Text: Captain Fredric E. Pamp Jr (Public Relations Officer XIX Corps 1945)
The following narrative depicts the horror of this battle of the Falaise pocket:
Before the Allies closed the pocket, the death and destruction dealt against the German Army was horrifying even though a number of Panzer divisions were able to escape from the envelopment. "The battlefield at Falaise was unquestionably one of the greatest 'killing fields' of any of the war areas", Eisenhower noted in his memoirs. "Forty-eight hours after the closing of the gap I was conducted through it on foot, to encounter scenes that could be described only by Dante. It was literally possible to walk for hundreds of yards at a time, stepping on nothing but dead and decaying flesh."
Robert Rogge, who fought with the Canadian Army in Falaise, recalled the destruction:
"It reeked of the destroyed [German] army. Burned-out tanks, lorries, motorcycles, and carts were in ruinous heaps. Bloated, black-faced corpses lay everywhere, and the summer stench was overpowering. Dead, grossly swollen horses were carelessly mingled with human corpses and savaged equipment. The men held dirty handkerchiefs over their faces, but nothing could keep out the stench. It got into their clothes and remained with them for days."
(Sources: Crack! and Thump, Crusade in Europe, Fearsome Battle, Honor Untarnished, Wikipedia.)
S/Sergent Wilbur C. Garner,33377578
G-1 Section, Hq XIX Corps
APO 270, c/o Postmaster, N.Y.
Mary W. Garner, SK2c
U.S. Naval Air Station
"Somewhere in France"
8 August 1944
I received two letters from you about 3 days ago which I have been unable to answer until about now. I just hope I'll be able to finish this one.
You asked who this boy Henderson is that I spoke of. Last June there was a very similar incident which both of us experienced. Sometime the first of May a year ago his wife gave birth to a child. About the first of June he got an emergency furlough for the purpose of seeing his wife as she was in a very serious condition. His wife passed away 2 days after he got home. He had only come back off furlough when I was informed of my misfortune so you see we have had something in common and have been pretty much buddies ever since. He is from Seattle, Washington.
That picture that Gwen sent you of her in a row boat was very good. She said she would like to see one of you in your uniform, so if you should get one, please keep her in mind.
You asked if I'd like some more of the fruit. All but the candied pineapple. It was good and different from the average package. You can send more please.
Mother wrote me about Harriet wanting to sub-let her apartment. I'm wondering about the condition that exist there. Well, Sis since there is no more news and I wrote two pages on this one page, I'll close for now and hope to hear from you soon again.
Lots of Love,
P.S. I hope you can read this.