Replacement Depots

I don't recall how long rehab lasted but we then made a rather slow trip through various replacement depots in England. Onto another ship to France, more replacement depots in France, and this time into Germany.

The process was nothing like my first trip back to Luxembourg. Everything was fast and furious then but now the push across Europe was rapid and the need for more troops was less urgent. I remember one replacement location was a German Calvary garrison and our troops that were running it were crating up saddles and shipping them home.

Hard to believe, but true.

We didn't do much in these replacement depots. We had some cleanup details, occasionally some new officer would decide to practice close order drill or conduct some lecture, but mostly we ate three meals a day and had lots of time on our hands.

This is where I learned to play the card game hearts. I recall that for a rather lengthy period of time we got up, had breakfast and hurried back to the barracks and started the hearts game. After lunch and dinner we did the same on into the early morning hours. Naturally there got to be some real good players (not me unfortunately) and some real hard feelings about getting stuck with the queen. Lots of the guys in this group had been playing for years and were very good.

I was in one of the replacement depots when we were overjoyed to be informed that the war in Europe was over. The immediate joy was followed by some consternation because of concern about the future. Naturally all sorts of rumors flew about the need for troops in the Pacific, possibilities of being shipped directly to the Pacific as individual replacements etc.

There were several guys from the 101st regiment there and we held a meeting to ponder the subject of what was going to happen to us. Someone in the group had been able to learn exactly where the Yankee Division was at the time. We all wanted to get back to our outfit, but had no idea what the powers that be might do with us if we didn't rejoin the YD. There were those who thought we could go over the hill and work our way back to the division as a group and others who thought we should wait a few days and see what developed. The latter won out and, fortunately, we did eventually rejoin our old outfit.

There were very few of the original F Company people still there but a few who had been hospitalized like me, or who had not been with the Company for one reason or other on the day of the major capture. There were no original members of my squad there. I never did see or hear from or about Gambel again.

I tried to locate him on and off since then without success.

Once the surrender was signed, we went from being an invasion force to serving as an Army of Occupation.

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