Bill in Combat — Life in a Foxhole

Existence in a foxhole at this time became a series of rituals, the most important of which was conversation. Men learned to know each other extraordinarily well, for they talked of the past, the future, their plans, their friends and families, politics, sex, hobbies, and anything else they could think about to pass the time. Each man’s hole was his little home, and friends would pay regular social calls- bringing their canned rations if they wished to stay for dinner. Preparing each meal became a ritual. One always had to discuss the time to eat, which can of rations to eat, (if there was a choice), the best way of heating, etc. As always, mail was the big event of the day, and if men received packages, they would share them with men in neighboring holes. Everyone read avidly anything he could lay his hands on. The “Stars and Stripes” was eagerly pounced on each day. However, these things could not relieve the continuous tension of necessary vigil nor could they help pass the endless numbingly cold nights. Then there were the long periods of depression and utter discouragement. The longer the time stretched out, the dirtier, more discouraged and weary the men became. It was a happy morning on January 11, when Company A evacuated their foxholes and pulled off to go back to Siersthal.


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