"THE SAILORS LOG"
BY: GEORGE W. BUTENSCHOEN, LCT 221
Retyped for the web by Megan Fox email@example.com
AMPHIBIOUS FORCE, NAVY BRANCH OF SERVICE
This was sent in by Mr. Butenschoen's brother Dave and his accompanying letter is a good introduction.
"I copied the text from a book that looks like the Navy furnished it. The beginning pages were printed with the questions to be filled in by the person keeping the record.
I don't know if you can use any of it, but it's a pretty good record of a young homesick farm boy who is introduced to some pretty serious combat in the Mediterranean. I'm pretty impressed with his ability to keep up with the entries in the log and, except for some of the scuttlebutt, the accuracy of the events. For instance, on the Jan. 29th entry it mentions a liberty ship and a British cruiser that was destroyed by the Germans. I did a bit of research and found that it was the Samuel Huntington, and the H.M.S. Spartan.
He said the nickname of LCT 221 was "Son of a Beach" and that it was written up in one of the news magazines or military paper-(Post, Life, Stars and Stripes) I got microfilm of the Stars and Stripes but couldn't locate the article that he was referring to. Didn't check the others, but if you happen upon it I would really like to read it."
LCT 221 Crew, taken Feb. 28, 1944 Naples Italy just before Anzio.
Back row L-R Hubert Cagle, Fitzgerald (Boston), Sullivan, Skipper - Craw Ford (Texas), Cauffman (or Kaufman), Alfred Orenstein ( Mass.)
Front row L-R Carson, John Bailey, George Butenschoen, Bill Grace and Mr. Peterson.
Age: 21 Date of Birth: December 21, 1920 Height : 5 ft. 9 1/2 in. Weight: 160 lbs.
Hair Color: light complexion: light Eye Color : blue Hat Size: 6 7/8
Collar Size: 15 1/2 Blouse: 38 Shoes: 8 Gloves: 10 Sleeve length: ? Waist: 32
Trouser Size: 32 Length : ? Marks and Scars: One scar on my right arm just below the elbow shaped like a 1/2 moon. There is also a scar on the left leg right on the knee
Home Address: Geo. Butenschoen City: Marvin State: So. Dakota
Latest place of employment: On the farm by Geo Veen. Social security number: ?
Hobbies and Sports: Baseball, Fishing, Music, Fixing watches, Dancing, Boxing, & Skating. Father: George Butenschoen Mother: Sophie Butenschoen
Other Relatives: 8 brothers Oscar, Robert, Henry, LeRoy, Charles, Walter, Teddy, David. 2 sisters Dorothy May, & Alama.
Date Entered Into Service: August 13,1942 Place: Watertown, So. Dakota
Registration Number: 730-76-57 Branch of Service: Amphibious Force
Where Sent after Induction: U.S. Naval Base Great Lakes, Ill.
To What Outfit Assigned: 751 , in the G.L.ILL. Crew, 2507 Flotilla 8, Division 24.
Nature of Service: Amphibious seaman & gunner Rank: A.S.-GM 3/C
Serial Number: 730-76-57 Other Information: From Watertown, S.D. to Great Lakes for boat training, from Great Lakes to NO. 13 Norfolk Va , From Norfolk to Portsmouth Va, From Portsmouth to Little Creek for training on L.C.T. from Little Creek to New York.
Calendar of Events
Left on leave for home the 28 of December 1942 & got back here Saturday night at 8:00 the 9th of January 1943. Oh yes, on the 11th we had to start to go to school again. I got my first letter from Shirley today the 12th & donít think for a min. that it did not make me feel better. January 14th nothing ever happens in this place. Itís windy and lonely out today and me just lying on my bunk thinking of Shirley and home. January Errol Flinn sure got his troubles with those two girls but they asked for it, nice tricks they tried to play. Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker & his men had very close call out in that nice vast of water. They almost lost their lives. A seagull flew on his head and ate everything except but the intestines & they used them for fish bait.
January 20th, Grace and I went to a small town to skate, I didnít do so hot, fell down once but I loved it.
January 23 Grace, coffee and I went skating again. I did better this time. I had allot of fun trying & Iím going to keep trying until I can do it because I want to surprise Shirley because she likes skating more than anything else & Iím doing it for her so we can go together after this war.
January 26, division 28 is go out today and leaving for Africa tomorrow, I wish I was in it.
January 27, Division 28 left today and they seemed very happy about it, tonight there going to make a broadcast over the radio & we are all suppose to listen to it, I wonder what it is. Well, I heard it wasnít that the War was over but the pres. F.D. Roosevelt went by plane to someplace in Africa to talk war stuff with Churchill. He was there for 10 days and no body new about it until that night. He was & is the only pres. that ever took an airplane during a war. He was right with the fighting boys in Africa & ate lunch or dinner with them and said it was a pretty darned good meal.
January 29, Russia took 31 towns and surrounded about 100,000 German soldiers. Not bad "huh."
January 30,Saturday night I could have gone to the Pres. Ball but I was short of money & I just had to write to Shirley & sis. Today is the day sis wrote and said she was tired of city life and is going home as soon as she can.
January 28,coffee and I did not stand inspection, we hid behind a door in the closet. Lots of fun.
February 6th, Grace Fitzgerald & I went to his home in Springfield Mass. We left at 4:30 Saturday and got back at about7:00 Monday morning. I had a good time & it was nice to see Springfield Mass.
February 8th, Errol Flinn slipped it over on them two girls, he won the case and the girls went back home. Went to church with Grace and Fritzy while we were at home.
February 10,Russia is starting to get back Rostov & are going between 10 to 15 miles a day.
February 11, The Japs are driven out of ( left blank) Islands.
February 14, Russia recaptures Rostov today & are doing good by going further on.
February 15, The U.S. and Japs. USN fleet won the battle in the Solomon's. We lost 2 ships , one was the Chicago. We lost 22 planes & Japan lost 56 planes & 17 ships.
February 14,The Japs and Germans pushed the U.S.A. back about 25 miles around Tunis Sea in Africa.
February 14, was the coldest February ever seen in history here in New York & the 3rd coldest day ever recorded in New York.
February 20,Reds capture 2 more railroad centers. Cagle and I were going to New York but our train hit a car, an old lady got hurt and died about 2 hours after. Two others never got hurt at all, that I know of.
March 1,3 other boys and I went to RI New Port, to gunner school & came back March 3rd.
March 2, U.S. & R.A.F. bombed Berlin Germany for the 58th time, they dropped 900 tons of bombs, each plane carrying from 5 to 10 tons. Fire of it could be saw about 200 miles away, it was the biggest air raid ever put on Berlin.
March 8th, Reds were pushed back about 80 miles on one of the fronts but was going ahead on the other 2. In Africa we are still pushing the Germans back, not far from fade Pass.
This is the 18th of March, We came aboard March 17th, yesterday and are pulling out some time tonight , to some place I do not know as yet , Iím aboard a L.S.T. 300 ft. long , right now I like it pretty good.
March 19th, It was 11:05 when we hit another ship storm.
March 20, We got lost or we lost the rest of the rest of the convoy.
March 21, Still lost , but the fog lifted and it is a lot nicer.
March 22, About 8 saw 4 ships or LCIís & thought they were enemy subs at first. That night of the 22 we didnít move much, because we hit a storm, it let up in the morning.
March 23, everything going swell, only the sea is a little rough.
March 24, about 4:30 we landed in Bermuda, sure it is a nice place.
March 25, We pulled in to the port to have our ship fixed & a 3 in gun fix , had my shirt off most of the day , it rains a shower about every 2 or 3 hours the way it seems , there ainít much of buildings but what there is are pretty.
March 25, 4 other boys and I went to Bermuda or to town and rode bicycles all after noon. The things you buy are pretty much high, like beer 30 cents a bottle & the things you eat are just twice as high in the States.
March 26, pulled out of port about 9:00 & started on our way across about noon with some where around 65 ships, at 8:00 sub sighted but itís or it was an American.
April 8th, Got news of the Germans were trapped in Africa, & romel moved his staff into Italy. We had good going since we left Bermuda.
April 12, Saw land about 2:00in the afternoon, it was Spain & North Africa, about 8 or 9:00 we went through the strait of Gilbratar, there were towns lighted up more than New York is.
April 13, saw the mountains of Spain , we were about 60 miles from them but it look like 3 or 4 . it sure is pretty , they were snow capped , everything going swell yet. Reached port, nemours the 13 of April, set foot on Africa soil for the first time, about 5:30, the people are dressed very poor and hardly have enough to eat.
April 18 went out along the beach and did a little swimming. Went to church in the afternoon. This ship or L.S.T. carry over 800 tons of cargo.
April 22, at 1:30 our ship the L.C.T. was launched from the L.S.T. in nemours navy port of dock.
April 25, we loaded it, about 200 tons.
April 26 started our trip to Aryue at 10:30. Docked up for the night at Beni Sef . An L.C.T. shot down a German transport plane with only 105 rounds of shells.
May 8, Allied & American forces took the last two bases in North Africa, 6000 German & Italian prisoners went through Oran.
May 9, We loaded up with about 125 tons of shells & fuses on our L.C.T. started about 6:00 Monday morning May 10th for Algiers & up to the front. About 4:00 turn back because we had a hole in our side and had about 2 ft. of water over our ammunition.
May 13, just 9 months after I joined the navy the war was over in Africa. We captured about 150,000 German troops.
May 14, We were in Algiers, Africa, started the 15 for to finish our trip , about 275 miles.
Sunday May 16, everything going good havenít even seen an enemy plane yet.
May 20, about 10:45 we were in our first air raid, but no planes came over, they got with in 12 miles of us, it was over about 11:45.
May 22, Landed in Ferryville Africa & had our ammunition unloaded & started back the 24th 9 half tracks and the fellows that run them, about 32 guys.
May 22, British planes bombed the 2nd largest city in the world with 5 times more bombs than Germany ever used to bomb London. British lost 38 bombers & 3 fighters.
May 25, started about 2:00 in the morning for bone and about 4:00 it had an air raid, we were about 40 miles from it and could see the fire from the tracer bullets and flares from the bombs when they struck. They didnít do much damage. Saw around 80 bombers and 60 pursuit planes, p-38 heading for some place in Europe.
June 11, Just lying around this port, Bizerte, nothing to do, just thinking of the coming invasion & how long itíll be yet .
June 11, British took over Pantelleria, only one man was killed when they took it over.
June 12, About 6:30 my crew and I were in our first air raid. Wasnít much to it this time. Saw two enemy airplanes but were out of gun reach.
June 20, At about 2:30 out of the 21 us fellas (2507) were in our first real air raid. I shot only 60 rounds, Huberts gun jammed on him, a dive bomber dive on us & about 800 to 1000 yards away he pulled out of it. We didnít hit him but fellas in the next boat only a few miles away got him. There were 3 shot down, one by the army , 1 navy & 1 air force , so it was told.
June 24 , started for a practice invasion with LCTs , LCIís , LSTís , LCMís , all in all about 200 invasion barges came back the morning of the 26th of June , it wonít be long now that we hit that dam Hitler.
The 5 of July, boy Iíll remember yesterday. Grace thinks weíre going to France for the invasion.
July 6, about 4:00 in the morning we had one hell of an air raid, it lasted until 5:00, saw one plane get hit about 3 miles up & come down in a tail spin. Got 3 others as far as I know now. We start on our invasion tomorrow.
July 7, We started good going until the night of the 9th. first time since I was in the Navy I was seasick, boy was it rough. About @: 30 the first invasion fleet hit the coast of Sicily. About 5:00 we were right in among the firing, pretty hot stuff some times. At 7:00 we hit the beach unloaded in about 3 min & pulled out , it wasnít too nice with shells falling all around our boat , but we made it. About 10:30 just lying around waiting for the rest of our barges. There were about 2000 Naval crafts in the invasion of Sicily.
July 15, So far we lost 2 cans, one bombed and one hit a mine.
July 19, heading back to Bizerte.
July 27, (crossed out)
August 8, Our first air raid in Africa since we invaded Sicily. Got 5 enemy planes.
August 12, Reconnaissance planes came over at 2 & 4 oíclock , an air raid tonight , I bet , weíll see. Nope, no airs raid.
August 16, Sicily fell to the allies and us.
August 17, An air raid that was a honey, they hit a gas pump that was about 600 yards from us.
August 18, Air raid again about 15 to 12pm, planes diving around us, 3 bombs fell about 40 or 50 yards, close wasnít it, one dud fell about 10 to 15 feet off our bow , shrapnel was falling like a spring shower of rain at home. Were we scared? What the hell do you think? Ask me about it.
August 17, Sicily fell to the British & Americans, 38 days after the invasion.
August 27, Saw our first funny paper from the states today. Geo. V I think Iíll get them 2 bottles of beer yet. Smiling Jack is about to find his wife.
August 30, Found out today one of the planes we shot down in one of the air raids had papers in it telling where the airfield was that the came from in Italy. Our bombers went over the next day & bombed the place. They destroyed the airport and got some where around 230 planes on the 25th of August.
August 15, one, our crew, 2507, or 221 , had inspection of all LCTís just ours , by 5 senators of the states & a admiral , and some other fellas.
September 3, About 4:00am British 8th army & AM. Troops invaded the toe of Italy.
September 2, We were loaded with English light infantry & 100 officers or the staff.
September 4, About 10:00 started for Sicily & then to Italy to invade by or 10 miles away from Naples. It was 4 years ago the 3rd of September. That England went into the war, at 11:00am and 4 years to day (the 3rd day in September.) British & AM. Troops invade the cont. of Europe at 4:00am we have the worlds biggest air craft carrier with us, Illustrious, have one other one.
September 3, About 30 tin cans are waiting for the Italyís naval fleet to come out.
September 8, Planes attacked at 2:00am. Dropped a few bombs but didnít hit any thing. About 4:15 again we were attacked, they hit one L.C.T. with ammunition on, no one hurt but it sank in about 20 min. One plane went over us at 2000 ft , shot around 30 times , one came in from our stern about 500 ft. Shot at him about 20 rounds but had to stop for the mast was in the way. 5:00 our first P-38ís were with us. 6:45 message came through that Italy has surrendered. During the night planes attacked the convoy off and on.
September 9, 5:10am we headed for the beach, hell broke loose, Iíll never forget it. While writing we shot down a ME. 109, it hit the water off our bow & tried to hit a LCT, shells falling around us all day. Out of 10 officers on our boat, 9 were hurt and 1 killed, 3 of my crew were hurt. 7:30pm shells started landing on the beach again & we got the hell out of where we were, about 2 miles out we anchored.
September 10, We had 1 air port about 3 to 5 miles inland.
September 11, Italians shot down 7 Jerry planes at Rome & one helping us fight and one helping us with wounded soldiers.
September 12, We unloaded our first load after the 9th, saw the British bring in their dead and wounded on an LCI. The dead are buried right on shore on a little hill about 3 ft. deep. Not much happens until 5:30 or 6:00 when we see a dog fight above us. Heavy artillery keeps firing on shore about 10 miles inland. Salerno is being shelled by German 88ís from the hills. From 800 infantry landed on green beach, the first waves only 17 are left.
September 13, Out of 2000 men only 78 left.
September 14, We bombed the Jerry's all night.
September 15 , D+6 the Jerry's are still shelling out here in the water , but reinforcements are landing now too.
September 16, Last night some 88 was shelling the beach from the hills again , we had a load of ammunition on. 5 of the boys and I left our boat and went off on shore away. About 9:00 we went back to our boat by small boat , start unloading today. Jerry's are trying to shell the two battle ships that are in now. Germany is using itís heaviest air power over the Salerno area. The biggest or one of the biggest air and Navy enforcement's now & is expected to be in here by morning. Then weíll see what the Gerry have to say.
September 17, British 8th army meets AM 5th Armored division. Had one hell of an air raid tonight or last night, Jerry's still shelling the beach. 119 Commandos killed 70 some wounded in getting 16 Gerry Tiger tanks.
September 18, We had a pretty much quiet day today, occasionally a dive bomber would slip in & let a few bombs go. Had a British officer & a private on board today, says there just holding the Gerry's until the 8th army gets ready to strike. This is the worst-fighting front of all the war so far. China has been at war 12 years tomorrow, September 19.
September 19, Not much happen , only a few shells around us again & dive bombers.
September 20 , Another damn hot day for us , shells falling within 100 ft. from us. The night was quiet.
September 21, D+12 & still we have Gerry's in the hills shelling us, but not until about 7:00. We were tied up to a limy merchant ship, got in a little trouble & pulled away from it. Capt. said we didnít have to go to it again, lucky we didnít because an L.C.T. was hit tonight that was tied up to it. Oh yes, yesterday we had to go to the beach under fire orders by captain Zemmerly.
September 21, 22, 23, 24, & 25, nothing much goes on, a few shells falls in the water on the shore.
September 26, & 27, Itís very quiet, that is from shells but last night & today it was pretty rough & it rained off and on.
September 28, Yesterday the red army has advanced into White Russia, everything is going pretty good here at Salerno. Germans have bombed 2 of our hospital ships already.
September 28, 29, & September 30, AM British have Naples surrounded & we captured 14 airports the 29th, one is the biggest in Italy.
October 4, We Cagle & I went into Salerno & looked around but didnít see much. Grace & I went in Salerno for the first time on October 2. The boys in our crew, the relief crew are going back to Bizerta tomorrow.
October 5, Cagle and Crawford & I went to Pompeii in Italy, saw the rivers of the old city & what was destroyed once BC & once AD. The 5th and 8th army is still pushing ahead. Radio said the Russians were 10 days from Germany. I donít think so.
October 12 Moved from Salerno to Naples, 5 other LSTs & us. Merchant ships work with their lights on, looks like this isnít a war. Mt. Vesuvius is something I never thought Iíd see.
October 21, Sailing to Sicily to be repaired for something, we left Naples yesterday before noon, 10 LSTís & one LCI. Had good going all the way. The news for the day was very good, & it seems to be good all the time. Germany had bombers over England 5 nights in a row but they didnít seem to hit any thing. Some of the boys & I went to the show tonight, first one in about 2 months. 5th and 8th army is going slow but is taking important places. We are at Palermo.
October 23, Coffee and I went aboard the hospital ship, Seminole , to see Lt. or Chaplain James Henry , then we went up town on Liberty at Palermo , Italy.
November 2, The people of Sicily celebrated their Christmas today. The war is well in hand, Russia, U.S. & Britain made plans for after the war today. Went on liberty today with Grace.
November 10, One year ago yesterday U.S. & British forces landed in C.N. Africa. Red army advanced 50 miles beyond Kieve. Everything is going good.
November 12, Red army has taken over 10 towns yesterday, the 5th & 8th army in Italy is going slow because they are against though German Resistance.
November 16, nothing much happens lately, only us and the allies are still pushing ahead on all fronts. The red army has captured over 500 the past 8 days and are still going strong, there about 63 miles from the Polish border now. Every day our planes hit some big city in France or Germany. Our losses are about 1 to 3 over here.
November 17, One thing nice it was a nice day out but cloudy & dark now. More sailing tonight at about 23:00 for N Africa.
November 19, Landed back in Bezarte about sundown, everything is different than it was 3 months ago when we left. Some of the boys are going back to the states already.
November 25, Yesterday the Reds were about 30 miles from the Polish border. American & French troops are being loaded today & yesterday into L.S.T. heading for some place we donít know. Scuttlebutt was that FD Roosevelt, Churchill, & two High German officers were in Tunis yesterday.
December 2, RAF & AM bombers went over Berlin again, they dropped 48 thousand tons of bombs & there were fires still burning from a raid 6 days before.
December 4, U.S. produced over 8,000 airplanes last month, over 1,000 where heavy 4 engine bombers. Churchill, Roosevelt, & Stalin met somewhere here in the east a few days ago. We made a bluff invasion landing in Italy a few days ago, the Germans fell for it & the army pushed ahead. Russia is still going strong. Germans counterattack a lot but it doesn't do em any good. (Poor devils) U.S. & RAF bombed Berlin again last night, they dropped more than a million incendiary bombs, and we lost 41 bombers.
December 13, One-year +4 ago the Navy got me. On December 2 one of our barges where sunk off the coast of Italy by a (circling) torpedo, everyone was killed so I heard. 3 days ago Italian army started to fight against the Germans in Italy with the 5th & 8th army. Today it was said Brazil for the first time in history had their army come over seas to fight their fighting against the Gerry's. At the time of Pearl Harbor we had a Navy of 360 some ships, half of em were lost there and different places. Now, just 2 years after that we have a Navy of 700 ships. The Navy 2 years ago had some 3000 fighting planes, now they have some 28,000 planes. The U.S. produced a plane every 5-min last month (November the German U-boats have sunk fewer ships than we have sunk German U-boats.) Last month was the less shipping sunk by U-boats since May, 1940.
December 14, Not much happen, everything is going well.
December 25,Christmas day in North Africa at Bizerte. Went along with the boys to church last night at 11:30, got back about 1:00. We bombed France yesterday with 2000 some planes. The biggest squad of planes flying on one raid over German territory in history. Mr. FDR made a speech last night through Jordan , he said that every man in the armed forces now will not have to worry about a job when the war is over. 3:00 I am about to eat dinner. Itís food but not like one would be at home.
December 27, British patrol planes fly with a convoy to Russia spotted one of the Germans biggest battle ships and sunk it off of Norway.
December 30, AM & British troops are still advancing slow but sure. Some places the Gerry's donít get time to take away or bury their dead men. Russia is still going strong, Berlin and other parts of Germany & German held ground was bombed again last night. One raid of Liberator bombers dropped and caused so many fires that it created a wind and made it difficult flying while the last bombers went over.
January 2, 1944 Bombed Berlin last night again, we lost 27 bombers.
January 4, The Red armies are now were the Germans were in 1939. They're about 8 miles from the old Polish boarder.
January 10, Left North Africa for Naples Italy. About 8:00 the weather if wonderful yet, itís about 10:00. All L.C.T. left Bizerta this morning, We are the lead ship.
January 12, We loaded by Naples. We lost 59 bombers again last night over Germany & two fighter planes.
January 15, Just lying around the Harbor in Nicida.
January 14, News said that 40% of German fighter plane factories are destroyed. Russia still advancing. The 5th army is fighting with hand grenades & rifles. The U.S.A. is now producing as much or more war material than the rest of the world together.
January 16, leaving on a trial invasion tomorrow. News is good on all fronts again today.
January 22, Landed about 5 miles on South side of Nettuno. We had 4 air raids, They hit an LCI., most of the crew killed , an A.M. hit a mine and killed all but 45 or 50 , it sank in 3 1/2 min.
January 23, More raids, we got two planes for sure.
January 24, one of our Spitfires was hit and pilot bailed out, 4000 ft., the plane crashed in the sea about 2000 ft. from us. About 8:00 was the first time we saw a dog fight at night. Saw one of Gerry's bombers go down but they got 6 others.
January 25, A couple of raids, the boys are in about 12 miles.
January 25, About 12:30 Mr. Zieglir was hit in the left arm with shrapnel or a 20mm from one of the planes fighting above us.
January 26, L.S.T. blew up, killing all but about 90 out of 600 some.
January 26, & 27, We got 104 of Gerry's planes over this place.
January 28, Raid about 7:30, bombs hit within 400 ft. of us. Boy it was too damn close. Saw 3 planes go down later.
January 29, More raids. Got off beach about 2:30 after being on it for 4 days without lights. A raid about 6:30 & it was a honey. Gerry's got 1 liberty ship , a British cruiser , and 2 other small crafts. It was 3:15, I was on guard & saw a Liberty ship below up about halfway between the bow and bridge. 15 min later the aft blew up & it threw shrapnel & steel about 1000 ft. in the air or more, and some of it hit our boat. About a mile and a half away, it was the prettiest thing I ever saw but any one that was alive before that went off were dead after that Iím sure. Shells exploded all night from it.
January 30 got underway for Naples.
February 3, One of our LCTs was hit by a bomb near Nettuno a few days ago and there was a diver down fixing it and he was just out of the water when it hit and he had to be washed off the deck with a water hose.
February 4, Went to Naples on liberty to see Coffee in the 118 hospital. The Gerrys hold of 6 of our P-38ís and some say they might be using them against us. We have 9 divisions surrounded in Italy. Some of the LCTs went to agnew North Africa today from Naples.
February 13 , We were put up on the slide in Castellammare.
1.Liberty ship-- Samuel Huntington.
2. British cruiser-- H.M.S. Spartan.
February 16, Bombers are flying back and forth over in enemy territory. Last night British air men made the biggest air attract on Berlin thus far , they used some 1000 bombers & dropped 2500 tons of bombs. It was the 15th attract on Berlin & so far 3500 tons of bombs landed on the invincible city.
February 18th, This morning the Red army celebrated another & the biggest victory of the war. They killed 52,000 Germans of the 10 divisions trapped and took 11,000 prisoners. All told there was around 72,000 killed in and outside the Red armies trap. Near Casino the Gerry's are pushing us back & it looks not to good. AM bombers for the first time last Wednesday started to bomb the strongest Jap held in the Pacific. Turck.
February 20 , Had our new officer come aboard with us. Got word that Mr. Ziegler was sent back to the states Feb. 9th.
February 25, Headed for Naples, getting loaded with ammo & be heading for Anzio in a few days. Boy that's a hot place now. Be glade when them Gerry's are out of there. Germans brought down another division, now they have 10 of em near Anzio & Casino.
March 2, had a mighty hot day of it out by a liberty ship, loading gas. One shell dropped about 10 yards away from our stern, we just happen to be moving ahead, thank God or it might have caught us right on the nose, we were about 5 miles out to sea. The Gerry's put a booster on their shells, after the speed has gone down another charge sends it further on itís way. 60 of Gerry's bombers were intercepted about a half-hour ago, headed this way. (7:00)
March 4, nothing much happened yesterday, a few shells over our heads it all. Today things are about the same, only tonight about 7:00 to 8:00 the shells are coming 15 to 20 an hour over us and on or near the beach.
March 5, A few shells went over, the brought the 4th infantry division in today, the weather is rough as hell.
March 11, A few days have gone by again. Them Gerry's are still slinging shells over at us. This morning a bomb missed our boat about 300 feet. The news is good all over but at Anzio. Hitler said heíd have us pushed in the sea in 3 days but he got fooled again, but he sure tries with every thing he has.
March 24, The boys & I been on a rest leave for 7 days to Naples to get away from these damn shells flying around. While we were there Mt. Vesuvius let go some of itís lava, the most of has since 1871. Could see the fire running down the mountainside at night. During the day all you could see was a cloud of smoke about 5000 ft. high & it looked like it was boiling out. Very beautiful but death and destruction laid below it. They used 150 army trucks to evacuate one of the towns of around 7,000. The lava hit the airport during the night and we lost7 Boston bombers out of it. We came back this morning on an LST was kind a quiet until this afternoon, then the Gerry's started sending shells over again. Thus far out of 40 L.S.T. that came over there is about 8 or 10 working here at Anzio. Sure be glad when this is safe here. The Gerry's bombed Naples last week, got a few of our boys about 50 to 75 Italians. They got two out of the wreckage the day we left, & put them in a wooden box and nailed the cover a little.
March 25, nothing much happened but a few shells again landing in town about 4 blocks from us.
March 27, Peaceful around the harbor until about 6:30, about 20 Gerry planes came over the harbor and dropped their bombs near some liberty ships. Russians are still going strong, here in Italy itís the same, just having artillery duels. We flew 900 sorties today, the Gerry's werenít out at all over the fighting lines.
April 1, 4 of the boys left the crew and Mr. Crawford today began assign to new LCTís (6) at NA Gerry's been quiet for 2 days but this afternoon he sure been laying the shells here again, some come mighty close. Baily and I hit some old building a couple times.
April 4, Last night was one Iíll never forget, the Gerry's must have broken through, they laid shells all over the harbor. One LCI pulled along side to take one guy to the hospital about 11:30, about 3:00am they shelled again. 4 of us boys got up and went to some buildings just off the docks. We no more than got inside and a shell hit 20 to 25 feet from us, it knocked the 2 of us down. Got three other fellas on one of the L.C.T. # 198 and one guy on another one. After that we got the hell out of there.
April 7, On our way of hell-Anzio-going to Naples for what I donít know as yet, Maybe a rest or another invasion.
April 12, have been underway since yesterday morning, heading for Africa, just us, a Y.M.5. , And an LST pulling us, LST # 385.
April 21, We laid over at Algiers NA for 4 days because we hit a storm and lost our ramp. Got it fixed the 19th of April, Started for Oran pulled by a tug. Got here today about 4:00.
April 26 Put our boat onboard LST #383 the 22 of April.
April 29 Painted our boat from the 24th till today. We pull out for some place tomorrow at 9:00.
May 13, Arrived at Plymouth England May 11th about 11:00pm. ----Taken off the L.S.T. this afternoon.
June 6, The day the world was waiting for D-Day. British & AM. Landed on the Northern coast of France this morning at or around 6:00, Not much news has come in yet but on some places we are up to 2 miles in. Airborne troops were landing with great success, around 10,000 were landed in the first wave. Somewhere around 35,000 airman were in the air from England to France, from 12:00am till 8:00am this morning. Some over 4,000 ships about or over 2000 some small crafts took part in it this morning. Airborne troops were the first to land on Europe soil. Somewhere around 650 naval guns shelled the coast & most likely still are.
June 11 A lot happened since D-day. On some places we have advanced as far as 20 miles, other places are still pretty hot from what the boys say. Rome was taken June the 5th & AM 5th army is now about 50 miles North of it. Yesterday we started to unload casualties from the LSTs that are coming back from France. We hauled again today.
June 12, Hauled about 250 wounded again today. Had one woman sniper in the bunch. She said she got 8 airborne troops before they got her & was proud of it. Thereís about every kind of people in Europe coming in as prisoners, ever some Japs.
June 15, Left England yesterday morning about 2:00am. Got here at the French beachhead at about 8:00pm last night. Air raids all night but not bad, no raids during the day light hours. we are now hauling trucks and jeeps ashore.
June 19, Hauling supplies whenever we get a chance, the AM troops have crossed the Cherbourg Penn. yesterday. 75% of the 1st Infantry Div was wiped out on the beaches D-Day. 15,000 casualties the first 3 days, 7,800 were killed. Yesterday we saw one of the fellas laying in the sand with is back and one arm sticking out. One of the fellas leg was laying on the beach just with a GI shoe and sock on. Their still washing to shore and when the tide goes out, there they are.
June 26, something new has been added, Gerry is sending pilot less planes over Southern England. Today's news says that we are in the seaport of Cherbourg France. The scuttlebutt is that within 90 days us fellas from the "Med." ---will be home. We fellas that hauled wounded in England is said are going to get some citation for it.
June 28, From D-Day until yesterday, June 27 the AM losses, dead, wounded, missing were 25,000 some men. The British losses were 15,000 some, & the Canadians were a little over 2,000 men. The Russians have taken over 1,500 places yesterday. In 4 days they 50 miles on a 200-mile front.
July 21, Last night some of Hitler's Generals that he took off their duties during the last 2 years try , or made an attempt on killing him , a bomb went off about 8 meters from him , all his staff was hurt & he was hurt and burned. He made a speech about 12:30 for 6 min over the Berlin radio just telling people he was ok. In the past 5 days the AM AF have sent over 5000 heavy bombers over Germany itself. It canít be long any more that damn Hitler will have enough lead in his ass to say mama.
August 24, Paris fell to the F.F.I. on the 22 of August. On the 18th the French were to arise against Hitler in Paris and they did, about 50,000 strong with arms. In four days Paris was theirs once again.
September 9, Just one year ago today we went through hell for about an hour, today-one year later about 9:30 we got orders to be ready to leave for AM."BOY".
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