Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Seventy Years Ago In Europe

We always hear about D-Day and The Bulge, but all of the fighting through Europe was brutal from start to finish.  I recently re-read George Wilson's book, If You Survive, and it is an important book for all who have an interest in World War II.  Seventy years ago American soldiers were in one of their toughest fights, in the Hurtgen Forest.  Mr. Wilson briefly mentioned Thanksgiving 1944 in his book: "Our Thanksgiving dinner was hand-carried up to us by men from the service company.  Our cooks had put together giant turkey sandwiches, and they were a treat compared to K-ration Spam, even though we, of course, received none of the usual fancy trimmings.  It wasn't all celebration, however, for we learned that some of the food carrying party had been hit on the way up.  Though this happened all the time, we never quite learned to accept it.  We had been fighting in the Hurtgen Forest for twelve days, the worst combat I had yet encountered."  If You Survive, George Wilson, Ballintine Books, 1987.  American forces suffered 33,000 casualties in the Hurtgen Forest; the Germans had 28,000 casualties.

You can see a photo of Mr. Wilson at the bottom of THIS PAGE, and read his obituary HERE.  His book is easy to find on the internet, and you should be able to buy a copy for under $10.


Merle Morrison said...

My Father was in Germany, but I don't know when he went ashore. He would not talk about it, with one exception. He was sitting in a jeep & dropped his cigarette. When he leaned over to pick it up a bullet (sniper?) came thru the windshield, where he had been sitting. It's fair to say that smoking saved his life.


David aka True Blue Sam said...

Susan's Dad used to say that he got tired of seeing the guy next to him get it. Send a mailing address to my e-mail, and I will send you my copy of Mr. Wilson's book.

Have a great Thanksgiving, Merle!

Merle Morrison said...

Thank you, and I hope yours was a good one too!


strandediniowa said...

My dad was in the Alsace-Lorraine area at that time and would be facing the German SS 6th Mountain Division in January of 45. Operation Nordwind as it was called.

He never talked much about the war either. Most of what I've discovered is from writings of others like Mr Wilson's book.

Thanks for the recommendation, David. I'll look this up. And I hope you had a good Thanksgiving

David aka True Blue Sam said...

It was great. I hope you and your family had a good one, too.