The Following Journal is
Member of HQ Company
Member of HQ Company
Joseph's Note: Why did I write this? I don't know.
Maybe I believed it couldn't happen to me and thus putting it down, as
it happened, in script, later on I could read it and wonder. By the
grace of God I was spared injury and worse; others were less fortunate.
I sincerely pray that those guys that were less fortunate and hope their
sacrifice wasn’t in vain.
August 19, 1943…
We left Fort Devens, MA at 1950 hours (7:50PM) by train. And
after a short trip (about 8 hours) we arrived at Staten Island, NY.
We boarded the Troop Transport “Santa Rosa,” formerly a South American
Pleasure Liner about an hour after arriving in NY. Our first impression
(and it remained our only one!) was one of being a congested, hot, and
dirty ship. 3500 troops were put on a ship that normally held 1000
to 2000 passengers.
We wired tired…so we slept. But the heat of the compartments
soon had most of us on deck. Our first meal wasn’t bad and while
for the duration of the trip the meals weren’t good, we had eaten worse.
Of course, the officers mess was far better; and consisted of food-stuffs
which were actually luxurious to the folks at home.
We had a venereal inspection right after chow.
We left Pier 17 and headed out to sea at about 1115 hours.
Today was uneventful except for the movie (“Virginia City”) shown at
night. There was a complete blackout of the ship during the night.
Again, it was an uneventful day.
September 1, 1943…
Pertinent information - About 30 ships in convoy, including the
Sighted land! Gibralter, The Rock, from the sea its just what
Disembarked at Mers-el-Kabir, Port of Oran, Algeria, North Africa at
1830 hours. Entrucked to bivouac area and arrived at Raven Blank
at 1900 hours.
Arabs, and other natives, were gawking as we passed through the streets.
Adults as well as children were filthy and appearing disease ridden.
Rocks and debris all over, including goat dung! We were a tired and
We ate our first meal, supper…consisting of “C” rations. What
a meal! Darkness descended and fully clothed, 5 and 6 to a tent,
we went to sleep on some boards we found laying around.
After a “hard” night we went to work getting the camp straightened
out. We set up HQ, Battalion Supply, and Personnel tents. Other
fellows (Rananghan and Rust) and myself wandered out of camp towards town…a
couple miles away. We came across a fruit stand and bought watermelons.
Tasteful! Especially after those “C” rations! Taste vino…don’t
care for it. Air Raid alarm tonight…nothing happened.
Trucks started to take guys swimming. We are about 10 miles from
I went swimming with Stella and Scott. The water was swell…clean
Saw Italian and German prisoners being taken off ships and were herded
into barbed wired areas. We went through a tunnel cut through a mountain.
First letter from Muriel! WOW was I happy!
Turned in overcoat and other winter articles. Moving out to Italy
soon. Darn glad to get out of this hole!
Large convoy headed out to sea…towards Italy. Our orders canceled!
Raining for 2 days. Thought the rainy season started early.
Relief from the dust.
Sun out! We learned we are assigned to the 5th Army…who is in
Italy commanded by General Clark.
Packed equipment. Preparing to move out. No mail for 5
days…Agonizing! Sand storm. Tents blowing, food sandy…rather
uncomfortable. Sick for 3 days…dysentery…cramps…losing weight.
Moving out in the morning.
Boarded HMT “Orontes” (a British ship) at Mers-el-Kebir. We slept
in hammocks over mess tables. The “Orontes is larger than the “Santa
Rosa.” Ship smelled of bodies.
Left harbor at 0730 hours. Arrived Oran Harbor 0800 hours, left
1330 hours. Busy setting up HQ on ship. Food lousy. The
British definitely can’t cook!
Mail brought on ship…I got 3!!! One from Muriel telling me she
got my letter. I typed her a 3 page, single spaced letter in return…annoyed
the CO somewhat.
September 30 – October 1, 1943…
Entered Bizerte Harbor where we anchored but did not debark.
Original orders canceled. Waiting for the fall of Naples…I
Large convoy seen in the distance. Bizerte looks nice from off
shore. Expect to shove off soon. U.S. Coast Guardsmen came
into Orderly Room tonight and spoke to us. Told us of invasion of
Salerno was a massacre. Capitulation of Italy led Navy to fail to
fire their guns as a protection for the landing troops…as originally planned.
Germans waited for our boys to get on the beach, opened up on them with
their 88’s and wiped out thousands! It made us made as hell!
Heard a couple of ships ahead of us (about 35 minutes) had been torpedoed.
Saw 4 rafts and boats float by before we reached Bizerte.
Pulled out of Bizerte Harbor with the 6 origonal ships that had left
Oran. Learned a British ship had sunk a German U-boat. Know
definitely we’re going to Naples.
Sighted Isle of Capri and soon Italy. Mt. Vesuvious…. Sighted
and entered Naples Harbor about noon. Could see mined docks from
ship. News Reports told us Naples was in bad shape and we saw now
Buildings in ruin. Ships sunk in piers. Equipment destroyed.
Natives came in row boats to side of ship for food. Reminded us of
the natives of Oran.
Debarked about 1430 hours in landing barges. Saw destruction
cleared as we neared the docks. Ships had to remain outside a certain
area as ships were scuttled in landing piers. We were quartered in
the Government Finance Building (Italian) a distance from the docks.
Ate 5-in-1 rations…more of a variety that “C” rations…and better.
Helluva lot of wreckage around! Sewage and electric systems destroyed.
Buildings blown up.
Post Office Building blown up. Many soldiers killed. Must
be plenty of mined buildings! Slept on table. We were awaken
during the night by Major Ryan swearing and rating all over the place.
No sleep that night.
Moved during darkness to University of Naples…only a small portion
destroyed. We live in the Technician Building. Millions of
dollars worth of equipment around; electrical, mechanical, glass.
Souvenirs of various sorts were collected by all.
We took a chance but most every door, closet and drawer we opened to
examine their contents. Beautiful modern furnitures in some rooms.
About 2100 hours, all of a sudden…Ack!-Ack!-Ack!…guns started to go off!
It was an exciting few minutes watching the tracer bullets soar into the
sky, seeking out the enemy. Then some big guns went off. I
don’t believe any bombs were dropped. It was my first experience
in an air raid, but rather than feeling afraid I felt sort of giddiesh…I
guess it was the novelty of it. Earlier in the day we had set up
HQ…nice desks and all-in-all a pretty nice set-up.
Moved from the first floor (which has 4 sets of stairs) to an attic-like
room. Personal quarters…have a cabinet and shelving for our clothing.
Wash basin in the next room, but the water is still not working.
Went to the docks and helped swipe some cots. Because of the lack
of organization and supervision, much food and stuff are swiped regularly.
It’s good sleeping on a cot…first time since we left the states.
Stared this diary…getting facts I couldn’t remember from O’Clair.
MY ANNIVERSARY!!! Blue as hell!…but didn’t show it…I think!
Thinking of Muriel and home more everyday. Asked for and got two
bottles of rum from Major Ryan to celebrate. He’s a swell guy and
that rum is poison! WOW is it hot!
Passes being issued starting tomorrow…2 fellers per day. I intend
to go Thursday with Frank Carlin. Wrote first letter to Muriel since
arriving in Italy.
Took first shave and haircut by barber…first haircut since leaving
the states. Can these Italians do a job!…and for less than ½
of the U.S. prices. Gave laundry out to civilian…pay off in food.
Simple people…begging for food from soldiers. Narrow, debris ridden/strewn
streets. Must have been a nice city once. Stores are starting
to open again. APO changed from 4778 to 765.
Ranaghan brought in a load of 2nd and 4th class mail. Papers
from Boston Army Base, dated August 20…a couple of months late, but good
to read an American newspaper. It is funny to read about Italy being
Got Paid! Two months, $56.75. Sent $50 home.
Water system now working throughout city.
Went to small wine shop tonight with Divine. Nice meal.
Heard organ-grinders music (Italian) first time. Makes one think
of the east side.
I have a few hours off today…Sunday. Really a pretty city…walking
through. 3 star car passed by…Clark? (General)
Waiting outside a nice restaurant for some chow. American’s and
British taking over! Had veg soup and fish. That’s all they had to
Walked through city...hired a carriage for an hour. Many beautiful
items to be had, but expensive…real though. Gifts home will have
to wait. Stores opening one-by-one. Looked for linen store,
but no soap.
Started reading “Three Harbours” by Jan Wykmason a couple of days ago.
I miss Muriel more every day! Saw American nurses…first since the
Drove out to APO base section. Nice drive along waterfront.
Large truck convoy coming up from Salerno. Pompeii and surrounding
mountains a pretty sight.
Saw “Stars & Striped” from Sicily dated October 12. First
paper since leaving Oran. Yanks won the Series. (proxy Scott…)
Bought a pair of blue leather gloves for Muriel…$2.50. I think
she’ll like ‘em. Hope they fit! Took “wash-bowel” bath…not
exacting, but it helps!
Sent gloves home. Enclosed two shells found on beach at Mers-el-Kebir.
Finished “Three Harbours”…wonderful reading. Mr. Rice just told us
(1750 hours) that he had heard the Santa Rosa had been sunk on its way
back to the States…Casualties!
Quite a bit of mail came in tonight, but none for me! Mail should
come regularly from now on.
Writing during an air-raid! Enclosed room in quarters…lit by
four candles. Two great events today…received five letters today.
Three from Muriel, one from Anthony T., and one from Millicent. It
was a glorious feeling getting them; and now this raid. Quiet now.
Looks as if “Jerry” has gone. Saw tracer fire from our guns (red)
shoot into the sky. What a sight! Know we all know what the
people of bombed cities have gone through. Close to an hour since
first shooting heard…1730 hours. All quiet. Palmer, Vinson,
and Tomczak playing cards as I write. Never even heard the alarm
given! Can’t explain feelings as they were mixed…fear, excited, mad,
and sorta calm. 2nd air-raid since reaching Italy.
Read first “Stars & Stripes”…called the “Combat Edition”…dated
October 21, 1943.
Second edition or newly started paper.
We can now say in letters home “We’re somewhere in Italy.”
Bought necklace to give to Muriel and a sweater for April.
Bought gloves for Arny. Also medal and campaign ribbon…Italian
(wear ‘em when we come home!) Huge amount of mail tonight…at last!
Saw monthly M.R.U. Roster which revealed we were supposed to have gone
to Salerno! APO 464. A damn air-raid! Right in the middle
of a letter to Muriel!…1830 hours. Watched the sky become criss-crossed
with tracer fire. The entire sky was covered! Then a pale of
smoke beginning to fall. Soon blotting out everything. Before
the blasted “Jerry” dropped four flares that slowly headed earthward.
A few minutes before it was all over we heard a siren sounding bomb and
it sounded damn close! Boy did we hit the floor! One plane
sounded as if it were right overhead…then Karaboom! A deafening crash!
And right close too! Machine gun fire, Ack-Ack, anti-aircraft fire,
what a show! Ended about 1905 hours. A few minutes later heard
a commotion out in the hall. A fellow had fallen over the railing,
into a parked elevator on the ground floor, through the roof of it, and
coming to rest on it’s floor. A fall of two-stories…equivalent of
almost four of ours! He was carried away by hospital attendants who
had been phoned for.
Continued letter to Muriel. Received 12 by-the-way…Grand slam!
Ten letters and a telegram today! Anniversary! Sweet Muriel!
Went for a ride in a weapons carrier…coast sure took a shelling!
False air-raid tonight! Again in the middle of a letter to Muriel.
Sent some pictures home. Went down to port…Plenty of unloading
going on! Supplies coming in. Saw divers going down to examine
ships lying against the pier. Looks truly like something from Mars!
One Liberty Ship named after Lou Gehrig. Mail sure coming in!
Another load today!
Bought two money purses for Mom and Mom. Also pretty colorful
Receiving plenty of mail and a few photos of Muriel and people back
home. Swell! Have to get album to keep them in. Set up
office near the port. Had an alert late last night and tonight.
German “E” boats supposed to be prowling around harbor. Nothing happened.
Got a little “happy”
November 1, 1943…
Lights being turned on all over the city…people evacuated…town really
clean of civilians. Soldiers ordered out of buildings just prior
to throwing of switches! Waiting outside of University…1100 hours.
Nothing happened….until, again in the middle of a letter to Muriel, (about
1900 hours) those bastards (Jerries) came over again! The 4th time
since we are in Italy. Three of our boys were wounded by shrapnel
working on docks!
Had fresh beef…first time in ??? Good!
It happened again…the bastards came over again for the 5th time, but
I fooled ‘em…I wasn’t writing to Muriel! Really hot tonight…no casualties…yet!
I’m C.Q. by the way. Raid started about 1800 hours, ended about 1900
hours. Drove out to Pier K which was hit. Ammo nearby also
went up. You can get killed in this war!
(caught a cold tonight too)
Went out on pass. Took first bath since before we left the States!
Felt Good! 4 or 5 alerts tonight…no air-raids. Went into newly
found air-raid shelter the first time, but being sick and in bed I didn’t
for the other alerts…I didn’t even hear the 3rd or 4th alerts! Uncomfortable
Lights available in one section of the University! The bastards
paid us another “social visit”…but 3 o’clock in the morning! I stayed
in bed until it was over (about 4 o’clock). They better come earlier!
They were over head before guns opened fire…no alarm given!
Lights put in office, but went out shortly afterwards. Received
3 packages yesterday and one today. Ranny made T/5 yesterday and
Divine Pfc today.
Became assistant mail clerk today so that Ranny could have the day
Lights on in our quarters! Maybe our eyes will improve now.
Four air-raids tonight! Starting about 1930 hours and the last one
(so far) about 2330 hours. Oh my feet! On C.Q. and had plenty
of company up to 12! Went out to a 2nd Base Post Office yesterday,
which had moved farther out into the country. Saw further results
of bombings and Nazi destruction! Also saw beautiful camouflaged
buildings. Trees, shrubbery, sky, all painted on buildings!
Dead mull on side of road.
Took first hot shower since home on furlough.
Had first drink of beer in 3 months! Sure tasted good even though
it was German!
A fellow on furlough from the front…about 55 miles from here… told
some hair raising stories. Same stories you read about in the paper,
but told by an eye witness who doesn’t leave any detail out!!! Nazi
bastards firmly entrenched. Trying dive-bombing to get them out!
Went to movie taken over by the Red Cross for troops. Saw “Crazy
House” with Olsen & Johnson. It was good. Made us laugh
and forget for awhile. Saw Elle Logan…quite a kid!
337th Engineers had a band and some skits…it was nice hearing some
Took photos. I hope they come out alright…I’d like to send some
good ones home.
“Jerry” came over again tonight. Of course, I was writing to
Muriel. Lasted about an hour.
Sent photos home…I looked as if I were scared!
Was on C.Q. last night and so I had today off. Went to historic
Pompeii…about 12 miles away. Hitched a ride there in a British weapons
carrier. Ruins of Pompeii just what it implies. Paintings and
writings on walls of rooms in home interesting. Entered Amphitheatre.
It poured while we were there (about an hour). We could only take
3 pictures…hope they come out. Was taken, by guide, to whore house
(Pompeii of old). One visit to this place was enough! Ate in
restaurant-hotel…no bread, meat, or macaroni!
Hitched a ride back in one of the British trucks…about 12 feet off
the ground. And they left us (Scott, Divine and I) off about 2 miles
from the University. We hitched a ride on another British weapons
carrier. I’ll never forget those rides.
December 8, 1943…
Saw Frederic March, Sammy Welch, and Jean Darnell and accordionist
Evelyn Hamilton. Swell show! First 2 American civilian girls
we’ve seen since we left the states. Looked Good! Second USO
sponsored show I saw…first in Augusteo Theatre, from Chicago.
WAC’s hit the town today! 5 truckloads passed about 1345 hours.
More trucks passed now…1430 hours. Couldn’t count them.
5 gallons of vino! Ooooh, my head! That’s all (got it in
a water can!) Smoked first cigar…couldn’t taste it in my condition
December 31, 1943…
Went to 6th Port Theatre. Saw Humphrey Bogart and his wife.
Movie after. Got bacck to quarters about 2330 hours. No one
felt like getting drunk. As we thought we were going to. Talked
about old. At midnight guns went off…as did fire crackers.
We welcomed to New Year gloomily!
January 17, 1944…
Been preparing to move up now for days. Expect to leave Naples,
or rather board ship, Wednesday January 19. From rumors, we’ll hit
either below or above Rome. We believe it is “The Invasion” and will
hit all of Europe. This outfit will probably come in on the second
or third wave.
Surprised by a phone call! Ike Schonfeld calling from Station
hospital where he was quartered. Just got to Italy. Came over
later with a friend of his from the 382nd (Morty Gilbert). It was
good speaking to him. Couldn’t tell me his reason for being here
or how long he is going to stay. Hope he gets home soon so that he
can tell folks stuff and such about me.
We left University 0800 hours by truck. Boarded “Banvard” (Liberty
Ship) a few minutes later. Same setup as on Santa Rosa. Left
pier at 1330 hours.
Left Naples Harbour 1300. Bunch of landing crafts ahead of us.
So sight…setting sun, boats in formation…nice!
And look where I am! Taking part in an invasion of a town not
yet known to us! Airplane attack 1030 hours this morning. Everything
on boat turned loose! Everybody on alert throughout day. Anchored
outside of town. Ship (mine sweeper) down to hell by mine!
Artillery fire going on all day from town. Can see (thru binoculars)
some ruins of town.
Air raid at 1145 about a mile from the front of our ship. Four
“Jerries” dived from clouds; chased away by our planes! Firing going
on from ships on horizon….can’t see at whom. Artillery fire going
on all morning from shore. Unloading ammo and 5-1 rations on to “ducks.”
Alert sounded about 0530 hours…blackout for the rest of the night.
Ships bombarding coast at 0930. Ended about 1000. The “dears”
came over again! At 1330! Four of them. They dropped
a few bombs along waterfront. Chased away by Spitfires. Artillery
fire continues from other side of town. 1650 hours, eight “Jerries”
attacked! We threw everything at them! I think they hit something
near waterfront. One plane seemed to be hit, but kept on until lost
in the distance. About ½ hour later, at dusk, they came back!
At first, flares and tracer were seen in the distance. Then a couple
of planes were heard overhead…a night dogfight! Tracers seen going
back and forth…ball of fire (at first I thought it was a flare, but) plane
on fire. Crashes near or on shore…What-a-sight! Coming closer
and closer and then a great splash of red and orange! A while later
another plane heard, then going into a dive…and BOOM BOOM…two bombs about
200 yards from ship! WOW was that close! And we were shaking!
Heavy artillery fire continues from on shore. Looks like a fire on
horizon. A ship may have been hit by one of the planes. Went
to bed about nine. Awakened…
0530…another attack! Bombs close again! Doesn’t feel so
good being in close quarters, darkness, not knowing how much longer you
have! Lasted about ½ an hour. 0830 once gain…on shore
this time. Couple overhead. Chased away. 0900 sky full
of our planes. About time! 1215 six more “Jerries” dropped
a few bombs. Preparing to leave ship and go ashore. Left ship
about 1730 in LCM from rope ladder. Hanging around onpier an hour
or so waiting for orders as to where to go. Raining, cold and miserable
weather, but it keeps the “Jerries” home! Three trucks arrive.
Take us to an apartment house where companies will be quartered.
Swell neighborhood. Modern homes…tile floors, decorations…mansions,
etc. Spent a miserable night on floor as shells screamed all around.
A couple too damn close!!!
Looked the town of Anzio over. Had 5&1 Rations. Sitting
around the home speaking with some fellers…it was noon when, ZOOM, driving
planes were heard! And did we dive! Over in a few minutes…no
casualties among us. Really veterans now. Took some iron beds
from one of the home to sleep on. After last night nothing will bother
me! An attack at 1530, chased off by intense anti-aircraft fire.
Oh hum! Stella, Tom and myself in one room of a swell home we “requisitioned!”
Regular bedsprings, no mattresses…bureau for clothes. No water though,
have to get it in GI cans somewhere near the front, some miles off.
The bastards came back at 1745, but met a hot reception. Four, and
a probable5th were shot down! That’ll teach ‘em! The dirty
Nazis came over again at 1900 tonight. I saw and heard things which
I shall never forget…bombs full of color in their death sting…ack-ack,
machine guns, anti-aircraft and larger caliber guns made it the most awe
inspiring sight (and sounds) of my life. A bomb struck 100 yards
from us hitting a truck and setting it afire. It missed the building
where “C” Company…the 190th…was quartered by a few feet! They hit
an ammo dump or ship as shells were racing all over shaking the building
to its foundation…for over a ½ an hour!
It also seemed that a cruiser and a German railway gun were having
a duel…what a night it’s been!
Dive bombed again at 0520! Really got it this time! Shells
went through the room next to ours, missing the fellers by just feet!
That must have been a block-buster that leveled a large group of trees
next to us! Things are really getting bad! Damn their bloody
souls…came back at 0845 to do some strafing! One was seen to come
down! CO feels pretty badly…his responsibility for us has the best
of him. Took some photos of planes at 1055. A few minutes after
other “Jerry’s” but chased by anti-aircraft fire. Over again at 1345,
didn’t drop anything…chased by spitfires and anti-aircraft fire.
I think I saw one plane shot up…don’t know if it went down. Heard
the ship we came off had a close call last night and the men had to abandon
ship, but returned later. The bastards! Six of them just came
over at 1430! Spits off after them! Got two…I think one Spit
went down following Fockewolfe. Saw one parachute from ? come down…3
planes were shot down. I hope all were Nazis! Plenty of anti-aircraft
fire! Changed location because of this morning’s raid…too hot there…near
a “duck” pond which they have spotted. Up on a hill now. Some
men sleeping in shelter at bottom of palatial home…Stella and a couple
of others (Palmer & Stokes) and myself under stairway in house.
Expect it to be hot tonight, hope we are disappointed! Lost two men
in our outfit so far!
Moved from stairway last night to garage near shelter as the stairs
were too much for us. “Jerry” didn’t come over last night, but three
times from 0700 this morning to 0830! Dropped some bombs in water…couple
nearby. We shot down a few though! At 1145 they dropped a funny
looking bomb…it didn’t do much damage. Returned a few minutes later…chased
away by our planes. It’s told that 22 Nazis have been downed in the
last 3 days! Pretty good!
The “Jerries” left us alone last night but returned at 0845 this morning…our
planes were able to chase them away before they could do any damage.
Terrific artillery fire going on since 0100 this morning. Rumored
that a couple of German divisions are trapped and being given the works…annihilate
the bastards! The sky is full of planes, but at 0445 a “Jerry” sneaked
through, unloaded a couple…ineffectively. I told others he’d be back
shortly and sure enough he did at 0545! Dropped a few including an
arial torpedo bomb which took the roof off the house next to ours injuring
a couple of men inside. Sounded like a freight train coming…whoosh!
Red ball of fire! Recovered fragments this morning (Jan. 30th), including
a wing and all! Some weapon! That must have been what we saw
on the ship and thought of as a burning plane! A couple of ships
in the harbour set afire by one. Five minutes to ten “he” returned
and really gave us the works! Dropped numerous bombs, one as large
(500 pounder) one which landed a few yards from where we were sleeping!
Fortunately, hearing it coming we were all in the shelter! Tore some
hole in the earth!
Awake most of the night by shelling and exploding mines left by “Jerry”…feller
(me too!) shaky as hell!
No raid last night! Slept halfway decently throughout…first time
in days. Went across field to see some Nazis “superman”…prisoners
just brought in. Some had defiant looks on their faces, but for the
most part they were a docile lot. Men who had killed by coutrymen…I
didn’t know whether to hate or feel sorry for them! Cloudy last 2
days…may account for lack of raids…shelled town and vicinity throughout
the day and part of the night…no air raids.
February 1, 1944…
Sneak air attack thru low hanging clouds 1315…dropped some bombs and
away…Not a gun had time to fire…no visible damage.
Quiet…shelling throughout the day and night.
Rear echelon arrived.
Air attack 0930…Eight or 12 of the bastards came over but didn’t leave
anything...saw ‘em from Red Beach where I went with Major Ryan and Tom.
Enemy plane over at 1130…no action…although guns were fired at them.
On alert for past four days…saw shell dropped in water off Netunna Airfield.
Air-raids 0330 and 0500. Sounded like all hell broke loose, but
morning revealed no visible damage. Two recon planes sighted “away
up.” One brought down by AA flak! Nice seeing him come down!
(1130) Continuous alerts throughout the day…shelling and too close!
Knocked out another ammo dump.
Alert at 0700…attack 0810…chased off…shelling…over again at 1140.
Dropped a few along the waterfront, hitting LCT and LST….Major Ryan and
I watched plane dive with a prayer that it wouldn’t let loose on us!
What a few seconds! Found out later that 2 men were killed in A Company
(188th) with others injured on hit boats. Another attack about 1530…strafed
and away…alerts on and off all day.
Again at 1200, “Jerries” dropped a load and were gone. Don’t
know extent of damage…learned 7 men in A Company (188th) were killed yesterday!
What can words say? Recon planes seen…shelling and alerts all day.
Bad weather tonight.
February 9…Saw two sights today…one pretty, one ugly…about 110 of our
bombers pounding “Jerry” lines in the distance and the sight of a Colonel
killed and enlisted men injured by a shell…where I would have been in a
few minutes! Unnerved me…a hit! A shell landed damn close while
waiting transportation back from VI Corps 1635. “Jerry” came over,
but away without leaving calling card! I’m tired tonight…Night attack
at 1900…nothing hit near us…air attacks at 2135 and 2345 and all early
morning…what a night!
Waves of our bombers (Mitchells) bombing “Jerry” lines…saw flak (which
was heavy) get one of them and it exploded in mid-air!
“Jerries” over at 0845…dropped a couple along beach…expect they’ll
be back. Enemy back at 1800…a lot of ack-ack, but no eggs, no nuthin’…back
again at 2045 until 2215! Results…British ammo dump! Bastards!
0800…watched them from sun…came over from other direction…laid eggs
along beach…messed up a lot of boys…shell landed right off room-one room
away from where I just made this entry! WOW! Did I shake!
Take a little cleaning up before we wash in that room again! At 1910
and then 2200 once again…last one lasted over an hour! Hit oil dump…oh
1100 sneaked in! Dropped a big one near one of our companies!
Dropped a few at 1320, caught in the house; dived under steps…again
at 1800…dropped a couple and away! Just called out to see a ship
that was hit…what a sight! Going up in flames and one of companies
on it! (All this while writing to my Davey) I’m getting tired
and angry at saying it but they were over again at 1910! Lasted an
hour! What can I say? And again at 2200!
And at 0001 and 0230 and 0500 and 1715! And when they finished
bombing they started to shell! How much longer??? And again
at 0100 and 13320…1400…1500…1700… What a night and day it’s been!!!
Shelling hitting too damn close; bombing but not near us…trying to get
something away back a piece…enemy planes sighted while I write this 1720…drived
away by AA fire. Saw three waves (at different times) of our bombers
give it to “Jerry!” Swell sight! But I saw one go down in flames!
Raids at 0745…lasted some time…saw P38 get it…burst apart and pilot
bail out. “Jerry” has more planes up than since we’ve been here!
Alerts and raids. Saw one of our B17’s returning from raid landed
in water…hundreds of planes went over! Air-raid 1320…couple of more
times during the day.
0430 “Jerry” said good morning…black night and guns made some noise!
Rocket bombs hit some-place…sounds as if “Jerry” has something new!
Shelling throughout the day…with our battle wagons giving them a taste
of their own medicine…paid us back with a visit at 2100.
Another visit at 0715 and 0930. Our bombers going over to repay
a visit to “Jerry” and we have an attack…now get this! They pass
and ignore each other! Each has their respective missions and will
not be diverted! All’s fair…
1800…1930…expect we’ll continue to have nuisance raids for some time…2130
0015 back…dropped some big ones…used plenty of flares…throughout the
2100…0120…0230…0310…0400…0500…0720! Dropped a lot of personnel
bombs which fell around us marking up vicinity. Shelling…fragments
put holes in wall inches from my head! OHHHHH! 1030 sneaked
in! Dropped some heavies on beach and shrapnel tore through our office!
One piece lying on my desk! From the sound of the explosions, we
thought they dropped outside…1355 sneaked in again. All in office
when I heard dive. Asked if all clear had been sounded and when negative
report came we all ducked in room! Few seconds later…Karaboom!
Lit in duck pond and road…result? Two men killed in weapons carrier
on road and smoke pot hit. Exploding mines dropped last night…scattered
all over place…what a life!
The evening began at 1810…for about a half an hour and then came over
again at 1930. Hope it isn’t like last night! We need sleep!
Everyone’s nerves are shot to hell! 2130 they came over until 2205!
And did we take a beating! Hit heavy ammo dump! Dropped some
heavy bombs, one of which ruined our house…can’t see very much tonight…hope
we do tomorrow!
Able to see…up alive I mean!)
0230…0300 and again at 0420 and then at 0840! Our house…a complete
wreck! War correspondent photographer paid us a visit…took several
pictures…one of Blakely and me. May make the Daily News! Thrilling
Shelling….quiet all day! Starts again 2115-2245.
0025…beginning of “another night!” Long alerts and then 0130…0230…0430…1805
called outside to see tracers over water! No alert had been sounded
but they were going to town from the ships! Ack-ack spread until
overhead and then plane heard! Air-raid…first time it happened that
way…I hope the last!
No air-raids…just shelling!
0830…eating when alert sounds…still eating…BOOM! Guns open up,
bombs drop, windows break…we sweat! All over…whoo! (Dove under
chow table and finished hot cakes few minutes later)
Preparing to go back to Naples! But...they shelled hell out of
us this morning! Hit LST, the back of the house and across the road!
Were they coming…and we sweated!
Left Anzio in LST at 1600. And good riddance! Alert at
1700 and soon we saw flak over town! Got out in time…also saw our
bombers go to town again, but one came down in flames…Naploi here we come!
March 1, 1944…
After a cold, sleepless night on rocking, tossing “crate,” we reached
Bagnie at 1430! Another hour and a half and Naples! Ahh!
Put up at 6th Port (7 floors), took hot shower (or two), got into OD’s
and went to movies and generally feel swell! Wrote Muriel from Red
Cross. While in 6th Port Theatre…air-raid! About 2200 and lasted
45 minutes. Couple of guns went off…nothing else. Movies went
on although Italian operator “blew.”
We had a “reminder” of Anzio this morning…0130 to 0215. Guns
blasted continuously. Heard diving planes, etc. Flares all
around. Hit several places near Via Rome. (Living in Granilli Barracks…what
Vesuvious acting up again! Lava…red and hot looking…flowing down
the mountain…couple of days now. That’s all we need! A good
big eruption! Rocks from it flew down to Naples from an eruption
in 1930…nice thought!