March 17, 1941
I received your last three letters in one batch, those of last Jan. 10, Jan. 20, and the last, Feb. 15. I also got the parcel of cigs which must have been sent about the same time. This, by the way, is the first opportunity I’ve had to answer, as we just got back on Friday from a three-day manoeuver. On this particular trip, owing to the fact that the Sgt. was on leave, I had to act as No. 1 on the gun, being in complete charge of the gun and crew. It was a new experience and I enjoyed it very much, though I felt very foolish at times, having to order fellow gunners around, as I’m sure that at least one of them felt he should have been made acting gun Sgt.
During the three days, we covered about 180 miles and, as it was a divisional move, we had to co-operate with other outfits of anti-tank, infantry, machine guns and etc. I think, in all, about twenty thousand troops took part in the scheme. We had lovely weather, though the mornings were cold and frosty. Most of us spread our rubberized ground sheets on the ground and slept under the stars. As Spring approaches, I suppose these manoeuvres will be more frequent until finally we hit the road again to go out under canvas, as we did last Summer. I suppose that from time to time you notice troops over here appearing in the Journal and Bulletin, which have been sent from this side by some of the boys. We get quite a kick out of some of them, as generally the stories told are very far-fetched and a far cry from the truth as we know it. I have noticed several pictures and stories relating to the bomb that smashed our two troop kitchens last Fall and have had quite a laugh at the fantastic stories.
By this time, you should have received my snaps of the happening, so you should be able to draw your own conclusions. Well, things are going on much as usual here with the usual night warnings, with very few bombs, though other parts of the country are having very severe raids. I expect you are all very delighted with Mr. Roosevelt’s speeches lately and their text, I know the people over here are.
I think that is about all the news and views which I can offer at the moment, except that I have changed my views again concerning the much-heralded invasion threat. At present, it would seem that such an attempt is very unlikely, while there are still other less dangerous alternatives open to Hitler. In many respects, I think the people here would welcome the attempt, as they all feel that a thorough set back at this time would do much to shake the morale of the Germans and shorten the War. Our air force seems to be closing the gap in the comparative strength of the rival forces and is slowly and steadily taking the initiative from our dear friend Goering. They tell me that the other night we had more bombers over Germany or occupied areas than the total of our bomber strength at the beginning of last year.
The news of Yugoslavia turning Hitler down at the last minute, had a very warming effect in this country and I imagine rather upset the poor little “specialist” (paper hanger & c). I suppose his next move will be to try to take by force that which his bullying diplomacy failed to win over.