My dad, Herbert Miller, was trained as a replacement troop during the fall of 1944 and by the end of that same year he was in Belgium fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. He had been assigned to Company L, 333rd Regiment, 84th Infantry Division, known as the Railsplitters.
My dad wrote quite a few letters home during the time he served our country in Europe during WWII and I am grateful that his family saved most of them. During the first two months of 1945 he did not write many letters home, very likely because he was an infantryman fighting in the Battle of the Bulge and in Germany after that. In March of 1945 he found the time to write a few letters home to his parents and a couple to his sister Em and her husband Norval “Jack.”
Today I post two V-Mail letters that my dad wrote to his sister Em. V-Mail letters were the soldiers’ letters copied onto microfilm in Europe. The film was sent to America where the letter was reprinted on paper at about half its original size and then delivered.
These letters are from Pfc. Herbert Miller (35845400), Co. L, 333rd Infantry, A.P.O. 84, c/o Postmaster, New York, NY, to Mr. & Mrs. Norval Weitz, RR1, Rockford, Ohio.
V-Mail letter with no envelope:
10 March 1945
Somewhere in Germany
Dear Sis, Jack & all,
How is everything coming along back Chattanooga way? I imagine the farm work is pretty well underway by now.
I received your box of Lady Wayne Chocolate today and I mean to tell you they were really delicious. The squad thought they were good, too. There are twelve men in the squad and they are all regular fellows. When we receive a box we share alike.
I’ve now gotten the Combat Infantryman’s badge. I get $10 more per month. Now with $4 more for P.F.C. and $10 for overseas. That makes my paycheck $74 before deductions.
Well Jack I’ve got myself a Luger now plus a German paratrooper’s knife. They will make nice souvenirs.
I received the Rockford newsletter today. It’s got quite a bit of news in it. Must close for now and thanks again for the candy. Tell Mom not to worry. I’ll write tomorrow and hoping to see you soon.
Another V-Mail letter to Em and Jack:
25 March 1925
Dear Em & Jack,
Well today is Palm Sunday. It is about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I slept till noon, ate dinner, then went to church.
I received a box yesterday from mom and a box the day before from Ruth. I sure was glad to get them.
I haven’t heard from Dorothy for quite a while now. I imagine she is busy or something.
I talked to Milton Schumm a couple of days ago. I still haven’t seen Rev. Arne’s [?] boy.
I imagine Norval is working in the ground now. The weather is just like summer over here now.
Guess I’d better close for now. Am feeling fine and hope that you are the same.
[Note by kmb: Interesting that during the war he ran into someone he knew from the Willshire area! It was Milton Schumm, a relative from my mom’s side of the family. Perhaps they knew each other from Willshire School. He would not have known Milton from my mom because he was dating another woman during the war and had not met my mom yet.]
My dad collected quite a few books about the Battle of the Bulge and the Railsplitters over the years. He made notes in some of them and notes on some little pieces of paper that he used as bookmarks. Here are some notes he made in a book about the 84th, the Railsplitters:
[Note by kmb: I am not sure what town he was referring to below. It looks like Verdiene but that name does not appear to be a town. I wonder…]
Started 3:00 p.m., 12-24 by another battalion,
But Lost Verdiene [?] at about 9:30 P.
We started to fight for Verdiene.
At 1:00 A. we entered town.
In the book he made a note that he was in the town of Laroche.
My dad wrote on a photograph in the book, a photograph of a snow-plowed crossroad with the printed caption: “The capture of this innocent-looking crossroads was probably the turning point of the entire action. It deprived the enemy of the only two first-rate roads to the east, the Laroche Road and the Houffalize Road.” My dad wrote in his hand: Sgt. David Vhasha/Vherha [?], Lakewood, Ohio, my squad leader was killed about ¼ mile form this crossroad.
More WWII letters next week.