All of us who trained in the Infantry in World War II — every mother’s son of us — can attest to the discipline that was drilled into us. Today I look back and wonder whether it could have been otherwise. But then? Well, then, you couldn’t have expected us to like it.

I had just reached 18 when I entered the Infantry (“with dirt behind their ears”), 19 when I was baptized by combat. A little of the rebel remained in me somehow. Not withstanding the stern, even punitive warnings against GI’s keeping combat logs, I kept one.

I had more opportunity than most to compile one. Sent overseas as a heavy machine gunner, I was reassigned to heavy mortars, then made mail clerk and assistant company clerk. Having started to study journalism before being drafted, I was often detached from the front lines to write citations for Silver and Bronze Stars as well as battlefield commissions on various battered American and German typewriters. I must have batted out 15 citations.

To this day, I can recite details of some of the most sonorous deeds of my fellow combat infantrymen of Co. D, 345th Infantry. To this day, some of those deeds bring tears to my eyes.

My own combat log is somewhat cryptic, but it does evoke some of the places, names, conditions, personal feelings, and the bold sweep of the Third U.S.Army in World War II.

At first I secreted the log in my clothes. After the war, however, I carried it for awhile in my wallet, then stuffed it in drawers and suitcases wherever I lived. Without the Golden Acorn News feature and the solicitation by the Army History Institute, however, I never would have been reminded of my log.

It’s not always legible and not always clear, but its mere existence in the face of severe and repeated admonitions against keeping one is, to me, a minor miracle. For this reason I don’t think very many others will be uncovered.


 

10 Oct 1944 Left Ft. Jackson, S.C. Destination Unknown.
11 Oct Arrived Cp Kilmer, N.J. after daylong ride.
15 Oct Left NY POE and boarded Queen Elizabeth.
17 Oct Sailed. Goodbye, old gal. See you soon!
22 Oct Arrived Grennoch, Scotland. Trip uneventful. Weather balmy.
24 Oct Disembarked to Biddulph Moors, England.
25 Nov Left Biddulph for Southhampton. Goodbye “Merrie Old England”
26 Nov Set sail for France on LSI 37. Food good.
27 Nov Went over the side of the LSI to an LCT at the battered port of Le Havre.
28 Nov The Old Aple Orchard near Amiens. Just mud.
4 Dec The “Forty and Eight” days — boxcars full of human beings.
6 Dec Arrived Metz after 2 nights in cattle cars. Committed to action 2330 taking Fort Jean D’Arc. relieving Fifth Div.
8 Dec Met Al[1], who had come from Verdun, after about two and a half years.
13 Dec Left Metz by truck for Saar Basin, Rimling, Urchen, Medalsheim, and Obergailbach.
24 Dec Xmas Eve. Left Saar after an eternity of Hell. Relieved by the 44th Div after much blood.
26 Dec Rivouaced outside Reims, France after numbing convoy ride. Attached to 7th Army.
29 Dec Crossed Belgium border at 1515, Province of Luxembourg. Snowing hard.
30 Dec. This was the “Bulge”, little did we suspect it. Objectives — Jenneville and Moircy.
2 Jan 1945 Snow packed hard and high. Fighting hard. Living miserable. Stayed at Laneville.
5 Jan Moved to Ochamps. Collected 9,500 dollars for Money Orders.[2] Made corporal.
8 Jan Left for Jenneville. Just snow..
10 Jan Campaign for Bonnerue. 12 men captured from our company. Many casualties.
11 Jan Back to Moircy for rest and replacements.
13 Jan Defensive positions at Sprimont.
17 Jan Truck convoy to Wilper, Luxembourg. Patrols sent across Our River at Echternach. Snow.
26 Jan Back in convoy to Wilper, Luxembourg.
29 Jan Moved into a flattened city called St. Vith. Taken by 7th Arm Div and 82nd A/B. Jumped off overland to Hume.
30 Jan Carrying party of emergency rations and a mail bag full of socks 12 miles overland in knee-deep snow. Brought wounded man back. He died.
31 Jan Took Hume after shelling by “88’s”.
3 Feb Andler, Belgium. Poverty, snow and manure.
6 Feb Moved over sea of mud to Auw, Germany.
7 Feb Prepared to assault the Siegfried Line. Crossed I.P. in approach march at midnight.
8 Feb Jumped off to attack Siegfried Line at 0700 from Walschied, Germany.
9 Feb Men against concrete. Cracked some pillboxes. Tanks and TD’s in support. Artillery, too.
10 Feb CP in house with big gaping hole at Olzheim. Jerries coming in by truckloads.
12 Feb The “Screaming Meemie” days. Sniped at going up with mail. Patrols into booby-trapped woods.
14 Feb Back to Auw for a rest. 9th TAC in fray.
19 Feb Left Auw for the Siegfried Line again. Shelling terrific. Many close ones.
22 Feb Taking and sleeping in pillboxes.
24 Feb Took many small towns. One man captured.
27 Feb Two men killed. 7 wounded this week in our company..
28 Feb After an arduous campaign we moved to Neunstein. Not much left of it.
1 Mar Infantry on tanks and TD’s to Schoenfeld.
3 Mar Moving fast we hit Gonnersdorf.
5 Mar On tanks to Digel, Dollendorf. Fed hot chow anytime we can catch up. Usually midnight. Brief rest here.
14 Mar Moving every day and moving fast, we passed through many pretty towns untouched by war. Plenty of Schnapps and champagne.
16 Mar Big move to Karich, and the drive to Coblenz started. Crossed Moselle River at Winnengen in assault boats.
18 Mar Long pontoon bridge built by Engineers under smokescreen. Took Coblenz after moderate street fighting. Some casualties. Big newspaper splash.
23 Mar Into woods ten miles from Boppard. Very hope ful now. Birthday today.
25 Mar Took Boppard. Crossed Rhine under smokescreen after 89th Div had failed further up the river. Some casualties from “88’s”.
26 Mar Pontoon bridge knocked out but we pushed in land to Dahlheim. Returned for mail and was ferried across Rhine by U.S.Navy. Snipers in Boppard, taken by 76th and 89th Divs following us.
27 Mar Esback, Bettendorf, Zollhause, Gimmerich. 6th Cav Grp moving ahead of us.
30 Mar Niederfelters, Butzbach, Brandoberdorf. Flushing out of woods, snipers. Trapped Regt of SS Troopers.
5 Apr Obersul, the Waldfinch, Fich and Tambach.
8 Apr Counter attacked. We lost some men, in 2nd Bn.
12 & 13 Apr Plauen, Ehrenstein, we freed thousands of slave laborers of every nationality, daily.
15 & 16 Apr Two Heinies give in to kitchen tonight. They were hungry. We moved to Judenew and Fossa.
17 Apr Pausa then Plauen, the city flattened by the Air Corps. Camped in tents overlooking the city.
7 May Falkenstein, false VE Day.
8 May VE Day, not much excitement, though.

 


[1] “Al” is my brother Albert, a T/5 in the 386th AAA Bn.

[2] See The Eagle” Drops Its Gold During Short Battle Pause for observations about the GI payroll.

U.S. Army Star

The text of Mr. Kaidy’s combat log has been transcribed above. The original document is available in Adobe Acrobat format.

Mitch Kaidy
D Company, 345th Infantry Regiment

An ASTP cadet in 1943-44, Mitchell Kaidy joined the 87th Division in March, 1944, serving until its demobilization. After the war he received a journalism education and has worked for three daily newspapers, a television station and public radio in Upstate New York. In 1963 he contributed articles to a Pulitzer Prize-winning series, and in 1993 he won a Project Censored award for free-lance investigative journalism. He was an active member of the association and served as division historian. Mitch passed away on 10 January 2013 at the age of 87.

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