Had we been living in heated and air conditioned homes, the
weather would have been the same as any other year. When we
weren't in barracks, such as England and Mormelon, France,
our base camp, where we lived when we weren't on line, in
Living in fox holes, or not having anyplace to sleep but the
ground, made the living quite miserable at times. In Normandy,
being June-July, the weather was pleasant; maybe a little
chilly at night. Sometimes we were in homes or buildings,
but usually it was in a fox hole.
In The Netherlands, September 1944, great weather, really
no problem. I was only there six days, so I can't say about
the latter months. Bastogne, miserably cold. A heated building
would have been wonderful, but that didn't happen. We were
a few miles outside of Bastogne, Foy. Noville, Cobru, that
area, some snow on the ground, holding the line, making some
Not having the thermal boots available today, it was difficult
to keep warm. Some men got frozen feet; had to be evacuated.
If we stayed in one place long enough, we dug large fox holes,
put logs over the top so if German artillery got us with a
direct hit, the shell would explode on top of the logs.
There were plenty of logs in some of the woods from artillery
and mortars. Otherwise, we dug individual fox holes.
For food, we generally had fairly good re-supply. When we
didn't, we scrounged food where ever we could find it, farms,
homes, sometimes German rations.
In Normandy, at first, before the action got hot and heavy,
the French people were so elated over being liberated, they
came out with wine, cheese, bread, you name it. Some of the
men drank too much wine, but that was the exception. We tried
to carry it around with us, but that had to be abandoned;
too much of a load.
In the Netherlands, Eindhoven to be exact, we had carried
in our own rations, however, here again, the people brought
us all kinds of food. As we went toward Veghel, we had to
rely on our own rations. It wasn't in my unit, but some men
got into a jam factory; had a feast.
Bastogne. I wasn't there in December '44. Still in the hospital
in England. I rejoined Fox Company on Jan 1, or 2, '45. We
had rations re-supplied. I recall one incident, where we slept
in a farm house, just for the night. The owners had left for
safer places, but there were chickens, so we got our little
stoves and gorged ourselves on eggs. I hadn't seen a real
egg for so long, I think I ate a half dozen or so, maybe more.
Later, in Germany, on our way to Berchtesgaden and Austria,
we had our own rations, but still managed to get some better
food from homes, stores, anywhere. As the war drew to a close,
the German civilians were quite hospitable, shared what they
had, which wasn't much. Of course, as you have probably heard,
there was always for bartering with cigarettes, chewing gum
for food, and quite a few other things I won't go into.
In one case, in Berchtesgaden, we confiscated a tractor trailer
delivering groceries to an orphanage. The civilians gathered
around begging for food, but we escorted the truck to the
orphanage so the children had something to eat.