I should spend much time in reviewing the following months but the time is drawing near when I will no longer have this typewriter -- and my good intentions are finally beginning to give way to laziness!
Living the life of Riley in the apartment, we were well satisfied with our setup. Every other day we went on guard; the other day we made a pretense of training. Our company was guarding a huge German ammunition dump up in the wooded foothills of the Alps mountains which surrounded the area. One squad at a time guarded the dump and we were almost sorry when our shift ended. In the daytime we sat in the sun or roamed the woods, looking for deer. At night we sat by the fire, talked and dozed. It was the best guard we had ever had up to that time.
The scenery in the Alps was beautiful--clean, green forests, snow-capped mountains......a real vacation land. One day I visited a skiing lodge atop one of the mountains and spent several enjoyable hours trying to ski, then relaxing in the modern hotel like a true tourist. Another time the whole company went up to a huge mountain lake for a rest----- more modern hotels, dining rooms with waitresses, rowboating, and just doing nothing. Very much unlike the Army.
On June 4 we moved into Innsbruck, a fair-sized little city recovering from the war. We guarded banks, postoffices. DeFoe and I had the best of them all, I think, guarding the rear of the hospital. We were seldom bothered by the OD, had to check no passes, and our post was on the second-floor porch of a house behind the hospital, equipped with a mattress and two chairs. At night, we usually went to sleep, on the mattress, waking the minute the OD, if he came, hit the first step on the creaky stairs below! By the time he reached the top of the stairs we were standing at the rail, very alert and dutiful. I don't think we fooled the officers but as long as they didn't catch us asleep they couldn't say anything.
While we were in Innsbruck we saw numerous German stage shows and though we could not understand their chatter, we of course enjoyed the dances which usually bordered on the burlesque side. Some skits were in English and went over big. And Austrian or German, friends or enemies, many of the girls on the stage would be hard to beat for looks! These shows were sponsored by the Army but were not USO shows......I've still to see my first of those.
From Ed Fry, April, 1986
Ref: Page 53 MUD & GUTS
....you are correct about rejoining the squad in Hall, not Zirl. I have Zirl on the brain for some reason but in fact never saw the place. It was to the right as we came down the Alps. We got caught in a minefield on the way and while we waited for mine detectors to get to us, we watched a German blow a bridge to Zirl, get on a motorcycle and scoot away. Also while waiting, I was watching a fellow by the name of Fink. All of a sudden he disappeared in a cloud of smoke. He had been sitting right on or near a mine and it blew. It didn't kill him but we never knew if he survived.
From Ed Fry, April, 1985:
We guarded an ammo dump at Hall for a few weeks....I think you got back just about the time I stole some 10 & 1 rations for the squad. We had been living on C rations for weeks -- for breakfast, lunch and dinner (it has just been recently that I can tolerate peas again!) -- and the Divisional quartermaster was just across the road eating ice cream with their meals. Several guys tried to steal some 10 & 1s at night but got caught every time. One day just before noon I went through the fence, spoke to each guard as I went past, walked the full length of the mess hall (the tables were set with linen and tableware for the noon meal), threw a case of rations over my shoulder and walked back through the place to our billet. That bacon was delicious! I still can't believe I did it but we must have been hungry for me to get up that much nerve.
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