Thursday, October 21, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 21, 1943


Site Ed. Note: For the first time since November 23, 1940, reports the front page, Leipzig was bombed by the RAF in the largest raid yet undertaken against the city. Seventeen bombers were lost in the raid.

The raid of the day before by Flying Fortresses had targeted Dueren, site of a non-ferrous metal factory, and resulted in the loss of eight planes. It had been accompanied by the largest contingent yet of American fighter planes as well as British Spitfires.

In Italy, the Fifth Army made only slight gains as advance scouts reconnoitered the new German positions along the Massico Ridge.

The Eighth Army took the high ground west of the road northwest of Vinchiaturo, enabling movement along the corridor which was the principal north-south road along the Adriatic coast, then occupied Busso, and moved into Oratino. The road intersected with a road at Isernia which led to Venafro, the eastern anchor of the Germans’ Massico Ridge line. Threatening the road to Isernia thus threatened also the flank of the enemy positions facing the Fifth Army.

The Red Army continued to advance toward Krivoi Rog, key German position guarding the evacuation route from the Crimea. Capture of the city, from which the Russians were now but 35 miles away, would trap thousands of German troops at Dnepropetrovsk and in the Dneiper bend at Melitopol. It would also open the way for the Russians to pour into the Perekop Peninsula to the mouth of the Dneiper at the Black Sea.

In the Pacific, the Japanese scored some success in an offensive operation against the Australian troops holding the line near recently captured Finschhafen as the Japanese sought to form a solid line along the Song River in New Guinea. It was the first large-scale confrontation with the enemy on land in the area in several months.

An exchange of over 5,000 British, Canadian, and Australian prisoners, plus fourteen Americans for a similar number of German prisoners had been effected as three hospital ships headed for Britain and two sailed for Germany.

In the second day of meetings of the foreign ministers' conference in Moscow, an American and British general each joined with a Russian general to discuss undisclosed military topics, presumed by observers to be the opening of the second front in Western Europe.

An English-language newspaper in Moscow had opined that the only reason Germany had not yet been defeated was the failure thus far to open that second front.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Tom Connally of Texas, overwhelmingly approved by a vote of 30 to 2 the resolution which had passed the subcommittee the previous week, approving United States membership in a post-war international organization to preserve the peace. Key words of the resolution were that the international organization would have the "power to prevent aggression".

By a vote of 53 to 26 a bill providing for 300 million dollars of Federal aid annually to education was tabled after an amendment was added by Republicans which would have prevented the use of the funds by the states and localities to promote racial and other discrimination. Southern Democrats thus joined forces with other small-government advocates among the Republicans to set aside the proposed measure.

Hal Boyle describes how the American G.I.'s were now fishing with a rod, a string, and a worm, maybe also with a grasshopper, from the special pond on the grounds of one of the palaces of King Emanuele near Naples.

And the O.P.A.--as Director Prentiss Brown, head of the agency for less than a year since the resignation of its first Director, Leon Henderson, announced his resignation to be succeeded by Chester Bowles--ruled that "crankcase squeezin's" could be used as fuel oil by consumers only through their normal allotment of ration coupons.

On the editorial page, "Weird Battle" culls from reports on the previous week's raid on Schweinfurt, costing the Eighth Air Force fully 60 planes, several factors which may have led to the high rate of loss: the deployment by the Germans of a two-engined fighter with "rocket guns" on board and the use extensively of fog machines which supposedly, according to German claims, had caused the Flying Fortresses to collide. At the same time, the Americans had deployed in strength for the first time their new Super Fortress, the B-29.

Regardless of the losses, the raid on the principal German ball-bearing manufacturer, responsible for half of Germany’s manufacture of the crucial component for all military machinery, had proved successful and was deemed worth the heavy toll--as stated the prior week by Brigadier General Curtis LeMay.

General Hap Arnold, Chief of Staff of the Army Air Forces, had stated that the Germans could not have inflicted such losses unless they had been tipped about the raid. The implication was that spies within the ranks of the British had relayed word to the Luftwaffe.

The piece finds the raid premonitive of the future of air warfare, terrible and grim, and full of spies--both for them and us, too.

"Of Courage" provides homage to the brave men of the Eighth Air Force facing by the odds nearly certain death or capture during the 20 missions each would fly. They understood that with every mission flown they were weakening the capacity of Germany to manufacture arms and simultaneously taking down enemy planes at a greater rate than they were being replaced, making an invasion easier and thus spelling the eventual doom for the Third Reich.

"They, almost alone, are taking the war into the heart of the enemy’s country."

"The Suspects" urges that a watchful eye be maintained by the public on certain members of the Senate: Wheeler, George, Nye, Vandenberg, Connally, Lodge, and Reynolds, especially as votes would be cast soon in the full Senate on the resolution to approve post-war membership of the United States in a United Nations organization.

These Senators might yet wage war against the average person of the country, warns the piece, before the war was over, selling out the soldiers dying abroad.

The Republicans were expected to take control of the House in 1944 and cut the Democratic majority in the Senate to a slim margin. In that event, continues the editorial, Republicans would likely swarm back to the isolationist tendencies of earlier days and might yet cost the Allies the war or cause any victory to result in such a tenuous peace that another war would be the inevitable result within twenty years.

Samuel Grafton finds the ease with which Russia had conceded or taken from the table issues which might otherwise be in play at the foreign ministers' conference in Moscow suggested that the Russians had deliberately left on the agenda only the question of opening a second front in Western Europe. They had conceded recognition of the Badoglio Government in Italy a week before the conference; they had stated that they agreed with the U.S. that the question of Russian post-war boundaries and buffer territories should be postponed to another time. That left primarily only when and where a second front would be opened--one which the Russians had consistently sought in sufficient strength to drain off as many as 60 divisions of Germans from the Russian front, a drang nach Osten from the other side of the Channel.

Dorothy Thompson rails at the absurdity of the food rationing program allotting sixteen points per person per week in coupons. You could have sufficient quantities of fish and chicken, she informs, but then could not afford the points for the oil or butter in which to cook it.

Yet, she reveals from personal observation, one could go to restaurants and eat to heart's content virtually any food, whether rationed or not, including plenty of unsought butter, scarce at the market, placed on the table, thrown out at the end of the meal if unused.

To enter the black market by obtaining meat from the butcher beyond the allotted coupons was a crime for consumer and butcher alike, but to buy the same food without expenditure of ration points at any restaurant was quite legal.

She concludes that food rationing was a farce until such time as restaurants and the home were brought to parity within the system.

Raymond Clapper asserts that the bad day in numbers of losses the previous week over Schweinfurt was one which could be absorbed by the Allies, but that the Germans were suffering tremendous losses on every front every day, and those losses could not be absorbed. He points out that, contrary to the implications of the piece in the editorial column, there was nothing particularly innovative used by the Germans in defending from the raid, that the rocket gun had been used previously. The losses were simply anomalous.

Berlin's only hope, he says, was to divide the Allies from within. Thus, the current sweep of anti-British talk in America was playing to the favor of such fanciful notions of Herr Doktor Goebbels.

Mr. Clapper believed that the American people would regard the facts and not be fooled by the isolationists seeking to make the war into partisan redemption for failed policies of the past.

Drew Pearson visits the debate of the pending resolution on U.S. post-war commitment to the United Nations, finds two sides forming, peopled by those Senators favoring a watered-down version of the resolution, one without teeth, and the other, led by Senators Ball of Minnesota and Pepper of Florida, joined by Hill, Hatch, Maybank, Bridges, and Ferguson, favoring a resolution which approved the concept of an international police force. Most of the Senators who favored the watered-down version had been in the Senate in the days during and preceding World War I, had long been comfortable with isolationism and the concept that the only enemy worth fighting was the U.S.S.R.

The winner of the debate would likely determine the direction of the world to come.

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