Major Robert F. Burns

90th Division, U.S. Army

 

War Letters from Europe

Normandy to Germany

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Letters from France

June 22, 1944
June 29, 1944
June 29, 1944 (2nd)
July 6, 1944
July 17, 1944
August 10, 1944
August 14, 1944
August 25, 1944
September 1, 1944
September 2, 1944
September 3, 1944
September 3, 1944 (2nd)
September 14, 1944
September 16, 1944
September 16, 1944 (2nd)
September 17, 1944
September 28, 1944
October 2, 1944
October 14, 1944
October 22, 1944
November 2, 1944
November 12, 1944
November 24, 1944
December 2, 1944
December 27, 1944

Letters from Luxembourg

January 9, 1945
January 16, 1945
January 20, 1945

Letter from Belgium

February 7, 1945

Letters from Germany

February 9, 1945
February 21, 1945
February 23, 1945
February 26, 1945
April 5, 1945
May 5, 1945

Letters from Czechoslovakia

May 10, 1945
May 16, 1945

Letters from Germany

May 19, 1945
May 20, 1945
May 24, 1945
June 3, 1945
June 22, 1945

Letters from France

June 30, 1945
July 3, 1945

Letters from Germany

July 14, 1945
July 27, 1945
July 30, 1945
August 3, 1945
August 14, 1945

Letters from France

August 26, 1945
August 28, 1945
August 29, 1945

Letters from Germany

September 9, 1945
September 11, 1945
September 13, 1945
September 15, 1945
September 17, 1945
September 23, 1945
September 27, 1945
October 1, 1945
October 9, 1945

Letters from France

October 13, 1945
October 15, 1945
October 22, 1945
November 5, 1945
November 17, 1945
November 17, 1945 (2nd)
November 23, 1945
November 30, 1945
December 17, 1945
December 17, 1945 (2nd)
December 18, 1945
December 26, 1945
January 2, 1946

Letters from Belgium

January 14, 1946
January 15, 1946
January 17, 1946
January 17, 1946 (2nd)

Letters from France

January 21, 1946
January 24, 1946

Somewhere in France

June 22, 1944

Dear Mom,

You'll see by the heading why you haven't heard much from me recently. We've been pretty much on the move and only now are we having a breather. We have seen some rough fighting but so far I am unscratched.

At the moment I have just finished a delicious omelet in a house belonging to a village priest. His housekeeper, a gnarled old Frenchwoman, has prepared it for us with some eggs we bought the other day.

We have had fresh eggs several times and some fresh butter along with local cider. They help our rations along enormously for they are rather concentrated. We are better off than on maneuvers for we can heat our stuff part of the time and so escape the continual cold meals we might have had.


June 24, 1944

That's all the further I got when we had to move to a new area. Your letter from June 7 came yesterday. Many thanks. I got your two previous letters together about a week ago.

I wrote to Joe Landers shortly before we left England, but I suspect he had not received it at the time he wrote home. We were in Middle England and he was in South England which prevented my seeing him. After we moved we were pretty well confined to camp.

My entry into the Old World came with a bang. I fell off the landing net about halfway down ship's side. I had so much equipment on which I had shifted so it could be easily dropped that when my legging caught in the ropes the weight of the stuff pulled me off balance and right off the net. I crashed about 15 feet below on the deck of the smaller boat. I was unhurt. I landed on my back and the equipment took up the shock. My helmet rolled off and I certainly felt like a fool.

We caught our first prisoners without having fired a shot. Two Russians out of a Georgian regiment surrendered to one of our companies. They were the first of many others, mostly Poles or very young Germans that we captured later.

I cannot tell you much more of the fighting, but it has been most severe. Our men are wonderful in their courage and response to orders. We have never had to close with the enemy. He always has broken and run.

The Germans use a lot of snipers, but fortunately they are poor shots or I should have been dead long ago and others with me.

The French people are trickling back into the towns the war has passed through. Most of those who were here were collaborationists and therefore suspect. One house we were in belonged to a Frenchman who is a prisoner of war in Germany and the people there were wonderful to us. It was a large old chateau. They were not living in it, for its roof was weakened by shelling and they were afraid it might collapse. They were using the kitchen, however. Nearly all cooking is done in enormous fireplaces.

I would certainly like to be able to speak French, for we have found no one who talks English. They are very attentive, however, but cannot restrain a smile at our attempts with a phrase book.

I have lost most of the excess weight I had. Probably because I ate only once a day while were in combat. But I have started to make up for it recently. We even bought a cow today and are looking forward to some fresh meat.

This morning I went back to the clearing station and had a defective filling in my tooth repaired. It's a big patch and may not hold. If it doesn't I guess I'll have to have the tooth yanked out.

I got the May copy of the Military Post. It's following right along. More than I can say for my other magazines. I changed my address with Time and Life some months ago and have heard nothing since.

Marn would be horrified to see me eat onions. We get them once in a while from a garden - great, big fat ones. I eat them raw with great gusto or drop them in our bouillon powder. When you haven't had a bath in three weeks, one more smell matters very little. You should have seen my beard before I shaved it off.

Love,

Bob

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