Friday, July 9, 1943

The Charlotte News

Friday, July 9, 1943


Site Ed. Note: We inadvertently skipped today’s front page, but will provide it very soon.

Late on this night would begin the invasion of Sicily, dubbed Operation Husky. Just after midnight, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the United States 82d Airborne Division would begin the invasion. Their intended drop zone was inland from Gela, the amphibious landing point for the First Infantry Division of the Seventh Army under the command of General George S. Patton. Instead, friendly fire, killing 318 American soldiers and knocking out 23 American planes, caused the mission to be altered, forcing an early drop by paratroopers. That exigency plus strong winds displaced the paratroopers along a line from Gela to Syracuse, causing the operation's defenses to be considerably more diffuse initially than intended. It would take another five days for the paratroops to regroup.

The British landings of the British 5th Infantry Division of the Eighth Army, led by General Bernard Montgomery, were intended for a point near Syracuse, preceded by the British 21st Independent Parachute Company. British gliders were to deliver these troops inland. But of 147 gliders in the air, 69 crashed at sea and only twelve reached their target.

Allied landings by amphibious craft nevertheless took place during the pre-dawn hours of July 10 at points along a 105-mile arc between Licata, to the west of Gela, and Cassibile to the east. The landing forces met no initial resistance on the beaches. Italian tanks, however, began during the morning hours to converge on the town of Gela and nearly reached it before being chased away by Allied naval bombardment from off the coast. By the evening of July 10, there would be seven Allied divisions of troops on Sicily, four British, two American, and one Canadian.

The objective was Messina, with General Montgomery's forces taking the coastal route while being flanked and protected inland from the west by General Patton's forces.

The map shows the points of landings and the direction of operations for the ensuing 48 days before Sicily was conquered. It indicates the most recent areas of concentrated bombing, the airbase at Gerbini, just to the west of Catania on the east coast. Also shown are the other most usual targets on Sicily during the Allied bombing of the previous two months, Trapani and Palermo on the north coast, Messina on the northeast tip facing Italy, and Catania on the east coast, as well Reggio Calabria on the mainland.

Corleone, you will note, never got hit. They probably made the Allies an offer.

On the editorial page, "A Fearful Climax" takes considerable issue with Governor Broughton's appointment of an individual with political connections to the State Board of Directors established to oversee the state's mental hospitals, the subject of great controversy and ultimately considerable revision in 1942 thanks to Tom Jimison's expose published in The News and other newspapers around the state during late January and early February, 1942. That series had been based on his own one-year voluntary commitment to Morganton, lasting until May, 1941.

"Two Bits of Evidence" finds Congressman H. Streett Baldwin of Maryland all wet in his adducing anecdotal evidence to support an argument that price subsidies were almost always inefficiently administered by the government and ultimately benefited the consumer little, being far more onerous to the country than general inflation. The editorial disputes the points, arguing that subsidies had been used quite efficiently by the Government for decades.

"Hitler's Last Drive" counsels, as had Samuel Grafton a few days earlier, that with the beginning of the Nazi summer offensive along the Belgorod to Orel salient, it was time for the Allies to attack in force on the Continent.

The advice would not have long to wait to be implemented, even if not yet including the concerted attack from the west through France as hoped.

An excerpt from a Senate speech delivered by Robert Rice Reynolds appears, defending his position that he was still an isolationist. Senator Reynolds would take the implied hint of the Winston-Salem attorney whose advice he had solicited and drop out of the race eventually. That he read the exchange of correspondence as he did before the entire Senate is suggestive of the Senator's being out of joint not only with the times and the people, but with reality itself. That or a glutton for self-inflicted wounds. In any event, he also thought that Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin were isolationists and therefore that he was in good company.

Raymond Clapper, as he looked out across the vast ammunition and equipment stores in North Africa and saw the large numbers of ships in the harbors, advocates taking a stitch in time after the war to prevent such global madness from ever recurring. He points to the absurd costs of war not only in terms of the huge sums of money required--an appropriation of 100 billion dollars being predicted for the following fiscal year--but also in terms of the enormous waste of human life and effort, all geared toward the destruction of civilization, not its betterment. While recognizing the necessity of the war, he counsels that, in the future, the resolve must be to avert such internecine conflict aborning by means of an effective anti-war machinery--that sounding very much like the resolution pending before the House as presented by Congressman J. William Fulbright the previous week, eventually to be passed.

Samuel Grafton finds the king naked in the congressional battles over retention of the Office of War Information and the food price subsidy bill, that the side taken on the issue of OWI's funding turned on whether the individual representative or senator was an in or an out, that is a person favored by the Administration or one consigned to the hinterlands, and thus unlikely to benefit from the government-sponsored propaganda machine. By similar simplification, the position on the food price subsidy depended on whether one favored higher food prices or favored regulation of them to avoid inflation.

"And though the rules of the road have been lodged, it's people's games you've got to dodge."

That is not the missing quote of the day, but it seems apt.

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