Thursday, September 30, 1943

The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 30, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Fifth Army had moved into the coastal plain at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, making the final approach to Naples. The most recent capture was that of Torre Annunziata, nine miles from Naples. German forces had pulled back to Naples, bombing bridges and mining approaches. The fall of the city nevertheless appeared imminent. A report via Stockholm out of Berlin indicated that the Nazis were evacuating the city as it was deemed “too risky” for them to remain. Allied headquarters in North Africa was already talking about the Fifth Army moving on to Rome from Naples.

Casualties had been heavy: the British disclosed that among their troops in the Fifth Army, fully 5,211 were casualties during the period September 9 through 20; the Americans had announced the previous Saturday that through September 15, there had been 3,500 casualties in the Battle of Salerno.

Overall American casualties in the war stood at 115,000, as just announced by the War Department. Of the total, 85,000 were from the Army and the rest from the Navy. Both figures included air force casualties. Of the Navy casualties, 20,500 had been killed or were missing; of the Army, 34,000 were killed or missing. Navy prisoners numbered over 4,000 and Army prisoners exceeded 20,000. Until Salerno, since the July 10 landing on Sicily, there had been about 8,400 American casualties.

On the Russian front, the Red Army had moved into the suburbs of Kiev on the eastern bank of the Dneiper River facing the western high cliffs into which were holed up German machinegun nests within ancient cells carved into the cliffs by monks. In some places, the Russians were within a hundred yards of German positions and the fall of Kiev appeared imminent. So, too, did the fall of Gomel to the north of Kiev.

Demonstrating the danger to frontline journalists in the war, three British reporters were killed simultaneously when struck by a shell, as the Fifth Army advance forces were taking the village of Nocera. The village appeared secure and the entering Fifth Army was being cheered by the villagers when the shell fired by retreating German forces exploded at the feet of the reporters. A fourth correspondent among them who survived relates the story.

Nearly half a million pre-Pearl Harbor fathers across the land were scheduled to begin being called up for the draft the following day; all would be needed in uniform by the end of the year to meet the Army's quotas for necessary manpower, some 7.5 million.

General Eisenhower and the other top level brass of the Allies in the Mediterranean met with Pietro Badoglio to discuss the most effective means of meshing Italian fighting forces with those of the Allies.

Just as reported from San Luis Obispo, California on January 2, a little boy seven years old lost his life in Warren, Ohio by crawling inside an icebox and closing the door behind him. The icebox was in the attic of his parents' home.

Never do that. Chances are you would not emerge alive save by emergency crews.

On the editorial page, "Voice From Above" makes light of the O.P.A. announcement that all those in need of shoes, regardless of rationing coupons, would receive shoes for the winter months. No one would be forced to slosh through snow and ice barefoot. The editorialist expressed grateful relief at the padded-foot news of adequate shoes, even for renters come winter.

"Red Herring" finds American Communist leader Earl Browder preaching that Churchill had sold America down the river and Russia along with it by delaying the crossing of the Channel to Europe until such time as sufficient American troops could be trained and transported to England to make the crossing. The piece suggests that Mr. Browder was merely seeking to sow division among the Allies in the hope that Russia would ultimately benefit from a divided West.

"U.S. Weakness" examines some shortcomings of the American forces fighting in the war, as set forth by military expert Hanson Baldwin of The New York Times. He had explained that inadequately trained officers and sometimes poor fighting by the soldiers had made it necessary for winning battles that the American forces greatly outnumbered those of the Axis.

The editorial finds no alarm in this revelation, however, that it was only a typical incident of war on any side of the fighting. The American forces, it confidently predicts, were overcoming these human limitations, signifying only that the makeup of the fighting forces were no more than that of ordinary human beings, as in all past wars. The important fact was that the American fighting men were now winning the war.

"Planes Only" cites as example of the coming of age of air power as the key to modern warfare the call by General MacArthur only for more planes as opposed to more men or tanks or guns and ground equipment. The strategy was a new one for General MacArthur who had relied heavily on his infantry forces thus far in the war. But they had won their hard-fought battles only through a combination of land forces supported by air and naval superiority.

His vision, says the piece, was that of a vast chess match in which air power would be the "Queen of Battle" in taking from the Japanese their vast network of Pacific islands, leading his chessmen back to the Philippines and then to Japan.

Raymond Clapper examines the constant readjustment being made in society between civilian needs and military needs, restoring production of some items such as refrigerators at the expense of military needs in order to alleviate stress on war industry workers, in need of better housing and essentials of modern life in order to increase their work ethos and efficiency.

Dorothy Thompson looks at the upcoming meeting to be held between Stalin, FDR, and Churchill and what it portended. She suggests that its primary stress would be the treatment of Germany after the war. Russia, consistent with a policy in place since 1922, desired to woo to its economic side the Germans who were anti-Nazi, to complement its own economy, thus not to punish German officers and soldiers who were willing to repent their ways. The Anglo-American objective appeared to be to disintegrate Germany as it was then constituted, to insure that it could never pose again a military threat in Europe.

Reconciling the twain positions would become the difficult object of the meeting of the Big Three. Otherwise, Germany would be left after the war a European pariah, subject to having its economic rebirth effected by anyone holding the carrot, probably Russia.

Drew Pearson points up the advantage of having Edward Stettinius as the new Undersecretary of State replacing Sumner Welles. Mr. Stettinius as head of Lend-Lease had gained the confidence of the stubborn Russians who had believed that the United States was holding out on the Russians in supplying guns and tanks and planes. They had to be convinced that the country had not been an armed fortress prior to Pearl Harbor. It took Mr. Stettinius to make the case. They now trusted him as he had gone to bat for the Russian cause for war materiel when their procurers offered the country's needs. He fulfilled their orders.

Though not so successful as head of U.S. Steel, says Mr. Pearson, his talents shown in administering Lend-Lease would go far to advance amicable relations with the U.S.S.R.

Mr. Stettinius would succeed Cordell Hull in 1944 as Secretary of State after Mr. Hull resigned for health reasons.

Mr. Pearson next turns to examination of the Quartermaster Corps report on the food favored by soldiers. Roast chicken and apple pie rated high. Creamed ham and oyster stew got the raspberry.

Finally, he observes the dire situation in rubber, just as the public had begun to believe that the crisis had passed with the mission-accomplished resignation of rubber czar William Jeffers. By winter, however, the numbers now suggested there would likely be a severe shortfall in domestic civilian rubber needs, especially those of trucks.

Which leads to the quote of the day, not on the page:

"Rubber, rubber everywhere, but not a synthetic tread long on which to run." --Kilroy, The Rime of the Ancient Trucker

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