1944 Letter Index

Click on the links to read my letters, listen to audio too!

Jan 1, 1944 — Happy New Year! I’ve been assigned to message (nerve) center in Battalion Hqs. Another Jewish fellow with me.
Jan 2, 1944 — Camp Campbell, KY What would you say if you knew your son was acting just like a beggar.
Jan 4, 1944 — Message Center – Troops have to keep in contact with each other in order to know where the enemy is.
Jan 9, 1944 – Jeeps, all kinds of trucks stuck in mud to top of tires. Bumpers come off when they tried to pull them out.
Jan 10, 1944 App. for Aviation Cadet (Air Crew) Training. Madison High School Principal recommendation.
Jan 11, 1944 Another A.S.T.P. came in today. He was studying secret stuff on radar. He’s also Jewish.
Jan 15, 1944 — I was in on a staff meeting with all the officers for a Command Post exercise.
Jan 18, 1944 — I have to buy gloves, stockings, plus other things for maneuvers.
Jan 21, 1944 — The reason rifles are kept in supply room is that we have German prisoners in camp. Cleaned grease traps!!
Jan 24, 1944 Please try to get a Russian hood. They are given away by the Red Cross. Covers face, except the eyes.
Jan 26, 1944 — Post Card – Send some long candles and, if possible, a salami. Send food at beginning of week.
Jan 27, 1944 Bivouac area moved to high ground because we would be flooded if it rained hard. Coding all messages now.
Feb 11, 1944 – Maneuvers problem. We followed the umpire rules & were slaughtered. We were praised for how we held out.
Feb 27,1944 — First time Ben knew he wanted to drive a jeep. Third week without a shower.
Mar 14, 1944 — Blackout maneuver problem. We drive behind the troops at 1-2 miles/hour with practically no brakes on jeep.
Mar 27, 1944 — 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.
Apr 1, 1944 Post Card – We’re finally in a camp. Live in 15 men hutments, but only 8 in ours. Fort Jackson – 15 miles from Columbia, S.C.
Apr 3, 1944 Rain all day. The Jeeps only have hand operated windshield wipers.
Apr 6, 1944 I went through the whole maneuvers with one pair of shoes that was lacking a heel & main part of the sole.
Apr 12, 1944 — Send coupla boxes of matzoh. Don’t know what arrangements in camp for Pesach, but they will do something.
Apr 14, 1944 — I have an excuse for not writing because of full schedule, BUT that does not excuse you.
Apr 17, 1944 — Fired the 45 cal. pistol, but it’s not very accurate. Don’t believe all that baloney in fiction stories and movies.
Apr 19, 1944 — We’ve been eating at Regimental Hdqs. Co. Kitchen. The Col. eats there so the food is always good.
Apr 21, 1944 Did you get the subscription for the Times Union yet? I sorta miss it.
May 17, 1944 Two Post Cards (Returning from furlough) Arrived in Columbia, S.C. two hours late.
May 19, 1944 It wasn’t bad enough having a “mad” Major, but now we have a crazy Lt.Col., and the Major is Exec. Officer
May 20, 1944 –Yep, the furloughs are definite. I have to stay behind at message center but when I leave the trains won’t be as busy.
May 29, 1944 — Letter to sister, Arnette. A vivid description of Ben’s first 25 mile hike.
Jun 13, 1944 Airplanes were supposed to harass the troops – a nuisance. We had to run for cover all the time.
Jun 24, 1944 Too hot and nothing important happening. This week about the easiest I’ve ever put in.
Jul 9, 1944 Practice: Me & two other fellows went along with the enemy to handle the “Handie Talkie” radios.
Jul 14, 1944 Bob sure causes excitement. Marion’s a swell girl. Everyone must be radiant with happy faces. 1 4 2 3
Jul 18, 1944 Boys from Washington are down here inspecting our Division. That means a lot of cleaning details.
Jul 18, 1944 — Three day pass delayed. Had a cleaning detail in the kitchen. I ate so much I wasn’t hungry for regular meal time.
Jul 20, 1944 Three day pass. Company split – 50% leave today & 50% leave next Thursday.
Aug 6, 1944 Had a wonderful time, haven’t had such an enjoyable time in a long while.
Aug 12, 1944 Arnie – when is the blessed event? Two fellows in my hut are sweating it out, too, along with four others in the co.
Aug 13, 1944 – My Lt. said I’ve picked up Msg. Center procedure faster than the other fellows. Soon, I may be a P.F.C.
Aug 21, 1944 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.
Aug 22, 1944 “Somewhere on the East Coast” Can’t tell anything about this – Censorship regulations.
Aug 28, 1944 Please don’t worry about me, Mom & Dad. I’ll be alright as long as you think about me.
Aug 29, 1944 Now I know why I didn’t join the Navy over the Army.
Aug 29, 1944 – Travels – Ben Kaplow – Hqs. – 2nd Bn 104th Inf. 26th Div, European Theater of Operations (E.T.O.)
Aug 29, 1944 Ben’s list of towns and cities without comments
Sep 1, 1944 — Ben shipped out with the 104th Infantry Regiment on the S.S. Argentina.
Sept 1, 1944 Life aboard ship is getting a trifle boring, now, even though they try to make it interesting for us
Sep 9, 1944 Yankee Division, 104th Infantry Regiment – 26th Infantry Div. lands in Cherbourg on Sept. 7th, 1944.
Sept 15, 1944 Jewish Holidays. Services Sun, Mon, Tues. Censored letter. New pup tents close at both ends for warmth.
Sept 16, 1944 In a building previously used by some cows – It may smell a bit, but it’s better than sleeping on the ground.
Sept 17, 1944 – Service by PFC. Probably as good as some Rabbis at home. In place of a shofar, we had a trumpet.
Sept 23, 1944 We acquired a German stove to help keep the chill off nites. Jeep weaving in & out of that column like mad men.
Oct 27, 1944 Some of the fellows shot a cow & butchered it. We fried it with onions and it was delicious.
Oct 31, 1944 — Beautiful countryside. We’re not getting paid this month. I don’t have a cent on me – but don’t send any.
Nov 3, 1944 “Blood & Guts” at the helm. Read this detailed story about a “raid.”
Nov 6, 1944 — Only had 7 flats since Cherbourg. Two yesterday & one this a.m. Am getting to be an expert changing tires.
Nov 23, 1944 — We’re getting pretty close now. Practically all the people are pro-Nazis, houses decorated with statues of Hitler.
Nov 26, 1944 Gallantry of the 26th in your first major engagement has won respect of Corps & of German troops facing you.
Nov 30, 1944 I now have the Combat Expert Infantry Badge, which means $10 a month more. Krauts are still on the run.
Dec 1, 1944 Seasons Greetings to the Folks at home. Best Forever. Love, Ben
Dec 8, 1944 — 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.
Dec 13, 1944 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.
Dec 16, 1944 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.
Dec 18, 1944 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.
Dec 23, 1944 Getting my ‘peep’ back in shape. Went 3000 miles in two months. How about sending fruit cake & plenty of peanuts.
Dec 25, 1944 Plenty of prisoners. Ground frozen which gives tanks free range. Clear air brings air force out in full force.
Dec 31, 1944 It’s sort of scary at nite especially driving thru the woods, always on the alert for Krauts left behind.