This collection (70 items) contains 63 letters that Staff Sergeant George J. Mahl wrote to his mother and sister while serving in the 346th Infantry Regiment in Europe during World War II. He described his service in England, France, and Belgium, and discussed his recuperation from a thigh fracture in army hospitals in France and England.
During his service overseas, Mahl sent letters and V-mail to his mother and sister, Marie and Helene Mahl. After arriving in England in October 1944, he discussed his transatlantic journey and commented on English food, currency, weather, and scenery. Mahl's regiment was transferred to France later that month, and he commented on war destruction, the effects of the weather, and the differences between civilian life in France and in England. He mentioned participating in active combat, and wrote one letter from a town his company had captured near the German border, in which he noted the increase in soldiers' church attendance following battle (December 17, 1944). Mahl, who was proficient in German, listened to German radio broadcasts, translated orders for German-speaking civilians, and communicated with German prisoners upon their surrender. Some of his letters have been censored.
Mahl was shot in the leg while fighting in Belgium in January 1945, and his remaining letters concern his medical condition and recovery. He wrote about his discomfort, described his medical treatments in French and English military hospitals, discussed fellow wounded men, and noted a large influx of patients in March. He occasionally remarked on his postwar plans, including the possibility of attending college. The Mahl family also received an official military telegraph and 4 postcards about Mahl's injury and recuperation. The collection contains 2 additional V-mail letters: one from George Mahl to Colonel F. M. Sheffield (ca. October 30, 1944) and one from Technical Sergeant Lee Zipfel to the Mahl family, concerning Zipfel's service in India (February 4, 1945). Mahl enclosed 2 photographs in his letter of March 25, 1945.