Friday, January 29, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, January 29, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page tells of further gains by the Russians, pushing on westward from Voronezh another twelve miles and killing or capturing yet another 9,000 German soldiers, bringing the Soviet Army to within 75 miles of Kharkov and Kursk. The Russians reported the re-capture of Kastornoye, a vital rail link at the crossroads of the Voronezh-Kursk and Moscow-Donbas Basin rail lines.

From Tunisia came the report of the 12th U.S. Air Force's largest raid of the Tunisian war, one against Sfax, trying to cut off Rommel's retreat behind the Mareth Line. The British Eighth Army simultaneously hit Rommel's rearguard troops at Zuara, 35 miles east of Tunisia's frontier.

General Giraud announced, in follow up to the Casablanca Conference with General De Gaulle, that while there was going to be unity of purpose militarily and economically in dealing with French North Africa, there was no foreseeable political unity among the French. He also indicated that he would approve the gradual restoration of property taken previously from Jews in North Africa by the Axis and their assimilation again into the schools from which they had been barred.

Perhaps, the letter writer of two days earlier, Mr. Smith, made a cogent point in regard to being wary of the loyalty of General Giraud. We shall keep a curled eye on this General Giraud.

Major C. W. Sawyer of the Flying Tigers, under the command of General Claire Chennault in China, described his ordeal after he was forced to land his plane in Tibet. Two native groups vied with one another for the right to shoot him after neither could decipher his papers as being representative of friend or foe. Eventually, they decided, rather than engage in a fight to determine who had the better right to execute him, to take him to a missionary school teacher several miles away through rough country. The missionary, fortunately, comprehended Major Sawyer's identification papers and was able to convince the two posses to let him live to fly another day.

Back to back, filly to filly.

On the editorial page, "Ten Years of Blood" continues an optimistic series of editorials in the column predicting the possibility--given the recent setbacks of Rommel in North Africa and the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe in Russia, depleted not only by piles of death but by the need to be winnowed to the least trained reserve troops for the best front line fighters being required to guard southern Europe and the New Maginot Line literally moved to the Channel coast of France--that the European war might end in crushing defeat of Germany in 1943.

"The Yanks Are Coming" tells of the first all-American bombing raid on Germany, a daylight raid on Wilhelmshaven and Emden, signaling to the German people that not only were their nights to be interrupted by the terror of the RAF bombs falling, as for the previous year and a half, but as well now during their days, with the higher flying four-motors of the American air force interrupting their singing "Tomorrow Belongs to Us".

The raid occurred, say Burke Davis, with only light anti-aircraft and fighter pursuit resistance, nearly to the disappointment of the American crews with their adopted monikers, such as "Carter and His Little Pills", who had expected a more challenging and virile opponent.

Samuel Grafton remarks on the riots in Marseilles, indicating that the inability of Vichy to control the streets under its declaration of martial law manifested a loss of confidence among the French in the Vichy government. He then laments the fact that the disorganized situation in French North Africa had not only physically prevented French radio there from broadcasting support and instructions to the Marseilles Resistance but also, in presenting such a vacuum of clearly defined leadership, was greeted with such disrespect among the French that any broadcast would likely have fallen on deaf ears anyway. Good purposes by the Allies, he offers, were of no moment, if the results were at counter purposes to the free republic, any more than Petain's supposed painful, reluctant declivity in the direction of the Nazis had been in the days before Pierre Laval became the previous April the leader of Vichy, tossing aside the mantle of all pretense of loyalty to France, exchanging it for the overt and willfully eager smiling face of collaboration.

In the context of explaining why the Nazis were now reporting some degree of truth about the inescapably harsh results, family by German family, to their kith and kin on the Russian front, Dorothy Thompson quotes the Schwarze Korps, the Gestapo and S.S. propaganda arm, as expressing on December 3 considerable distress over the efficacious Allied use of radio to disseminate its views within Germany. There was no Westliche Wand, said the communique, by which to wall off radio waves. Ms. Thompson points out that the death penalty was being implemented for listening to the radio.

The Reich was now left only with the weapon of fear to be utilized against their own people, seeking to indoctrinate the belief that in defeat would lay complete annihilation of Germany by the Allies, a punitive rage of retaliation, even extermination. She counsels greater dissemination of Allied counter-propaganda to refute these notions by use of the public announcements of the President, the Vice-President, Wendell Willkie, Undersecretary of State Welles and others who had unequivocally assured that the fight was only to liberate Germany from its caustic leadership and high-ranking Nazis who participated in atrocities, not against the German people who had been coerced to participate on pain of death in the Nazi regimen of Aryan superiority seeking all of Europe, all of Africa, all of the world for its lebensraum.

Query whether that notion was too sympathetic to ordinary Germans who participated, if not actively, passively by doing nothing to stop the Nazi Party's purge within the country of all deemed politically dissident or non-Aryan, a process quite evident even before 1933, and by feigning ignorance of later ongoing systematic atrocities in their midst, starting with Kristallnacht in November, 1938, culminating in the Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution adopted therein in January, 1942, atrocities the full extent of which would only become known to the Allies after the war. Were not all of the little Nazis, at least those of adult age, quite complicit in the spreading of the anti-Semitic bile which led to the Holocaust? One can stop thugs, even thugs with bullets and whips and chains, if enough character is demonstrated by enough people.

And the little squib titled "The Sacrifice", from some unstated source, comments on the absence of family loyalty within the Conkling clan when Roscoe's nephew, amid blandishments to obtain funds and volunteers for the Union cause at the outset of the Civil War, blithely and generously volunteered the services of his uncle with whom he was at odds politically.

We reiterate, we do not read ahead, and did not yesterday. We assume whoever decided editorially to include that piece had also read the Man of Tomorrow yesterday and obtained the same inklin' as we did as to whom this Mugwump, scalawag reprobate actually was who conspired against the Speedline Railroad.

We have encountered durin' this project far more startlin' coincidences than that one, but we thought we would at least register it as interestin', if not to you, to us.

Do you know the way?

Chapter 23 of They Were Expendable finds Lieutenant Kelly paying his devoirs to the cocoanut and sugar plantation owners who had accompanied him on the long 42-mile three-day hike across Cebu to the outrigger canoes which took them to the adjoining island. The planters were uncertain whether to return to their homes and batten the hatches or try to hide among the small islands.

Kelly catches a ride to Army headquarters on the island where he is confronted with a scene worthy of Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee, two generals at odds with one another since West Point, he is informed by the lieutenant. They would likely not cooperate on anything, let alone enable Kelly to obtain passage to Mindanao. The lieutenant, upon Kelly's insistence, nevertheless calls headquarters only to find two parties at the other end--whether the generals, being unclear--talking back and forth in something other than English or Spanish, maybe Tagalog--maybe Rebbaj Gnickow.

Kelly decides to push off from this strange scene of internal bickering among the generals in midst of war, something not unknown in his experience, and set out on another hike through the tulgey wood, catching rides on the tum-tums here, gyring by blue canoes there, finally, after days lost in the mirror, coming to Mindanao.

His objective there was to link with John Bulkeley who, he had been informed, was alive and well on the island.

When Kelly reached Iligan, he saw PT-41, a welcome sight. He found Ensign Cox who was shocked to see Kelly still alive. They had heard that he died in the raid on Negros Island, Bulkeley's assumption, even being told by a Catholic priest that he performed personally two funerals on Cebu, including one for Kelly. Kelly was relieved to hear that both Reynolds and Harris had received proper services after all, even amid the Japanese invasion on the morning of April 10.

Bulkeley explained to William L. White, back in Newport, R.I., that after he and his crew had tied up for the night in the sheltering haven of six miles of shallow water to escape the three destroyers on his tail during the wee hours of April 9, then sleeping through the day, they had sailed to Iligan on Mindanao, with the intention of obtaining fuel and heading back to Cebu to try to locate Kelly. Bulkeley was prevented from doing so, however, because, with no torpedoes remaining in the islands, General Wainwright forbade any further PT-boat activity to conserve precious 100-octane fuel for the airplanes coming from Australia.

On April 13, Lieutenant Bulkeley received word through General Sharp that General MacArthur had ordered him to report immediately to Melbourne. He hated to leave his crew behind and thought of saying to hell with it and fighting with them to the bitter end on Mindanao. But then he reasoned that he might be able to coax General MacArthur to stand by his promise of getting the men out of the Philippines, of getting them a transport to Australia, and so he caught the bomber that night. The Japanese attacked the airfield at Del Monte as they took off, blowing out one engine. But they got to Australia.

With the second officer, Lieutenant Kelly, presumed dead, Bulkeley had left Akers in charge of the remaining squadron.

Akers described a mission given him by General Sharp to train an Army contingent, and their recruited Moro natives of the surrounding country, to operate machine-guns on PT-41. The Army planned to transport PT-41 to Lake Lanao for use as its defense so that seaplanes from Australia, bringing supplies and equipment, could have a secure place to land, the twenty by fifteen mile inland lake.

The squadron would later learn that Lake Lanao had fallen and PT-41 had to be burned by the Army defenders to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy--the last plywood yacht of Squadron 3, but one which would inspire a lot more to come.

Kelly, in Mindanao trying to reach Bulkeley, only to find that he had just a few days earlier departed, was therefore left not only without a boat or crew, but also without any command authority; he thus reported to General Sharp to provide, for relay to Bulkeley, his mission synopsis on sinking the cruiser.

General Sharp, after taking the report, sent Kelly to Kalasungay to await a flight to Australia from the airfield there, warning him the while that flights were scarce and thus not be too optimistic of getting away.

Kelly reported to the Army colonel at the airfield and was again told not to cherish too deeply hope of catching a plane. The colonel promptly ordered him on a mission to lead a pack train transporting a herd of fifty carabao to Lake Lanao.

The frustrated lieutenant, anxious to get back into a PT squadron, didn't appreciate the assignment because it would take him away from the vicinity of the airfield, his last opportunity to get to Australia, all for the sake of herding fifty "milk cows".

But, he followed orders.

Head 'em up, move 'em out.

Meanwhile, Major Hoople has discovered a substitute pacifier for milk, gravy. Leo will now accept nothing less, its soporific qualities apparently being too good at knitting his raveled sleeve of care to pass. (P: "Milk is a sedative though, you know." Unidentified Voice: "Oh yes, I know." C: "Getting back to the corn-hog ratio, now…" P: "What, what, you know, well…what's that, John? Oh that, yes that's important, up, down, all around. Elevator, escalator. Where does it go, up-down, or up or down? What does it do? We can do that. Don't want to hurt the farmers. No. Have some milk." S: "I'll drink to that." C: "The ratio is important…" P: "Yes, yes, oh yes, of course. That's why he's my favorite secretary.")

And, Ellie is chased into the closet by the Curse. Best take some Fleischmann’s yeast with Vitamin B Complex in some cool tomato juice to get some needed pep, as recommended yesterday by Patty. Red gets set up by Lolita, as we accurately foretold, as Little Beaver is summoned outside the sugar shack to alleviate the scene from his prying eyes. Easy's bombers deposit the gliders at Dinkelsburg and continue on to lay eggs in Munich. And Lois, upset with Clark's insinuation that The Voice was in fact working with Superman and so already knew of his own dastardly plot, in conjunction with the Ross Conkling gang, to blow the Speedline Railway, making it quite unnecessary therefore to relay the young lady's information to the Man of Tomorrow as commanded by Lois of Clark to proceed forthwith to do, smacks the impudent, mild-mannered reporter of the great metropolitan Daily Planet a good lambasting in the jaw, knocking him and his chair clean out the window--a quicker and less ceremonious exit than given Montgomery Ward. The Commissioner is sure to hear about this one. Lois should be arraigned shortly for either assault with intent to kill or second-degree murder, depending on the extent of Clark's fall. We shall see, Tomorrow.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.