Tuesday, July 13, 1943

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 13, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of the capture by General Montgomery's Eighth Army of the town of Augusta, another valuable port location 22 miles north of Syracuse, eight miles from Catania. Troops were also reported advancing to the outskirts of Catania along the Catania plain, as new British troops were reported landing there.

A Berlin radio report, unconfirmed by Allied sources, indicated that three additional Allied divisions had landed on Sicily during the previous day, presumably along the east coast.

To the west, General Patton's Seventh Army had joined with Canadian forces at Raguso and had also captured Palazzola, both valuable highway junctions which would prevent the Axis from having easy movement of troops and supplies in the southeast corner of Sicily. Raguso's location in the mountains also afforded a vantage point for the surrounding plains. A map on the inside page shows both towns, along with the other recently captured points.

Although General Patton's specialty was in tank command, and Sicily, with its rocky, mountainous terrain offered little opportunity to demonstrate tank prowess, Patton, as explained by a piece by Daniel De Luce, had been hard at work since the victory in the region of El Guettar training the newly reconstituted Seventh Army formed from parts of the Army II Corps and the troops which had originally landed in Morocco and Algeria, forming the best trained American troops of the Army.

General Eisenhower paid a surprise visit to the American and Canadian troops in southeastern Sicily, stopping to meet with General Patton and Admiral Henry Hewitt, commander of Atlantic amphibious operations.

In Russia, Field Marshal Von Kluge was reported to be consolidating his Wehrmacht forces along the 200-mile salient from Orel to Belgorod to strike in force in the area around Belgorod in the south. The Russians reported that the drive was having little effect while Berlin claimed that 400 Russian tanks and 123 aircraft had been destroyed as the German offensive in the region entered its ninth day.

In the Solomons, a second battle in the Kula Gulf off Munda on New Georgia resulted in the sinking by the Navy of one Japanese cruiser and three destroyers without any reported loss of American ships.

At Salamaua in Papua New Guinea, Associated Press correspondent William F. Boni sustained minor wounds from shrapnel while covering the war. Mr. Boni would go on to cover the European theater of action as well in 1944-45. Whether they dubbed him "Billy the Kid" was not reported.

On the editorial page, "The Old Broom" criticizes Governor Broughton for appointing to the Unified Board of Control of State Hospitals two-thirds of its membership from the old boards, only appointing four new members to bring new lifeblood to the organization. After an impressive start at revamping and reconstituting the state hospitals and their governance during the previous year, it appeared now to The News that the Governor was losing his enthusiasm for the effort and reverting to the status quo.

To the same effect is a letter to the editor from Tom Jimison, whose first-hand account of the incompetence and insensitivity of the Morganton Hospital's staff in caring for the mentally ill had launched the investigation into the state's facilities the previous year. Mr. Jimison echoes the News editorial of Friday expressing disappointment that the Governor had named Harry Riddle to the new board, a political appointee who brought a history of lack of understanding of his role in supervising the needs of these facilities.

"The Confused" takes solace from two books which were currently popular, Reveille in Washington and The Life of Johnny Reb, both describing that during the Civil War, the Union, and to a larger extent the Confederacy, were beset with equal or greater confusion than that now characterizing the war effort at times out of Washington. The profiteering and graft coming to light from the current war were proving measurably less than that experienced in either World War I or the Civil War.

"A Lesson" offers that the Axis had better take heed of the invasion of Sicily as harbinger of even larger operations down the road, just as Sicily's operation, with its 2,000 ships, represented a significantly larger landing force than the several hundred ships involved in the landings in North Africa November 8.

Samuel Grafton believes that the unity of the world would come apace inexorably in the post-war future, not so much because the world wanted it, but because it had been conditioned by this war that a unified world was necessary for survival. It would come despite the oblivious masses rushing to catch the subway, worried of making ends meet, making thoughtless expressions, as the weary days turned to wearier nights while war dragged on abroad. The future was going to be a place of melding differences into understanding, he predicts.

Raymond Clapper, still in North Africa, observes that the Flying Fortress, backbone of the American Air Forces, had proved itself superior to anything capable of being put into the air by the Luftwaffe and also had demonstrated the basic strategy on use of airplanes by the Allies superior to that of the Nazis. The Nazis had concerted their efforts on fighters and left bombing campaigns to harass civilian centers such as London and Warsaw. During the Blitz, while damage was inflicted on London, the city was too large for it to have lasting impact.

Mr. Clapper relates the opinion of military observers he had met in Britain who posited that had the Nazis centered their efforts on elimination of aircraft factories, as had the Allies in their bombing campaigns over Europe, Hitler might have knocked Britain out of the war. As it was, Britain had nerved its civilian populace in the cities and had been able to build its complement of defensive fighters, the production facilities having been undisturbed by the enemy bombing effort.

Whereas the Nazis had concentrated on fighter production, the Allies had wisely directed their efforts to production of four-motor long-range bombers. The result was that air superiority, so evident during the Tunisian campaign, would ultimately spell doom for the Axis in Europe.

And Drew Pearson looks at the expense in cloth and man-hours necessary to convert the Navy to its new summer uniforms, modeled after Admiral Ernest King's preference for green instead of traditional khakis. The President, having seen the new outfit, liked it so well that he jumped over Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and requisitioned the change of fashion himself. But, the new habit came with a $100 price tag which the less well-heeled officers would not be able to afford, necessitating their continuing in traditional dress until worn out, as permitted by Navy regulations. Meantime, the Navy had opted, after tests to determine the capability of green as camouflage at sea, to make the new uniform gray.

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