Thoughts from a World War II battlefield

Thoughts from a World War II battlefield

This is a discussion on Thoughts from a World War II battlefield within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Memorial Day: Thoughts from a World War II battlefield A now anonymous ambulance driverís letter home offers glimpses into warís hell, and the courage of ...

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Thread: Thoughts from a World War II battlefield

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Thoughts from a World War II battlefield

    Memorial Day: Thoughts from a World War II battlefield

    A now anonymous ambulance driverís letter home offers glimpses into warís hell, and the courage of those honored on Memorial Day.

    The letter was among many written in World War II and stored for decades in files The Press gave to the Ridgefield Historical Society last year.

    The author signed only the initial ďB.Ē He appears to have served in the ambulance corps in Italy. Notes by the late Press owners Karl and Betty Grace Nash suggest the writer lived part time in New York and may have attended the Ridgefield Boys School.

    Here are excerpts:


    ď...There has been one week of the worst hell that I have ever been through, and everyone who has been with the battalion for this week will agree. Just after I wrote that last word to you a week ago, a stonking began which lasted almost 24 hours. Practically the first shell killed the lad who was driving our stretcher jeep. I got a couple of holes through the ambulance, but no other damage...

    ďIt was all right for those who could stay dug in all the time, but Jimmy, my orderly, and I had to go out with casualties on the track that was being steadily stonked. Luckily they decided to give me about 48 hours off. I didnít really want to go, but I was getting damn jumpy. Pete Sloane relieved me, and I went back to see a little girl that I knew in a town just behind the line. It was heaven walking in the fields, not continually dodging into trenches, feeling for even a short time somewhat like a human being.

    ďThe morning after, I was shaken out of a sound sleep to be informed that Peteís ambulance had been knocked out, and that I was to report back ... I found that they had succeeded in driving off a counter-attack, and that they had had one hell of stonking...

    ďI cannot describe the feeling of day after day feeling that the next one might smack in right at your feet, the terrible shock of having them hit so close that you can feel the blast, and canít understand why youíre not riddled with shrapnel, the stink of the dead that you donít feel like risking your neck to drag in, huddling in a dank hole wishing you could move around, and then when you do have to go out wishing you were back in the dugout where there is at least some protection.

    ďThere is nothing on this earth as awful as the evacuation of a very serious case. You have to creep over the track so as not to aggravate the already painful wounds of your patient. When they land close, your first impulse is to jump for cover. Obviously, you canít. You just have to keep on driving ahead, slowly and steadily, and any one who says he isnít terrified is lying.

    ďYou know that I have sometimes wished that the ambulance would be hit, and that I could pick up some small wound, but that feeling is always short-lived for when each evacuation is over, and Jimmy and I are safely back in this miserable dugout, there is the most wonderful feeling of satisfaction, and you are glad that you are still in one piece, and ready to go out when the next wounded come in.

    ďApart from the harrowing and tragic moments when I saw my friends knocked off beside me I am glad that I have had the chance to serve with the infantry ... I have seen how the infantry take terrific pounding, and when itís over get ready to counter-attack ... I am now convinced that it is the infantry man and the infantry man alone who really knows war...

    ď...Though Jerry shells us on the road in an ambulance, often because he canít quite see what it is, he is most respectful concerning the Red Cross when he recognizes it; and several times his men have come over to help us out in carrying out our wounded. Once he even lent us some morphine and pencils for marking foreheads...

    (I have never heard of this before)

    ďIn two days Iíll be out of the line for a three-day rest and then on to Florence, I hope. Iím going back to the town where I got this typewriter out of a Fascistís house. We entered there right behind Jerry. As we came streaming in the front of the town he went out the rear. The people welcomed us as ĎLiberatoreí and gave us the town. The women kissed us and everyone was out in the street showering us with garlands and plying us with every kind of native Ďvino...í

    ďIt was there I met the little girl who I am going back to see.Ē
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!


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    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    he is most respectful concerning the Red Cross when he recognizes it; and several times his men have come over to help us out in carrying out our wounded.
    True honor among soldiers.

    Very interesting read, thanks for posting it.
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

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    http://www.shieldsd.net

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    Senior Member Array JohnKelly's Avatar
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    The language is that of a Brit (stonking, Jerry), and I'm wondering if it is WWI instead of WWII.

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnKelly View Post
    The language is that of a Brit (stonking, Jerry), and I'm wondering if it is WWI instead of WWII.
    I was wondering that too.

    Either way, it's a great read about the horrors and compassion that takes place in a war.

    Biker

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnKelly View Post
    The language is that of a Brit (stonking, Jerry), and I'm wondering if it is WWI instead of WWII.
    ďIn two days Iíll be out of the line for a three-day rest and then on to Florence, I hope. Iím going back to the town where I got this typewriter out of a Fascistís house. We entered there right behind Jerry.
    With the reference to Facist my best guess would be WWII. WWI would have been references to Kaiser Wilhelm.

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    Distinguished Member Array Tally XD's Avatar
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    I am no historian but I don't think there would have been a "stretcher Jeep" in WWI. I think the Jeep, Bantam, was designed just prior to WWII.
    ďI am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry.Ē
    - Barack Obama Chicago Tribune, April 27, 2004

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