Download American Eagles - American Volunteers RAF PDF

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But the American soldiers' perception of Europe's nature did not just stop at the scenic surface; it also cut deep into the character of the Old World. The soldiers realized, of course, that they were seeing a world in trying circumstances and that the ugliness of an otherwise beautiful continent was solely attributable to the ravages of total war. That, however, not only failed to prevent the negative image of Europe, it also was not the essence of the matter to the Gls. They wondered why the Old World had allowed such a cataclysmic war to happen in the first place.

Most serious, however, were the complaints about the footgear. American soldiers arrived in Europe with ankle-high, leather shoes, worn with canvas leggings. Because it was tedious to remove them, combat soldiers frequently kept them on for long periods, thus opening the way for foot ailments. During the war, the Army therefore switched to the production of combat boots that were intended to replace the service shoes and leggings. The boots were similar to the shoes, but they had a cuff and buckle top that increased their height and eliminated the clumsy leggings.

Throughout the war, the British never lost their equally admired sense of humor either. "36 At times, however, British restraint seemed to take on rather excessive forms and indeed looked very much like carelessness to the Americans. The Gis who were relieved by Tommies in the Gothic Line were surprised to see that they kept the roofs and windshields of their vehicles up, a habit that was contrary to American safety rules and regulations. A private of the Third Chemical Mortar Battalion could not understand why some of the Coldstream Guards' tank crews took the risk of sitting in the open with berets instead of helmets during the fighting near Munster in 1945.

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