Hi Indy, Spartacus and Co.
I have a question that lands close to home. My grandfather served as quartermaster in the supply squadron of an Air Service Group (711th Air Material Squadron, 469th Air Service Group) in the European Theater (primarily in France). Later in life he was very open about his stories of the war. He arrived in Normandy several months after D-Day to take part in the construction and supply of allied airfields in northern France behind the advancing Allied formations. One story he was particularly fond of recalled him and some of his buddies chatting with some local French villagers who let them on to a warehouse full of wine confiscated and hoarded by the departed occupying Germans. They requisitioned a truck and traded cigarettes and sweets for wine. According to my grandfather’s recollection there was either a ban, or a strict limit on drinking, especially for pilots in the Army. Of course being the enterprising young man that he was, my grandfather endeavored to supply the demand for drink of his comrades, and anyone could come to him for a cup of wine, for a price of course. This went on until his superiors got wise to the racket and shut the whole thing down. In his retelling this consisted of some officers taking the wine for themselves.
This had got me thinking about alcohol’s role in the army at the time. Was alcohol ever banned in the army, or for certain members of the army/army Air Force or navy? Likewise, what about alcohol’s place in the armies of France and the UK? The USSR? Germany, Italy and Japan?