America at war! (1941--) -- Part 2

U.S. fliers raid Naples and Taranto

Cairo, Egypt (UP) –
Bomber formations of the U.S. Middle East Air Force struck at two of Italy’s most important southern ports Wednesday night – Naples and the big naval base of Taranto – it was announced yesterday.

It was the first American raid on Taranto, on the Italian heel. Italy’s second most important arsenal is located there, the first being at Spezia on the Gulf of Genoa.

Naples has assumed increasing importance for the Axis as a reinforcement port for its forces in Africa since the RAF crippled Genoa.

Alcoa raps threat of ‘death sentence’

Jap Solomons base blasted

U.S. airmen destroy 24 planes at Munda

Jap seized in Newark with airport pictures

Newark, New Jersey (UP) –
Police held today a Jap alien, whom they caught last night riding around Newark Airport in an expensive auto, with a batch of photographs and a “considerable quantity” of new banknotes.

The photographs were of buildings, docks, subways and elevated highways in the New York area, and of Newark Airport.

Police said he had an alien registration card, which had been canceled on Oct. 24, 1942.

A policeman said he watched the Jap cruise about for some time. Finally, he stopped him, and the Jap said he was lost and had bought the photographs and planned to sell them.

Interned Italians have turkey for Christmas

Missoula, Missouri (UP) –
B. F. Fraser, Immigration Service official in charge of the Fort Missoula Alien Detention Camp, revealed today that Italians interned at the camp enjoyed a Christmas celebration far more festive than any they could have seen in their bomb-scarred homeland.

Turkey was plentiful at dinner, with yards of spaghetti and plenty of Italian bread, fruits and other delicacies.

Italians in the camp are held as dangerous enemy aliens.

Indictments expected soon in Boston fire

Boston, Massachusetts (UP) –
The first indictments in connection with the investigation of the Cocoanut Grove holocaust which took 488 lives Nov. 28 may be expected early next week, authorities indicated today.

District Attorney William J. Foley said that although the Suffolk County Grand Jury was continuing its hearings today, there would be no judge on the bench to receive indictments before Monday.

Today’s witnesses included Fire Commissioner William A. Reilly, Police Captain Joseph Buccigross (who was in the nightclub when the fire started), City Building Commissioner James H. Mooney, and nine other persons.

Editorial: Censorship

Editorial: The Japs in our back room

Ferguson: Rationing heroes

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

Background of news –
The victory drive success

By editorial research reports

Nazi strength is on the wane, diplomats say

Air superiority lost, manpower crisis nears, Washington hears


Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

Oran, Algeria – (by wireless)
The American soldier is an incurable wishful-thinker. Today the average soldier in North Africa, despite the slow going in Tunisia and the long distances we still have to go, thinks the war will be over by April.

The censors tell me that the soldiers’ letters home are full of such belief, and I know that in the camps they are willing to bet good money on it whenever they can find a taker. If you try to point out that such a quick victory is against all logic, and that even a year from now would be pretty optimistic, they look at you as though you were nuts.

Mail has started coming to the troops again in enormous gobs, after a blank of more than two months. Lt. Herbert Desforges, a friend of mine from Gallup, New Mexico, got 20 letters from his wife the other day. Another friend, Lt. Bill Wilson of Des Moines, got 30 personal letters in one day.

They tell a story about one soldier who hadn’t heard from his wife in three months, and finally was so disgusted he wrote her and told her to go to Hell, saying he was going to get a divorce. Then in one huge batch came 50 letters, covering the whole three months. So, he’s had to cable her and take back the divorce threats.

As for me, I have been the recipient of only two letters – one from a girl in Pittsburgh wanting me to say hello to her soldier sweetie, and one from a reader in Iowa telling me that eggs were plentiful and only 38¢ a dozen. I suppose my 50 family letters are at the bottom of somebody’s ocean.

Our soldiers are all over being seriously homesick now, but they do constantly think about home. Even a general said the other day:

What I wouldn’t give for 24 hours in New York. I’d just like to see how it looks and hear what people are saying.

What are the folks thinking?

And as I travel about the camps, the question I’m most frequently asked is:

What are the folks at home thinking about?

…never “What are the papers saying?”

Unfortunately, I don’t know any more about this than they do. In fact, even less, since the Post Office Department apparently considers me unworthy to receive mail. All I know is what I read in the French newspapers, such as an item about America building 32,000 “chars” in the past year. I assumed that a “char” was a chair or a charwoman, but my French dictionary swears it means chariot. So, all I can tell the boys at the camps is that there’s apparently some mighty funny business going on in America. Thirty-two thousand chariots indeed!

Rumors are almost as numerous here on land as they were aboard ship coming down. Today, for example, it was rumored all over town that Tokyo had been bombed by 400 planes, that a thousand American planes were over Germany, that Deanna Durbin has died in childbirth, that Jack Dempsey and Bing Crosby had both kicked the bucket.

No, we don’t know what you are thinking at home, but I hope you aren’t letting yourselves believe we’ll all be headed for New York by spring.

Few troops in action

My powers of prediction are pretty feeble, but as I see things, this neighborhood may not be very exciting for some little time. After the initial occupation, there necessarily follows a period of getting established and building up immense stocks of men and supplies. We are in the middle of that period over here.

Only a very small portion of our troops in North Africa are in action now. The remainder of the combat troops are just waiting and a huge organization of supply troops is busy day and night back of the lines, as it will always be.

We are, it seems to me, in another period of waiting to strike, as Mr. Churchill says, when it suits us best and Hitler least. I have no idea when or where that will be.

El Agheila looks on the map like an afternoon’s drive from Algeria, but actually it’s as far as from New York to Kansas City. So don’t get impatient if nothing much seems to happen for a while.

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Pegler: West Point

By Westbrook Pegler

Clapper: Washington feud

By Raymond Clapper

Enemy broadcast –
U.S. air raid on Wake reported by Tokyo

Dispatches from enemy countries are based on broadcasts over controlled radio stations and frequently contain false information for propaganda purposes.

Tokyo, Japan (UP) – (Japanese broadcast recorded in London)
An Imperial Headquarters communiqué said yesterday that more than 10 U.S. bombers of the Flying Fortress type raided Wake Island Wednesday night, flying in from the direction of Midway.

Four raiders were shot down and six more were damaged, the communiqué said. Jap losses were described as one person killed, four wounded, and four small fires caused.

Washington –
The Navy Department remained silent today on Axis radio reports that U.S. planes have attacked Wake Island, the tiny mid-Pacific outpost which fell to Japan after an epic 14-day defense by the small defending garrison of 385 U.S. Marines.

The Axis broadcast was picked up one years and a day from the time that a Navy communiqué told the nation that the gallant Marines had at last been overcome.

The Pittsburgh Press (December 27, 1942)

Communiqué No. 231

South Pacific.
On December 25, Douglas “Dauntless” dive bombers from Guadalcanal attacked a small group of enemy ships south of Vangunu Island in the New Georgia group of the Solomons. An enemy ship of 3,000 tons was sunk near Wickham Island during the attack.

The Pittsburgh Press (December 27, 1942)

Don’t tell it!

Office of Censorship asks you not to give names of ships on which sailors serve or units to which soldiers are attached

Washington (UP) –
On battlefronts every day, men risk their lives to discover the location and strength of the military units of the enemy.

Yet at home, too many of us are presenting the enemy with information of the same military value, according to the Office of Censorship.

This is the information which newspapers and individuals are asked not to tell the enemy:

Do not tell the names of ships upon which sailors serve.

Do not tell the troop units in which soldiers serve overseas.

There is no objection to revealing that Pvt. John Jones is in Australia or that Seaman Tom Brown saw action in the Atlantic, but there is military information which endangers the lives of American fighting men in stating that Pvt. John Jones, “Company C, 600th Infantry,” is in Australia, or Seaman Tom Brown, aboard the USS Wisconsin,” is in the Atlantic.

The Office of Censorship says:

We ask editors not to publish these troop identifications, and we ask parents and relatives not to reveal them. Don’t give the enemy anything that may lengthen the war!

The Pittsburgh Press has carefully refrained from printing such information, but has seen frequent violations, mostly in various small publicatio0ns or community and plant leaflets, which were obviously not familiar with the censorship regulations.

Military idol of two wars rules Africa

Fighting French expected to back him – assassin put to death
By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer

Algiers, Algeria –
Gen. Henri Honoré Giraud, French military idol, was unanimously chosen French High Commissioner to succeed the assassinated Adm. Jean François Darlan, it was disclosed today, and immediately issued a proclamation calling for unity among Frenchmen in the war against Germany.

Selection of Gen. Giraud was accomplished in a one-hour meeting of the French Imperial Council in a scantly-furnished room at the summer palace. Barely 100 yards away, the body of Darlan lay in state. His assassin was executed yesterday.

The council, whose vote was unanimous, consisted of Gen. Giraud, Yves Chatel, Jean-Marie Bergeret, Gen. Auguste Noguès, and Pierre Boisson (Governor-General of French West Africa).

Appeals for unity

Immediately after his selection, Gen. Giraud issued an order of the day appealing to Frenchmen to unite behind him.

His proclamation said:

In assuming the functions of High Commissioners of French Africa after the tragedy which cost Adm. Darlan’s life, I ask all to stand united behind me to assure, with the support of our allies, the success of our armies.

Only one thing counts: France and her empire; there is but one aim: Victory.

[Signed] General of the Army, High Commissioner of French Africa, Commander-in-Chief of the land, sea and air forces.

Adm. Darlan’s assassin, a youth of 22 who was said to be a French citizen with an Italian mother living in Italy, was executed by a firing squad which carried out its task during an air raid. The sky full of tracer bullets and bursting anti-aircraft shells drowned the rattle of the execution squad’s rifles.

May unite all factions

The sentence was carried out only a few hours after an elaborate state funeral for Darlan, attended by French, British and U.S. officials.

Selection of Giraud, it was believed, would be an important unifying force among Frenchmen and would eliminate political difficulties which arose from the “Darlan deal” by which Allied forces were able to consolidate their North African military coup. Since Giraud has eschewed politics and has consistently opposed the Nazis, it was believed that Gen. Charles de Gaulle and his Fighting French might accept his leadership.

U.S. official at conference

For a time, it was feared that Giraud’s distaste for political activity and a belief that he could serve France best as a military personality might prevent his acceptance of the post.

The French council met for two hours, then adjourned without announcement. Among those at the conference was Robert Murphy, U.S. diplomatic official.

Word of Darlan’s death reached Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower at the front, where he was conferring with U.S. combat leaders. He broke off the Christmas Eve conference, hastily left dinner, and dashed to Algiers by auto. He and his aide drove all night, taking turns at the wheel.

Christmas Day, Gen. Eisenhower parked his car at the roadside for a dinner of British rations, including plum pudding, then rushed on and arrived at Algiers Christmas night.

He received details of the assassination, which could not previously have been told him by telephone. He spent another night of little sleep and rose early for the funeral.

As French High Commissioner in North Africa, Giraud will have a double prestige, both political and military. He is expected to win to his side anti-Nazi Frenchmen who could not accept the “Darlan deal” and his military knowledge of the North African terrain is born of experience.

Upon graduation for the French Military Academy at Saint-Cyr, Giraud entered the 4th Regiment of Zouaves in Tunisia. He was with that regiment during part of World War I and afterward in 1922, took part in the operations in southern Morocco.

During the Rif revolt in 1925, he was the hero of numerous exploits.

He was for two years an instructor at the École supérieure de guerre, then went to Africa as commander over the Algerian-Moroccan borders, becoming the brigadier general.

In 1934, he was named commander of the Oran Division and in 1936 was made military governor of Metz and commander of the 6th Army Corps. He entered the Superior Council of War on June 3, 1939.

Best known to Americans for his daring escapes from the Germans during the two World Wars, Giraud is a hero to millions of Frenchmen.

When the North African invasion was planned, Giraud was quick to seize the opportunity to fight once more against the Germans and escaped from France to North Africa, making the trip in a British submarine.

Questionnaire flood to drop only slightly

Simplification and shortening about only relief public may get
By Fred W. Perkins, Press Washington correspondent

Nazis yield summit –
British forces gain in Tunisia

Attack despite weather; Axis ships sunk
By Edward W. Beattie, United Press staff writer