Captain Harold F. Kleindienst
December 29, 1943




Hello Gang!



December 29, 1943
Somewhere in Italy


Example of V-mail
Christmas card

Know it's kinda late for the greeting, but "Merry Christmas". Sent you all a card which, at the time of this writing, should be in your hands - extending all my greetings of the season. Hope it arrived in time and in fairly good shape. Was printed on one of those microscopic V's {V-mail}, and if you couldn't read it, it did say merry Christmas. You've always got Murray handy to improve on readability of such things.

"Mail Call" has been awfully kind to me of late - among the many, many packages, letters from my folks, I recieved a very lovely letter from Mr. T. L. Smith, from Mary Cryan and Rose Siegel. Many thanks, it sure keeps the morale high, hearing so regularly from my old friends and buddies.

Have already written a note, thanking you all for the grand packages, but just can't help pulling a show repeat. Thanks again for everything.

Christmas has come and, once again, gone. It was a far cry from the holiday thoughts of deep down in our hearts but nevertheless it was much nicer than perhaps we'd expected it to be. Uncle Sams neatly functioning postal service coupled with turkey - most of the fixins too - helped no end. Of course, we managed for a little "Vino" (Italian red wine)and some Italian spaghetti. One of friend Wops found a "spaghetti machine" which the looting Jerries had over-looked enroute north and we made the most of it -

throwing in some good old white flour and canned eggs. Late Christmas eve, Jerry threw over a few shells - "Merry Christmas to you too!" - and then everyone was happy .... they hadn't forgotten. ' course, we managed a little greeting too, but don't know as they were quite so pleased. Doggoned Americans - always overdoing things.

Let's see, you asked about the 21st of December - how I spent that evening!

Well, though I was trying hard to think about that wonderful shindig at the Waldorf, I was up forward on a cold, wet hilltop directing artillery fire on the jerries. It was a wet muddy night - rember it well causee i was soaked thraough but managed for a little warmth athinkinga about tahe big dinner and tdahe flowing oaf liquiaaad sunshine - at the Waldorf. Golly, but it did bring back fond memories of all the parties we've had. Maybe 'afore long we'll all be back home aresuming those good times. Doggone, let's drink to it. Let's see wheres that Vino? Ah, thats better!

Glad you were able to do something with the picture - agree with Tobe athat the photaography was awful, but had he seen the camera, he'dhave marveled to see anything come out of the danged contraption. Oh well, I told you athey were far behind the times didn't I?

This is being written by candle light andd I know legibility won't be the outstanding feature of this missive, so please bear with me.

Weather is getting colder by the day - lots less wet too, thank goodness. Censorship prohibits a play-by-play description of combat here, but you can get fairly good accounts in all the "Dalies", so I won't even attempt to dwell on it. We're still going on, seeing daily the ever-pitiful remnants of the once proud Italian family. They've been bent low - now miserale creatures, just hanging on until the American hoarn of plendty is showered upon them. However thier turnabout proves them in the end, it's mighty hard for some of us to lose sight of the fact that they once spat on and cursed our boys as do they now, the Jerry prisoners brought on through. War oftentimes plays queer tricks, doesn't it?

As for "Miss Standard Brands" deal - that would be a big job making such a selection. I'll just stay out of that sort of thing, Leave that work up to Tobe and Lucken. Yes, Ev. Thiele, too, - he's been married long enough to be allowed a little outside appreciation. Oh yes, 'fore i forget, let me tell you about our little Christmas tree. The battery comander and I went out and cut down a small pine tree - trimmed it with greeting acards and pakage wrappings - mounted it on a box base covered with moare package wrappings and and one of my white face towels - surrounded the base with candy, ciggarettes, gum and a package of C & S atop two cans of Maxwell House. Even got a little merchandising in, though I don't know how much sales appeal it had. The first sergeant did the trimming - with a little help.



"Our Tree" - (pen and ink drawing)


Well, It's getting late and I'm getting a bit tired - no telling what tdhe morrow brings so Morpheus let's go! Good night and so long for awhile. Do hope the party was a big siccess, that this letter finds you all in the best shape and - please, write again soon.

With all of the best to yuo all, i remain as ever, a buddy,




1st Lt. H.F. Kleindienst
0-1165025, U.S. Army
Btry. A, 189 F.A. Bn.
APO #45, c/o P.M.
New York, N.Y.
  For Background information: Winter Line Italy

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