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Saturday, June 14, 2014

February 16, 1945

BC scope may be Battery Commander's scopeJap MG could be a Japanese machine gunner.

[written on Japanese paper with vertical lines and some vertical Japanese print in the lower right margin.]

                                                     16 Feb

Dear Arnold,

     Well here we are at it again, I have in-
creased my combat quite a bit since the last
place.  I have been out on quite a few missions
to the front lines.  One day I got alot of
artillery fire, not that there has'nt been any
around here.  In fact the closest burst to me
was right here at Div Hqs, when a five-incher
hit a limb of a tree outside only thirty yards
away.  The Japs are lousy shots, and when I
was forwarded with an artillery observer they
were xxxx plunking them in at fifty to one-hun-
dred yards away.  These Japs shells sound very
realistic, almost like the movie shells.  You
first hear that characteristic wailing scream
which increases in pitch then bang or rather
boom.  Xx Up to a certain pitch if the shell
starts to decrease in sound vibrations then
you know you are safe and that it is passing
over to the right or left and going beyond you
(Doppler's effect).  Now if the shell keeps
increasing in pitch and intensity pass this
certain point then you had best hit the ground.
This technique of evaluation of sound waves can
only be obtained by experience.  Now I can't
tell what a shell sounds like when it comes
directly down on top of you, because I have
yet to have that happen.

     This same day I watched some Japs that
were only about 100 to 1200 yards away.  When
using some captured Jap glasses of 20 power I
could almost see the expressions on their faces.
We could see one joker who was standing up in
plain sight ( I think he was a comm man as he
used semaphore flags once in a while), and had
the same type of BC scope that we did.  If one
of us stood up too high and was observed then
they would throw over a few rounds.  But it
was'nt long before the artillery was thru with
a target in another sector, and the artillery
observer zeroed in on these Japs.  It is getting
dark I will move outside.


[page 2]

     The next day I went out again to examine
some captured equipment with a signal man.  I
know you would have been interested in it.  The
setup was out at the forward elements of the right
flank, and the enemy was only 500 yards away in
pplaces.  We were looking over one hunk of stuff,
which was in a cut that opened out to the right,
when a Jap MG xxxxxxxxx on a ridge that was only
500 yards away opened up on us.  Fortunately the
MG was situated slightly forward of the ay the
entranced opened out, and by getting back to-
wards the rear he could'nt get us.  However the
dirt was being sprayed all over us, and once in
a while a few bullets would hit inside up against
the side of the cut-out at an angle.  Up near the
entrance was a dead American who had been hit by
a MG and who was holding part of his intestines
in his hand of his outflung arm.  We were pinned
down for almost an hour.  This Jap MG gave us a
lot of trouble, he nicked some of the men (not
badly though) and pinned us down five times at
various places on this ridge.  After it had been
quiet for a half-an-hour and we were crouching
in stead of crawling, I got up on my knees to
observe some of the artillery fire and the bastard
saw me with my field glasses and opened up.  There
was concrete mount on my left, and the bullets
really sprayed into it about a foot and a half
behind my head.  A man three feet to me left
in line with me was nicked by a fragment, however
it turned out to be a scratch or a little grove
in his head.  I guess that was the closest call
I had.  Although later on that same day I was
standing only 25 yards from a jeep when it ran
over a 500lb mine.  It blew the jeep to hell.
The biggest piece was part of the read axle and
some of the twisted chasis, which was found about
100 yards away.  The rider was found (what was
left of him) 150 years away, and the driver even
farther.  I did'nt see the reamins of the driver,
as they had not found his body when I had to go
somewhere else.  The crater was 20 feet across
and ten feet deep.  I just happened to be looking,
at the jeep when it hit the mine.  it is too
dark to see I will have to finish this tomorrow.


[page 3]
                                                         17 Feb

     The jeep went up over 150 feet in the air,
and we were all showered with dirt clods up to
six inches in diameter.  However all we got were
a few little bruises.  Some men were only 15-20
feet from the jeep (believe it or not) and were
blown back away from the mine, but were not hurt
except for slight shock.  The jeep parts all
landed in an area where everyone had just cleared,
and no one was hit by flying pieces.

     I finally wrote the folks and told them that
I am in an Airborne Division, although this is
a hell of a time to say that I am in the 11th
A/B Division.  I hope they won't worry too much.
Send me some clippings of us, as I wonder what
they say about us.  Frankly a lot of crap that
is pure propaganda is flung at the public.  In
other words (and all we get to read of the stuff
that is for home comsumption are the communiques)
somethings that are little are made to sound big,
held up for a quiet period and then released, are
words which imply another meaning, are coated before
release, are not released, are overemphasized while
something more important but not so favorable to
our condition are played down.

     Well Bud, I have got to get back to work.
Take care of yourself and write soon.

                           [signed] Leonard

Inclosed are some souvenirs
    4 postcards
  50 sen
100 pesos
    5 photos
     more stuff coming up

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