September 17, 1944
Received two letters from Mom yesterday dated Aug. 24 and 31. Sorry my letters haven’t been quite as frequent as usual. You will understand, however, when I tell you that we have been in action for almost a month without respite. At the moment, we are out of action for from three to four days. We have been in Action in this particular spot for over a week while a fierce battle was being fought for a certain town and two heights of ground. He finally withdrew after a heavy barrage in which we shared, plus a heavy infantry and tank attack. Old Fritz is really putting up a terrific scrap. All day long our planes rove up and down his lines, bombing and strafing. His air force seems to be a thing of the past and, apart from the odd sneak attack at night, similar to the one I experienced, we never see the brutes.
You would have been thrilled if you could have heard the barrage we laid down the other night. Everything was deathly quiet, then suddenly all Hell broke loose. The countryside seemed to rock as hundreds of guns went into action. The night was dark as the moon hadn’t risen, but for minutes at a time our position was well lighted from neighbouring gun flashes. Of course, we had our Fire Task to carry out and were quite busy on our own. It gives you a grand feeling to be giving the swine a taste of their own medicine. Every now and then, Fritz retaliates and, though it is a small fraction of what we send, still keeps you on your toes. The nearest shell to land near my gun landed about thirty yards away. It sent a huge plume of dirt high into the air with some of the earth and fragments striking the side of the S.P. The explosion left our ears ringing, but as we were under cover, no one was hurt.
We have been very lucky so far (touch wood). When we are not firing, that is to say if no targets come down to the troop, we can take cover if shelling starts. However, if a target comes over the speaker, we must Take Post regardless. It’s only right because some poor infantry chap’s life may depend on how fast we can bring fire to bear on any given target. After all these years, when I hear “Take Post” I hit the ground running without even taking time to think. -------
All the news is very encouraging, isn’t it? It is very gratifying to hear that Allied troops have, at long last, set foot on “Sacred German Soil.” I can’t see how the war in Europe can drag on much longer in the face of such news. At the moment, I’m having a tough time with desert sores. They are like water blisters and spread quickly and become infected. They aren’t serious, but very annoying. Well, Mom, I’m glad you have such a fine harvest and hope the prices are equally good.