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Experiencing War (Companion to the PBS Series -- The War: A Ken Burns Film) Stories from the Veterans History Project

Episode Two: “When Things Get Tough”
January 1943 - December 1943

To liberate German-occupied Europe, the Allies started by invading Africa in November 1942, fighting the Germans in French Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. As the German and Italian armies retreated eastward, the Allies gained a launching pad for their invasion of Sicily and then Italy. By September 1943, the U.S. Fifth Army had landed at Salerno, just south of Naples, and after initial heavy resistance, the Americans moved inland to join British forces.





Assault Wave, Salerno
Assault wave, Salerno. Allied troops pour ashore at Salerno, wading through the surf under heavy machine gun and shell fire from hidden enemy positions back of the beaches. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Africa -- Tunisia
Image of Isabelle V. Cook

"They invited all of the troops—American British, French—to march in full uniform."

Isabelle V. Cook's story

Image of Ralph B. DeForest

"Yesterday German planes bombed the rear command post hitting two fellows in headquarters company."

Ralph B. DeForest's story

Image of Edgar Norman Henry

"I avoided looking at the dead GI that I passed on the way to the slit trench."

Edgar Norman Henry's story

Image: George R. Scanlon

"And the Germans wired back, 'Do you realize you're gassing us?'"

George R. Scanlon's story

Placeholder Image

"There was rumor that we were going home but General Terry Allen made a speech..."

Monfrey H. Wilson's story




Italy -- Sicily and Salerno
Image of Joseph Stephen Acsai

"I'm proud of one thing ... I didn't lose any lives."

Joseph Stephen Acsai's story

Image: George David Harris

"It's hard to work on a piece of equipment when you're being shot at."

George David Harris' story

Placeholder Image

"You're happy you're home, but you're sad for your brother and your friends that you left over there ..."

Raymond E. Kellogg's story

Image of Jarman G. Kennard

"On my 16th mission, May 11th, 1943, my luck almost ran out. Catania, Sicily, was the target."

Jarman G. Kennard's story

Image: William Robinson Wilson

"...he said, ‘Lieutenant, we don't make mistakes.’ And I said, ‘Thank you, sir.’"

William Robinson Wilson's story



  Home » The War: Episode Two
  The Library of Congress
  September 20, 2007
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