Friday, October 27, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, October 27, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Japanese Fleet had penetrated Leyte Gulf before the debacle which had led to at least 27 ships sunk or damaged, one additional ship having been added to the total provided the previous day, a light cruiser damaged in the Mindanao Sea. Several enemy destroyers, however, which were known to have been sunk were not yet counted in the total. And so it was hypothesized that, in all likelihood, the final total of sunk or damaged vessels would eclipse the record to date for a single action, that of 35 ships sunk or damaged during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November, 1942.

Vice Admiral Thomas Kincaid had split his Seventh Fleet in two to encounter each of the two Japanese forces converging on Leyte from the northwest and southwest, while Admiral William Halsey's Third Fleet struck the third force of carriers coming from Formosa in a planned flanking attack, designed to catch both fleets in a flytrap.

An American submarine had first spotted a Japanese task force, consisting of four battleships, ten cruisers, and about thirteen destroyers, moving northeast through the South China Sea, this force likely originating in Singapore. It coursed along Palawan Island, then through Mindoro Strait into the Sibuyan Sea, heading chillingly southeast toward Leyte.

Planes then discovered on Monday afternoon a smaller enemy force, consisting of two battleships, a cruiser, and four destroyers, moving northeast through the Sulu Sea toward Leyte. It was unclear whether this second task force originated from Singapore or had been detached from the force two weeks earlier which had retired without doing battle off Formosa, having come out to sniff and deciding perspicaciously that the hunting ground was too ripe with their own prospective blood to engage combat.

The third task force, consisting of three carriers, four battleships, five or six cruisers, and possibly fifteen destroyers, moved south of Formosa, the force to which Admiral Halsey directed part of his carriers and planes while detaching others to do battle with the task force approaching Leyte from the northwest. Admiral Kincaid's forces attacked both of these Japanese task forces which continued toward Leyte despite incurring heavy losses, appearing bent on a suicide mission. The task force from the northwest moved through the San Bernardino Strait between Luzon and Samar Islands on Monday night. On Tuesday morning, it joined battle with one of Admiral Kincaid's lightly escorted carrier groups, the first surface Navy battle since the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay in November, 1943. After suffering further losses from sea and air, this task force retired back through San Bernardino Strait on Tuesday night.

The Japanese had committed between 39 and 46 warships to the two battles, reported Admiral Kincaid. About 20 effected escape from the immediate scene of battle, but were being pursued by planes and it was likely, therefore, that some of those as well had been damaged or sunk.

Six American warships were confirmed as lost, the previously reported carrier Princeton, two escort carriers, two destroyers, and a destroyer escort. In addition, 27 submarines and nine other vessels were overdue and presumed lost. Nine other ships were crippled and had to be scuttled to prevent capture. The number of casualties was not yet reported. The six lost ships carried a complement of about 3,900 men, but 1,300 of those had been rescued from the Princeton.

Navy Secretary James Forrestal cautioned that the remaining Imperial Fleet in and around the Philippines might conceivably consist of as many as 175 warships and that some of the ships only damaged in the engagement might be able to limp back to repair facilities and live to fight another day. Thus, while the 169th birthday present for the U. S. Navy was being well received, it was not necessarily the knockout punch the Allies had longed to see. Regardless, Secretary Forrestal also stated that there was general agreement that the Japanese had suffered such a blow to prevent it again from engaging in major concerted sea operations, limiting it to strategic insertions.

On Leyte, General MacArthur's land forces had established a forty-mile long front, liberating fifteen additional populated areas. Increased Japanese resistance was encountered west of Palo. On Samar, an enemy counter-attack was repulsed. American planes and ground fire took out 76 enemy planes. The eastern coast of Leyte, from the northern tip to Dulag, was secured, as a junction was made between the 10th and 24th Army Corps south of American-held Tanauan, ten miles south of Tacloban. The 7th Division, operating in the south, captured Buri, previously bypassed for its strong defenses. The immediate objective was Dagami.

In Holland, the British advanced three miles toward the Meuse River, cutting the primary German escape route from Tilburg, moving four miles north of Tilburg to Loon op Zand.

Canadian forces advanced further from both sides of the Schelde Estuary in their drive to eliminate the German defenses preventing use by the Allies of the Belgian port of Antwerp. British troops established a seven square mile beachhead on South Beveland Island, guarding the north side of the Schelde.

Heavy rains and mud hampered operations of the Fifth and Eighth Armies in Italy.

In Czechoslovakia, Russian troops advanced fifteen miles to capture Umgvar, completing the liberation of the Carpatho-Ukraine. Umgvar, 160 miles northeast of Budapest, had been capital of Ruthenia, annexed to Hungary in 1939.

In East Prussia, the fall of Gumbinnen appeared imminent as the Germans had evacuated, the Russians having reached the outskirts of the city, 66 miles southeast of Konigsberg. The Russians were encountering stiff resistance along the East Prussian front as Germans were counter-attacking with hand-to-hand combat being frequent.

Other Russian forces fighting in Northern Finland had taken six populated areas near Petsamo.

The Russians captured Hermann Goering's favorite hunting lodge in the Rominten Heide area of East Prussia. The lodge was still intact, its wine cellar well-stocked. The last occupants had departed quickly, a meal having been prepared in the kitchen but never served.

Upon returning from Moscow, after conferring with Premier Stalin, Prime Minister Churchill informed Commons that there had been successful discussions on resolution of the problems of post-war territorial divisions in Southeastern Europe, but that he had not succeeded in resolving the issues regarding Poland and the territory therein sought by the Russians as a buffer zone, that coincident with the 1939 boundaries established by the Russians then in cooperation with Nazi Germany.

Speaking for only a half hour, one of the shortest briefings the Prime Minister had delivered after a foreign trip, he simply stated of progress in the war that the Allies were in the last laps in Europe.

On the editorial page, "Navy Day" comments that the 169th birthday of the Navy needed little celebration on this date as the Navy was too busy making new history in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world to notice much the passing of the anniversary.

"It Isn't So" contradicts the Republican National Committee statement that the Roosevelt Administration had cut from 20 percent during the period 1922 to 1933 to 9 percent in 1934 expenditures on the armed forces and, further, that the expenditures had not returned to 20 percent of the Federal budget during the ensuing six years, through 1940.

The figures were misleading because the budget itself had so greatly expanded under the Roosevelt Administration, doubling during his first term that of the Hoover Administration, from four billion to eight billion dollars. In fact, only in 1934 did Roosevelt spend less on the Army and Navy than had Hoover, in terms of raw figures. By 1937, they were 50 percent higher than in 1933.

"Look Where?" first quotes the poetic prose on the fly-leaf of Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel, then wonders how it would be that the proposed Hollywood adaptation could possibly match the spirit and tone of that book, chronicling the life of Eugene Gant in Altamont. Nevertheless, cameras were set to roll in Chapel Hill soon to shoot the first scenes under the guiding hand of David O. Selznick, the same who had produced "Gone With the Wind".

Apparently, the producer eventually determined as did the editorial that it would be folly to try to set down the piece on film, at least within the considerably delimited confines of American audience expectations of 1944. It was never made. A play adapted from the novel was produced on Broadway in 1957.

Perhaps, today, with more sophisticated audiences for movies accepting of auteur techniques in relating a story on film, an adept might yet make the book into some viable translation to the medium, much as "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters", in 1985, was produced as an unlikely adaptation of the dreamlike works of author Yukio Mishima, interwoven inextricably with episodes from his personal story. If you have never seen the latter work, incidentally, we recommend it.

The adaptation of Look Homeward, Angel begins with Mr. Wolfe, himself, standing in his New York City apartment next to his refrigerator, a Crosley, furiously writing to the pencil nubs his voluminous manuscript, pages of which are carelessly strewn about, a few on the table, a few atop the refrigerator, a few on the nearby couch, many in the garbage pail, as the hills of Altamont slowly fade into view, sweeping up the long valley in a rush to the boarding house of Eugene's youth. The angel will come later, much later.

No, no, no. "Jumping Jack Flash", overlayering Hell's Angels riding into the hills, (too much like "Gone With the Wind"), is not the opening thematic, unless converted by Philip Glass into something naturally emergent from the emergent imagery conveyed through the green hollow, moving into view via one apparently uninterrupted crane shot transporting its passengers from New York City to the verdant pastures of North Carolina without surcease, in flaming gallop, in stirring hound, through the fluted shoots of the streams, along the unerring beam, the trodden and untrodden ground, just as they always have.

Anyway, ask us. We shall write it up for you in a couple of weeks. Special price: 1,200 rupees.

Actually, on second thought, at some juncture, "Jumping Jack Flash" might fit well--

Steve went away with the German woman to Indiana, where, at first, came news of opulence, fatness, ease, and furs (with photographs), later of brawls with her honest brothers, and talk of divorce, reunion and renascence. He gravitated between the two poles of his support, Margaret and Eliza, returning to Altamont every summer for a period of drugs and drunkenness that ended in a family fight, jail, and a hospital cure.

"Hell commences," howled Gant, "as soon as he comes home. He's a curse and a care, the lowest of the low, the vilest of the vile. Woman, you have given birth to a monster who will not rest until he has done me to death, fearful, cruel, and accursed reprobate that he is!"

"Afterthought" indicates that, after El Caudillo had at first dismissed the uprising in the Pyrenees as that orchestrated by a small band of Reds, had now changed his tune to accuse Russia of spawning the rebellion, thereby making relations impossible between Spain and the Allies.

The prospect of a revolution posed a major quandary for the Allies. The Soviets would clearly back the overthrow of Franco. The British and Americans had remained neutral during the 1936-39 Civil War in Spain, thus effectively permitting Franco to win with the aid of Germany and Italy behind him.

Now, Churchill had expressed a friendly attitude toward Franco since he had ceased earlier in the year, prior to D-Day, trading with the Germans in wolfram.

But if America did not support such a revolution, then Red-menaced critics would accuse the Government of allowing the beginnings of Soviet domination of Europe. Thus, the only real choice for the United States would be to join with the Soviets in backing such a revolt.

Drew Pearson tells of the prospective conference in Chicago the following week to determine post-war international air routes. Five hundred representatives of the United Nations would convene at the Stevens Hotel. The showdown would be between the United States and Great Britain, the U.S. favoring full and free competition across all the oceans to all the countries, whereas Britain favored restricted access, with a few selected companies permitted to effect transoceanic flight prorated to each nation's carriers based on the percent of passenger air traffic generated by each nation.

The British were concerned about the Americans being able to place large numbers of planes in the air immediately after the war, making competition by other nations difficult. But President Roosevelt believed that competition would sharpen the efficiency of air travel and produce in consequence swift progress in air transportation.

America had the planes. Britain had the bases. So the two were interdependent and would have to effect a cooperative arrangement acceptable to both.

Mr. Pearson then provides a synopsis of the daily habits of Thomas Dewey, his daily perusal of all of the New York papers, his often walking a mile to work, his swimming, albeit curtailed of late by a busy campaign schedule, his attendance of the theater about once per year, other times watching movies at the Governor's Mansion in Albany, his scant book reading, limited primarily to subjects on which he was preparing himself for speeches, such as trying currently to curtail his deficit in foreign relations, but finding it tough sledding.

Marquis Childs, still in Detroit, reports that Wayne County had added at least 68,000 newly registered voters to the rolls for the 1944 election compared to 1940. Roosevelt had carried the county in 1940 by 175,000 votes, but Willkie had won the state by fewer than 7,000 votes.

Until this glut of late registration, most observers believed Dewey to be a shoe-in to carry Michigan, but now Republicans were less certain of the outcome, despite Michigan being Mr. Dewey's state of origin before college. Both parties were urging their candidates to make a visit to the state before the election.

The rural counties, Willkie's strength four years earlier, had lost some 200,000 voters, going to war industry jobs or into the service. And the Roosevelt forces were counting on larger majorities this time in Wayne County, in Flint, in Pontiac, and Saginaw.

Samuel Grafton states that the previous weekend may have been the final turning point in the election. Walter Lippmann had endorsed the President. FDR had provided his first foreign policy speech of the campaign at the Waldorf in New York, following which Russell Davenport, Wendell Willkie's 1940 campaign manager, had endorsed the President. And on Monday, Republican Senator Joseph Ball of Minnesota had endorsed FDR.

These events had established a momentum. The reason, suggests Mr. Grafton, was that Governor Dewey was too busy in picking out small imperfections of the New Deal or Roosevelt foreign policy and not enough concerned with the larger picture. He was too busy, to coin Mr. Grafton's metaphor, in studying the small nick in the rail (over which the ACL Tamiami Streamliners would course) while the train meanwhile came rumbling through as a fast freight running right over the nick and headed back to Washington on the Southern tracks, avoiding the calamity set in place by the Dewey forces.

His example was, again, Mr. Dewey's consternation regarding a Russian signatory on behalf of the United States on the Rumanian armistice. Aside from the other matters Mr. Grafton had earlier explained, he adds that the Russians had permitted General Eisenhower to sign for them the peace terms with Italy 13 months earlier.

Mr. Dewey had also held up to the light the glaring flaw he found in Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau's announcement that the German economy would be converted to an agrarian base, causing the Germans, according to Mr. Dewey, to have continued resolve to fight, costing American soldiers their lives.

Those dogs did not hunt.

The Governor, no doubt, thus would have held up to the light, too, our erroneous statement three days ago that it was Bartley Crum who was the campaign manager for Mr. Willkie rather than Russell Davenport, never minding that the point made was accurate and correct, that Mr. Crum, the chief Willkie man in San Francisco in 1940, was endorsing the President. That Dewey fellow. Will he never stop being so picky?

At the end of the day, the fault lay in that coterie of researchers hired by Mr. Willkie, mostly former newspapermen, who assiduously sought holes in the fabric of Mr. Roosevelt's suits, never studying the entire picture long enough to provide for themselves an integrated campaign with a world vision in mind. Mr. Roosevelt, concludes Mr. Grafton, was a world maker, while Mr. Dewey was only a watchmaker.

Hal Boyle, again reporting from Aachen on October 19, tells of the banker's hours enjoyed by the troops engaged in the house-to-house mopping up of the city, from 7:00 to 4:00. But unlike bankers, the men were threatened throughout those nine hours with snipers' bullets, from any doorway, any window, or heap of rubble.

Mr. Boyle compares the operations of the soldiers seeking out the Nazis burrowed in their last ditch holds to bird dogs ferreting out quail.

He observed the operations from the cathedral which possessed the bones of Charlemagne. A tank rolled up and blasted a hole in a house. Infantry then entered through the hole and began a room by room search, as they were covered by machinegun fire. Then came the muffled blast of a grenade from within.

Says Mr. Boyle, it was simply fall housecleaning.

The editors present the voting record of Republicans and Democrats on issues pertinent to the war and the peace afterward.

Dr. Herbert Spaugh recommends an article from Time appearing October 23, discussing Alcoholics Anonymous, reminding alcoholics that they are allergic to alcohol, much as some people are allergic to strawberries and fish, or, perhaps, cranberry sauce--ourselves being inclusive of the latter group, the mere thought of the substance bringing chills and symptoms of withdrawal, climbing walls, etc., cold turkey. We first discovered our allergy during the evening meal of Thanksgiving, 1963, but that's another sad story. Minerva's traffic.

Ghost of the dog that bit ye.

(Why you make us subscribe, now, low-life Fascist Pig, Luce? We don't need no stinking subscription to read your low-life, yellow-dog, yellow-press garbage. We can read plenty of it for free elsewhere.)

Harry Golden writes a letter in which he takes to task the Constitutional Democrats of North Carolina for taking out an advertisement in several newspapers in which they called into question the patriotic loyalty of persons surrounding President Roosevelt simply on the basis of their foreign-sounding names.

Adolphe Berle, Assistant Secretary of State, had been listed among them. Mr. Golden points out that Mr. Berle, far from being a foreigner, had ancestors who had fought in the American Revolution and that he was one of the more conservative members of the State Department.

Mr. Golden counts him therefore analogous to Cinna, the poet and bachelor of Julius Caesar, ripped to shreds as the Thracian singer for the thought of his being the conspirator in the assassination of Caesar, his protestations to the contrary having been completely ignored.

Strangers in the Central Park.

Mr. Golden also tells of there being no H in Russian, such that Hillman was Gilman and Hoover was Goover. It sounds a bit out of Homer. Helley would be Gelley. Or Bo Belli, what have you.

Anyway, he makes the entirely astute point in characteristic good humor that these idiots sought to drag people into league with the Reds or Nazis or what you by the simple fact of foreign-sounding first or surnames before anglicization.

Mr. Golden had good cause to be personally offended. His own birth name was Herschel Goldhirsch.

And, we did not forget to note that the 66-year old former dictator of Greece, as mentioned on the front page, Theodorus Pangalos, not to be confused with Pangloss, had been arrested and jailed in Athens as having been a collaborationist with the Nazis during their occupation of Greece. Further details to come...

Eight o' the clock plus nine o' the clock, less three o' the clock, equals 1:30 p.m. within the Ball Park, provided one starts with a premise.

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