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Don Bennett's War

Chapter 23 - Misery


We went forward along with the tanks for a couple miles and dug in within sight of a town. We just got our slit trenches dug when we started to get a shelling. We dove for our trenches and cussed them and said we had enough for the day. My new buddy Irvin Meairs then settled down for the night in our trench, our sleep was broken only by guard duty which was one of the two in each slit trench. Irvin guarded while I slept and vice versa. In the morning, Meairs and I reentered into the outskirts of the city to get something to eat. We went into a house and found a woman home. She gave us some coffee - half hot milk and half a mixture she called coffee, but tasted more like Postum. We also had some of the usual bread - heavy and dark. As we were leaving, she gave us each an egg. When I got back to the squad, I boiled the egg in my helmet - heat by courtesy of some German heat tablets. The rest of the squad - now 5 - watched me boil the egg, but only one took a bite when I offered to divide it.

We moved through the town and stopped again on the other side. While there the tank company gave us some ten-in-one rations and we relished them with delight. That night we got orders to move out. There had been a change in plan. The French were going to be allowed to take Strasbourg instead of us, so we were moving out and they in. As it turned out, they were pushed back twelve miles the next day, and never could capture Strasbourg.

We made a forced march back to a near town. I pooped out and my gun belt broke. I stopped and tried to fix it, but couldn't manage in the dark, so I scooped up the belt and rifle and summoned my reserve strength and slowly caught my company. We arrived in the town and took a very much needed sleep and rest in a hay barn. We were told the next day that we were to have a few days rest before being assigned another place on the front.

It was December 1.
Ed Note: Don did not know for months later that his best friend, Arnold Lundeen, had passed away this day from his injuries in the Epinal Field hospital.

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