Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Following the 10th Armored (15): Ending an Uneventful Month

This is part of a series following my father's 10th Armored Division in World War II seventy years ago. He was a medic with the 80th Medical Battalion assigned to the 10th Armored, part of Patton’s Third Army.

Nichols in Impact describes the end of January into the beginning of February 1944 for the now reunited 10th Armored.
The Division’s stay in the Faulquemont area was uneventful. Except, perhaps, for the unique arrangement which permitted one train a day to come from the German side to our area without having to suffer the indignity of being shelled by the Tigers. In this way, the Germans who worked on the German side but who loved behind American lines, could go to work every day and return in safety.
He then adds another tidbit of trivia:
And for once, the rear echelon found itself in surroundings far inferior to those which favored the front line Tigers. Nowhere, for example, was it possible to get a bath in the Division Headquarters area. But up front, all was serene as the Tigers there wallowed in hot water, thanks to the good conditions of the area’s water works.
So with this break in the action, I have had some time to do some thinking again of what I am writing about.

1. The recent discussions in the media about the current movie, American Sniper, made me stop and think about the “glorification” of war we often see and read. I have had no false impressions about war, even before starting this. War is not something to be glorified and those who fight it are not to be made into some demi-gods. We glorify war when we take war- and the actions of some soldiers- and turn it into propaganda. At this writing I have not seen American Sniper, so I can’t comment on that. But to really understand war and its horrors is not a glorification. Perhaps in the long run to really show it in it’s awful detail is the best way to work against war. This is something I know I will return to later.

2. I mentioned in another post the “fog of war.” Chaos is perhaps a better word for it. Bastogne in the midst of the Battle of the Bulge may be a paradigm for it. The time of the siege of Bastogne was a time when there was no control- things were on a knife’s edge. At times it appears that primal reactions were the only thing that made sense. What will happen between now and the end of the war will be nowhere near that level of chaos. The war has made its final turn and the Allies are in control, whatever that will mean.

3. What I also find interesting is that from this point on in the war, the actions in Europe that my dad was involved with were actions that we don’t hear a lot about. These aren’t the BIG actions. But they were important and the war was far from over. Between now and VE Day in May the war for the 10th will be:
  • Clearing the Saar-Moselle Triangle
  • Capture of Trier
  • Race to the Rhine
  • Battle for Crailsheim
For now, though, the 10th is regrouping and training for what will yet happen.

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