Battlefield Images, France

1944

Edgar spent a considerable time near Metz. These are pictures of German planes shot down there. There were heavy concrete fortifications up on the hills. He said the concrete was several feet thick and he saw places where bombs had hit them and "shattered them a little on the side, but didn't get into them at all".

Pictures in France

We were discussing the bombardments, and he commented "they really plastered them. Up on the hills at Metz, where they had the underground fortifications it looked like there had been a woods at one time, a pretty thick woods. There wasn't a tree standing higher than your head. They shattered them down until there wasn't anything but stubs sticking out of the ground."

There were extensive underground concrete rooms in fortifications, and he remembers seeing stacks of rifles there. He saw a small, shiny jewelers lathe in what must have been a German machine shop, and went to find tools to take it up from its bench, but returned to find that someone had beaten him to it.

There he recounted the story of a buddy who had wanted a German souvenier. "The ol' boy went up there with me looking for a helmet for a souvenier and he picked up one that still had some of that fellow's head in it. That about got him, and he picked up what looked like a brand new boot laying up there and there was a foot still in it." He abandoned his search for souveniers of that type. Edgar said that there was that sort of stuff laying all over the hill.

This car, which might have been an officer's car, was also abandoned in the area.

Edgar did maintenance work on the aircraft on forward airstrips.

The encampments included heated tents with smokestacks out the tops. Wet weather added to the problems of war as shown above. The check mark identifies Edgar in that photo. The scene at left is at least in better weather.

Edgar spoke of sleeping in a puptent from the first night after their landing. His recollection is that they came ashore on the beach from a landing craft about three days after D-Day. They went a short distance inland and dug in for the night and reached the airstrip on the second day on foot. "I was the first casualty in our outfit. I knocked the whole side off my thumb driving a peg for that pup tent. The first night we were there it poured rain. A bunch of them didn't build up around their tents. I woke up with several inches of water, but some of them were about to drown. They had to dig a hole."

There was a distinct lack of luxury in the shower arrangements.

Also a distinct lack of privacy.

Index

1944
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