Creature Discomforts at The Front
Good morning from an old dogface, that's an old slang for infantryman. Just a comment on keeping clean in combat. That wasn't our big priority at the time. But we did manage to at least wash our face and shave at least once a week, if we could. We did this by maybe heating water in our helmet and using it for a wash basin. Most of the time it was cold water. As far as taking baths, well now, I was on the front lines for approximately Six months and during that period I had one shower - and one change of clothes. I think that was pretty normal for our guys and the situation of the times - living like rats in holes. We all had the same smell so it didn't bother anyone. I never heard any one complain either. We accepted it as "thats the way it was" and tried to do what we had to do.
Food - the army did a good job of keeping food for the troops, especially our kitchen did. We always had the k-rations or c-rations on person but the hot meals were given when the situation was so that we could get it. The kitchen would bring the meals up as close to the front as possible and then a couple men at a time would leave their position and go get their messkits full and return to their position and this was repeated till all were fed. By the time we got back to the positions the food was usually cold but it didn't bother us, at least I never heard any one complain.
Keeping warm was a terrible thing in some areas. It all depened on where you were at. Sometimes it was just suffering through it, you didn't have the comfort of warmth. I suffered terribly at times. But most of the times we were able to find shelter in old cellars and sometimes we could build a fire after dark in a cellar. But we were limited as to how much clothing we had and covering for sleep. We had one little sleeping bag and if it was very cold it didn't do the job. So many of the troops who had to be outside in holes at nite suffered alot. Trench foot was prevelant in some areas. I got it but was able to keep going as we finally got to get into a buliding and I dried my feet and dried my socks. Luckly I'm here to-day with both my feet. Another few days in the mud and my feet would have proably have broken open and gangrene would have taken over. But God blessed me and I have my feet to-day.
Well that's just a bit of my experience and this I can say - war is hell. And if you want to know what war is really like, ask an old dogface thats been there. Have a good day.
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