T.V. HARWOOD'S WATER HEATER.
We scrounged fuel equipment from an old Messerschmidt from a nearby bombed out hanger, left over from German occupation and we found an old 50 gallon drum. The drum was lifted with ropes into a nearby, large, bare tree. We then took the Messerschmidt’s metal hydraulic tubing and attached into the lower orifice of the "treed" fuel drum. Then we put a control valve on at the end of the pipe. Now we had a state of the art water tower. We removed the auxiliary fuel pump (wobble) from the Messerschmidt and used it to pump water into the old fuel drum. We didn't forget to flush out the drum and so the water in the drum was potable. Next, we routed the metal hydraulic tubes into the tent and the tubes were coiled around the old pot bellied stove. The water than came out of the tube into a makeshift sink made form an old light reflector. Simply turn off the faucet and out came hot water. Yankee engineering at its finest.
Water is something that we used every day. We got our water out of a military water storage trailer that had been brought in by the Red Ball. We also had what was called "lister bags" which were large canvas water bags with four valves on the lower perimeter to release the fluid.
Being that there was no hot and cold running water, no electrical outlets, no gas lines or other such modem amenities, good old fashion "Yankee engineering" rose up to the occasion. We used to take our outer steel combat helmets, fill them Page 16 with water and set them in the hole on top of our old wood stove This was one way of getting hot water. We usually used this method of heating the water to clean up, a GI sponge bath.
The firewood that we used for the wood stove was procured with a two man buck saw. The wood was then gathered up and brought from the bombed out forest back to the base where the green, wet, wood was stacked close to the wood stove. The heat and dryness radiating form the stove would dry out and cure the firewood for use as fuel for the next days needs. This had to become a daily ritual, for the wet green wood was unsuitable as a fuel source We also set our shoes near the fire each night to dry. We had no goulashes, so one pair of shoes dried and one pair was worn. That was you knew you had dry shoes for the next day. It was very cold and dry shoes were very important.
The stove was an extremely important aspect of our daily existence What little comfort we had m this harsh environment was given to us from the stove. The actual stove was a sheet metal, pot belly type. The stove was housed | within our living quarters, a square four man tent about 12’ x 12' in size The stove was a place of warmth for personnel, a cooking tool, water heater, shoes, clothes dryer, and more. We were given soap rations for both laundry and personal hygiene. The ration was one bar of "Lifeboy" health soap and one bar of G.I. lye soap. We usually washed up m the P.M., because that was when we had the wood fire going and we could stay warm after getting cleaned up. It was very cold. We didn't have time to clean up, or do anything in the morning. We were up and out by 4 A.M. We had such little time in the morning we had to sleep in our combat mission clothing. We just had to slip on our G.I shoes.