Posted in My Novels

On Veterans Day Read Kitty’s War

Veterans Day is the perfect time to read about the men and women who fought for our country during WWII, so…read my novel, Kitty’s War. If you’ve already read it, then write a review so that others will have the opportunity to read it, too. Find it on Amazon or on Barnes & Noble  or on Books-a-million or on iTunes/ibooks or on Kobo or on The Wild Rose Press where you can purchase it in ebook format or in print. You can also post a review on Goodreads. Thanks for your support.

 

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Posted in 276th AFA, 30th Infantry Division, History, WWII

ETO in Early October 1944

What was going on in the European Theater of Operations during the first part of October, 1944? Sometimes it’s interesting to look at what was happening in different places at the same time. In early October the European front stretched from the Netherlands/Belgian/German border in the north to the French/German border near Metz further south.

On October 2 the 30th Infantry Division launched a full-scale attack on the Siegfried Line east of Maastricht, The Netherlands. The Germans had retreated from France, Belgium and the southern part of the Netherlands to make a stand at the long string of reinforced pillboxes and tank traps along their western border. Edward Arn, in his book “Arn’s War,” describes the grisly death of his commander, Captain Melvin Riesch, that day during the attack on Rimburg Castle which caused Arn’s elevation to commander of Fox Company, 119th Infantry Regiment. Fox Company, along with the rest of the 30th Infantry division would go on to attack the German City of Aachen from the north flanked by the 29th Division and the 2nd Armored Division. The 1st and 9th Infantry Divisions attacked Aachen from the south. The city surrendered on October 16 , 1944 and was the first major German city to fall to the Allies.

On October 3rd, Lieutenant Charles McDonald crossed the German border and joined his new command, Company I of the 23rd Infantry Division in the Schnee-Eifel forest east of St. Vith, Belgium. McDonald wrote of his baptism by fire during the next few weeks in his classic memoir “Company Commander.” His account of the desperate fighting along that portion of the Siegfried line and his shockingly rapid introduction to life in combat as a Company Commander provides such a vivid picture that you feel you are there with him.

From September 10 through October 15, 1944, the 276th Armored Field Artillery, which included my father-in-law, was supporting the 2nd “Free” French Armored Division. They took positions near the Foret du Parroy, east of Nancy, France, on September 23 and remained in that position until October 15 providing supporting fire for the French Division as well as the nearby 79th Infantry Division. The 4th Armored Division was also in this area near Nancy. All were part of General George Patton’s command.

Back behind the lines, PFC Mollie Weinstein, had settled into her quarters in a hotel in newly-liberated Paris. The WAC provided clerical support for the Army and in her free time explored the famous city. Her memoir, “Mollie’s War,” includes letters she wrote home describing her experiences including meeting GI’s who’d landed on D-Day at a USO provided entertainment event and the plight of civilians in liberated Paris. Although news reports predicted the war would be over by Christmas, Mollie joked that she wouldn’t be home until 1946. The WAC’s instincts were right. It was November, 1945, before Mollie was shipped back to the states.

In early October,1944, the news from Europe sounded good to the folks back home. Paris and most of France had been liberated. The Siegfried Line had been breached and the city of Aachen taken. Although the port of Antwerp had fallen to the Allies in September, fortifications along the estuary leading to the sea blocked the port until November. Supplies were still being unloaded on the Normandy beaches and trucked across France by the Red Ball Express. Shortages slowed the Allies advance as the Germans fought to defend their borders. The war in Europe would go on for another seven months.

 

Posted in Historical Sites, History, My Novels, Research, WWII

Elveden Hall as Setting for novel Kitty’s War

The setting in a novel can provide a unique location for events to unfold. Some authors use real places and real historic landmarks in their books. I recently read “At the Water’s Edge” by Sara Gruen and she used Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness as her setting. Other authors create completely fictional locations to suit their needs. And some create fictitious locations based on actual places. This is what I did in my novel, Kitty’s War.

While doing research for Kitty’s War, I needed a fictional location for the 8th Air Force Second Combat Bombardment Wing Headquarters where the main characters got together. I knew that during WWII the English took over large country houses and estates for use by the military and some of these were assigned to the growing American forces. These estates were ideal for the Air Force because they provided enough space for construction of air fields and temporary buildings for housing and other needs. The large homes were perfect for headquarters.

My image of an English country house was something like Highclere Castle used for the setting of Downton Abbey. I couldn’t use that one so I went in search of houses that were actually used by the military. That’s how I found Elveden Hall. It had a fascinating history including that it had been owned by Maharaja Duleep Singh, ruler of the Sikh Empire, during his exile in England. While living there he completely redesigned the interiors of the house to resemble the Moghal palaces in India.

During WWII Elveden Hall served as headquarters for the 3rd Bomb Division, also known as the 3rd Air Division. That made it perfect for my purpose. I made changes so that it is more a fictional location that a real one, such as adding a hospital and air field which were not actually on the grounds and changing the name to Ellingham Castle . For more information about the US Air Force in England during WWII, including a picture of a Women’s Army Corps corporal working at Elveden Hall, follow this link.

I have not been the only one who thought Elveden Hall would make an interesting setting. Several movies have been shot there including “Eyes Wide Shut” where director Stanley Kubrick used the interiors to create a unique atmosphere. This YouTube video of one scene shot there will give you an idea of the interior of this unique house.

Kitty’s War is available online.

Posted in My Novels, WWII

Release of My Debut Novel “Kitty’s War”

My debut novel, “Kitty’s War,” has just been released by The Wild Rose Press, Inc. The historical romance is set during the turmoil of World War II.  See the story description below.

Please spread the word about my novel to everyone you know  – your spouse, daughters, mother, significant other, friends, co-workers, neighbors or any readers you think would enjoy a story filled with the danger, excitement, heartache, friendships and love in this fascinating time period.

“Kitty’s War” is available in either print format or e-book format online from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, and from Amazon.  The e-book is also available on  iTunes , Kobo , and Books-a-million .

Link to Amazon Kindle version

Link to Amazon Print version

To receive emails from me periodically with updates on my novels, my research, and whatever other interesting information that I might come across, please send me an email using the “Contact” form on this website. I will add you to my newsletter mailing list. I plan to send emails only three or four times a year so I won’t overwhelm you.  If you are not interested, that’s okay. If you ever change your mind, you can always contact me via this website.

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Kitty’s War

Seeking adventure, shy Kitty Greenlee joins the Women’s Army Corps. In 1944 England, as secretarial support to the 8th Air Force, she encounters her dream man, a handsome lieutenant who only has eyes for her blonde friend. Uncomfortable around men, Kitty doesn’t think the handsome officer could want someone like her.

Recovering from wounds, Ted Kruger wants to forget about losing his closest friends and have fun before returning to danger as a bomber navigator. When Ted recognizes Kitty as the girl who rescued him two years before, he must choose between dating the sexy blonde or pursuing quiet, serious-minded Kitty even though he knows he’s not nearly good enough for her.

As the war gears up with the D-Day invasion, will Kitty and Ted risk their hearts as well as their lives?

 

Posted in My Novels, WWII

Coming Soon – Kitty’s War

My first novel, Kitty’s War, will soon be published by The Wild Rose Press. I’ll post an update when I have an official release date.

Kitty’s War

Seeking adventure, shy Kitty Greenlee joins the Women’s Army Corps. In 1944 England, as secretarial support to the 8th Air Force, she encounters her dream man, a handsome lieutenant who only has eyes for her blonde friend. Uncomfortable around men, Kitty doesn’t think the handsome officer could want someone like her.

Recovering from wounds, Ted Kruger wants to forget about losing his closest friends and have fun before returning to danger as a bomber navigator. When Ted recognizes Kitty as the girl who rescued him two years before, he must choose between dating the sexy blonde or pursuing quiet, serious-minded Kitty even though he knows he’s not nearly good enough for her.

As the war gears up with the D-Day invasion, will Kitty and Ted risk their hearts as well as their lives?

 

Posted in History, Research, WWII

The First Women in the Military

Today most of us know women who have served in the military and many who served overseas in combat. But how many of us know about the first women in the military? And how many know what our mothers and grandmothers did during WWII? Did they serve in the military? Red Cross? Defense industry? During World War II women’s lives changed. The vital role they played, both as civilians and in the military, impacted the outcome of the war and changed how American women viewed themselves.

Women filled the void left by men who either joined or were drafted into the military after Pearl Harbor. Factories converted to wartime production needed workers so, out of necessity, they hired women. Jobs formerly reserved for men opened up for women. Females worked in factories, hospitals, offices, and farms. And some of them joined the military. Of course, it took an act of Congress to allow women into the armed services, but with strong enemies across the Atlantic and Pacific the U. S. needed to utilize all its resources.

Before 1942 women who supported the military worked as civilians, except for Army Nurses. With Congressional authorization the Navy established the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services) and the Coast Guard SPARS (Semper Paratus – Always Ready) as part of the Department of the Navy. The Army chose to create two “auxiliary” units, the Womens Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) and the Womens Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).  These women’s auxiliaries had separate command structures, they were paid less than men, and they had no military benefits like life insurance or veterans medical benefits.  With WAAC’s being sent overseas, the Army recognized the problems and in 1943 the Women’s Army Corps was authorized as an official part of the Regular Army. But the WASP never gained the same status and it was disbanded in December, 1944. Authorization for women in the WAC, WAVES, and SPARS only lasted for the “duration plus six months.” At that time these women’s’ military organizations ceased to exist.

After much political discussion the WAC was reinstated in 1947. Many today may not realize that women remained segregated from the regular Army until 1978. Yes, it was post Vietnam when the separate Women’s Army Corps was abolished and women were integrated into the regular Army.

In the 1940’s many across America opposed women serving in the military. Back then most believed that a woman’s place was in the home. Culturally it was difficult for both men and women to accept. Many female enlistees were accused of being immoral or gay. Some men refused to let their wives, girl friends, daughters or sisters join up. But other families supported and encouraged their young women to do their patriotic duty.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt threw her support behind the women who volunteered to serve. The media used advertising to promote images of  women in uniform and Hollywood made movies depicting beautiful starlets serving in the various branches of the armed forces. Thousands of women answered the call.

What was it like for those first female soldiers? Seeing women in uniform was a new experience for everyone. Young ladies donned newly designed, skirted uniforms, little green sear-sucker fatigue dresses for their rigorous physical training and twill jumpsuits or coveralls for heavier work. Girls left home for the first time and found themselves  living in open barracks with no privacy, not even in the shower. They learned to march in step, keeping the seams of their heavy cotton stockings straight. Long hikes carrying heavy packs toughened the most feminine. Failing inspections drew the dreaded gigs and led to extra hours of KP (Kitchen Police) duty. In basic training male instructors taught them military regulations and procedures until enough women were trained and available to take over. Many specialized training courses took place on college campuses where the military  commandeered both space and teachers. Others trained alongside the men. Unlike modern female soldiers, the WAC’s of WWII were considered non-combatants so they were not trained to shoot or handle weapons.

In researching my latest work-in-progress I read some memoirs that give  fascinating, first- hand accounts of WAC’s wartime experiences. “Call of Duty, A Montana Girl in World War II” by Grace Porter Miller, “Mollie’s War” by Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, and “One Woman’s War, Letters Home from the Women’s Army Corp 1944-1946” by Anne Bosanko Green give three diverse accounts of Army life during the war.

And to answer my other question, my mother did clerical work as a civilian at several military bases as she followed my father from one post to another. My dad and two of his three brothers served in the Army, while the third worked in a defense plant. My mother’s sisters also worked in defense plants. So no WAC’s or WAVES in my immediate family. But my sister’s mother-in-law served in the WAC’s. The woman was quite a character and I wish I had had the opportunity to talk to her about her military service and her experiences during World War II before she died.  The “Greatest Generation,” both men and women, are quickly dying off and they take with them the stories of their service to their country so many years ago.

Today’s female soldiers, as well as all American women who work outside the home, benefit from what these brave women did during World War II. They stepped up and proved that they were capable of doing almost any job. I believe that the women’s movement had its origins in the mothers who, after the war, told their daughters they could do any thing they wanted to do. The women of the Greatest Generation believed it because of what they did in helping to win the war.