Wednesday, August 16, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 16, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that after the initial assault on Southern France had been led by the U.S. Sixth Corps which had distinguished itself at Anzio, the American Seventh Army, commanded by Maj. General Alexander Patch, fighting through the night, had broken through coastal defenses in Southern France and established itself as far as eight miles inland in some positions. Troops continued to be landed between Toulon and Cannes, although German artillery fire had prevented landings at an undisclosed location. The Army was comprised of both American and French troops, the latter commanded by Maj. General Jean De Lattre De Lassigny, a former captive of Vichy who had commanded the "Iron Division" in the Battle of Rethel in France in 1940.

Swiss reports indicated that the Allies had occupied both Cannes and Nice, while French Partisans along with a thousand Allied paratroops were about to take Marseille. Casualties were reported as being exceptionally light in the invasion as German resistance continued to be weak.

The Seventh Army was built up from the Second Corps which had been commanded by General Patton beginning in March, 1943 in Tunisia and continued as the Seventh Army under Patton's command in Sicily.

The French Maquis in Southern France were reported to have advanced on several towns, including heavily defended Limoges, demanding the surrender of Toulouse. Some 10,000 of the Resistance were reported marching on Vichy, as officials of the German puppet government were busy fleeing the capital in chaos.

French Patriot forces also had captured a dozen towns, including Erdeven, and surrounded 1,500 Germans at Paimpol on the North Brittany coast, 50 miles west of St. Malo. In the north of France, the Maquis had burned 400,000 gallons of German fuel and pushed German troops back from the garrison at Tarantaise toward the Italian border.

The Germans, based on strong Allied forces present in Corsica and Sardinia, together with Allied bombing along the coast of Genoa, speculated that the front in Northern Italy would be united with that in Southern France and, with new Allied landings in Northern Italy along the Ligurian coast, the German Gothic Line would be attacked from the rear.

Fear was also being expressed by the Nazis of attacks coming against Greece and Albania, as the German commander of Samos and Lesbos ordered concentration of defenses of those occupied islands on the ports and towns. The Nazis appeared to be transferring forces from Southern Greece onto the Adriatic coast.

The forces of the American Third Army under General Patton and the British Second Army under General Montgomery had routed the German Seventh Army and forced their confused retreat from Western France, eliminating all opposition save for the area around the Seine River. The bulk of the remaining Seventh Army, thought to consist still of 50,000 rearguard soldiers, were trapped in an eight-mile gap between Argentan and Falaise, with all avenues of escape cut off. Canadian troops had reached the outskirts of Falaise from the north. The Germans were now operating in marauding bands of guerrillas, retreating willy-nilly without any semblance of order. The Allies dropped leaflets among the Germans offering safe conduct upon surrender. German casualties approached 300,000 in Western France.

The Germans reported a new American column of the Third Army advancing 60 miles eastward from captured Alencon to within 40 miles of Paris, engaging battle in 20-mile sector between Dreux and Chartres.

A map shows the possible path northwest for the Seventh Army to converge with the forces of the Third Army now approaching Paris.

A map on an inside page shows the locations of the various prisoner of war camps spread throughout Germany, Austria, and in Western Poland.

A report tells of the recent capture by the Germans in the area of Chartres, on the road to Paris, of veteran war correspondent for the New York Sun, Galt MacGowan.

A traveler from Germany, familiar with the German military, had reported that at least 90 percent of the professional German army officers believed the war was lost. Offering insight into the mentality of the officers seeking to overthrow Hitler, a mentality not at all aligned with either democratic ends or the Allies, one general had personally informed the traveler that the attempt to overthrow Hitler would continue to preserve the fiction among the German people that the war had been lost not by military weakness, but through internal collapse, so nurturing the continued myth of German military invincibility on the battlefield, so that when another leader would inevitably emerge in Germany 20 or 50 years hence, he would still have the proud German military tradition on which to call to enable Germany to take its rightful place on the world stage.

The Red Army was pressing on Warsaw from the Praga suburb just across the Vistula River, a position which had been held by the Russians since late July, and which had now been suffused by reinforcements and supplies.

During the previous month, the Army of Marshal Ivan Konev, operating west of the Vistula, south of Warsaw, within 35 miles of Krakow, had killed 140,000 Germans and captured another 32,360. Reports from six of the nine Russian armies had previously pinned the number of killed or captured Germans during the summer offensive at 781,886.

Another force of 2,000 American planes, half of which were heavy bombers, attacked German airfields and oil facilities in the areas of Leipzig and Magdeburg. Other bombers, striking from Italy, bombed targets in Southern France in support of the invasion, as well as striking Southern Germany over the Alps into the Tyrol and Bavaria.

A story on the inside page relates of the Charlotte native who had become a one-man task force in the Pacific, Commander Norman "Buzz" Miller, who, as of June 2, had, single-handedly, sunk 21 Japanese ships, including two destroyers, one light cruiser, and a 7,000-ton cargo vessel.

American bombers of the Fourteenth Air Force out of China struck for the first time Mako in the Pescadores, between Formosa and China, as well as at Takao Harbor on Formosa.

Meanwhile, Tokyo radio confirmed that Japanese forces which had been fighting in Northeastern India since the winter had now evacuated the region and were in Burma.

On the editorial page, "Strike Two" again hearkens the invasion of the South of France and the move inland with scant resistance to be a harbinger of quick victory in France, perhaps only weeks away. The Nazis were removing their forces from Southwestern France to avoid being trapped between the Third and Seventh U.S. Armies. The Germans, already reeling before the might of the U.S. and British Armies to the north, now faced the new threat from the south and were fleeing in the face of its advance.

"______", another editorial in the darkened print, presents a lengthy quote from some source we cannot at present ascertain, perhaps the watchdog publication The Hour, regarding the woeful display by Senator Robert Rice Reynolds, via his new American Nationalists' Committee and its monthly newsletter, The National Record, expressing continued sympathy with the enemies of the country and antipathy toward its allies in the war. The quoted source found it to suggest that the Senator still wanted to achieve national power and wreck, even in the waning shadows of his Senate career, the peace by throwing a wrench into the works of international cooperation.

"Cheap Labor" praises Governor Broughton's progressive outlook for the state in proclaiming to the State Federation of Labor that a great state could not be built on cheap labor, and so plans were being made to increase the state minimum wage to match the national minimum.

Marquis Childs, writing before the President's broadcast speech to the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Wash., on Saturday, offers that it would be wise to address the nation by radio about his trip to the Pacific. Such a speech did not need to discuss politics, a subject the President was loathe to broach during the previous year. He had spoken by radio to the American people only on Christmas Eve and again briefly on the taking of Rome June 5, followed by a speech to launch the Fourth War Loan Drive a few days afterward. But these, says Mr. Childs, were a far cry from the warm fireside chats of earlier years. Increasingly, the President was being perceived as aloof from the American people and he needed to correct this perception.

The President's speech of Saturday had followed precisely the lines suggested by Mr. Childs.

He urges further that the President should speak to the people anent politics before election day, and would undoubtedly be beseeched by his party hierarchy to do so. But, given his insistence on keeping politics out of his role as commander-in-chief, and given the great weight of decision-making now required of him to shift the emphasis of the war from Europe to the Pacific, it was unlikely that those managing his political interests, vying with the generals and admirals for his attention, would succeed in getting it.

Drew Pearson discusses the exceptional jobs performed by the Chinese troops in the fight to preserve the Assam Valley in Northeastern India from the approach of the Japanese, who had threatened for months the Imphal rail line, and were now forced to evacuate to Burma. The U.S. Air Transport Command had flown the Chinese troops over "The Hump" of the Himalayas into the region. So closely packed were they in the plane, without benefit of oxygen at 20,000 feet, that many of the troops had passed out. The transports had flown even during the monsoon season, thought to be impossible of accomplishment.

But once revived and given a week to rest, the Chinese had proved adept at jungle fighting, that at which both the British and Indian troops were not experienced.

Previously in the war, Churchill had refused the offer of Chiang Kai-shek to provide the British Chinese support troops in Burma. Perhaps, the reason was concern that the Chinese might, once defeating the Japanese, seek control of Burmese territory, once part of China and often discussed for reacquisition.

The Chinese had also aided considerably in building the airfields in China for the B-29's.

Mr. Pearson next turns to J. Edgar Hoover and his fondness for children. Despite being a bachelor, the nation's superdick had expressed his advice on raising a son, that he would want him to be honest and would in turn be honest with him. He would want him to join the Boy Scouts, but would get to know the scoutmaster aforehand.

Whether that somehow might have something to do with one of the editorials of Saturday or the Doug. of this day remains in the dark, hidden among the hedgerows of time, the convict lists, and other like analogies.

Incidentally, we are compelled at this juncture to point out that there is a magical transformation at work in this sequence, as the 1958 Thunderbird, while parked, becomes a 1958 Ford by the time it hits the Strip. At least, it wasn't a Studebaker Lark.

We ought to know. For, once upon a time, we had about 50 1958 Fords parked in our backyard, before the general public ever got to see them. We stood as their guardians against the prying eyes of all who were eager to know what the 1958 Ford had on its mind. And we stood our sentry well and true. No one found out and lived to see another sunrise. The swamp below still, no doubt, carries the bones of those who sought, without special permit, entry to the secret place.

But we always had to wonder: why no Thunderbirds? Well, it was because of the retooling, causing extended production of the '57's and delay of introduction of the '58 for five months. Which also explains the title sequence. Everything has an explanation if one searches long enough for it.

Finally, Mr. Pearson reports that relations between Prime Minister Churchill and Premier Stalin had considerably improved since the strained relations of the Tehran Conference in November and December. The opening of the second front in France, which Churchill had for long sought to delay, had helped measurably imbue friendship between them. British officials were now complimenting Stalin on his approach to Poland and believed that the resolution of the boundary issues between the two nations would prove satisfactory to all.

Hal Boyle tells of the breakthrough from the treacherous Normandy hedgerows into Brittany where American armor could take advantage of the rolling terrain to afford fast movement against the less concentrated German forces. He recounts some of the cultural history of Brittany, founded by Britons fleeing the Scots and Picts across the Channel. They were a fiercely independent lot, similar to their British cousins, explaining why the Germans were eager to surrender to American forces rather than the angered Breton resistance fighters.

Tom Jimison checks in with a piece, sorely regretting having previously written on various native home-cooked and grown victuals and viands. Having done so, the people of Richmond County, where he now resided, were inundating him with all kinds of victuals and viands.

Not only that, but he had been tapped by the powers that be in Rockingham to become the next Democratic vice-presidential nominee. Their efforts in calling the Democratic hierarchy in Chicago to get him on the ticket to ride had failed, but they figured it was the reason Vice-President Wallace had been substituted by Senator Truman.

What the people of Rockingham were craving was a buttermilk and cornbread candidate, he reports, and to that end, they had formed the Cornbread and Buttermilk Party of which he was to be the presidential nominee. All figured that both Dewey and Roosevelt would thus resign the campaign, when he swept in with his buttermilk and cornbread brigades--probably accompanied by this theme song.

Only problem was that he was not sure about moving to Washington and into the White House, could not decide whether he wanted to be president or to be right.

But he had, alas, determined to acquiesce to the public weal.

And, here's to you, you Nazi eraserhead...

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