Sept. 28, 1944
Today I have a few minutes to spare for a change. We have been and are, extremely busy.
I can’t tell you a great deal about how I feel as there are no words that can describe the terror of the battlefield. When we lay on the ground with the shells falling thick and fast, 150 MM – and larger, the world seems to be coming to an end. Each moment of waiting while the sound of the projectile is warning of its approach, seems an eternity. We can tell it is coming in close and bury our faces in the mud. There is nothing we can do to get out of the way, just lay there and be pounded. Once during a heavy shelling, I had to move the platoon through open fields. When a shell came we would hit the ground. This type of thing goes on for hours.
At nite when we lay down or sit about and the shells scream around us there is no real out. One subconsciously picks up the sound and notes where it is going.
My men are good. They have fought the Germans to a standstill. Many of them have had their clothes shot off their backs and lost all their equipment. I see them standing in the rain in shirt sleeves, shivering, but not complaining. The other nite on outpost we lay across a valley from an advancing German army. All the armor had pulled out and all that was left between this force and ours was my platoon and me. Since then we have been extremely busy. Not only are we alert for the Germans, but these fierce tank battles are fought right through us. Of these I can describe little. Again, there things indescribable. How I feel inside of me with all tensions and fatigue is a strange sensation. I guess that is all a part of the horror of war.
The weather has been so extremely bad that it is a struggle just to keep alive. In the States a soldier could go on sick call when he felt ill. Here a man goes until he drops. That is asking a lot for love of country, but that’s the way it is. We do not always eat. So far I’ve had only two warm meals since being up here. The usual diet is cold K-rations which is tiresome to say the least. However, we are happy to get it and after laying all nite in a pool of muddy water, shivering so hard one cannot talk, anything is welcome.
I think of you often, Darling, it is the one thing that helps me pull through. I lay on the ground and pray and ask for strength to stand the bombardment and think of you and what we will talk about when we get together.
I have no writing paper so do the best I can. It has been a month since I received any mail.
Don’t send me any cigarettes now or as we will not have a chance to see any more towns and I can’t carry anything. All I have left now is the clothes on my back and they are wet. I haven’t had dry feet for over 2 weeks. Laying out with cold feet is not my idea of comfort, but all of my men are in the same shape so I have no complaints.
You might send me some of those quick cooking packages of soup so I can warm up some when I get a chance. K ration is a slim diet.
Hug Butch for me. I love you sweetheart.
V-mail written by my father, Melvin Love from the Gramercy Forrest NE of Nancy, France on September 28th 1944.
On the night he describes, He and his platoon are the the farthest east of any of the western ground forces. I have researched this, and it is in the written history of the 320th Infantry Battalion. Pam is my mother, still kicking at age 95 and reading this on her i-pad. Butch was my oldest brother Clare.
At the tail end, he requests cigarettes. He did not smoke, but on the battlefield, they were currency. She sent some menthol cigarettes, all she could find. When he got them, he couldn't give them away.
Last edited by Terry; 05-26-2013 at 10:44 PM.
Melvin and Pam after the war.