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Don Bennett's War

Chapter 11 - Close to War

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That day we were again moved by truck, where to I do not know. We passed through a town where the 442nd Infantry Regiment (Japanese Americans) were having chow. When night came on, the trucks turned off all lights except black out lights we knew we were getting close to enemy territory. A little later our trucks stopped and then quickly turned around and speeded back the way we came. I found out later that a sentry from the 409th regiment had stopped us and told that had we gone any further we would have been in enemy territory, and been captured before we fought. We got out of the trucks soon after that and walked to the Regiment's assembly area. Our mess unit caught up with us here and we had a good hot meal for a change. We never dug in that night, but never got much sleep for a battery of Long Toms, (.155 mm howitzers) were firing alternately and keeping us awake. We dug in the first thing in the morning, though, for we thought the Germans would try to knock out the guns with aircraft or their own artillery. We dug a 4x6 foot hole 2 feet deep, piled the dirt along side, and covered it with a layer of small trees we had cut down. Then we piled more dirt on and then camouflaged with branches.

Later that day our company walked over to a little valley, and after going over it for mines and booby traps, we played games and had snowball fights to build up our morale a little. We were also told where we were (Vosges Mountains), and what type of fighting we were going to do. They said the other two regiments were already on the front and one had taken a town with few casualties. On the way back to our camp area, we passed a knocked out German artillery piece, a place where a small German stronghold at the foot of a hill had been knocked out, about ten fresh graves with German helmets over them, and a couple U.S. anti-aircraft batteries. We felt close to war.

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