Wednesday, March 24, 1943

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 24, 1943


Site Ed. Note: Dominating the front page--crowding out some of the news of the previous day's fiercest day-long battle yet of the Tunisian campaign, as Rommel, with a hundred tanks, attempted to strike Allied encampments in the hills east of El Guettar--was all you might have wanted to know about meat rationing, set to go into effect the following Monday.

You could buy, for instance, three and a fifth pounds of hamburger, better than the quarter-pounder per diem OPA had been promoting as the probable limit a couple of weeks earlier. Revised, the plan allowed each person to enjoy a juicy half-pounder per day and then a fifth on Sunday. What more could a person want?

Alternatively, you could gorge yourself with .285 pounds, about 4.5 ounces, per day of steak, with a whopping 6-ounce portion reserved for Sundays, chuck shoulder or rib costing one less point per pound than the rest, leaving enough for a couple of pieces of bacon for breakfast, even if sirloin, naturally, ran a point more, meaning only 1.777 pounds of Delmonico’s delicacy per week.

Or, you could mix and match and have your six-ouncer of, say, Porterhouse, on Sunday with your fifth, to provide a veritable feast of immoveable proportions.

In any event, with your sixteen points, you can now proceed to plan your own menu from the chart. You don’t need us. Be sure and print it and paste it to the canteen door. You are certain to lose some weight just figuring out the chart.

We ourselves, for a little variety and color on the table, are undecided on whether to go with four mutton hearts and two pork kidneys, or rather four pork snouts, two pork tails, and maybe a couple of sow's ears. But, as we have mentioned before, no pig’s feet will bedress our table. They are a whopping twelve points for a full complement anyway.

Tongues are nice, but they are far too expensive. They cost six points in every single category. You could only afford two and two-thirds of those per week, even if you could mix and match between varieties. Not enough protein to maintain good health, probably.

Liver, too, is expensive: that's good because we never liked it.

And sweetbreads are definitely out. We once had some at a French restaurant in Atlanta. If you've never'd the pleasure, trust us. Don't waste your points. We had thought they were sweet; they aren't.

As for brains, we have all we need without bothering the pastoral animals for some more.

Moreover, if you happen to be a fancier of jerky, you are flat out of luck. That is fully twelve points per pound, friend, and you will likely starve therefore by the second day out in the valley of Death, east of El Guettar, not to mention other consequences beneath the palms by the oasis.

We may, on second thought, just stick with the burgers.

Or, since all of that careful planning still doesn't afford any room for a nice piece o' Gouda cheese, fully eight points per pound, we might just take to begging points out in front of the shoeshine stand: "Say, could you stake a fellow American to a meal?"

Prime Minister Churchill informed Commons this date that the ground gained beyond the Mareth Line by the Eighth Army had been lost, Montgomery’s forces having been pushed back up to the Line by Rommel. Allied Headquarters, however, reported that Axis thrusts in the village of Mareth had been repulsed. It was unclear which, between these two conflicting statements, was the more recent and thus the more accurate.

German sources reported that only “the overture of the great British offensive” against the Mareth Line had been heard, implying, presciently, that the full symphony, unstated as to whether by Aaron Copland or an earlier composer, such as Mozart or Beethoven, remained yet to be endured. In all likelihood, it was going to be something by Wagner.

The Nazis claimed, without confirmation, that 44 British tanks had been destroyed.

The other prong of the Eighth Army’s offensive, thirty miles north of the engagement at Mareth, having met strong Axis resistance the previous day near El Hamma, was still, however, proceeding forward, having gained an additional two miles, to within eight miles of the El Hamma objective, in its drive to bottle up Rommel’s forces against the sea, twenty miles to the west at Gabes.

East of El Guettar, however, where Rommel had attacked the previous morning at 6:00 a.m. with a force of a hundred tanks, including Mark VI Tiger tanks powered by Porsche, General Patton’s Fifth Army had successfully repulsed the attempt with artillery fire, in one of the longest sustained day-long battles of the Tunisian campaign to date, destroying between ten and thirty German tanks. By day’s end, Rommel’s forces removed from the valley back toward Gabes.

General Patton had read Field Marshal Rommel’s 1934 book, Gefechts-Aufgaben für Zug und Kompanie: Ein Handbuch fuer den Offizierunterricht. Die Zugs, die Kompanies, und die Offiziers were finding out this fact belatedly.

Harold V. Boyle, reporting for the Associated Press, described the engagement in some detail, stating, "The Germans failed and that failure--for they threw in everything they had--is a measure of greatness of the spirit forged in battle by the United States Army which is growing more powerful every day."

Under the command of General Patton, the men really had little choice. It was shoot from the front or possibly be shot from the rear--by the rearguard of the poet who led them into battle.

The map we included on February 1 shows the movement of the forces now colliding east of El Guettar.

The figures from the previous week's raid on Vegesack in Germany were released showing 52 German planes definitely shot down, 23 probably hit, and 20 damaged, setting a record for definite kills during a single raid, topping the 48 attributed to the raid on Lille, France the previous October 10.

Acceding to the telegrammed request by the President, the U.M.W. agreed to extend for thirty days negotiations on their claims for a raise in wages of two dollars per day and a guaranteed minimum of eight dollars per day for all mineworkers, with all contract negotiations eventually finalized to be made retroactive to April 1. The agreement averted a strike in the bituminous coal industry, vital to the country's continued steel production.

With warmer weather forecasted for Charlotte's nighttime, the indiscernibly classified animal, again making its mysterious appearance, was still turning the other way, still for indiscernible reasons, so far as we might discern.

We are looking for a farmer to explain it.

On the editorial page, "Crescendo" accurately peers into the immediate future of the Tunisian campaign and finds the fates riding gloriously with General Patton, heading for Gabes on the central coast, General Alexander, immediate superior to Field Marshal Montgomery, through the Mareth Line in the south, and General K.A.N. Anderson in the north.

It also offers with accuracy that, after Rommel’s inevitable expulsion from North Africa in the near future, the Italian invasion by the Allies would likely soon follow.

It declares the caveat, however, that as with no other campaigns in the war to date, either in the Pacific or in North Africa or in bombing Germany and France, Americans would begin to lose their lives in substantial numbers.

Unfortunately, that proved another correct assessment. Each side, Axis and Allies, would lose in excess of 4,000 men during the ensuing two-week battle to the east of El Guettar.

"95 Per Cent Pure" provides a clean bill of health to American private industry against any charges of profiteering from the war, in contrast to the scene of self-interest pervading industry during World War I both in the United States and in Germany. (Indeed, the story goes that France and Germany entered into a compact at the start of the war by which they would mutually renounce bombing each other's industrial base to enable continued mutual profiteering. As to whether the story is wholly or partially apocryphal, we make no representation.)

The reasons for the changed naughty child to better fettle, opines the piece, was first the determination to put on a good face for the American people so that after the war the increasing inclination to control unrestrained capitalist endeavors, restraint manifested during the Depression, would abate to the advantage of industry, and, second, by the strict controls and review of military contracts through the War Department's Price Adjustment Board. This Board oversaw each contract with private industry and made, as its name implies, adjustments to prices paid on government contracts based on allowance for reasonable profits. The Board had so far reported a savings of a little over a billion dollars out of some 68 trillion in war contracts reviewed during the first year of its operation. It found, contrary to 70 percent of American opinion, that only five percent of the contracts assessed demonstrated attempts at undue profiteering.

Raymond Clapper reviews briefly the history of the original plan for the League of Nations, on which President Harding and the Republican Senate refused their imprimatur to endorse America's membership, crippling the concept aborning. It was, originally, indicates Mr. Clapper, a Republican idea formulated in 1915 by former President, future Chief Justice, William Howard Taft, then proposed as the League to Enforce Peace. This early formulation of the League of Nations was founded on the concept that all member sovereignties would use their concerted economic and military power to put down war waged by any member against another.

This notion is more akin to each of N.A.T.O., the Western European Alliance with the United States, and the Warsaw Pact organization, formed by the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satrapies and satellites, set at odds to one another after the war, than, strictly speaking, to the United Nations organization. But the concept of attempting first to resolve conflicts peacefully through negotiation, also embodied in the idea set forth by Taft, inheres as the founding principle of the U. N. Security Council and General Assembly.

Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr.--grandfather of 1943's Senator Lodge of Massachusetts, the latter subsequently defeated in 1952 by Congressman John F. Kennedy, then served for seven years as Ambassador to the United Nations under President Eisenhower, ran unsuccessfully in 1960 as the vice-presidential candidate with Richard Nixon, and then later appointed in 1963 by President Kennedy as Ambassador to South Vietnam--had as well been a vocal proponent of the League to Enforce Peace.

By the end of World War I, when President Wilson took up the banner in his Fourteen Points to promote the establishment of the League of Nations, most of the Republicans suddenly, for plainly partisan reasons, turned sour on the idea and began verbally opposing it, running Warren Harding for presidnt in 1920 on the platform plank of no foreign entanglements, no joinder in the League. And, when he and Calvin Coolidge overwhelmingly defeated James Cox and a young FDR, that was that.

Mr. Clapper expresses hope that the new bipartisan resolution for the creation of the United Nations with United States membership would not be derailed for like partisanship at this crucial stage of history.

He remarks that, in addition to the four sponsors, Senator Truman had voiced his support. The only reservation Senator Truman would later have in 1945 and 1946 was the presence of the active hand in the creation of the body by John Foster Dulles whom he distrusted with a passion, if not altogether despised. When reluctantly induced to form the C.I.A. out of the moribund O.S.S. and was then prevailed upon to nominate John Foster Dulles as its first Director, his quoted response, as found in Dulles, by Leonard Moseley, published in 1978, was, "That son of a bitch? Not on your life."

It is scarcely any wonder that Mr. Dulles neither was sought by President Truman to represent the country before the U. N. While President Eisenhower made Mr. Dulles his Secretary of State in 1956 and appointed his brother, Allen, Director of Central Intelligence in 1953, General Eisenhower also was responsible for placing Admiral Darlan in charge of Algeria in November, 1942.

Samuel Grafton, as he had the day before, continues his examination anent the new face of isolationism, changing with the changing times. He finds it now structured along the lines of collaboration internationally, but seeking to have the country become bedfellows with Fascists, such as Franco in Spain and Peyrouton in Algiers, as bulwarks to Soviet Communism, even if now actively excluding, though not before Pearl Harbor, collaboration with Hitler.

A piece compiled by the editors details the anti-Union legislation passed and considered by state legislatures and the Congress to thwart strikes and labor unrest crippling of war industry.

"Evil Season" finds unwanted portents from the recent frost which beckoned the coming of spring in Charlotte, killing all the flowers so that one could not tiptoe through the tulips, puts in the case for a more stable transition from season to season.

But, unfortunately, it does not elucidate the genus or species of the animal depicted in the previous two days' and this date's weather boxes. We are still wondering. And why?

Wool for a sweater? But you don't get wool from a poodle or a cat. Regardless, if the frost were too frosty, freezing hands even in mitts, then the sweater, for shrinkage, might become at once much too small, thus attracting the dog's showy, sheepy wolf sans the shedder.

In a piece culled from the Army publication, Yank, come various tidbits of humor. Among them, we find mention of this song. We suspect that it was dedicated to Jody. Anyway, when the soldier got tired of that one, he could listen to "Gone With the Draft".

As to the first presented scenario, you might not appreciate it if you are new to this era. So, we shall give you the hint that FDR was in Casablanca, together with Prime Minister Churchill and Generals De Gaulle and Giraud during the last half of January, formulating the strategy for the remainder of 1943.

And, from Fort MacArthur, California, there arose a scene which was later adopted at the end of the war and placed in the film version of the serialized account by William L. White, They Were Expendable, presented in abstracts in The News during January, the scene having been adopted, in fact, verbatim--without attribution, and likely without royalties to the Yank writer whose chain got pulled, hopefully not while on latrine duty--unless the piece was by the screenwriter, unlikely, as Frank Wead was a Navy Air Corps man who competed actively with the Army as an aviator. Anyway, see the movie if you haven't. It's not bad for its age.

Maybe, on second thought, the Yank writer was Soupy Sales. But he was also Navy, so…

Incidentally, we heard that I. A. Myers was still looking for his pig over in Reeds which he had to get out and still hadn't figured why he had it to do in the first instance.

Which brings us back to the corn-hog ratio.

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