Used by permission of The Italian Campaign
Steve Cole Collierville, TN Web Master of "The Italian Campaign"
The following information was obtained from the wartime journals of Private Paul Brown. The original journals were donated by the family to the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City, OK. Copies of the original journal were made available to Steve Cole by Pvt. Brown's son, Paul Brown.
Private Paul Brown was a member of
the Grave Registration Service of the 45th Division. The 45th Division arrived
early in Italy and was the reserve division for the landing at Salerno, on Septemeber
9, 1943. The 45th Division waited in landing craft off of the coast and landed
later in the day after the 36th Division. In January, they were moved up to
the Anzio beach head, where they were under intense combat for several months.
Finally, in May, the 5th Army advanced from Cassino and on into Rome.
Private Paul Brown kept a journal of his account at the front lines. As a member of the Grave Registration Service, Private Brown had a task of locating the bodies of the soldiers on the field and removing them for burial. He performed this job in the cover of darkness and sometimes under gun fire and shell fire. They lived close to the front lines where their trenches were under constant shelling.
Paul had his younger brother, Nathan, in the same division. I don't have any details about his company and records. Nathan was in the hospital on one or maybe more occasions with a foot problem. The family doesn't remember if it was a combat wound or trench foot. Paul mentions his brother 18 times in his journals and went to visit him on several occasion. When Paul had accumulated enough time to go home, he requested they allow Nathan go in his place. His request was refused. Private Brown kept a journal about his life at the Anzio beach. He recorded his story in 4 journals, one of which was lost. He used his journal to jot down his thoughts about his girlfriend and on his mortality. He also recorded an itemized list of well over 200 names of GI's his unit buried. His journal also expressed his opinion of Army life along with memorials of some of his fellow soldiers he had to bury.
Interestingly, he recorded some of the everyday events such as the movies they were able to see there on Anzio beach and the USO entertainers he saw while on Rest & Relaxation breaks.
Lost date book along with all other
equip. A & B bags.
[Book started May 1, 1942. Excerpts begin at September 9, 1943, the day after the Salerno invasion. Anzio landing is not until Jan 25 entry.]
The Allies landed on beaches of Salerno,
the first foothold on the continent of Europe. The 45th Division was held off
the coast in reserve status until the September 10th.
We are laying off coast of Italy, few
miles below Naples. Our Air Force is doing all the good. Navy also. Our troops
36th Div. Beached at 4 AM meeting stiff resistance. Were forced off beach at
one point but took it later. Our 45 Div. Is floating reserve. Enemy planes are
coming, some fireworks starting. So long.
Had three air attacks, no damages,
sure was hot each time. We are waiting to unload our L.S.T.. Fighting on land
Had five air attacks since yesterday
noon. We finished unloading last night. Capt. Davis and Capt. Kirby and myself
came aboard this American L.S.T.. The English L.S.T. was like a rats nest. Troops
on shore are receiving much opposition, many casualties. Here they come again
[30 minute later Strafed our ships and troops. One Negro killed out right, Army
Dr. injured, 7 killed on unloading, platoons in front of our ship, nasty mess.
Capt. Putnum 3rd Bt. Hq. shot through cheek of buttocks, English BB slightly
damaged, American DD slightly damaged.
[The following is a side note added by the original editor to aid understanding. Btn = Battalion. Each Infantry Regiment consisted of 3 battalions. First battalion consisted of Companies A, B, C & D and a headquarters. Second battalion consisted of Companies E, F G & H and Third, I, K, L & M.
BB= Battleship, DD = Destroyer naval ship, LST = Landing Ship Tank used for amphibious landings.]
Only two air attacks last night, damage
unknown. Navy concentrated fire to land. Art. is busy all day on land. Hope
Nathan is still OK. We are beginning to eat swell. First hot meals in two weeks.
Still are sitting here off shore. Hope I have mail back at Sicily. The wounded
German officer died 4 AM this morning was taken to beach. Would have gladly
smothered him if given the chance. Damn those Germans here they come again.
Left Italy at 1830 yesterday for return
trip to Terminus, Sicily. Heard Malta, where Italian fleet turned in two days
ago was boarded. Had first good nights sleep in two weeks. Should arrive noon
today. Am becoming well acquainted with most of the sailors [swell fellows].
Shot bull about Boston for long time.
Arrived in Terminus 11:45 AM yesterday.
Sure is nice and quiet. Went to Palermo last night . Had big spigg(spaghetti)
meal. The officers had plenty to drink. Visited the Hosp. No deals. Returned
late to camp. Bought small watch.
Stayed in camp all day yesterday too
lazy to move. News on radio report our troops in Italy being pushed back. Damn
that's rough. Am wondering about Nathan and the other fellows in Ser. Co.. Received
swell pocket book from Irene. I love that woman!!!
Went to Palermo yest. Afternoon visited
the famous Montreal, was really something. Visited Mondello Beach then went
to a show. Returned to camp where we were notified we were to start loading
this morning. We are now waiting here at the beach at Terminus to start loading.
We should be loaded by tomorrow night.
Finished loading in Terminus 4:30 AM.
Good work! Weighed anchor 1830 PM. On way to Italy.
We are getting ready to beach 1130
AM. Same location as first time. Things seem much quieter than before. Meals
were swell on board. May be last for some time. Weather is very warm.
Beached 1630 yesterday, located 3-4
stayed overnight. Saw all the boys. Nathan in Hosp. with very bad foot. We are
preparing to move on up to Regt. C.P..
Regt. C.P. is located near destroyed
town Battegallia. Was going to stay all night but Lt. Richmond came after me.
I am now back burying the dead.
Made recon on area 179th was caught.
Several men and officers were killed in this area. Lt. Truit a very good friend
and Capt. Cardiff college friend are still missing. We had two air attacks last
evening. Good news on radio as to our advances as well as Russians. We are starting
to move up to Efelia this noon. Our work is really beginning now.
Camped next to a Cemetery. Very beautiful
at one time. Several bodies of native killed are still not buried. A four year
old girl is in casket in front of altar. Looked like a doll at first. They didn't
have time to finish the ceremony. Germans used the Temple for Hq. thought we
wouldn't bomb the place. We did wonderful job of bombing and shelling. We cannot
catch the enemy. Their rear guard threw in two shots close to Regt. C.P. last
evening. Received beautiful letter from Irene last night. Gosh she is wonderful.
We are finally getting a short rest but hope to keep going our dead are mounting
every time we go looking.
Still here by graveyard. Civilians
are busy putting away their dead. It's no sight to see. If there is a God let
him do something about this slaughter. We are moving to new area further inland.
Naples is having awful time. Germans have taken everything.
The war has finally hit close to me
by Killing of Bill Wair. After we moved up to the forward C.P. We started to
work and found many enemy and our fellows. Bill and his driver never knew what
hit them. I drove there(their) ¼ ton back. Two or three of his other
close friends sort of cried, but for myself I keep getting madder, hope I continue
that way. Capt. Goddard died also. We are still trying to run them out of the
valley up ahead. Should succeed tonight.
["¼ ton" - Utility truck with ¼ ton capacity.]
The Krauts are still firing on us with
little success from ridge at other end of valley. We moved down here in under
last night and dug in. Our big Toms were busy all last night. We are getting
ready to move up again. Guess they never intended for us to take a rest. But
we don't mind as long as we keep picking up dead Germans and we have been busy
doing that. We got 72 in two days. Our boys have been in bad luck also 16 in
two days, but several wounded.
["Big Toms" or "Long Toms" were the names of the large, Allied 155 mm cannons.]
We moved 10 miles down into the valley.
Germans can't be found. Puter and I have fox holes on top of one of these low
ridges from which we can look out further into the valley floor. The sight is
beautiful but how can a fellow think of anything peaceful and beautiful with
so many fellows suffering. I think we have a few days rest ahead.
We are in same area. New recruits arrived.
A Lt. From Puters home town was among them. We got all wet last night. Finally
got dried out. Damn it, will we ever know what a roof feels like over our head
feels like again. Ser. Co. got first casualty M. Humphries wounded in leg. Nathan
is back but foot still sore. He wouldn't go back to Africa. There is one real
soldier. I am proud to be his brother.
Still resting, but am sure we are moving
tomorrow. News from all fronts are OK. Haven't received any mail for two weeks.
Am going down to see Nathan in half hour. If Irene could read my mind all the
time she would start planning on the marriage ceremony right now. I feel sure
about her now.
Still resting. Sure did get wet last
night. But dry out today. This is hell. Had big bull session with Nathan, Huff,
Harrage and another fellow. All for today.
In same location, but are moving this
afternoon. It's pay day, guess I shall send Irene 200 for safe keeping. Should
have news to write about tomorrow
We are in fine location. Our troops
have entered Naples. Won some money in poker game.
It rained last night, but our pup tent
is excellent. Made bet 3 to 1 that war with Germany would not be over by Xmas
time. We are going to have more rain. Got a bunch more replacements. Some think
they know it all but it won't take them long to keep there(their) mouths shut.
There are 1,000 cases of malaria fever. Our fellows are certainly beginning
to show the strain on our enemy's. Four months is along time to keep on the
alert of battle. But never fear of the 45th gang dropping out. No mail for one
Received mail this morning from Ruth
and Irene. That sure is swell. SO, my ex-wife had 8 mo. Baby, shows I was partly
right. We have moved up 28 miles today, and lie in a very good area. Grapes
and fruit, eggs, & chicken, also plenty of vino. I shall write some letters
Nothing doing of importance. We are
waiting to move up. The natives are rather glad to see us. The condition of
their welfare is as bad as our slums at home. Several of them speak American.
Getting a good nights sleep theses
nights. Our pup tent sure fine, no rain has a chance, but my feet still cold.
Moved to new location, yes some 18
miles. Major Patterson of 160 F.A. Art. a friend of mine was killed by personnel
mine. While moving into this area a truck ran over and killed a seven year old
child, was an awful mess. Hope I get mail today. Don't like the idea of us moving
in here, although Germans ran them out of there a few days ago. You can guess
what we done and thought as well as told them.
[160 F.A. Art. - 160th Field Artillery Battalion, a unit assigned to 45th Division.]
It rained all night. AM still clear
in spots. Makes it sort of rough. Got mail from Irene, folk, and Harold a card
damn that swell. Here I lay in tent, with rain coming down like Hell!. Not much
news of our advances, but not as fast. As we wished.
Still raining. This is like La. maneuvers
in 1940, not near as bad yet. News is not so good as to our advances. Several
of our men were killed the last few days. One was hit with a dud. Awful mess.
World Series is wonderful to hear, but oh! The after thought. Irene and I would
have been there seeing at least two of the games. There in N.Y. Yanks 2 games
Cards 1. Same area.
We are moving up. It is going rough.
Were on move all night. Rained most of the time. Am not dry yet. Fred Overstreet
of Ser. Co. is still missing. His wife is a real person. She will take it hard.
Have not settled in new area yet. Art. of both sides is still going out.
Moved up to front 3 Kil. = 2.5/8 mile.
Enemy passed over us within rifle shot. I took 2 shots. They were not more than
75 to 100 yds up. Couldn't have missed my first shot. There shells are dropping
between 2 & 3 hundred yards . Our nerves are jumpy, you should see my fox
hole! The Lord better be on our side tonight or you will never see me. We buried
a few more of our boys today. Are sure of many more tomorrow. Tis all.
Art. was busy all night. We are lucky
to be alive. Our troop are doing fine so far. Enemy planes have not bothered
yet today. Am staying close to fox hole. We should probably move up again tomorrow.
Yes they can again, two this times
in force. Dropped bombs a few hundred yards away. A few killed. We are now 100
miles S.E. of Rome not much progress as yet. Very heavy Art. on both sides.
Our boys are wonderful shots. We have strong resistance. This is what the 1918
boys called Hell. Here they come again. That was a close call that time. Those
dirty sons _ _ !
Spent great deal of time in fox hole
last night. 180th Inf. are certainly catching hell. Sure was cold last night.
Received telegram from Irene last night. Sure was swell of her. We are moving
up again. What then?
Had several close calls again by planes.
Picked up a few more of our fellows. (God Damn this distruction of manhood!)
Art fire is continuous day and night. Damp and cold is settling in every day.
Had two beautiful letters from Irene. Can hardly wait to see her again. If ?
This just can't go on forever. 6 more
air attacks since yest. noon. A good friend Sgt. Kirby was killed. He was on
T.O.M. with me. That's two of our group of 12. No good news anywhere.
Can't say much today and the work we
had to do has made me feel sort of sick inside. We got 27 of our boys Sgt. West
another friend. God knows this is 36 day on front for our Div. That can not
last, there minds will not allow . May heaven help us.
Was busy all morning. Got Sgt. Archer
another T.O.M. which makes 3 of 12. Wonder when my time is coming.? We are likely
to get a little rest but am not sure. We had to carry the boys ½ mile
down from Mt. side, very rough. God knows this is the most respected job, if
it wasn't for my conscious I would quite it.
Cannot reach a few of the boys. Are
going to hunt a new way up there. The sun is bright today. Puter and I are having
our clothes cleaned at last. The natives in this village are better than any
we ran across before. Several spoke Amer. Was in the states years ago. N.Y,
Boston, Phil. We found a piano in a fine home. So with a jug of vino, we shall
endeavor to forget a few things for awhile. So long for now.
Another very good friend of mine &
Harold S. we found Sgt. Willard Ross (Red) one swell fellow also 18 more of
our boys. It seems every time I go out we must find more of my friends. We are
probably going into reserve. Hope so. Talked to two English soldiers that were
prisoners for two years up north of Rome. They were sure pleased to be going
home. Received wonderful letters from Irene. Which make s this day end perfectly.
Did not do anything today which was
a relief. We have a fine area to stay. Had a big jam session at the big house
with the piano. Our Quartet is a knockout. Hope I get mail tonight.
Received package from my Darling, Sweetee
& Candy. God but is good. Sure she has got that ring by now, as well as
that night set. I must think of something else to get her. Maerieo?? wife is
a knock out for looks but what's underneath that counts. Had plenty of good
vino last night. We have 7 gals left. Our div. is certainly making a name for
themselves. Many of my friends make it possible with their lives.
We picked up 7 more fellows. They were
in bad shape. 9 days old. God what a mess. Received more letters from Irene.
Sure is sweet of her to write so often. We are starting movies in two towns
Had two shows this morning and are
to have same this afternoon. V.Mc & E. L. in "Call out the Marines".
Old but sounded wonderful. Not much news from the front.
["Call Out the Marines" starring Victor McLaglen & Edmund Lowe, 1942.]
There isn't nothing to report for today.
Have got time to write a letter. Then shall have a little vino and sing songs.
Had two movies in San. Sav. today.
Sure was good to hear a bunch of fellows laughing again. Our band is breaking
out their stuff. Hope they have time to play for the fellows. No mail today.
The Red Cross Doe Nut Girls visited
our 1st & 2nd Bn. It was some treat to hear girls talk American. We are
preparing to move up again. Our Col. is being relieved. God we hate that. He
is one good man.
Rained like hell last night. But Puter
and I keep dry. Had a chance to read a few stories out of America & Your
Life Mag. The band id practicing now so will go sit in on them. Sure wish I
had kept up with my music lessons years ago.
Received 4 letters from Irene. Sure
is swell to love some one & in return. It rained most of the night. We are
moving this afternoon up to the front again. Hope we are luckier than the last
time we went up. More later.
Are getting ready to move up tonight.
We had PX supplies to break down today. The fellows wee sure glad we received
them. It has started to rain again.
Nothing happened today. I've been ready
to move for 12 hours. Some thing went wrong up front. The candy is sure good
we got through the PX.
We can see Mt. Vesuvius near Naples
from high up here north of Naples 30 miles. The front line is 8 miles up. We
should be leaving soon as we have been ready to leave for day +1/2. Received
three letters fron Irene last dated Oct 14, and she has not received one from
me for one month. Damn those British any way.
[Mt. Vesuvius is a predominant volcano near Naples and it erupted in 1944.]
We are forward. German planes just
finished dropping bombs on our field about two miles away. Those dirty sons
of ?. Might have reached them with a 50. Calib. Received pay today shall send
$25 to Irene. No American dead as yet, several Germans. They burn their dead
most times to keep from knowing how many, otherwise put 4 to 15 in grave. British
theirs on spot. We must be soft hearted eh!
We are near S. Angeleo to west of Piedmonte.
Are sleeping in house. Clean but old. The Germans planes sure did raise hell
last night. Yesterday afternoon low enough to hit with rock. We are supposed
to move up again tonight. No contact with enemy yet. Just learned that 34th
Div sit on their ? for 12 days and waited till we counterattacked.
Only 1 casualty, just injured, very
lucky "G.Co". We are expecting cold weather. We are still ready to
move up. Have been sleeping on straw last three nights. Have kinds of bites
all over me. Yep Fleas !
Had a three Div. push last night. Haven't
heard how it survived as yet will this afternoon. Planes came over this morning
we didn't knock any out that I could see.
We are located along fringe of trees
along side of Voturno R. at Venefro. Several dead. Just missing getting an 88
in our hip pocket today. Life is in thin air around here. Went back to S-4 and
lost $17.50 in card game was sure to forget all this for a few hours.
["88" refers to the German artillery 88mm gun, which was an excellent weapon against tanks.]
Have picked up 9 boy this morning,
shells are dropping close. May your prayers help Irene sure will need them.
No mail in two days.
Rained most of night. Climbed to top
of Mt. Two times to find bodies found 6 (our boys). Two of my boys stepped on
mines, Nicks and Caveratta, two legs were blown off, John Dombrouski had pieces
of stone blown all over his face. The hardest blow yet for the fellows here
in Band Co. Both will pull through I hope.
Didn't go out tonight. Drying my stuff.
We are still having hell. Makes four days in one place. Our bunch (Regt.) captured
70 or so germans, I was standing next to them (40) within 30 min. after capture.
Life hangs in midair up there. - chipola.
Did not go out with boys today. Visited
old Ser. Co. 1st time since Sicily. We are still at Venfero going in too stiff.
We are still at Venfero. More of our
fellows are dying. We picked up 27 in four days & we knew of 9 more. We
cannot reach them due to shelling the area.
Nov 12 Fri.
Just came back from spotting with no
luck. Shells were falling in location we were to look. Just missed being cut
on arm by shrapnel (3 inches). We have advanced three miles and going still
rough. Germans are holding out. They have orders to hold out 8 weeks or be killed.
The question is who is going to hold out!
Just returned from Mts. hunting bodies
again. As usual it was same old story. Shells started dropping where we wanted
to go. Hell could be no worse. Am so darn tired I could quit. I want to go home
We were successful in finding the L.
Co. boys, we alone spotted 40 germans & 5 more of our 2nd Bn. boys. We are
going up tonight and remove three, which we cannot get in day time. Germans
have road under observation all the time. Received wonderful package from Irene.
I love you very much for them.
Went up front at 6:00PM last night
to remove bodies on front line. Stayed there three hours waiting for guide.
He did not show up. It rained all the time. Very touchy place. Small arms were
popping very close. They were expecting a counter attack. We did not go out
today and has rained all the day through. Are starting out early on very dangerous
job. We shall be under observation most of the time.
Still raining, did not get across Volturno
R. to work. All bridges for miles still out. Was good to rest.
Still raining. Things all wet, have
managed to keep dry. Bridges still out, but moving up by going around several
miles. We have plenty of work to do now. Art. is going all the time. Never a
let up. Shells drop a few 100 yds. but sound a few ft. Hope they don't raise
We moved up to town of Pozzili early
this morning. This town is being shelled every hour of the day. We are located
in a house at the edge of town. Shells go over us are short. Heaven help us.
Carried 3 dead 2 ½ miles, took 4 hours. Am very tired, are going up tonight
to remove 9 dead on front line.
Guides got lost again last night. Enemy
heard us and started to shell. We returned without work done. Shells landed
all around us all night & are doing so today. Hope our luck holds out. This
house is rather thick. But very old. Received package from Irene. Pocketbooks.
We now have our house cleaned out.
Shells will have to come to a high angle to get us. We picked up Sonnie Wade,
"M" Co. another of my good friends, we played Basketball for three
years together. A most pleasant fellow. Three of the boys were buried alive
in building. Shells have been dropping all around throughout 24 hours.
We (6) all got good and drunk and then
drunk some more, then very sick last night. Was still sick at noon but went
out to pick up a fellow from E Co. Shell hit in our kitchen, but it was a dud.
The good Lord was with us then. Coming back with body we stopped to cover it
up, shell hit 35 yds in front of us. I shall be very religious if this keeps
up. There is a chance of going home due to my length of service and % of Non-Coms
chosen to go. I honestly do not care to leave until it's all over, but all of
us would be telling a big lie if we say we are not scared.
This sure is a hell hole. Our ¼
ton truck was blown to bits last night. Yes shells have missed us so far. We
are having many good bull sessions each night here by the log fire. Hope they
do not have it in for us. There rumors of all kinds.
Still dodging shells and managing to
keep dry. Sure getting tired of eating K Rations. Received 7 letters from Irene.
Was shelled all night. Missed by several
yards. Many more of our old boys are dieing. This make three weeks in one spot.
Expect to get relief from this hell hole soon.
"Thanksgiving Day" with death
so close we have to stay undercover. We did not have that turkey that was promised
us. Fellows going to Naples left last night. 5 days will be a darn good rest.
We sure have our house fixed up. But
sure hope we do not stay here too much longer. This makes 30 days on the front
line for our troops. Had a big barrage last night. Shells again came very close.
This town of Pozzella is a hot spot. But we have work to do!
We up just a few yds short of no mans
land to get four boys last night. Was so dark had to feel our way. Could see
flash of enemy small arms. One to big a noise would have met our doom. Were
gone 6 hours. This hell hole is sure getting on our nerves.
Nothing changed in our situation. Nearly
got it last night. Another old friend, Anderson from Okla. The fellows are getting
to go to Naples a few out of each Co. Guess I will not be going.
Received package from Irene. Watch,
sewing kit, socks. They were simply wonderful. God I love that woman. A shell
just hit 25 yds. Heaven help us now.
The Lord was with six of us again today.
We were spotted on hill on front line, when after bodies. Were missed by 15
yds. Shrapnel and rocks all around us. Our troops are trying to move up. Shells
are very close all night here in this house.
At 11:15 PM we were called to go up
front and get three boys who were picked off by snipers. Lt. Thought better
not to. He was returning to Hq. to explain, and got hit in arm by shell dropping
very close. His Purple Heart is very good looking but I do not want any. Damn
but I do like this watch Irene gave me. I must write her a letter today although
any trend of thought is broken by shell sand I must be careful not to write
things to frightening to the girl I love most.
[Purple Heart - medal awarded to soldiers wounded in combat.]
Still dodging shell. Lt. Richmond is
OK. We had all night job, got 5 bodies. Went back to Ser. Co. Nathan is fine,
was going to Naples. I hope to go next week.
Did not get but 5 bodies today. Are
going up again tonight. The Lord was with us three time again today. But maybe
tomorrow? The French are now relieving the 34th Div. Hope we do the same. We
are still here at Venafro. Now a very famous line. One that will go down in
Still raining. We were sniped at again
so could not work today. Are going up tonight.
Got four more boys last night but left
two. They were in dangerous places. Germans are very hard to put out. Am going
to Naples for five days. We got 280 new men. Still raining.
Stayed all night in warehouse in Venafro.
We are now in Naples in old Army barracks for rest period. 119 men out of 179th
got in at one time. Lt. Richmond is Capt. Now. Another good friend, Allen Durnbeck
killed when enemy hit him with hand grenade while he was helping wounded men.
The dirty rats.
Walked my legs off today. Ate spuds,
spaghetti & stake 2 times, saw part of show. Heard all star band at Red
Cross. Got picture taken. Bought bedspread for Irene. Naples is a large place.
Going to show at Palsm Theater.
"Thank Your Lucky Stars"
at the Palsm Theater was very good. A young piano player also very good. Last
?????. Just looking over town again, buying a few things. Heard two top Army
["Thank Your Lucky Stars"- Everybody on the Warner Bros. lot shows up in this wartime morale-boosting musical extravaganza. Dinah Shore, Betty Davis, Errol Flynn, Bogart, Olivia de Havilland. 1943.]
We saw Ella Logan and U.S.O. group
a Blockhouse today. She is some stuff. Done more shopping. Last night I saw
a real Opera at Palsm Theater. SR. & troverta. Very good. Must see another
some time. Saw more of Naples, sure am tired walking around.
[Ella Logan was an actress & singer and also toured Germany.]
Saw more of the city today. Anything
goes in this place. The Red Cross is really wonderful stayed in blockhouse last
night. Saw movie "Two Girls from Chicago" & "More The Marrier"
["Two Girls from Chicago" was probably the movie "Two Senoritas from Chicago" who were Jinx Falkenburg and Ann Savage who pretend to be musical comedy stars. 1943.
"The More the Merrier" is set in WW2. Academy Award went to Charles Coburn, while nominations were bestowed upon Jean Arthur & Joel McCrea. 1943 (Was remade in 1966 as "Walk Don't Run" with Cary Grant.)]
Saw another show last night and another
swell swing band. We are leaving today at noon. Back for the front. I am greatful
for these few days of peace.
All the fellows were fine upon return.
They picked up 36 fellows in five days. We are to have a new set up. Upon going
in to rest. Went out again this morning for three fellows & shall go repair
graves upon hill above Pozzillo. Received plenty letters from Irene.
Did not go out tonight for first time
in days. The Band is to be part of Div. Band and are shall receive new men for
our work soon. We still are shelled everyday. Sure are lucky. So far.
Things are sure moving up French, Italians,
Canadians, Indians (India). We are still in Pozzillo did not have but one boy
to pick up today. Received several letters from Irene.
Picked up two boy today. Sgt. Kelly,
old National Guard from Okla. Another friend, and a new fellow. Puter is going
to Naples. Went out again this morning for three fellows & shall go repair
graves upon hill above Pozzillo. Received plenty letters from Irene.
Went out last night, but could not
get in to area, shells were covering the area. We now have five more to remove
today. Our 1st Bn. reached their objective. If 3rd does same we might go into
Removed three from up front last night.
180th is going through us tonight. We are all the good I guess. Got swell letters
Got five more boys. Sgt. Albany a very
good friend, a very good athlete, was one. We also went out last night and removed
3 more. Several more are reported. This country is up and down. Our troops are
becoming very weary, but still all the fight left in them.
Have been shelled as hell all last
night 7 today. We got eight more fellows yest. afternoon & this morning
we got 6 more of our boys. We buried 17 germans and there are many more. 180th
have gone through us. A good deal. We were shelled again. What a Sunday. R.
Bickershtaff is with us.
Shells are still coming in. We buried
11 more germans. None of our own.
21 shells came close, enough to jar
the ground. There were 17 duds out of those 21. Our luck is not going to hold
out forever. Buried 5 more germans. They sure did have wonderful pill boxes.
Over looking each move we made.
Did not work last night are today.
We must bury more enemy tomorrow. It's raining again. No shells dropped in last
night, the first time in over a month. We must be doing all the good.
There are many tanks ready to move
up by the left fork above Pozzelli, toward Cassino and the road to Rome. We
are still in this house, which we have fixed up very well. No shell last night.
Received four wonderful letters from Irene.
["Cassino" refers to the town of Cassino and Monte Cassino Abbey, which sat on the German Gustav Line defense. The Liri Valley opened out in front of them with large mountains on each side.]
Are having quiet time now. Celebrate
Xmas Eve. Making fudge !!! No news today. Still here in Pozzelli.
Was up till 2:30 this morning just
sitting around talking. We just missed celebrating Xmas Eve with some of dying.
A shell dropped three yds from corner of our house, which made it 6 yds all
told from us. God was sure with us this time. Shall long remember this date.
A few more shells dropped in last night, about 200 yds away. Went back to Ser. Co. yest. afternoon. Sgt. Gernard and Capt. Wilson were busted. Nathan is OK.
Not much going on last night. Weather
is mostly cold. Snow all on top of mountain, rather beautiful sight. Played
cards till midnight.
Helped find graves of five of our fellows.
We have natives doing the dogging, I can hardly stand the stench. Shall never
forget the stench. Much movement of troops up this way. Hope we are relieved
Uncovered and brought home 3 more fellows
yest. afternoon. 34th Div. is relieving the 36th. Wonder when our turn is. We
have far more front line credit than those two. We will be in England in two
more months for the spring drive into France.
Did not do anything but keep dry. Sleep
till noon today. Cut wood and wrote letter to Irene. 180th caught hell in 1st
Btl(Btn). We still think we are to be relieved within a few days. No shells
here in town for three nights.
This is the last day in our all year.
God help us to change things for the world before another year rolls around.
We worked this morning, found one of our boys, and buried 4 germans. 180th sure
We were shell at 15 minutes before
the new year. No damage. We are preparing to leave this town. Our Regt. Is being
relieved by French, they are all over this place.
We had snow all over our bed this morning.
The weather is never invigorating. Our band boys left awhile ago. I have to
do up on hill 769 again to get body. Nathan was here to visit.
We w to bed early so we could leave
early. But had to up in hills after another body. We are leaving afternoon.
The Band is to go to Naples soon, they are in A life.
We are now in biv. area in Piedemonte.
In 5th Army reserve. We are going to start setting showers to the fellows. Saw
Humphries, his wife. Very good show. In person.
Have a very good set up. No stove in
our tent. It is snowing, wind very strong, We do not know what is to become
of us. Rumor has us, England, home, upper Italy, Greece, India, etc. Played
cards again last night. Not doing so good as usual. Damn but it's cold. Wrote
As cold as hell here. We are going
to get to take showers. I may go to hospital and get my back checked up on.
Our training consists of physical exercise and close order drill. We may not
be here long.
Another day with nothing important.
The wind is not blowing now, but weather is very cold. Am moving into building
at Cemetery tomorrow, now isn't that something !
Have finished moving into Cemetery.
A good deal. Took first hot bath with all new cloths. Got shoes fixed with high
tops. Rest camp at Naples is out. Will probably move it to another town.
This is OK here at Cemetery. The caretaker
is always bringing us something. Went to 5th Army stage show last night. Very
good. We are to have it for this outfit soon. All one Div. & attached units
are here now. What next?
Very busy getting things set up for
shows, etc. in Reg. Area. Saw movie again last night in Piedimonte.
The weather was wonderful last night.
Have things arranged for more. We still do not know how long we will be around
here. This rest is wonderful.
Had movie here last night in front
of Cemetery ("Keeper of the flame"). Fine weather. The div. Band is
wonderful/ Was sure glad to see our 179th band relieved from G.R.S. work. They
will play this afternoon for our third Blt. Sure made a swell stove from an
oil can. Received 8 letters from my future wife.
["Keeper of the Flame" Spencer Tracy & K. Hepburn, 1942]
Had show last night. Very good turnout.
Sure have our graveyard home fixed up. We are all there (Richmond & Puter)
plenty busy. A rest does not mean rest for Spec. Ser. Department.
Another movie last night. Joe E. Brown
is to be here Sunday. Will have Army show afternoon. 36th Div. Is moving back
up. Which means we will follow soon. Hope so. So we can get this job done. So
I can go home to Irene.
Had show last night. (Movie) (Red Skelton).
Got more recruits in this morning. Are having mountain ski training for a few
men. Counter Intelligence Received more letters from darling Irene.
(We have 156 days on front line some
in another note book.]
Another movie last night. This will
not keep up for long. Joe E. Brown was really swell. I got his autograph and
am proud to have it. 6000 attended. The weather is getting colder. Received
official word that Capt. Cardiff and Overstreet are captured not dead, that's
[Joe E. Brown appeared in Betty Grable's movie "Pin Up Girl", 20th Century Fox, 1944 and in Warner Bros "Hollywood Canteen", 1944.]
The wind was too strong for a movie
last night, it was too cold anyway. We are getting ready to leave. Lord knows
where this time. 179th is the first to pull out. Are ready to get going again.
Shook hands with Joe E. Brown, a fine
fellow. His show was next to the fellows. We are getting ready to move. Within
three days I think. We had another movie last night.
The damned operator went haywire so
didn't have movie last night. But Humphrey Bogart his wife and Don Commings
were here. They are certainly well people. I talked awhile with Humphrey, he
liked my Lugar. Got his home address, told him I would like to see his gun collection.
We are ready to move. We will have one more movie tonight [Sky The Limit].
["The Sky's the Limit" - Fred Astaire plays a war hero who wants to spend a quiet furlough in New York. Joan Leslie as his partner instead of Ginger. Released 1943.]
Coordinated with the Anzio landings,
the 5th Army launches attacks at the Cassino front. The 36th Texas Division
has heavy loses at the Rapido River crossing.
Show was fine last night. We are parked
to move at 5:00 PM. To staging area just north of Naples.
Arrived at staging area at 9:30. It
is down in crater thousands of years old. High walls as well as cliffs, only
one way out. Am on T.Q.M. again. We will load up in two days. Sure is cold and
damp down here.
Worked till 3:30 A.M. loading LST.
Ready to go now. We now have 36 new men in G.R.S. all a bunch of no goods, mbar.
This is sure a hell hole down here. Fog so thick you could cut with a knife.
[LST = Landing Ship Tank used to land heavy equipment onto shore.]
Went to Caserta, to 5th Army Hq. to get supply of G.R.S. equipment. Saw several big shots but got nothing. We are going to load this afternoon or tonight. Guess they need Inf. Up near Rome. Received 4 letters from Irene. I sure love that woman.
Jan 24 Monday 3:30 PM.
Finished loading at 1:30 AM this morning
at docks 10 miles west of Naples. Our troops are 4 miles in and 10 miles along
beach 30 miles south of Rome. We are now in shelling distance of main highway
to cut off Germans south of that point. We left dock and then pulled out on
our own. This is English L.S.T. newest out. Capt. R myself had to reload our
plant. The sea is very rough and I felt like hell. I had several drinks of Gov't
3 (bennies) to keep awake last night.
[Private Brown disembarks
from LST onto the Anzio beach.]
Had a rough ride last night. Many got sick. I had a bed on top of 2 1/2 ton truck in lower deck. Read good book. What time. I didn't sleep. They shot down three dive bombers. Had two raids. We reached port 30 miles south of Rome. Were unloaded in 1 hour 20 minutes. Good job. We are now bivouacked in open field just out of town. Enemy planes are regular.
Sleep in back of truck with Bode, Puter, Farber & Richmond. It rained and sleeted all night. My bed is on a stretcher. Had four air raids since yesterday, no damage around here. They hit hospital ship 2 days ago. The rats ! This country makes me homesick, flat just like Okla. but there are high MTs(Mountains) in distance. Hope we pull out front soon.
We are sitting here like clay pidgins.
Waves of enemy fighters and bombers come over regularly. We shot down between
10 & 12 of their planes & they got at least 6 of ours. German anti-aircraft
is heavy all around us. They are not closer than 6 miles at any point. Several
of our boys are getting hit by falling flak. Our Regt. is not in action yet.
Weather is wonderful.
[Jan. 28 - General Mark Clark was making his daily visit to Anzio beach in a patrol boat, PT-201, when a US minesweeper fired at it with 40mm and 5-inch cannon, wounding five of the crew.]
Still sitting here. Dive bombers were
busy all night. Came low over us after dropping bombs on beach 1 ½ mile
away. Several planes have been shot down. Ours also. Pilots don't get out every
time! Capt. Bloom, medics, Capt. Strickler Ser. Co. along with two D. Co. got
hit by flak. Our tanks have been firing point blank most of morning at enemy.
We are expected to counter attack most any time. Bombs are getting closer each
We are prepared to move up to replace Paratroopers in holding positions along Canal Mussolini. Had more bombs dropped yest. afternoon, dog fights are coming over our heads. Our guns hit our own planes, total is mounting on both sides for planes. Harbor is full of supply ships. Nathan's birthday 22 years old .
an 30 Sun. 4:30 PM.
Was on guard last night. Was and still are expecting Enemy Paratroopers. They sunk several ships in the harbor last night only three mile away. One was British DD Liberty ship and LST. Our G.R.S. picked up four 2nd Bn. boys, the first since the landing. 180th and 157th are here now. We expect anything now. 285 allies buried since hitting here. But there are many more to pick up.
We got three mores boys today in 2nd
Bn. Planes are busy all the time. (correction on ships sunk) British Cruiser,
Amer. DD, one Liberty & LST. 400 hundred men went down within three miles
of where I sit. Shells dropped in every location of this beach. We expect to
move tonight, shore hate to give up this spring and mattress for cold hard ground,
but a safe place at that
[Liberty = Liberty transport ship. DD = Destroyer]
We sure didn't move last night back
to this old area. Germans sighted in on C.P. killed 2 men of Regt. Hq. Co. These
boy sure are jumpy, worst I ever saw. Many are lucky to be alive after two months
in line Co. S. Our Cemetery is becoming very large. Rangers are bringing them
in by truck load. This is one hell of a place.
Have set up swell pup tent with fly.
Bombers only bothered once last night due to low clouds, I guess! Received letters
from Folks and Bells (None from future wife and object of my living). We are
sure to be making a push soon. Total of planes going down on both sides are
very large. I have seen at least 30 from this small area.
Still here. T.D's must be moving up.
Enemy shells were dropped around and over us during the night. Was reported
that 2 Bn's of Rangers were cut off and possibly all killed (Germans claim they
have captured 400 of them). Up to date 397 allies in Cemetery and 200 Germans.
Planes are all over us day and night.
[T.D's - Tank Destroyers - armored vehicles similar to a tank but with lighter armor and an open top.The 645th T.D.'s supported the 45thID through most of the War.]
Still here. No air raids up to now
over this area. Several farther north. Shells came in again last night. Not
any closer than before though. Our new div. (spec. services) has arrived. Has
started to rain & wind blowing. Hope this tent hold together.
Feb. 5, 1944 Sat. 6:30 PM
Only two air raids today, fragments from antiaircraft dropped all around us. One fellow just got out of his pup tent about 20 yds form this tent and a shell from 50 cal hit where he was laying (Freaks of this War). Went into Nettuno to see Nathan. He is OK. Ate to many donuts. Hell is starting up front 6 miles from here.
[50 cal is a .50 caliber (or ½ inch) machine gun.
Nettuno - Town next to Anzio, site of American cemetery, where 7,862 Americans are buried and a memorial commemorates the 3,094 Americans missing in action who were never found.]
Had several close calls last night & this morning flack falling all around area. Enemy shells humming over us all night, going into town. About 30 bombs dropped within one mile of where I am writing this. Several dog fights. It will be the will of God if one escapes all of this. We are still in same area, but our line me have dug in & returned several times. Always being replaced by relief man but use same foxhole. Art. is plentiful all night on both sides. We should be on push soon.
Bomb knocked out four service Co. trucks, us one hurt. Co. is moving out of town after after getting shaken out of our beds. Several ammo trucks were hit on beach & dumps. One hour ago two enemy planes were hit and downed directly over us. One pilot dropped to earth within ¼ mile from here.
Shell killed one boy & injured
4 more ¼ mile from here. One bomb dropped on hosp. 1-½ mile from
here. Killed 21 people, nurses and men. Captured German flier says they are
told to aim for personnel now. Our lines have dug in & laying mines &
wire. Cemetery is growing each day. Have under our beds. Good deal. [Either
by accident or not, bombs fell on the U.S. 95th Evacuation Hospital, located
Sgt. Hair, an old friend was killed
short distance from here. All are ordered to dig in. Flak is continuous when
planes are over. Shells still singing over us into town. Received package from
Irene & 8 letters. Sure was swell to receive them. Best that could happen
This is a hell hole & shells & bombers keeping us what cover we can. Very little sleep last night. Enemy flew very low last night, serving personnel bombs light wheat. Our Regt. has moved up directly in rear of British 1st. We will probably go through them tonight or tomorrow for much belated push. 170 planes dropped eggs on enemy roads and railroads yest. afternoon. Was beautiful to see Nettunno is becoming a wreck with shells, bombs hitting it continuously. Our Cemetery is becoming very large. (5) more letters from Irene. Planes down 5. Ours 2, theirs 3.
Our first Btl. Jumped off and gained
their objective before dawn this morning. Very little resistance. Capt. Red
and Loudon went up at 3:00 AM to get a body blown up by mine. We are supposed
to go up tonight sometime (I am driving 21/2 ton truck, Bode is in hospital.
I was teethed on army trucks years ago). No air raid today. Water is four inches
deep in this fox hole. Weather is damp & chilly.
Went up to front line last night. Picked
up 6 boys. Capt. Dobbins & Sgt. Leslie of B. Co. were among them. (Capt.
Do. was supposed to be going home soon.) Were from 6:00 to 2:30 AM. Very touchy
job. Had to be very quiet. Enemy lines were in 1000 yds of us. Had two air raids,
Went to same place as night before
last. Enemy tanks sighted in on us where I was turning truck around. I thank
God I am alive after that. All of us were scared but I was driving the damn
truck. Truck has several holes in it. Shells dropped in 25 yds. Bombers dropped
flares then lay eggs to their hearts content. Picked up 5 boys last night. Our
outfit is pushing again tonight. 4 officers in ? Co. in the disorganized attack
of 1st Bn. two mornings ago. The land around here is flat as table top clear
up to mountains 10 miles off.
Did not go with fellows last night. They got three more boys. The bombers came over several times last night. Bombs rained each time.
[Feb 15-Waves of 575
Allied bombers begin carpet bombing the Abbey at Mt. Cassino.]
Hell hit again last night but I had
so much rum in me I would have never known what hit me. Sure was sick this morning.
We got one boy last night, there are many more but we cannot get to them yet.
Have been listening to radio most every night for some time. While in fox hole
last night soft music ("In the still of the night") was playing, now
isn't that something.
[Feb 16 - Germans launched a counter attack against the Anzio beach head that struck between the border of the 157th and 179th Regiments of the 45th Division.]
Picked up 5 more boys. That is a hell
hole up there three miles. So in the whole beach head for that matter. Bombs
and shells rained all around us like hail. Our bombers are coming in thick and
fast every day. 5 have been shot down. I know because I saw them burst in flame.
Our Inf. is in hell of a fix. The new boys are awfully young and scared.
[Feb 17-At 0740, thirty-five
German planes bombed and strafed the 45th Division area, followed by an infantry
attack with 60 tanks in the vicinity of the 2nd Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment.
At 1040, another 45 bombers hit the 45th Division and a direct hit was scored
on the Command Post of the 3rd Battalion, 179th Regiment. The 179th withdrew
1000 yards; one battalion was shattered and one battalion was at half strength.
Colonel Darby(of the Ranger unit) was placed in temporary command of 179th Regiment
as it was at less than half strength and exhausted; almost finished.]
6 more boys last night. Howard and
Starr. I was talking the breeze with Howard two nights ago. German bombers and
dive bombers have kept us in our fox holes most of the time. Our bombers have
already come 300 strong over today, and supposed to do so all day (Hitler count
your children.) We can hardly drive up to the line any more. They can hear us
on the road. (God let our 2nd Bn. down this morning, he is the only one I can
blame such things on anymore because each mothers son of us are doing our damnedest
to clear this earth of wrong doers, why doesn't he ?)
Still here at Anzio & Nettuno beachhead
as have been for 3 1/2 weeks. Our lines are catching hell, they are determined
to run us out into the ocean. And I am not so darned sure but what they will
not. One of our two mortared Bombers was shot down ½ mile from here.
I secured piece of glass big enough to make handles for my pistol.
Here I sit just back off front line.
I saw clearly the attack enemy made during early morning, then after halting
them I saw our troops attack them. Artillery has been almost steady for 10 hours
and still going strong. All Ser. Co., Hq. Co., G.R.S. & Co. Kitchens are
up here on line in reserve to help if anything happens. Planes are thick one
hundred our dive bombers are wonderful. Jerry's tanks are wonderful but ours
stopped them! So far. Col. Carmarain was relieved?
Finally got thawed out. Sleep in fox
hole in swamps. Water could be reached at six inches depth. Enemy planes rained
personnel bombs all night. My heart stood still many times. Our G.R.S. 36 men
are now part of K. Co. Capt. R, Puter, Faber & myself are back at Ser. Co.
Our troops are doing fine. News has it that Cassino has fallen. If so happy
day! We now have only 1500 men in our Regt. 1500 at least, captured. The others?
There are all kinds of interesting stories I heard from our line Co. boys.
[Cassino fell- See March 15 entry.]
Was sure swell sleeping back here three
miles further back, but bombers tickled us with small personnel bombs during
the night, missing us with about 60 by 50 yds. We have work to do again tonight.
Went up to front line just before dark
last night. Capt. McClain and four others were hit by art. shell. We saw another
tank battle. Sure was a lonely place to be. We drove out of the woods in full
view of enemy tank, but out art. knocked him out before they could range in
on us. We are getting 750 replacements today. Bombs just missed us last night.
Was very quiet last night. Went up
to front lines at 10:30 PM picked up three, got tangled up in barbed wire network
made so much noise tank from enemy started firing in our direction. We came
on back, will try again tonight.
No raids last night, no shells on us
when we went last night. Got 3 more 157 boys last night. Shemp & Gernard
were drunk and went with us.
Have been here one month today. Bombers
raised hell again last night, am still lucky. Were unable to bring back KIA
last night, were expecting an attack so we were told take or truck & and
get the hell out, we got!! Shall try again tonight. Capt. says he has put me
in for a Legion of Merit. So what !
Had a most hectic ride up to Co. C.P.
on very front line, will not take a chance on doing that again. Removed 7 KIAs,
two Brannan & Tron???? of K Co. were with us a week ago. Hollywood, a very
good friend from Staten Island was injured when shell hit dead center 3rd Bn.
Mes. Center, just after they got off lines last night. All hell broke loose
while it is raining like hell too. What next?
Another raid last night. Hit harbor
pretty hard. Picked up one more boy last night. I did not have to make the trip.
Am sending flowers to Irene for Easter. Have work to do again tonight.
The Lord was with me again last night.
Was pinned down for time, besides being struck five times going up to Co. C.P.
and back, were 7 hours making the trip. Coleman, the 13 ½ shoe size boy
from Ala. was flat 5 yds to rear of me and received bad cut from shell frag.
Which cut clean through his helmet at angle. 12 shells hit within 15 to 25 yd.
From where I lay. One time were pinned three times coming across field and one
at house in Co. E. C.P. We got 3 KIAs. One hell of a night, my nerves are just
about shot. Coleman is in Hosp.
Did not go out last night. Rained most
of the night. Germans threw shell in all over the beach head. Sure did sweat
plenty. Have no idea what they are trying to do, cover up their troop movements,
getting ready to drive again or just warning us! The Band Co. is with us now,
the poor devils.
Went up to K. Co. to bring back left
of our G.R.S. boys. They were sure glad to get off front line duty. Boy got
killed with an air ?????, we picked him up on the way back. Farber went up to
B. Co. got two Englishmen. Bomber hit large ammo dump, but missed us. Sure wish
we could get more troops & guns in here to return some of this pressure.
My ego is just about shot.
Did not go out with boys last night.
They got 8 KIAs. Enemy bombers jeep us in fox holes all night. 250 of our bombers
have already come over today giving the Germans hell. Hope that takes some pressure
off us. Shells hit within 100 yds of us. What next. We are still in the same
area since reaching beach head five weeks ago. 2 bombers shot down (ours)
I did not go with the boys again last
night. My ego is still very far down. Hope it improves soon. Was jarred out
of beds early this morning. No real damage close, but did hit two ammo dumps
on beach. We got two KIA last night.
A huge boost in my morale, a snapshot
of Irene (Lovely is no name for her, heavenly is!) The shells were too thick
for us to go up to front last night but got 2 KIAs in Reg. Area. The rest dugouts
are almost ready for use. Hope no bombs hit them, no shells can hurt them. We
put full length mirror and plenty chairs, reading material in each. (5) a damn
good thing. To be used when boy return off 5 days in lines & wet fox holes.
No news of relief for us anywhere.
Did not go out last night. Am visiting
with Ser. Co. most of time. Received more swell photos from Irene. Sure wonderful
woman. Situation still same. Have more replacements.
Two KIAs last night, one was S/Sgt
just been in lines one day. Rain & hail regular & roads are almost impossible.
Shells continue to pick at Nettuno & Anzio & US. No bombers for two
nights. 1709 in Cemetery, 403 are 45 Div., 72 are 179th.
Went after 7 Germans and I of our boys
last night, but could not reach them. The Germans were caught trying to filter
through our lines on scouting duty. Our Reg. is in Corp. Reserve. Shells are
continuous as usual. No bombers lately. New replacement s are coming in all
the time. The fellows chosen to go home have left, the lucky cusses. Picked
up one boy at 3rd Bn. this afternoon. Won at poker yest.
No work last night. E. Co. brought
back a Lt. KIA, one which went up with us three days ago. Was bombed last night,
no damage. Played poker last night, won a little. Still rainy and chilly.
No bombs, no work to do, so got drink
with Slemp, Ben Frank. They sure had to do a lot of patching, personnel bomb
hit 15 yds from their tent. All kinds of rumors. None true. Are take line men
Drank vino again last night, sure got
drunk. Received two more letters from my future wife, sure love hat woman. Got
supplies for boys. We have work tonight. Report has it two of three enemy big
guns were knocked out, we will get proof of it tonight.
Was drunk again last night. No work
to do today. Still getting shelled and bombed. We have more troops on beach
No work last night. Capt. Richmond
left us for other duties up front C.P. A new Lt. Is in charge of G.R.S. got
drunk again last night. Eat big stake last night. A terrific barrage hit town
just after we left it last night. Lucky again.
Was drunk again last night. Did not
attack dest? Night ,bad weather . No work either! Did not send any Mothers Day
flowers. No change in events on beach head.
Drunk again last night. Are starting
a Reg. Laundry. Arty is busy all the time. Air bursts were bursting over our
heads, but too far up. Capt. Red is still O.K.. no work last night.
Rained as usual last night. Left vino
jug alone last night. One letter from Irene. Troops are coming in. A hell of
an air raid in British sector. Our 3rd. Bn. is on line. May have work tonight.
Two KIAs last night. Rained steadily.
No moon, a smoke screen covered ???? troops (new) landings. Attacking to right.
Capt. Reds Bn. going in tonight. Have Regt. laundry ready to work. No news of
Nights are getting warmer in weather
as well as air raids. Picked up another KIA last night, was dark as hell! Got
drunk again, and I mean drunk! Have the laundry running smooth.
Bombers raised hell four times last
night. Damage ?? Another KIA. Slowly buy surely this meat grinder of a beach
head is working. Have 4 Italian women working now, will have (8) Mon., a hell
of a job but they are use to it.
Have my laundry business running fine.
Col. Is very much pleased. It's really something to see. Two new Div. Are in
now. I took care of replacement who shot himself through the foot. These new
guys are scared before they get into the front lines.
Another KIA last night. Several improvements
in our laundry (Tub St.) Officers sure think it something. Our Regt. is still
We are getting crowded here on the
beach head. We must spread out soon! Our laundry is working fine. No KIA reported
for last night. Spring weather sure is making me homesick.
Another beautiful day. Our laundry
is working fine, Anzio and Nathan are becoming wrecks. In one more month there
will not be a building hardly standing. Big 203 enemy shells sing over us and
hit then most hour of day & night. A swell letter from Irene. I sure love
[March 23 - Partisans bombed a column of SS men in Rome, killing 33. Hitler ordered 10 Italians shot for each German within 24 hours. A total of 335 Italians were taken from prison and off the streets and executed in caves south of Rome.]
March 23, Thurs. 4:30
Rained most of the night. Had to shoot
a mule today, it broke it's leg in a fox hole. My trusty 38 done a good job.
The poor replacements had to turn their heads. Received another letter from
my darling Irene today. No change in situation on beach head.
[38 - Apparently a .38 caliber pistol. Most soldiers were issued Colt .45 automatics; not sure what type he had.]
A very fine day. Good for fishing and
other things. There are 10 women working today. Hq. is moving, G.R.S. Plt. Is
staying here. Nathan was back from Naples, bur is going back tonight.
Got drunk last night. Have several
swell Victrola records. My laundry is working sell. No for this beach head.
Just same old stuff.
Capt. Hatter went to North to two days
ago. Saw him this morning. Shells through out this area. All tents, big and
small are dug in, but several have been hit. No one hit yet? No mail today.
The weather is beautiful, mountains in distance still snow topped & seem
miles closer. (Enemy territory).
Was a beautiful Sunday. Just a few
dozen shells close in to bother us here in this area. We serviced 2100 men this
week with clothes. Nothing too good for our fellows coming off the front line.
Finally got news of her father's death. She has been going through trying times.
The boys got 6 KIA last night.
Shells dropped in close this again
morning. 18 enemy planes came over at 6:30 in easy 50. Cal. Distance. We got
three of them. This is still a hell hole, make no mistake! Our Regt. received
a citation. So what. Our dead pals are responsible.
No work for today on KIA. Was drunk
on White Horse last night. Had piano, sax, (2) two trumpets, drums, trombones,
bass viola in one fox hole, besides eight ???????? I played a fiddle for long
time. Had 15 women work on the job today.
Sober last night. Picked up 6 KIAs
last night got in at 5:30. Nathan caught and held in Naples speeding, also Branson,
must see what I can do to keep them out of the line Co. Our Col. Is very wrong
to send them there. Irene I sure need your help in a decision now. (I shall
go to line Co. now if Nathan goes. I have not had time to write Irene today.
Another air rain yest. evening. 4 were
shot down. News is not very good of other fronts, ours is ? The laundry business,
PX & barber shop is doing all right. Weather is fine, even though it does
rain some times during the day and night.
Just night shells kept us low in our
fox holes. No mail for several days & I haven't written any. I still do
not know what so say to Irene of her father. We sure have our (Tub Street) fixed
up now. Something is new beginning to happen in the old organization. What is
Picked up 7 boys last night. There're
old boys from Okla. Shells sure are getting closer, Our smoke pots are busy,
as well as bombers. Harman is going home tomorrow sure am glad.
Bombs sure came close last night. Hit
directly in area we moved out of last week. Planes came low enough to leave
marks on tent. Town, Nettuno & Anzio are still under plenty of fire. The
Hospital was hit again. Higgins got bomb frag. Through both cheeks. Very lucky.
I am now the only T.Q.M. left of enlisted men. Will not get to see Irenes''
brother in Naples. Our laundry women were taken off the beach head today, don't
know what will happen to our services now.
I think the flu as caught up with me,
I ache all over. (the American soldier-played volleyball calmly reading and
writing a letter, with big shells singing over head). I know because that is
what is happening right now. Picked up two more boys last night.
We now have one man from each Co. to
wash clothes from our Regt. Laundry. Sent Jack Bransen with pistol and note
to see Irenes brother Maurice in Naples, because I cannot get away. No news
worth while we just sit around like clay pidgins.
Shells dropped all around all night
long. Stayed in bed again which makes two days. Am not going to hospital if
I can help it. The boys picked up two more fellows last night. Our laundry is
in full swing. Two more letters from Irene.
More shells very close last as usual.
Another bunch are leaving on rotation, lucky guys. Saw Botts today, he was up
from Naples. The dirty ------! Bombed hospital again one night ago. Feeling
More shells last night. One more body
also. Saw Capt. Red today, was offered S/Sgt sappy job with C. Co. but don't
know yet due to rotation. Am on my feet again. Gen. Came to see our laundry,
thought it was OK. Got shower fixed up now. Thompson went home, Okla. City.
And Glogal? out of ????? but didn't get chance to have them call folks. Am going
to Easter Service tomorrow.
Shells killed 2 M.P.s not 150 yds from
where we are set up, another shell hit 75 yds, we are still lucky on this Easter
Sunday. It is raining now. We listening to radio, (German music).
Was up till 3:00 AM could give a complete
change of cloths to 11 men who had been out on a petrol it had rained I gave
a complete change of clothes to 11 men who had been out on a patrol and it had
rained all the time on them. They went 600 yds. Up Muss. Canal, were lucky &
found no enemy. Shells came in close enough to have smoke from their burst in
our fox hole. ( I mean close!) Saw Pat Partridge again. Today he is fine. There
is a feeling of something going to happen soon.
[Mussolini Canal was a predominate feature on the east end of the Anzio front. Since it was flooded, neither side tried crossing it and the lines became a stalemate.]
Two KIAs last night, all new fellows.
Enemy Art. sure rained hell again. We are going to move out starting tomorrow.
3rd is replacing us. I am going to Naples to get Spec. Ser. Equipment. Hope
I see Maurice.
2 more KIA last night as usual. Will
not leave for Naples till tomorrow. The night was very still for a change. Something
big is in the air. We are moving to 3rd Div. Area, they are coming in here.
Had another close call with personnel
bomb. The planes were low enough for rifle fire. Sprinkled our area. Am now
on LST headed for Naples. Left Anzio 1:00 PM. Should arrive 12: midnight in
Naples. Sky is cloudy, sea is smooth.
Arrived Naples 8:30 this morning. Went
to Personnel Sec. Saw all the fellows. Am now up near Venafro to get athletic
equipment. Stopped in Naples long enough to see Maurice, Irenes Brother &
one skit of show. He is a right guy. Will try to see him later.
Was with Nathan & Faulkner last
night at Pietramelara had big bull session. Am now back here below Naples ready
to load up for the beach head tomorrow. If we don't leave will see Maurice again
Loaded up at 10:00 AM are still in
port, will probably sail tonight. Slept with Palmer. We sure got drunk last
night, had a good time. Sure hate to go back to that beach head.
Arrived on beach head at 9:30 AM. We
are now in rest area close to beach in center of area. All were glad to get
the stuff brought. The movies are in full swing. Stormy Weather is on.
["Stormy Weather" highlights some of the era's greatest African-American entertainers. 1943]
Everything is running fine, shows,
showers, ball games, card games, etc. until 5:00 PM. When one Co. was in formation
a shell killed 4, injured 24. Isn't that hell. Could have come 50 yds. More
and killed 100 who were in show tent ! We played a.A.T. Won 15 to 10. Baseball.
G.R.S. never rest. A body floated in
from the sea. Was an awful job. Movies are still going strong. News from front
(we are gaining a little ground and better position). Play ball again tonight.
Transportation beat us 13 to 10. Have
new Spec. Ser. Officer. Lt. Lawrence. A swell letter from Irene. Nothing important
except an air raid last night as usual, no damage reports.
Another air raid last night, a few
fires. Saw show "Always a Bridegroom". Not so hot. Played ballgame,
won 2 to 0, to 'D" Co. The laundry is going strong, had two shows for Regt.
The front is guiet.
[Probably the 1940 romance comedy, "Always a Bride" starring "Superman" George Reeves.]
April 22 Sat. 4:00 PM.
Another air raid. Done much damage
in 157th area. They are sure unlucky cusses. Sgt. Was a good man to get big
honor, but 36th Div. Is no good what so ever. Many could be eligible for such
honor if truth was known. Won another ball game last night. Saw movie today
"Mr. Big". Morale is high for everyone. Have received no mail for
several days. We are in large grove of pine trees along beach, but water is
full of mines, and water is yet too cold.
Had Regt. Memorial Service, very good
thing. I have no sorrows for those boys gone, just high praise. We are getting
ready to go back into action in a few days. We now have the factory area. That
is very good news. Won another ball game last night.
[Factory - A prominent defensive position in the Anzio line containing a collection of buildings.
See also, entry dated May 18, where he reports a second capture of the Factory.]
Won another ball game last night. No
news from front of importance. Will see another movie tonight. The morale is
fine for most men.
Our troops in 3rd Div. Are having plenty
bombs dropping in old area. We are preparing to move back up. Won another ball
game last evening. Received another letter from my future wife. This pine grove
is a swell place if sand was not so deep, very hard on trucks. Our movies have
been on schedule.
Another uneventful day back here. Went
into town to get watch fixed, shell dropped in on our way back. Played another
ball game. Bought a darn good Kodak for $75. Am have a shoulder holster made.
Two more letters from the gal I love.
Sure got drunk on gin last night. Eight
of our truck drivers came back from special duty in Naples. Lost a ball game
3 to 2, rained out in the 5th. More replacements came in. We are preparing to
move in two days. 180th has already moved.
Did not play ball last night. Rained
out. Saw show Hi De Hoe ! Very good. Will move up tomorrow. A good air raid
last night, they hit on area we are moving into. 150 new men came in last night.
["Hi De Ho" was a name of an all-black musical made in 1947. Maybe this was an earlier version.]
April 29 Sat. 6:10 PM
Will complete moving in the morning.
7th Regt. of 3rd Div. Are combing back here. Sure wish I knew the score on all
this moving back and forth. They seem to be getting al the break. We listening
to radio to fine music. Lost ball game last night to 2nd Btn.
We are now in area we were in three
weeks ago. Sure looks better with trees and grapevines leafed out. Our troops
are now in line. Sure am making a fine home under ground.
Have finish my house, sure is something.
We got 2 KIA last night. Guess we will have plenty more. Hope that damned invasion
comes off soon.
No KIAs last night. Very good. Art.
sure dropped in close last night, seemed like home again after 14 days away
from them. Got four swell letters today. Another air raid as usual.
We sure got hell last night (all night).
I didn't sleep but one hour. Bombs tore up my clothes on the line 25 yds from
my and Puters hole. Killed two boys in hole 50 yds away.
They had 40 bombers, all flew in low under anti-aircraft. Also picked up two KIAs in lines. Put more sand bags on top also. Makes about two feet. Hope they give us a rest tonight. Three more letters today. Oh yeah! Had a little accident while in bed when big raid was on. I had gas on my stomach, but when one bomber came in low enough to leave track marks it was something else besides gas, so changed shorts !
No raids last night, no Art. I wonder
why ? Will have show tomorrow night, we hope. Our troops are securing better
positions tonight, there is very little enemy action among line men. Their Art.
is busy but not so strong as usual. No KIA last night. The new Col. (number
5) Meyer seems to be a fine fellow. Said the work of Puter and I's was fine.
Our underground was best he had seen on beach head.
No air raids last night. Three KIA
from 1st & 3rd Bn.. It sure is getting tiresome bringing in our boys. Got
sort of drunk on distilled vino. Art was plenty busy all night. Our bombers
sure did raise hell all day over enemy lines, it kept the ground in a tremble
most of the day. The jazz band played this afternoon. They sure are good.
The Art. raised Hell again starting
at 11:00 P.M.. Our beach head has 2900 allies, 400 germans in its Cemetery.
Good size. The boys picked up 6 KIA plus 1 jerry. A very bad odor from them,
due to 6 weeks in open. Received word that I am soon to go home. Am being put
in Training Co. as instructor. Our Regt. is coming off line tonight. 157th going
in. No big push as yet. Don't think they will for awhile.
Wind is blowing hard. Just like Texas.
Botts is back now, very glad to see him. We are drinking gin & are sure
getting drunk. Am saying my good byes to all starting today, sure wish I could
write hoe I feel. Our troops are all taking showers, clothes furnished by our
laundry. Am proud of the job I help do for the line men.
April quota left this morning for home.
I am now training these replacements till my time comes. Oh ! happy day. Had
a little trouble last night at ball game between Ser. Co. & Band. F.G. slugged
Capt. S. & Sgt. V. - Capt. Filed charges, will see what I can do to help
F.G. He was very drunk. Took several pictures today of the gang. Nothing important
on line just constant patrolling and slight enemy action. Plenty of Art. all
time of day & night. No air raids for several nights.
No bombers, but Art. came in as usual.
Am sure playing safe. I will probably be leaving before 25 of month. There is
sure to be a big push. Wrote several letters last night to friends.
Another hell of a raid, was reported
15 planes came over. Flak was falling all around. No bombs fell close. Our Regt.
is moving back on line tomorrow night. My good friends have been stopping in
to congrad. Me on my going home. Will send box of my stuff home tomorrow.
Had good nights sleep for once. All
was quiet. Am sure anxious to leave, yet do not want to leave the old gang.
One Bn. moved back in lines last night. No KIAs so far.
[May 11 - The spring offensive began with a huge artillery barrage at 2300 hours along the front at Cassino area. General Mark Clark's book reported 173,941 rounds of artillery were fired along the5th Army front. In the early hours of May 12th, the Allied forces attacked with the objective to link up with the Anzio beachhead. The Gustav line was penetrated and a general advance began towards Anzio position and eventually reaching Rome on June 4.]
Plenty of Art. all night. Our lines
are same as for months. We will push most any day now. No KIA last night. Have
radio for our house. Sure swell music.
5 killed last night. One was old friend.
Sure wish I could get off this beachhead or have my name off the list. 3 swell
letters from Irene. Art came in close as hell again all night. News from Russian
front is fine, also Cassino front, now it's our turn.
4 more KIA last night. Bombers came
over at 5:30 AM, no damage. Our Corp. Art. raised hell for ½ hour at
8:30. British troops on Cassino marched 14 miles. Played cards and listened
to radio as usual last night. Got Beer and Coca-Cola yest. Sure good.
4 KIA last night. Who is next? Went
to Hosp. to hear 1st Armored bunch, as real bunch of musicians. Drew P.X. supplies
today for weather is wonderful. Art. sure did pour it out last night. No shells
came in for a change. Had rumor we will leave before 25th.
[1st Armored - 1st (US) Armored Division was part of 5th Army; apparently had a good band.]
No KIA, No Art., No air raids. News
is good from other fronts. Ours the same. Sure is fine weather for baseball.
Another quiet night, no KIAs. Played
ball, lost. Listened to radio, good music. Wrote letters. News is fine of Cassino
[May 18 - Germans voluntarily pulled out of the ruins of Monte Cassino Abbey. See Feb 15 comment.]
No news for today. Am sure anxious
to leave. We now have factory. Our bombers are now becoming active. The drive
should start soon. [See April 23, reference to the Factory.]
Sure got drunk on corn liquor but feel
fine today. We won a ball game last night. No raids but plenty of Art. coming
in. Our bombers are busy today.
Bad news today. Two old Ser. Co. boys
went up to line for eight days. Duke DeCharles was killed outright, Tom Dare
was wounded. They had no business going up. All boys in Ser. Co. feel bad. Duke
was first to go that way. Have written Nathan, I may never see him again. Still
no big push. Cassino front is no more, it's now Hitler Line. Had a big drunk
farewell for Tick Pettyjohn with ????? Bn.
[Hitler Line was name of German line of defense constructed just north of Cassino.]
News of Cassino front is good, we have
Gala Peninsula now. Our front lines are only 35 miles from our other troops.
We have been improving our front line position right along. Our Art. has been
catching enemy transportation right along on No. 6 highway.
2 more KIA last night.
[Highway 6 was main road leading up Liri Valley from Cassino, passing behind Anzio lines, into Rome. Highway 7 followed coast line through Cisterna and into Rome.
Gala Pennisula is point on coastline below Anzio beach, captured by 85th Division.]
Nathan is here now. Wish he could have
stayed down there in Naples. 6 more KIAs last night. Life is nothing to me anymore
except taking a chance to get off this beachhead. All are becoming acclimated
to Art. shaking them each day, wish I didn't know that I was leaving. Two more
Made big push last night and early
this morning, our Div. gained their objective, without ant to much trouble.
Took 300 or so captives so far or so as reported. 180th lead 157th beachhead
out and 179th reserved them for first time. They went around factory and cut
Appian Highway. We picked up three KIAs also that night. We lost several tanks
But so did Nazis'. Sure am getting nervous over this going home.
['Appian Highway' or 'Appian Way' was name of segment of Highway 7 that ran through Cisterna.]
Art.has been continuos for two day
now. None are reaching around here to close now. Probably ½ mile away,
sometimes they go over our heads hitting hospital area. We are still improving
positions. News of Cassino front is very good also. Beachheads should only be
about 25 miles apart now. Oh happy day when they meet. 3rd div. is taking Littoria.
Weather is sure fine. Two letters today.
Real news, our beachhead is now connected
with south. All of us are very happy over such. We are taking many prisoners,
and still gaining ground. Our Art. is continuously raising hell, we now have
#7 highway & ready to cut 6 highway. They have many Germans cut off. Am
still sweating the date I am to leave. We'd probably go to Naples by truck,
that would be something to remember.
[Highway 7 followed coast line through Cisterna and into Rome.]
We have Cisternia, Littoria now, very
good news. Our Regt. C.P.s on No 7 Highway. No KIA last night. No air raids,
some Art. . Things are sure moving on beachhead, all up. Prisoners admit it
has been hell. Much ruffer than Russ. Front.
[Russian Front was considered by the Germans to be the area of the worst fighting; due mainly to cold weather, harsh conditions and persistent Russian attacks.]
Bombers raised hell last night. Was
down to see Pat P? again, will try to see him again before he leaves. Our troops
are doing all the good, Ser. Co, is preparing to move up. Heard fine music on
radio till 3:00 AM this morning. Am going to take small pistol and .38 with
me. These boys are sure fine.
Bombers sure got close again last night.
This is our Div. 288 (day) of combat day so far. A record of all time in U.S.
Army. Our troops are very close to 6 highway from this side, British are close
to it on another front. Germans are going to be cut off. Am going to Cisternia
later this afternoon. Art. is busy all afternoon. Our Art. is very busy all
afternoon. Have 7 KIAs to pick up this afternoon. Saw Generals Alexander &
Clark yesterday. Col. Donalson? was up to see us yesterday. He drove up on 7
[General Mark Clark - CG of 5th Army. General Alexander (British) was commander of 15th Army Group, over General Clark.]
Will send two helmets, 2 knifes, ?????.
To Irene's boys. Our troops. We went up to 4 ½ miles from 6 Highway ,
would have gone further, but 2nd. Div. stopped us. All the towns are sure knocked
down. The dead are all along the highway, I counted at least 30 enemy tanks,
that many or more trucks, several were in good condition. Sure got dusty. Will
probably get up again. Yet I have no business taking such chances.
Bombers came over last night again.
No damage. Our Regt. has several dead. Sgt. Harbferson finely got after being
wounded 3 times. Just heard I will be leaving next Monday. Valletri is a tough
place. 180th lost most of their 3rd Bn. All have moved up except Pt. Co. &
June 1 The 179th Regiment
lead the Division to advance astride the Albano road, suffering considerable
casualties--one company only had 35 men and 1 officer remaining out of about
June 4 - Allied troops
liberate Rome with very little destruction.
June 6 - Allied invasion
of northern France at Normandy.
June 11, 1944. The 45th Division was pulled out of Italy and sent to France.