Soldiers don't die

"A man dies only when he is forgotten"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Deployment to Northern Ireland - 1943

"15 December 1943 – The Division arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland for training.  Every two weeks the Division sent seventy-five enlisted men and fifteen officers to the British 55th Division and received an equal number of United Kingdom troops for a two-week period.  By living and training amongst their allies, the 8th learned to coordinate their efforts with the British."

The first destination for the 8th Infantry Division, once it had crossed the ocean, was Northern Ireland for field exercises due to the similar terrain they would encounter in France. There are only four color slides from his collection of this period before his division entered combat. Just sightseeing at this point.

Ireland in the forties looked so wild and green. I wonder how much of it still looks like this.
Based on the experience from the days following the D-Day invasion as the Allies moved across Europe, much of their combat would be from one hedgerow to the next, like the landscape seen in this slide. The terrain was similar to France and was ideal for field exercises.
This looks like a vehicle convoy struggling up a steep hill. Grandpa would have gotten very familiar with the sight of these green canvas-covered trucks, as the 8th Division was a motorized division for awhile stateside.
Some of his buddies posing with a soldier from the highlands, who is clearly wearing a kilt.
I cannot identify Grandpa in this slide because he's probably the one taking the picture.

While this color slide collection is limited, I think it's amazing we have this many. He was in an HQ company for the 28th Regiment and dealt mostly with field intelligence and tactics; the average soldier would not have time to go 'sightseeing' as much as he did. These photos must have meant something to him because he kept them.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Recollections of the Hurtgen and Battle of the Bulge

First-person testimony about the Hurtgen and Ardennes offensives of November-December 1944...

The battle in the Hurtgen Forest has been called the US Army's biggest coverup in military history.
Were it not for the pivotal Battle of the Bulge that occurred just a week or so later, Hurtgen Forest would have been remembered as the most significant battle and most devastating defeat of the entire second world war. 

Veterans who witnessed the carnage of Hurtgen Forest have universally agreed "show me a man who fought in the Hurtgen Forest and if he says he has never been scared, he's lying..."

Great respect is due to these men for coming forward and breaking their silence after 60-70 years of secrecy.

Full Text Document Available

To those interested, someone at the Bangor Public Library has uploaded a fully digitized eBook of the 28th Regiment, 8th Infantry Division regimental history, published in 1946 by the United States Army.

The page containing the link can be found below.

This saves me all the trouble of typing it myself!  I was afraid this out-of-print book would be unavailable to the world unless someone transcribed it. Well, somebody went ahead and did all the work. So if anyone is looking for it so they can look up a veteran's name; here it is.