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Part VI - Marching accross France, Starting Late July 1944 PDF Print
Written by Charles Harper   
Tuesday, 07 May 2002

We awaited further orders and knew it wouldn’t be long ‘till we would be at it again.  As July drew to a close we were to leave the hedge rows behind and start out across the flat rolling plains of France.  The German army was now on the run and little resistance was met in many of the towns we were to go through.  The people would greet us with flags and flowers as we passed through on our way.  From old to young all were dressed in their Sunday best.  Old men with beards often insisted on kissing any and all soldiers in reach.  Morning found us again in a light battle at Mayenne, but it was all over by noon and 37 miles had been taken in a single day.  By now we were progressing too fast for the foot troops to keep up so they rode on vehicles, tanks, trucks, or what ever was at hand.  Our next stop was Lemans which fell on the third day. 

n ten days the division had covered 140 miles and taken 1500 prisoners.  We had only lost around 300 men and now the enemy had learned to respect, fear, and avoid the 90th.  During a brief rest August 2, some of the men went out to buy some drinking material.  Our motor Sgt. Was one of the party, he came back needing sleep which he promptly got.  During this time we were notified to pick up three trucks at Service Co. so about ten o’clock we sent after them but they didn’t show up till near one.  I led the convoy back to camp.  Upon returning we learned that one of our men had started out in a track layer to get water and never returned.  He had got slowed down by wine and women, and showed up at eight the next morning without the water.  At twelve twenty we moved up and the families moved back to their homes.  Roads were crowded with traffic and at times we would move only a few yards at a time.  At one time the road was blocked for ten miles. 

Along the road we would see where German convoys had been caught by our planes.  Some would be shot up and others would be burned up.  In some of the wreckage one could see German soldiers partly burned, some to about half their normal size.  One could see the work of our bomber raids on towns and railroads.  Some towns were a beautiful sight as they hadn’t been hit at all and others were all blown apart except the churches which were undamaged.  Over the area one could see the Germans had left in pretty much of a hurry as field guns were still in position and in many cases much of the horse drawn equipment had just been left with the horses still hitched to the wagons.  All along the roads the people stop to watch as we go by.  Many have the French flag over the doors and if we stop they bring out wine and cognac to sell.  In return we give them cigarettes, candy, and sometimes a K ration, also soap if we have any we don’t want. 

The girls are quite pretty and wave and throw kisses at us as we pass.  All give us the victory salute which is two fingers extended up in the form of a V.  We had a portable radio that we played as we went along.  One old man thought it was a pretty tune playing so he did a little dance for us while we were stopped.  We gave him cigarettes and candy.  He took off in a great hurry and in a few minutes came running back with a hand full of peonies and lilacs giving each of us one.

We came to our bivouac area at nine o’clock that night making a total of ten hours and thirty two minutes driving time and had covered 45 miles.  One sees more fields now and the small grain is ready to cut.  Some are at it doing all the work by hand.  Soon after we were settled in our area anti aircraft started shooting at a plane but didn’t get him.  We made our supper of K rations and opened a can of pears that we had been saving for such a time.  We were soon in our blankets but it wasn’t long till enemy planes were heard buy passed on over and then we could hear bombing back of us.  We slept in an old shed.  Stray Germans were picked up after lights were seen flashing to the German planes over head.

August 3, we got up at 8 am. It was a damp cloudy morning and after chow we helped fix a couple of flats then shaved and cleaned up.  We were supposed to move up during the day but while we were waiting the boys got to buying cognac from a lady near by.  Cost them 250 Francs per quart, about $5 our money.  While we were there she must have sold about thirty quarts.  She kept it in a 100 gallon barrel and siphoned it out as needed.

August 4, I checked a jeep and did odd jobs the rest of the day also moved to a new location also got mail and letters from home.

August 5, got up at four thirty ate chow and as nothing of importance was going on we went back to bed till six.  A tire was waiting for us which had picked up shrapnel during the night.  The Germans strafed and bombed a few miles from us during the night and we learned that 3 men were killed, two in anti tank co. and Page being one of them.  We all knew him.   We moved near noon covering about 13 miles.  The kitchen truck upset its trailer as it turned in through a narrow gate.  We left this area about 5 o’clock and after a few miles were strafed by a German plan but no damage was done.  We soon continued on and saw our first Padre’s long robed and all.  One place had a big turn out with both the French and American flags flying over the road for us to drive under.  We received flowers and cheers as we went along.  People are much nicer now.  Better homes and larger fields.  We parked in an area called no man’s land.  Last night the German army was here.  The troops had left on anything that would carry them all in a hurry to get out.

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