Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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General Dwight D. Eisenhower to General George C. Marshall, 11 November 1944

In November 1944, Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe General Eisenhower described to the U.S. Army chief of staff, General George C. Marshall, in Washington the delays to which bad weather was subjecting the Allies' Western offensive against Germany.

I am getting exceedingly tired of the weather. Every day we have some report of weather that has broken records existing anywhere from twenty-five to fifty years. The latest case is that of the floods in [US General George C.] Patton's area. His attack got off exactly as planned and with an extraordinarily fine example of cooperation between the Eighth Air Force and the ground troops. Then the floods came down the river and not only washed out two fixed bridges, but destroyed his principal floating bridge and made others almost unusable. It was so bad that in one case where we had installed a fixed bridge, the approaches to it were under three feet of water. At one point the Moselle is more than one mile wide, with a current of from seven to ten feet a second. Nevertheless, the peak of the flood should be passed in a day or so—provided rain in that basin is not too great—and Patton will get ahead all along his front.

The attack of the First and Ninth Armies was scheduled anywhere between the 11th and the 16th, depending upon the weather necessary to get the desired air support. The jump-off had to be postponed this morning even after a rather favorable prediction yesterday. The predictions now give us a sorry outlook, and it appears that we will have to go, eventually, without the planned air support. The weather is apt to prevent even our fighter-bombers from rendering the help that they otherwise could.

Within the last three days [US General Omar] Bradley and I have visited every division of the First and Ninth Armies. Morale is surprisingly high and the men have succeeded in making themselves rather comfortable. There are no signs of exhaustion and the sick rate is not nearly as high as we would have a reasonable right to expect.

All of us keep hoping that some little spell will come along in which we can have a bit of relief from mud, rain, and fog so that tanks and infantry can operate more easily on the offensive and so that we can use our great air asset. In spite of difficulties, no one is discouraged and we will yet make the German wish that he had gone completely back of the Rhine at the end of his great retreat across France. . . .


Further Reading
Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, KS; printed in Joseph Patrick Hobbs, ed., Dear General: Eisenhower's Wartime Letters to Marshall (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971), 202–203. Reprinted with permission of the Eisenhower Library. .
 

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