Lloyd F. Johnson

Lots of War Seen by Pvt. Lloyd F. Johnson Since Casablanca
Tells Experiences in Letter to Friend
An interesting resume of what he has gone through since landing at Casablanca immediately after the African invasion, followed by the Tunisian Campaign; then Sicily, after which a short sojourn in England, and now with the invasion forces in France, is given in a letter written by Private Lloyd F. Johnson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank N. Johnson, 709 Water Street, and received by his old buddy, Garfield Brown, of Chippewa Falls. Written in France, the letter is dated August 15, and the text relating to his campaign experience follows: 

First Casablanca 
"I guess I can answer some of your questions on what I did from November 8, 1942 until now, with restrictions, of course. There are a lot of things I'll never be able to tell you until I see you. 

"But here's the gist of it:  

"I was lucky enough to be gradually introduced to war—when I hit Casablanca, it was all over except for a little sniping by Arabs in Nazi employ. This was the first time I saw what German occupation does to people—want of the most ordinary things that are taken for granted in the States was common here. I could have sold my shoes at my own price. A mattress cover would get a big price from any Arab. I couldn't describe my feelings the first time I saw the inside of the Medina (Arab quarter—walled off from the European section). It wasn't pretty—but was only a hint of what I was to see later. 

Algiers, Tunisia 
"Later, we pushed on up to Algeria, Oran, Mostagenem, Algiers—then to Tunisia. That's where I began to see what we were up against. Saw Hill 609—Messerschmitt Alley—city of Matuer wiped off the map. Bizerte still standing but not a living thing left in it. About that time, I was told to pack up and be ready to hop off to Sicily in 2 hours. 

"As sometimes happens in the Army, I was ready for them, but they were in no hurry for me. I sat on the boat in Bizerte Harbor for two nights and was bombed four times. That's the hardest thing to take—all you can do is try to make yourself small and wait—can't fight back; that's what hurts. 

"I've seen men go completely off the bean after five minutes of dive bombing." 

Hot Fighting in Sicily 
"I was attached to a Recon. Co.  in Sicily so I got around quite lot. The lot of the civilians was even worse here. They didn't have clothes to wear either, but they were starving on top of that. We used to have swarms of kids come into the bivouac every meal to eat what we left; then take a tin can full out of our garbage can and bring it to their homes. Add bombing from both sides and street fighting in their towns to that, and you may get a slight idea on what's cookin'. Women and kids get the worst of it—that's what I hate about the damned business. 

"It was part of my job to add to their suffering by going around nabbing everyone suspected of pro-Fascism or black marketeering.  I think I played the part of Gestapo agent quite well. You can imagine the fun it was holding a machine gun on a helpless peasant and having to shoot him if he tried to get away.

"Of course, it was all a necessary part of operations and a lot of Fascists were caught that way, but I was very damned glad when it was all over.

"England was almost like coming home, after a year in the Mediterranean area. There were furloughs and passes. I went to shows and night clubs in London and generally had the best time in a long while. Outside of the black out and an occasional air raid, there was nothing to remind you of war there. Women in uniform and rationing, of course. The rationing, although much more severe than in the States, is taken in stride. You never hear complaints from the people, and they do their best to make a Yank feel at home—grand people!

Now In France
"Then France—by far the severest test to date. I've been scared more times in an hour here than in all the rest put together. So far, I haven't seen a town or village that isn't smashed to bits. I've slept in fields full of dead Germans for days, until the smell caused us to haul them away. I've slept all night in a hole with German artillery busting all around—snipers—dive-bombing— quite a party. I landed very early in the campaign, so I saw it right from the beachhead stage on out. The first eight days were about as rugged as I ever expect to see.

"During those days, my company received three citations—I mention it because I'm quite proud of it.

"Well, that was a pretty long [**data missing**]