Wednesday, July 19, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 19, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the British Second Army in Normandy had driven five miles southeast of Caen, penetrating to Cagny on the road to Vimont and ultimately to Paris, facing increasing German counter-attacks and resistance, with the injection into the fight of Rommel's best reserves, the total Germans in the area now estimated at nine to thirteen divisions. The British captured Hottot-Les-Bagues, 2.5 miles southwest of Tilly-sur-Seulles, widened the wedge around Noyers, and repulsed an enemy counter-attack at Maltot.

A report clarified that the two-pronged offensive across the Orne River from Caen begun the day before had struck Vaucelles, the southern suburb of Caen, and Demouville, between Caen and Troarn to the east.

The American forces advanced 2.5 miles, wrecked 16 German tanks, and reached the east bank of the Vire River, capturing the towns of La Capelle and Grand Hamel. Meanwhile, German artillery pounded captured St. Lo as the doughboys dug in to hold the communications center. Men sought cover even in cemetery crypts as the town's streets were virtually deserted save for soldiers moving quickly house to house.

Reports from Vichy stated that the French Resistance were hard at work sabotaging gas, oil, and coal supplies of the Germans, breaking mine elevators and pumping machinery which kept the mines dry. One reported example was the Noeux mine near Bethune which the Resistance entered July 3, wrecking its machinery. Other incidents had been reported from the Rhone Valley and Southern France.

One of the largest V-1 attacks yet struck Southern England and London during the night and into the day, apparently in the hope of diverting some of the aircraft bombing the Normandy front and permitting the advance of the British from Caen. The tactic had thus far not succeeded.

The Fifteenth Air Force flying out of Italy shot down 66 Luftwaffe planes over Southern France, striking an aircraft factory at Friedrichshafen and an airfield at Memmingen, as reported the previous day. Eleven of the 66 planes were shot down by African-American pilots, presumably some of the Tuskeegee-trained airmen. The bag brought to 114 the number of German planes shot down during the previous three days in the Mediterranean area. The Fifteenth Air Force lost 19 planes in all during its previous day's operations, including strikes on Yugoslavia and Northern Italy.

Meanwhile, 2,500 American heavy bombers and fighters flying from both England and Italy combined to attack Munich and other targets in Southern Germany, including Schweinfurt and Saarbrucken. The Eighth Air Force out of England, flying about half the aircraft, reported destroying 53 German planes, bringing the total American, British, and Russian bag to 319 during the previous 36 hours.

The night before, a thousand RAF heavy bombers struck Berlin, Cologne, the Ruhr, and rail targets near Paris, as well as east of Paris at Revigny. The Normandy front and the Pas-de-Calais coast were also the object of bombing raids.

In Italy, the Fifth Army, having taken the key heights overlooking Leghorn, were able to capture the key port, as Polish troops on the Adriatic front captured the port of Ancona. The Germans did not attempt to defend Leghorn. The Poles captured 2,000 Germans and war materiel at Ancona.

In Russia, Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky's forces had moved to within 12 miles of Brest-Litovsk, 110 miles east of Warsaw.

In the south, Marshal Ivan Konev's First Ukrainian Army had gained 31 miles in three days since its offensive began in the area between Lwow and Kowel. They had crossed the Bug River at a point south of Sokal, were 22 miles from Lwow, and were nearing the 1939 Polish border.

General Andrei Yeremenko's forces were reported twenty miles inside the Latvian border to the north on the Baltic front.

Battleships, using spotter planes, were attacking Guam for the second straight day on Sunday, following 12 days of air attacks. Twenty-five ships had definitely been sunk with another four probably sunk, and twenty-one damaged, with more than 150 supply barges destroyed or damaged.

The Japanese Domei news agency issued a terse statement promising important news the following day at 9:30 a.m., Washington time. It would tell of the complete displacement from power of General Hideki Tojo.

President Roosevelt issued a statement to the Democratic National Convention, beginning this date in Chicago, that he favored Vice-President Wallace for the nomination for the second spot on the ticket, but that his second choice would be Senator Harry Truman, and his third, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.

After the announcement, former Senator and former Supreme Court Justice James Byrnes pulled out of the race for the nomination.

Supporters of Vice-President Wallace estimated that he would receive 325 votes on the first ballot.

Delegates expressed the belief that the convention might be gaveled to a close as early as Thursday night.

On the editorial page, "Convention" observes that the Democratic affair would be livelier than the Republicans' soiree three weeks earlier in Chicago. The Democrats would be more bold with ideas than the dry Republicans, who had reveled in and reminisced of the past glory days of the party while only grudgingly accepting the necessity for change.

"Guam" comments on the fact that if the Marianas island were retaken, it would be the first in the Pacific to be so, other than Kiska, Attu, and adjacent small islands in the Aleutians. Guam had been taken by the Japanese December 10, 1941, after having been a U.S. possession since the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. Its fortification had been limited to status quo by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1921-22. The Treaty expired in 1936.

On December 27, 1938, the Hepburn Board had recommended fortifying Guam and expending 155 million dollars to do so. Tokyo indicated that it would regard fortification as an unfriendly gesture. The Naval Expansion Bill of 1939 earmarked five million dollars for improvement of the harbor, but that was voted down by the House on a heavily partisan vote in which most of the Republicans voted against it. In 1941, the House and Senate voted to construct defensive works on Guam.

"Or Juleps?" urges that the South needed to use its own capital to develop business and industry, that it had the resources and only needed to harness them. Despite quibbling by many that the region lacked the capital to take advantage of these resources, it was there and only needed to be spent at home rather than in other areas of the country.

"Welles Plan" takes a look at the The Time for Decision, a book by Sumner Welles, former Underscretary of State, in which he suggested that Germany be divided three ways after the war. It was unclear whether the plan would be adopted, but it was one which would garner such popular appeal that it had to be considered seriously as a viable plan for keeping Germany from again waging war.

Samuel Grafton indicates that in all corners of the world, save China, men were uniting and, from it, moving forward. The French were coming together under De Gaulle, even those who had been ardent followers of Marshal Petain. The Yugoslavian forces of King Peter had formed a unity with the forces of Marshal Tito. Only in China was there disunity, with the Kuomintang led by Chiang at odds with the Communists. And in China the war was not going well, the only front on which that could be said.

Marquis Childs writes of Vice-President Wallace being the epitome of the idealist in a political world governed by machine politicians, a man out of place and therefore suspect within the political arena. He was never wanted by the machine four years earlier, but Roosevelt had tapped him and the President's choice held sway. First choice then had been Cordell Hull, but he had refused the position. Second choice was James Byrnes, but he was passed over for other reasons.

Mr. Wallace would remain a man of integrity and not fight a political battle to maintain a position which had brought him nothing except grief and which could prove his ruination if he retained it. Even his most ardent supporters privately admitted that he lacked the political support to be an effective president.

Likely, says Mr. Childs, the Vice-President would lose his battle to be renominated, but he would go out respected by the people, far more so than those who had unseated him.

Drew Pearson quotes from a speech delivered by Josephus Daniels, former Secretary of the Navy during World War I and former Ambassador to Mexico between 1933 and 1941, speaking to the Democratic Convention on why FDR should be elected to a fourth term. Said he, the Democratic Party was a party of minorities, Southerners, Catholics, Jews, blacks. Yet no representative of these minorities could become President. "Thank God for Franklin D. Roosevelt," he concluded.

Mr. Pearson next looks at the reports on the President's health, finds that his physician had provided him a positive rating, in better condition than most his age.

The President had become less given than in the early days of the New Deal to ridding the Administration of self-interested bureaucrats, points out Mr. Pearson. He had become more secretive during the war, but had also protected civil liberties and, while occasionally bristling at press criticism, did not seek to restrict or punish the press, as had President Hoover, who called publishers to have journalists fired.

He effectively commanded the Navy and had made mistakes, primarily by keeping admirals in place after they had commanded operations which led to disaster. The admiral who commanded at Savo Bay in 1942 was commanding at the time of the Tarawa landing in the Gilberts, with its terrible results, in November, 1943. But, overall, operations in the Pacific were seven months ahead of schedule and the President deserved the credit as well for that extraordinary achievement.

The President had been foresighted in three major areas, from 1933 building up the Navy despite Congressional resistance, believing that a war was coming; second, sending weapons to Britain in 1940 after Dunkerque, preventing its fall in the Battle of Britain during the fall and winter of 1940-41; third, his foresight in insisting, notwithstanding the reservations of Churchill, that a cross-Channel invasion be undertaken to accommodate the Russian desire for a second front so that they might move toward Berlin from the east.

As to FDR's chances for success in November, Mr. Pearson rated them even, with the odds on Dewey should the war end by October, provided the Democrats did not place a Republican on the ticket, in which case they would win. It would be the toughest political fight, he predicts, of the President's career. Ultimately, the decision would be based on the perception of the people as to whether the Democrats wanted a non-partisan victory and peace, in cooperation with the Republicans.

He remarks that the people appeared tired of the Democrats but nevertheless favored Roosevelt to win the war, while the Democrats were not so fond anymore of Roosevelt but knew he was their only hope for winning.

Hal Boyle writes of the various rations and prepared foods served the troops, including the new B rations, served to half the men, which consisted of chicken fricasse, baked sweet potatoes, cherry cobbler, and white bread, an improvement over the standard K rations or C rations. He provides the menus for the prepared meals.

The dehydrated food was as dry as this day's News; in the words of Mr. Boyle, no kicks.

Whether, incidentally, the insistence of the soldiers on drinking unpasteurized milk, despite orders not to do so, somehow related to the capture of Hottot-Les-Bagues and the repulse of the enemy at Maltot in Normandy, in turn having relationship to the opening of the Democratic Convention with the only issue being retention or not on the ticket of Vice-President Wallace, we leave to the reader to discern.

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