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

Quiet state’s-right ‘revolt’ discussed at Midwest parley

Eight governors try to five direction to movement as GOP takes lead in drive for independence
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Screenshot 2022-04-04 125930
Screenshot 2022-04-04 130008
Allied forces must retake the Burma Road and rebuild the Burma-China railway in order to come to grips with the Japanese on a great scale. The Allies have blasted part of the Burma Road – and it may take a year to rebuild it when – and if – it is retaken.

Reconquest of Burma a tough job

By A. T. Steele

Almost a year before Pearl Harbor, Arch Steele, of the Chicago Daily News foreign staff, took a trip into Japan and dug up startling facts about Tokyo’s plans against the United States. Then, to avoid censorship, he slipped back into China, and filed his now-famous series on “Japan Takes Aim.”

Since then, Mr. Steele’s accurate and uninterrupted war coverage has carried him into many battle zones – including Russia’s. And now – back in the United States for the first time in four years – he has written a fact-filled series on the task that faces us before we can come to final grips with Japan. The following is the first article in the series.

It’s no secret – but it’s a fact few Americans seem to realize – that a grim, heartbreaking phase of preparation still lies ahead of us before we can take the offensive on a major scale against the continental strongholds of the Japanese Army in Burma and China.

The difficulties our Anglo-Indian allies have run into in this drive against the Burmese port of Akyab – a pinpoint on the map of Asia – show what I mean. That action is, in effect, a laboratory experiment preliminary to the much bigger operation of the future. It has already taught us valuable, if painful, lessons.

The seesaw Akyab battle has demonstrated that the reconquest of Burma, which is the only key to the relief of blockaded China, will be more difficult than some Allied observers had thought.

It has shown that the Japanese are powerfully entrenched, that they cannot be rooted out without smashing superiority in armament, and that they have no intention of giving up any of the invaded territory without a struggle.

Snipers everywhere

The British-Indian force started the Akyab push with marked superiority of numbers but this advantage was quickly nullified by atrocious problems of transportation and supply through dense jungles and mazes of interlocking waterways. Snipers were everywhere – at front, side and rear.

The advance slowed up to a standstill when heavy Japanese reinforcements were brought in and began counterattacking. The British have, however, attained one important end. They have neutralized Akyab as an advance base for Japanese raids on Calcutta and other important centers in eastern India. Japanese bombers must fly farther to reach these bases, and with less protection.

The big show in Burma will require more planes, more shipping and more heavy arms than are now available for that theater. Allied military men in Asia are impatiently awaiting the successful completion of Allied offensive operations in Africa. They are hopeful, but by no means certain, that the expulsion of the Axis from Africa will release enough shipping and enough material to make an all-out offensive in Burma practical.

Helped Egypt

They are, at least, sure that once the African problem is solved, the flow of materials to Asia will increase. Africa has cost us heavily in Asia. It is well known that on various occasions in the past, military supplies en route to Burma and China have been diverted to Egypt and Libya to meet critical emergencies. Sidetracked American airplanes earmarked for India helped, for instance, to save Cairo, and participated in the subsequent drive on Tripoli.

But don’t think for a minute that Allied generals in India and China are just sitting out there twiddling their thumbs. In India, recruits for the Indian Army are still being enlisted at the rate of more than 60,000 monthly. Better than one million Indians are under arms.

Great numbers of the more-experienced Indian troops are stationed in the Middle East and Africa, where they have proved their mettle. Much is expected of the hundreds of thousands of raw soldiers and officers taken into the Indian Army since Pearl Harbor. But as a large proportion of them have been drawn from the non-martial races, and as they have yet to be tested in the fire of battle, it is not possible, now, to assess their fighting qualities.

Highway built

Besides recruiting and intensive training of Indian troops in jungle warfare, other important preparatory steps are being taken in India for the big push. Military highways are being built through the buffer or roadless forests and mountains on the Burma-India frontier, behind which the Japanese have established their forward defenses. This means that when the order is given to march, it will be possible for the Allies to move up troops and supplies swiftly to the line, at least, of the present front. Moreover, the network of new airdromes in eastern India is being constantly improved, enlarged and added to.

Of course, Burma is still 1,000 miles from the main force of the Japanese Army, far to the North, in China and Manchuria. But it is an outer gateway we will probably have to crash if we are to come to grips with the Japanese enemy on his home grounds and if we are to give China the effective material help she had earned and desperately needs.

There is only one other better avenue of attack against the Japanese Army, and that is through Siberia. If, after Hitler’s downfall, the Russians join us in the Far Eastern conflict, the smashing of Japanese military power will be greatly accelerated. We could then strike Japan at the seat of her strength. We could invade Manchuria. Without Manchuria – continental base for the Japanese Army and source of most of Japan’s basic raw materials – Japan could not go on.

Russia uncertain

But who can be certain that the Soviet Union will enter the Pacific War, even when Germany collapses? We can hope, but we cannot be sure. Our strategy cannot be based on possibilities. It has to be founded on certainties.

There is an element among Allied military men which refuses to take China very seriously. This group feels that the reconquest of Burma is not an urgent problem and that our help to China need only be of a token nature until the main job of crushing Hitlerism is completed. This is not, incidentally, the view of Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, commander of U.S. Army forces in China, Burma and India. Gen. Stilwell is itching to get on with the job of recapturing Burma as soon as it is practical to attempt it.

The dry season in Burma is nearing its end, and the chances for any effective action in the short period remaining are very slim indeed. The monsoon rains will then probably paralyze the Burma front until October, when another dry season will set in.

Just a beginning

The reconquest of Burma will only be the beginning of the solution of the problem of striking at the Japanese arm. The task of repairing and restoring traffic on the Burma Road will itself be a formidable one. Parts of the road, blasted away to impede the Japanese advance, will have to be rebuilt. Big bridges will have to be reconstructed. This will all take time.

And the opening of the Burma Road alone will not solve China’s supply problem. It will be necessary to complete the Burma-China railway, which was 40% finished when the Japanese invaded Burma. This will take six months to a year – perhaps more. The Burma Road and Railway, together, would greatly relieve the strain on China and would make it possible for us greatly to intensify our aerial and military pressure on the Japanese Army, but they would not carry sufficient tonnage, for the final knockout offensive.

Before that is possible, the Allies will be obliged to open other channels of supply into China. However, the restoration of the Burma Road will facilitate enormously the recapture of Indochina and perhaps a port or two in South China, which could be used as subsidiary lines of entry.

Then, and not until then, will we be ready for the real big show, to deliver a truly decisive blow.

1 Like

Draft makes Uncle Sam banker of broken hearts

Wives get alimony they never expected

Editorial: ‘Marrons and Nesselrode’

Editorial: Holding the line

Shadow of 1944

By Bertram Benedict, editorial research reports

Washington –
The 1944 presidential elections are already casting a sizable shadow over Washington. Many of the maneuvers in Congress are obviously designed to strengthen or weaken one party as against the other on Nov. 7, 1944. The first 1944 presidential primaries are only a year away.

If President Roosevelt were now to announce that he would not accept a fourth term, he might run into less embittered opposition in Congress – not only from Republicans but also from members of his own party. After all, every time he gets something from Congress, he raises his prestige, and members would not be human if they did not bear that fact constantly in mind.

On the other hand, by renouncing a fourth term now, the President might dissipate whatever hold he has left on Congress. The race for the throne would get hectic among the Democrats; most Democratic Senators and Congressmen would line up for one Democratic candidate or another; the trades and the jockeying for position would play hob with the already-wobbly administration machine on Capitol Hill.

Also, not to put too fine a face upon it, some members of the President’s party are now afraid to defy him – either because they think he is still popular with their constituents, or because they want the patronage which an administration supporter gets and an administration opponent is apt not to get.

Teddy’s mistake

Immediately after his election in November 1904, Theodore Roosevelt announced that under no circumstances would he accept a third term. Later, he admitted that he had committed a prime political blunder. If he had kept the Republican members of Congress guessing up to the adjournment of Congress in 1908, the first Roosevelt would have been able to wield the Big Stick much more effectively over them.

The present Roosevelt may have learned that lesson from the experience of his fifth cousin. At least when Democratic politicians recently brought up the fourth term at their conference at the White House on troubles within the family, they reported that Prexy merely smiled.

Rep. Sabath (D-IL), Dean of the House in service, chairman of the all-important Rules Committee, and staunch New Dealer, said he had urged his leader to choose to run again in 1944, Mr. Sabath reported ruefully that the President didn’t seem “much interested.” There was no official reaction from the White House when Senator Guffey (D-PA) came out here on March 4 for a fourth term for the President.

At present writing, Vice President Wallace seems to be the heir apparent of the Roosevelt dynasty, if the President takes himself out of the picture. The anti-New Deal Democrats might try to spike a Wallace nomination by having the 1944 Democratic Convention readopt the two-thirds rule. The anti-Wallace cohorts are convinced that they can prevent the Vice President from lining up two-thirds of the delegates, even if he does manage to corral one-half.

Dewey out

On the Republican side, some of the contenders for the 1940 nomination have taken themselves out of the running. Thomas E. Dewey, on accepting the Republican nomination for Governor of New York in August 1942, promised to “devote the next four years exclusively to the people of New York.”

Senator Vandenberg, one-half of whose delegates in 1940 came from his own state, Michigan, has announced that he is not to be considered in 1944. Senator Taft has taken the same stand, saying that he is supporting Governor Bricker of Ohio.

Senator Taft’s statement does not preclude him from going after the nomination himself if Mr. Bricker doesn’t get it. The Taft-Bricker forces are supposed to be especially active now in lining up Southern delegates.

Governor Stassen of Minnesota, 35-year-old keynoter of the 1940 Republican Convention, said on March 8 that he was not a candidate for the 1944 nomination and did not expect to become one. Other Republican possibilities now being quietly discussed are 50-year-old Leverett Saltonstall, Governor of Massachusetts since 1939, and 51-year-old Earl Warren, elected Governor of California last year. Which brings us to Wendell L. Willkie.

Willkie active

Mr. Willkie acts as though he’ll be there when the hats are thrown into the ring. By a multiplicity of activities in recent months he has been keeping the voters from forgetting him. Rumor has it that Mr. Willkie even has been talking with any local Republican leaders who can hear his name mentioned without getting red in the face.

Some Democratic supporters of the President’s foreign policy now are saying they’d support Mr. Willkie for the presidency, on a platform of international cooperation after the war, even against Mr. Wallace or some other Democrat were elected, he could never put such a program through Congress against Republican opposition. On the other hand, so runs the argument, if Mr. Willkie were elected while advocating real international cooperation, most Republican members of Congress would have to support that program, and they would be joined by the large number of Democrats who are already committed to it.

1 Like

Woollcott’s last anthology offers humor for troops

As You Were is probable library of American prose and poetry designed for Armed Forces
By Harry Hansen

Decade of peace, war analyzed by writer

John T. Whitaker, foreign correspondent, presents well-rounded world picture of past ten years in We Cannot Escape History
By Ed Werkman

New Richard III dauntless effort but is disappointing

Actor-director George Coulouris pulls his punches in many of the melodrama’s scenes
By Howard Barnes

The Pittsburgh Press (April 5, 1943)

Fortresses blast 35 ships at Naples

Patton’s troops advance as fleets of planes smash at Axis
By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer

Allied HQ, North Africa –
Big fleets of U.S. bombers, including almost 100 Flying Fortresses, hit or damaged about 35 enemy vessels in the big Italian port of Naples and adjacent waters, a communiqué announced today, while U.S. ground forces drove the Germans from two more hills in southwestern Tunisia.

The aerial attacks on the main Italian supply port of Naples and on ships in Sicilian and Sardinian waters gave the Italian mainland its first taste of high-altitude bombing by the Northwest African Air Force commanded by Maj. Gen. James H. Doolittle.

Almost 200 tons of bombs were dropped on Naples in the 13-minute attack and 27 out of 97 aircraft on the nearby Capodichino Airfield were hit on the ground. All the U.S. Fortresses returned to base.

Two liners struck

The attack on Naples was the sixth American air raid on the port, but it was four times heavier than any previous bombing of Naples, where the Americans so far have not lost a plane in attacks from the Middle East or from this sector.

Ten ships, including two liners, were hit in Naples Harbor. A fire was started on one ship. A repair ship and three submarines and a cluster of small vessels were also hit, while seven merchantmen in a floating dock, a liner and two escort vessels were damaged. Fires were started on the quays and in adjacent industrial areas.

Bombs covert airfield

At nearby Capodichino Airfield, bomb bursts covered the field. Only weak fighter opposition was encountered, but the bombers met rather heavy anti-aircraft fire.

B-25 Mitchell bombers, meanwhile, swept over shipping in the harbor of Carloforte, in southwestern Sardinia, hitting a coastal ship and nine smaller boats. Other Mitchells set afire two ships from a convoy in the Sicilian Channel.

U.S. and British aircraft also continued to blast enemy airfields and attack columns and concentrations along the Tunisian fighting fronts, destroying 11 Axis planes. The Allies lost five.

Patton’s troops gain

U.S. forces under Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. continued to advance on the southwestern Tunisia front, pushing slowly forward through heavily mined hill country east of El Guettar on the road to Gabes. They took two more hills on Sunday afternoon in operations against a chain of enemy positions dominating the road from the north, where the Germans have many 88mm guns and mortars manned by their best troops.

The enemy is making every effort in this sector to prevent Gen. Patton’s forces from making a junction with the British 8th Army under Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, which is jabbing at the German rearguard about 20 miles north of Gabes.

The Germans made a counterattack against Gen. Patton’s forces but were repulsed with severe losses, including prisoners. U.S. positions were not weakened.

The British engaged in artillery battles with the enemy on several sectors, especially northwest of Medjez el Bab, and mauled German transport columns. There was no confirmation here of Axis reports that the British were starting a big offensive in the Medjez el Bab sector or of similar reports that the Americans had started a heavy attack near Meknassy, but the U.S. action east of El Guettar was on a considerable scale.

Airfields attacked

Brilliant sunshine favored air activity generally on Sunday, Mitchells attacked the Axis landing ground at El Djem, covering the runway with bomb bursts. Two aircraft exploded on the ground and two burned. Several others were damaged and a truck convoy nearby was hit.

Boston bombers, with Spitfire escort, twice bombed the Axis airdrome at La Fauconnerie, which has been plastered day after day. Two Messerschmitts were destroyed and many hits made on the field. A column of smoke rose from the field after the attack.

In the south, fighter-bombers attacked the Zitouna Airdrome, 20 miles southwest of Mezzouna, damaging planes on the ground, and plastered the Skhira Airdrome, 30 miles north of Gabes. Five Messerschmitts were shot down when Spitfires intercepted two enemy bombing formations headed for the American positions east of El Guettar.

Yanks gain six miles

The Americans were battling some of Marshal Rommel’s finest veteran troops, heavily supported by tanks, artillery, mortars and machine guns as well as the ever-present minefields. Deeply entrenched on Bir Mrabot Pass, the Germans are holding the last high ground west of the coastal plain.

At one point, the Americans were six miles beyond the junction of main Gafsa-Gabes road and a road shooting off southward to Kebili.

American-manned Spitfire planes on Saturday shot down 14 German dive bombers in the biggest air battle yet staged over the American frontlines.

In northern Tunisia, the British 1st Army and supporting French forces pummeled enemy troop and transport concentrations and sent out reconnaissance patrols after clearing the Germans from Cap Serrat, 36 miles due west of Bizerte, main Axis base in Tunisia.

Paris suburb hammered by U.S. bombers

Americans down many planes over Belgium, general’s plane hit
By William B. Dickinson, United Press staff writer

MacArthur’s skip-bombers rip Jap fleet

12 vessels, seven of them warships, shattered in island harbor
By Don Caswell, United Press staff writer

Attack in May?
Invasion fear of Axis rises

Nazis move imprisoned French leaders to Reich
By John A. Parris, United Press staff writer

Irvin Works officers face federal quiz

Jurors to investigate charge of inferior metal furnished for war

Uniform ceilings on beef, mutton, lamb, veal fixed

OPA order designed to reduce many prices and help drive black markets out of business

Mine walkout over WLB near

450,000 may be called out by Lewis

Supreme Court acts –
Rent control argument due

Case involves suit over $10-a-month increase

U.S. currency plan includes return to gold standard

Senators hear Morgenthau outline post-war program for ‘world bank;’ America to deposit $5 billion

Farm groups ask Congress to beat veto

Inflation charge based on distorted figures, they say

Propaganda mailing hit

Washington –
Rep. Overton Brooks (D-LA) charged in the House today that the Office of War Information is sending such vast quantities of “propaganda literature” abroad that shipping space is not available for servicemen’s mail.