Trouble Not Over in Tough German War, McElvain Says
(The following is a newspaper article from the Bloomington (Indiana) World-Telephone dated November 25, 1944)..............................
TROUBLE NOT OVER IN TOUGH GERMAN WAR, McELVAIN SAYS...
From "somewhere in France", as a newspaperman serving as a fighting soldier, Walter McElvain, former city editor of The World-Telephone, writes an interesting and instructive letter. Great obstacles are still ahead in a tough war, the Luftwaffe is dying, but German mortars, mud, and "trenchfoot" are some of the obstacles, Mr. McElvain writes. His letter follows:
Please excuse the typewriter which has gone to war, has conducted itself in the best traditions of the service, and is about to receive the Purple Heart after an incredible mauling in France. Life is like that, even among our best regulated typewriters.
I have been over quite a bit of "sunny France" since writing you shortly after arriving in this country and have had the pleasure of witnessing the transformation of Nazi-occupied France into the new France which has arisen out of the ashes of St. Lo and Cherbourg, Avranches and Le Mans, Bar le Duc, and Commercy, and all the other towns and cities which have felt the cold and merciless hand of Mars. I have seen the utter devastation in Normandy, the bombed out homes in the peaceful farm regions of western France, the signs of dying Germany which dot the roads leading from Paris, and yes even the Eiffel Tower, itself, which seems to look out over her wounded child, France, like a saddened mistress of steel.
We have been harassed by a series of enemy air attacks and artillery barrages, but we have little concern over the dying Luftwaffe. It's the mortar that keeps you moving. It must be realized by the people back home that we are just entering the toughest part, that a quick and sudden victory seems entirely unlikely. There are some giant obstacles ahead, and some of them can be corrected only by time. Supplies are badly needed at present. Then there is another serious enemy, trenchfoot, which knocks men out like flies for days and weeks at a time. Then, there's the mud, lots of mud.
Here, you get a thrill over the importance of news to the common soldier. And to a newspaperman, this is doubly interesting. You may have the picture of the cigar-smoking general, with feet on desk, pouring over the newest periodicals for news, or grabbing a sheet from the teletype, but it's the ordinary soldier, the man who fights in the mud and dirt, who wants to know everything that is going on at home. We receive our news by several means; first, the letter from home, then the hometown newspaper, the short wave radio, and finally the various Army periodicals such as Stars and Stripes and Yank. By radio we received the news of the recent national election almost as soon as you at home, and an hour after Governor Dewey's speech conceding defeat, the same words were coming to us over the radio.
Winter has already begun here. The cold rains are turning to snow, and the mushy earth is beginning to solidify. Soon, we'll be plowing through several feet of snow, but it'll be forward, not backward, and that's what counts.
In France, November 10, 1944