Little-Known Sidelights on the Soldier (Sep, 1944)

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Little-Known Sidelights on the Soldier

BORROWING IS TABOO among front-line soldiers who are emilyposted on Army etiquette. The idea is that when a man has toted his own heavy equipment, including water, rations, cigarettes, and other necessities, besides arms and ammunition, he’s entitled to them himself. His buddies realize this—they are in the same fix—so cadging is out.

MOST WELCOME GIFT to soldiers is heavy wool socks, appreciated in a big way for the comfort they afford tired, aching “dogs” on the march.

GET THAT BULLDOZER. That’s the en-emy’s ambition. It’s because of the importance of good roads built by American troops.

HANDY AS A HAIRPIN was the way one soldier described his metal helmet. A fellow can use it as a drinking cup, foot bath, or stewpot. Under fire, he can dig himself in with it. He can fill it with hot water—water at any rate—for shaving. And when a boat is in danger of swamping, the trusty helmet is right there as a bucket with which to bail.

CAPTURED GERMAN COOKSTOVES are lucky windfalls for homesick GI’s who like to show their cooking ability by tossing together messes of this and that. Flapjacks are no trouble at all. but the boys learned a real trick when they discovered how to make sirup for them by boiling certain types of hard candy in water. How’s for a good old stack of wheats?

JAP FOXHOLES are different. The Nip builds one that holds from three to 35 men. He sinks a shaft seven or eight feet deep and then cuts a cave at right angles.

JABBERING JAPS in their foxholes often give away their location to the soldier who puts an ear to the ground.

NO SMOKING is the rule for men on jungle reconnaissance. Smoke of a cigarette can be smelled for several hundred yards.

SHUT-EYE is more restful outside of foxholes. The boys pick out near-by camouflaged spots for sleeping. In case of an enemy attack, they make a dash for the holes.

  1. Stannous says: January 5, 20074:20 pm

    When Kevlar helmets were first introduced many WW2 vets brought up the versitility pf the steel pot.

  2. KHarn says: March 9, 200812:31 pm

    In WWII the helmet liner was fiberboard, but in the Viet Nam war, it was bnded nylon, which gave more protection.

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