With The 22nd Infantry Regiment in World War II

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A Few Quotes From A Soldier's Journal:

PART 2 Overseas, In Europe with the 4th Infantry Division

1/​31/​44 Our journey from America, exactly two
weeks after embarking from New York, has been
done in a manner that has become routine, of
millions of American troops pouring into the British Isles which English newspapers describe as "strap-hanging across the Atlantic."

2/​28/​44 A corporal recently arrived in England from action in Tunisia said "You would think that after being in action we would be treated with less
formality and boyscoutishness, but they are as GI
here as ever."

3/​25/​44 Militarily the stage seems set for the Second Front. For the American troops, failure in that second front when it occurs is unthinkable, for until it is successful and they can again become civilians, they consider their time wasted.

3/​28/​44 ..as every other soldier in this dauntless
army I adamantly believe that the bullet capable of harming me has not yet been invented.

6/​6/​44 ..today's electric "Communique Number 1"
from Eisenhower's headquarters. This is the day we have been waiting for since 1933, the year Hitler
came into power in Germany.

6/​23/​44 ..casualties are very heavy. Some companies have already had 3 or 4 different first sergeants and company commanders. Names of rifle company personnel have changed almost beyond recognition.

6/​29/​44 A soldier describing the death or maiming of his best friend relates the details with no display of emotion, almost as though speaking of a baseball game which his side lost.

7/​2/​44 The axiom that there are no atheists in foxholes holds true in this battle zone; religious services today were attended better than ever before, including men never seen at services.

7/​7/​44 In combat men trained as cannoneers, cooks, radio operators, clerks, were shoved en masse into rifle companies, including some who never had a close look at an M1 rifle.

7/​11/​44 It is common for a rifle company to start fighting with a strength of 170 men and the next day go into battle with 70, while in that same day turning over 3 or 4 company commanders.

7/​28/​44 There is no such thing as an easy battle. Wherever the enemy is capable of shooting even one man he is dangerous, for no one would care to be that man.

8/​16/​44 Many of the previous evacuees are returning to our division with records marked "Fit for LIMITED ASSIGNMENT duties only." We have no choice but to send them to the front again to do the best they can with their handicaps.

8/​21/​44 It is very easy to tell the difference between a German and an American foxhole. The German is very deep, well concealed, straight and trim as though dug by a machine. The American is dug according to the fancy of the digger, who is rarely concerned with its looks.

12/​10/​44 "That battle (Hurtgen Forest) became so unendurable that we didn't care whether we lived or died.. We tried digging in but every time we scooped out a shovelful of mud the hole filled with water and more mud. We said the hell with it and just lay down in the mud to sweat out the shells."

2/​27/​45 Our impending push to the Rhine River holds promise to be fruitful at last, and we pray that it will be, for the war is lasting too long, our strategy turned into a stationary slugfest with the last-ditch stand put up by the Germans.

At left: Torquay, England.

2/​13/​44: Being stationed ten miles from Torquay is like being near Atlantic City. The town is built largely atop sheer palisades overlooking the English Channel. Even in wartime it maintains a 34-piece Municipal Symphony Orchestra.

12/​6/​44 Hurtgen Forest will not soon be forgot. At the end, the regiment was groggy; squad leaders hardly knew the men they were leading; many men did not know their company commanders, and first sergeants were not sure which men were supposed to be in their companies.

8/​13/​44 ..2 1/​2 months after D-Day our 3,000 man regiment has sustained almost a 100% turnover in personnel. In actuality the rate is well over 200% among the troops directly in combat. Enlisted men's casualties show about 1 in 5, officer casualties show almost 1 in 3.

2/​12/​45 ..these frontline veterans of Normandy and all the action since--have they not had enough? In the last few days I have seen more of them killed, men whose days in combat far exceeded any reasonable chance of surviving.

"When an infantryman takes an objective, usually a hill, he has nothing to look forward to except assaulting the next hill. Getting wounded usually gives him only a brief stay of execution. His only chance for not getting killed is to go insane or lose a limb, unless he is one of those rare men who uncannily don't get hit. Getting hit is 100% a matter of luck, not knowledge or experience."


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