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

The Pittsburgh Press (March 6, 1943)

2 destroyers sent down in night battle

Task force shells enemy bases in Solomons; raid on convoy fails
By Sandor S. Klein, United Press staff writer

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Yanks in Tunisia seize key town

Capture of Pichon puts U.S. forces in position for drive on coast – armored forces take Nazi position
By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer

Allied HQ, North Africa –
Allied armored forces have captured the important town of Pichon in central Tunisia in a drive eastward that now threatens Kairouan and the vital Axis reinforcement port of Sousse.

The capture of Pichon was accomplished by U.S. forces. The first troops in the town were armored patrols consisting of infantry and armored cars. By taking the town, the Americans won control of the entrance of a pass that leads to Kairouan.

The drive carried the advanced elements of the Allied forces to within about 50 airline miles of the coast of Tunisia. If the offensive can be sustained, the Allies might be able to drive a wedge between the northern and southern Axis forces in Tunisia by cutting all the way across to Sousse.

Sousse, heavily battered by Allied air attacks in recent weeks, is the port which Marshal Erwin Rommel has been using to feed troops and supplies to his forces in central Tunisia which rolled through Kasserine Pass and threatened to break the entire Allied line a few weeks ago.

Enemy activity on the northern Tunisian front died down, and Allied patrols seized the initiative and made local gains, a headquarters communiqué said.

A total of 30 enemy tanks have been destroyed since Rommel’s forces started their attack in the north.

Evacuate town

Front dispatches said that British forces, after driving the Germans from Sedjenane in a bitter street fight, had evacuated the town after dark Thursday and taken up positions covering Tamera, eight miles west of Sedjenane. At 8:30 a.m. yesterday, the Germans still had not established any contact with the British.

Patrol activity continued along the Mareth Line, and British 8th Army artillery shelled enemy working parties which were preparing to resist the push that Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery is expected to order soon. French patrols continued to operate in the Chott el Djerid area.

Air operations were restricted by bad weather in all parts of Tunisia yesterday, but the Allied air force flew patrols without losing a plane.

Control key road

The capture of Pichon gave the Allies control of an important road that runs eastward to Kairouan, 20 miles away. From Kairouan, the road goes on into Sousse and cuts across the Sousse-Sbeitla railroad.

The British still had strong positions in the Sedjenane when they withdrew for tactical reasons. The evacuation of the town was not regarded as serious so long as the British can maintain their new positions.

The Germans delivered a stiff attack on Sedjenane, using large armored cars, infantry and dive bombers which worked on the roads leading to the town. The fighting for Sedjenane surged back and forth – often within the streets of the town – for 24 hours.

Officers to escort reports in Tunisia

Allied HQ, North Africa (UP) –
Tunisian frontline correspondents will travel with conducting officers in the future, and are to be under closer supervision than heretofore, it was learned today.

Conducting officers, who will be responsible for transportation and accommodation, have been available in the past, but some correspondents have preferred to take care of themselves.

The number of correspondents on the southern Tunisian front has risen from two to almost a score and under such conditions the informal way in which frontline press relations has been handled could not continue. Under these conditions, it is not possible to get the latest information simply by asking the general. Hereafter, correspondents will have to go through “fixed channels,” as the Army says.

Lt. Quentin Roosevelt wounded in North Africa

Washington (UP) –
The War Department today disclosed that 1st Lt. Quentin Roosevelt was wounded in action in North Africa.

He is the son of Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt and the grandson of the late President Theodore Roosevelt.

The lieutenant was wounded while serving with a field artillery unit on the Tunisian battlefront. Two days after his injury, his condition was reported to be good and he was considered out of danger. His father is also on duty in North Africa.

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After convoy victory –
Allies prepare Guinea mop-up

MacArthur’s planes blast Jap airdromes
By Don Caswell, United Press staff writer

20% withholding tax wins approval of subcommittee

Forgiveness plan awaits decision of full House group as question of authority is raised

Records are shattered –
New anti-sub fleet at sea

Escort destroyers designed to free Atlantic


Look to the 11 million

By Florence Fisher Parry

Eleven million men in the Armed Forces: the most potent political power ever to be snapped to dispense the future of this country.

All over the world they are hearing – from the peoples of other countries – about their President, who has become to the occupants of those countries the most almighty figure of benevolence and hope ever to sit in the White House. Yes, I am thinking of Washington and Lincoln and Wilson. Their influence, however benign, did not extend so far nor touch so many people.

Whatever we on the home front may think, whether or not we consider that the President deserves this reputation, it is his to enjoy.

He is now the Commander-in-Chief of THIS generation of voters. And THIS generation of voters is going to decide whether our two-party system and limited tenure of office in the White House are to endure. It is one of the most vital decisions ever to be made in this Republic.

What is being done to influence this potential voting army of 11 million men?

They are far from home. They are far from the domestic issues confronting our voting population on the home front. They hear vaguely of the farm problem and labor problems which are giving us such a headache. They hear very little about the confusion and unrest which exists in Congress and in the minds of the home front rank and file. They are thus supported in their belief that all goes well under the paternal dispensations of their President.

When they move out of the country this conviction becomes even more deeply rooted. The very name Roosevelt is a bright legend, it is known and loved in the furthermost outposts of the world. So, the myth takes new hold on them. It is easy for them to imbibe some of the hero-worship which seems to exist everywhere abroad.

A fourth?

So, when the question of a fourth term comes up, it seems to them a natural consequence.

I have talked with many of our boys returned from camp and from actual service in combat. THEY ALL – without exception – say, in substance:

Well, why NOT let our President finish the job? He’s the best able, he’s had more experience.

And you know how their ballot is going to be cast.

Never in the history of the world – yes, the world – has ANY man been given the opportunity to advance his popularity as has President Roosevelt.

Of these 11 million voters, how many even remember our having another President? Franklin D. Roosevelt celebrates his TENTH anniversary in the White House. To our boys from 18 to 25, this is a lifetime! They were little boys, 8, 10 years old, when he came into office. They have been conditioned to him. His unending term is not unique to them. THEY HAVE KNOWN NO OTHER.


So, the issue of a fourth term is no issue to them at all. THAT issue was lost to America in November 1940. Now we see that it was one of the great lost causes in our history. Perhaps the greatest.

But there are those of us still remaining who, when we pledge allegiance to our flag, resolve that it will stand for THE REPUBLIC, for the two-party system.

How we will manage to get our declaration over to those 11 million armed men, I don’t know. Without the support of at least half of them, our cause is lost.

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Meat supply sharing due

Wickard will check sales to federal agencies

Liquor blamed for absentees

Draft bill expert cites hangover evidence

1943 will decide war, Tōjō says

Calls for increases in Jap fighting power
By the United Press

Wheeler says draft jeopardizes homes

Traitor petitions supreme tribunal

Publishers’ brief fights license fee

Rehabilitation bill for disabled veterans

Food put first in draft plan of farm bloc

Change strategy if need be, Senator Nye suggests; debate is set

Adm. Ghormley gets command in Hawaii

Editorial: The Allies need India

Striptease scene gets ‘okay’ from the Hays Office censors

Lucille’s dress torn from her at ‘prom’
By Erskine Johnson

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

The Tunisian front – (March 5, by wireless)
Late one afternoon, I drove my jeep to the cactus patch which contained headquarters, I had often stayed there, and felt like a member of the family.

Without reporting in or anything, I just picked out a little open spot among the bushes, got out my shovel and started digging a hole to sink my pup tent into. I had the hole about four inches deep and only half long enough, when I heard a shout:

Here they come.

Immediately all over the cactus patch guns started firing. Dive bombers had comer out if the sun, and were on us almost before we knew it. My hole in the sand was still not large enough to harbor a man even as slight as myself. But, I assure you, its inadequacy did not deter me from diving into it forthwith.

As always in an air raid, I was torn between getting under cover and staying out to see what was going on. My policy seems to be the reverse of the ostrich – I stuck my rear in the sand and leave my head out, thinking I’m safe.

So, I lay there in the shallow depression, but proposed one elbow to get a good view.

Right now, I want to say that anybody who can tell, after a dive-bombing attack, just exactly what happened is a genius. It is all so fast and confusing.

Details hard to remember

Your senses seem to play hooky on you. After that raid, I could not tell you how many bombs dropped, how many planes took part, what kind they were, whether any stated smoking, or what direction they went when they left.

They came down one at a time, seemingly from everywhere. As soon as one finishes its dive, you start looking for the next one. You lose sight of the one which just passed, and don’t know what happened to him.

You see others in the sky in addition to the one now making its dive. They seem to be going in all directions. The air is full of tracer bullets and black ack-ack puffs. You get these spots confused with planes.

I remember feeling a wonderful elation when I saw one tracer tear right smack into its target – only to realize a moment later it had entered a puff of smoke instead of an enemy plane. You hear the scream of diving planes and the clatter of shooting around. You hear explosions of ack-ack and shells and bombs going off, and truly can’t tell which is which. At least, I can’t.

You sense, more than actually see, bombs falling around you – and duck after you hear the explosion, which obviously would be too late if it were really close.

They dive-bombed us twice that evening. Before I got my sandpit finished, men were killed within 200 yards of me. Yet a bomb that far away isn’t even considered in your neighborhood. It must be within 50 feet before you start telling big stories about your escape.

One of the most vivid remembrances I have of the raid is of a flight of little birds roosting in the cactus patch. That horrible melee and shooting scares the wits out of them. They start flying hysterically in all directions.

Birds don’t like bombs either

Time and again I duck instinctively from flying bomb fragments – only to realize later that it is the little silver birds, darting frantically back and forth amidst the cactus bushes.

I went through another dive-bombing attack during the Sidi Bouzid battle. That part of the desert is flat as a polished tabletop, with not a hole or ditch anywhere. So, I psychopathically lay down behind an old dead bush about 12 inches high.

I remember only two things during the few minutes they were over us. One was getting my breath in little short jerks – almost panting – though lying flat on my back, looking up at the planes, and not exerting myself on any way. The other was my feeling of indignation and frustration that dozens of enemy planes could fly smack overhead, not more than 500 feet, with the sky around them absolutely speckled with tracer bullets and not a single plane be brought down.

Our Air Corps contends that dive bombing is relatively harmless and that, as soon as our troops get seasoned, we will be knocking them off so fast they will stop it. True, dive bombing does not kill as many people as you would think. But the great damage is psychological. The sound and sight of a dive bomber peeling off from formation, and heading right down at you, is one of the most nerve-shattering episodes of war.

It takes guts, and plenty, not to run or not to turn your head at the last moment. Maybe our troops eventually will get hardened to it.

As for me, I’m too old to change my ways, and my way is just to lie there scared stiff.

Pegler: Willow Run

By Westbrook Pegler

Clapper: Axis airpower

By Raymond Clapper

Guffey puts fourth term issue in open

Tradition does not prevent return of Roosevelt, he tells Senate

Elliott Roosevelt defends brothers’ military record

Lambertson’s attack characterized in letter from Africa as a political ‘stab in the back’