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Like it was

Like it was. . .

     The following article was written by the late Richard Tobias, M.D., author of many columns over the years for the Checkerboard. Just prior to Dr. Tobias' death he mailed several columns and a note saying "use them when you want." We will continue as long as the supply lasts.

14 Dec. 1944

Somewhere in Belgium

     "But damn it, Sarge, I know what I heard. All night long some farmer over there was running machinery. Rattle and screech — sounded like a German tank!"

     "Look, Murphy; you've only been on the line a few weeks, you never saw let alone heard Kraut armor, and you're getting all worked up for nothing. Easy on that strong coffee."

     "You can't talk me out of it. I heard it. I swear, and you can't ever say I didn't tell you."

     "OK Murph, but the Lieutenant is going to get a good laugh over your imagination."

     MEMO: Lieutenant Gross to Captain Green. Topic: Enemy activity. Details: Forward foxhole observer Private Murphy becoming tense and nervous. Claims heavy machinery operating behind enemy lines all night long. Suggest replacement in assignment for his own good.

     MEMO: Captain Green to Lieutenant Gross. Topic: Personnel transfer. Details: Do it.

     MEMO: Captain Green to Major Ashton. Topic: Enemy activity. Details: Forward foxhole observer Private Murphy being transferred to relieve stress; claims hearing heavy farm machinery overnight; unsubstantiated; unconfirmed. Area quiet otherwise.

     MEMO: Major Ashton to Captain Green. Topic: Diversionary patrol-in-force. Details: Schedule unchanged. Proceed as planned. Murphy reassignment approved.

     MEMO: Major Ashton to Colonel Frankel. Topic: Enemy activity. Details: Single unconfirmed report of nighttime heavy machinery operations in German area. Female Belgian native passing through lines reports unusually heavy German troop concentration. Seems Germans copying Russian tactic in Finland, rapid rotation of "green" troops, to season them in opposition situation. Diversion ready.

     MEMO: Colonel Frankel to General Blank. Topic: Enemy activity. Details: All ready. No significant enemy activity noted.

15 December 1944

Somewhere in Belgium

     MEMO: Colonel Frankel to General Blank. Topic: Assault progress. Details: Unanticipated enemy resistance, slow progress, schedule behind plan.

16 December 1944

Somewhere in Belgium

     MEMO: General Blank to Colonel Frankel. Topic: Disengagement. Details: Diversion partially successful, casualties higher than anticipated. Retire immediately to previous location and status. Prepare After-Action Report as per routine. Submit modest commendation list for morale-lifting medal presentation later.

17 December 1944

Somewhere in Belgium

     MEMO: General Blank to Colonel Frankel. Topic: Immediate response required. Details: What the hell's going on up there? That diversionary patrol-in-force collapses, now an impossible enemy threat. Getting to be a bunch of Nervous Nellies up there? Regain control! Good Harold Lloyd movie last night. Join us when you can for the USO entertainment.

After Action Report —

     Z Bn Aid Station. 39x Infantry.

     GSW 34, 28 evac

     PenWd 47, all evac


     Gross, Thomas, 1 Lt Inf. 03 456 789

     Murphy, Patrick, Pvt Inf. 37 176 684

     Next report 1800

     Capt. Bones, Bn Surg


     At least that's the way I remember it!