Combat Diary of Sergeant Hanford Maurice Rice

Note: Hanford M. Rice was a Staff Sergeant in combat infantry in the 1st Battalion of the U.S. 9th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division during World War Two. He wrote a diary that I think is interesting. Since he was my father I now quote it in it's entirety. This info might be useful to anyone wanting to trace the combat activity of the 1st Battalion. He was in Charlie Company. His military nick name was "China Boy." He landed on Omaha Beach on D Day + 1.

This info shared with you by
Kraig J. Rice
www.breadonthewaters.com

JUNE 1944

June 6, 1944: "D Day. On the boat heading for France."

June 7, 1944: "Landed in France. Went into action. Guarded regular cp. Scared to death. Bodies on the beach everywhere."

June 8, 1944: "1st and 2nd battalions went sniper hunting. Lt. Graham and Sgt. Clark killed by an S mine. Lt. Woodbury wounded. Still guarding regular cp. Rejoined my company at night. Jerry airplanes came over. It was a swell show."

June 9, 1944: "2nd and 3rd battalions attacked. Went through Cerissy Forest. Captured an ammo dump. Hiked 20 miles."

June 10, 1944: "We mounted on tanks. Captured 2 prisoners and killed 2 Jerries and one officer."

June 11, 1944 (Sunday): "Attacked and gained Powder Keg Hill. Lt. Day hit. (A German) armoured car wounded several (Americans) and then got away."

June 12, 1944 (Monday): "Digging in deeper on Powder Keg Hill. (Our front line is) Two miles in front of everyone (else)."

June 13, 1944 (Tuesday): "Still holding and guarding machine gun section. (I Am) Learning a few words of French."

June 14, 1944 (Wednesday): "We can write mail for the first time in France. Still holding (the line). (The rest of the 9th inf.) Regiment caught up (to us)."

June 15, 1944 (Thursday): "Still holding Powder Keg Hill. (Our)Third squad (is now) guarding (our) machine gun section. 3 Jerries got away. Killed a horse."

June 16, 1944 (Friday): "(We) Left Powder Keg Hill. Attacked Purple Heart Valley. Cowboy, Escalera, and Gonzales were killed. (Cleo) Morse (got) wounded. Got relieved by the 1st Division."

June 17, June 17, 1944 (Saturday): "I am First Squad leader. It rained all day. We are (resting) in the (2ID) reserve (area)."

June 18, 1944 (Sunday): "Valuenuzla shot himself. Cobb made platoon sergeant. I made staff sergeant. (Charles) Stratton came over. 3 Jerry airplanes came over and 2 (of these were) shot down. I got in a hornet's nest."

June 19, 1944 (Monday): "Still in reserve. Relieved the Second Battalion at night. All drunk. The bazooka men got lost. Hobbs and a recruit mix it up (get in a fight)."

June 20, 1944 (Tuesday): "We find our positions. Get straightened out and dig in deeper."

June 21, 1944 (Wednesday): "We hold for 15 days."

June 22, 1944 (Thursday): "We patrol at night. We have an OP (observation post) three hedgerows in front of our lines."

June 23, 1944 (Friday): "Still patrolling. (Enemy) mortar and artillery falling heavy."

June 24, 1944 (Saturday): "Doc Knelby joined the third platoon. We got some chickens and fried spuds (potatoes) and onions. Our poney stays with us."

June 25, 1944 (Sunday): "Still five miles north of St. Lo."

June 26, 1944 (Monday): "We build a barbed wire entanglement between our op and front line. (An enemy) flare (at night came down) and hit me (landed) on my back."

June 27, 1944 (Tuesday): "Sgt. Storey came in with the kitchen, so I got hot coffee and biscuits."

June 28, 1944(Wednesday): No entry in his diary on this date.

June 29, 1944 (Thursday): "(Another American soldier with the same last name of) Rice was killed on patrol. Everyone thought it was me."

June 30, 1944 (Friday): "Amacher gets hit in his rear end. Our poney got shot because he would not halt."


Logo of the 9th Infantry Regiment

JULY 1944

July 1, 1944 (Saturday): "Sgt. League hit with scrapnel. We could sure use some rest."

July 2, 1944 (Sunday): "Still holding."

July 3, 1944 (Monday): "Still holding."

July 4, 1944 (Tuesday): "To celebrate the fourth of July each gun in the U.S. army fires one round at twelve o'clock. It was a real celebration."

July 5, 1944 (Wednesday): "We go to the division's reserve area. 3rd Battalion relieves us. Everything smooth sailing."

July 6, 1944 (Thursday): "We have training with tanks. Weather is warmer."

July 7, 1944 (Friday): "Hill (192 is) another problem and it sure is hot. We move out to eighty eight corner on the road block."

July 8, 1944 (Saturday): "One hill separates us from St. Lo."

July 9, 1944 (Sunday): "Sweating out 88s (enemy artillery)."

July 10, 1944 (Monday): "Sweating out 88s (enemy artillery). (William F.) Parker was hit with scrapnel."

July 11, 1944 (Tuesday): “Holding the road block. 400 pound T.N.T. crater charge.

July 12, 1944 (Wednesday): “23rd and 38th regiments attacking Hill 192. It was a real battle. Our 9th regiment is still holding the road block.

July 13 thru 15, 1944 (Thursday thru Saturday): “French women in (fox) holes with the Germans. They were all dead.

July 16, 1944 (Sunday): “Supposed to get relieved. Came back from eighty eight corner and went to church. Relieved by the 2nd Battalion. Everything is quiet.”

July 17, 1944 (Monday): “Searched out houses. Held our lines. Found some donkeys and rode them.”

July 18, 1944 (Tuesday): “(9th Infantry) Organization day. Everyone fired one round. Jerry sent propaganda leaflets over.

July 19, 1944 (Wednesday): “The eng. (combat engineers) relieved us. We went back and prepared for an attack.”

July 20, 1944 (Thursday): “We dug in and held our positions.”

July 21,1944(Friday): “Outposted 1st battalion area sweating out the attack.”

July 22,1944(Saturday): “Seven German airplanes came over. We shot down five. One pilot was burned all to pieces but I got part of his parachute.”

July 23, 1944 (Sunday): “Sweating it out”.

July 24, 1944 (Monday) “Sweating it out”.

July 25, 1944 (Tuesday): “2900 allied heavy bombers came over. The Jerries shot down five of them. The allied attack for the Brest peninsula started.”

July 26,1944 (Wednesday):”We attacked on a large scale. (My company) Charlie company is in reserve. (Ernesto) Elizondo was killed that night. (Edwin O.) Urbat, (Grady W.) Patterson, (Joseph T. Haughney) “Hoff”, (Sgt. August) Pilsner were killed. Artillery was hitting all around.”

July 27, 1944 (Thursday): “Company C attacked at 1830 (6:30 p.m.) between A and B companies. We lost 45 men. We were pinned down by machine gun fire. We lost 3 tanks and Wakefield, (Leonardo) Castillo, (Alvin O.) Larson, and Rowe also. Then we were relieved by the 5th Division.”

July 28, 1944 (Friday): “Hiked all night. Ate chow. Attacked at 1000 hours (10 a.m.). We passed the 23rd regiment. (We) captured enemy weapons.”

July 29, 1944 (Saturday): “(We) Stayed there all day. Jerry shot down one of our planes.”

July 30,1944 (Sunday): “(We) Attacked all day. I have had very little rest. We lost 40 men (including) Captain Algers, Cobb, and Crumbly. (Our) first platoon was all shot up. The 2nd battalion relieved us. We only have 85 men and 2 officers left.”

July 31,1944 (Monday): “(We) Attacked all day and kept going at night (time). Crossed the railroad (tracks).”

AUGUST 1944

August 1, 1944 (Tuesday): “(We) Attacked all day. Houses were burning. The local people lived in caves and gave us flowers and also milk.”

August 2, 1944 (Wednesday): “Crossed the (Vire) River. (We) held our (combat) line. A Jerry pill-roller (medic) gave himself up with two wounded.”

August 3, 1944 (Thursday): “We attacked (again). Five men dropped out with combat fatigue. Stethem left so I took the 3rd platoon. (Enemy) artillery is falling like rain drops. (Those hit were) Captain Harvey, (Ed T.) Nisk, Kelly, (Robt. L.) Perkins, (Elgin L.G. Bauer) Bower, Storey. (There are only) 16 men left in the 3rd platoon.”

August 4, 1944 (Friday): “The 38th Regiment relieved us. We went back (to the division’s reserve area) for rest. The kitchen came up.”

August 5, 1944 (Saturday): “Got replacements. Got bedding rolls. Had mail call. (We) thought we were relieved for good.”

August 6, 1944 (Sunday): “(Went to the) USO show. (They had) Red Cross girls there and coffee and doughnuts. I had a quart of quantro. Got organized.”

August 7, 1944 (Monday): “Rolled our rolls. Moved toward Vire. (We) passed our old positions with the ammunition dump.”

August 8, 1944 (Tuesday): “Still holding at Vire. Digging in deeper. I am still the platoon sergeant. Sergeant Morse goes to the 2nd platoon.”

August 9, 1944 (Wednesday): “(We are) north of Vire. Hiked 10 miles to (new) positions.”

August 10, 1944 (Thursday): “(We are) north of Vire. Holding the line in case of counter attack.”

August 11, 1944 (Friday): “(Our) forward outpost contacted the British. (We) found lots of German weapons on a hill. (We) relieved the 2nd Battalion. Norce hit.”

August 12, 1944 (Saturday): “(Our) 1st Battalion attacked. (We) captured 500 prisoners. A (German) command car (was destroyed). (It is my) wife’s birthday.”

August 13, 1944 (Sunday): “Holding the line.”

August 14, 1944 (Monday): “Holding the line. Got paid. Sent home $80.00. (I had) steak for dinner.”

August 15, 1944 (Tuesday): “Holding the line at Vire. Took showers. (Today is the day of the) invasion of southern France. Hit (the) spearhead.”

August 16, 1944 (Wednesday): “Taking it easy- eating and sleeping. Sweating out the division getting relieved or motorized (which will mean more combat for me.).”

August 17, 1944 (Thursday): “USO show. Dinah Shore sang. Taking it easy.”

August 18, 1944 (Friday): “Getting ready to move to Brest. We ride all night. 27 men in (the) truck.”

August 19, 1944 (Saturday): “We unloaded off of trucks at eleven o’clock (11:00 am). Pitched tent. Bought eggs. (We are) 12 miles from Brest.”

August 20, 1944 (Sunday): “We moved to the airfield. (We) relieved the 8th Division in pill boxes. Raining cats and dogs.”

August 21, 1944 (Monday): “Still raining. We are holding and moving our positions. Rough weather. (We are) 2 miles from Brest.”

August 22, 1944 (Tuesday): “(Our) patrol went out. Magnes (was) killed, Curran (was) wounded. (Then) I took a patrol out and made it back okay.”

August 23, 1944 (Wednesday): “We went on line and still holding. (Enemy) artillery and mortar fire pretty heavy.”

August 24, 1944 (Thursday): “K rations are sure getting old. (We have had) no hot coffee for days. (Finally) the sun came out.”

August 25, 1944 (Friday): “(We) attacked pill boxes all day. (We had) 20 casualties. 3 of our tanks were knocked out. I took over the platoon.”

August 26, 1944 (Saturday): “I turned in to the Aid Station. I can’t go anymore. (I have had) no sleep for 3 days. I crawled ½ a mile.”

August 27, 1944 (Sunday): “I am still at the Aid Station. I am sleeping and eating. I saw a picture show. My knees are bothering me.”

August 28, 1944 (Monday): “(I am) still at the aid station. Pendergrass was killed. (There are only) 5 men left in the 3rd platoon. (I) saw another (picture) show.”

August 29, 1944 (Tuesday): “My knees are not any better. I saw the dentist. (I am) getting plenty of sleep.”

August 30, 1944 (Wednesday): “I had my tooth x-rayed and my knees (also).”

August 31, 1944 (Thursday): “The third platoon got wiped out. I am still in the hospital.”

SEPTEMBER 1944

Sept 1, 1944 (Friday) “Oxner and Rogers (were) hit. (The) third Platoon joins the second (platoon).”

Sept 2, 1944 (Saturday) “I am still in the hospital. C Company is holding (the) line at Brest.”

Sept 3, 1944 (Sunday) “(I am) still in the hospital. (I am) eating and sleeping. (I have had) no mail. I am leaving (the hospital) tomorrow.”

Sept 4, 1944 (Monday) “I am at the replacement pool. (The) chow is awful. (I am) staying all night.”

Sept 5, 1944 (Tuesday) “I went to (my 2nd) division and the chow is good. I got all of my equipment.”

Sept 6, 1944 (Wednesday) “(I) went back to (my 9th ) regiment and I stayed with the (field) kitchen. My legs are still bothering me a little.”

Sept 7, 1944 (Thursday) “C Company is getting relieved. I joined the company and all the replacements left.”

Sept 8, 1944 (Friday) “The Red Cross truck gave us coffee and doughnuts. I got seven letters (from home). I am (the) platoon guide.”

Sept 9, 1944 (Saturday) “(I) went to a picture show. (We all) took showers. The 23rd and 38th (regiments of the 2nd div) captured 800 prisoners. We are resting. Got paid.”

Sept 10, 1944 (Sunday) “Went to church. I made out a money order for $56.00. I am taking it easy. I am drilling recruits in hedgerow fighting.”

Sept 11, 1944 (Monday) “Moved from rest area to the front. Relieved the 8th Division. Everything is quiet. (Our) artillery has given the Jerries hell.”

Sept 12, 1944 (Tuesday) “(Enemy) ammo dumps are blowing up. It sure is pretty. I got 4 letters (from home).”

Sept 13, 1944 (Wednesday) “We moved to laundry (detail). I slept between sheets on a mattress. I found a lot of jam (jelly). I sent a rain coat home.”

Sept 14, 1944 (Thursday) “It sure is nice here. We have coffee at night. Just like in garrison. Everything is quiet. No casualties.”

Sept 15, 1944 (Friday) No entry

Sept 16, 1944 (Saturday) “148 prisoners came in after breakfast. I got $164.00 and several watches (from them). We move tomorrow. Brest is supposed to fall at 12 p.m. (noon). All the prisoners were from a labor battalion. (Our 1st) battalion raised hell (with us) because we looted them. I got 2 letters from home. Everything is pretty quiet.”

Sept 17, 1944 (Sunday) “We moved to a training area 3 miles from Brest. I sent home (as souvenirs) a parachute knife and 2 (German pocket) watches. We have close order drill tomorrow.”

Sept 18, 1944 (Monday) “Brest fell. Thousands of prisoners were captured. The hospital had 3,000 cases (of enemy wounded). We had 2 quarts of liquor for platoon headquarters. I saw (my wife) Vicky last at Ganado (Texas)(an anniversary date of one year previous).”

Sept 19, 1944 (Tuesday) “Close order drill and training.”

Sept 20, 1944 (Wednesday) “Close order drill and training. We saw a picture show.”

Sept 21, 1944 (Thursday) “More training. We ought to get English (relief troops) after awhile.”

Sept 22, 1944 (Friday) “More training. We get passes for a change.”

Sept 23, 1944 (Saturday) “Drew clothes and over shoes. We are getting ready to move again. I am going to try and find Vernon May (in the division artillery) tomorrow.”

Sept 24, 1944 (Sunday) “I found Vernon May (my hometown friend) and we talked all day. Had a lot of fun. Came home in a command car. I had 2 letters (from home).”

Sept 25, 1944 (Monday) “Drew more clothes and moved to Landerniew. We think we are going to the German front. (We) left Camp McCoy (Wisconsin in the states) a year ago today.”

Sept 26, 1944 (Tuesday) “Stayed all night and drew more clothes. Can’t write any mail. (We) leave tomorrow night.”

Sept. 27, 1944 (Wednesday) “We turned in our duffel bags. We are getting on a train tonight. It is still raining. We drew C and K rations.”

Sept 28, 1944 (Thursday) “We loaded on a train and rode all night and day. It sure is cramped. We had hot coffee.”

Sept 29, 1944 (Friday) “We passed through the outskirts of Paris. (While sleeping on the train) everybody stepped in my face last night. It is a pretty moon.”

Sept 30, 1944 (Saturday) “We rode all morning. Got to Longuyon almost on the Belgian border. We hiked three miles with double blanket rolls mostly uphill. We bivouacked in the field. (We have) no water. We leave tomorrow for a 108 mile trip.”

OCTOBER 1944

October 1, 1944 (Sunday) “It is raining all day. We rode in trucks and got lost in Luxembourg from the convoy. We stopped in Belgium 2,000 yards from the German border.”

October 2, 1944 (Monday) “We bivouacked in the forest. It is still raining. (1st Battalion HQ says) We can take anything we want to from the Germans (prisoners).” (because they do the same to American prisoners).

October 3, 1944 (Tuesday) “I wrote one letter to Vicky. Everyone is out of cigarettes. It is still raining. I got a bad cold. (We) killed a cow (to eat).”

October 4, 1944 (Wednesday) “We hiked 10 miles (and entered Germany). We went into the Siegfried Line near Prum. Built six man (large fox) holes with fire places. No cigarettes.”

October 5, 1944 (Thursday) “No cigarettes and very little chow. (It is as) cold as the devil. We are still digging in. We have a telephone.” Additional note: He told my mother that they had to dig cold potatoes from frozen earth in order to have enough to eat.

October 6, 1944 (Friday) “We (third platoon) move out to the outpost and get set up. (There are) booby traps all over the place. We set a couple off. Knoles (got) knocked out (but not seriously hurt).”

October 7, 1944 (Saturday) “Today is Saturday and we had a hell of a night. I got very little sleep and everybody was shooting. Stud knocked off another (booby) trap. (He got) hit in the leg. We got some cigarettes and a little mail. Better chow.”

October 8, 1944 (Sunday) “We (third platoon) moved from the outpost to the second platoon position. It is a pretty nice (large fox) hole. We set a lot of booby traps in the draw. No cigarettes and no mail.”

October 9, 1944 (Monday) “We went into (Vielsalm,) Belgium on (a 48 hour) pass. Good barracks and hot showers. Clean clothes and hot chow. (Saw a) picture show. No cigarettes.”

October 10, 1944 (Tuesday) “Slept good and ate a big breakfast. Went to town and it is raining. Came back for dinner. Saw a picture show and U.S.O. show.”

October 11, 1944 (Wednesday) “(We) went back to the front (lines). I had six letters waiting for me. I wrote 3 letters (in reply). (German) rocket guns (Screaming Meamies or Nebelwerfer) (are) going off.”

October 12, 1944, (Thursday) “I moved back out on the outpost. It is really cold. I got 2 more letters. Pretty good chow. No coffee. We got cigarettes.”

October 13, 1944 (Friday) “I am still on the outpost. (Our) planes (are) strafing. Jerries are firing rockets and machine guns. (Our) battalion commander broke his leg.”

October 14, 1944 (Saturday) “(We) moved back to our old positions. I got 3 letters. Our (large fox) hole leaks like a sieve. No cigarettes.”

October 15, 1944 (Sunday) “It is still raining and cold. No cigarettes. No mail. Our (large fox) hole is still leaking.”

October 16, 1944 (Monday) “Colonel Wesson died of shock and blood poisoning. Raining all the time. Tried to get money order. No cigarettes.”

October 17, 1944 (Tuesday) “(Sgt.) Cobb went to (Col. Wesson’s) funeral near Aachean. Got a pack of cigarettes. Four of (our) men were captured out of the 1st platoon.”

October 18, 1944 (Wednesday) “It rained all day. I got all wet. Our (large fox) hole is pretty good. Good chow. 1st platoon got hit with 88’s (artillery) and rockets (Screaming Meamies).”

October 19, 1944 (Thursday) “Rained all day again. Sgt. Cobb went to First Sergeants School. I got the platoon (leadership) again. The (new 1st) Battalion commanding officer inspected (us).”

October 20, 1944 (Friday) “Cut wood. Good chow. General Robertson came around with Col. McKinley. No rain. No mail. I have a cold.”

October 21, 1944 (Saturday) “Fixed on our (large fox) hole all day. Fire smoked us out.”

October 22, 1944 (Sunday) “I took a show in and Sgt. DeHarde rejoined the company. I lent 100 dollars to Duffy to go to Paris.”

October 23, 1944 (Monday) “(German) flying bombs coming over (head). I got a (Stars and Stripes) paper. We have plenty of chow. Got a pack of cigarettes.”

October 24, 1944 (Tuesday) “Got some candy and chewing gum. (We) killed a hog. Buzz bombs are still going over (head).”

October 25, 1944 (Wednesday) “I got a letter from Vicky. We are laying barbed wire and fixing our (large fox) holes. (We put out) more booby traps.”

October 26, 1944 (Thursday) “I got a letter from Hale (one of my older brothers). I wrote Vicky to buy us a place. The mess sergeant from D Company captured two prisoners. Lt. Hammet is going to Paris.”

October 27, 1944 (Friday) “(Our) chaplain was killed by (German) artillery along with a pill roller (medic). Still good chow. No mail.”

October 28, 1944 (Saturday) “(German) buzz bombs going over about fifty minutes apart. Washed and shaved. It snowed during the night.”

October 29, 1944 (Sunday) “(It is) a beautiful day. The Jerries throwed rockets at us. We drew sleeping bags.”

October 30, 1944 (Monday) “Buzz bombs came over. We cut logs all day. I’m going to Paris on Thursday. No mail. Plenty of cigarettes.”

October 31, 1944 (Tuesday) “Cut logs all day. Sgt. Cobb came back to the platoon. Lt. Hammel came back from Paris. It is Halloween.”

NOVEMBER 1944

November 1, 1944 (Wednesday) “Cut logs all day again. It is cold and wet. I have a bad cold. Sgt. DeHarde went to the 2nd Platoon.”

November 2, 1944 (Thursday) “I am on my way to Paris (France). We stopped at Reims all night. We passed through Sedan and Cheatus Fierrey. (It is) cold riding on the trucks.”

November 3, 1944 (Friday) “Got to Paris at 1:00 p.m. (1300). Stayed at the Grand Hotel. Swell chow and rooms. Just like Heaven. Had a shower, shave, and a haircut.”

November 4, 1944 (Saturday) “Went shopping and rode the subway. Went to a carnival and had my picture taken. I had my fortune told. She said I would live through the war. Here's hoping!"

November 5, 1944 (Sunday) “Left Paris at 12:00 (noon). Got to Reims at 5 p.m. (1700). Ate chow and went to a picture show.”

November 6, 1944 (Monday) “Left Reims at 10:30 a.m. Got to my outfit (Company C) at dark. (It) sure is cold. It rained all day.”

November 7, 1944 (Tuesday) “Cut logs and dug dirt all day. Got a letter from (my) daddy.”

November 8, 1944 (Wednesday) “It started snowing. Our dug outs are not finished. We are getting cigarettes every day. Sent perfume to Vicky (my wife). I wrote everybody.”

November 9, 1944 (Thursday) “It snowed all night and our shelters half fell in. No mail. Buzz bombs are coming over. I wrote Vicky.”

November 10, 1944 (Friday) “(It is) snowing very little. Making a lean-to for the latrine. Finished Rashot’s (slang for raw shit’s) hole. Wrote Vicky.”

November 11, 1944 (Saturday) “Worked all day on hole and cut wood. It is Armistice Day and it sounded like the whole corps fired one round. I wrote Vicky.”

November 12, 1944 (Sunday) “I got 2 letters from Vicky. Cut wood all day. It is snowing again and cold. Wrote Vicky.”

November 13, 1944 (Monday) “Cut wood all day. It is snowing pretty hard. Sent $100.00 home. Wrote Vicky and mama.”

November 14, 1944 (Tuesday) “Cut wood and coughed all day. I hope my cold gets better. No mail.”

November 15, 1944 (Wednesday) “Cut wood and it is still snowing. I got wet. Took a shower on pass.”

November 16, 1944 (Thursday) “It was a cold ride (into town). Got shaved and cleaned up and saw a picture show.”

November 17, 1944 (Friday) “On pass- saw a good show. Good chow and Camel cigarettes. I hate to go back (to camp) tomorrow.”

November 18, 1944 (Saturday) “Got back from pass. I had 2 letters. One from Vicky and one from Agnes (my sister). I had a headache. Snow is melting. Lt. Hummel was transferred to the (aircorps) B-52’s. Lt. Knoles took over as (3rd) platoon leader.”

November 19, 1944 (Sunday) “I got the bronze star (medal for bravery under fire). Col. McKinley gave it to me. Got a letter from Vicky. I got mad and wrote back.” Note: my mother had written him that she had gone to a dance (in Texas) with Davis, his brother. Davis was drinking but no hanky panky. This is what made Sgt. Rice, my father, mad.

November 20, 1944 (Monday) “No mail. Raining all day. Cut a little wood. (My) cold sure is bad.”

November 21, 1944 (Tuesday) “It is Sgt. Cobbs birthday. Raining all day. No mail. The war is looking better. I got my watch back (from the repair shop).”

November 22, 1944 (Wednesday) “Cobb went to Paris. I had the platoon. Worked on holes. It rained all day.”

November 23, 1944 (Thursday) “Worked on holes. Jerries threw artillery (at us). Cut wood and wrote some letters.”

November 24, 1944 (Friday) “Jerries threw more artillery (at us). One of our boys was hit. Good chow and plenty of cigarettes.”

November 25, 1944 (Saturday) “Cut more wood. It snowed a little. (It is) getting cold. Wrote some more letters and got a letter from Hale (my brother).”

November 26, 1944 (Sunday) “Cobb got back from Paris. Worked on holes and cut wood.”

November 27, 1944 (Monday) “I got 3 letters. One from ma, one from Hale, and a card from Vicky. Worked on a new hole.”

November 28, 1944 (Tuesday) “Worked on hole and we are supposed to move to rest area. No mail.”

November 29, 1944 (Wednesday) “Rained all day. Our hole is nearly finished.”

November 30, 1944 (Thursday) “Today is Hale’s birthday. We moved in(to) our hole and it leaks. Good chow.”

DECEMBER 1944

December 1, 1944 (Friday) “Our new command post is swell. I got a stove set up in it.”

December 2, 1944 (Saturday) “I am on advanced detail to a new area. We relieve G (George) Company of the 23rd (regiment). They had picture show and 9 barrels of beer. Radio plays good.

December 3, 1944 (Sunday) “Raining and getting the place ready for (Charlie) Company. Had another (picture) show.”

December 4, 1944 (Monday) “Had a letter from Vicky. (Charlie) Company got here in the evening. Everyone is happy to be relieved.”

December 5, 1944 (Tuesday) “I got 2 packages- one from pa and one from Baby (Elnora, my sister-in-law). Had rifle inspection. Raining again.”

December 6, 1944 (Wednesday) “Had a letter from Vicky and a card from (Vicky’s) Aunt Hilda. I wrote several letters. Rifle inspection. The (company commander) old man cut off his fingers.”

December 7, 1944 (Thursday) “I got a package from Vicky. Had a picture show. Taking it easy. Learned a card trick. (I have had) six months in combat today.”

December 8, 1944 (Friday) “I saw another show. I read a book. It is snowing outside.”

December 9, 1944 (Saturday) “We are moving tomorrow to Aachen (area) to attack. It is snowing hard and everything is covered with ice. I sent a (pocket) watch home to Vicky.”

December 10, 1944 (Sunday) “(We) moved on trucks to the rear assembly area. Odom (got) run over by a truck. Snow is all over everything. The wind is blowing and its real cold.”

December 11, 1944 (Monday) “Stayed all day and night on the ground. Slept in pup tents. The wind was really blowing.”

December 12, 1944 (Tuesday) “Moved on trucks to the front lines. (We) attack in the morning. The snow is 3 inches deep. We are in the woods.”

December 13, 1944 (Wednesday) “Attacked all day through the woods. I got hit in the side and a tree fell on me. I walked (back) 5 miles to an aid station. There are only 18 men left in C Company.”

December 14, 1944 (Thursday) “I am in the hospital. (I was) moved all night long. (I was) x-rayed and operated on. I went to the 44th and the 67th hospital.”

December 15, 1944 (Friday) “(I was) moved to the 77th hospital and feeling pretty good. I saw De Harde and Adan and a lot of C company. Big booms coming over.”

December 16, 1944 (Saturday) “(I was) moved to the 56th General Hospital and have a good bed. The doctor took the bandage off of my wound. I went to the picture show. Buzz bombs are hitting everywhere around here killing a lot of civilians.”

December 17, 1944 (Sunday) “A big boom landed real close and I got hit in the hand with glass. There is good chow and I am reading a book.”

December 18, 1944 (Monday) “I am still in the hospital and reading a book. I am taking new treatment for my back.”

December 19, 1944 (Tuesday) “I saw a movie and had some more treatments. I finished reading another book.”

December 20, 1944 (Wednesday) “I hurt all over. I will be glad to go to Paris or somewhere. Buzz bombs hitting all around.”

December 21, 1944 (Thursday) “I (was) loaded on a train and rode all night. Everything has been bombed and torn up.”

December 22, 1944 (Friday) “I got to Paris and stayed at the 217th General Hospital. I had a Christmas tree and radio.”

December 23, 1944 (Saturday) “I went to a field hospital near the airport. I stayed all night. I got lost in Paris enroute to the hospital.”

December 24, 1944 (Sunday) “It is my mama’s birthday. I flew to England and had a swell trip. I saw a picture show and had a Christmas tree. I ate coffee, cookies, and an apple.”

December 25, 1944 (Monday) “Moving again. Had turkey and ice cream. I saw a picture show.”

December 26, 1944 (Tuesday) “Sleeping between sheets and reading a book. (Eating) good chow.”

December 27, 1944 (Wednesday) “Taking it easy and wrote 2 letters. Read a couple more books. I saw a show.”

December 28, 1944 (Thursday) “Taking it easy and reading. It is a beautiful day. I wrote Vicky.”

December 29, 1944 (Friday) “I am still in the hospital. Good chow. I read a book and wrote Vicky.”

December 30, 1944 (Saturday) “I saw a picture show and read another book. I am still at the 187th General Hospital. I got a radio. (I was) moved out to a tent.”

December 31, 1944 (Sunday) “Read a book and saw a British play. It was raining again. The tent is cold.”

JANUARY 1945

January 1, 1945 (Monday) “I saw a picture show and had turkey for dinner. I wrote everyone.”

January 2, 1945 (Tuesday) “I read another book and slept all evening. I go to rehabilitation tomorrow.”

January 3, 1945 (Wednesday) “Took a short hike and my shoulder got numb. I stayed indoors the rest of the day. I saw a show.”

Note- the entries in his diary end here, as there were no more pages.

Sgt. Rice was wounded in Germany. This is how it happened. On Dec. 13, 1944, the 9th Infantry Regiment attacked toward Wahlerscheid, which was about 6K inside the German border. Their mission was to secure the Roer River dams so the Germans could not blow them up and flood American troops and equipment down stream. This was on the way to Hellenthal. Resistance at Wahlerscheid was extremely heavy on December 13th. The First Battalion took an awful flogging there.

He was attacking on foot through the forest with the rest of his unit. The Germans started a horrible artillery barrage against them but the Americans kept charging anyway. One enemy shell hit the top of a nearby tree and exploded. This is known as a "tree burst." A piece of the schrapnel hit Hanford in the side of his back and then the tree fell on top of him. Some of his buddies rescued him and Hanford walked several miles by himself (thru snow while bleeding) back to his own lines and the aide station there.

He had his "million dollar wound" that kept him out of the Battle of the Bulge, got him honorably discharged, and sent him home.

He was shipped back to the United States with a 100% disability pension regarding this injury to his back. He came back home to Hallettsville, Texas, to his wife, Emily (Schmidt) Rice (nickname of Vicky) in March of 1945.

Posted here by Kraig Rice, son of Sgt. H.M. Rice.

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