Wednesday, June 14, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 14, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page and inside page report that Montebourg and Troarn, on opposite ends of the fighting front, now extended from 60 to 100 miles by the Allies, had changed hands several times during the previous 24 hours. The Germans had deployed four armored divisions between Caen and Caumont in part of a counter-attack to both ends of the front, after the British had outflanked Caen from the west.

Heavy fighting continued around Carentan on the Cherbourg Peninsula. American patrols penetrated the outskirts of Valognes, ten miles from Cherbourg. The last few miles to the crucial port would prove the most difficult because of hilly terrain, some craggy peaks reaching 500 to 600 feet.

For the first time, some of the infantry were out of range of Navy gunfire and were reliant solely on air support. Excellent flying weather, however, was now enabling the full complement of sorties.

General Montgomery, in a maneuver reminiscent of the North Africa campaign, had sent tanks south of Bayeux, hitting at Caumont and Villers-Bocage, and then turned east and north to drive into the German flank to the west of Caen. Navy and air bombardment remained steady against Caen.

The number of German prisoners captured had risen to 10,000.

The largest single strike force thus far in the war, consisting of 1,500 American bombers, struck targets in Germany this date, hitting Emmerich, and in France, bombing several airfields near Chateaudun and Paris, including Le Bourget where Charles Lindbergh landed in 1927. Other targets were also hit in Belgium.

Another 750 bombers out of Italy struck six oil refineries, two owned by Shell, in Hungary and Yugoslavia. A part of this force also bombed targets in the vicinity of Munich.

During the first week after D-Day, 56,000 sorties had been flown, dropping 42,000 tons of bombs, with 554 planes lost, slightly less than one percent. The Ninth Air Force flew 16,000 of the sorties while the Eighth flew 15,500.

A report surfaced out of Spain that Commandoes and Rangers had landed on airfields prepared by the French underground at Plateau Millevaches, 45 miles southeast of Limoges and 80 miles southwest of Vichy in Southern France. There was no confirmation of the report from Allied Headquarters.

Meanwhile, "Maquis", as the Partisans were called, were reported to be holding Tarbes in the foothills of the Pyrenees, cutting off a large section of Southern France from German rail and road routes. The Resistance also held Limoges. Angouleme and Perigueux had lost communication with the rest of France, indicating probable control by the Maquis. As indicated in the other dispatch, they were likewise massing at Plateau Millevaches in the Limousin Mountains. They also moved west from Savoy toward Portbau. Germans appeared too preoccupied with the regular Allied forces to be much concerned with the underground activity.

Algiers radio crackled messages such as "Ducks like water" and "Jeanette washes her stockings", transmitting code to the Resistance fighters.

Whether the proper confirmation to the latter was, "Norma has a run in hers on Thursday," was not indicated.

In another recalcitrant act, General Charles De Gaulle was reported to have canceled orders just before D-Day which would have sent several hundred French officers into France with the invasion forces to act as liaisons with the French people. General Eisenhower's headquarters reported that the move had complicated cooperation with the French. De Gaulle had finally permitted only twenty officers to go along with the invasion. His purpose in cancellation of the plan, in place for several months, was to coerce recognition of the French National Committee of Liberation as the legitimate government of France. The move instead had deepened the resolve of the White House and State Department not to recognize the Committee.

Prime Minister Churchill managed to forestall an open debate in Commons on the issue of British and American division of opinion on recognition of the French Committee. The Prime Minister stated that debate on the issue would do more harm than good at the time.

On the Karelian Isthmus in Finland, the Russians had moved to within 30 miles of the key port of Viipuri, and within 20 miles of the Mannerheim Line. Soviet troops were also attacking in the Lisa sector, between Murmansk and Petsamo, as well as southwest of Narva in Estonia. The Russians faced determined Finnish resistance in the Kivennappa sector.

In Italy, along the Tyrrhenian coast, the Fifth Army circumvented the defenses of Orbetello and captured the junction of Highways 1 and 74, a point 4.5 miles beyond the town. Other gains were made in the Lake Bolsena area, taking Latero, four miles northeast of captured Valentano, as the Army progressed toward Grandioli.

The Eighth Army advanced 60 miles north of Rome, as other forces continued the slow movement on both sides of the Tiber, still hampered by mines and demolition.

The Naval raid between Saturday and Monday on Guam and the Marianas Islands of Tinian, Saipan, and Rota, had resulted in 13 Japanese ships sunk and another 16 damaged, as well as 141 aircraft destroyed, against 15 U.S. planes lost and no ships reported damaged. Together with the shipping losses in the Southwest Pacific, which included five destroyers and 18 cargo vessels, Japan was suffering in June its worst month of Navy losses since March.

Hal Boyle discusses the relative normalcy apparent among both civilians and soldiers in an English port town. No one showed tension or any tell-tale sign that just a hundred miles across the Channel raged the largest battle yet of the war.

Three American sailors, back from delivering tanks to the Normandy beachhead, spoke in a matter of fact manner of the experience. They had rammed the boat into the sand, delivered the tanks, but then were stuck twelve hours until the tide came in. The three were more hampered by seasickness on their first Channel crossing than any confrontation with the enemy.

And, as previewed on the inside page, don't forget to take in the movie hit of 1932, "Cock of the Air", a film by Howard Hughes, apparently having its second run, "bombshelled with laughs". "He took a high flier in love and ended in a tail-spin."

Whether he also knew Milo de Venus was not disclosed.

In any event, Jane Russell, unlike the Hughes production of the year before, "The Outlaw", was not in "Cock of the Air".

Also, be sure and catch "The Jungle Book".

On the editorial page, "New Climax" comments on the hearings to be held before the Interstate Commerce Commission to determine whether freight rates in the South were discriminatory when posed against the rates in the North. The Southern Governors were in agreement in asserting the case that the rates in the South were discriminatory and needed adjustment to bring them into parity with those of the North.

"Now, Listen!" takes issue with General De Gaulle's petty carping at the Supreme Allied Commander issuing instructions to the French people, appearing, he thought, to foreshadow a military takeover of France by the Allies after liberation.

General De Gaulle appeared as a gadfly in the wings, just as liberation was starting. The editorial chastises him for uttering such preposterous statements. The French appeared not to heed his words, were greeting the Allies with flowers and kisses, as the liberators which they were.

"An Echo" reports that the campus of East Carolina Teachers College in Greenville was still not settled, months after the departure of Dr. Leon Meadows, its former president, after he had been criticized by the Board of Trustees for poor fiscal management, paying bills of the College out of his own pocket, commingling assets of the institution with his personal bank account.

But, despite that and his subsequent indictment for allegedly using College funds to pay his own personal finances, the Board of Trustees had not quelled the situation but rather had added fuel to the flames by now dismissing six faculty members, claiming they had fanned the fires of discontent on campus, leading to the departure of Dr. Meadows.

The piece suggests that the Governor should continue his investigation of the matter, trying to correct the Board’s missteps, failing which, a new Board ought be appointed.

"Report" praises the speech by President Roosevelt on Monday, announcing the Fifth War Loan Drive. The President had provided hope for the end of the war but cautioned that much still had to be accomplished, reminding that the campaign in Italy had thus far cost the United States 6.7 billion dollars and that the taking of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific had cost eight billion dollars. (The President in his speech did not actually relate these figures; the editorial likely got the information from a preliminary release of a draft of the speech to the press.)

The text of the President's speech is below. It was his last fireside chat, the thirtieth of his eleven years in office. The audio of his 29th chat, that on June 5, announcing the fall of Rome, is here.

Pausing for a moment to reflect again on the substantially higher loss of life on D-Day at Omaha Beach than at any of the other four beaches, query whether it was the case that the Germans gave deliberate orders to target the Americans involved in the landing in the hope of turning the Americans against the British, the Nazis knowing, as had been printed in the newspapers since the previous fall, that Churchill had demanded a higher proportion of landing forces by the Americans, even though the imbalance was nowhere near the 70 to 30 ratio he had reportedly sought. Since the Supreme Allied Commander was American, it could also have served the purpose of making the Americans look incompetent, thus weakening morale and undermining confidence in the leadership.

That said, it would not explain, however, why then Utah Beach would not have been similarly targeted by the Nazis as it, too, was invaded exclusively by Americans.

Samuel Grafton makes comment on the shift in the war from the defensive by the Allies, in 1942, to the grand offensive now in 1944, that Hitler was relegated to fighting a defensive war, replete with all its manifold pitfalls, having to keep large reserves of troops ready for deployment at places chosen for invasion by the Allies, thus being able to concentrate only limited forces to combat the invasion troops. The fog of war was also now with Hitler, not knowing whether a given movement of personnel or ships meant a new landing or was simply a feint to draw off Germans from the main front.

The goal, as Mr. Grafton had stressed Monday, was now to eliminate the beast of the German Army, not merely acquire territory. There would be no stalemate, no reversal of the trend of over-optimism to which the Nazis themselves had fallen prey in 1941 by ending their bombing offensive against England to invade Russia. With the Russians on one side and the British, Canadians, and Americans on the other, "[w]e close in for the kill."

Marquis Childs points out how the House Rules Committee, with its 14 members, had managed on a routine basis to block legislation coming to the floor for debate. Dominated by conservative Democrats from the South such as Howard Smith of Virginia, Martin Dies of Texas, and Eugene Cox of Georgia, they had bound together with two or three Republicans to form a working majority.

But, little noticed in the war news the previous week, had been a revolt to their lock on the legislative toll booth. House Speaker Sam Rayburn led open opposition to the way in which the Committee had blocked legislation approved by the Banking and Currency Committee regarding extension of the Office of Price Administration controls on prices. The Rules Committee had saddled the bill with irrelevant labor legislation.

The full House was called by the Speaker to vote on the move and soundly rejected the Rules Committee's attempt to thwart the legislation.

The Rules Committee, says Mr. Childs, was of a piece with the move by Texas, South Carolina, and Mississippi to thwart the will of the people by manipulating the electoral college, regardless of the popular vote in November, to defeat FDR for a fourth term.

Drew Pearson discusses the extraordinary planning which had preceded execution of the invasion on D-Day, most of it by General Marshall, conducted stateside as Army chief of staff. Mr. Pearson relates that he had asked the General in mid-1941 whether a cross-Channel invasion could be accomplished. The answer was that it was not practicable. There were no places to land, no docks for delivery of supplies, too many supplies to be delivered. Unlike World War I, when the French had provided all of the facilities, including railroads, for movement of supplies when the A.E.F. came ashore in 1917, when General Marshall had been a captain on the staff of General Pershing planning the logistics of the expedition, all of the territory was now occupied by the Germans.

This time, unlike World War I, however, there had been complete cooperation between the Supreme Allied Commander, General Eisenhower, and General Marshall, the chief of staff. In the First World War, General Pershing had numerous disagreements with the Army chief of staff, first General Bliss, then General March.

Not mentioned by Mr. Pearson, the landing barges, as depicted in the Life issue of June 19, had been cleverly designed to be linked laterally with one another to form instant docking facilities. That expedient alleviated the need for establishing a port in the initial phase of the campaign. The sand on Normandy was stiff enough to support tanks and trucks, and so everything simply rolled ashore.

After remarking of a particularly rancorous term of the Supreme Court, presumably in reference to his report of May 9 re the dispute between Justice Frankfurter and Chief Justice Stone, Mr. Pearson next looks at the political prospects of Justice William O. Douglas, 45 years old, having just beat the heat of Washington fast back to his ranch in Pendleton, Oregon with the end of the Court term on Monday. Justice Douglas, while touted by friends as a good addition to the Democratic ticket to replace Henry Wallace, wanted no part of it, had shied away from the glare of the political spotlight, no doubt intended to spend the better part of the summer recess pursuing his favorite pastime, hiking in the Northwest.

Nevertheless, should Vice-President Wallace be pushed off the ticket, predicts Mr. Pearson, the President would first turn to Justice Douglas as his potential running mate.

Instead of becoming Vice-President and then President in 1945, Justice Douglas remained on the Court until 1975 when he retired after suffering a stroke. His voice on the Court worked as one of the most profound liberal voices in the history of the Court and helped to form most of the progressive decisions of the 1950's and 1960's. Whether he could have ever had such a dramatic, longstanding impact on American life as President is doubtful.

Of course, he would have been spared, at least, the attempts in the late 1960's through 1970 by the Ev & Jerry Show to impeach him. The irony is that had House Minority Leader Ford, in combination with the Nixon Administration, not been actively seeking to sack Justice Douglas, he would have, by his own words in a volume of his autobiography titled The Court Years, resigned the Court in 1969 when Chief Justice Warren left the Court. Instead, to avoid any appearance that he had something to hide, he chose to stay "until the last hound dog had stopped baying at [his] heels".

In further irony, of course, President Ford appointed Justice Douglas's successor. Yet, despite it all, his successor, Justice John Paul Stevens, followed and led in the liberal tradition of Justice Douglas throughout his distinguished career on the Court.

President Roosevelt's speech of Monday, inaugurating the Fifth War Loan Drive, follows:

All our fighting men overseas today have their appointed stations on the far-flung battlefronts of the world. We at home have ours too. We need, we (and) are proud of, our fighting men--most decidedly. But, during the anxious times ahead, let us not forget that they need us too.

It goes almost without saying that we must continue to forge the weapons of victory--the hundreds of thousands of items, large and small, essential to the waging of the war. This has been the major task from the very start, and it is still a major task. This is the very worst time for any war worker to think of leaving his machine or to look for a peacetime job.

And it goes almost without saying, too, that we must continue to provide our Government with the funds necessary for waging war not only by the payment of taxes--which, after all, is an obligation of American citizenship--but also by the purchase of War Bonds--an act of free choice which every citizen has to make for himself under the guidance of his own conscience.

Whatever else any of us may be doing, the purchase of War Bonds and stamps is something all of us can do and should do to help win the war.

I am happy to report tonight that it is something which nearly everyone seems to be doing. Although there are now approximately sixty-seven million persons who have or earn some form of income (including the armed forces), eighty-one million persons or their children have already bought war bonds. They have bought more than six hundred million individual bonds. Their purchases have totaled more than thirty-two billion dollars. These are the purchases of individual men, women and children. Anyone who would have said this was possible a few years ago would have been put down as a starry-eyed visionary. But of such visions (however) is the stuff of America (fashioned).

Of course, there are always pessimists with us everywhere, a few here and a few there. I am reminded of the fact that after the fall of France in 1940 I asked the Congress for the money for the production by the United States of fifty thousand airplanes per year. Well, I was called crazy--it was said that the figure was fantastic; that it could not be done. And yet today we are building airplanes at the rate of one hundred thousand a year.

There is a direct connection between the bonds you have bought and the stream of men and equipment now rushing over the English Channel for the liberation of Europe. There is a direct connection between your (War) Bonds and every part of this global war today.

Tonight, therefore on the opening of this Fifth War Loan Drive, it is appropriate for us to take a broad look at this panorama of world war, for the success or the failure of the drive is going to have so much to do with the speed with which we can accomplish victory and the peace.

While I know that the chief interest tonight is centered on the English Channel and on the beaches and farms and the cities of Normandy, we should not lose sight of the fact that our armed forces are engaged on other battlefronts all over the world, and that no one front can be considered alone without its proper relation to all.

It is worthwhile, therefore, to make over-all comparisons with the past. Let us compare today with just two years ago--June, 1942. At that time Germany was in control of practically all of Europe, and was steadily driving the Russians back toward the Ural Mountains. Germany was practically in control of North Africa and the Mediterranean, and was beating at the gates of the Suez Canal and the route to India. Italy was still an important military and supply factor--as subsequent, long campaigns have proved.

Japan was in control of the western Aleutian Islands; and in the South Pacific was knocking at the gates of Australia and New Zealand--and also was threatening India. Japan (she) had seized control of (nearly one half) of the Central Pacific.

American armed forces on land and sea and in the air were still very definitely on the defensive, and in the building-up stage. Our Allies were bearing the heat and the brunt of the attack.

In 1942 Washington heaved a sigh of relief that the first War Bond issue had been cheerfully over-subscribed by the American people. Way back in those days, two years ago, America was still hearing from many "amateur strategists" and political critics, some of whom were doing more good for Hitler than for the United States--two years ago.

But today we are on the offensive all over the world--bringing the attack to our enemies.

In the Pacific, by relentless submarine and naval attacks, and amphibious thrusts, and ever-mounting air attacks, we have deprived the Japs of the power to check the momentum of our ever-growing and ever-advancing military forces. We have reduced the Japs' (their) shipping by more than three million tons. We have overcome their original advantage in the air. We have cut off from a return to the homeland, cut off from that return, tens of thousands of beleaguered Japanese troops who now face starvation or ultimate surrender. And we have cut down their naval strength, so that for many months they have avoided all risk of encounter with our naval forces.

True, we still have a long way to go to Tokyo. But, carrying out our original strategy of eliminating our European enemy first and then turning all our strength to the Pacific, we can force the Japanese to unconditional surrender or to national suicide much more rapidly than has been thought possible.

Turning now to our enemy who is first on the list for destruction--Germany has her back against the wall--in fact three walls at once!

In the south--we have broken the German hold on central Italy. On June fourth, the city of Rome fell to the Allied armies. And allowing the enemy no respite, the Allies are now pressing hard on the heels of the Germans as they retreat northwards in ever-growing confusion.

On the east--our gallant Soviet Allies have driven the enemy back from the lands which were invaded three years ago. The great Soviet armies are now initiating crushing blows.

Overhead--vast Allied air fleets of bombers and fighters have been waging a bitter air war over Germany and Western Europe. They have had two major objectives: to destroy German war industries which maintain the German armies and air forces; and to shoot the German Luftwaffe out of the air. As a result German production has been whittled down continuously, and the German fighter forces now have (has) only a fraction of their (its) former power.

This great air campaign, strategic and tactical, is going to (will) continue--with increasing power.

And on the west--the hammer blow which struck the coast of France last Tuesday morning, less than a week ago, was the culmination of many months of careful planning and strenuous preparation.

Millions of tons of weapons and supplies, (and) hundreds of thousands of men assembled in England, are now being poured into the great battle in Europe.

I think that from the standpoint of our enemy we have achieved the impossible. We have broken through their supposedly impregnable wall in Northern France. But the assault has been costly in men and costly in materials. Some of our landings were desperate adventures; but from advices received so far, the losses were lower than our commanders had estimated would occur. We have established a firm foothold. We (and) are now prepared to meet the inevitable counter-attacks of the Germans--with power and with confidence. And we all pray that we will have far more, soon, than a firm foothold.

Americans have all worked together to make this day possible.

The liberation forces now streaming across the Channel, and up the beaches and through the fields and the forests (down the highways) of France are using thousands and thousands of planes and ships and tanks and heavy guns. They are carrying with them many thousands of items needed for their dangerous, stupendous undertaking. There is a shortage of nothing--nothing! And this must continue.

What has been done in the United States since those days of 1940--when France fell--in raising and equipping and transporting our fighting forces, and in producing weapons and supplies for war, has been nothing short of a miracle. It was largely due to American teamwork--teamwork among capital and labor and agriculture, between the armed forces and the civilian economy--indeed among all of them.

And every one--every man or woman or child--who bought a War Bond helped--and helped mightily!

There are still many people in the United States who have not bought War Bonds, or who have not bought as many as they can afford. Everyone knows for himself whether he falls into that category or not. In some cases his neighbors know too (also). To the consciences of those people, this appeal by the President of the United States is very much in order.

For all of the things which we use in this war, everything we send to our fighting Allies, costs money--a lot of money. One sure way every man, woman and child can keep faith with those who have given, and are giving, their lives, is to provide the money which is needed to win the final victory.

I urge all Americans to buy War Bonds without stint. Swell the mighty chorus to bring us nearer to victory!

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