Saturday, May 6, 1944

The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 6, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that approximately 500 to 750 American bombers of the Fifteenth Air Force struck Rumania at Brasov, Campina, Turnu-Severin, Pitesti, and Craiova, sites of rail and oil installations, the latter two locations receiving their first strikes of the war. Campina had also been hit the night before by RAF bombers striking Rumanian targets, as an American daylight raid the previous day had struck Turnu-Severin and the Ploesti oil fields.

The RAF had scored a major hit in Italy as well, breaching the Pescara River Dam, the resulting flood having caused major communications problems for the Germans on the Adriatic front opposite the British Eighth Army, an area largely dormant since December. The flood waters reportedly inundated the German defense lines at Ortona, ten miles below Pescara. The break ranked alongside similar successes of May 16, 1943 when the RAF breached the Mohne and Eder dams in Germany, dams which had supplied the country with two-thirds of its hydroelectric power.

A relatively small force of about 150 American bombers flew raids against Pas-de-Calais. There were no losses of aircraft as no German fighters appeared and only a small amount of ground fire was spotted, the result of heavily overcast skies.

A strong gale carrying 60 mph winds had struck the Dover coast, limiting air traffic from Britain the previous day. It was said that a person could not stand up on the White Cliffs against the heavy wind and rain.

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel stated in a broadcast that the invasion of France would begin soon by land, that it had effectively begun with the air assault during the previous month. He took the time to assail the tactics of the British in North Africa during 1942, claiming that General Montgomery had given orders to his men to kill Germans whenever they met them, resulting in captured German officers being murdered at El Alamein. He proclaimed that the Nazis would not reduce themselves to these sorts of tactics.

That Hitler coaxed the son-of-a-bitch to shoot himself in October perhaps came out of one of Der Fuehrer's more lucid moments, just as with his own decision the following April.

German reports indicated that the Red Army was gathering in great strength in the vicinity of Kowel in Poland, 170 miles southeast of Warsaw, and at Kolomyja, 30 miles southeast of Stanislawow.

A major British and Indian offensive was said to be taking place in the vicinity of Kohima, reported as perhaps the decisive battle of the Japanese campaign in India. The Allies had forced the Japanese from key positions in the hills above Kohima.

Meanwhile, in Northern Burma, General Joseph Stilwell's troops continued to advance through the Mogaung Valley toward Kamaing and Myitkyina, pushing against heavily defended positions near the Lakhraw River, south of Inkangahtawng.

A Federal District Court judge in Chicago extended the injunction requested by the Government prohibiting interference by Montgomery Ward employees against Government operation of the Ward facilities, pending the outcome of the NLRB-supervised union election on Tuesday. The judge was set to provide his ruling on the legality of the takeover on Wednesday.

Sid Feder, in the "Reporter's Notebook" column, reports again from Anzio, this time looking at the unruly little craft of the sea called crash-boats, originally designed for rescue of downed fliers, but used for everything from capturing islands to running a shuttle service the 90 miles from Naples to Anzio. The little boat looked and behaved, he said, as "a surf-board with St. Vitus Dance"--that is, a sort of jitterbugging surfboard. The passengers wound up black and blue after the ride.

And, reports Mr. Feder, there was nothing about which to be overly concerned in one of these tough little bombs should an air raid arise during the ride: the roof of the cabin was comprised of sturdy plywood and the bedding consisted of mattresses laid over large fuel tanks.

On the editorial page, "Solidarity" reports on the state Democratic convention which resoundingly provided its support to President Roosevelt for a fourth term and also stated its enthusiastic endorsement of Governor Broughton as the vice-presidential candidate.

On the latter point, the piece comments, the convention was on unsteady ground. It was not likely that any great national groundswell of support would erupt for Governor Broughton. The only thing to be gained by such a move was to afford the North Carolina delegation to the national convention some sway in determining who the vice-presidential candidate might be. But it would not be Governor Broughton.

"One Vote" remarks on the fact that the Methodist clergy had by one sole straw at its national meeting approved the war as representative of God's work. The lay members of the Church had voted far more decisively in favor of the war. The issue was not whether the war ought be waged but whether it was appropriate for the Church to support it. The rationale was that the warring nations were attacking Christianity.

"Our Arms" comments on the report by the Army that the fighting men who would hit the beaches of France would be equipped with the best modern guns, ammunition, tanks, and vehicles, equal to or better than that of the enemy. The editorial reminds that, while that status would be of enormous help, victory would also require superior determination and morale to that of the enemy. The enemy had suffered in recent months from the relentless aerial pounding of its defenses, interrupting communication lines all over occupied Europe, destroying aircraft and tank factories.

But, the Continental Army had faced a much superior force during the Revolution, one with much superior supply lines, reminds the piece. The case had not been much different in the war of 1812. It took the intangible fighting will to succeed, in addition to arms and ammunition, to break the grip of the Nazi on Europe, once, though no more, held by adamantine bonds infrangible.

Drew Pearson examines a report from Admiral Ernest King regarding the sinking of the aircraft carrier Hornet on October 26, 1942 south of Guadalcanal, not far from the Naval base at Espiritu Santo Island, in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. The report had been critical of the Navy personnel in command of the Hornet and the companion carrier Enterprise. The Hornet's officers had sent out its bombers two hours after daylight and several hours after first contact had been made with the enemy forces at sea. The result was that the bombers passed the Japanese inbound bombers, on the way to sink the ship from which they had just departed. The two flying formations merely tipped their wings to each other, as neither could attack the other: dive bombers were not made to attack each other and both sets of planes flew at about the same speed and so could not give chase to one another.

Inexperience, absence of imagination, slow communications, and failure to make prompt decisions had been cited by the Navy as faults of the commanders leading to the loss of the Hornet.

Samuel Grafton comments again on the new nationalism sweeping portions of the electorate. These old isolationists flying a new banner insisted that everyone should speak out for America, should be as self-interested as the Russians. But they did not say against whom Americans should speak. Mr. Grafton assumes it must be the Allies, as it was a given that most Americans opposed the Axis. These nationalists wanted first to be elected, then to tell everyone who they opposed.

Dorothy Thompson writes to fellow columnist Westbrook Pegler, a notoriously conservative voice of the day, with particular focus on his column of the previous Tuesday, in which she says he had inveighed against the trend in the country to rancor, harsh invective hurled among Democrats, those of the North against those of the South, between Labor leaders, John L. Lewis, Philip Murray, and William Green, all fueled, he contended, by the Liberal wing of the press, which had, according to Mr. Pegler, recently stooped to calling an unnamed Southern politician a "jug-eared little rat".

Ms. Thompson finds his carping hypocritical when he had openly criticized Eleanor Roosevelt with undignified words, even questioning her motives as political when she went to the South Pacific to visit the troops the previous fall. Ms. Thompson suggests that Mr. Pegler begin his campaign of gentility at his own typewriter, and, as a good Christian, "'Pull out the mote of thine eye,' brother."

Marquis Childs looks at Sewell Avery's war against the Government takeover of Montgomery Ward after he had refused to recognize the CIO union, on order of the War Labor Board, as the representative of the majority of the 78,000 workers at his company.

Mr. Avery, he says, was sincere in his battle and the Government knew it, even if being nonsensical in his rationale that FDR had turned the country into a Socialist state. Profits ran high in the country, prosperity was unprecedented, and business was doing well. Yet, Mr. Avery complained.

Mr. Childs addresses the voices who wondered why John L. Lewis had been treated so tenderly during the coal mine crisis of 1943 when Sewell Avery was carted out bodily by two soldiers from Montgomery Ward headquarters. He explains that John L. Lewis, as head of UMW, was not sitting in the mine resisting the Government takeover of the mines.

We suppose we would be remiss were we to fail to point out, incidentally, that Animal Kingdom, sporting No. 13 on its flanks, won the 2011 Kentucky Derby yesterday as a 20 to 1 shot. Were you astute earlier in the week and a betting person, you might have won a lot of money by following our somewhat obscure advice, in the animal kingdom, that is. We don't bet. We just give free, obscure advice.

Spooky as it may seem, when we chose the music underlying the first two references underlain, contained in the note of last Monday--those premised in turn on the note associated with February 4, 1940, set forth in latter June, 2002 amid a violent thunderstorm in North Carolina which had caused the electric typewriting device, on which we pattered away our little fingertips, to burn up the first draft, wiping out our entire text just as we finished it--we had not read yesterday's front page, referencing "Messy Bessie", or even glanced at it since briefly taking it from the little spool of moompicters last August. Nor were we even vaguely aware of any musical tune of the same name until yesterday afternoon. Likewise, we did not realize that the "doll woman", so dubbed for her being the operator of a doll shop, mentioned February 21, charged with espionage in New York for sending coded messages to Japanese spies in Argentina re ship repairs following Pearl Harbor, would have her story extended in yesterday's prints on the inside page.

There you are. It all moves in mysterious ways.

In 1944, the Kentucky Derby, run this date, was won by Pensive.

Pensive's offspring, Ponder, won the Derby in 1949.

Shortly thereafter, Pensive died.

His last words spoken, it is said, were, "Son, go out and win one for the Pen."

Sure enough, Ponder followed the advice, did precisely as his pa instructed.

His offspring, however, Never Had A Lick O'Scents, was constantly in and out of trouble with the law, got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper patch, was at last a shame and scandal to the Thinker family. Never Had, as he was unaffectionately nicknamed by those whom he viewed with his wild eye, wandered from stall to stall, burning hay profligately all around the land, until one day--no. No.

Decorum prevents further perpending on this dissolute animal of the dark, out of fear that the curse of Never Had might befall us or you, should we venture further into the strange and elusive, elliptical world of the Animal Kingdom. If you have one around, beware. They know not what they do.

A servingman, proud in heart and minde, that curlde my
haire, wore gloves in my cap, served the lust of my mistris heart,
and did the acte of darknesse with her, swore as many oaths as I
spake words, and broke them in the sweete face of heaven, one
that slept in the contriving of lust, and wak't to do it, wine loved
I deepely, dice dearely, and in woman, outparamord the
Turke, false of heart, light of eare, bloudy of hand, hog in sloth,
Fox in stealth, Wolfe in greedinesse, Dog in madnesse, Lyon in
prey, let not the creeking of shooes, nor the ruslings of silkes
betray thy poore heart to women, keepe thy foote out of brothell,
thy hand out of placket, thy pen from lenders booke, and
defie the foule fiend, still through the hathorne blowes the colde
winde, hay no on ny, Dolphin my boy, my boy, cease let him trot

--from With the Unfortunate Life of Edgar, Act III, Scene IV, by M. VVilliam Speare

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