Letters Home - Clyde Love & World War II

Letters Home - Clyde Love & World War II

Clyde Love entered the Armed Services on July 18, 1941. He left the United States April 18, 1944 and landed in Scotland on April 27, a tank commander in the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion under the command of General George S. Patton.

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Clyde Love is now deceased, but the letters he sent to his family are being shared with our readers as a memorial tribute, not only to Mr. Love, but to the many veterans who fought so valiantly for their country.

"Clyde Jackson Love spent almost five years in the service of his country in World War II," his battalion was in the thick of all major action in France, Germany, Austria, and Belgium. Under various commanders, they fired 15,028 rounds of indirect fire, 7,200 rounds of direct fire, took more than 12,000 prisoners, destroyed one enemy aircraft, a large number of enemy transport and supply vehicles, gunboats, pillboxes, artillery pieces and munitions, despite heavy losses in officer and enlisted personnel."

He was in action to May 9, 1945, V-E Day, (Victory in Europe), which officially ended the war in Europe. He was discharged October 13, 1945 and returned home.

"Never did he discuss his sojourn in Europe, but the horror never left him. Soldiers, it has been said, are taught to suppress their feelings, their fear, their grief, but they don't go away. They remain deep in the memories." Nightmares are made of such memories, Miss Love adds, "A very illuminating quote about war from General George S. Patton" "the object of the war is not to die for your country. It's to make the other poor bastard die for his." Sometimes the after affect might be compared to a living death."

"Clyde's tank was the first to reach Hitler's marvelous retreat called "the Eagle's Nest," in Berchtesgaden, high in the Bavarian Alps Mountains - secluded and breathtakingly beautiful, too beautiful for such a monster."

"Following are excerpts from letters written by Clyde to my family and me while he was in Europe. They begin with Bastogne, which was a very frightening time for us on the home front. We listened to the radio news and waited, terrified at what might happen. Clyde, in a very carefree manner, calls a life and death situation, "pretty hot" or "a little tough."

Bastogne - January 13, 1945

Dear Mama,

Things are not quite so bad with me as they were Christmas. Things were pretty hot Christmas eve and Christmas Day. We had a pretty good tank battle Christmas, and my men all came out ok. We also realized Christmas Eve that Germany had quite a few planes.

I have been inside the last few days and had a nice warm shower yesterday. It was the first one for some time, and it sure did feel good to get clean again.

I hope to hear from you again soon.
Clyde

Germany - March 24, 1945Letters Home - Clyde Love & World War II

Dear Jennie,

I have received quite a few letter from you this week. I had one a few days ago that was written December 4. I also had one from Mama and Howard written at the same time. Maybe all of my back mail will get here sometime.

As you have been reading about the Third Army, I guess you know we have been on another push and know just about where we are now. The going wasn't so tough and everything went along pretty good.

It was too bad about Mr. Leake. The people there must have gone through some terrible treatment.

I am glad to get the clippings, for it looks like I will never get the papers anymore. I have been listening to the radio almost all morning. I have one that I fixed that works pretty good. I can get the news from the U.S. pretty often. I heard quite a few good bands this morning.

Write as often as you can.
Clyde

EDITOR'S NOTE: (Mr. Leake was B.G. Leake, a civilian working in the Philippines. He was captured by the Japanese and put into a concentration camp. When released at the end of the war, he was so weak from malnutrition that he died. He married Anne Shull from Valle Crucis. Their son, Bill, was in my English class for one year.)- Jennie.

Germany - April 6, 1945

Dear Ed,

I have not had the opportunity to write to you for some time., but as I have some time off today, I will try to answer your letter I received some time ago.

I have been pretty busy the past week. We have been in another of the big pushes. Everything went off pretty well. The weather was very bad. We had a few days of nice spring weather, but the last three days it has been snowing most of the time. We are in the mountains, and there is snow here that has been here all winter.

The last push we were working with the Eleventh Armored Division. It think it is much better than the way we have been working in the past. I hope we can continue working with them.

The sniper fire was the worst thing that we ran into since we have been on this side of the Rhine. We sure have to stay on the alert to keep from being hit by them. Most of the people seem to be glad it is over, but there are some that don't seem to be so happy.

Well, Ed, as you know, I am not much of a hand with a typewriter, especially a German typewriter, but maybe it will pass.

Don't work too hard and let me hear from you again soon.
Clyde

Germany - April 13, 1945

Dear Jennie,

Things are happening pretty fast over here. We have been moving fast. I guess you have been reading all of the news and know just about where we are.

The fighting isn't as tough as it was around Christmas. The German planes come out once in a while, but they don't do very much damage. A few came over a little while ago, but most of them were shot down.

I heard the news from New York a little while ago. It was all about F.D.R. Almost everyone was shocked to hear of his death. I hope Truman can take over and do as well as F.D.R. did.

I was sorry to hear about John Edmisten being killed in Italy. It seems rather strange that he and Hal (Vines) acme in together and were killed at the same time.

I will try to write again in a few days. Write me when you can.

With love,
Clyde

Germany - April 28, 1945

Dear Jennie,

How is everyone getting along? I am fine except for an accident from which I got a small cut on the face and a black eye. One of my drivers tried to take a curve a little too fast and we hit a building.

As usual, we are still on the move, and the resistance is just a little tougher than it had been.

We saw a lot of things this past week that I had heard about the way they treated the slaves. Now I have seen it with my own eyes. We freed thousands of them who were so weak they could hardly walk. There were holes along the road that were full of bodies of those who were so weak they could not go, and the Germans had killed them. The ones who are not so weak are giving them some of their own medicine. It surely did me good to see one of them walk up and give one of the German big shots a couple of black eyes. They thought they had the world in their hands, but I think they are beginning to change their minds.

Jennie, there might be a lot of things that your write me that I don't answer, but I destroy all of my mail as I get it. I don't necessarily have to, but I always do.

With love,
Clyde

Linz, Austria - May 2, 1945

Dear Jennie,

Well, once again it looks as if it might be December instead of May. It snowed hard last night. I imagine it will be cold as long as we are where we are now.

Today has been a pretty quiet day, and I have spent most of it eating. My crew and I killed five chickens this morning and we had fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. It wasn't too bad for cooking by a bunch of G.I.'s.

The news sounds pretty good tonight. All the forces in Italy have given up. It looks as if it can't be too long before they will have to give up here. They are almost to the point where there is no place to retreat, and they have to fight or give up. I guess it must be official that Hitler is dead.

Well, Jennie, I guess this will be all for this time. Write as often as you can.
Clyde

Linz, Austria - May 28, 1945

Dear Jennie,

Almost everyone has been figuring up their points this week. I should have plenty to get me out. My score of 94 has gone in. Since then we got credit for two more battle stars, which will give me a final score of 104. This should be plenty to get me out.

One from my company left this morning. He had been in the Army thirteen years, and I think he had 110 points. Of course all the high scores will go first. Mine should come up soon. I think I have the highest score of anyone left. I have five battle stars, which will give us the Silver Star. The Bronze Star and Cluster and Purple Heart and Cluster and the Presidential Citation don't count for points. I have 46 months in service and 13 for overseas.

We have a nice place to stay now. We have rooms with baths, lights, radio, and an electric stove. We also have a theater and a show every night.

There will be a ball team in the Division. It intend to try out. The Division is the 11th Armored. It is not a very old Division. Their first battle was at Bastogne.

We landed in France on the 18th of July and went into battle the first of August. Our first main battle was at St. Malo. Then from there to Brest. After Brest fell, we went to a town near Metz but didn't do much fighting there.

From there we went to a town in Germany near Aachen, which was when we met the Ninth Army. We didn't do much there for over a month until the 17th of December. We were planning a big Christmas there, but of course there came the break-through at Bastogne. We were tired. We were going to stop the Germans but didn't know until we got there how bad everything was. I"m surely glad we didn't know. The Germans would let our TD's go through, then destroy all the trucks on the road and close all the roads we went in on. When we got to Bastogne, we really were cut off. The Germans had a complete ring around us. I can say we were lucky to have the 101st Airborne with us. The 101st also thought the same things about us. After we were relieved there and had the break, we joined the 11th.

It seems rather odd, but the 18th of every month seemed to be a lucky day for us. We always looked forward to that day for something to happen.

To begin with I joined the Army on the 18th, left the States on the 18th, landed in France on the 18th, Brest fell on the 18th, our rest period ended on the 18th, and the next, of course, was the Bastogne deal beginning on the 18th, and we were released January 18 at Bastogne. You can see it was an important date for us.

I have put 4500 miles on my vehicle and still have the same vehicle (a tank).

Well, Jennie, this will be all for now.

With love,
Clyde

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