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

Japanese send more fighters to hit raiders

Allied bombers meeting increased opposition near Australia

Editorial: Log jam broken

Edson: Bob Nathan joins Army and ‘goons’ lose their chief

By Peter Edson

Film director Gary Cooper? Well, that’s his ambition!

Lanky star, acting for 17 years, thinks he’d like to take up the megaphone – maybe to produce a movie of his own
By Ernest Foster

Millett: We need more nurses

And a tour of some hospitals by high school girls might bring the needed recruits
By Ruth Millett

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

In the frontlines before Mateur – (by wireless)
After four days in battle, the famous infantry outfit that I’m with sat on its newly won hill and took two days’ rest, while companion units on each side of it leapfrogged ahead.

The men dig in on the back slope of the hill before any rest begins. Everybody digs in. This is an inviolate rule of the commanding officers and nobody wants to disobey it. Every time you pause, even if you think you’re dying of weariness, you dig yourself a hole before you sit down.

The startling thing to me about those rest periods is how quickly the human body can recuperate from critical exhaustion, how rapidly the human mind snaps back to the normal state of laughing, grousing, yarn-spinning, and yearning for home.

Here is what happens when a unit stops to rest.

My unit stops just after daybreak on Hill 394. Foxholes are dug, outposts placed, phone wires strung on the ground. Some patrol work goes on as usual. Then the men lie down and sleep till the blistering heat of the sun wakes them up.

Darkness brings hot food

After that you sit around in bunches recounting things. You don’t do much of anything. The day just easily kills itself. That first evening is when life begins to seem like Christmas Eve. The mail comes up in jeeps just before dark. Then come the men’s blanket rolls. At dark, hot food arrives – the first hot food in four days. This food is cooked in rolling kitchens several miles back and brought up by jeep, in big thermos containers, to the foot of the hill. Men carry the containers, slung on poles over their shoulders, up goat paths in the darkness to all parts of the mountain.

Hot food and hot coffee put life into a man, and then in a pathetic kind of contentment you lie down and you sleep. The all-night crash of the artillery behind you is completely unheard through your weariness. There are no mosquitoes so far in the mountains, and very few fleas, but there are lots of ants.

Hard to write letters

Hot food arrives again in the morning, before daylight. You eat breakfast at 4 a.m. Then begins a day of reassembling yourself. Word is passed that mail will be collected that evening, so the boys sit on the ground and write letters. But writing is hard, for they can’t tell in their letters what they’ve just been through.

The men put water in their steel helmets and wash and shave for the first time in days. A few men at a time are sent to a creek in the valley to take baths. The remainder sit in groups on the ground talking, or individually in foxholes cleaning their guns, reading, or just relaxing. A two-month-old batch of copies of the magazine Yank arrived, and a two-week-old bunch of Stars and Stripes. Others read detective magazines and comic books that have come up with their bedrolls. At noon everybody opens cans of cold C ration. Cold coffee in five-gallon water cans is put in the sun to warm.

Soldiers cut each other’s hair. It doesn’t matter how it looks, for they aren’t going anywhere fancy anyhow. Some of them strip nearly naked and lie on their blankets for a sunbath. By now their bodies are tanned as though they had been wintering at Miami Beach. They wear the inner part of their helmets, for the noonday sun is dangerous.

Purple with ointment

Their knees are skinned from crawling over rocks. They find little unimportant injuries that they didn’t know they had. Some take off their shoes and socks and look over their feet, which are purple with athlete’s-foot ointment.

I sit around with them, and they get to telling me stories, both funny and serious, about their battle. They are all disappointed when they learn I am not permitted to name the outfit they’re in, for they are all proud of it and would like the folks at home to know what they’ve done.

They say:

We always get it the toughest. This is our third big battle now since coming to Africa. The Jerry is really afraid of us now. He knows what outfit we are, and he doesn’t like us.

Thus they talk and boast and laugh and speak of fear. Evening draws down and the chill sets in once more. Hot chow arrives just after dusk. And then the word is passed around. Orders have come by telephone.

There’s no grouching

There is no excitement, no grouching, no eagerness either. They had expected it. Quietly they roll their packs, strap them on, lift their rifles and fall into line.

There is not a sound as they move like wraiths in single file down tortuous goat paths, walking slowly, feeling the ground with their toes, stumbling, and hushfully cussing. They will walk all night and attack before dawn.

They move like ghosts. You don’t hear or see them three feet away. Now and then a light flashes lividly from a blast by our big guns, and for just an instant you see a long slow line of dark-helmeted forms silhouetted in the flash. Then darkness and silence consume them again, and somehow you are terribly moved.

Soldiers in Guinea know way to win, wipe out the Japs

Americans give demonstration in cleanup of northern shore; long drive along beach filled with deadly skirmishes
By George Weller

Völkischer Beobachter (May 6, 1943)

Inflation in den USA. –
Eine Warnung vor dem Dollar

U.S. Navy Department (May 6, 1943)

Communiqué No. 368

North Pacific.
On May 4, during the afternoon, Liberator (Consolidated B‑24) heavy bombers, supported by Lightning (Lockheed P‑38) fighters, carried out a bombing and strafing attack against Japanese installations on Attu Island. Bomb hits were observed at Holtz Bay, and the Lightnings strafed Chi­chagof Harbor.

The Pittsburgh Press (May 6, 1943)

British open big push on Tebourba

Nazis may abandon naval base, make last stand in Tunis region
By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer

Coal hearing goes ahead without UMW

Ickes, meanwhile, takes no chances on tie-up of fuel supply

WLB seeks way to ease wage freeze

Byrnes ruling is asked on regional style of ‘Little Steel’

Tank general new chief of AEF in Europe

Devers named successor to Andrews, killed in air crash

Hold-the-line order broken with approval of Byrnes

OPA authorizes cent-a-loaf increase in bread prices in two areas

Senate votes strike penalty

Connally bill promised speed in House

Selfridge Field commander held for shooting private

Colonel removed and placed under observation; details of incident withheld

Selfridge AAF, Michigan (UP) –
Officials at the U.S. Army Air Base here disclosed today that Col. William T. Colman, commanding officer of Selfridge Field, has been arrested for allegedly firing on a Negro soldier.

He has been replaced by Col. William B. Wright, 39, for the last eight months base commander at Barksdale Field, Louisiana.

A statement issued by Capt. Richard M. Ramey, Public Relations Officer, said Col. Colman was arrested for firing on Pvt. William McRae, 24-year-old motor vehicle driver from Morven, North Carolina.

Col. Colman, Capt. Ramey said, has been removed to the Army’s Percy Jones General Hospital at Battle Creek, Michigan, for observation.

Capt. Ramey said:

The revolver was said to have been fired near the front steps of the base headquarters.

No other details of the shooting were given.

Pvt. McRae was said to be in fair condition at the base hospital. A board of Army officers is investigating the case.

Col. Colman, a native of Dunkirk, New York, entered the Army soon after graduation from the University of Michigan in 1926. He served at Langley Field, Virginia, and in the Philippines before coming here to succeed Col. Morton H. McKinnon. He is 39 years old.

Davis hints invasion before end in Africa

Washington (UP) –
War Information Director Elmer Davis today said it was possible the Allied armies might launch their invasion of the European continent without waiting for the end of the Battle of Tunisia.

Mr. Davis said in an interview:

It would appear to be feasible to start the invasion of Europe even if there was one pocket in Tunisia that hadn’t been cleaned out.

He said it was entirely possible that the attack on the continent would be made as soon as the enemy is pocketed off at Bizerte, which from today’s news should be accomplished “pretty soon.”

The OWI chief emphasized, as always, that his opinions on operations were those of a civilian. However, he confers daily with the Army and Navy chiefs.


Follow the leader?

By Florence Fisher Parry

Who can compute the loss in the death of Gen. Andrews?

The average value of one man’s life has been estimated. I do not recall the figure in dollars and cents, but a figure has been computed. It runs into many thousands of dollars. The value of Gen. Andrews’ life is beyond compute. An army of men could not replace him.

We have already lost eight generals in this war. You need only keep track of the casualties, singly reported in our newspapers, to realize that they are thickening and that the great toll is already being counted.

Prophecies and predictions are being made as to the length and cost in lives of this war. The coldest-blooded of them all was made by Gen. Homma of Japan, some time before Pearl Harbor. He said to one of our most gifted reporters, Clark Lee:

It seems that the prevailing idea among Americans is that one of your fighting men is worth two Japanese fighting men?

Mr. Clark admitted:

That’s about the size of it.

He inquired:

Accepting your own evaluation, then, we have proceeded with our preparations. We are prepared to lose 10 million men in our coming war with you. How many are you prepared to lose?

According to Gen. Homma’s estimate, based upon our own assumption of superiority, we must lose, then, five million men before we have exhausted Japan’s fighting manpower.

Five million men in the Pacific. How many in Europe and other parts of the globe?

Damage is done

What value a man’s life?

What price freedom?

It is worth any price, of course. If we think we can avoid paying it, we are already lost.

Yet the ghastly farce continues on the home front, and democracy is being discredited the world over. The damage has been done. The terrible propaganda has been set loose. Our men in far places have been let down and humiliated. Whatever the coal settlement, the weakness has been exposed. We stand indicted before the world. We are still playing at war.

Truce, not settlement. Armistice, not peace. The old, old story: the old, old fallacy which lost us the peace after the last war and can lose us this one. The fallacy of compromise.

I hope you have been reading Ernie Pyle’s reports from the battlefront. They stand alongside any classic that has been written about men at war. They compare with the pictures of Goya. The unutterable weariness of the living, the grotesque attitudes of the sudden dead, the horizonless perspective, the insensate cloudiness – it is all there in the simple record…

…in their eyes as they pass is not hatred, not excitement, not despair, not the tonic of their victory – there is just the simple expression of being here, as though they had been here doing this forever, and nothing else.

I hope these words will stay with and trouble and give no rest to the miners who, under Lewis, are still waiting for his orders and have ignored all others.

Who makes a leader?

One more word before I join the silent vigil of waiting to see what word is to go to our boys who are fighting for this thing called democracy.

Mr. Editor, I know that it is at variance with the expressed attitude of The Pittsburgh Press as voiced in your most excellent editorials, which lay the blame – and the consequences – flatly upon the shoulders of one man: John L. Lewis. You exempt the miners themselves. They have been betrayed by false prophets, you say. They are not to be condemned.

Mr. Editor, if we were to employ this same line of reasoning to the war which we are now waging, and say: The German and the Japanese people are not to be condemned; only their leaders are guilty, we would never win the peace, however absolute our martial victory. We would be just where we were before.

So long as the followers are exonerated and only the leaders blamed, human conduct will continue to be unimproved. Leaders are made by their followers, for leaders can exercise only what power their followers permit them.

If our miners forsake their sons in battle, their President and Commander-in-Chief, and cleave only to their leader, they are guilty too, and cannot escape blame and punishment any more than can the followers of Hitler, who were also misled.

Treasury still opposes Ruml tax proposal

Bill would produce less revenue than others, official says

WPB proposes 6-point cushion

Everyone to suffer in civilian goods cut

Rabbi Wise says Americans are cold to plight of Jews

‘Sacrificial giving’ urged to help victims of Nazi oppression and brutality