Friday, March 10, 1944

The Charlotte News

Friday, March 10, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Uman, important German base in the Western Ukraine, fell to the Red Army. During the previous five days, the Russians had defeated ten German divisions, comprised of 100,000 men. Five hundred tanks and numerous self-propelled guns had been captured in the process. Kristinovka, fifteen miles west of Uman, was also captured, as well as Talnoe, eighteen miles southwest of Zvenigorodka.

In addition to this drive, the new plunge of General Rodion Malinovsky's forces across the Ingullets River had decimated another nine German divisions, taking Novi Bug, Grozhany, and Kazanka. Some of General Malinovsky's forces of the Third Ukrainian Army were now employing horses to ford streams swollen with rain and to negotiate the muddy terrain.

Marshal Gregory Zhukov's First Ukrainian Army pressed further their way toward Nikolaev, Kherson, and Odessa, as Germans scattered willy-nilly in retreat.

The Dneiper Bend and generally the entire area immediately west of the Dneiper was now clear of Germans.

Bad weather halted all ground fighting on the Anzio beachhead and around Cassino in Italy.

The American raid the previous day on Berlin had cost seven bombers and one fighter, dramatically reduced from the 68 bombers and eleven fighters lost in the raid on Monday. All tolled, the four American raids on Berlin in six days had cost 137 bombers and 57 fighters.

An RAF raid the previous night struck a large aircraft factory near Marseilles in Southern France.

A report out of Berlin implied that Randolph Churchill, son of the Prime Minister, who had earlier parachuted into Yugoslavia and met with Marshal Tito, had led a landing force of British and American commandoes on Lissa Island off the Dalmatian Coast of Yugoslavia. There was no immediate confirmation by Britain of the report.

Preston Grover writes of the amazingly fast progress effected by the Chinese and American forces under the command of General "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, seeking to clear Northern Burma of the Japanese to enable establishment of a link with the old Burma Road to furnish supplies once again by land to China. His forces had penetrated a hundred miles into Burma, exceeding all expectations of speed held by Lord Mountbatten and his Southwest Asia Command.

A photograph on the page shows the fiery results of a 500,000 gallon gas tank exploded by the single shot from a B-25 bomber over Burma, in the area of the Sittang River.

One shot. This is this.

General Pedro Pablo Ramirez officially resigned the presidency of Argentina. General Edelmiro Farrell, who had been assigned the authority from President Ramirez, was said to be meeting with his cabinet to determine their next move. Dispatches from Montevideo in Uruguay said that General Farrell had been placed in a difficult position by the resignation of General Ramirez.

Oberstleutnant Egon Mayer, only surviving member of the Luftwaffe’s Richtofen Squadron, an ace with 102 kills in combat, was reported by the Nazis to have been killed in action. It was believed that he was probably shot down during one of the recent Berlin raids, but in fact he was shot down over Montmedy in northeastern France.

Relman Morin, writing in the "Reporter's Notebook" column from Naples, tells of the angry mood of both British and American soldiers re post-war talk. The general attitude was that it should cease and that the business of first winning the war proceed apace. To think of peace was to encourage staying safely succored within the covert of the foxhole until such time as peace would be declared; thus, there was no talk on the front of peace. Italy, the soldiers recognized, was nowhere near peace; a long, hard fight lay ahead. To these soldiers, therefore, the less they had to read of post-war plans at home, the better.

The State Department had addressed a letter to neutral Eire requesting that it close the German legation and the Japanese consulate by way of stemming further Axis espionage against American troops stationed in Northern Ireland. The letter contained no demand or ultimatum; nevertheless, troops of Eire were ordered stationed on the Ulster border to protect against potential invasion.

Humorist Irvin S. Cobb died in New York at age 67. His work included Ladies and Gentlemen, "Oh, Well, You Know How Women Are!", and Paths of Glory, Impressions Written At and Near the Front, 1918. The latter work should not be confused with the subsequent novel of the same name set in World War I, authored by Humphrey Cobb, and which served as the basis for the 1957 Stanley Kubrick film "Paths of Glory".

Joseph C. Lincoln, writer of novels and verse centering on Cape Cod, died at age 74 in Winter Park, Florida. Among his best known works were Shavings, anent J. Edgar Winslow, the wooden mill-maker for the picket fences who shaved the mills and sailors out of wooden blocks in his shop behind the green door--whether involving Whittaker Chambers, we’ve yet not far enough in penetrated to determine, but he did write one, albeit without the pumpkin's harvest, titled Cy Whittaker's Place:

Bailey chuckled again.

"We WAS a spunky, dare-devil lot in the old days, wan't we, Ase?" he said. "Spunk was kind of born in us, as you might say. And even now we're—"

The Atkins tower clock boomed once—a solemn, dignified stroke. Mr. Tidditt and his companion started and looked at each other.

"Godfrey scissors!" gasped Asaph. "Is that half past twelve?"

Mr. Bangs pulled a big worn silver watch from his pocket and glanced at the dial.

"It is!" he moaned. "As sure's you're born, it is! We've kept Ketury's dinner waitin' twenty minutes. You and me are in for it now, Ase Tidditt! Twenty minutes late! She'll skin us alive."

…So, at eleven forty-five, Mr. Lumley was serenely dozing on the baggage truck, which he had wheeled to the sunny side of the platform. At five minutes past twelve, he yawned, stretched, and looked at his watch. Then, rolling off the truck, he strolled to the edge of the platform and spoke authoritatively to "Dan'l Webster."

"Hi there! stand still!" commanded Mr. Lumley.

Standing still being Dan'l's long suit, the order was obeyed. Gabe then loafed to the door of the station and accosted the depot master, who was nodding in his chair beside the telegraph instrument.

"Where is she now, Ed?" asked Mr. Lumley, referring to the train.

"Just left South Harniss. Be here pretty soon. What's your hurry? Expectin' anybody?"

"Naw; nobody that I know of, special. Sophrony Hallett's gone to Ostable, but she won't be back till to-morrow I cal'late. Hello! there she whistles now."

Needless to say it was the train, not the widow Hallett, that had whistled. The depot master rose from his chair. A yellow dog, his property, scrambled from beneath it, and rushing out of the door and to the farther end of the platform, barked furiously. Cephas Baker, who lives across the road from the depot, slouched down to his front gate. His wife opened the door of her kitchen and stood there, her wet arms wrapped in her apron. The five Baker children tore round the corner of the house, over the back fence, and lined up, whooping joyously, on the platform. A cloud of white smoke billowed above the clump of cedars at the bend of the track. Then the locomotive rounded the curve and bore down upon the station.

"Stand still, I tell you!" shouted Gabe, addressing the horse.

Dan'l Webster opened one eye, closed it and relapsed into slumber.

The train, a combination baggage car and smoker, two freight cars and a passenger coach, rolled ponderously alongside the platform. From the open door of the baggage car were tossed the mail sack and two express packages. The conductor stepped from the passenger coach. Following him came briskly a short, thickset man with a reddish-gray beard and grayish-red hair.

"Goin' down to the village, Mister?" inquired Mr. Lumley. "Carriage right here."

The stranger inspected the driver of the depot wagon, inspected him deliberately from top to toe. Then he said:

"Down to the village? Why, yes, I wouldn't wonder. Say! you're a Lumley, ain't you?"

"Why! why—yes, I be! How'd you know that? Ain't ever seen you afore, have I?"

"Guess not," with a quiet chuckle. "I've never seen you, either, but I've seen your nose. I'd know a Lumley nose if I run across it in China."

He also authored Cap'n Warren's Wards:

"Hello, Cap'n!" cried one. "What's the south shore doin' over here in this flood?"

"What's the matter, Cap'n?" demanded the other. "Broke loose from your moorin's, have you? Did you ever see such a night in your life?"

The man in the ulster shook hands with each of his questioners, removing a pair of wet, heavy leather gloves as he did so.

"Don't know's I ever did, Dan," he answered. "Couldn't see much of this one but its color--and that's black. I come over this mornin' to attend to some business at the court-house--deeds to some cranberry bog property I just bought--and Judge Baxter made me go home with him to dinner. Stayed at his house all the afternoon, and then his man, Ezra Hallett, undertook to drive me up here to the depot. Talk about blind pilotin'! Whew! The Judge's horse was a new one, not used to the roads, Ezra's near-sighted, and I couldn't use my glasses 'count of the rain. Let alone that, 'twas darker'n the fore-hold of Noah's ark. Ho, ho! Sometimes we was in the ruts and sometimes we was in the bushes. I told Ez we'd ought to have fetched along a dipsy lead, then maybe we could get our bearin's by soundin's. 'Couldn't see 'em if we did get 'em,' says he. 'No,' says I, 'but we could taste 'em. Man that's driven through as much Ostable mud as you have ought to know the taste of every road in town.'"

"Well, you caught the train, anyhow," observed Dan.

And, among many other works, he penned Cape Cod Ballads.



Where leap the long Atlantic swells
In foam-streaked stretch of hill and dale,
Where shrill the north-wind demon yells,
And flings the spindrift down the gale;
Where, beaten 'gainst the bending mast,
The frozen raindrop clings and cleaves,
With steadfast front for calm or blast
His battered schooner rocks and heaves.

"To some the gain, to some the loss,
To each the chance, the risk, the fight:
For men must die that men may live--
Lord, may we steer our course aright."

The dripping deck beneath him reels,
The flooded scuppers spout the brine;
He heeds them not, he only feels
The tugging of a tightened line.

The grim white sea-fog o'er him throws
Its clammy curtain, damp and cold;
He minds it not--his work he knows,
'T is but to fill an empty hold.

Oft, driven through the night's blind wrack,
He feels the dread berg's ghastly breath,
Or hears draw nigh through walls of black
A throbbing engine chanting death;
But with a calm, unwrinkled brow
He fronts them, grim and undismayed,
For storm and ice and liner's bow--
These are but chances of the trade.

Yet well he knows--where'er it be,
On low Cape Cod or bluff Cape Ann--
With straining eyes that search the sea
A watching woman waits her man:
He knows it, and his love is deep,
But work is work, and bread is bread,
And though men drown and women weep
The hungry thousands must be fed.

"To some the gain, to some the loss,
To each his chance, the game with Fate:
or men must die that men may live--
Dear Lord, be kind to those who wait".

On the editorial page, "Class Trade" finds no reason for worry in a proposed strike on buying luxury items and attending nightclubs. The prospective strike was the result of the fact of a 30% excise tax to be implemented April 1, set to raise a billion dollars in additional revenue. Those addicted to luxuries would likely not strike, predicts the piece, and the nightclub owners and shop proprietors dealing in luxuries, no doubt, could take care of themselves without significant injury from the such a strike.

"Of Germany" addresses a series running in The News, "What to Do With Germany?" in which various persons of different stations within the state and the community could voice their views on the matter. Thus far, the opinions of former Governor Clyde Hoey, Senator Josiah William Bailey, and liberal University of North Carolina president Frank Graham had been printed. The piece found Dr. Graham's advice to be the most succinct and sound thus far, even if echoed for the most part by Senator Bailey and former Governor Hoey.

The editorial thus reprints Dr. Graham's points. In sum, they were to defeat, to disarm, democratize, and integrate within the United Nations the German state after the war. Hate and vengeance, he offered, should be left from the equation as disintegrative.

"Both Ends" expresses exasperation, as it had a few weeks earlier, at the contradictory statements being offered up regularly by Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. No sooner than he would announce a major naval victory, he would throw cold water on the parade by reminding that the war was far from over and that over-confidence could not be allowed to diminish morale. During this week, when he announced that the Navy now had 900 ships and that the U-boat menace was no longer, reduced to losses totaling one per thousand sailings, he coupled these facts with the pessimistic statement once again that such news nevertheless could not be cause for rejoicing as the war would continue to be fought for long.

The editorial throws up its hand and wonders what the Secretary might say when the Germans and Japanese finally surrendered.

"100-Plus" celebrates the 102d birthday of Mrs. Sarah Ritchie of Rowan County, interviewed by The News. She had no formula for longevity to impart, though she openly decried the use of alcohol and tobacco for their health risks. The primary social change she had witnessed since her birth in 1842 was the courtship ritual, which now allowed women, as she saw it, to do the courting. And no one was bashful as in her day, when boys turned their heads should a woman so much as need to fix her shoe. Yet, she did not find fault with the youth of the day, heading bravely off to war. She held no strong passions of any sort and ventured no crusades, had come largely to accept life as its alterations were found, needing from her no altering.

Samuel Grafton again addresses the indecisiveness of America's foreign policy, especially as it related to the Polish question vis à vis Russia. Prime Minister Churchill had come out in favor of allowing cession of Polish territory to Russia as a buffer zone, while favoring taking from Germany territory to compensate for the ceded region. But America still vacillated, more concerned with its internal political conflicts between the right and the left than with how it treated the liberated nations and greeted the various underground movements in contraposition to former fascist supporters, such as Pietro Badoglio in Italy.

At the end of the day, says Mr. Grafton, America was sitting around saying such profound things as "Hmmm!" and "Mmmm!"

Marquis Childs reports of the mammoth and prodigious effort of the Post Office to deliver mail to the soldiers and sailors at the various fronts. The Army alone had two million pieces of mail and 250,000 parcels in transit each day. Twenty million packages were sent to soldiers and sailors at Christmas, and all save a few were delivered prior to Christmas Day.

Drew Pearson devotes his entire column to one subject, an affidavit of B-24 inspector and test pilot Verne Irons of Irving, Texas, who had resigned from North American Aviation in Dallas in disgust for their continued inefficiency and mistakes in construction of aircraft, compromising severely safety of the future crews and pilots who would man them, the while telling Mr. Irons, as he pointed to these defects, to shut up and not tell anyone. They simply swept the dust under the rug and let the heavy bombers fly or not as they might.

Mr. Pearson points out that a North American factory in California, however, had an excellent performance record.

Perhaps, the ultimate difference was that, in Dallas, they didn't care much whether the war was ultimately won or lost. All the same as far they were concerned. Sieg Heil! Righty-tighty.

The ostensible reason for the sloth and inefficiency in Dallas was explained by Lee Atwood, at the time of the war and through 1967, CEO and president of North American, in an oral history interview in 1989:

Well, that was kind of a gradual transition. When we were first operating, well, during [World War II], let's say up to the war period, the Congressional contacts we had then were more like the Truman Committee and Congressional groups trying to make sure that the resources were used properly in the war effort, and we had one episode of being accused of hoarding labor down in Dallas, building P-51's and trainers and other things, and the reason for it was kind of an interesting thing. When a new plane is put in production, the history is that the employment builds up to a peak and then tails off and begins to drop as you get the labor hours down. That was the normal sequence. In order to prevent that peaking, the schedule should be constructed so that the production rate is slow and gradually building up. Then you can keep your personnel on flat. But we had some pretty good people working on scheduling during the war, but pressures were awfully high, and we had some schedules that were laid on us that were hard to make. We did pretty well, but doing so, we peaked our employment, at Dallas in particular, and then dropping off. Of course, Harry Truman's group and Nils Walgren of Washington, a Congressman, gave us a real hard time down in Dallas. It made Dutch Kindelberger mad. He said, "If you don't like the way we're running this place, you can take that plant and turn it cross-ways and stick it." That made Walgren mad, and they were going to get after him for contempt of Congress. But it never happened. But that's the kind of interest that Congress was taking during the war.

The Reverend Herbert Spaugh writes of the Weavers. So, we are reminded, for instance, of this one. And this one.

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