General BROSSET , commander of the 1st DFL (Free French Division) died in a jeep crash. Day after day, the French soldiers become sad, tired and exhausted.  Many North African are ill: the weather is too cold for them. General de Lattre tries to enlist new French young soldiers, but he doesn't find many volunteers...

But the "funny trip" will soon be stopped in the Vosges. The 1st French Army has no gas (fuel) anymore. Enemy has moved new units from the German border: men, tanks, weapons. From October 44 to February 45, the 1st French Army will fight against a "new and fresh" German Army. There will be many KIA on both sides. Discouragement and tiredness begin.  The liberated France (Paris was liberated on 8/26/44) doesn't want to know anything more about this lasting war. Yet 800.000 soldiers (of whom a half from North Africa) still fight in very hard conditions: severe coldness, snowy and windy weather, no winter clothes…(winter equipment still was in Marseille!)

From my book:

"It's raining, we can't see anything within 50 meters. Offensives and "back offensives" are following each other in the black forest of Vosges. The enemy can easily move in this well known landscape and coldness. Our North African can't. They didn't ever know such a deep and dark forest. Each tree can hide a sniper or a  mine. From my observation place I can feel something bad. This war is a bad war. It's a terrifying chaos. A feeling of  disgust is filling me. For the very first time, I feel nausea and anxiety."


Moroccans soldiers in Alsace

North Africans in Alsace

My father and his friends in Alsace.

Postal Zone #75072. On 10/27/44

(…) I'm now waiting with courage for my next "on leave" time, within one or two months. You know, I say "with courage", because I'm tired with this war. Sometimes, if I could, I'd leave this mess. I'm now seating on a fuel jerrycan, writing on a ammunition box, in a cellar, with a candle beside, and from here, I can hear the gunfire. I dream of you and my loving heart is near of you.

Day after day, week after week, Belfort, Giromagny, the « Ballon d'Alsace », then Strasbourg and Colmar are liberated, one by one, with guns, grenades, knives…

From my book:

"Twenty days of hard fighting are necessary to see the 5e DB (5th armoured division) entering city of Colmar, on 2/3/45.

In 2/9/45, enemy leaves this French zone, crossing the Chalampé Bridge. They mine it after crossing.

Dead or wounded men are countless.

On our roads, we build cemeteries which join  Muslim stones, Jewish stars and Christian crosses, side by side, in the same ground."

Nov. 44

Colmar Jan.45