Lt. Lawson Reichard’s WWII Diary – July 12, 1943
Monday, July 12, 1943
Tunis, Tunisia, North Africa
July 12, 1943 Diary Page
In my existence today was just another day. A hundred miles north-east the end of existence for many like myself and few would consider themselves bored. Thousands of _______ are flying around only a few with in the category of possibility. The news last night didn’t leave us too encouraged nor disappointed. We don’t know how to feel. Of course it is to be expected that we lose planes as the sky must be full of flack because the enemy knew we were coming and certainly have no intentions of laying down. There are 100,000 nazi troops and 300,000 Italian so it won’t be a cinch. We are a little more than holding our own and paying a terrific price. The length of this battle in my mind, will determine the length of the European conflict. If it takes over 5 or 6 weeks we can look forward to a long war. Today was almost uncomfortably warm. I hope it is not the start of another hot spell. There I go worrying about the way I am going to feel. Of course to the soldier that is the prime factor in his life. This afternoon Sgt. E. asked me if I would recommend him for a commission. He deserves it so of course I said yes. I don’t know what kind of an officer he will make. He should make a very good administrative officer but I don’t think I would like him as a company officer. Maybe I am making a mistake. This “parts” situation is getting serious. We have too many trucks torn down now for motor overhaul and don’t get parts. Now they want to send more up. I’ve got to figure out something because I don’t like a long dead time.
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The Day That Was: July 12, 1943
|The US submarine Pampanito was christened in New Hampshire. In 1982 the sub opened to the public at Pier 45 in San Francisco.. (http://timelines.ws/20thcent/1943.HTML)
Cruisers and destroyers under Rear Admiral Merrill bombard Munda, New Georgia in the Solomons. The Japanese submarine I-25 is sunk by the destroyer USS Taylor (DD-468) in the Solomons. The German submarine U-506 is sunk by Army aircraft near Portugal. (http://www.blountweb.com/blountcountymilitary/wars/ww2/timelines/1943_ww2.htm)
The greatest tank battle in history’ takes place near Prokhorovka, as the Soviet Central, Bryansk and West Fronts begin a massive counter- offensive in the area of Orel, Bryansk and Kursk. At Krasnograd near Moscow, a group of captured German officers, including Field Marshal Paulus and General von Seydlitz, and exiled German communists form the ‘National Committee for a Free Germany’ that calls for the overthrow of Hitler and the cessation of hostilities against the Soviet Union. (http://www.worldwar-2.net/timelines/war-in-europe/eastern-europe/eastern-europe-index-1943.htm)
1943 Diary Recaps
January 1943 Recap: We first met Lt. Reichard in January, stationed at McClellan Air Base in Sacramento, where he was in charge of a motor pool unit. Expecting to be sent overseas, their orders were changed and they became restless to see action. Lt. Reichard’s sweetheart, Ginnie, would write frequently, and he would go to dinner and movies with local girls – Dorothy, in Sacramento, and Marie, when the unit moved to Gowen Field in Boise, Idaho. The men have spent their days in lectures, and physical demonstrations to try to keep sharp mentally and physically. But they are getting increasingly restless.
February 1943 Recap: The unit continues to be restless as they still haven’t any orders for overseas. The days are kept busy with lectures, physical demonstrations, and frequent hikes in the mountains above Boise. Lt. Reichard receives a promotion to Lieutenant First Class and continues to write to Ginnie back home, though her letters are becoming more infrequent. February 1943 comes to an end with the unit still feeling bored and discouraged.
March 1943 Recap: March brings uncertainties in weather and daily life to Gowen Field. Still no word about overseas orders, the outfit must now share quarters with another unit. There is now time to begin a photo album, collecting pictures from times with the outfit. Letters from Ginnie are becoming more infrequent but there is no shortage of dates with the local girls in Boise. March comes to an end with everyone in the outfit anxiously awaiting word of upcoming furloughs.
April 1943 Recap: Last minute furloughs come through, and Lt. Reichard returns home to Maryland for some time with his family on the farm. He and Ginnie have a chance to talk things over and hopefully save the relationship. Just before leaving Boise, the unit gets orders that a move will come at the end of April. April comes to an end with the men spending a week in Stockton, California getting ready to ship out. But where they are going remains a mystery.
May 1943 Recap: The long journey begins by train as the outfit travels cross country to Camp Shanks, New York, where they will prepare to head overseas. Lt. Reichard now knows the destination: Casablanca, Morocco in North Africa. After ensuring that all the supplies are in order, the outfit boards the “West Point”, the newest in troop carriers and heads to sea. Lt. Reichard spends many peaceful evenings enjoying the time at sea before landing in Morocco. May ends with the outfit setting up camp and adjusting to the customs of Morocco.
Lt. Reichard’s WWII Diary Project : On January 1, 2009, WorthPoint began a three year project following the life of a WWII soldier through the daily pages of his diary. To read about the inception of this project, or to add your own comments, click here.
Diary transcription: Shari Seippel
Diary photos: Claudia Forbes
Video production: Alison Harder
Narration: Mountain Vista H.S. Theater Department
Jeremy Goldson, Department Chair; Bryan Smith – voice of Lt. Reichard