By Emiel W. Owens
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Additional info for Blood on German Snow: An African American Artilleryman in World War II and Beyond
The waiting trains were really boxcars. I remember seeing the sign on each boxcar—“8 chevaux ou 40 hommes”—meaning each car would hold eight horses or forty men. The trains seemed small compared to those I had helped my dad work on at home, but they were very fast. We had been issued K rations, which we ate as we rode on the train. ” I looked up and saw a German V-1 rocket with its engine cut off gliding down toward the train. It appears the rocket launchers were waiting for the arrival of the train.
We had been told earlier that they were designed for use in Germany and that we needed to know how to use them efficiently as support weapons. We began boarding the train the next morning for our new training site. The thirteen-week basic training at Fort Sill had gone quickly, and it was amazing to see how rapidly I had become attuned to the ways of army life and the use of our new guns. Advanced Training On August 13, 1943, the 31st Battalion of 523 African American enlisted men and 41 Anglo-American officers left Fort Sill, Oklahoma, by rail.
I was to be sent back to England or even the States for treatment. By that afternoon, September 26, I was on a hospital LST headed back to England. The hospital ship was white with a large Red Cross sign across the top. There was no effort to conceal the presence of the ship, I suppose because of its hospital status. M. We set sail across the English Channel about 8:30. The ship was filled to capacity with the injured, wounded, and dying. Everything was so still that you could hear only the lap of the water as the ship steered its way out into the channel.