Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Granddad blogging: On the move

Last week in Granddad blogging, they came under fire, this week my grandfather describes how he gets some new boots, some target practice (sort of) and a big meal.

But this goes on for a while, they finally bring us back to our rest area and let us rest a while and get us some new clothes and stuff. And up to that time I had nothing but leather shoes, and your feet got wet and cold just all the time and there weren’t enough mountain packs, which were rubber on the bottom and leather on top to go around. So another old boy and I went round where the medics were and as the injured and killed came in to where the medics were they threw the boots out the window and we went by and got to looking at those boots and picked us out a pair of boots that would fit us and we put ‘em on and wore em from then on.

And those things would sweat your feet when you got hot, so you learned that, they all had a pair of felt pads in the bottom and you wore white socks like athletic socks and you learned that you had to change those socks and pads or your feet would really get in a bad shape – you’d have trench foot. So, I carried a pair of socks tucked down in my chest and a pair of pads stuck down in my back. And body heat would dry those out in about 24 hours, so every night about midnight I’d take those dry socks and pads out and put ‘em in my boots and put the wet ones back down under my clothes so I could dry them out.

Well, we went along down through there runnin, running, running, running, trying to catch up with the Germans and we were getting close to Strausberg and I remember one day we were way up on a hillside and we were in those World War One trenches and we were laying there in those trenches. I don’t know what we were gonna do, but we were there.

[How big were the trenches.]

They must have been ten foot deep and they were filled in a lot now. I remember where I was there was a cedar tree, probably twenty foot high growing right up and I was laying right under that cedar tree and had my rifle laying on top of the trench under that cedar tree waiting to do something. I don’t know what we were doing. We were just there.

We’d joined up with another company of people there was a whole lot of us there and I looked up from where I was and there was two Germans coming up a pretty steep hill. And they were reminding me of turkeys the way they were sticking their heads out looking this way and that way and looking the other way. One of em was right in my rifle sights and I thought “Well, I don’t care anything about shooting him. There are just two of ‘em”

And I didn’t, but directly somebody else saw and you never heard as much shooting going on in your life. And they hit one of the scouts for the Germans and knocked him up against a tree and the other one took off down that hill and I bet they shot ten thousand rounds of ammunition at him and never did touch him. That other one was laying over there under the tree and this old boy got up and walked over there – he was crying and moaning and carrying on. He walked over there and just took his gun and shot him.

We went through a place and I didn’t know what in the world it was, but it had posts all down one side and wire all down those posts and I couldn’t figure out what in the world it was for. But it was either where they had had or were building a place for a concentration camp. I’d never heard of a concentration camp and there weren’t any buildings there, just the wires and the posts. We just went on through that thing, still not paying any attention.

And we finally get somewhere that night and go in a German warehouse. We were gonna spend the night there. They warned us not to take our boots off, because some of em had trench foot and if you ever took your boots off your feet would swell up so that you couldn’t get your boots back on. And then we ran out of rations, we didn’t have anything to eat and we looked around in there and we found great big rolls of Swiss cheese – great big ones, I guess they must have weighed two or three hundred pounds a piece. And case after case of Portugese sardines put up in mustard. And we were all pretty hungry. And I ate so much Portugese sardines and Swiss cheese that it was years before I could even think about eating any more because it made me so sick.

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Gunny Walker said...

You know this Granddad Blogging is cool right? I just wanted to give you some admiration for this project. Keep it up. Did you run into a problem of him telling you stuff that he didn't want recorded?

Vol Abroad said...

No. He had a lot of self restraint, so anything he didn't want to go on (or didn't want me to hear) he just didn't say.

And thanks for the encouragement