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 Post subject: Our bunker
PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 9:21 pm 
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Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:04 pm
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Location: On the couch a lot now that I'm retired
After reading "Le Feu" ( under fire) I went back to the passage about the French Poilu's "funk hole" several times.

Along any trench line there were holes dug where soldiers could - in theory at least - lay down and rest. The author consistently calls these "funk holes". One can only imagine the foul smell of soldiers unable to clean up for days or weeks at a time.

Lice? Everything I've read of WW1 trench warfare indicates they were impossible to avoid. I had a chance to view German bunkers near Ypres which have survived to this day. They were all very cramped and doubtless horribly infested with "gray backs". Lighting wasn't good where I went, but these images show the prepared bunker where Hitler's unit was allegedly posted.

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The entryway is quite small, and if you were over about 5'5" tall you wanted to have your "tin pot" on or you would quickly have knots on your head. And lice in abundance one way or the other.

By way of contrast, first tour at Cam Lo, we lived in underground bunkers. Mostly because that small village was only 2 miles south of the DMZ and well within range of even light artillery & rockets.

While it was secure from incoming that way, there were certain drawbacks. Ventilation for one. There was only one way in, and it had a couple sharp turns to prevent a grenade simply being dropped in. So a fan was critical for sleep. Then there were bugs. Since we could shower daily with highly-chlorinated water, lice weren't a problem. Occasionally, you would bring a few fleas or leeches back from patrol, but those weren't too difficult to address.

Larger insects were a problem. When it rained heavily, you may well imagine how there would be a few inches of water on the floor. One fine morning I was awakened to see such was the case. While contemplating what wonderful breakfast treats awaited me in the mess tent, I sensed something tickling my leg. Lifting my head from the basic military cot ( with no blankey or pillow)I saw a scorpion the size of a small lobster waltzing up my leg.

Craftily, I reached behind my head for my 45. (I recall it was an Ithaca, but it's been a few years) Fortunately, my brain wheels were starting to turn and I quickly discarded that idea in favor of backhanding the bug into the water to be trod upon when leaving for toast, runny eggs and sour milk.

Roaches? You bet! Big bastages they were, too! Saw one once sitting on a helmet for which it appeared to have romantic intentions. Spideys resided in abundance among the rafters as well as countless unidentified bugs.

A girl from my HS (God bless her soul!) sent a tin of choc chip cookies once. I passed the tin around before we left for the morning stroll down Rt 9 toward Rock Pile. I neglected to tightly secure the lid. Late that afternoon, I meant to enjoy a few with a tall glass of heavily-chlorinated water but there were none left!

Some picky species of insect had invaded the tin and completely devoured all the cookies. Except for the choc chips. I don't think it was a rat - the tin was right where I left it, and I think a rat would have knocked it off the shelf. Another grunt from my company? No - they would have eaten the entire contents. Plus it was poor form to just take stuff like that. We all shared so there was no reason to steal in any case.

So with the bugs, we left little tree frogs with suction cup toes and the lizards alone. If a metal folding chair was left near a bare light blub, the little frogs would climb to the top and nab flying bugs as long as the light was left on. The small lizards would scamper upside down along the ceiling and terrorize various bugs and spiders.

The interior was of rough lumber walls with a ceiling of same. Rows of cots lined each side. There was a shelf behind the cots for personal effects - shaving kit - etc & so forth. A length of pipe was used to hang uniforms. Weapons were hung from hails behind the cot. I had a nail for my web belt with canteen & 45 on one - my M3 "grease gun" on another and a third for my Mighty Mattel M16 with a bandolier or two. People would set their fans on the bed when leaving for the day so they wouldn't be ruined if rain made a deep water puddle.

From a nail in the ceiling I had my two "ditty bags - one with clean clothes & the other to be filled for some woman in the ville to clean & press. IIRC, it was like 50 cents to have a big bag of uniform items washed and neatly folded. Starch was extra, but no need for inspection "starchies" at Cam Lo. We left the bag at the front gate where children would take them away for Mom to launder.

If it sounds uncomfortable, I would still take it over "hot bunking" and the tiers of bunks Navy guys had on a ship.

Mario can fill you in on that. I was never on a ship & don't figure I missed much.

In retrospect, I should have gone to college to be a dentist like Mom wanted. SW

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 Post subject: Re: Our bunker
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 12:08 am 
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Great thread, thanks for sharing. Damn bugs. Those frogs sounded kinda neat though. Which did you like better, your grease gun, or M16?


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 Post subject: Re: Our bunker
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 4:03 am 
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Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
Теперь предлагаем бесплатную ежедневную маммографию!
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Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:04 pm
Posts: 8277
Location: On the couch a lot now that I'm retired
The grease gun was cool, but the Mighty Mattel was much easier to load. Also good for much longer range. The grease gun was handy to carry when going to the PX in Dong Ha. I loaned it out a lot for that. There was a rule you couldn't leave our little fort unarmed ( good rule!)

I bought it at graves registration in Dong Ha. Recently deceased were tossed on a cargo net with such of their effects as were close at hand. The Army guys sold 45 autos & other weapons under the table for cash.

45s were like $15 - I think I gave $20 for the grease gun. I don't remember what M16s cost, but it was fairly common to guys to have an extra. Their original was kept spotlessly clean for inspection that way. SW

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 Post subject: Re: Our bunker
PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 9:36 pm 
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Location: Florida
I wonder how many so tired of that trench life, knowingly stuck up their head......


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 Post subject: Re: Our bunker
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 11:26 pm 
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Brigadier General
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Location: Minnesota , USA
i want a $15 1911 - just sayin


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