1944 Letters       Not every page is listed in this index. There are unlisted links & videos.

  PFC Ben Kaplow - World War 11               The best experience is to go from letter to letter to view added material.

 

TOPIC

Happy New Year!  I’ve been assigned to message (nerve) center in Battalion Hqs.  Another Jewish fellow with me.

Camp Campbell, KY -  What would you say if you knew your son was acting just like a beggar.

Message Center - Troops have to keep in contact with each other in order to know where the enemy is.

Jeeps, all kinds of trucks stuck in mud to top of tires.  Bumpers come off when they tried to pull them out.

App. for Aviation Cadet (Air Crew) Training.  Madison High School, Rochester, NY.  Principal recommendation.

Another A.S.T.P. came in today. He was studying secret stuff on radar.  He’s also Jewish.

I was in on a staff meeting with all the officers for a Command Post exercise.

I have to buy gloves, stockings, plus other things for maneuvers.

The reason rifles are kept in supply room is that we have German prisoners in camp.  Cleaned grease traps!!

Please try to get a Russian hood. They are given away by the Red Cross.  Covers face, except the eyes.

Post Card - Send some long candles and, if possible, a salami.  Send food at beginning of week.

Bivouac area moved to high ground because we would be flooded if it rained hard.  Coding all messages now.

Maneuvers problem.  We followed the umpire rules & were slaughtered. We were praised for how we held out.

First time Ben knew he wanted to drive a jeep.  Third week without a shower.

Blackout maneuver problem. We drive behind the troops at 1-2 miles/hour with practically no brakes on jeep.

Maneuvers are over after nine weeks in the open air.  It’ll be nice to wake up without a chicken, pig, or cow over my head.

Post Card - We’re finally in a camp.  Live in 15 men hutments, but only 8 in ours.  15 miles from Columbia, S.C.

Rain all day. The jeeps only have hand operated windshield wipers. Trailer hooked onto us & we swayed all over.

I went through the whole maneuvers with one pair of shoes that was lacking a heel & main part of the sole.

Send coupla boxes of matzoh. Don’t know what arrangements in camp for Pesach, but they will do something.

I have an excuse for not writing because of full schedule, BUT that does not excuse you.

Fired the 45 cal. pistol, but it’s not very accurate.  Don’t believe all that baloney in fiction stories and movies.

We’ve been eating at Regimental Hdqs. Co.Kitchen.  The Col. eats there so the food is always good.

Did you get the subscription for the Times Union yet?   I sorta miss it.

Picture Post Card  (Returning from furlough) Arrived in Columbia, S.C. two hours late.

(Returning from furlough) P.C. to sister, Arnette.  Thank Mrs. Goldstein for the swell dinner and blintzes.

It wasn’t bad enough having a “mad” Major, but now we have a crazy Lt.Col., and the Major is Exec. Officer

Yep, the furloughs are definite. I have to stay behind at msg. center but when I leave the trains won’t be as busy.

Letter to sister, Arnette.  A vivid description of my first 25 mile hike.

Airplanes were supposed to harass the troops - a nuisance.  We had to run for cover all the time.

Too hot and nothing important happening. This week about the easiest I’ve ever put in.

Practice: Me & two other fellows went along with the enemy to handle the Handie Talkie radios.

Bob sure causes excitement.  Marion’s a swell girl.  Everyone must be radiant with happy faces.

Boys from Washington are down here inspecting our Division.  That means a lot of cleaning details.

Three day pass delayed.  Had a cleaning detail in the kitchen.  I ate so much I wasn't hungry for regular meal time.

Three day pass.  Company split - 50% leave today & 50% leave next Thursday.

Had a wonderful time, haven't had such an enjoyable time in a long while.

Arnie - when is the blessed event?  Two fellows in my hut are sweating it out, too, along with four others in the co.

My Lt. said I've picked up Msg. Center procedure faster than the other fellows.  Soon, I may be a P.F.C.

Mail is going to be a pretty important part of our lives from now on, for both of us.  I’ll try to write more.

“Somewhere on the East Coast”  Can’t tell anything about this - Censorship regulations.

Please don't worry about me, Mom & Dad.  I'll be alright as long as you think about me.

Now I know why I didn’t join the Navy.

Three V-Mails:   Ben ships out -  26th Div, 104th Infantry Regiment on S.S. Argentina on Aug 27, 1944.

Travels - Ben Kaplow   Hqs. - 2nd Bn 104th Inf  26th Div, European Theater of Operations (E.T.O.) with comments.

Ben’s List of towns and cities without comments

Yankee Division, 104th Infantry Regiment lands in Cherbourg (map) on Sept. 7th, 1944.

Jewish Holidays.  Services Sun, Mon, Tues.  Censored letter.  New pup tents close at both ends for warmth.

In a building previously used by some cows -  It may smell a bit, but it’s better than sleeping on the ground.

Service by PFC.  Probably as good as some Rabbis at home.  In place of a shofar, we had a trumpet.

We acquired a German stove to help keep the chill off nites.  Jeep weaving in & out of that column like mad men.

Some of the fellows shot a cow & butchered it.  We fried it with onions and it was delicious.

Beautiful countryside. We’re not getting paid this month. I don’t have a cent on me - but don’t send any.

“Blood & Guts” at the helm.  Read this detailed story about a “raid.”

Only had 7 flats since Cherbourg. Two yesterday & one this a.m.  Am getting to be an expert changing tires.

We’re getting pretty close now.  Practically all the people are pro-Nazis, houses decorated with statues of Hitler.

Gallantry of the 26th in your first major engagement has won respect of Corps & of German troops facing you.

I now have the Combat Expert Infantry Badge, which means $10 a month more. Krauts are still on the run.

To: Commanding General, Officers & Men of the III Corps  - -  From:  G.S. Patton, Jr., Lt. General, U.S. Army

Seasons Greetings to the Folks at home in Rochester, NY.  Best Forever.  Love, Ben

Don’t worry if I know what I’m fighting for.  Every time I look into the face of a dead Nazi, I remind myself.

I'm anxiously awaiting a shower. The only thing I'm sorry for are the cooties. They've had a nice home for 67 days.

Went to city proper on a pass. All the people haven't come back yet. It’s a pretty big place to get lost in.

To brother, Bob. I always go to movies I've seen before. Many is the time I never thought I'd ever see one again.

Getting my ‘peep’ back in shape. Went 3000 mi in two months.  How about sending fruit cake & plenty of peanuts.

Plenty of prisoners.  Ground frozen which gives tanks free range. Clear air brings air force out in full force.

It’s sort of scary at nite especially driving thru the woods, always on the alert for Krauts left behind.

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Jan 1, 1944

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