Saturday, January 8, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 8, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that, after a 40-hour battle, the village of San Vittore in Italy was captured by the Fifth Army on Thursday afternoon at 3:37. Units south of Via Casilina, the road to Rome through Cassino, advanced through minefields and past concrete pillboxes to take Mt. Porchia, a 900-foot height two miles south of San Vittore, controlling the road to Cassino. Cassino was now within range of the Allied big guns.

Don Whitehead, Associated Press reporter, observed that civilians in the town were gaunt and emaciated; little food was evident at time of capture.

The northern end of the ten-mile Fifth Army offensive line struggled through snow to capture a 4,000-foot height south of Viticuso. North of Viticuso, the Nazis recaptured Mt. Raimo.

Heavy snow on the Eighth Army front prevented any large-scale activity, limiting fighting to patrols.

After four days of heavy fighting during which 100,000 German troops were routed, the Russians took the key transportation center of Kirovograd, vital to the Nazis' continued holding of the Dneiper bend area. The city lay on the Kremenchug-Odessa rail line.

As the Russians penetrated to within 50 miles of the old Rumanian frontier, towns, including the dismantling of whole factories, were being evacuated in Bessarabia and Bucovina, border states controversially sought by the Soviets as buffer zones for the post-war environment.

A large raid of American bombers, perhaps the largest yet of the war, had the day before hit Ludwigshafen in Germany, flattening the I. G. Farben poison gas plant. The raid also hit targets in neighboring Mannheim. Twelve bombers and seven fighters did not return. Forty-two Nazi planes were shot down.

Another raid of 750 Allied planes hit targets along the coast of Northern France.

Meanwhile, the night before, Mosquito bombers of the RAF hit undisclosed targets in Germany for the seventh consecutive night.

In the Pacific, two Japanese troop transports were sunk at Blanche Bay in Rabaul, New Britain by Allied bombers launched from the Solomons.

The Nazi-controlled Paris radio and some Berlin commentators were guessing that the Allied offensive on Western Europe would not begin until late spring, and not before late April or early May, that they would wait until the Russian offensive had moved to its farthest western advance.

RAF leaflets dropped on Stettin during the raid there on Tuesday had indicated that it was a quarter to midnight for Germany, that Germans should thus contemplate internal revolt and surrender.

Governor Earl Warren of California indicated to Republican leaders that he would allow his name to enter the ring for the Republican nomination for president in 1944.

The President was expected to call for passage by Congress of a measure to impose universal service in the country, that is drafting of labor to ward off future strikes. The measure would largely be prophylactic in nature as a deterrent to strikes. The day before, Robert Rice Reynolds, Chairman of the Senate Military Affairs Committee, had indicated his disfavor of such a measure, instead desiring stronger anti-strike legislation.

Hal Boyle reports of his observations in Naples, the many funeral carts passing in style to the cemetery through poverty-ridden streets. Neapolitans were to be seen along the town's ways hawking wares, including liquor, begging, stealing, passing off obviously fake goods with expensive labels. The cognac for sale was to be avoided on penalty of potential death. Food, clothing, fuel were all scarce; people lived by the grasshopper's philosophy. Being possessed of a strong pride, they would rather cheat for a nickel than work an hour for a dollar.

A young Italian man who had been a sergeant in the Italian Army told Mr. Boyle that Italy, he believed, was a beautiful country but would be even more beautiful but for the presence of his fellow Italians.

On the editorial page, "Vain Hopes" views the effort to renew prohibition in the country to be without any likelihood of success, war or no war.

"The Ladies" wonders aloud at what Susan B. Anthony, original suffragette from 1871, would have to say re two cited stories clipped randomly from the news. The first was the successful opening in Mobile, Alabama of a women-only liquor store. The other was the report from Sherburn, Minnesota of the need for a pants ban for female high school students, and its obstreperous violation by two young ladies who were promptly sent home to study--Michele and Sarah.

"Get Tough" favors warnings of harsh sanctions against Axis-friendly Argentina, its new government having instituted tight controls on the press. There had been no indication of dissociation from Nazi and Japanese spies who had operated with impunity in the country throughout the war thus far.

"Navy Might" supports the view of Undersecretary of the Navy James Forrestal--future Secretary and first Secretary of Defense--that the new Navy strength, which boasted 65 new aircraft carriers, including six of 27,000 tons, built just in 1943, must be preserved after the war to avoid the fate the nation faced after World War I when its Navy was largely scrapped. No such repeat performance could be allowed, says the editorial, without the inexorable result of stumbling headlong into another war.

Dorothy Thompson examines various aspects of life in the country which could hamper the morale of American soldiers abroad and provide simultaneously aid to the enemy: the strike picture; business as usual at home; attempts at prohibition among soldiers; the probability that the coming election year would be divisively partisan, as made clear by the disfavor of Republicans to the moderation exhibited by Wendell Willkie.

Raymond Clapper continues from Honolulu, on his way to the Pacific war front, offering some impressions on the Navy as he departed San Francisco, telling of the strong hint provided him by Navy officials to don more formal attire for the Pacific theater than had been required of him on his prior treks to England, to North Africa, and to Sicily the previous year.

Drew Pearson reports that the War Production Board was starting to tackle the problem of excess steel in the country, a reversal of the situation two years earlier when steel was in shortage and housewives and children were asked to gather up all the scrap they could and place it by the curb for pickup. Now, WPB was considering releasing steel back to the civilian market to avoid the prospect of layoffs from closed mills, one of the precipitant causes, says Mr. Pearson, for the recent steel strike.

He next comments on the so-called anonymous press conference of General Marshall and the statement attributed to him that strikes in the country were hampering war production and consequently delaying victory and costing American lives abroad. Says Mr. Pearson, the use of the device of an unattributed statement which then becomes attributed had usually resulted in controversy and damage for the fact that the public official had been tempted to say too much.

He cites as example the Undersecretary of State, Robert Olds, during the Coolidge Administration, having sought by the same device to pass off to the press a statement that Mexico was stirring up trouble for the U.S. in Nicaragua and was harboring communist designs. The statement had backfired and caused problems with Mexico.

Mr. Pearson next comments on the unusually solicitous behavior of Admiral Ernest King during the voyage with the President to Cairo and Tehran, possibly based on the Admiral being past the age of retirement and wishing the President to keep him in service.

He then mentions the nepotism to which Congressman Tom Ford of Los Angeles had made first a bow, then a pratfall, by firing his longtime secretary, Amy Ghent, employed at $2,800 per year, hiring in her stead his sister-in-law, Florence Cummings.

Finally he reports that Herr Doktor Goebbels was using an American Mercury article on housing and health conditions in Washington to condemn the nation's capital as a cesspool of venereal disease and poverty.

Of course, Berlin had little at this point about which to brag. No matter the living conditions, at least Washington did not lay in virtual ruin from German bombs.

We are, incidentally, reminded by the Side Glances and the reference to Susan B. Anthony in "The Ladies" that our inexcusable lapse into the colloquial use of the term "broad" a couple of times in the past couple of weeks should not go unscolded. We meant, of course, "Dame", per the British, or Latinized French, usage.

Second Day of Russian Orthodox Christmas: _______________. You fill in the blank. We aren't up to it.

Below is a better photograph of the "Knock-Out Dropper", a B-17 which was pictured on the front page with its crew, having completed, November 11, 1943, 50 bombing missions. The plane went on to fly yet another 25 missions before being retired intact at the end of the war, meeting its maker in the salvage yard rather than under enemy fire. Sorry, by the way, that its name is misleadingly disappointing in that it did not sport any naked Dames on its nose. Ye know?

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