Letter to Al and Marguerite Morgan Fox from Joseph Fox in Occupied Germany
Dear Al, Peg,
It finally came down to us. We have no more mail censoring over here. Other words, we seal our own letters now. I have been waiting for that day long time now. It feels good to know that some one isnít prying into your mail. We moved again. This time we are located in a little town about 15 miles from Nuremberg. There isnít much for us to do so we more or less sit around and take things quite easy. And how we love it. Naturally we are all sweating out going home. I have now a total of 71 points. It's' not very high and yet not too low. Maybe it might be enough to keep me from the C.B.I. I don't think that I would like to go there. I feel that I have been lucky enough to get through this one over here so now I want to get back to that place called the States.
This Division I think has seen quite enough, now let somebody else carry the burden. When I look back at it all now I get chills up and down me. When the thing is actually happening you sweat. But after it is all over and you think about it, then it gets you. What had me sweating was those last few days in combat. We knew it was just a matter of days and yet how easy a guy could get knocked off. Way back I used to say to myself. If I was going to get it thatís all there was to it. But not at the end. It was too near the finish to get knocked off.
Let me tell you that our Army isn't as good as you people back there think it is. For instance take the Break-through last Dec when the Krauts broke through our lines. It was a dammed shame. Somebody along the line messed up not having that area more heavily defended than it was. Lots of boys lost their lives because of that.
Our Division was the first Div in Germany. We crossed into Germany in Sept 12. We took a little town called Bliealf. Well, exactly 5 months later, we were fighting for that same town. And lots of boys were killed too.
We had just got through with the Hurtgen Forest and they sent us to Luxemburg for a rest, but it didn't turn out to be a rest. Them Krauts came right after us. Those sure was grim days and our morale was low as hell. The people back home don't know just how bad a thing it was. We were the only Division in Luxemburg at the time of the Break-through. It's a good thing they came the right way. We had our Division so far spread out it wasn't funny. They tried to get to Luxemburg City but we stopped them which is a good thing.
It sure was a heartbreaker to see the young kids that they were sending over. I found one kid in the woods with a bullet in his head. He was 19 years old and had come over in Jan and here he was laying dead in Feb. The poor kid didn't have a chance.
Our Army wasn't so good as we think it was. Our Division was so beat up when we left the Hurtgen forest it was pitiful. We were with a squad of infantry up there and that whole squad was wiped out. That sure was tough to take. What a nice bunch of guys.
About a week before the Krauts packed in they almost got us. We took a little town that afternoon and only left a squad of doughs to defend it. That night 2 SS companies pulled a little counter attacked and almost knocked us off. I kept saying to myself. What a way to go out. We sure did knock them stiff though. Those SS guys wouldn't stop for nothing. When we start to throw things at them, we let everything go but the kitchen sink. And we sure did let it go that night.
That Artillery of ours saved our ass more than once. What Artillery. Best in the World. And plenty of it. My crew shot down two planes. A F.W.109 and a 190. Really had a good crew. And they weren't scared of nothing.
Well Al guess that is all for now so I will close. Write often will you. It's kind of Monotonous around here, a letter of two will help kill the time.
1. C.B.I. - China India Burma Theater
2. "Roy" - Most probably Russell Fox
3. Hurtgen forest - Rifle companies suffered almost 150 % causalities
"For us the Hurtgen was one of the most costly, most unproductive, and most ill-advised battles that our army has ever fought." --Gen. James Gavin, Commander, 82nd Airborne Division, 1944-1945
to the 4th Infantry Division website for more detailed history
4.. "71 Points" - One of the most critical numbers for our military personnel. If you're points were not high enough for release, you'd be part of the massive force trying to invade Japan. The casualties rates during the invasion were expected to be very high. I doubt if any one serving in the Armed Forces at that time would be concerned with the "morality" of dropping the A-Bomb.
On V-E Day (Victory in Europe) Eisenhower had sixty-one U.S. divisions, 1,622,000 men, in Germany, and a total force in Europe numbering 3,077,000. Before the defeat of Japan, military planners were going to send 1 1/2 million troops to the Pacific and release 600,000 home. The remainder would be occupation forces. The rating was calculated individually for every enlisted man in the theater on the basis of one point for each month of service since September 1940, one point for each month of overseas service since September 1940, five points for each decoration or battle star, and twelve points for each child under eighteen up to a maximum of three. When V-J Day (Victory over Japan) came, the point system was used to select which men were to be sent home first. http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/wwii/Occ-GY/ch18.htm
5. Two German planes shot down - Focke Wulf 109 and a FW 190