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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

France, Germany then Austria.

The division continued on to Strasbourg. Over the centuries this area had been one time French and another time German. Bill got a 3 day pass and enjoyed a visit to the Cathedral, and visited the baths at Bourbonne les Bainnes. Getting shed of about 4 months of grime. Then it was back to business coming up the Colmar Pocket.

Remember, this winter coming up was the same one that caused so much trouble in the north resulting in the Battle of the Bulge. The fighting was just as nasty and severe as in Belgium. A good account of the 3rd Division's efforts at Colmar can be found here

I usually want mainly the account of Bill and his friends but it is worth a look at what the Third was up against at Colmar. Moving in the battle Bill and a couple friends stayed with a French family who were very friendly. Later on a return trip to Darmstadt after delivering an officer to Le Harve the soldier I was with took me back to one of the French towns where the division had been and we visited the family again. Not the family Bill and friends were but where this soldier had been. To celebrate our visit the family served a glass of potato schnapps. I'm telling you this was the worst stuff I think I had ever drunk in my limited drinking career. I guess I drank it as there would no place to pour it out. I cant remember now. This was at Christmas time when the Division went through here and they were there long enough to have a Cristmas tree. This was the artillery not the infantry of course . In their first house they were run out of because an officer came in and told them they were in his territory and would have to leave. Being an order by an officer of course they had to comply. They didn't say how willingly. Bill's friend Patsy spoke French and some Italian so that made things a lot easier. Here they had a treat because they were able to eat at the Kitchen. Other times they ate C rations. Which is canned food.