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Battle Rattle

A Memoir by
Chaplain (Col) Wallace M Hale

Battle Rattle is presently available direct from the Military History Network. This is a first edition, soft cover publication, 157 pages. This book is also listed on our Recommended Books page. A reduced-size cover photo can be seen at Battle Rattle cover.

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Battle Rattle, by Rev. Wallace M. Hale

Chaplain (Colonel, Retired) Wallace M. Hale was assigned to the 88th Infantry Division at Camp Gruber OK in 1942, first as Assistant Division Chaplain and later as Division Chaplain, and remained with the 88th Blue Devils through 1947 as they guarded the hostile Yugoslav border.

Combat is a continuing revelation of human limitations. Battle Rattle is a study of the traumas of that combat and of military life, and the challenges which face a military chaplain as he helps his soldiers to adapt and to bend, rather than to break.

From the Foreword:

"Once upon a time I was in a war that changed my world. I was with thousands of civilians as they trained for war, when they went to war, and when then fought a war. I was a regular army (Professional) Chaplain who tried to use his religious experiences and knowledge to build men up. I was young, virile and unconquerable. I stood for fairness, for justice, and for forgiveness in an organization that, at times, tried to ignore these concepts; my greatest asset was that I wanted to do anything possible to help the individual soldier and the unit. I wanted my chapel to be as well equipped as any other office in the outfit, and I wanted my chapel to be as comfortable as the officer's club or the NCO club."

"For five years I preached, counseled and fought for individuals at every opportunity in this one infantry division; I decided to title these memoirs Battle Rattle for, to me, this soldier's term best described the mental trauma engendered in the human brain by persistent and extended hand-to-hand combat. Often the soldier suffered "Battle Rattle" when he realized he was one of the few men left standing - and close by there was a deadly bullet with his name on it."

Other stories by Chaplain Hale are found online here at
POW Command • German Priests and Christmas, 1944

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