Wednesday, July 12, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 12, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page and inside page report that American troops had destroyed 20 enemy tanks in resisting a German counter-attack at Le Desert, six miles northwest of St. Lo. Le Desert was deserted, with the Americans 200 yards from the village. The object of the counter-attack had been to cover a Nazi retreat to the west below La Haye Du Puits, reaching to within two miles of the Lessay Road, with the intent to place tanks on a narrow beachhead at Isigny and split the American front.

Striking again at dawn, albeit without more than a small preliminary artillery barrage, unlike the day before, Americans were less than two miles from St. Lo on its eastern approach and two miles from the western anchor, Lessay, of the 48-mile front, expanded from 40 miles, taking Angoville Sur Ay and La Bourdonnerie along the way. East of La Haye, the Americans cleared Germans from the Castre Forest area, an important development for its having shielded concentrations of German resistance. The Americans had also consolidated their hold on Hill 492, the dominating height overlooking St. Lo from the northeast.

Fighting was fierce among the hedgerows on the ridges before St. Lo and German bodies lay in ditches, covered by the Americans with the Germans' own blankets.

The Germans had begun using 88-mm. guns to cover their advances through the hedgerow country.

Heaviest fighting took place at Pont-Hebert, 3.5 miles northwest of St. Lo. The battlefield was littered with tanks, including a pair of Mark VI Tiger tanks and ten Mark IV tanks from the failed attempt the day before to break through to Isigny.

Other American troops pushed to the west of captured St. Jean De Daye and passed St. Georges Delle by a thousand yards.

In one episode of the fight on the Peninsula, the infantry had sought to blast out German soldiers holed up in the chateau at La Meaufie by use of loudspeakers. When that means failed, they started blasting with artillery.

On the eastern part of the front around Caen, the British and Canadian troops were pushed back between the Odon and Orne Rivers, losing the village of Louvigny, southwest of Caen. The British held the Trans-Odon Line and "Crucifix Hill", northeast of Esquay, despite intense German efforts to take the latter position.

A map on another inside page shows the Allied line in Normandy at this point in time, stretching east of Caen to a point between La Haye and Lessay to the west.

Another 2,000-plane force from Italy struck Munich, as the day before, while another force from Italy struck again targets in southern France, this time in the areas of Marseilles and Nice.

American medium bombers again supported the fighting on Normandy.

During the previous six months, attacks on 64 German petroleum facilities, 13 of which were synthetic oil producers, had severely curtailed oil production, impacting the mobility of the Wehrmacht in France. Strikes on 89 aircraft manufacturing facilities combined with destruction of 7,655 German planes since January to render a rate of destruction higher than production. The German losses compared to 3,425 American planes lost. The major bombing operations on aircraft facilities between February 20 and 25 were credited with eliminating the Luftwaffe effectively from any resistance to the Normandy invasion.

German troops battled Maquis in Southern France, attempting to recapture the communications center at Perigueux in the Perigerd region.

In Italy, the Fifth Army captured Castiglioncello on the west coast, only eight miles from Leghorn. Eight miles inland, American forces encountered stiff resistance as they pushed from Casale to Pastina. Other forces also encountered heavy resistance northeast of Lajatico, still held by the Nazis.

In the upper Tiber Valley, the Eighth Army took the villages of Meone Morra and Mueiguano, while clearing Germans from the 3,000-foot Mount Civitella.

On the Adriatic coast, Italian troops gained slight ground in the vicinity of the Musone River and forces began shelling Ansona, eight miles from Allied lines. Italian motorcycle troops had been spearheading the Allied drives in some locations along this front. Polish troops had also been active in the area.

The Red Army continued to move westward, now less than 49 miles from East Prussia, advancing fully twenty miles to the area of the Swalki Triangle, north of Grodno.

More than 4,000 Germans had been killed and hundreds more captured during just the previous day of fighting along the 350-mile front from Latvia to the Pripyat Marshes.

The First Baltic Army was within 18 miles of Daugavpils, and was in the process of encircling the city. Pinsk was effectively lost to the Nazis, though resistance continued. The First White Russian Army continued to move toward Bialystok and Grodno, extending 13 miles west of captured Slonin.

A map on the inside page shows the advancing Russian line.

Another air raid struck Guam, as mopping-up operations proceeded on Saipan.

It was reported that the Japanese had evacuated 30,000 children from Tokyo in anticipation of bombing raids on the city.

In Chicago, police searched for two men posing as drivers, who had hijacked a truck containing 125,000 packs of cigarettes bound for the front lines.

A piece tells that the most common single name among the men enlisted in service was John W. Davis, of whom there were 356. It appears that the candidate for the Democrats in the 1924 presidential race spawned many namesakes despite his loss. How many men in service were named Cal Coolidge or Warren G. Harding was not indicated.

The most common surname was Smith, of whom there were 72,000, followed by 48,500 Johnsons.

Alice Hughes, on the other inside page, suggests that the aborted singing careers of both Thomas and Francie Dewey would lend themselves well in the White House to gathering around the East Room piano and crooning, maybe, "Down by the Old Mill Stream". She also wondered whether their children had a dog, and if so, hoped that its name was more conventional than Fala.

That Alice is a card, isn't she?

And, be sure to catch "The White Cliffs of Dover" with Irene Dunne, playing at the Carolina, with the penguin and its frosty igloo--connoting what exactly, we don't know. Nor would we care to think on it. Nor would we wish to know what goes on "Up in Mabel's Room".

Tired of your wedding ring? Turn it in for war bonds and stamps.

On the editorial page, "Roosevelt" comments on the lack of surprise to everyone that FDR had accepted the draft of his party for nomination to a fourth term as President. What 30 years earlier, it remarks, might have produced a revolution in the country, drew now no raised eyebrow. Everyone expected it, given the extraordinarily out-of-joint nature of the times.

"Desertion" remarks on the difference in treatment between Americans and Germans anent the subject of desertion. The German High Command warned officers to shoot any man on sight found deserting his post. The situation was critical. General Marshall had merely urged everyone to remain on the job, that the war was not yet won.

The contrast was in direct proportion to the desperation realized by each side.

The piece reminds that at this hour, America might have been laboring instead under the boot heel of Hitler had the war effort abroad not been infused with American manufactured goods, beginning in early 1941, some before that even in 1940. It was important, therefore, to heed General Marshall's gentle insistence.

"Curbed Gold" observes that though the nation regarded the gold in Fort Knox as the foundation pins of its economy, it really was not an essential of ordinary life. And with the freer world to come after the war, there would need be an adjustment in thinking at home to give up some degree of independence from the rest of the world. As John Maynard Keynes had remarked, gold might cease to be an absolute monarch and become a constitutional monarch, with less mystical power than it once held.

"Democrats" observes the unorthodoxy of the Southern Democrats, always good for a good laugh in so behaving. They appealed to all the disgruntled groups of society to obtain election, Labor, blacks, farmers, foreign-born citizens and ethnic populations. It was always a coalition held together by baling wire. That it had been maintained for twelve years was something of a miracle. It would be an amusement to watch in the week to come at the convention, striving to maintain a straight face as it appealed to these various groups, often at odds with one another, to achieve its ultimate goal, re-election.

"No Increase" reports of the falling birthrate worldwide, including the United States. Some nations were so concerned that they offered cash incentives for producing progeny.

But in the South, there was no such decline. The birthrate continued to rise at the rate of 15% while it was falling by 20% in New England and nearly the same rate in other areas of the country.

Perhaps, the thought by the rest of the country of one day being overrun by Southerners nudged the birthrate skyward after the war to produce the baby boom.

We have a thought that other variables, however, substantially entered the equation.

Probably all those Smiths and Johnsons coming home from the war, not to mention a few Joneses.

Drew Pearson discusses Fred Searles, Jr., adviser to War Mobilization Director James Byrnes, and formerly an adviser to the War Production Board. He had come under criticism by a Senate committee for allegedly holding up development of minerals in the United States since Pearl Harbor, including copper, zinc, and other scarce metals. It was significant because he was principal in a J. P. Morgan mining company which owned mines in Africa, South America, and the Orient, competing with American mines for production of these metals. Mr. Searles had also contributed $2,000 to Thomas Dewey and was one of his top ten contributors.

He next turns to a story which had surfaced that Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce had sought to seduce Wendell Willkie, that is to induce him into the Dewey camp by inviting him to her nearby home while he visited with friends in Connecticut. The Dewey people then released the story that he had spent time with her. But the story was untrue. He had resisted her wiles and stayed put with friends. Whether the lady would have seductively raised her leg, had he gone, we shall never know.

Mr. Willkie was interested only in committing to the candidate who committed to a peace plan which would prevent future war. He was not about to play Malvolio to Maria pretending to be Olivia in the jigger's jack to deliver the creme.

What Ms. Luce was interested in besides Ms. Luce, no one really knew.

No plan, no plan, no plan.

As part of his "Merry-Go-Round" section, Mr. Pearson indicates that Harry Richman had been invited by the Republicans to sing at the convention in Chicago. He had responded that he would, should they get the anti-Semites to leave the Illinois Congressional ticket. Apparently, they didn't. Mr. Richman did not thus consort with the beautiful people.

Samuel Grafton discusses the German propaganda campaign to bolster hopes on the home front that they were retreating to trade real estate for time. Some had drawn the comparison to the Russian retreat of 1941-42 to Stalingrad and Moscow. But the comparison was, argues Mr. Grafton, without sense, as the Russians were buying time while the Anglo-American Allies were stepping up production and coordinating for the opening of the various second fronts, North Africa, Sicily, Italy, the bombing campaign of Europe, and finally, the long-awaited official second front, the Normandy invasion.

The Germans, by contrast, were neither waiting on allies for help nor were retrenching to prepare for some major offensive. Their factories were destroyed and spent. They were losing the war.

Their motivating hope in fact was that there would with time develop degradation of American resolve to continue the fight, the more losses being inflicted, the longer the struggle with rationing at home causing, albeit relatively minor, inconvenience. Thus, warns Mr. Grafton, idle expression of petty grievances re sacrifices of the war only contributed to German determination to continue in the fight in the hope of obtaining better terms of surrender ultimately. The best way to fight from the home front was to send a letter to a soldier or like gesture of support, and to keep political division over the war muted.

Marquis Childs writes from Dearborn, Michigan, on his visit with Henry Ford, finding him at age 81 spry and resourceful, talking of the soybean replacing the milk cow in about ten years. He hoped to be back in the automobile business within a few weeks of war's end. He valued the closely-held company, still primarily owned by the family, not Eastern interests. He had no time for idlers, for men who did not earn their money through the sweat of their brow. He explained to Mr. Childs the difference between a scythe and a now obsolete farm implement called a cradle with which to cut hay.

His grandson, 26-year old Henry II, who had left the Navy to run the company in wartime after his father, Edsel, had died a year earlier at age 50, was now taking lessons from his grandfather. Despite the gap in years, despite Henry II having attended Yale, both men saw eye to eye on how to run the family enterprise.

Hal Boyle writes poignantly from St. Laurent-sur-Mer of finding the kid brother of his sister-in-law, after having tried in vain to catch up with him first in Sicily the previous year and then in England in May, before the invasion. He finally found him, in a grave near Omaha Beach, the first of the American makeshift cemeteries, this one containing 2,000 stakes with dogtags hanging from each beside flowers, now wilted, placed by the French peasants of the area.

Mr. Boyle was informed by John Murphy's fellow Navy men what had taken place. He had been a radio signalman responsible for setting up communications shore-to-ship to direct fire onto the beachhead after he landed with the initial wave at H-Hour on June 6. He had successfully established his position and he and three others were in a foxhole on the heavily pinned down beach at 7:00 p.m., when one of the many 88-mm. shells peppering the area hit the foxhole squarely, killing him and one other soldier, leaving one uninjured and one wounded. The grim reality of war had hit home.

At the bottom of the editorial column is one of the little humorous fillers, this one indicating that Republican candidate for the Senate from Indiana, Homer Capehart, had hit a grand slam homer at a recent picnic, and would appear therefore useful to the Washington Senators, managed by Oswald Bluege, in right field.

Mr. Capehart won the race and served in the Senate until 1963. It was Senator Capehart who, strangely, got wind of the fact of offensive missiles being shipped to Cuba before the CIA relayed the information to President Kennedy, October 16, 1962, publicly advocated immediate establishment of a blockade. Senator Capehart was defeated in the 1962 election by Birch Bayh, after the President had appeared on the same platform with Mr. Bayh, instructing that Senator Capehart was full of hot air, during the first week of October.

Senator Capehart had in 1957 served with Senator John F. Kennedy on the Senate Rackets Committee which investigated Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters Union, among others nefariously inclined.

The company Mr. Capehart operated before becoming a Senator developed the Simplex record changing mechanism which became instrumental in enabling the operation of the jukebox. So blame Homer for rock 'n' roll, and, as well maybe, through the whirligig of time, having some hand in the near destruction of the world during the lead-up to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Perhaps, Senator Capehart had been seduced by Ms. Luce.

Whether, incidentally, Miss Truffle there in the "Grin and Bear It", taking her time at the typewriter, was part of the House of Savoy, was not related.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.