The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 9, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The map on the front page envisions five possible approaches for the Allied forces in the Pacific to realize Admiral William Halsey’s goal of ending the war in 1943.

We shall call these five options, "Fingers Across the Water".

The thumb projects out of either India or southern Burma, though the latter was still largely in the hands of the Japanese, or from beleaguered southern China, the terrain of which, however, presenting major difficulties for launching long-range raids.

The index finger would point from the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. But those, with the exception of the easternmost Papuan Peninsula of New Guinea, were still solidly held and defended by the Japanese.

The middle finger would be accomplished via the retaking of Rabaul on New Britain, the taking of the Japanese mandate of Truk, and the re-acquisition of Guam, originating from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. But, that was easier said than done in the space of twelve months, as even Henderson Field was not yet secure.

The medicine finger, kusuri-yubi, would begin its journey at Pearl Harbor off Hickam Field and at Midway, would then need reacquire Wake Island and the Bird Guano Act acquisition of Marcus Island, and from those, proceed to Tokyo.

The pinky would come out of the Aleutians, after ridding the Japanese from their positions at Kiska, Attu and Agattu having already been retaken the previous June, extending then into the Japanese Kuriles, perhaps aided by the Soviets off Kamchatka Peninsula. But, then such an operation staged from Kamchatka would violate the Soviet-Japanese mutual non-aggression pact and open a two-front offensive for the Soviets, at a time when they were making substantial headway against the Wehrmacht, seeking to push it as far to the west as possible before the spring thaws.

Each prospective route involved its fair share of wishful thinking and inherent problems based on extant range of heavy bombers necessary to deliver the goods and effect a return flight to safe harbor, all of which was explored in Alexander de Seversky's Victory Through Air Power, as serialized in The News the previous September.

With victory well in hand on the Papuan Peninsula and clean-up operations ongoing, with further Allied bombing of Japanese transport ships attempting without success to land reinforcements at Lae, General MacArthur took his physical leave and returned to his headquarters in Australia, providing high praise to the American and Australian fighters who had achieved success in the months since July when the Japanese first moved into the region, seeking the prize of the Allied naval base at Port Moresby, during late August and early September, having encroached via the rugged switchbacks of the Owen Stanley Mountains to within 32 miles of the port city.

The Japanese objective had been to obtain from Port Moresby a base of operations to attack Australia and to enable protection of the critical supply dump of the easternmost East Indies at Rabaul on New Britain, and, in the northern Solomons, on Bougainville, key bases for feeding the Tokyo Express, to Munda on New Georgia, to try to fuel and feed attempts to retake Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, all part of a grand slam plan to envelop Australia in a pincer on three sides while interrupting the vital Allied supply route from Hawaii to Australia and New Zealand. The goal, if accomplished, would have rendered the forces in Australia a tied down kangaroo, under siege from the Japanese, much as were MacArthur’s forces in the Philippines, at Corregidor and Bataan, through the previous winter and spring.

In three Flying Fortress raids on Bizerte, orchestrated by newly appointed North African Allied air commander, Maj.-General Carl Spaatz, daring flier who once flew "The Question Mark" to a record duration flight of 150 hours circling Los Angeles, the Allies had struck on the vital Axis port one of the largest air raids yet of the North African campaign. General Eisenhower had appointed General Spaatz from his position as head of American air operations in Europe, to which he had been elevated in July, 1942.

From Woosung, near Shanghai, beyond the lost horizon, came a straggling Chinese report from Chungking, via Reuters in London, that American submarines had sunk two Japanese liners on November 11, carrying a thousand passengers, of whom only 42 survived the sinking.

And, while Thomas Henry, head of the American Automobile Association, implored, with apparent success, O.P.A. outgoing chief Leon Henderson not to eliminate the standard 4-gallon per week A-ration card, it was reported that the ban just implemented by O.P.A. on pleasure driving in seventeen East Coast states was being largely followed. Mr. Henry argued that to dispose of the A-ration, that utilized by the general public to get around, would unduly interrupt transportation and overly burden common carriers.

In Madison Square Garden, a surprisingly large crowd of 10,500 watched Bob Montgomery knock out Chester Rico, as in New Haven, 1,400 watched Cornell defeat Yale in basket ball, the largest crowd yet of the young season. Yet, at neither event was reported any significant number of violators of the pleasure driving ban.

Veronica Lake had an appendectomy in Hollywood.

Nampa, Idaho dairies threatened to place a halter on their deliveries of milk cans were Federal limits on prices not clarified and were they not permitted to increase prices 12 to 13 cents per quart of delicious, whole milk being delivered daily to every hot tot in Nampa, Idaho.

Time for some toast and scrambled eggs, to go with your road cup of coffee, reported to be in plentiful supply, despite rationing.

"Respite" on the editorial page counsels a reorganization of world Allied strategy, to concentrate more on the Pacific theater of operations, in deference to the fact that China’s southern Ynnnan Province was practically surrounded by Japanese insurgents, with the road then, in the case of its fall, left open to Chungking, that the concentration of ships at Rabaul was indicative of the Mikado's continued insistence to try to capture Henderson Field, to cut off and surround Australia. The editorial recognizes the gains in New Guinea by General MacArthur‘s Army, the air and naval success thus far at Guadalcanal, the continued bombing and naval operations orchestrated by Admiral Halsey throughout the Solomons. But, it cautions, nevertheless, that for every day lost defending ground in this slow, painstaking attritive manner, the Japanese were able to fortify and solidify their holdings obtained a year earlier in the Philippines, the East Indies, Singapore, Hong Kong, Rangoon, and to use these holdings to obtain the war materials--oil, tin, rubber, manganese, mercury--sought in those strategic targets, for sustained military operations, thus to prolong the war.

"Dissenters" casts a shadow looming from the corners of Congress, populated by new Republicans, such as Representative Clare Boothe Luce, and old isolationists, such as Senator Bounding Burt Wheeler, both of whom found the President’s speech to the Congress earlier in the week only passable, dealing in generalities, but not enough to be impressive to them of a realistic strategy for winning the war. The editorial suggests that these tepid sentiments adumbrated the possible return to the old isolationist ways which led to American involvement in the war at a time when it was ill-prepared to undertake full-scale combat operations, and only after substantial ground had been lost, resulting in the need for a full year of training of men and production of materiel before beginning offensive operations.

Samuel Grafton entreats the war audience to leave the escapist theater and enter the realm of reality, accusing a minority of the public and Congress of practicing what amounts to Afghanistanism by seeking to eviscerate the power of the presidency in favor of either Congress or the states and localities--seeking passage of the Walter-Logan Bill allowing courts to review any executive agency's order and favoring increased decentralization of government. He counsels more realization of the need for rationing in the country, an acceptance of even higher taxes than those imposed the previous year, drafting of labor to designated industries, a definite statement on abandoning colonialism post-war, and uprooting the fascists and former collaborators among the French in North Africa while simultaneously insuring that the jailed Free French were released.

Dick Young reports that the City Council had endorsed finally the removal of the street car rails by the Federal government, so that they might be hurled at Hitler and Tojo, as discussed in "The Curse" appearing January 5.

Chapter 6 of They Were Expendable picks up the narrative of Lieutenant Kelly, recounting the first bombing raid on Corregidor, as he heard the scream of the ambulance, its having been strafed in the sojourn from the tunnel hospital to the wounded.

In the darkened operating theater, Army nurse Peggy held a flashlight, immobile against the sudden blast at the lead to the tunnel, emitting in its wake the sickly suck of air and then the flowing blow of wind, as the surgeons probed for shrapnel embedded to the core.

A naval officer named Akers continues the story, tracing the fall of Manila after it was declared by General MacArthur an open city on Christmas Day, 1941. He elucidates some of the complicated politics of the Filipino pols and population, some having favored sustained American presence, some having insisted, successfully, on independence, to have been granted by America in four years. It was now much to their consternation and regret. For this insistence had been costly: the United States, having obtained territorial rights to the Philippines as a prize from the Spanish in the Spanish-American War of 1898, had not improved existing or approved the construction of new fortifications for the reason of its scheduled relinquishment of sovereignty and departure from the islands.

Nevertheless, the Filipino soldiers continued to believe, springing with hope eternal, to the end of the run in Manila, that the Americans would send reinforcements. But as with the lonely band of 200 led by Bowie, Travis, and Crockett at the Alamo 105 years before, it would not be so.

Manila fell, and fell harshly, to the Japanese, within days of General MacArthur's abandonment of it and removal to Bataan and Corregidor, all in the hope that declaring the city open would save its infrastructure from destruction by bombs and avoid thereby, in trying to defend it, the consequent loss of personnel needed to delay, for as long as possible, the retreat from the Philippines, the while dispatching to Nirvana as many Japanese as came within the inadequate range of the adequate sights through which peered the hapless but determined defenders, whittling away the forces of the newly attorned. Thus, the retreat to better ground to stage such a stand: Bataan and Corregidor.

Another PT-boat officer named Cox, along with Lieutenant Bulkeley, the squadron commander, finish the day's installment, describing the scuttling of the boats in the harbor at Manila, as fires rose from the torched fuel reserves, incinerated without orders, contra the desires of the oil magnates, as some scant numbers of Filipinos who had welcomed the Japanese with open arms, with open mirrors, in some instances, flashed in homing fashion across roofs in the city to direct bombers to their prey--quite unnecessarily, says Akers, as the pilots knew their targets well enough in advance--were being shot by the Filipino authorities, as ambulances wailed and the fires burned and the evacuees, the few civilians who still remained, along with the Filipino soldiers, were herded aboard transports bound for Corregidor in those latter nights of December, 1941, when the lights of the city, extinguished by the former occupants in retreat, were lit anew by the new occupier.

Back on the editorial page, Dick Young reports that the City Council had endorsed finally the removal of the street car rails by the Federal government, so that they might be hurled at Hitler and Tojo, as discussed in "The Curse", appearing January 5.

And as Ellie, a.k.a. Jayne, a.k.a. Marilyn, is brought to New Yawk by her new guardian, Chuck McCarthy, after receiving his prize from the jedge of Dogpatch, to present as the quintessential beauty, embodying all five essences extolled, Chuck conjures his scheme to work her as a hoss by the tinsel lights of Silver City.

Meanwhile, says Herblock, Miss Lorelai, of Goarshausen, echoes her perennial song through the canyons of laurel and lilies of the West, all gone, as Odysseus, strapped as he is to his business concern, his defense plant's high riz, where the smokestacks belch the slag’s rid burn of the smelter against hailing welter in fealty to the red skelter, walks on, chesty, bound by his shrill master to the Philistine fed pilaster, in the sometimes baffling tinned ring of this, the hereafter.

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