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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The rain came...

Suffice it to say that it is no longer hot and is now just wet, very wet. The dry weather gave way to torrential rains two days after the Big Push began. Some one in the Heavens must have a sickened sense of humor because just as we were gaining some headway in breaking the German lines...the rains came and everything slogged to a standstill. Now both sides are digging deep again.

Not that things were going really well before the rain......every single yard we gained was paid for in blood...our blood. Fritz did not want to give up that series of trench-lines and out posts. There would be a short, vicious bombardment of their line and then we'd rush the trench...hurling Mills Bombs as we jumped into the front line. Any survivors we shot or ran them through with our bayonets. No mercy...a nightmarish fury of shooting, stabbing, punching, kicking, screaming horror...then, it was quiet. After a short while, the Germans would shell us, counter-attack and the furious hand to hand combat would begin all over again. We would go back and forth like this, hour after into night. I thought it would never end. 

And then we began to hold...and the counter-attacks weakened, then stopped. We started to advance a few hundred yards at a time. Word was that the Front Line had been broken a couple miles to the south and the Hun were in retreat. We almost began to have hope again...hope that maybe, just maybe, this time, this nightmare, this war might end. We could push the enemy, pursue them, destroy them and maybe, just maybe end the war. For the first time in years we were in open country and on the move. Then the Germans turned back to fight, to hold their ground. And the advances started to a crawl.

We continued to attack, hour after hour with minor, insignificant little gains, an advance of a hundred yards here....200 yards there. But the casualties were incredibly high...then the rains came. And every movement and everything just stopped, bogged down in deep mud, mired in a land torn and shredded by incessant shellfire. Moving forward was out of the question though for awhile, orders to continue the attack were given until the slaughter...our slaughter became so great that there were not enough men left in the Division to continue. We had become a Ghost Division. So we waited for our relief and dug in as best we could in the heavy rain and prayed for someone, anyone to have mercy on us..... 

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