Home Page     Index     Soldier's Mail

p8

        Aug. 23, 43
Dear Dad,
I didn't feel bad about the cadet test because I knew what was likely to happen. I'm in the Infantry alright and I am dammed proud of it. The only thing about the infantry is that there is no future in it. I think you would kind of like the Army. There is a lot of interesting things to learn, of course they get pretty boring at times but I guess that is the way you learn anything. Tomorrow we fire the machine gun for the first time and we started on the trench mortar last thur.. That's the way it is here, you start in on something new before you have finished something else. The mortar - 81 M.M. - is quite a thing, it sets in a gully or shell hole or behind a small hill, the corporal goes out ahead and sights the enemy or target and tells the gunner where to aim by turning cranks. The assist. Gunner drops the shells into the barrel and they come out all by themselves. The barrel is a tube open at one end, when the shell drops it hits a pin sticking up in the bottom and it goes sailing out over the sky in a 3000 yd arc. If desired. And boy! Where it lands - well I just wouldn't want to be there. Take the bayonet, it is a wicked thing to tangle with, it isn't sharp but you can sure tear a guy up with it. It's a funny thing how they teach you how to take a man apart, and they are so strict about in the same country. I haven't driven any yet but that's just one of those things you never know any thing about. When we came in they said we were all special picked men, well we are and there isn't much chance in getting out. I know one thing, I won't stay here after the war.
I would just as soon not have my family letters read by the neighbors. I write neighbors and friends letter that mother can send around. I suppose the horse is pretty fat, she can run it off in the woods. How is the ensilage corn coming, it must be at least a foot high by now, maybe six feet would be more like it.
It's a wonder that condenser stood up that long. I was looking for it to go out anytime. I haven't noticed anything about tires lately, they are the least of my worries. It was great to hear from you, I guess it just seemed more natural to have Mother write. Taps time is coming around so I'll have to scram down to the barracks. Life is a funny thing. What?
       As ever,
        Dean

Here is a picture they took of us as we left the Legion home on the 30th of June civilian clothes look kind of funny anymore.