The Charlotte News

Tuesday, November 3, 1942


Site Ed. Note: With the teletypes still streaming war news from the Caucasus, the Solomons, New Guinea, where the Kokoda airbase of the Japanese had just been retaken by the Allies, and from North Africa, where Bernard Montgomery had advanced on Erwin Rommel at Tel El Akakir with the largest tank action yet of the Second Battle of El Alamein, then in its eleventh day, the people, or that part of them mustering the incentive to vote, as foretold on the front page, went to the polls in record low numbers this date.

Significantly, Earl Warren would be elected Governor of California and Thomas Dewey, Governor of New York.

To demonstrate that there was no favoritism in enabling the count of absentee ballots, the President's inquiry at his polling place in Hyde Park as to whether Mrs. Roosevelt's ballot had been received from London, was met with the response that it had not. Indeed, it would not have mattered, says the report, as it was determined that Mrs. Roosevelt did not qualify to vote from abroad. President Roosevelt, meanwhile, stated his occupation to be that of a farmer.

As appeared on the front page a photograph of the chaplain, Lieutenant Howell Forgy, who apparently during the attack on Pearl Harbor actually coined the phrase "praise the Lord and pass the ammunition", the editorial page laments the fact that anyone, no matter who it was, ever uttered such cant in the first place and especially that it ever became a popular song of the time.

After captious treacle streams into the popular culture on the wings of a current event, whether in song or in writing or otherwise, often, after quick embrace by the young and softer-headed part of the populace, it becomes as quickly relegated to the dustbins of history as a cheap effort to appeal to emotion to capitalize on a defining tragic occurrence, only to have the bit of kitsch later, after memories of its immediate impact have long faded away, resurrected from the past by the unerringly unaware, and then regarded as somehow emblematic of the popular sentiments extant at its time of release or publication. Such appears to be the case with this song and its variant versions. Obviously, however, it was considered by many tasteless and controversial in its time, not a morale-bolstering marching theme which troops hummed on their way to the front or while hurtling ammunition at the enemy. Listen accordingly.

"Piling Up" again finds the editorial column waxing prophetic on events to come with regard to the opening of a second front, suggesting that it would be soon, suggesting North Africa as a possible point of entry, and that the front would not therefore meet the popular conception of it, i.e., a continental invasion. All in all, not a bad prediction a week before the invasion.

"Chicken Feed" remarks on the dismal prospect of the minting of coinage in plastic to enable confiscation of the copper and nickel needed so badly in defense industries. It informs that once there was an experiment in coining glass currency. Perhaps, to save time, they should have just used marbles, so much value for a red or a yellow or a blue, a cat-eye, etc.

Dorothy Thompson tells of the confusion in command of the Nazi Wehrmacht on the Russian front. No one knew who was in charge of execution of the war effort in the three sectors, Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad and the Caucasus. She suggests that the Allies take advantage of this disarray and maximize propaganda on the point.

Not yet reported from Guadalcanal in the Solomons, the Marines had made during this day and the previous two days, under the command of Colonel Merritt Edson, a counter-offensive thrust across the Matanikau River to the west of Henderson Field against a contingent of Japanese troops thought to be amassing for yet another attack on the Allied airbase. The Japanese, being overrun by the Marines, retreated from the position, resulting finally in some 300 Japanese troops being surrounded at Point Cruz to the west of Henderson Field on November 2. Early on the morning of November 3, all of the surrounded Japanese were killed. In all, during the three days of fighting, the Japanese lost 400 men while the Marines lost 70.

A fresh group of Japanese reinforcements had meanwhile started landing at Koli Point, approximately equidistant to the east from Henderson Field as Point Cruz was to the west, causing the Marine commanders to believe that a new offensive would be launched from there. Consequently, with the threat quelled from the west, the Matanikau offensive was called off on November 4 and focus was transferred to the Koli Point area where fighting ensued for the next week, resulting in the loss of 450 more men by the Japanese against 40 Marines lost.

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