The Russians did something to aggravate our politicians and so off we went to play out in the snow and cold. We had been out and about, all of us in the V Corp and probably 7th Army for several weeks already. I had spent most of my time with my home unit Division Artillery Headquarters Battery. Field work was hard under the best of circumstances and this was far from best. No shower for weeks on end. No clean clothes unless you were lucky enough to be back in barracks for a short time. No hot meals, if you got a meal, and many other uncomfortable things for weeks on end. It was cold, snow was heavy and a lot of it and we moved about way more frequently than any of us liked, but that was Army life.
I was lucky I had my little hut that was to keep my radios dry, fairly warm and in that process keep the operator, me, dry and warm too. But I found by pooling several of our tent halves and going communal, things could be better. About seven of us got together and pooled all our tent halves and even some other clothing items to make a huge tent ceiling. We made a circle with the walls made of snow and a trench was dug around the outside to, if needed, run the water off and away from the home away from home. We took all the tent halves we had or could manage to procure and put them together in a large canvas roof. It worked well actually and we found we could take a 5-gallon oil can with the top cut off and filled with dirt soaked in gasoline or diesel oil and make a fairly good heat source out of it. Of course we needed a chimney so the lowest of the ranks involved “volunteered” his poncho which had a hole for your head in it for the center of our hooch and for our chimney made of old empty food cans with both ends cut out.