New Year's Eve 1944-45
[Editor's note: Most of Mr Anderson's essays were hand-written on binder paper. This one was typed on a typewriter. Towards the end of this letter, Anderson addressed "Larry". That "Larry is not me. I suppose it was Mr Anderson's son.]
In the snow, a convoy of U.S. Army trucks came to a soft, crunchy halt outside of Phalsbourg, Alcasce Loraine, France. We were pinned down by German Artillery. No lights, no fires, no smokes, no heat, no fun. Cold, cold, cold. Numb and miserable, with no feeling at all in my hands and feet. I was almost ready to cry when my jeep driver, a tough young Polish American, started to mutter something in "elegant" Polish. As soon as I realized it was the Lord's Prayer, I joined him in English, and immediately felt better! Next day we retreated to Baccarat and some preventive shelter.
Jan 25 - Feb. 2
Morhange, Ste. Marie Aux. Mines, Ribeauville, Logelbach - Colmar At Colmar the code room was an elegant tiled bathroom of a "liberated" mansion south of the General's headquarters in the basement below. Some spy with a short wave radio gave our exact location to the Germans across the Rhine. Every nine minutes a shell came in from a huge railroad gun across the Rhine. I lost several buddies that night, but we learned to dive between the Signal Corps safes every nine minutes. The purple tile came off the wall, but we capt the code room going. Next day U.S. Air Force took out the railroad gun.
Morhange, St. Avold, Bitche. Oh yes, Bitche Bitter fighting--taken, given up and retaken by the 28th divisiion. They even re-designed their shoulder patch to say "Sons of Bitche" when the got it back. But High Command wouldn't stand for it and the guys had to remove that descriptive name.
At Pirmasens we were finally in Germany! We crossed the Rhine on a Pontoon Bridge at Worms (pronounce it like "Verms") It was here that we heard that General George Patton relieved himself in the Rhine and it was here, long ago, that Martin Luther nailed a paper to a church? Or City Hall?door to begin the Protestant Reformation.
Each circled number represents a temporary headquarters and code room. Tauberbischofshein (some Bishop had charge of a village on the Tauber river long, long ago). Outside of Rothenburg I captured seven Germans in my sleep. Its funny, but it is too long to write. Maybe I will tell you about it.
We were moving fast. Look at the dates. At Dillingen we camped on the banks of the Danube--not blue, but muddy from melting snow. At Augsburg somedoy let the animals out of the zoo, and the G.I.s had to help corrall them and feed them. I was too busy to see much of that.
Also at Augsburg, our code room was in the Board of Directors room of the Messerschmidt Aircraft Plant. I found a citation for this plant in a filing cabinet, with the signiture of Adolph Hitler. This was the monster who had messed up my life. I had no use for his autograph, and sold it the next day for $10.00.
These scenes were indescribable--thousands of prisoners marching toward our rear--all having to be fed while we pressed forward. We knew the end was coming, as every message we decoded indicated. May 7-8--I worked the graveyard shift and next morning was washing my socks in an alpine stream when we got final word, surrounded by flowers and birds and sunshine.
Curtiss H. Anderson A S N 39860927
S/Sgt. 65th Signal Battalion XXL Corps
NQS (Military Occupational Specialist)
Larry--Languages made it possible for me to do this. You remember that "the die was cast" Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and conquered his Roman rivals. May you cross many Rubicons, and be victorious--and may you be generous to friends and foes.