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A Short Break From Combat, WWII, France,
A Unique Way To A Chicken Dinner For The Battery
Jack Cunningham
1st. Lt. Jack Cunningham

C Bty, 29th FA Bn, WW2

Somewhere in Normandy the battery had a three or four day rest period. Capt. Jim Hurst, CO of Charlie Battery, 29th FA told me to get Sgt. Brown, our mess sergeant, and the two of us were to take his command car and go to some of the farms in the area and get some chickens so the battery could have a good meal. For trade we took cigarettes, chocolate ration bars which had a lot of stuff added to the chocolate, naptha soap and miscellaneous items. A piece of the chocolate bar took an hour to melt in your mouth and the soap produced no suds but did a good job of cleaning. Naturally, the farmer and his wife were happy to see us. He wanted cigarettes - - and time to have a few drinks - - and his wife wanted the chocolate, soap and some of the nick-nacks. He would bring out a bottle of cognac or calvados and we would negotiate. When this was complete, the wife and the children would go out and collect the chickens and we would sit there and have a few drinks. We put the curtains up on the command car and tied the legs of two or three chickens together and put them in the back seat.

During the day we visited four or five farms and at each the trading and sipping was about the same. We returned to the battery after dark with a load of chickens. Hurst came out and unhooked the curtains to look in the back seat. He was very unhappy. There were chicken droppings smeared all over the rear seat along with a mass of feathers. I wandered off and he told Sgt. Brown to get some men, remove the chickens and clean up the car. The next day Hurst had calmed down and the dinner was good or at least better than C-Rations.

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