Thursday, July 13, 1944

The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 13, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that American troops, again attacking at dawn after a concerted artillery barrage, had captured seven more towns in the vicinity of St. Lo as they slowly encircled the town, with its fall appearing imminent. They recaptured Le Desert and took Bretteville-sur-Ay and Beeterie, as they made a similarly encircling thrust toward Lessay, 21 miles northwest of St. Lo.

Hal Boyle reported that, as gleaned from Nazi prisoners, German morale among the soldiers was dropping rapidly, especially the result of the consistent bombardment by the mind-numbing American artillery, causing some of the vomit-dogs to vomit on the scene of the rocky plane.

An officer in Normandy, frustrated with the slow progress of the men through the hedgerows, cracked, "Our slogan is: 'The Russians in Paris, the British in Caen, and the Americans in St. Lo by Christmas.'"

More robot bombs were reported hitting England, and some had been launched against the American lines on the Cherbourg Peninsula.

A force of a thousand American bombers struck Saarbrucken and Munich, the latter for the third successive day. Another group out of Italy hit Trieste and Porto Marghera, as well as other targets northwest of Trieste.

Some 500 RAF bombers struck the night before on rail yards in France.

The Fifth Army in Italy had broken German lines in the upper Era Valley, seventeen miles inland from the west coast, and captured Lajatico, as they moved laterally toward Leghorn from the east. The forces had moved to within twelve miles of the Arno River valley, key to the Gothic Line, the last German defensive line before the Po River valley.

The French captured San Donato, 25 miles southwest of Florence.

The Eighth Army meanwhile gained four miles in the upper Tiber Valley.

New casualty figures from Italy showed 70,399 Army casualties, an increase of 5,107 since the report through June 15. Of those, 12,655 had been killed, 47,457 wounded, and 10,267 missing.

Total American casualties for the war stood at 274,626, approaching the 278,829 of World War I. Of those, 53,572 had been killed, 33,210 of whom were in the Army.

The Japanese 18th Army, bypassed near Aitape, after remaining quiet for two months, suddenly had attacked on Monday and Tuesday the American positions near Aitape, seeking to carve an escape route through Dutch New Guinea to avoid starvation.

Total American casualties on Saipan had reached 15,053, with 2,359 killed, 11,481 wounded, and 1,213 missing. Japanese dead were between 11,000 and 12,000 and more than 10,000 prisoners--all in a single month of fighting for the Emperor and Empress, for land which was not theirs for the militarizing, but given as a mandate, for protective maintenance, taken from Germany as a punitive measure after World War I.

The Russians moved to within 30 miles of the Suwalki Triangle in East Prussia, after advancing 19 miles during the previous night and day. A Swedish broadcast placed the Russians within 12 miles of East Prussia after advancing 30 miles beyond Grodno. Other Russian columns were within 38 miles of Kaunas in Lithuania after advancing seven miles. Another unit moved to within 30 miles of Bialystok.

Vichy radio denied the previously reported death of former Premier Edouard Herriot. The denial was correct. He lived until 1957.

In Bear Mountain, N.Y., a posse was hunting for Louie the Fox, after he had escaped his cage at a museum. The museum's director said that the eight-year old grey fox had attacked two dogs and bit his wife on the wrist the night before, the physician who treated his wife concluding that Louie might be rabid. Thus, the order was to shoot to kill.

If Louie you should chance to see, do not approach, or be prepared to flee. Contact the Bear Mountain police immediately.

He is armed and dangerous, mostly sly, and very much still on the loose, quite alive, in the vicinity of Bear Mountain, that's the truth, where at his creep they yet do swoon, and into your neighborhood very likely he will, and very soon.

On the editorial page, "Bolters" sets forth the long history of party bolts during a presidential election year and that therefore Wendell Willkie, himself a Democratic bolter from Roosevelt in 1936, would not be unique by any stretch should he defect the Republicans and come out for FDR in 1944.

The tradition of defection from the party which had nominated the nominee had been followed by Al Smith in 1936, the Democratic nominee in 1928, as well by John W. Davis, 1924's Democratic nominee, also supporting Alf Landon in 1936.

Alf Landon had supported the third-party Bull Moose candidacy of Theodore Roosevelt in 1912.

Parenthetically, it notes that Harold Ickes and Henry Wallace had been Bull Moosers who then came back to the Democrats in 1916. (Whether Styles Bridges might have been one, too, was not elucidated.)

And so on and so forth, back to John C. Fremont, the first Republican nominee, in 1856, who then in 1864 ran for awhile on a third party ticket against Abraham Lincoln until he was persuaded to withdraw.

And beyond that time, back to former President Martin Van Buren running on a third-party ticket in 1848, splitting the anti-Whig vote and enabling victory for Zachary Taylor, not to mention, because of the cherries and milk on a hot summer's day in 1850, Millard Fillmore.

"Coming Years" states that it was useless to speculate on future problems of the country, that they would arrive soon enough, and that the immediate task ahead, winning the war, was the primary one on which the country needed to remain focused.

"His Own Job" quotes an editorial statement by editor F. A. Miller of the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, explaining the reasons why he would not accept the importuning of his readers to seek public office, that it would hinder irreparably the impartiality and independence of the newspaper, and that his best avenue of public service was there.

The editorial echoes the sentiment.

"Question" asserts that Donald Nelson's orders from the War Production Board, allowing the resumption in production of certain consumer goods, maybe shoe strings and telephones plastique among them, greatly needed through the country, to be undoubtedly well-informed and certainly welcomed, the strident objections of war industrial captains, that such allowance to some industries would produce unfair competition, notwithstanding.

Marquis Childs, still in Michigan, indicates that the predominant feeling was that the state would be carried by Thomas Dewey. FDR would carry industrialized Wayne County with Detroit, but the rural portion of the state was likely to go Republican.

The UAW was busy registering voters in and around Detroit. Racial tensions which had erupted in the riot of a year earlier had cooled. Overcrowded housing in Detroit among blacks, however, still remained a critical problem.

In fact, the state would be carried by Roosevelt, but only by one percent, the second closest state which he carried, the closest having been Ohio.

Samuel Grafton comments on the grumbling by military commentators in Washington, calling for a war of maneuver in France, to start taking territory apace. Mr. Grafton argues that such myopia failed to take into account the macro-strategic view of the whole war, that the Normandy front was as important integrally as was the slow-moving Rumanian front for the Russians, in turn it being substantially important to the Soviets' relatively fast-moving northern and central fronts, and so the entirety of the fighting fronts worked together as one, along with Italy, bogging down German divisions in disparate lands, unable to assist one another, being gradually destroyed in each setting.

The war of maneuver could be seen in that big picture, and was unnecessary to each small section of it. The myopic view of merely gauging progress by yards of real estate won was not the conceptualization apropos to this war.

Drew Pearson reports of the apparently warmed feelings between General De Gaulle and President Roosevelt after their meeting. General De Gaulle had been suspicious of FDR having been fed anti-De Gaulle rumors through the President's chief of staff Admiral Leahy, Ambassador William Bullitt, former Ambassador to France before the war, and Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle.

But the real problem, says Mr. Pearson, had been the refusal of General De Gaulle to allow the President to act as mediator between him and General Giraud at Casablanca in January, 1943. The President had felt rebuffed and came away with the attitude that De Gaulle was a difficult personality.

Mr. Pearson next resolves the mystery of where Senator W. Lee Bisquickly O'Daniel had obtained his newsprint for his own personal newspaper, with war shortages restricting its availability. It turned out that a friend in Texas whose father had owned a couple of newspapers, one in Dallas, one in Austin, which the friend inherited and then sold, had the leftover newsprint for the Senator's use.

He then turns to the awkwardness experienced by both General De Gaulle and Secretary of State Hull when they were faced with mutual conversational duties, neither able to speak with enough facility in the other's language to be readily understood. They sat, puffed cigars, got along well.

Finally, he comments on the flak being hurled at Thomas Dewey for not supporting the Federal ballot measure for soldiers, with the result that an estimated 600,000 soldiers would likely not be able to vote in November. The odds were that the soldier vote would run 7 to 5 for FDR.

Hal Boyle reports from Carteret in France, twelve miles across the sea from Jersey Island, one of the German-occupied Channel Islands, to which numerous of the German soldiers had fled at the time of the invasion, now stuck there with dwindling supplies and food.

Neither force could reach the other. But the Germans could not do anything from their position and so there was little need at present to do anything about them. But, the soldiers remarked, they would likely move on them at some point.

A French woman stated that the Germans had told of how pleasant their reception had been on the island when first they arrived, especially from the girls. But, she believed, no longer did they enjoy their vacation there.

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