Wednesday, SEPTEMBER 13, 1944

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 13, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the First Army had captured Rotgen, nine miles southeast of Aachen, six miles east of captured Eupen, pushing forward against pillboxes and the dragon's teeth of the Siegfried Line beyond Rotgen. The Germans offered no resistance to the attack. There was no new report on the second column of the First Army which had moved five miles into Reich territory at Trier 65 miles to the south. Other units moved to within sight of the German border in northern Luxembourg, advancing 15 miles beyond Bastogne to the vicinity of Clervaux.

Armored columns of the Third Army moved forward eight miles in less than two hours from the established bridgehead across the Moselle River above Nancy, outflanking the German position at Pont-a-Mousson. During the night, beginning at 2:00 a.m., a German counter-attack had penetrated 500 yards into the American lines south of Pont-a-Mousson but was repulsed and the Germans captured, as American tanks knocked out eight German tanks. Another Third Army column moved, in less than an hour, from captured Aumetz through the capital of Luxembourg to the Our River border of Germany, below Clervaux. The artillery continued to shell Metz and to its north more heights were taken surrounding Thionville, ten miles from the border with Germany.

A pair of maps on the inside page provides a quick overview of the Allied advances at this juncture toward the Siegfried Line, a bit over 90 days before the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge.

A piece on the inside page tells of the joinder of the Third and Seventh Armies at Chatillon, 110 miles from the Belfort Gap and 135 miles southeast of Paris, cutting off an estimated 10,000 Germans attempting to retreat into Germany via the Belfort Gap. French troops had advanced 48 miles in 40 hours to make the connection between the two forces.

American troops moved forward after capturing Vesoul in a fierce three-day battle during which a German counter-attack at Port-sur-Saone was repulsed. On the Seventh Army right flank, the French advanced five miles in the area of the Swiss border but encountered stiff opposition at Pont De Roide, sixteen miles south of Belfort.

An Allied armada of 6,000 planes, largest since D-Day, dropped 10,000 tons of bombs on Germany to cover the attack of the infantry and armored divisions, concentrating on the area between the Siegfried Line and Berlin, hitting Stuttgart, Leipzig, and Frankfurt, while RAF Mosquitos bombed Berlin. At least 50 German fighter planes had been destroyed. American losses were not yet available. The only substantial opposition was encountered in the area of Leipzig.

Roger Greene reports on the inside page of witnessing the aftermath of an Allied air attack occurring at 12:30 p.m. on September 1, destroying a 40-car train which had been carrying over a hundred V-1 robot bombs, leaving giant craters in the ground, 50 to 60 feet deep, near the Albert Canal southeast of Diest in Belgium, a half-mile from Cechulen railway station. The American Typhoons had first struck the locomotive and derailed it, then flew over the train, repeatedly striking the robot bombs. Explosions rocked the surrounding countryside. The station master, whose house was three miles away, said that the explosions made such a sound that he could hardly believe he was still living. So powerful were the explosions that heavy wire-bound metal balls, apparently containing jet fuel, had been blown a hundred yards from the location of the train.

The Russians had captured Lomza, twenty miles south of East Prussia, a German strongpoint in north Poland.

Russian and Rumanian troops emerged from the western foothills of Transylvania to seek control of the rail network emanating from Tunisoara, 40 miles south of the pre-war Hungarian border and 75 miles north of Belgrade. Paris radio reported that the Red Army had reached the outskirts of Sofia in Bulgaria and that the new anti-Nazi government was preparing to welcome them.

The Second Ukrainian Army moved to within 25 miles of Cluj, capital of Transylvania and the largest city in Rumania still in German hands. The drive also threatened the rail center at Arad, ten miles from Hungary on the north bank of the Mures River. The battle plan was to close off Serbia from the north and reach the Tisga River flowing north to south across the Hungarian plain, one of Hitler's primary bread baskets.

Another Nazi atrocity was reported, this time from Italy, where on June 26, 230 persons of the village of Civitella Della Chiana, 50 miles southwest of Florence, had been machine-gunned to death in reprisal for Partisans having killed three German officers on June 18 for looting.

The War Production Board established October 31 as the outside possibility for the end of hostilities in Europe, basing the time estimate on reports from the military, with an earlier date possible.

A major hurricane, packing 140 mph winds, was expected to hit the area of Wilmington by sometime this night.

Bob Hope, still in New Guinea, tells of a straw poll taken among the soldiers for the presidential election. Betty Grable was ahead by 10,000 votes.

He was taken in a PT-boat by former Notre Dame football star Paul Lellus. The PT-boat crews, he says, were plenty rugged.

The men on New Guinea had not seen a girl for fourteen months and so were agape when Patty Thomas entered the stage in her dancing costume. Then Frances Langford sang the first line of "No Love, No Nothing", to which one of the men shouted, "You ain't kidding."

The only thing which saved the soldiers from cracking up was mail from home.

The noise surrounding the jungle bases was terrific. The troupe had performed a show on Wakde next to a runway and the noise of planes taking off nearly ruined the show. They delivered a straight line and had to wait for the punch line until the plane cleared the runway. It was akin to striptease.

Mr. Hope had to depart to talk to the natives about brushing their teeth three times daily. They could not understand why this advice was important.

On the editorial page, "Correction" points out that, contrary to a popular misconception that Germany had resigned the war in 1918 to fight another day and had suffered relatively few losses, the numbers of losses were substantial in that previous war. Fully 14.162 million casualties had been counted between the Central Powers, Austria and Germany. Of those, 6.326 million were killed or captured. So it was not just a surrender and armistice of convenience, but one of practical necessity given these high losses.

The same circumstance was now dogging Germany again. Since D-Day, it had suffered 700,000 casualties in Northern France and Belgium, while the Seventh Army in the South had inflicted many more. On the Eastern front, the casualties had reached into the millions after more than three years of war.

"Confusion" deplores the base methods sometimes rearing their plug-ugly heads within organized labor, with resort to violence to achieve dictatorial ends. The latest episode had occurred in Cincinnati at a UMW meeting in which there was an attempt to break from the strike-plagued leadership of John L. Lewis. But union men in support of Lewis broke up the meeting with a fistfight.

Such tactics, says the piece, caused all of Labor to suffer.

"Prelude", with the news coming the previous day of the U.S. Third Fleet having knocked out 89 Japanese ships off Mindanao, including the entirety of a 52-ship convoy, suggests that the days of Japanese occupation of the Philippines were now numbered. The carrier-borne operation was obviously preliminary to a landing in the Philippines. When that occurred and General MacArthur would be able to fulfill his promise made in March, 1942 when departing Corregidor, "I shall return!" the moment would be not only symbolic and instilling of morale at home, but also would carry significant strategic importance, bringing the Pacific war effort one major step closer to Japan.

The fact that little opposition came from the Japanese Air Force underscored the accuracy of General MacArthur's statement that Japan no longer possessed air power anywhere in the Southwest or Central Pacific, that it had all been driven west.

These developments were occurring simultaneously with the Quebec Conference, stressing the Pacific war, with FDR and Churchill hinting that the Russians might, at the conclusion of the European war, engage in the fight to defeat Japan.

"Way Stop" discusses the pounding of Palau, 600 miles east of Mindanao, as delivered by American 16-inch Navy guns and airplanes. It was unclear whether this bombardment was preliminary to a landing, as had been similar treatment of Guam, Saipan, and Tinian, or whether it was merely to take down a Japanese flank to operations directed at Mindanao and the Philippines generally.

Palau, like the Carolines and Marianas, had once belonged to Germany by right of purchase from Spain. They had become a Japanese mandate after World War I, following the Japanese move into the islands during the war.

Drew Pearson reports that Prime Minister Churchill had called for general elections in Great Britain immediately following the end of the war in Europe. Labor members of his coalition Cabinet were insisting upon it, though Conservatives believed that the rank-and-file members of the Labor Party were in favor of continuing the Churchill coalition Cabinet in power after the war.

Opines Mr. Pearson, the action by Churchill was shrewd as to its proposed timing. After the war, he would be popular; a few months hence, he might lose that popularity through post-war domestic policies. It was expected that Churchill and the Conservatives would win such an election handily.

It turned out otherwise. In July, 1945, the election turned out the Conservatives and elected a Labor Government headed by Clement Atlee, charged with the responsibility of dealing with post-war reconversion to a civilian economy. Churchill would be returned to power, however, in 1951.

Mr. Pearson next informs of the attempt by the Dewey campaign, operating through industrialist Roger Strauss, to obtain a transfer away from covering Albany politics for New York Times reporter Warren Moscow. The Dewey inner circle considered Mr. Moscow a gadfly and sought to shoo him away. His managing editor stood by him, but publisher Arthur Sulzberger gave in to the pressure and agreed to transfer the troublesome reporter away from the New York capital beat. Mr. Moscow, before resigning the newspaper, asked to speak to Mr. Sulzberger, convinced him that he should be allowed to stay.

The column next tells of Vice-President Wallace's aide, Harold Young, who predicted that the war in Europe would end September 21 because the Vice-President was set to speak that date in Madison Square Garden. The last time he had spoken there, the invasion of North Africa had occurred, grabbing the headlines. Then a year earlier, Mr. Wallace had made a major speech, a few minutes after which news came of Mussolini having been deposed. It would only be true to form, therefore, that Hitler would choose the date of the Vice-President's speech as the day to surrender, just to spite Mr. Wallace.

Senator Wherry of Nebraska flouted the tradition against holding hearings into a subject which personally benefited a given Senator. In his case, despite being one of the largest Ford dealers in Nebraska, he would conduct hearings into whether there should be an increase to the limits on used car prices imposed by the war and absence of new car production since February, 1942.

The column concludes with a series of complaints by men in military service anent mustering-out pay, not being paid for furlough time, not having their 21 days of annual furlough time made cumulative or available at the end of their service, and the problem with making soldiers who applied for full government insurance pass a rigorous physical examination more strict than the Army physical to determine fitness for duty. The consequence of the latter policy was that men were being shipped overseas after being denied full government insurance premised on a minor physical disability.

Samuel Grafton writes for the fourth time in favor of a post-war armistice in lieu of a formal peace treaty, continuing readiness for war for years to come if necessary to enforce the peace with Germany. He again points out that a treaty would only supply the ammunition to inevitable critics of its terms, to arise both domestically and in Germany, just as did the Nazis in bitter denunciation of the terms of the Versailles Treaty as emasculative of the German identity as the Aryan Superman. It was putting the cart before the horse to declare peace before peace was certain into the future.

Marquis Childs finds remarkable the fact that approximately half of the 20,000 Japanese civilians on Saipan had committed suicide rather than surrender. The Japanese military creed of Bushido was well known, but it had never been apparent among the civilian populace. Japanese prisoners on Saipan predicted that the Americans would have a long hard fight ahead to the home islands, that the entire eighty million people of Japan would fight to the death rather than surrender.

The prospect was entangled further by the war in China where Hengyang recently had been lost to the Japanese, costing the Americans a valuable base of air operations. Added to Chinese inflation, the problems in that theater were becoming quite serious.

The Chinese, he indicates, were tired of quick junkets by American political figures, staying a week and then departing. Vice-President Wallace had spent most of his June-July trip in Siberia, spending only three days in Chungking. It was hoped that Donald Nelson would accomplish beneficial changes in China's economic situation.

One letter writer explains why she intends to vote for T.E.D., that is Governor Dewey, to get rid of the special interests and influence of the political bosses surrounding and dictating policy to the Roosevelt Administration.

Another letter writer explains why he intended to vote for FDR, that he did not wish to return to the times of Calvin Coolidge or Herbert Hoover. President Roosevelt, he asserts, had been the only President ever to assist the working man.

Dr. Herbert Spaugh comments on the hardship of the returning veterans of World War I and that better treatment should be accorded the veterans of World War II. He recommends a piece on the subject printed in Life July 3, written by John Hersey, author of A Bell for Adano, explaining in a fictional treatment based on interviews with over 40 veterans the feelings and attitudes of veterans as they returned stateside, that most wanted their service recognized but did not like questions about their battlefield experience.

Gladwin Hill, substituting for the injured Hal Boyle, writes from Paris on September 8 of the hospitable and cordial surroundings he found in the city. But he warns that German spies were still active in France and were often disarmingly charming in their guile to obtain information regarding locations of troops. He relates some of the techniques.

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