seldom left the planes. Upon landing the planes were met by servicing units for refueling while the troops and equipment were off-loaded and then deployed immediately to strategic points. While the planes roared in and out, American advisors, liaison personnel and technical units (including hospitals) were working in the forward lines, assisting the Chinese in the operations.

Nanning is Vital

The Chihkiang campaign is one of the best examples of Chinese-American coordinated operation since the Stilwell Road action by the same Chinese 6th Army that was flown to reserve positions in this recent battle. (Composed of General Chiang Kai-shek's prize troops, the 6th Army is advised, led and tutored by units of the Chinese Combat Command which teach the troops the usage of American equipment in the field.)

The recapture of the vital city of Nanning, approximately 330 miles west of Canton and 80 miles north of the Gulf of Tonkin, is regarded as important for three reasons. It is a terminal point for traffic westward of the West (Yu) River from Canton and Hong Kong; it is a junction point on the main road connecting Jap-held French Indo-China and Japanese forces in central China, and before its capture by the Nips, it was an important 14th AAF base.

Nanning, in south central Kwangsi province, was entered on Saturday by a strong Chinese force, attacking from the north, and by eight o'clock Sunday morning was completely in Chinese hands. The Japanese withdrew in two columns, one moving northward, the other to the southwest.

26 May, 2012

26 May 1945

V-MAIL

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
26 May, 1945      0820
Leipzig, Germany

Dearest sweetheart –

It’s a big day coming up and I have to resort to this. I’ve got to inspect a couple of the batteries and I’ll have to keep hopping most of the day. Got two swell letters from you yesterday, darling – 15, 16 May – but before I discuss them I want to take up a little matter you mentioned in a previous letter – ahem – so I used to be a “smoothie” – huh? And all the girls “used to want to meet” me, dear? What did you think about that? I had no idea that my “past” would haunt me, sweetheart, but of course you know I’m strictly a one-woman guy. Gee, dear, I’ll do my best not to waiver – but you know how it is when the girls go chasin’ you. I had so hoped, too, that I had finally slipped away from them. Well – don’t worry, darling. I’m in love with you and I’m yours alone. I really laughed when I read that, though. I don’t know where that gal got her info – but as far as I can remember – she’s off the beam! All for now, dear, but remember I love you ever and ever so much and I always will. Love to the folks –

All my deepest love –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about The Question of Russian Relations

Despite the sudden death of President Roosevelt in early April, the United Nations Conference on International Organization convened in San Francisco as scheduled. The conference ran from 25 April 1945 until 26 June 1945. President Roosevelt had been working on his speech to the conference before he died. That never-delivered address contains the often-quoted words:
The work, my friends, is peace; more than an end of this war—an end to the beginning of all wars; … as we go forward toward the greatest contribution that any generation of human beings can make in this world—the contribution of lasting peace—I ask you to keep up your faith…."
China, the USSR, the UK, and the US acted as the sponsoring powers, and 46 other states participated, comprising all those that had signed the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942 or had declared war on the Axis powers by March 1945. The huge conference was attended by 282 delegates and 1,444 other officially accredited persons from those 50 countries and by representatives of scores of private organizations interested in world affairs (50 from the US alone). The daily output of documents averaged half a million pages.

From the Crooks & Liars web site comes this article written by "Gordonskene".
On 26 May 1945 the San Francisco Peace conference was laying the groundwork for what would become the United Nations Charter. With war still going on in the Pacific, delegates from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America met to establish a means of working together as a Post-War world was coming into view.

But even then, even as the war was continuing, suspicions were raised over the future relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Was all this euphoria going to last? Some didn't think so. And even Assistant Secretary of State Archibald MacLeish made mention of it in this broadcast, part of a radio series devoted to the San Francisco Conference and our Foreign Policy.

Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982)
Statesman, Lawyer, Playwright, Poet, Librarian of Congress

Archibald MacLeish (Asst. Sec. of State):
Political events in Europe are regarded in some quarters not only as denying the promise of San Francisco but as qualifying the hope that the continuing collaboration between the great powers, upon which San Francisco is based, can continue. Certain commentators have even spoken openly of an inevitable conflict of interest between the Russians and ourselves, and have debated the question whether Russia, our present ally in this war, is our enemy or our friend. A curious debate, one would think, with our soldiers living side by side in conquered Germany and our common dead but freshly buried.
Interesting when you consider the Cold War became a reality not that long after these suspicions were cast. Interesting too, when you consider many members of the State Department at the time, including Alger Hiss, were hounded out of the State Department and labeled Communist operatives, triggering the Witch Hunts and Red Scare that permeated our National psyche for the better part of four decades.

But it all started out so optimistically.

25 May, 2012

25 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
25 May, 1945      0820
Leipzig, Germany

Good morning, sweetheart!

Actually – we haven’t had a decent morning – or day – in 5 or 6 days. The weather here, in fact, seems to be just about as unstable as that in New England. Yesterday I had to dig out my sweater from my duffel bag – all my heavy jackets being at the cleansers. We get excellent laundry, cleansing and tailoring service, by the way, dear – and it’s a far cry from our experiences of the past year. Even in England – we didn’t do so well, but as I see it now, England had very little else at heart except to win the war, and with all their faults, you’ve got to hand it to the English. They really took a beating – and I don’t mean by bombing etc. You’d have to live in England a few months to be able to see it – and the contrast with what we see here in Germany makes it all the more apparent. These bastardly Germans are even now wearing the smartest clothes I’ve seen since leaving the U.S. – men, women, children – and not only here – but everywhere we’ve been. And the women wear silk stockings, too – very few being bare-legged. Furthermore – it’s easy to see that they’ve eaten well, too.

The English were shabby in every sense of the word. They couldn’t get new clothes. Everywhere you went – the stuff you saw was obviously old and worn – and it was impossible to get enough to eat of even so simple a thing as bread.

Well, well – excuse me for the diversion, sweetheart. I’ll tell you all about such things when we’re together again and I don’t have to waste space writing about it. But heck, dear, you don’t want me to tell you I love you – on every line, do you? Well – I love you, darling – and on every line, every page, every where – and all the time. That’s quite inclusive I think – and if you have any question whatsoever – you can find the answer right there, dear.

I laughed in reading your letter of 10 May when you wrote you were trying not to be excited about the prospects of my coming home soon. As a matter of fact – you say you are calm and taking things as they come. Well – darling – I don’t believe you – because if you’re as keyed up as I am about it – you just can’t remain calm – and I’m usually pretty steady. And I’ll try not to surprise you, sweetheart – although I don’t know how a fellow can help it. He finally gets on a boat and stops writing – but he probably arrives home before the break in the letters comes and all he can do is call up and say he’s back. However – when I’m pretty darn sure I’m leaving Europe for home and you – I’ll tell you. Then if we stay in port for enough time – perhaps my letter will reach you before I do. I’m writing as if it would happen any day – although there are no prospects in view right now that I know of.

And do you aim to leave R.C. when you hear I’m coming back? Good! You also said “and stuff” – whatever that means, but I’m coming back for a decent Leave – a chance for reassignment – and damn it, girl, you’d better watch out – for I aim to catch you off balance – and Marry You !!

Have to close now, sweetheart. Hope everything is O.K. at home. Love to the folks and
All my deepest love is yours –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about Imagining the Future of Television

In May 1945, Clarke, a physicist and science fiction author who was also the secretary of the British Interplanetary Society at that time, circulated six copies of his paper “The Space-Station: Its Radio Applications” to his society colleagues. What follows, written by Dylan Tweney, comes from Wired online magazine's feature called "This Day in Tech", which tells of events which shaped the "wired" world. It's title is "May 25, 1945: Sci-Fi Author Predicts Future by Inventing It".
On 25 May 1945: Arthur C. Clarke began privately circulating copies of a paper that proposed using space satellites for global communications.

Figure II from Arthur C. Clarke’s May 25, 1945, paper “shows
diagrammatically some of the specialized services that
could be provided by the use of differing radiator systems.
Program from A being relayed to point B and area C.
Program from D being relayed to whole hemisphere.”
(Tiny letters A,B,C, and D are hard to see on Earth's surface!)

It was a bold suggestion for 1945, as the war was just winding down and most people were undoubtedly more concerned about the necessities of life than they were with beaming radio waves down from space. But Clarke, a physicist and budding science-fiction author, had his head firmly in the future. The paper, “The Space-Station: Its Radio Applications,” suggests that space stations could be used for broadcasting television signals.

[Click HERE to read Clarke's article, beginning on page 12 of the .pdf file that opens.]
The Space-station was originally conceived as a refueling depot for ships leaving the Earth. As such it may fill an important though transient role in the conquest of space, during the period when chemical fuels are employed…. However, there is at least one purpose for which the station is ideally suited and indeed has no practical alternative. This is the provision of world-wide ultra-high-frequency radio services, including television.
(Television itself was barely a commercial reality at this point, so that’s some forward thinking.)

Clarke followed up on this private paper with an article published in October 1945 in Wireless World titled, “Extra-Terrestrial Relays: Can Rocket Stations Give World-wide Radio Coverage?” The paper discusses how rocket technology, such as that used in German V-2s during the war, could be turned to peaceful ends by launching artificial satellites into orbit. All you needed, Clarke argued, was a rocket capable of pushing a payload past an orbital-insertion velocity of 8 km/second [5 miles/second].

However, the smallest orbits — such as those that would be used by the Russian Sputnik satellites in the following decade — would circle the earth in about 90 minutes. Because of basic orbital mechanics, the farther out you could get a satellite, the slower its orbit around the Earth would be. At one point, about 42,000 km [about 26,100 miles] from the center of the Earth, the satellite’s orbit would be exactly 24 hours, the same as the Earth’s rotation. Clarke wrote, in Wireless World:
A body in such an orbit, if its plane coincided with that of the earth’s equator, would revolve with the earth and would thus be stationary above the same spot on the planet. It would remain fixed in the sky of a whole hemisphere and unlike all other heavenly bodies would neither rise nor set.
Clarke wasn’t the first to propose such an orbit, known as geostationary, but his essay did popularize the idea. And while it may have seemed far-fetched in 1945, it was less than 12 years before Sputnik and only 17 years before the first TV broadcast satellite, Telstar. Then, in 1965, Intelsat began launching the first satellite system based on geostationary satellites, and there are more than 300 such satellites in Clarke orbits today. The future of communications evolved much as Clarke had foreseen it.

Although Clarke eventually became more famous as a science-fiction author, penning such classics as 2001 and Childhood’s End, he regarded his satellite proposal as more significant. I interviewed Clarke for a profile in Mobile PC magazine’s March 2004 issue. The headline referred to him as “The Father of the Star Child.” He replied with this note, handwritten on a reprint of his original Wireless World story:
Appreciate the write-up in March … but I think being ‘father’ of the COMSAT more important than the Star Child!

24 May, 2012

24 May, 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
24 May, 1945      0825
Leipzig, Germany

My dearest sweetheart –

Now please don’t ask me where I get all the stationery, dear. I do admit, though, that I’ve had quite a variety – and it will be interesting to me to see the different types of paper on which I’ve written to you. I suspect that the ugly, lined paper is still in the lead. But it makes no difference about the paper – does it, dear? The fact is I love you and it makes no difference to me at all where I write it.

Yesterday was a rather interesting day, darling. There’s a church in town – Catholic (rare in this part of Germany) and built in 1496. More interesting is the fact that John Sebastian Bach played the organ in this church and composed some of his great works. Anyway – someone arranged a concert for Army personnel and I went along. It was very relaxing. The music was all that of the Church.

After that I went to have a camera repaired. It’s one I picked up somewhere back in Germany – but there was something wrong with the frame. The lens is excellent – a 4.5 – and in good condition. It has all the gadgets that usually confuse me and I shall probably get much worse pictures with it than I have with my $4.50 camera which you merely have to click. Well – I got it fixed and now I’m going to try and have a leather case with strap made for it so I can sling it around my neck. If I get home – as most boys will, with my telescopic glasses hanging on one side of me, the camera on the other, radio in one hand and the Lord knows what else in the other – how in the world am I going to be able to rush up to you and give you the hugging and kissing that I aim to give when once I rest my hungry eyes on you, sweetheart? I really have problems.

To finish the day – we went to the movies in the early evening and saw “Molly and Me” with Fields and Wooley. No one was in the mood for such a picture and the sound track was out of synchronization – so we didn’t enjoy. We played Bridge afterwards. – the Colonel, the Chaplain, one of our Warrant Officers and I. The Chappie and I are partners very often and last nite we really trimmed them. The Colonel makes many psychic bids and does fairly well – but when he’s off the beam – they really go down. We bid and made 2 small slams – arriving at one by Convention and the other – not. The latter-method I find more satisfying – when it comes out all right.

I got mail from you, darling, 10 May, Florence B – same date – and Irv Fine. Irv repeated Verna’s invitation and I sure would love to accept – but – as the dummy in a recent Ventroloquist act we saw the other nite – kept saying, “What the hell!”

I smiled at your account of Stanley Berns etc. If he loves the girl, O.K. – but if he’s sucked in by the wealth – the more fool he! One doesn’t have to look far – because that Groper girl didn’t do so well herself. She married Ray Fine and he certainly didn’t love her. He was just one big playboy and I know she was unhappy. No, dear – money is something that doesn’t hold up with wear. I think love does – and I know that you and I have that and that’s why I’m happy. It’s the only way to start, too. I’ll be able to earn enough money to let us enjoy life – and isn’t that what we want, dear?

And there I’ll leave you for now, sweetheart. Sick-call must have started and I must go down. So long for awhile, darling, love to the folks – and

All my everlasting love –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about Psychic Bridge Bids

Dorothy Rice Sims
Matriarch of Psychic Bidding

The Laws of Duplicate Bridge define a psychic call as “A deliberate and gross misstatement of honor strength or suit length.” The key word is “gross.” A psychic bid is an intentionally misleading call or bluff which departs from accepted partnership agreements or is otherwise designed to confuse the opponents. Usually, a psyche is made on a very weak hand in an effort to convince the opponents they have less combined strength than they really do.

Generally speaking, a player has psyched when his/her strength falls under 50 percent of partnership strength agreements, or the suit length is several cards less than expected. On rare occasion, though, a player purposely underbids his hand hoping the opponents will overestimate their values, or double him in a later round of bidding. Of course, since trust and confidence are cornerstones of partnership bidding, psychic bidding can be disruptive to both sides. For mainline Bridge bidders, the psychic bidder seems to throw caution into the wind, walking where angels fear to tread. Many players have bitter-sweet experiences with psyches, be it by an unscrupulous opponent, cunning partner, or self-inflicted from within.

Psyches are expressly allowed in contract bridge, with a few conditions. One, a player cannot use conventional psyches as part of his bidding system; his partner must be totally oblivious to the fact that a psyche has been made. Two, a player cannot psyche more than once in a blue moon. Excessive psyching is frowned upon in social bridge, and disallowed in tournament play. Not only do psyche bids have the tendency to irritate opponents, they can lead to unspoken bidding agreements between the psycher and his partner. For example, if you frequently open 1 Spade with only four spades, when your agreement with your partner is that you promise five, a regular partner will eventually recognize your tendencies, whereas different opponents never will. Consequently, a regular partner can adjust his bidding accordingly, but opponents will always incorrectly assume you hold five spades. Such understandings between you and a regular partner are unethical.

Frivolous psyches are especially bothersome and should never occur. These psychs are usually inspired by malicious mischief or a lack of interest in a game that is going poorly. They can disrupt a game by causing an abnormal result. Unsportsmanlike psychs are equally bad. It is totally against the spirit of the game to throw a psychic call at a contending pair toward the end of the game because you want to create some action or because you’re having a game so bad that one more poor result won’t make any difference. It may make no difference to you, but it could change the winner of the event.

Psychic bidding dates back to 1931 by Dorothy Rice Sims. She is widely credited with inventing the psychic bid, but probably initiated only the popular name for it. Bridge was in its heyday during this era, as psychic bidding swept the Bridge tournament circuit. All this was followed by millions of avid Bridge readers who followed the psychic pros in newspaper columns. To fuel the fire, in 1932 Dorothy published her work, titled “Psychic Bidding.” Even the legendary Ely Culbertson, who professed to be opposed to the psych, occasionally found its strategic use in tournament play.

For a comprehensive book on the psyche, read “The Art of Psychic Bidding,” by Julian Pottage and Peter Burrows.

23 May, 2012

23 May 1945

No letter today. Just this:

The following are photos taken and postcards collected
by Greg while in Leipzig in May.

Leipzig - "Modern German Transport"
May 1945

Leipzig - "Old War Memorial"
May 1945

Leipzig - "University"
May 1945

Leipzig - Opera House - Postcard
May 1945

Leipzig - Central Railway Station
"The station doesn't look like this now.
It was formerly the largest in Europe."
May 1945

Leipzig - Sights
Marketplace and Old City Hall  "Partly Kaput"
New City Hall  "Kaput"
University & Church of St. Paul  "Mostly Kaput"
Memorial to the Battle of the Nations  "Not Kaput"
May 1945

Leipzig - University & Church of St. Paul - Postcard
"Most of the University is kaput also."
May 1945

Leipzig - Opera House and High Rise - Postcard
"This section not wrecked and looks exactly as in the card.
Figures on top of the building to the left are
two little men with big bell between them.
They strike it on the half hour."
May 1945

Leipzig - Alexander Street
"But it could be Aachen, Koln, Bonn, etc.
There's one in every big city."
May 1945


* TIDBIT *

about Leipzig University's Church of St. Paul 

The Paulinerkirche was a church on the Augustusplatz in Leipzig, named after the "Pauliner", its original Dominican friars. It was built in 1231 as the Klosterkirche St. Pauli for the Dominican monastery in Leipzig. From the foundation of the University of Leipzig in 1409, it served as the university church. After the Protestant Reformation it was donated to the university and was inaugurated in 1545 by Martin Luther as the Universitätskirche St. Pauli (University Church of St Paul), later also called Unikirche.

Johann Sebastian Bach was director of music from 1723 to 1725. Felix Mendelssohn conducted his oratorio on the church's patron saint, Paulus, in the first performance in Leipzig on 16 March 1837. In 1907 Max Reger was appointed music director of the university.

By the end of WWII, 60 per cent of the University of Leipzig's buildings and 70 per cent of its books had been destroyed. But the church survived the war practically unscathed. In 1953 the University was renamed by the German Democratic Republic government and became Karl-Marx-University, Leipzig. On 4 April 1968 the Choir of the university performed Bach's St Matthew Passion, conducted by Hans-Joachim Rotzsch. On 30 May 1968, during the communist regime, and after a decision by the SED (East German Communist Party)-led city administration and the university administration, the church was dynamited to make way for a redevelopment of the university, carried out between 1973 and 1978. Protestors against the blasting operation were arrested.

After reunification in 1991, the old name was revived and once again it was the University of Leipzig. A plaque at the site of the former church was unveiled on 30 May 1993. An A-frame sculpture in the dimensions and at the location of the former facade at the Augustusplatz was a memorial. The Paulineraltar, the Gothic altar, was rescued and was temporarily installed at the Thomaskirche.

The new buildings at the University's main campus are inspired by the form and shape of the old church. The newly built heart of the university includes a room for common prayer and regular religious services situated exactly at the place of the former church. The first service in the new church was held on 6 December 2009.

University of Leipzig's Main Building on old church site, 2012.

22 May, 2012

22 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
22 May, 1945      0835
Leipzig, Germany

My darling fianceé –

I love you so – it’s difficult to write about anything else. You see, dear, although we’ve been engaged a long time now, you never seemed quite attainable with the war still on over here. Now things have changed and the realization that the chances of our getting married soon are so much better and nearer makes me very very happy. Somehow or other I can’t get worried about the Japanese angle of the war. We’re kicking them now and more power is getting there everyday. And I’m still here for awhile – with a leave coming up in the States and a great deal can happen before that leave is over with. I think that war will fold before Japan is ruined the way Germany was – because fanatics or not – there’s a responsible ruler at the head of the government and I don’t believe he’ll allow Japan to sink into the sea.

There I go discussing things way out of my scope, but it seems as if every individual alive today has his or her life irrevocably intertwined with world affairs and conditions – and we, darling, are no exception.

Well, yesterday pm was quiet and in the evening we heard there was a good movie at Corps. Recr. Both Corps Forward and Rear are here in Leipzig – that’s the 7th Corps, sweetheart – and for my money – the best Corps on the Western front – from Normandy to the end in Germany. We always had the toughest assignments, spearheading every big attack. But we had a swell General – Lightning Joe Collins – and he certainly kept our confidence high.

Anyway, dear, the picture turned out to be “Mr. Skeffinton” – it being the first decent picture we had been shown in months. I enjoyed it – not troubling to look for flaws. We got back here at 2145 and I read awhile and then listened to the radio. I’m using a new radio now. I still have my battery set – but with electricity available – I managed to get hold of a 12 tube set some time ago in Halle. But it was too big to lug around. The one I have now is portable size and German Navy equipment – the set being built for use in submarines. It plays beautifully. I’ll try to bring it home – but I’ll probably have to strap it to my back with all the junk I already have, plus my other portable radio.

Today it’s still cloudy – although warmer than the past couple of days. I may go in swimming this p.m. – having missed 2 days running. That’s no way to get into shape.

And that’s all for now, darling. By the way, censorship rules have been greatly relaxed – and if there’s something about the present or the past that you wondered about, ask me and I’ll be able to let you know, dear. Don’t ask me whether I love you darling, because you know that!!

So long for awhile, sweetheart, love to the folks – and

All my sincerest love
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about "Mr. Skeffington"

Poster for "Mr. Skeffington"

"Mr. Skeffington" made its debut in New York on 25 May, 1944, nearly a year before it was shown to Greg and the other men. The following plot summary was lifted from Turner Classic Movie's web site.
In 1914, beautiful Fanny Trellis (Bette Davis) is courted by many men including Jim Conderley, Ed Morrison and Thatcher. One evening, while her suitors wait downstairs, Fanny's cousin, George Trellis, returns home after several years away. George learns that contrary to their extravagant lifestyle, Fanny and her brother Trippy (Richard Waring) have no money. Trippy, however, now has a job working on Wall Street for Jewish Job Skeffington (Claude Rains). Later that evening, Job calls unexpectedly for Trippy, who angrily refuses to see him. At George's instigation, he and Fanny speak to Job instead. Job has fired Trippy for embezzling and has come to ask him to repay the stolen money. He is stunned when Fanny explains their financial situation. The next day, Trippy threatens to commit suicide.

Fanny with her suitors

Determined to save her brother, Fanny sets her cap for Job and soon marries him, even though Job fully realizes that Fanny does not love him. Her ploy backfires, however, when an angry Trippy leaves for Europe, and that night, Fanny locks Job out of her room. Fanny's suitors are unfazed by her marriage and continue to pursue her. Job endures their presence because, although Fanny enjoys their attentions, she always sends them away. On the night of the Skeffingtons' first anniversary, they learn that Trippy has joined the Lafayette Esquadrille and that Fanny is pregnant. Although Job is delighted by the coming child, Fanny sees it as a sign that she is growing old and insists on leaving for California until the baby is born and she is once again beautiful.

Shortly after Fanny Junior (Marjorie Riordan) is born, the U.S. enters the war. When Trippy is killed, Fanny blames Job for his death, and Job finally realizes that Fanny will never love him. After the war ends, Job devotes himself to his daughter, while Fanny occupies herself with a series of lovers. During prohibition, Fanny attracts a bootlegger named MacMahon, who is determined to marry her. To convince her to divorce Job, he demonstrates that Job has had several mistresses during their marriage. Although Fanny's rejection of her husband can be seen as partly responsible for his behavior, Job agrees to a divorce. Not wanting to be bothered by a child, Fanny suggests that Job take custody of their daughter. Job is reluctant because of the difference in their religions and also because he plans to live in Europe, where the Fascists are coming to power. Fanny Junior's distress at losing her father, however, convinces Job to take her with him.

Several years later, a middle-aged Fanny becomes involved with the much younger Johnny Mitchell, and Fanny Junior returns to the U.S. from Berlin. After sailing in stormy weather with Johnny, Fanny falls seriously ill with diphtheria. She recovers, but the illness ages her greatly, and she begins to hallucinate, imagining that she sees Job everywhere. A psychiatrist tells her the hallucinations are a subconscious manifestation of a need to see her former husband because, now that she is fifty, her romantic life is over. Determined to prove him wrong, Fanny throws a dinner party for her old suitors, only to discover that they are all appalled by her aged appearance. Only Edward still seems smitten, but Fanny quickly realizes that he is only interested in her money.

Fanny as an older lady

When Fanny Junior later announces that she and Johnny are getting married and moving to Seattle, Fanny is left totally alone. The next morning, George tells Fanny that he has seen Job, now a broken man after his stay in a concentration camp. George begs Fanny to care for Job in return for his generous care of her, but she refuses, believing that her lack of beauty will drive Job away as it did all the others. When she realizes that Job is blind, however, she knows that here is one man who will always remember her as beautiful and welcomes him home.

Here is the trailer from Mr. Skeffington

21 May, 2012

21 May 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 230 % Postmaster, N.Y.
21 May, 1945      0840
Leipzig, Germany
My dearest sweetheart –

It is now 1230. I got as far as the “My” and was called away. I was busy until lunch-time and I’ve just returned to my room. Before I go any farther, darling, I want to remind you that I love you so strongly that it hurts, dear, and knowing you love me too – enhances my feelings ten-fold. So, we’ll get married, darling, and live a happy life. That’s certainly putting everything on a simple basis, isn’t it. Oh, I know there’ll be more to it than that, but the fundamental thing is that we do love each other and can you think of a better way to start?

I enjoyed so much your letter of 11 May which I got yesterday – particularly about the plans various people are making for a wedding – our wedding. I get a little scared at the thought of a bunch of people etc – but there’s time enough to think of that. Barbara does sound cute. Gosh – she must have grown since I saw her last. She never was a beautiful child – but I’ll bet it’s hard finding a more lovable one. That’s the kind I want, darling. How about you?

I was sorry to read about Granny Br. You had mentioned her illness before and I had neglected to remark about it. I hope she is better – and when you see her next, send her my regards. And tell Granny Be. it’s perfectly all right if she doesn’t write; I understand. I just like to jot her a note from time to time. And that reminds me – I haven’t written Mother B. in some time. She was ill and I didn’t want her to feel that she had to be answering my letters. I’ll drop her a line one of these days soon.

I sure am proud of your Bridge-playing ability – and I hope you take it easy on me. I haven’t – we haven’t played in some while – what with the battalion spread out as it was. And even when we were playing, remember, dear, that I’m a novice. Guess I’ll have to start reading up on the stuff if the Alexanders are going to hold their own.

And boy – would I ever like to spend a week-end with you down on the Cape! Sweetheart – we’d just have to get married first, that’s all. It looks as if I won’t quite be able to make it this summer – although one never knows for sure. I’m willing of course – although every month I’m here gives me more overseas time, progresses the Jap war and gives me a respectable talking point once I get home and try to stay in the States. Gosh we’ll have busy days, darling – because don’t forget – I owe you something like 154,000 kisses – and that ain’t hay – and don’t think either – that you won’t get paid off, with interest. And that’s compounded interest, too. It’s going to be wonderful, sweetheart, getting back and being with you; and we’re going to make up – in full measure – for all we’ve missed because of our separation.

And now, dear, so long for awhile. Give my love to the folks – and

All my deepest love to you –
Greg

* TIDBIT *

about What Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz Said

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

In an article published in the TIME magazine issue on 21 May 1945, (Vol. XLV, No. 21), titled "World Battlefronts, THE WAR: No. 1 Priority", Chester Nimitz set the tone for what was to come in the war with Japan. Here is the article:
Cover of TIME magazine, 21 May 1945

"The Japs are going to get plenty," said Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, in a press interview last week. "The tempo of the air war will be stepped up very, very much. They will be hit by carrier as well as land-based aircraft. We will give them everything we've got."

This week the Jap radio underscored the Admiral's words by announcing that a tremendous force of 900 carrier planes was attacking airfields and other installations on Kyushu, Shikoku and Honshu, making 14 strikes between dawn and 2 p.m. Right along with it, Japan was catching the heaviest punches ever thrown by the B-29 Superforts.

Japan was now the No.1 priority in the Allied war effort, and she was bitterly tasting what that meant even before the full overwhelming weight of the U.S. and Britain could be marshaled against her.

Worse than Germany. Lieutenant General Barney Giles, new Army Air Force commander in the Pacific, predicted more bombs for Japan's 148,000 square miles than had fallen on Germany's 215,000.

In England, Jimmy Doolittle gave up his command of the U.S. Eighth Air Force, and confidently forecast the happy day when as many as 2,000 U.S. planes would hit Japan in a single attack. Doolittle's big air force had wound up its war with 2,400 Fortresses and Liberators (the new "mediums") plus a considerable number of others in repair depots and reserve pools, and 1,200 fighters. Asked just what he expected to do in the Pacific, he answered, "I wish I knew." But it would be surprising if Bomber Doolittle and his crack operations officer, Major General Orvil Anderson, did not have plenty to do there.

The main, time-consuming Allied problem in the Pacific is building up bases and supply. It takes three cargo ships to do in the Pacific what one could do in the Atlantic. Air forces and service troops are being moved first.

Within three months there should be enough bases to accommodate all the air units that can be sent from Europe. Okinawa, four times the size of Guam, promises to be a fine base, even better than preliminary U.S. appraisals indicated. Within six months the Philippines should be in shape to take all the ground forces which can be redeployed in that time for the invasion of the Jap heartland.

How Much Can the Japs Take? By the time the invasion is ready, Allied air power should have smashed Japan's industry and transport, and she should be thoroughly shriveled by combined air and naval blockade. She might not be able or willing to keep on fighting. When a reporter asked Admiral Nimitz last week whether he believed that invasion would, in the end, be necessary, Nimitz replied: "I don't know. I don't know how much the Japs can take. They have seen what has happened in Europe, the wreckage of Germany. They know what is in store for them. ... All I do know is that it is necessary to go through with the planning of the invasion of Japan."