Chat's War Years

High SchoolF.A. Schubert left and T.L. Schubert right

Chatter who was nicknamed as such in his freshman year of High School 1939 was named so .. because he ... The depression years had been hard on all of America and in the last year of High School 1943 in Banquete, Chat, Talford Lee Schubert, had began to enjoy the benefits of the improved economy with his job. Chat had worked on pipelines during the summers of his 15th and 16th years of age and when he turned 17 during his High School year began working the night shift on oilrigs.

The war effort created shortages in manpower and Chat was ready to take up the slack and do his patriotic duty by helping supply oil to the boys on the front. The extra money allowed Chatter to dress well and to buy a vehicle. He played football his junior and senior year and raised the Grand Champion Steer at the County Livestock Show his senior year as well. The War seemed far off for a 17-year-old. When he graduated he continued to work in the oil field and was not immediately inclined to join the service. The earlier War years had made the youth of his age aware of the tragedy associated with war and there was no denying that 50.00 a month in military pay could hardly compete with the 400.00 a month he was making in the Oil Fields. Besides that, he was having the time of his life and enjoying the independence that all young men find when they first graduate from school.

Love n Boot Camps

But as the War drug on Chat was drafted January 5th, 1944, a short 7 months after graduating. Uncle Sam had called and he responded as many of his countrymen had done before him. He reported to basic training at Fort McCullough (sp) for a 30-day stint. It was while at Ft. McCullough that Chat and Dollie were married. He was given 10 days of leave after boot camp and they returned home to visit with their family before Chat was to ship out with order to report to the European Theater of World War II. So with a young bride to see him off, he caught the train with orders to report to Ft. Mead Maryland. The primary form of transportation during the war years was by train. There were no express trains to Maryland and after switching trains many times, he arrived. But it seemed the plans to send him directly to Europe was at odds with government policy.

Love n Confusion

Chat was told that there was a restriction on sending 18 year olds straight to Europe without them being incorporated into a Company. Therefore he was sent by train back to Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Camp Shelby is near McCombs Mississippi geographically in the middle of Mississippi. He was stationed there for about 2 month at which time his young bride was able to find housing accommodations, which were hard to find during the war, in Baton Rouge. Chat would pay another soldier 1 dollar to drive him to Baton Rouge every Friday where he and Dollie would make up for the time they had missed during the week apart. Of coarse the trip back was a dollar too, so those trips were eating into his 50.00 a month income. But ah, young love, what can you says. Money is no object. But this arrangement was not to last long and after 2 months in Mississippi, Chat was sent to Camp House Texas, (in the Dallas Area I think).

103rd Infantry

It was here at Camp House Texas that Chat joined the 103rd infantry. It was September 1944. After a 2 or 3-week stay, Chat's unit shipped out to Europe via New York. ( Honorable discharge papers reflect Chat was in Company I of the 410th Infantry. ( See link at this site and the Medals Chat received )


The trip over was by convoy and there were so many ships that as far as the eye could see was the length of the convoy. German submarines had wrecked havoc on the Allied shipping at the early part of the war but through attrition and because of the Germans inability to replace them; their trip across the Atlantic was mostly without incident.

France

The war had arrived. The convoy and ship that Chat was associated with arrived at Marseilles, France in October 1944. The Germans had already retreated from the city upon their arrival although their big guns were within shelling range and the GI were under a constant bombardment although it was sporadic and did not restrict their coming ashore.

The 103rd was Left Marseilles, France Nov 1 1944. The following is the chronology of other events of the 103rd   
Nov 9 1944   Arrived Docelles, France
Nov 10-30 1944 Vosges Mountain Operations
Dec 1- 4 1944 Battle of Selestat
Dec 5-23 1944  Alsace Campain

A map of the 103rd's advance cross Europe

Chat was wounded during December and out of a company of 30 men, he said he was but 1 of 3 men still left in the original company. All the men were not killed but were wounded or transferred among other things.

Dad said that the Vosges Mountain Operations were unusual in that prior to World War II, no Army had crossed the mountains. Prior wars and battles of ancient Europe had always had the invading armies go through the passes. But the 103rd went over the mountains. The various battles often were described by 103rd advancing against the Germans and then their counter attack. Dad said once when he was retreating at the advance of Enemy Tanks, that a fellow soldiers by the name of Voss was hit by a shell as they were running in front of him. He said the soldier flew up in the air quite a distance.

When asked about the organization of a retreat, he said " Advances are organized and retreats are disorganized "

When Chat got wounded, it was as a result of mortar fire. He was trying to warm some water for morning coffee outside his fox hole when an incoming mortar exploded before he was able to reposition himself in his fox hole. He was wounded in the thigh by a piece of shrapnel that was protruding through his leg after the explosion. He was taken by stretcher to a rear position and left in a junk yard until a jeep arrived. The jeep had a flat board on the back which he rode on for a few miles to a field hospital where he was tagged. Soldiers were tagged in a triage method to allow the worst wounded to be seen to. Chat's wound had been dressed in the field and was not bleeding badly so he spent nearly the whole day waiting to see the Doctors.

He spent a week in the field hospital , which was an old school building that the Army had occupied. He then was sent to England for further rehabilitation.

Drop your Pants

While in England Chat got a three day pass. F.A his brother, was stationed in Courdewells. But being young and not having had leave for a long time, 6 months, Chat stayed out 5 days. The picture at the top of the page was taken while in England and on this 3- 5 day pass. Dad said he and F.A. got a little drunk

Upon returning to the hospital, he was placed under armed guard for being AWOL. Well he wasn't locked up, but the Military Police stayed close to his bed. He was then taken before the Hospital Commander for being AWOL, the commander asked him, " What are you doing here in the hospital?" Chat said he told him he had been in the hospital 3 months for a wound he received on the front. The Commander said" Drop your pants and let me see that wound" Chat quickly complied. Dad said he had been reclassified as 4F due to his wound and probably would have seen no further combat action but the Commander pressed him. " Would you go back and fight?" at which he replied " I'll go if told too"

The Commander said that he was required to take some sort of disciplinary action on the basis of the charges that were filed by the military police.

The Court Martial

The Commander, seated behind his desk, leaned back in his chair and stared out the window for a moment. He was a Doctor of Medicine and wasn't happy with military protocol but had his duty to perform. Chat anxiously stood at attention with his pants around his legs on the floor awaiting the final verdict. The War in Europe was winding down in the spring of 1945. The Blackout of the cities of England had been lifted on January 1, 1945. But the Commander had a M.P. outside his door and a soldier with his pants down in his office and justice must be done.

The Verdict

The Commander growled in a deep voice. " I'm gonna charge you $15 dollars" "But when you walk through that door, I want you to tell that M.P. to kiss your ASS when you walk out of here"

"Yes Sir" was Chat's reply as he saluted with one hand and pulled his pants up with the other. He stumbled as he groped for his belt while back peddling and reached towards the door with his other hand. Thank you Sir and as he made his exit he......

You know I forgot to ask if he told that MP to kiss his posterior

The Hospital

Dad said that there were shell shocked soldiers in the hospital that would be fighting 5 wars by them selves. They would call out ' Duck " "In coming" and then make the sound effects of the explosions. He said it was sad.

 

More to come.... War battles, and some of the horrors of war described by Chat.


I recently ordered this book

Bonn, Keith E. When the Odds Were Even; The Vosges Mountains Campaign, October 1944 - January 1945. (1996) 320 pp, 28 photos, 14 maps ISBN 0-89141-602-1

Bonn focuses on the little-known story of the U.S. Seventh Army's campaign to breach the enemy's Vosges Mountains--in Northern France--defenses, which were occupied by some of the Nazis' finest combat units. He compares the training and doctrine of the U.S. and German armies, the strengths and weaknesses of the commanders on both sides, and provides a lively narrative of the campaign itself in When the Odds Were Even. Includes 103rd Division information.

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Page Created 11/98
Marvin Schubert
Copyright 1997 [Jack's Publication Enterprises]. All rights reserved.
Revised: March 05, 2001.