443rd AAA Bn in World War II

RHINELAND CAMPAIGN

COMBAT INTERLUDES

During battles, horses and cows would occasionally be killed by stray bullets, shrapnel or mines. G.I.s would frequently cut steaks from such cattle but French civilians, desperate for food, would butcher both horses and cattle that had been killed. Remains of such animals were frequently seen along roadsides.

On 5 December the 36th Division and the 443rd were detached from the VI Corps and attached to the 1st French Army. Lt. Col. Larson and Capt. Fisher reported to the French Headquarters many miles behind the lines. They enjoyed a typical, extended, French banquet with many courses of salad, fish, lamb, rice, creme dessert, cheeses, wines, champagne and liquors, in the company of attractive, French women ambulance drivers. Shortly thereafter Lt. Col. Larson invited a French Colonel commanding the French Antiaircraft Group to a dinner at the 443rd Battalion CP. He then wheedled steaks and other foods from the Army Supply Sergeant and with translation help from Capt. Fisher, persuaded a French woman (whose house the CP occupied at Riquewihr) to cook the dinner. T/Sgt. MacArthur reluctantly agreed to be the waiter. Other than the steaks being tough, the waiter nervously spilling chicken soup in the guest’s lap and dessert being canned fruit cocktail, the dinner was completed without any French wine and without any attractive women ambulance drivers — a far cry from the sumptuous affair at the French Headquarters!

Early in the Southern France Campaign a daily Ack-Ack News had been started and published by the 443rd Communications Section. It published BBC news, combat tips and items of value and interest to 443rd personnel. Gun crews received it within a few hours of publication and welcomed it warmly. Battalion Commander Larson urged Battery Commanders to encourage their men to submit material for inclusion in what was an important morale and esprit de corps building publication.

And in more than one French town 443rd men had seen girls with their hair shorn — the penalty for having collaborated with the Germans.

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Copyright 1998 443rd AAA Association. All Rights Reserved
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