We had a good size air raid down at the beach last night. It seemed as if Jerry planes were droning over the area all night long. Well I just had a little cry. I just found out that my best boy friend Towslee was killed. I’m a pretty big kid to be crying but I just couldn’t help it. We had planned to do so much together after the war was over. He was really tops with me. When the Lord wants you, I guess you have to go. Also Carl Workman was killed also. They shelled around pretty close today but not much.
Charles F. Bruns lived in the East Central Illinois town of Champaign. A local athlete, ‘Chick’ joined the Army in 1941. In October of 1942 he was sent to the European Theater. During his tour he was able to keep is daily thoughts in a journal that is presented here. Additionally, photos, letters written to home, news paper articles, and historic references will be shared.
Well here we are back home again. And I’m still in one piece, but Jerry tried awful hard. Our infantry job wasn’t too bad. We were on the third line of defense and patrolled every other night. We built a Baily Bridge, just 400 yrds from the Krouts. They were throwing mortars about 30 yrds from us and we had the bridge about finished when a patrol came up and discovered us. Then hell broke loose. Man the mortars and artillery shells hit all around us. How we got out of it was beyond me. We all took off down the road and got under cover when it let up. We waited for a while and part of us went back to finish it. Man oh Man this time it was worse than the last time. One shell hit the bridge and knocked me down. Boy when you feel the heat off of those shells, they’re close. Again no one was hurt and when the shelling let up we went back to cover again. We waited quite a while this time, and then they ask for volunteers to go up and finish the bridge. Only five of us went St Sgt Williamson, Sgt Werner, Kubik, Iacuzzi, and my self. We worked pretty hard for a while and it was pretty quiet. Then one mortar about 20 feet from us and we hit the dirt. The next one hit right among us knocking all of us flat. Lucky only Williamson was the only one hurt and he was only hit in the shoulder, by this time the strain was too much on us and the bridge was all but finished. Two other men finished it. On our way home they just missed us with a lucky shot and with the loss of sleep and the sweating out of those shells, when I hit my fox hole I was completely exhausted and went right to sleep. They shelled us every day that we were out there. Killed two men and wounded two others. Some nights we were laying barb wire in front of the infantry. I have been hoping that I would get hit so I can get out of this mess. Every one else has the same idea. I have never seen moral so low since I have been overseas. But never have we ever had such a time or been in a tight as spot. I don’t know how much longer I can stand it and no relief in sight. I ran into a kid from home today, Brent Nhoecker. I carried papers with him during high school days. Germany is slacking off in his air raid, and our planes are pounding him every day. If the people knew how we lived here. Sleeping in mud and working night and day. I just can’t go on much longer. I am as thin as a rail. I must not weigh over 120 lbs. I understand that we go back as Hq platoon now and don’t have to go out and work. Boy I am really glad. Much more with out a rest and I would have cracked.
Same old thing nothing to say and little to write about. We’re pretty busy any how and I have little time to write so tell everyone not to expect letters from me for a while. When I get time I will write to them. I believe it has rained every day we have been here. We made us a dugout in the side of a hill and we sleep pretty safely. I ran into another kid from home today. I used to carry papers with him during high school days. His name was Brent Noecher. How has my mail been coming home, Okea? I know this isn’t much of a letter but it’s the best I can do for now. Goodbye and I love you both from the bottom of my heart.
From March 1st to march 7th, Chick was embedded with the infantry and was unable to keep his diary up to date.