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War Stories: World War II

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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World War II April 29, 1945

Dear Mom,
This is the beginning of that long letter I promised you many moons ago. Today's Sunday and for the first time in the same period of time I've been to church--if you call the grassy section of a pig pen a church.
  6229 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The Naval Combat Demolition Units were charged with the responsibility of clearing sixteen 50- yard gaps on the beaches assigned to that force. They worked in conjunction with the Army engineers who were charged with the responsibility of clearing the shoreward obstacles.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander Joseph H. Gibbons, USNR, CO of U.S. Navy Combat Demolitions Units in Force "O"  9020 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Saint-Leonard, a name that has continually come to mind over the last five decades, is the name of a quaint little village situated in the foothills of the Vosges of Southern France. It was not long after our encounter in this village when I made myself a promise not to be forgotten... a promise that I would keep in the many years to follow. The incident bringing about this promise I have lived with since that day, Nov. 20, 1944. It was a promise made out of both fear and anger, that some day if it be God's will, I will return.
Note: by Fielding D. Tucker  7277 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was a member of the 29th Infantry Division, in M Company, 3rd Battalion of the 116th Infantry Regiment. I was inducted into the Army June 16, 1943, at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and was discharged on Oct. 23, 1945, at Camp Atterbury, Ind. I was second gunner on the .30-caliber water-cooled Browning machine gun through most of combat when I moved up to squad leader.
Note: by John D. Hinton  8091 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II May 6, Austria

Dear Dad,
Being in such a jubilant mood I must drop a few lines. Today I got you a Luger. Yes man! And it's a honey! The only regret I have is I didn't personally relieve a Kraut of it as I did a pair of binoculars a few days ago.
  6403 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Flying a bombing mission out of Foggia, Italy, off Tortorella US Army Air Field in Italy, during W.W. II, our B-17 caught one hell of a lot of flack. All four engines were still running, but ALL flight instruments failed. We had no airspeed indicator. Since we were returning from the bombing mission in formation, we didn't really need flight instruments except for the approach and landing.
Note: by George Ureke, Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret.).  9806 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II A week or so before the December 31, 1943, mission, my crew, the Mendelsohn crew, was breaking apart. Our navigator, Bill Borellis, was promoted to the exalted position of 91st Bomb Group navigator; our bombardier, Harold Fox, (later to be killed in action over Hamburg) had applied for special training as a navigator and was leaving the crew, and the pilot, Stuart Mendelsohn, had been designated, but not yet officially installed, as the new operations officer of the 324th squadron. And I had just been checked out as first pilot and was about to take over what remained of our original crew.
Note: by Verne Woods, 91st BG  15147 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II As the time for the attack on Hitler's Europe approached, General Omar Bradley gathered in Exeter in southern England, the officers of the U.S. divisions that were to make the assault landings in Normandy. Bradley's purpose, no doubt, was to let us meet the man who would command the American ground forces.
Note: by John C. Ausland  7699 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I had just had breakfast and was looking out a porthole in sick bay when someone said, "What the hell are all those planes doing up there on a Sunday? " Someone else said, "It must be those crazy Marines. They'd be the only ones out maneuvering on a Sunday." When I looked up in the sky I saw five or six planes starting their descent. Then when the first bombs dropped on the hangers at Ford Island, I thought, "Those guys are missing us by a mile." Inasmuch as practice bombing was a daily occurrence to us, it was not too unusual for planes to drop bombs, but the time and place were quite out of line.
Note: by Pharmacist's Mate Second Class Lee Soucy, USS UTAH  16187 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Immediately after the Battle of Kwajalein, the sailors aboard the USS Washington received orders to fuel the destroyers. After fueling the destroyers, dusk turned into the blackest of nights. Tired and battle-weary, I began to look for a place to sleep on the main deck but was unable to because several sailors were putting away the fueling gear. Finally, I had to resort to my own bunk over #4 machinery space. The temperature was about 110 degrees causing me to fall asleep fast.
Note: by Francis E. Tellier, EM 3/C - E Div.  9357 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The 29th Field Artillery Battalion, along with the 8th Infantry Regiment, made up the 8th Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division, whose mission was to make the H-Hour landing on Utah Beach. A, B, and C batteries had been equiped with M-7 armored 105mm howitzers, instead of conventional truck-drawn artillery pieces which were standard issue for infantry divisions. Each gun battery was equipped with 4 guns.
Note: by Irving Smolens, B Bty, 29th FA Battalion  6480 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II More lives were lost in one exercise practicing for D-Day than during the invasion of Utah Beach on 6 June 1944. That rehearsal was called "Exercise Tiger." Planning for the greatest amphibious operation in history required many such exercises, each designed to test the readiness of plans for the invasion of Normandy and the efficiency of the troops. Duck, Fox, Muskrat, Beaver, and Trousers preceded Tiger, and Fabius followed. Each was larger than the last, and the later ones used live ammunition.
Note: by LT Eugene E. Eckstam, MC, USNR,a medical officer on USS LST-507  10766 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 21 April 1941
Today the sun is shining and Jerry Bombers have left us alone for a couple of hours. So will try and give a little more detail of events since we went into action. We evacuated our original position, overlooking Salonika. on the 9th. Hated leaving, but there was definitely the fear of being surrounded. So E troop remained behind to harrass and fight a rear-guard action.
Note: by Alan Jackson, 5th Field Regiment  6382 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On 15 December 1941 I was detached from the U.S. Naval School of Aviation Medicine, Pensacola, Florida, destined to eventually join the crew of USS Yorktown. After a short cruise in USS Hornet and her plane guard USS Noa (DD-343) in the Atlantic, I drove across country by auto to San Diego and served briefly in Aircraft Scouting Force Pacific, Transition Training Squadron.
Note: by LT Joseph P. Pollard, MC, USN, Medical Officer on board USS Yorktown (CV-5)  8683 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Our class went on draft leave at Christmas 1939, then to Pompey barracks, HMS Victory in Queen Street. We messed in the barracks but slept at Aggie Weston's in Commercial Rd. Aggies was two buildings separated by a side street but joined on the second or third floor by an enclosed bridge. We used to cross that bridge to our individual cabins. A petty officer and leading seaman were in charge of us.
Note: by Bert Ward  9989 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1807: British officers of the H.M.S. Leopard boarded the U.S.S. Chesapeake after she had set sail for the Mediterranean, and demanded the right to search the ship for deserters.

1813: A British force attempted to take Craney Island, the fort there was one of the key defenses to Norfolk's inner harbor and was home to the frigate "Constellation".

1864: Union forces attempt to capture a railroad that had been supplying Petersburg from the south and extend their lines to the Appomattox River.

1864: U.S.S. Lexington, Acting Ensign Henry Booby, withstood a surprise Confederate strike on White River Station, Arkansas, and forced the attacking Confederate troops to withdraw.


1865: The Confederate raider Shenandoah fires the last shot of the Civil War in the Bering Strait.

1898: Admiral Sampson begins amphibious landing near Santiago, Cuba. Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt and Col. Leonard Wood led the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry regiment, onto the beach at Daiquiri in the Spanish American War.


1941: During Operation Barbarossa over 3 million German troops invade Russia in three parallel offensives, in what is the most powerful invasion force in history. Nineteen panzer divisions, 3,000 tanks, 2,500 aircraft, and 7,000 artillery pieces pour across a thousand-mile front as Hitler goes to war on a second front.

1942: A Japanese submarine shelled Fort Stevens, Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River.

1944: President Roosevelt signed the GI Bill of Rights, authorizing a broad package of benefits for World War II veterans.

1944: After a preparatory air raid on Cherbourg, in which over 1000 tons of bombs are dropped, the divisions of the US 7th Corps (part of US 1st Army) begin assaulting the city of Cherbourg. There is heavy German resistance.