Monday, June 12, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, June 12, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the American forces had captured Carentan and the Cerisy forest, eighteen miles inland on the Cherbourg Peninsula, the latter area being the site of a Nazi ammunition and fuel dump. The action threatened to trap the Germans on the tip of the Peninsula at Cherbourg, as American troops were within fourteen miles of the important port city. Carentan, which possessed the floodgates for the central region of the Peninsula, had been evacuated by the Germans. Allied gains were also made toward Montebourg.

A German broadcast indicated that more Allied landings had taken place at St. Vaast La Hogue, fifteen miles east of Cherbourg, suggesting a pincer movement in the offing from the east and south.

The British and Canadians had completely surrounded Caen and one Allied dispatch had indicated that the Germans had pulled the main part of their forces out of the city. Other reports, however, indicated that fighting was still ongoing. The Germans had stopped a British drive at Tilly-sur-Seulles, and Tilly, itself, twelve miles inland, appeared to have been recaptured by the Nazis.

A German report that forces were moving toward St. Lo was denied by Allied Headquarters.

With clearing weather, Allied forces had flown 7,000 sorties the day before and even more on Monday. The RAF the night before had bombed four rail centers in France, seeking to disrupt the transport of reinforcements to the front. They had also struck at Berlin. The Luftwaffe had put up 100 planes over the battle area the previous night and Americans returning from raids expressed that they faced the toughest air opposition yet of the six-day old campaign.

American bombers hit bridges at Aunay-sur-Odon, southwest of Caen, Conde-sur-Notreau, south of Caen, and at La Haye-du-Puits, west of Carentan, all without loss. They also flew at very low altitude over German troop concentrations at Falaise, causing panic. Another force of a thousand bombers and several fighters struck air facilities at Lille-Nord, Montdidier, Evreaux-Fauville, Dreux, Vitty-en-Artois, and Beauvais-Tille, from which the Luftwaffe had been operating.

Air superiority was so great over the front that a squadron of 12 Thunderbolt fighters had met a squadron of 20 Messerchmitt 109ís and shot down 19 of them in a period of 20 minutes. The Nazi fliers, reported the pilots, gave up easily and bailed out as soon as they were hit.

Not heeding the warning of Field Marshal Karl von Rundstedt that French underground resisters would be shot if caught, the resistance remained active in Vichy, disrupting German lines of communications, as Vichy authority was said to be everywhere disintegrating in Southern France.

Hal Boyle tells of the little things which mean life or death in battle. In one engagement, a lieutenant and a private were crawling toward a German machinegun emplacement in a French apple orchard. The lieutenant was picking up live German ammunition as souvenirs as he went.

The two soldiers obtained cover in a small depression and deposited four hand grenades into the Nazi nest without result, as each proved a dud.

But having betrayed their position, a machinegun returned fire and a bullet caught the lieutenant's pocket in which he had placed the souvenir ammunition causing one bullet to explode, igniting the others, one then striking his neck, resulting in just enough pain that he raised his body, at which point he was shot fatally in the chest. The private was so startled that he raised his head, and three bullets pierced his helmet, missing his scalp. He got so mad, especially because he kept the names and addresses of girls in the top of his helmet, that he promptly dispatched the three Germans.

Another vignette tells of a captured German soldier, wounded, without identification tags, taken by his fellows who had abandoned him. When asked by the medic whether he was a member of the S.S., he expressed considerable umbrage at such an offensive association.

In Italy, the Fifth Army had occupied Montefiascone, near the shores of Lake Bolsena, as other units moved toward Orbetello, 71 miles northwest of Rome. The Army gained fifteen miles along the west coast to a point near Nunciatello. Other forces had occupied Avezzano, east of Rome.

The Eighth Army was now moving up both sides of the Tiber, toward Bagno Reggio on the west, and Rieti on the east.

On the Adriatic front, Germans had been cleared from the area south of the Pescara River.

The German 14th Army had disintegrated completely to ragtag units seeking refuge in Florence as fast as they could go.

A report from Finland on Saturday that the Russians had initiated a new major offensive in the north at the Karelian Isthmus was confirmed by the Soviets. In an operation coordinated with and approved by the Allied Command in France, the objective was to trap 100,000 German soldiers. The Russians were led by General Leonid Govorov, who had led the forces which broke the siege of Leningrad.

A news piece on the editorial page reports of the first land-based daylight raids on Palau, on Thursday and Friday, launched from the newly acquired Mokmer airfield on Biak Island in the Schoutens. The raid destroyed 32 enemy aircraft on the ground and encountered no Japanese fighter resistance. Another raid struck several targets at Truk, with a loss of one Liberator.

An inside page shows a map of Central Europe, again diagramming the three primary areas of attack presently available for the Allies against Germany: from Western France, Italy, and the half million Russian soldiers said to be amassing in Poland, to strike potentially at once toward Bucharest and the Ploesti oilfields and toward Warsaw and Berlin. It does not point out the fourth avenue of potential attack, from the troops amassed in North Africa into Southern France via Sardinia and Corsica.

Said a study from Northwestern University in Chicago, performed on both cats and humans: beware of caffeine in coffee and soft drinks. It may cause stomach ulcers. Comfortingly, the study indicated that it had not used humans as guinea pigs to induce ulcers, but had administered moderate amounts of caffeine to both ulcerated patients and normal adults, then tested the differential build-up of stomach acid, finding it much higher in the ulcerated group.

The study appeared to offer alternative causation to that offered by the Reverend Herbert Spaugh May 27, that stomach ulcers were caused by emotions of extreme fear or anger. First eliminate the caffeine from the diet and then, if the ulcers persist, see Reverend Spaugh for the cure.

Of course, as the study also provided, alcohol causes rise in production of stomach acid leading to ulceration of the linings of the stomach in both normal and ulcerated subjects. So, a person who drinks away his or her fears will likely wind up with stomach ulcers, not to mention other disorders, such as cirrhosis of the liver.

And, another piece on the page relates of the gangland style hit on loan shark and bookmaker, Jake (The Ox) Finkel, outside the Embassy Club in Brooklyn at 3:00 a.m., Sunday. Mr. Finkel had been shot in the head. Police quickly focused on Louis (The Babe) Silvers who had sought treatment at a local hospital for a laceration to the head. But on the way to the police station to appear in a lineup, Mr. Silvers developed a case of laryngitis which prevented him from responding to questions except in unintelligible guttural sounds.

Mr. Silvers also had been suspected in the recent shootings of William (Big Gangy) and Harry (Little Gangy) Davidoff, but no arrests were made.

The alleged basis for the shootings of all three men was a turf war erupting after the death by execution at Sing Sing in March of Louis Lepke, head of Murder, Inc., leaving a vacuum in the underworld power structure.

Mr. Finkel had served time for safecracking, but upon release, decided to go straight and stick to smalltime loan sharking and bookmaking--a legitimate form of business, after all.

--Hey, don't de boys on Wall Street do de same t'ing? Like except bigger, ye know?

Not published was the verbatim transcript of Mr. Silvers's laryngitis impeded responses to police questioning: "Ah ma' 'im an awpa 'e cunna refoo, ye know?"

Also not reported was the little known fact that, together, the Gangy brothers were known as the Ganges.

Meanwhile, near Charlotte, a storekeeper, about 60, was arrested for assaulting a Baptist minister who owned land next door to the former's store. The storekeeper wanted to buy the land but the minister instead had sold it to the town of Pineville as a site on which they would erect a town hall, much to the consternation of the storekeeper, whose store was said to encroach on the adjoining land.

The storekeeper was heard to say in an inexplicably hoarse voice, "Hey, ah ma' 'im an awpa 'e cunna refoo, ye know?"

On the editorial page, "How's That?" expresses consternation at the notion put forward by Representative Jessie Sumner of Illinois--the lone dissenting vote in the Congress on the Declaration of War on Japan--with regard to the Office of Price Administration. She posited it as an evil for its placing artificial controls on prices which would ultimately refuse to be harnessed. The only way, she continued, to restrain prices was through increased production and decreased government spending.

But she had failed to explain how there could be increased production in an already war-expanded economy or how decreasing government spending would somehow keep prices down.

Just as on December 8, 1941, Ms. Sumner spoke a tongue not readily translatable, being a song of songs.

It was sort of like the Republican plan for the economy in 2011.

--Let's go back to the way things were in, say, 1984. You remember the good ol' days. Ye know, more good jobs, more ticklin' tricklin'-down, more homeless people, ye know... Ah, homeless people. They don't really exist. We'll sweep 'em all up. Won't even see 'em. Supply-side economics. Lower taxes, bigger production, private sector--biggy, biggy corporations. Bigger is better. Foreclosures? Eh. Bunch of bums who don't pay their bills. Leave it to the private sector to handle it all. End all this regulation and law on corporations. Let them do as they please, steal a few elections. Bribe a few judges. What the heck? Win some, lose some. They mean well. Jobbie-jobbie for you. Put the stress of regulation back on street crime where it belongs, ye know. Like in 1984 when things were rosy. Yeah, rosy. Yeah. Eh, they'll hire you then to sell some hamburgers or somethin'. Less government spending, more jobs, more jobs, get it all under control. Then, later, maybe you'll be president of the company. Or, maybe it won't work out and you have to go to prison. Ye know what we're sayin'? It's big. Ye gotta grasp it all at once, like. It's complicated. We only got thirty seconds, here, to explain it to you dummies. Like maybe we could go back to the cotton economy or somethin' like that, ye know? Grow cotton. Pick cotton. Sing songs in the fields. Hey, there's worse things. Like... What's the question?

"A Choice" finds that, unlike many an election when the electorate had to choose between the lesser of several evils, the voters of Idaho had a choice: between staunch isolationist Senator Worth D. Clark, the incumbent, and cowboy crooner Glen Taylor, twice earlier the Democratic nominee for the Senate. The result, says the piece, would send a message beyond party politics.

Mr. Taylor, it remarks, was not the first singer to enter the ranks of politics. Precedents had been set by Governor, then Senator, Pappy Lee O'Daniel, and Governor Jimmie "You Are My Sunshine" Davis of Louisiana. Carl F. Zeidler, former mayor of Minneapolis, listed by the Navy as missing in action, it remarks, had also been a singer.

Mr. Taylor would win the Senate race and then go on to be former Vice-President Henry Wallace's running mate on a third-party ticket in 1948, dubbed the Progressive Party, carrying a liberal message designed to appeal to independent voters.

Mr. Taylor had the honorable distinction in 1948, foreshadowing events to come, of being arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, by subsequently notorious Police Commissioner Bull Connor, for entering the "Colored" door at a meeting of the Southern Negro Youth Congress. He was charged and convicted of disorderly conduct.

Now, see there, Ms. Palin? Learn to sing country and get yourself a hillbilly band--may we suggest the name Palinaires?--to tour with you on that four-star gas-guzzlin' bus, you got 'ere--what a way to take a little family outin', 'ey?--and, why, by the time you get to Texas, you'll be President. How many gallons to the mile does that thing get?

--Are them people makin' fun of ever'thing we believe in? If so, you can just pucker up and suck a lemon right off Richard Nixon's lemon tree ranch, very pretty. That's what you c'n do, yessir, alright.

"Rebellion" greets the news of the underground revolt in the Rhone Valley of France as hearkening the end of Vichy and the beginning of the separation of the loyal Republicans of France from those who had sold it out four years earlier. The Allies, it comments, would not need to bother with that process of discernment during the liberation. The French Partisans were aware of who had been loyal and who had not and were already taking care of old business, and doing so, despite the promise of summary execution by the Nazis if caught.

"Watcher" writes of Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain viewing the invasion and fight in France, no doubt, with considerable uneasiness, as on the outcome apparently hung his fate. He had still predicted that the Nazis would win the fight, even in the face of the diminishing odds daily, with the Germans now steadily being pushed back toward the Rhine.

"The guns in France speak a dread menace for him, and every thundering echo rolls over Spain as if the military were in the hands of the little people of Franco's captive land. The end comes soon enough and Franco prefers not to hasten it by admission of defeat. His unhappy end lies near enough on the road ahead. He smiles, if tremulously, while he can."

Yet, and yet, El Caudillo would continue smiling through the terms of five subsequent U. S. Presidents, and into the term of a sixth, until his final demise in November, 1975, at his death.

Marquis Childs discusses the conference held recently between Secretary of State Hull and eight Senators, four Democrats and four Republicans, re the proposal for the post-war peace organization. There was considerable disagreement among the Senators, with three favoring a plan supported by former Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, that the smaller nations be given a substantial voice at the peace table, even if it was recognized that the Big Four, as a practical matter, would have to resolve major issues, such as deployment of force to police the peace. All had agreed that the unanimity requirement for the Big Four to take police action was desirable.

But, in the end, the vote was 5 to 3 to endorse the plan, with the only assenting Republican being Warren Austin of Vermont. The dissenters included Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin and Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan. Their problem was that it was too broad a statement for which to provide sanction, suggesting it as the largest blank check in the history of the world.

Drew Pearson tells of President Roosevelt in the Lincoln study on the second floor of the White House following on a large map, pricked with pins to represent ships, landing barges, and troop deployments, each point of the way of the Normandy invasion, with the pins moved about by Navy personnel as the situation changed. The President was a keen Naval strategist from his days as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to Josephus Daniels during World War I, and had followed the war in this map room in the same manner every day since its start.

Mr. Pearson next turns to FDR's lone dissent, both among the military, British and American, and vis à vis Churchill, to placing General De Gaulle at the head of the French shortly after the invasion, so that he might begin to construct a government. The President had studied the history of France and determined that in the past, following wars, each city and province, once liberated, formed its own government and eventually these provincial governments came together to found a central government. No single leader had ever formed a central government from scratch. So, the plan would apparently be likewise during the course of the liberation of France.

Finally, he relates of a story regarding De Gaulle in June, 1940 at the fall of France to Germany. Prime Minister Churchill had asked General Edward Louis Spears, military attaché to France, to select a French leader who could rally the French from England. Someone suggested De Gaulle because of his knowledge of tank warfare, on which he had authored a treatise. But after General Spears brought De Gaulle to 10 Downing Street to discuss matters with Churchill, Churchill asked him whether De Gaulle was the best he could do.

Regardless, Churchill was said now to favor De Gaulle to lead the French. Mr. Pearson believes the reason to be to bolster an alliance between the French and British, to counteract the strength of the Russians in the post-war world, especially as Stalin had sought alliance with the United States at Tehran.

Samuel Grafton warns of placing too much stock in troop advances and the capture of towns in France as being indicative of progress; the objective was the destruction of the German fighting forces, not the acquisition of territory. Analogies to football were of no use. It was not a football game. Being able to divert forces against the enemy's will by making strategic strikes at particularly vulnerable areas to keep the Germans guessing, much as did the Russians after Stalingrad, would signal a far more strategic victory than the taking of mere territory. The Germans, after all, he reminds, had in 1942 advanced all the way to Stalingrad before the big push by the Russians began forcing them back, largely accomplished by diversionary and encircling tactics.

Maintaining in mind that total warfare meant that the military goal of the war was destruction of the enemy forces, just as the destruction of Fascism was the political goal of the war, would lead to a successful conclusion of the war.

Sometime letter writer and author Harry Golden writes to take issue with Samuel Graftonís consistent carping at the Administration during the prior year and a half for its stand on General De Gaulle, not fully recognizing him as the leader of the French.

In support of the Administration's hesitant stance on the matter, Mr. Golden advances that the problem was that De Gaulle might prove another problematic charismatic personality behind whom the French people might rally to their peril, that he, like others before him, might become swept up at some point by the tide of hubris beyond the goal of mere leadership of liberated France, converted into another form of dictatorship. The problem which caused the war, posits Mr. Golden, was just such individual personalities around whom a people had rallied for succor, only to find themselves suckers.

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