Day: May 12, 2016

The city in a different lightThe city in a different light

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 9:18 pm

“Eisenhower’s provost marshal estimated that in December eighteen thousand American deserters roamed the European theater, plus another ten thousand British absconders. The equivalent of a division of military fugitives was believed to be hiding in the Parisian demimonde, often joining forces with local black marketeers to peddle K rations for 75 cents from the tailgates of stolen Army trucks—hundreds of such vehicles vanished every day—or simply selling the entire deuce-and-a-half for $5,000. Eventually four thousand military policemen and detectives worked the streets of Paris. From September through December [1944] they arrested more than ten thousand people, including French civilians caught selling marijuana to soldiers. A five-story French army barracks on the Boulevard Mortier became a detention block capable of holding more than two thousand miscreants, while the merely AWOL were rounded up and trucked back to the front in lots of sixteen under MP guard. Many soldiers in an Army railway battalion in Paris were arrested and court-martialed en masse for pilferage; nearly two hundred of them drew prison sentences, some as long as fifty years—later commuted for those who agreed to combat duty. Still, the malfeasance and misconduct would thrive through the end of the war, to the point that Paris, the city of light, the city of learning, the city of love, earned yet another nickname: ‘Chicago-sur-Seine.’ ” – Rick Atkinson, The Guns at Last Light

Hi, soldier . . .Hi, soldier . . .

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 7:30 pm

“A typical transaction cost three packs of Chesterfields, and a survey found that among soldiers who spent two days or more in Paris, two-thirds had intercourse at least once, often in what were called ‘Where am I?’ rooms. . . . Soldiers excused from duty while being treated for syphilis or gonorrhea were said to be ‘whores de combat,’ and the Good Conduct Ribbon became known as the ‘No-Clap Medal.’ Women who swapped sex for rations or chocolate were called ‘Hershey bars,’ while a brothel was a ‘house of horizontal refreshment.’ ” – Rick Atkinson, The Guns at Last Light

Worn out, torn down, broken, shattered, wasted awayWorn out, torn down, broken, shattered, wasted away

Tetman Callis 0 Comments 5:19 am

“Most [combat exhaustion] patients were treated as temporarily disabled and kept close to the front, to preserve their self-respect and emotional links to their unit. Division clearing stations now usually included a psychiatrist . . . exhausted patients often were put into a deep sleep, sometimes for days, with ‘Blue 88s,’ sodium amytal or nembutal capsules. Of every one hundred exhaustion patients hospitalized in the European theater, ninety returned to duty in some capacity, although many were finished as killer riflemen. . . . neither competent treatment nor all the Blue 88s in Europe could efface war’s capacity to fracture men’s psyches. . . . Most experts concluded that soldiers wore out for good after 200 to 240 days of battle, although two psychologists monitoring the advance into Germany posited that a GI’s combat skills began to decline after a month of fighting, with many ‘close to a vegetative state’ after forty-five days.” – Rick Atkinson, The Guns at Last Light