Thomas Aloysius Daly: WWII Letters Home
Edited and with an Introduction by Rita Daly Hooks
February 23, 2015 will be the 70th anniversary of the death of our Uncle Tom. He was killed in action on February 23, 1945 fighting Germans in the town of Irsch in the Rhine Province of Germany. His father, our grandfather, transcribed all of his son Tom’s letters, creating a typed manuscript from the handwritten letters. His brother, our father, saved the letters his father had typed, and showed them to us, his children. It is evident that the letters reveal the interesting point of view of a young soldier and that they should be transcribed once again, this time digitally. Our family has grown and moved to distant locations, so I have posted Uncle Tom’s letters on the Internet at ritadalyhooks.wordpress.com for all to have access.
Tom Daly was a soldier of the 94th Infantry Division. I found three books that document some of his combat history: History of the 94th Infantry Division in World War II edited by Lieutenant Laurence G. Byrnes, 1948; Patton’s Ghost Corps: Cracking the Siegfried Line by Nathan N. Prefer, 1998; and Patton’s Pawns: The 94th Infantry Division at the Siegfried Line by Tony Le Tissier, 2007. I have inserted material from these sources at the appropriate times in the letters.
Tony Le Tissier states in the Preface to his book, “What the men of the 94th achieved under the appalling conditions of that winter of early 1945 hardly seems credible today . . .”(xi). “After horrific fighting against entrenched defenders, with ice turning to mud as spring approached, on February 19, 1945, the 94th broke through [the Siegfried Line] to open the roads to Trier and the Rhine [into Germany]” (dust jacket, Patton’s Pawns). Tom was dead four days later.
Rita Daly Hooks
St. Petersburg, Florida
Camp Shelby, Mississippi
26 December 1942
Mother and Dad,
Today is Christmas. A bit dreary; overcast and warm. Went to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. It was very beautiful . . . . Our Company (K) has quite a reputation of which we all are proud. We are known as “rabbit chasers.” . . . I’m now acting non-comm. At end of basic, it looks as though I’ll be a Corporal. Tom
Fort Benning, Georgia
8 March 1943
One dares not bat an eyelash for fear of missing an entire lecture on the functioning of the 37 mm. anti-tank gun.
Fort Benning, Georgia
15 March 1943
Got into some real hot discussions here on unionism. Went to town the other night, rallied some support from the other side of barracks for most of them are from Pontiac, Michigan, an industrial town. Have a few Republicans who are stiff opposition, but we had greater lung power.
Fort Benning, Georgia
29 March 1943
Tuesday about 100 of us had to take a math examination. No explanation. Haven’t fallen short here unless they look up our records. If I ran true to form, I should have flubbed it gloriously. My average to date on the graded tests is a “B.” Depends whether they want to place emphasis on the math. We’ll see.
Got your box of Barricini’s. Sure hit the spot. Weather here is beginning to soften. Still more rain than Noah ever hoped for.
Feels like spring up home [Elmhurst, Queens] this morning. Well, just keep plugging. If I make it – excellent. If not, I’ll be able to enter battle with a greater chance of survival, after all this extra training. Either way, I’ll try to make it proper.
Fort Benning, Georgia
1 April 1943
Tactics are very interesting though they sure can confuse one. The situation is set, say with a machine gun, with more targets out front rushing your way than is comfortable. You figure with your good position all will ride well when from out of nowhere drops a plane lambasting you with flour sacks, simulating machine-gun strafing. The whole point of tactics is common sense, i.e., to apply all one has learned with a cool head, accomplishing the mission assigned.
Fort Benning, Georgia
12 April 1943
To begin with before I forget. Dad keeps asking about the St. Christopher medal he sent. (Thought I had mentioned it but the way letters are written in tidbits here chances are I hadn’t.) I just barely got the medal; en route it had worn a hole in the envelope and just as the letter was tossed my way at mail call the medal flew out and dropped at my feet. Rather dramatic. However, I did get it and have worn it since on my dog tag chain about my neck.
Fort McClellan, Alabama
25 May 1943
Before I forget. Just about bursting with indignation over this last Fay scandal. Saw mention about three weeks ago in one of the gossip columns of an impending break disclosing some union heads in New York. Was going to cut it out and send it but figured he’d been burnt so many times, would not be involved again. Becoming disgusting seeing that mug plastered in every periodical semi-annually for some grand scale graft or scandal. Always I.U. of O.E. (International Union of Operating Engineers) mentioned and labor affiliations. Wherever labor thinks it will get with that continuous performance is beyond me.
Fort McClellan, Alabama
30 May 1943
Had another fortunate spell Saturday. Won’t go into details here else this letter will have to go to printers for a binding. Down at our club (regimental) they had a party Saturday evening – formal with General Phillore as one of the guests. Naturally everyone was expected to attend. Preferably accompanied with a female. I had no one lined up. In fact haven’t made any acquaintance as yet. Believe I’m a little too choosy.
Sound a bit selfish on this one, but a box of Barricini’s would hit the spot. Boy, how I miss old Barricini. None of those nice little things here. Trivials, like raiding the icebox, or just slumping down when there’s something to be done and saying “to hell with it” all remain in that dim background which will be so welcomed.
5 June 1943
Walked all last night, got here about 2:30 in the morning. Carried another soldier’s pack last two breaks. He was about all spent out. Built a bit plump. His feet wouldn’t hold out. Hike didn’t hit me as hard as I thought it would.
Fort McClellan, Alabama
Have received the Walnut tobacco and pipe. Nice looking pipe. Miss my old Kaywoodie. None seem to fully measure up. Had a date Saturday night. A blind affair. Not bad, she was a Latin teacher from Florida, visiting a girl school-mate who lives here in the girls’ dormitory.
Fort McClellan, Alabama
7 June 1943
Mother, got your box of Barricini’s. Many thanks. Can’t hold these chocolates long, usually like to take a few each evening. Just was up to the shelf and with this heat, could almost have poured them from the box.
Fort Benning, Georgia
Saturday evening, 1944
Am writing by flashlight in bed. It’s 11:30. The radio is playing three beds down, a band from Frank Dailey’s Newark, N.J. Outside, it’s teeming. Been raining heavily all day.
This training in tactics really counts for it’s the nucleus of all field combat, which we will employ some day for keeps. Coding 50 men as second lieutenants. Whether these 50 men return home will depend a great deal upon how we employ these tactics. Here we are constantly reminded of our responsibility to our men.
We placed our orders Friday night for uniforms. I traded with Saks Fifth Avenue. They should be reliable. Ordering uniforms seemed like a step closer. Then again an added disappointment should one fail.
Sunday morning, 1944
Just had breakfast. It’s still attempting to run a close second to Noah’s deluge outside. When it rains, it makes no pretense. Reading Roosevelt’s post-war plans where he mentions extensive construction to start throughout the nation after cessation of hostilities. Should quiet those pessimists who hover about your ear. (I’ve run out of ink.) It should be a better world after this mess is over.
Fort Benning, Georgia
Sunday evening, 1944
It’s been raining all day. It can rain this week till Georgia floats down to the Gulf. (What’s preventing it till now beats me.)
Just so long as next week is dry. To explain – The board met Thursday. I did not have to appear, clinching my chances, but far from making it certain. That word “certain” just doesn’t exist here. All here from tutors of Morgan’s nephews to Ph.Ds. have the jitters. From what I hear anyone appearing before the board is likely to be dropped up to the night before graduation. Only yesterday a fellow from another company was over visiting one of our fellows. His tale was a sad one. He wasn’t told till the night before graduation that he wasn’t going to graduate. Have heard of quite a few instances like that. Doesn’t add to the morale. The queerest feeling reigns just about now, with about ten days to go. Those who have been before the board (52) haven’t heard a word. The board gives absolutely no satisfaction. We have two graded tests this week. One, a general, covering all the conferences that we’ve had throughout the course on which we have not been graded. Held responsible for all those little bits of info that we got what seems to be ages and ages back. Another on Logistics or troop movement and supply. All very involved and confusing. Dad asked in last letter of a mission held by the Holy Cross Fathers down here. How did he know? I was able to attend 3 nights of it. Received Bill’s [younger brother’s] letter the other day.
Loretta [younger sister] – Got your box of delicacies. Many thanks. I want to see good marks on that report card. Keep after the old “Strad.” I’ll have to hop off now and continue studying for the general test.
Mother, please accept this little gift with my best wishes. Dad, having a little trouble trying to find something for you in these parts.
Camp McCain, Mississippi
6 June 1944
Managed to make it OK. Last leg of the trip in those packed trains was pretty warm. Heard the momentous word this morning. Found it difficult all day long to drag the ears from the loudspeaker and follow a regular day’s drill schedule, for all the details of this engagement are strictly infantry tactics which adds to interesting listening. The warfare being waged should be terrific; better appreciated only when one fully realizes just what is experienced in such situations.
Recall, Mom, my mentioning “The Day” shouldn’t be days away. The entire maneuver was truly a magnificent operation. You have no idea of the thousands of details that must be coordinated. Here’s hoping there’s no negative setback. The entire scene may have changed by the time you read this. Up to this writing, there is still only one wedge driven; I’m expecting to see other beachheads open up. I’ve a wager of $50.00 with another officer that the Allies reach Berlin before the Russians. We’ll see. Getting back into the harness is difficult. We leave at 0530 tomorrow morning on a two-day problem.
Camp McCain, Mississippi
28 June 1944
Your New Yorker and PM keep coming through. Have no idea how welcome they are. Wish I had more time for perusal of them.
1 July 1944
Camp McCain, Mississippi
Not much change over last note, other than in a more advanced stage of preparation for moving out. Recall your mentioning of Matt McConville’s demise. He was sort of a symbol of some degree. Whether beneficial or detrimental may be subject to discussion. Played the “totem-pole” role too often to suit me. Perhaps my view is distorted for I only got to know him after almost nearing decrepitude. Would be satisfying if one could imagine his dropping out allowed some gap into which another could fill in with enough vigor and ethics to whip the outfit into a true representation of organization, manifesting some expression of righteous collectivism. Oh! I wonder how many hours such a character would last!
One wonders upon hearing some of these news reports whereby rail communications are overtaxed beyond the breaking point by Fourth of July weekend pleasure seekers, just where this entire burden is supposed to balance out particularly after repeated broadcast pleas by the government. Why so much is demanded and exacted of the few while the many openly and brazenly violate reasonable “requests” incites just a bit of resentment.
4 September 1944
Do with the enclosed what you desire. Can’t write much. Feel kind of sickened. The other day I had a group through the enemy lines. An outpost of those bastards fired a machine gun and slashed down one of my men as we swung to the left, and the medics came up. These slimy shysters came yelling “Kamerad” to the aide men. I wasn’t on the spot at the time, or else every last one of them would have dropped from my fire. One . . . one of . . . . Oh there’s no sense in details; it’s just that type of tactics that boils a man’s blood. I’m waiting for my next crack, and if they don’t stand toe to toe, they’ll sure as hell go down in a hurry. Will write when I cool off. So long.
P.S. Hang on to the enclosed order. I may need it for reference for some later date. How about the cigars and spirits? Got a swell letter from Aunt Bertha last week. Please thank her for me.
11 September 1944
I haven’t heard from you since I have been here. Did you receive my change of address? “V” mail form with my mention of having arrived in England? I’ve been quite busy recently, and this has actually been my first opportunity to write. Incidentally, I’ve borrowed the Company clerk’s typewriter to get this letter out, for these single-sheet forms don’t allow for a letter of any consequence when written in longhand. In no time the page is consumed.
Well, a chronological review of events up till now would be apropos, so here goes. Very shortly after you last saw me while on that tantalizing ten-hour leave, we shoved off from the East Coast bound for Europe. For the sake of security, bits of interesting information with regard to troop movement will have to be skipped, such as the name of the ship, route taken, port at which we disembarked, etc. Trust you bear with me in future writing if some incident I relate seems somewhat vague for the lack of descriptive information for the reason aforesaid.
The trip across was a pleasant one, though quite uneventful. The weather was delightful, nothing like I had anticipated. The Atlantic, after we got out a ways, for the most part, was as calm as Central Park Lake, nothing like I’ve seen her at times. Of course the lifebelt was carried at all times, and blackout regulations were adhered to strictly.
With as many men aboard as there were, chow lines were run almost continuously. The corridors were trimmed with long lines of men either going to or from meals. Each day’s routine was interrupted with what we would call, lifeboat drill, but was called onboard “emergency muster.”
All would, at the sound of a signal, quickly get to and stand by those areas of the ship where lifeboats and rafts were installed.
The port into which we pulled was indeed beautiful. Far more beautiful than what my restricted description could do it justice. The men were indeed impressed with this “new” world. To digress and explain, we are now stationed in England. (Two following lines censored). Never have I seen such beautiful rolling countryside as that throughout (next word censored).
You’ve seen these little toy pastoral scenes with everything neatly patterned out in beautiful contrasting colors with perfectly aligned hedge rows to outline the color scheme, with cattle sprinkled across dark green carpet-like pastures bordered with golden wheat fields. Multiply a thousand-fold these settings, border it with a little village of stone homes all immaculately clean, and spread it all across gently rolling terrain, and you have some of what I saw in Scotland.
I see I am at the bottom of this page which calls for an ending. I visited London the other day and have reams to write, if only the opportunity permits. Till then so long.
Well, that was a quick one. Do you see what happened? There’s a dent cut in the paper on this form off to the right margin, and I took it for the bottom of the page and started to sign off just when I’d begun to get wound up on “auld bonnie Scotland.”
A word or so about the train ride. The trains here do ride very smoothly. They have a type of absorbability between the cars which prevents the slack in the couplings to jerk the cars back and forth. Over here the freight cars are about one third the size of ours with the engines corresponding. Looks like a Lionel train set seen under a Christmas tree, till you get used to them.
Don’t recall having seen any (word censored) second class though there is a first and third class on the trains. The third class cars have two rows of seats on either side of the aisles like our trains. The first class cars are made up into compartments, each one accommodating six persons. Well, this time, it is the end with volumes yet to tell. Will write later.
11 September 1944
Received a letter from you the other day, but from its contents I gather you haven’t received any of mine from England. Am now in France. No combat yet; holding up at a rest area. Should see some soon. In fact we know our mission, but details will have to be held till a later date. The weather here so far is an improvement over England, not so much rain. My smattering of French helps but little. They speak it here so rapidly. Though an opportunity to converse over any length of time would add to improvement. The nights here are quite chilly. We came over from England on a small steamer which anchored offshore, and came the rest of the way in Landing Crafts Infantry (Large) LCI (L)s to one of the areas where a beachhead was made “D” day. Not much left standing. Did you ever receive my barracks bag?
26 September 1944
Before I forget. You mentioned in a last letter of having received a picture of the Company. You should have gotten more than one. If you would mail one of the extra pictures to the address following: Mrs. Anna M. King, Route #3, Wauseon, Ohio. This is the address of one of the men in my platoon— i.e., P.F.C. Guy King. He was away on some detail when the photographer came through the Company for orders. We were to leave before they would be ready for developing and mailing, so we had to give our home addresses. I purchased a few extras for those of the platoon then absent. About the photo, the goon standing in the center at attention, while the Company stands at parade rest, is the character of whom I lamented when on leave. I remember his ribs “Way.” I don’t believe I mentioned in a previous letter, but am now in France. I do recall now, I did mention it. We have moved since then. En route saw a great deal of destruction resulting from warfare. Is pitiful to see countless French homes laid to rubble.
10 October 1944
This is the second letter I have attempted to write in five days. Got four lines into the other one, was interrupted, and since had no opportunity to finish. Got two of your letters the other day—i.e. one from you, Mother and another from you, Dad; both very welcome. Yesterday got two letters, one from Aunt Mary and another from Aunt Anna. Will have to answer first opportunity I get. Recently have been very busy, what with leading patrols out beyond our line during the day and checking incidents along our outposts at night allows for little free time. Quite a few interesting experiences connected to this patrolling, but the details would disclose our mission, so must hold to a later date. This censorship security is to thwart any leakage of information should the letter be intercepted en route. This war’s ravage upon Europe is terrific. Thank your lucky stars for that 3,000-mile gap of aqua. Will write very next opportunity.
27 October 1944
Received your package of Barricini’s yesterday. It so hit the spot, particularly the chocolate covered assorted nuts. I had to find time to acknowledge. The nostalgia experienced from eating those chocolates is beyond description. Also got your other package the beginning of this week. Have no need for soap or shaving cream. We get a Red Cross ration every few days which fills all those needs. Film was truly appreciated. Haven’t as yet taken any snapshots. We do miss little delicacies which are unobtainable here. Any success on that stuff I asked you about getting last time home on leave, through Murphy.
30 October 1944
Notification conveyed to Lieutenant Daly by Leven C. Allen, Major General, GSC, Chief of Staff. Battlefield promotion to First Lieutenant, 94th Division, 376th Infantry, Special Order #74.
By command of Lieutenant General Bradley
C.R. Landon – Colonel, AGD
Headquarters Twelfth Army Group
6 November 1944
Received your other package, i.e., with shaving brush, cream, Walnut tobacco, etc. day before yesterday. Don’t use a shaving brush, just something extra to have to carry around. The Walnut tobacco was welcomed. Could you get a box of good cigars and forward? The spirits I’ve been requesting would come in handy for there’s a little cause for celebrating. Sunday I got an order making it now 1st Lieutenant. Went through as a battlefield promotion. It’s starting to get chilly here. My Command Post (C.P.) is in a building (abandoned French farmhouse) which allows for some shelter. Will continue on another “V” form.
8 November 1944
Compared to past performances, this looks to result in a writing spree, the third letter written in 24 hours. Believe me, I do write when the opportunity presents itself which should result in a spasmodic flow of mail from this end. Received your letter, Mom, the other day. You mention getting a $40.00 check. That should come every month. The other monies should be arriving shortly. I am forwarding the receipts herewith, so you may check these separate arrivals.
As for France –
Though we haven’t visited the richer sections, still compared to America’s standards, she is terribly far behind. In fact the same may be said of all Europe. Dad’s always mentioned his desire to tour the Old World. As far as I can see, the only resultant from such a trip would be a keener appreciation for the United States. Our tour, now of course is not a Cook’s well guided one wherein one is shunted only to the favorable, pleasant-looking localities. Rather we are seeing this place as they really live (exist?). The evil appears to dwell in the uneven distribution of wealth.
One continually passes palatial chateaus surrounded by evidence of beautiful landscapes after the ravages of war have left their mark while throughout all the surrounding vicinity, small farms eke out an existence, each farmer employing the most primitive land methods of labor. All transportation is by big, two-wheeled carts pulled by slow lumbering teams of oxen. The vegetable patches are all hand-hoed and cared for with homemade tools.
The farmhouses consist of two-storied stone buildings with slate roofs. There is a ground floor with a garret above for storing junk and grain, depending on which end of the house you explore. Down on the first floor, the building has two sections. Usually on the right end as you face it, there are one- or two-room living quarters. The left end of the same building houses the cattle. Yes, there is usually a door in the wall adjoining the two. All the floors for the most part are hard-packed earth. Say, for example, the kitchen is the single room holding 8 or 10 cows or goats, they all stand in a good 3-week collection hay, manure, and urine. Perhaps all very picturesque in a technicolor travelogue, but for living conditions, they are out of the dark ages.
The scars this warfare has inflicted upon this earth, to say nothing of human pain and destruction, are deplorable. Perhaps in some era, these peoples will resign this folly and resolve to live among one another in peace, each respecting the other man’s rights.
I can’t fully agree with the Church’s position here. No matter how small the town, there stands in its midst a building, with a towering spire head and shoulders around anything surrounding. In the states we would call it a cathedral. Truly a grand beautiful building while out on a farm which can be seen from this spire, little creatures can be discerned. They are huddled over in grotesque shapes, gnarled and knotted with years of primitive labor. I’ve always believed – contribute, according to one’s means, to one’s pastor.
The people here are friendly, great for the handshaking. Down to the littlest toddler, each shakes the other’s hand upon meeting and leaving. We don’t get to see the towns. No sooner do we move to a new area, then the order for all surrounding towns comes down: “Off limits to all troops.” Of course the civilian food problem prompts that. Thank your lucky stars you were born in America.
I’ll have to hop off here. Enclosed are the receipts and some French money of various denominations. Roughly the rate of exchange may be determined by doubling the French face value to equal ours.
P.S. Incidentally, the colorful stuff marked “Bank of France” is the old regular money of pre-Hitler invasion days; the other stuff is Allied invasion money.
Wrote you a “V” mail letter the other night. Have you received it? When you write me, make sure it’s airmail or “V” mail, or else there’s no telling how long it will take to cross. Incidentally, the PMs and New Yorkers are not coming through. I sent them a change of address card back at the camp. Would you check to see what they are doing about forwarding same?
This traveling about the world is a marvelous experience if only one had the time to get about and get to know the country rather than having to observe from a march formation or hurriedly dash about a town on a few hours pass.
Had quite a time initially with this new money. Over here, we are paid in the currency of where we are stationed.
Would appreciate it if you sent some “116” film rolls for the camera. I have some Dentyne or Wrigley’s chewing gum. Realize you may have trouble getting the gum, for they claim it’s most all going overseas. That’s true, but to ensure fairness it’s rationed here to one package per week. It’s non-existent for the civilians here and should one care to repay a favor, a package of gum here is considered more than money. The continuous request of children along the roadways as we march is “Any gum, Chum?”
Do you think you can get any of that stuff that I asked if Murphy could obtain it last time I was home? It also is scarce, or prohibitive in cost. If you send any packages, check first with the P.O. as to size allowed. There are restrictions to size, so they will easily fit within an Army mailbag.
There’s a set-up here known as P.T.A. or Personal Transfer of Account, which allows as follows: any amount may be handed into the finance officer who will make out a treasury check of the desired amount to the designated person. The check is photographed and sent “V” mail to the states to the treasury who in turn makes out a regular check which is mailed to the one indicated. Shortly a check should be coming made out to you, Dad, and this is how I want it allotted. $25.00 to Bill, $25.00 to Loretta, $25.00 to you and $25.00 to Mom; what remains I’ll ask you to hold for me. I insist each receive as I’ve mentioned, and it be used to satisfy some personal desire. Suggest you, Mother and Dad, see some good show, still playing, followed by supper out. Have a pleasant evening.
The reason I am using this notepaper and not the “V” mail form, though they are shown preference in transit, is the limitations on space for each letter. Could never get a letter of this length on one form. Have received mail from Aunt Bertha and Lizzie, also from, of all persons, Harry Smith, if you recall from the Navy Yard. He did not write but rather one of his daughters who explained that he was working nights in Jersey with little free time. She mentioned attending Dominican Commercial High. She writes an interesting letter. I must answer whenever I get an opportunity.
What school is Loretta attending? How is she doing? Does she like it?
I mentioned in my last letter of writing about my trip to London. It will have to be sketchy in this letter for it’s getting late and I must close soon. Did get a chance to see firsthand the results of the air blitz upon her. Truly a shame. Where the outrage is apparent is how the churches have been singled out and gutted, some either completely demolished by direct hits or evidence of hits very nearby when their accuracy was faulty. I understand the destruction was timed for Sunday evenings when the temples were filled with parishioners. I attended Mass at The Immaculate Conception, more fortunate than the others for the building just across the street had been leveled. Naturally all the imagery and masonry of the church I attended was chipped by fragments flying through her stained glass, but that was all.
Rows and rows of residential sections were blasted to ruins; only shells of former homes remain standing, gaunt-like. One of the men picked from a site whereon one landed.
I mentioned a room I had. Had quite a difficulty when I first hit town attempting to locate a room. Finally gave up and resorted to the Red Cross’s assistance. What they offered was a large room with beds set up in ward-like fashion. Not for me. I craved a nice little room with decent furnishings in which I could revel in independent privacy. One of the girls behind the desk at the Red Cross suggested a little hotel nearby which she believed accommodated requests for single rooms. I could write another ½ dozen pages on my little hotel, but I’ll skip it now and cover it in a later letter.
Managed to see a stage play called While the Sun Shines; it was a comedy of fair sort. Tea is served during the intermissions; there is a little bar in the outer lobby. The atmosphere is very nice.
I’m writing this note in a little building called our club, looks more like a garage. It’s now midnight and they’ve clicked the lights, a signal that they are closing, so must hop off here. Have volumes more to tell. Will write again. Do reciprocate.
21 November 1944
At this writing it is Monday evening; tomorrow, Nov. 7th, should result in a moment of history. My approach to the presidential campaign this year is a bit warped, for I’ve been exposed only to PM’s viewpoint, terribly anti-Dewey. I’m trying to lay some wagers, but the opposition is cautious and wants odds.
Here in France the nights are growing increasingly longer, making it quite hard on the men. Sitting night after night on an outpost, particularly when it is cloudy and windy, and having to rely practically and entirely on having to detect an enemy’s approach soon begins to wreck one’s nerves. That eternal suspense ia a weakening factor.
Meant to mention it sooner; very glad to hear of Loretta’s success.
26 November 1944
This note will ramble all over the lot because I’m trying to capture all the little items I keep forgetting to mention in other letters. Oh yes! First, a hunting knife, a good one. Remember seeing some along Fifth Avenue between 30th & 49th Streets. Blade should be about 8 inches long with a durable scabbard, so it may be carried on a belt. Ordinary knives last no time around here. Don’t send cigarettes. Should you know of anyone else sending, stop it. Here we are issued by the Red Cross a pack a day, much faster than I ever smoke, am way ahead. A package of Walnut tobacco would be appreciated, also if each time you drop a line you send a pair of 10½ socks, heavy wool. One of our greatest problems is sock supply, particularly with this continuous wetting we are getting. Can’t understand why you apologize whenever you mention the money I sent. Would like to keep posted. It should be coming your way by now. Am enclosing a few other receipts. Can’t remember if they are duplicates of others I sent, however, if you will check. Some French money within.
In last letter I enclosed a money order – did it arrive safely? If you would send the little delicacies we miss so much. Par example, Coca Cola is unobtainable, none since I left the states – a half dozen bottles would create an ecstasy. Under a separate envelope am sending a Christmas card the regiment had printed, with regiment insignia on top and in French –Joyous Christmas – Best wishes from the continent. Have sent about 25 assorted cards – hope I overlooked no one. I keep mislaying your questionnaires. I must have answered most of them by now.
Oh yes, for a lighter vein. Got quite a kick out of a nickname the men of my platoon gave me, for short it’s “T.T.” Don’t imagine you could decipher it.
Glad to see Wagner made it. He’s been loyal to labor right along. But when they get a chance to throw in one from the inner ring, they scrap him. Typical labor tactics. Enjoyed seeing Curran flop. I wonder who you voted for.
Thanks for the film. I intend to use it very shortly. Glad to hear of Loretta’s progress. While I’m here would like to visit Paris. They say it’s quite the place. Opportunity doesn’t look to imminent. Went to Nantes last week. A lot of its beauty has been destroyed by bombs.
Oh yes, T.T. stands for Tactical Tom.*
Will hop off here. You know, there’s a helluva lot of requests in this thing.
*In his book Patton’s Pawns, Le Tissier gives the reader an example of Tom’s tactical skills:
German attack on Nennig followed an hour later, after being preceded by a heavy mortar and artillery concentration, and came down the draw from Sinz, the same route that [Tactical Tom] had reconnoitered the previous day. Daly’s men were prepared for the attack, opening fire only at the last minute, and Lieutenant King blocked the enemy escape route with a mortar concentration. Those Germans that survived then surrendered. (Le Tissier 33)
27 November 1944
As yet have no word from you, although the mail here is delayed in transit for some reason. Before I forget, did you ever receive the barracks bag I shipped home by Railway Express from the last Camp? I mentioned it in the last letter that the PMs and New Yorkers were not coming through. Correction, I started receiving them yesterday.
The weather here is strange. Short showers all day long. One minute the sun is shining brightly, next it will rain lightly for five minutes then be overcast for an hour till the sun breaks through, though not for long, till this cycle starts over again. The evenings are chilly. All natives remark that the weather is strange for this time of the year and has been such for the last four years. Some suggest the theory that the recent heavy bombardment in the sky is responsible for it. Perhaps there’s something to it.
Recent communiques indicate that this blackout over England should soon be able to be lifted. The Allied armies are indeed racing northward. Last time I was home on leave, civilian conviction had it that it was all over, but the parades. They should spend some of their idle moments conversing with some batches of soldiers stationed about England in these hospitals, only returning from the front hours ago. Though this recent offensive is advancing at an amazing rate, the like which makes Hitler’s blitzkrieg look like a funeral march. The toll is heavy for when these fiends are cornered, they fight like rats. Previous comments are also prompted after reading the results of a poll shown in PM and taken by the National Research Center, showing 65% of public opinion favoring lenient treatment for post-war Germany.
The money I mentioned in the last note I was sending should come in three checks. I don’t know its amount, for I submitted three varieties of currency each on a separate form as required. Some in English and some in another foreign denomination. The total will depend upon the conversion table into American money. Let me know when you receive same. Should be approximately $300.00. May come at separate intervals.
To pick up for a few lines where I left off last note on London. I visited her underground (subway). They’re built quite deep, must have afforded excellent air raid shelters. Biggest difference is your fare is governed by the distance you travel. You get a little ticket which you show upon entering the gate. Down on the platforms along the walls are lined triple-decker beds (no mattresses) built-in wire mesh for springs, all metal. To get down to the lower levels, they have very long escalators. Their cars are smaller than ours. The seats are upholstered rather like our wicker cane affairs. Can’t beat America for practicalness, for though the seats are a little more comfortable, they hardly are as sanitary considering the enormous traffic. Luckily for no good reason held onto my ticket for I’d believed since a guard had viewed it before I’d entered, that’s all there was to it. But they pick up these little tickets as you leave the station.
Can imagine the bottleneck this would cause at Times Square during the rush hour. But then they don’t exactly rush. They take long strides, but don’t rush. Too undignified, I presume. Say what one likes – they do respect one another’s rights to an extreme (fault?). Everywhere where something is in demand and some must wait, a queue (line) is formed, and no “bucking” or breaking into it out of turn is ever seen. Whether you’re buying a pound of potatoes or waiting for a bus, all drop into line. So alien to the American method of scramble, heaviest pusher getting there first.
One noticeable feature here which perhaps isn’t fair to mention, considering all contributing conditions evolving from four years of war at one’s doorstep, is the laxity of women’s morals. I’ve mentioned it here, but at a later writing I would like to devote a few pages which would better clarify the situation. In London, generally about Piccadilly Circus after dusk, to be propositioned with a stipulated fee is commonplace. Quite a shame that the men’s introduction to a people of high respect be at this stage. Of course a lot of them (and it is a lot) take every opportunity. Particularly am I forced to smirk at these officers, devoted worried husbands back in the States, and still, by mail (to all appearances) yet run about berserk when a few miles of ocean gap them and their partners.
Hitting again this light problem. It’s getting late now, and this only room equipped with lights for writing is getting ready to close.
Will write again though there may be a few days between which I will not be able to write. Next note should be interesting. So long.
November 30, 1944
Haven’t received any mail from you in quite a while now. But then no one has recently; attribute it to winter weather delays and Christmas rush. Am leaving the rest area tomorrow which means busier days and nights ahead. Don’t recall whether or not I mentioned it before in a past letter. Got an opportunity to visit Nantes. American planes had done it a great deal of destruction. Incidentally the Nov. 15th issue of PM gave a coverage to our sector. The forgotten front I think they called it. This whole experience alters one’s outlook. Sitting and thinking, I find myself resolved upon return to sample and enjoy all life’s little adventures which previously had only been contemplated. In short, to live a full life. There is so much to do, so little time. It has all passed long enough now for general mention. Do you recall my last short stay at home? At the time I was stationed at Camp Shanks and a few days later left on the Queen Elizabeth. The ironical slant is that we stood by onboard a few days completing loading and all the time docked at West 49th Street. I recall standing at the rail, thinking how you were coming and going through the street just across town. All that afternoon along the next pier, a Merritt-Chapman & Scott rig worked loading airplanes. The Los Angeles I think it was. The Queen Elizabeth is so high it was difficult to distinguish faces on the rig.
I would like a good pair of gloves. Leather ones with either a fur or sheepskin lining. I had in mind the mitten type with the forefinger free, so as to allow pulling the trigger. A fairly long gauntlet coming well over the wrist with a tie strap and buckle. Trust you take these requests with the proper disposition. I’m sure you’d rather hear from me and know what I need and can best realize my needs here are limited, but the few items I mention can help immeasurably toward making the best of things. This damnable rain persists here, making quagmires out of any area traversed repeatedly by any groups of men. It’s getting late now, will have to hop off. So long.
4 December 1944
Been a little lull in my writing; you see we’ve been moving which permits for little free time. We came back from the line and are now in a rest area. Was quite fortunate to be back here for Thanksgiving, doubt it will recur for Christmas. Will be timed so, some other outfit benefits. This army nomenclature of “rest area” is farcical, for during the day a complete training schedule is maintained. Only thing is men can relax and get a full night’s sleep and perhaps see a picture show. During this time they attempt to catch up on their correspondence which adds to my censoring duties. Received your package last Wednesday of the Journal and Telegram showing hurricane damage. Quite a mess. No more space. Will hop off here.
6 December 1944
Tomorrow is another anniversary of Pearl Harbor. They are piling up. I don’t believe I’ll ever forget that Sunday afternoon. Before this is all over, they’ll be returned, more than they ever imagined, that memorable day.
I forgot to mention in last note of having received Dad’s letter of Nov. 22nd. It was indeed a nice long one. Sometimes I have to carry those letters I receive around in my pocket for a full day before I get an opportunity to read them.
Am enclosing a little editorial from the Stars and Stripes which says volumes in plain language. Particularly those sentences I’ve underlined. What one can see seems easily overcome. It’s the uncertainty factor which is difficult. Also waiting at night to detect enemy patrols. Especially when it’s dark, windy and raining; when every shadow seems to assume the shape of a form and every crackle a footstep.
You mentioned my including a request for Barricini’s. If it’s necessary to say, of course, you realize my weakness for those chocolates. I’m running short on paper so I’ll have to hop off. One of my runners PFC Fred Rouse asks that I say, “Hello.” So long.
11 December 1944
Received day before yesterday Dad’s box and Mom’s fruitcake. The box was crammed with useful stuff. If you would drop in a package of Walnut tobacco. We are well supplied with cigarettes and lately I’ve hardly done any smoking aside from a pipe. Pipe tobacco is scarce and I do enjoy Walnut. Hold off for a while on any more film. You see I haven’t been able to take a picture yet; for that requires sun, and we’ve had very little. Enclosing the figs was an added delightful tidbit. Would you send on some pitted dates? You see I’ve got six in my platoon headquarters i.e., platoon sergeant, platoon guide, two runners, an aide man, and “me.” One pass around just about kills anything. Can these fellows eat! The fruitcake hit the target. Truly was tasty. Arrived in perfect condition. Are there any more on the market? Use the money I forward for any little extras I requested.
Should any convey their best wishes and I haven’t sent on a card, please explain it was because I didn’t have their address. I had to hastily catch up on a lot of overdue correspondence with Christmas cards and short explanatory notes attached. These letters are all I’ve gotten off.
You mentioned receiving one of the checks. They’ll all be on their way sooner or later. Uncle Sam has a great deal to do at present. You mentioned receiving the $40.00 allotment checks. There’s been a duplication on that insofar as it is not being deducted from my monthly pay here while all the time the $40.00 is going on home. I’ve brought it to the attention of the company clerk who promised to rectify it. The reason why so much extra cash. It will all be straightened out and future pays will have a little extra deducted to make up for the duplication of payments. Enclosing a money order. So long.
P.S. Eagerly awaiting the fruit.
20 December 1944
Received your package with bananas and figs two days ago in good order. I have a platoon sergeant from Georgia who really went for the bananas. But, Jesus Christ, you let me down this evening when I received a fairly good-sized package of which the greatest space was consumed with a bottle of hair tonic! It’s been a month now since I combed my hair. Haven’t slept without all my clothes on aside from shoes for better than two months. Haven’t had a bath now close to a month. Not trying to make it sound tough but attempting to portray the set-up so you will realize to what use I can put such things. You see any of the nice things we have no use for. Practically everything we require we carry on our backs. The Infantry you know, perhaps when all this is over and we are still on this side of the pond, a few of these little niceties unobtainable here and token of remembrance of things we’ve left would be appropriate. We are furnished with what essentials we need. Aside from a few incidentals I’ve mentioned previously, such as fruitcake, mixed nuts, candy, etc.
For whatever I’ve asked in the past I’ve mentioned it be of good quality. The reason – all our equipment gets such rough treatment, it just will not stand up, unless of good quality. The gloves I’d mentioned, I had in mind a pair I’ve seen worn by another officer purchased at Abercrombie & Fitch, NYC. Would you send on some Walnut tobacco? No larger package than the regular size because I’ve got no place to carry it. You see like a package of eatables can be quickly disposed of.
Order for an award I’m supposed to receive is enclosed within. A Battalion parade was given Saturday in honor of a few other fellows and myself. When the General has time, he will make the presentation. So long.
22 December 1944
How goes everything? Am still in fine shape. See by our Army paper the Stars & Stripes a cold spell of weather back home. Quite pleased to hear of Loretta’s musical achievements. Trust she keeps it up. Received your letter, Mother, of October 30th.
Gap in here of about 4 hours.
Seems as though every time I start to write, something comes up to interfere. Am enclosing a notice I received from the New Yorker. I’ve written to them about it, but the way the mail goes they probably sent this out before they received my note. I’ve asked them to renew the subscription for one year and send the bill on to you. OK?
Am enclosing a few postal cards I picked up in a demolished house. Had to erase the address. Military security prohibits mentioning our location. Notice the dates. Long ago. I don’t get the fish on all the April 1st cards. The aeroplane made from stamps is pretty clever. The cartoon enclosed is a humorous approach to our type of work. The other is a “Sad Sock,” the most popular cartoon personality in the Army; so very typical. Army “slanguage” – has anyone blundersome or dopey called a “Sad Sock.”
Well it’s getting dark now. Shadows fall early here. Must hop off. So long.
27 December 1944
This note will have to be short, though I could write a few pages. I’ve a lot of letters to censor tonight. Received two letters from you and Dad today, dated December 12th & 13th, also one from Jim Green. Remember he visited you one day, Dad at the office. He is in Hawaii. Am answering him this evening. Have not as yet received the box of cigars. I believe that is the only package delayed. I usually don’t mention it because by the time you receive this note chances are I will have received the cigars.
I hope you got a good knife. Not to be haughty, but as I’ve explained previously; unless an article is of good grade here, it just doesn’t stand up. What with the treatment we have to give things.
Christmas was just another day here. Trust next one will be different. Am enclosing a money order. You mentioned it necessary, so I’ll request another box of Barricini’s. The weather here has become quite cold of late. Previously it was a continuous rain. Am in good health. In fact I’ve had good health since I’ve landed.
Was presented with that award Sunday the 24th. Was given a ribbon in lieu of the medal which is coming later. They haven’t caught up with its production. Was rougher standing in the cold awaiting the presentation than qualifying for it.
P.S. Would you include a few handkerchiefs with each package? Laundry here is so difficult, best bet is to throw them away when soiled. Another fruitcake like the last would hit the spot.
28 December 1944
Am rushing this note off hoping it arrives before the letter I wrote last night for I mentioned I had enclosed a money order and forgot to do so. This time it should be in. Socks (wool, 10½) and handkerchiefs are about all I need. Don’t send too many at a time, but keep them coming steady, if you please. I’ll cut this short, so it can get off early. Sounds like am overdoing it, but here goes for another request of Barricini’s. So long.
28 December 1944
Mother and Loretta,
Herein there should be one large bottle of perfume, five smaller ones, three little boxes containing coat of arms of some French provinces (a few novelties thrown in) and a hair barrette. The large Chanel is for you, Mom, give Loretta one of the “Rue de Cambon,” the hair barrette (should go with her color) and one set of the trinkets. There is a complete set in one box and 2 in another. I haven’t the facilities for packaging each individual item and sending them off; so if you would send one of the small perfumes to Aunt Bertha, one to Aunt Helen and one to Aunt Evelyn. One to Aunt Mae and Mid up on Lamont Avenue. The barrette must have been some French girl’s. I found it in a shelled house. Do you think Aunt Mae would like a set of these trinkets? If so, send one on. I thought they would make a colorful bracelet attached to a nice band.
Hope you like ‘em.
29 December 1944
Believe me, I’ve been too busy to write. Plenty of experiences, but most of it is – must withhold details for security’s sake. Just now my platoon is furnishing part of battalion – CP security. Will last perhaps for a day and a half. A comparative lull in contrast to past few days’ work. My platoon has been very fortunate with only one minor casualty who should be back in a few days. Bad feature of whole set-up is loss of sleep. As I write a battering of tanks with assault guns are firing about 20 feet across the field, giving them a little thought before breakfast.
Quite an experience. So long.
22 January 1945
There has been a lull in my letter writing; just couldn’t be helped. Haven’t had a single chance to correspond in last 12 days. What with the situation we were in, all were fortunate if food got through to us. When we are moving in on attack, there’s just no time or thought for letter writing.*
Now we are back in a rest and reserve area for a few days. Trust you’ll understand any such lapses in the future.You see we are moved to a different sector. Can’t say where; but we were down at the St. Nazaire pocket holding these “krauts” in. It was combat, but of a static type. Had plenty of opportunity to write. Am now up on line chasing these fanatics back to Berlin and finally into the ground.
Received your package of Coca-Colas yesterday. Tasted delicious. Would appreciate another. Have not as yet received the gloves or cigars you mentioned. Have you gotten my package yet? Got a letter from Mr. Moran today. He enclosed Bob’s address. Bob is nearby here in same area, may run into him some day. Looking forward to it. Would you send on a fruitcake? Most popular package hereabouts.
These “super-men” disgust me, whine and whimper when stuck.
Enclosing two money orders. Will write a longer note tomorrow, if I get a chance. Hop off here.
*In Nennig, the number of enemy dead had become quite a problem. As frequent combat patrols were driven out and infiltrating groups were hunted down, the number of corpses increased. Since there was no possible way of evacuating these bodies, they were collected and laid out neatly in one of the houses. (Later the enemy retook this building. Berlin Sally reported these German dead were prisoners of war murdered in cold blood and dubbed the 94th ‘Roosevelt’s Butchers.’)
On the 17th at approximately 1000 hours, Lieutenant Daly observed twenty Germans approaching his positions along the draw to the east. When the Germans had closed to within seventy-five yards, Lieutenant Daly decided to test his limited knowledge of the German language. From the shelter of a doorway he called, ‘Kommen sie hier.’** The officer leading the patrol hesitated, but when his aide handed him a rifle, Lieutenant Daly’s men decided it was time for some shooting. Those of the enemy who were not downed in the first volley, dashed for the shelter of town. They took refuge in a couple of unoccupied buildings from which they were driven by a tank destroyer firing at point-blank range.(Byrnes 114)
24 January 1945
Yesterday, I received your second box containing Coca-Colas. Thanks again. That’s one package always gratefully received. Today your package of socks, gloves & sweater arrived. The socks & sweater have been put to immediate use. The gloves are a little too bulky for all-purpose use. Almost impossible to change magazines on my sub-machine gun. I don’t believe they are rugged enough construction to stand up under the beating we must give our equipment. What I had in mind was a pair of the same type (free forefinger) sheepskin lined, just a lighter color leather (not that that matters but to describe) another officer in the battalion had sent from home (NY) purchased at Abercrombie & Fitch. Am enclosing a little Leica [German camera]I received while down at the St. Nazaire pocket. It’s getting battered hanging around here, so I thought I’d send it on.
Incidentally we are in the 3rd Army with Patton. Security reasons restrict any more definite locating. They’ve got me in for the Silver Star now (the other one was bronze) after our last little fracas.*
What with this Russian offensive on as I write it should aid in shortening this nightmare.
Neither knife nor cigars have as yet arrived.
I’ve just been cleaning through my pockets and came across a little card upon which were prayers to be said at the battlefront printed by St. Anthony’s Guild. Also along with it your letter accompanying requesting I memorize same. I had to smile when reading – “When dread & Terror fill my heart/ Help me to act the soldier’s part.” Honestly these barbarians don’t fill me with dread & terror. As far as I’m concerned the more of these fiends I can annihilate before they get me the better. I feel and I do use “fiends” with description. If you could see the filthy snapshots and drawings most of these vermin carry in their pockets. If you’d seen the lowest of tricks used on our men.
I figure I’ve played the game fairly this far and need no little two-sentenced aspiratory phrases on which to clutch. I’ve no fear of going suddenly. I know why I’m fighting. I asked to. Truthfully I abhor these little limericks babbled off at some machine gun rate. I count more on a silent understanding. I believe I’m holding up my end of the bargain. So be it.
P.S. For instance one of those tricks I’d mentioned bottom of over page – approaching our lines fully clad and equipped in American gear; so our fellows hold fire recognizing what they believe to be friendly forces – to be shot down at close range. Must hop off here.
*During the morning Lieutenant Raymond G. Fox’s platoon of Company I was ordered forward from the battalion reserve position in Besch and attached to Company K. At 1000 hours, Captain Way ordered Lieutenant Fox to take a contact patrol to the 1st battalion on the right. Lieutenant Thomas A. Daly, whose platoon was in position on the east of Nennig, decided to accompany the group as he was anxious to see the terrain over which an enemy attack would approach his position.
The patrol moved out in good order and crossed the high ground east of town, following the stream line along the north edge of the woods. After proceeding about eight hundred yards it discovered an enemy infantry position in the woods. The patrol leader estimated the German force at about fifty men and had his men open fire. This fire was returned promptly. Two machine guns were being employed against the patrol when Lieutenant Daly suggested that the rest of the party cover him while he worked his way along a shallow ditch which led toward the nearest gun. This was done and Lieutenant Daly crawled to a position immediately in front of the machine gun. A skillfully lobbed grenade killed two of the crew; Lieutenant Daly deposed of the remaining Germans with his pistol. He then withdrew under the covering fire of the patrol, bringing with him the German machine gun. Contact was broken and the patrol pulled back. A messenger sent to Captain Way with word of what had happened returned with orders for the group to return to Nennig. (Byrnes 104)
9 February 1945
Received yesterday your letter wherein you relate my mention of the hair tonic You misconstrue my intentions. I am ever so grateful for your thoughtfulness, but I believe it best to be frank; to attempt to explain conditions so that your efforts be not wasted and the articles you send can be put to their greatest use. Perhaps I sounded abrupt, but the article “barber’s smock” struck me that you did not realize conditions under which we operate. (Realization is impossible without physical presence.) Every last one of your recent packages has been completely apropos. A few suggestions — Those little cards, or rubber bands, or paper clips I have no use for. They were very useful during the months of training, but not now in the field during combat.
Received a letter from Mrs. Glascott. She’s at Villa of the Sacred Heart — Caldwell, N.J. Expects soon to return to Elmhurst. Said she’d pay you a visit. Very pleased to hear of Loretta’s success over “Math.” Remember the watch you gave me upon leaving? It’s standing up well and keeping good time.
We’ve been back in a rest area for a few days in a little town that nestles among a section of the Maginot Line. A group of us went up today exploring through its vast tunnel. What a huge thing! Yes, and what a tremendous waste of time and money.
Have you seen any press releases dealing with the 94th Division, or the 376th Regiment? Quite a few of the fellows have received mention from home of same. A sudden thaw has abruptly changed the weather. It has remained mild for the last few days; trust it holds out. Received your questionnaire but had already sent one out. So you should get it shortly. Bob Moran is nearby around here somewhere (in same army — 3rd). I dropped him a line the other day. Would like to run into him one of these days (hardly probable).
These super-men still seem to resent our entering their backyard, perhaps “Josef’s” little persuader up on the East front will help end it. Yes, now I’m seeing it your way — have you received my package yet? Well, it’s getting late (1:30) and there’s liable to be some big doings tomorrow. So I’ll catch some sleep.
18 February 1945
Yes, finally they arrived, the long awaited package, dated Nov. 24th. I received it yesterday. The fellows used to ride me. I’d mentioned they were on the way, and each square box I’d receive in the mail they’d proclaim, “This is it!” I’m referring to those cigars. Believe you mentioned at one time of procuring them at Manny Wolf’s. I know Manny doesn’t have the place now. I believe it’s his brother. If you’ll thank him for me on his selectivity. You’ve referred quite a few times to the itemized list of packages received. I’ve sent one on, you should have received it by now.
You mention it is necessary for a written request in order to send on some Barricini’s. So this is it. The letter I received from you today had in it the clipping commenting on Army issue clothing to the ground troops for winter climate. It was very true. Now, the weather has changed. The snow has left; of course this thaw makes for mud, mud, mud. The tone of your letter indicates you seem to realize to some degree what we are going through. It is impossible to fully realize without physically experiencing.*
I received a letter from Emmet MacAlonen the other day. He is in Italy. You mentioned of Bob Moran’s being wounded. I trust it isn’t serious. I’d written him a note before I got your word. Received a package of little delicacies from Nanna & Aunt Bertha, it will be a few days before I get an opportunity to write and thank them, so if you will, till I get mine off. Am enclosing an old order I’ve been carrying around. I believe I’ve sent one copy on before. Hold it for me, if you will? Must hop off here.
*With the start of the attack on the morning of the 19th, the 3d Battalion, 376th, was situated midway between Sinz and Nennig . . . . Company K advanced on the left against Adenholz and Company L on the right against Geisbusch. About 400 yards from the LD (Line of Departure) in the zone of a former unit was a known enemy minefield, through which a narrow path had been cleared. As the company was traversing this lane, the enemy unleashed a terrific artillery concentration. Instinctively the men scattered, detonating mines and causing extremely heavy casualties. When the fire lifted, Lieutenant Daly, who was commanding the company, removed the wounded and withdrew the company to reorganize. Lieutenant Daly had been wounded himself, but continued to lead his troops until late in the afternoon. (Byrnes 252)**
**(Lieutenant Daly was later awarded a second Distinguished Service Cross for his performance that day, having been previously awarded one for his service in Brittany.) (Le Tissier 126)
20 February 1945
I have a letter of yours in mind. I can’t locate it just now, but I recall its theme. I’ll not make it a long and wordy affair. To your query — Have no fear. I thought you had more trust. Crossing a few miles of sea hasn’t altered me. True, the temptation has been keener; and at times a phony justification based on existing conditions could be cooked up, but I never was convinced. The least of your worries.*
*The men of Lieutenant Colonel Thurston’s 3rd/376th were still digging in on the side of the Scharfenberg Ridge during the night when orders were radioed from Regiment to send a company back to secure their crossing place . . . .
The remainder of the battalion had to endure a night of harassing artillery fire and the occasional seemingly random rifle shot. Sentries were posted at the roadside with instruction to capture anyone going past, whether soldiers or civilians, a move that yielded a number of surprised prisoners, and a prisoner-of-war cage had to be improvised in a small ravine. Lieutenant Daly was killed in an unfortunate incident when he gave chase in an encounter with a German soldier who hid in a foxhole and shot Daly in the back as he went past. (Le Tissier 206)
Byrnes, Laurence G. ed. History of the 94th Infantry Division in World War II. Nashville: The Battery Press,1948. Print.
Le Tissier, Tony. Patton’s Pawns: The 94th US Infantry Division at the Siegfried Line. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2007. Print.