D-Day +2 – Somewhere in France
I think I'm losing it. There are krauts all around me. I can hear them outside, just on the other side of the wall. Only feet away. Still all I can think of doing is write in this stupid journal. I can't see a thing; I can't even tell if I'm writing on paper, that's how dark it is. Please, God, let the Germans be too busy on the beaches to check this one house in the middle of all the ruins. This was the only place we could hide... Let's pray it will not be our final resting place.
I have been stuck in this retched house for well over two days. Our plane was hit right after we crossed the channel, this made us go off course and now I can only guess in what city we are in. Thankfully this man from another plane was thrown off course too; however he is no good to me since he broke his legs from the drop. I had to carry his fat ass across 3 miles of destroyed homes and these gigantic hedges to get to a safe spot. His name is Tyler Smith from the 11th Airborne Division, He was supposed to land a few miles south of “Sword” landing, which can only mean I am way off my landing target.
Thankfully writing that small bit took my mind off of the outside world a little bit, me having to sit here in this dark closet is getting the best of me. Plus my first kill is within inches of me, I have been sitting here looking at this ugly kraut for 2 days now. This is my first real experience of war; the only dead thing I have ever seen was at the dinner table. Sitting in this German’s pool of blood, the pool of blood that I caused is driving me mad. We cannot get up and leave or the enemy will spot us the second our heads get higher than the window; and even then if we walk and leave bloody foot prints behind they will know we are hiding. I can only hope they are too busy with the rest of my army that they wouldn’t care about this one house.
I can only assume the landings went according to plan, since the shells have stopped hitting so far inland. That must mean they are worried about creating friendly casualties from the boats. However that is not stopping the planes from flying over head and strafing the road next to this crippled house. It’s so busy up there that we feel safe for the few seconds we get every day that does not have roaring engines from the skies. We can’t even tell the difference on who is fighting who anymore since the sounds have now fused together. Thankfully the few times the bombs hit close enough, is the few times me and Tyler can talk about how we are going to get out of this alive. It’s weird when you think about it, the idea of death, only a few feet away from you, and it gives you the option of life from its after effects. I sometimes think if I didn’t have him here by my side I would of already went out in a blaze of glory and killed myself by the krauts. Getting him back to his family or hell even back to just the medical camp is the only thing keeping me going.
I know that if I go out and die or even cause some attention to this crumbling house; it will not only be my life at stake, it will now be his as well. We did manage to use the dead krauts jacket to help Tyler out; we couldn’t do anything about his legs but we managed to stuff it in his mouth far enough that he couldn’t scream and give away our location. The Germans are so close, that if we moved just enough to make a noise they would be able to hear us. They are outside every wall, for all hours of the day. They have to be moving to the beach to counter attack us, we both can hear the men running, taking cover from the bombs and yelling at one another every time one gets close to dyeing. The Halftracks and Panzers have the most heart-stopping sound, whether it’s them shooting up the road, or even just the noise there tracks make the closer they get to us. We have seen their take on a jeep that has attached loud speakers on it. It has been driving up and down the battle field saying something like “Der Führer will alle Amerikanischen Gangster tot, diese dreckige Ratten sind es nicht wert zu sterben wie ein echter Soldat.” It has to be some kind of rallying cry for them to fight, which is pathetic. Why would you start a war so brutal, so bloodlust that you can’t even fight without some man in a jeep yelling at you from miles away.
A few hours have gone by since my last writing was done; we had a close call with a soldier. Thankfully he did not see us in this small corner of a closet. However something was different about him, his uniform is not like the dead man on the floor in front of us. He even spoke French, why would a French man be fighting for the Germans? Why the hell are we even over here trying to help these men, when they are fighting with the enemy? I really hope our support gets here soon, I don’t think I can stand this much longer, Tyler keeps going in and out of consciousness from the blood loss since one of his bones is sticking out. If he dies then I will be right behind him, I can’t take this war anymore. I hear people giving me orders when I know that there is no one else here. Our army better get here fast before this is the last entry in this damn journal. – Henry Freeman
January 1st, 1936 – San Diego, California
I really must be getting old; these new ships being built are just way too modern for me. All I have ever known was the sea, from the Great War 20 Years ago up until now. My only life away from these massive vessels is with my wife and kids, and even they are following in my footsteps it seems. It’s only a matter of time before they follow their old man into battle.
I suppose this great country of ours has the right idea, out with the old and in with the new. Our ancient vessels feel like rust buckets compared to these giants. Even the small tug boats put our destroyers to shame; I suppose once the new decade rolls around my final tour will be over. I can only hope that I can keep up with these new weapons and technology long enough to leave on my own free will and not kicked off.
I can’t even see our old Battleships anymore from the height of these new ships. They have to be over a few hundred of them being built all at once. Why they are all being built here in San Diego makes no sense to me, do they not need ships on the east coast? Perhaps they are still building some over there, which would be absolutely ridiculous; who would ever need this many ships in operation at once? These new Carriers they are building just look like floating cities to me, who would need a ship this size. Planes will never work on ship battles; they are made for dog-fighting each other, not dog-fighting enemy ships. *Looks up* Ah see, those planes are going back to base on land where they should stay, not out in the ocean with us where they are useless.
I can only hope that my sons never have the career like I do in the military. I have spent well over half my life living and fighting for this country; it would be a shame if another Freeman like me would have to suffer through that anguish. Hopefully they learn not to make friends in the army as well, that could have been the hardest part of my life in the military was watching my friend get killed at sea. Well, I guess my stroll down the docks is finished, time to start heading back to the California.
January 3rd 1936 – Huntington, Oregon
“Are you sure you boys are doing this for the right reasons? It’s not every day that two brothers walk through the doors to enlist together. You do realize that the odds of you being in the same company, let alone being in the same region during war time is nearly impossible”
“Of course we are doing this for the right reasons; our father was a sailor during the Great War. He told us all the stories of his ordeals in the war which has made both of us want to follow in his footsteps. We also know that we won’t be together, especially since we will not even be joining the same branch of the military. Plus Jonathon waited the extra year to enlist so we could come do this together, and we would both know that neither of us would chicken out on the way.”
“Well okay then, I guess I technically can’t stop you boys from joining. What were you guys interested in enlisting for? Military Police? Medical? Engineer? Transport? Or have you two not decided”
“Well I think Johnnie knows what he wants to do, but me on the other hand I have a few questions that I hope you can answer”
“Ok well Jonathon, what were you wanting to enlist for?”
“Well hearing about all those power house machines on the battle fields 20 years ago have always got me going. I would like to enlist for the new Armor divisions of the Army. I think those machines will be the new face for warfare, and I want to make sure I am with that to the very end!”
“I don’t think that will be a problem, since the Armor division is relatively new; most of the boys signing up have no idea on what these machines are for. Most still think that the wars are fought with rifles and boats, nothing else. So there is a big shortage of men for this branch so you will not have a problem getting in. As for you…. Uh… I am sorry I did not catch your name? “
“It’s Henry, Henry Freeman”
“Well Henry, what questions did you have to ask, I really hope I can answer them”
“I have heard Rumors from our old man that they are starting a new branch of infantry jumping out of a plane? Is this rumor true, is there going to be a new branch just for this type of action? I have been such a dare devil for my life I feel that this job would be truly amazing for me. How would I go about getting into this new branch?”
“Well as of right now this branch is still under testing. I am not even supposed to be giving you this information but since you already know about it; me saying this couldn’t do any harm. You will not be able to enlist for a couple more years, however since most of the training will be infantry training you can get a great head start. You can enlist for the Infantry today, or whenever you are ready to enlist, and once that branch is formed and they are taking men to do the job. Then go talk to your CO about changing to that and you should be able to. This way you will have more infantry training then most, and if I am right I do believe you have a nice pay raise as well……… So if that answers everything I will go ahead and go get the few sheets needed to enlist and we can be on your way. Also since there is a base near Portland you will need to be ready very soon, it will only take a week or so for them to come take you there……. God Be With You Boys”
March 10th – San Diego, California
Well this month has been a terrible month for me, all the more reason to retire from the armed forces. In this past month half of my old beat down fleet was sent up to San Francisco to help protect that city. I can only assume that the Generals were a bit uneasy after the recent news in the world. Even some of the new destroyers that were fresh off the assembly line were sent up to Los Angeles. They must be trying to guard every single major city on the west coast. God knows what is going on in the east coast since that is where most of the major problems were at.
Now that half of my fleet is gone up north, the people that have served with me for years are slowly getting taken away from me. Whether it is from old age, or the transportation of our ships, all these new young guns feel that an old veteran like myself should have been long gone. These boys don’t even know how to imagine what war would be like, thinking they own the world and take on everything. I bet all of these damn kids would be so in shock they couldn’t move. I can only hope our nation won’t have to depend on these kids for our future. If that were to happen I can’t see our nation lasting long.
Most of the ships that are here in San Diego are close to being completed. I wonder how many more are planned to be built after these are done? The recent world events had to of lit a fire underneath the generals bottom to help protect our country. I have already seen 10 new ships being built in the past 2 months. That’s incredible since I have seen 10 ships being built in the past 10 years; they have to be preparing for something.
Apparently Europe is on the verge of a major war just from the past month. I guess Spain was split into a major civil war from out of nowhere. Apparently the 2 biggest parties for that country were torn into pieces after a few bad judgment calls. The world can only hope that this Civil War will not give anyone else ideas to revolt.
Days before the Civil War broke out, I guess the small country of Ethiopia was slaughtered by the Italians. I don’t even know where that god forsaken country is, and what the Italians wanted with it. It was all in the papers lately that Ethiopia was still fighting with weapons from the past century against the mighty Italian troops. God knows how many people they slaughtered over there. I guess that other then the swift military buildup that we Americans are doing, our President has also been trying to become friendly with the United Kingdom. An alliance there will only help with any future war that could be brought our way. Let’s just hope it never happens. – William Freeman
April 1st – Camp Rilea, Oregon
Dear Mom or Dad,
I do not know who this letter will be sent too, my CO said that if I write a letter they will send it to my parents. Since both of you are 1000 miles apart I will have no idea who it’s sent too. I want you to know that there is also a second letter coming in this envelope, by some stroke of luck both of us were sent to the same training camp. I guess Oregon is in short supply of camps as well.
I hope that I can continue to send some pictures with my letters; we have been attached with a few photographers for “The Oregonian”. They seem to be taking pictures of the new armor divisions that are being made since they are so new. I can only hope they follow through with their words that they will take a few pictures for us. We already have 2 pictures for you!
Anyways enough about the technical stuff, I hope the farm is ok; or if this is sent to pops I hope that they have traded you out for a new boy like myself. I think the new recruits like me have managed to funnel out all of the old vets from the previous war; which is very sad for me since I was hoping to learn something from them. I really hope that we get some new equipment soon. I don’t like learning how to shoot and train with the weapons of the Great War, hasn’t there been any new stuff coming?
I have been watching Johnnie driving his “tank” around the camp grounds. They have been making some tracks for him to maneuver with; I can only hope that he does not see this letter or ill have some explaining to do. I do not see what has interested him with these machines for so long. They look like a Sardine can on wheels, they are so small I think I could take a can opener to the thing and make a hole in it. Plus he has been a terrible driver, I am surprised they have not kicked him out yet; he has nearly killed 10 people from running over them. I am not sure if it’s him watching where he goes or someone else but he needs to watch. He nearly went down the firing lines and hit every single person doing target practice; it looked like Dominoes with everyone jumping out of the way.
Well I wish I could tell you more about what is going on over here. We are only allowed 1 piece of paper to write back to our families with so this letter is running out very quickly. I hope to write you soon in the coming weeks or months.
I know it’s been a few months since we last spoke; we have been so busy with training and other things that we were never allowed to write. Henry seems to think that they could send these letters to dad in San Diego; which is just stupid everyone but him knows that they send them back home. I wonder sometimes how he is even in our family with his mind; did he tell you that he shot a bullet at my tank? I was technically driving down the firing line, but that gave him no right to shoot at my tank in the tracks.
These tanks are everything I have ever dreamed of, they are fast, powerful, and practically immune to anything anyone has to shoot at it. We leveled an entire house with one shot from our main gun on the practice range, that had to of been the best time in this machine yet. I can only hope that I become a tank commander one of these days, these things will be the focal points of the next war. I am very glad I did not follow pops footsteps into the Navy like he wanted.
I will hopefully be able to send you a picture of me driving this tank with the letter I am sending you. I hear they are coming up with a bigger and better version of this machine. How they can make something better baffles me since these are already monsters. I can only hope that I do well enough in training that I get to be one of the first ones to drive and shoot one of these things. I haven’t been able to go join Henry at the firing range; I really haven’t even been able to shoot a gun that wasn’t attached to a tank. I sure hope nothing happens in a battle that I can’t be in here, or I would be running around like a chicken with his head cut off.
Well mother, I am running out of paper now. I will hopefully send you another letter here in a few weeks since I have accumulated so many pieces of writing paper. Some of the people in my company have nobody to write too so they keep giving the papers to me. Anyways, I hope the farm and you are ok.