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

Editorial: Wisecracking the news

Editorial: Remember Mateur

Ferguson: Home-front enemy

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

Background of news –
States’ petitions to Congress

By editorial research reports

Millett: Let’s make it ‘Mom’s Day’ as her boys would like it

Special consideration for mothers of servicemen is due from every one of us
By Ruth Millett

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

In the frontlines before Mateur, Tunisia – (by wireless)
Rest periods for our frontline troops in Tunisia are few and far between. And when they do come, they are only for a day or two, and subject to being ended at any moment.

The infantry battalion that I’ve attached myself to had its rest cut short just after dark on the second evening. Word came to move again into the lines, which were only a mile and a half away.

We had been dug in on a high, rocky ridge. German shells pounded continuously on the back side of the ridge, just a hundred yards off. The whole solid mountain seemed to tremble with each blast, but of course it didn’t actually. And we were perfectly safe.

Glad to leave reptiles, ants

Our view there was beautiful and majestic. Yet, I, personally, was not reluctant to leave. For our ridge was inhabited by a frightening menagerie of snakes, two-legged lizards, scorpions, centipedes, overgrown chiggers and man-eating ants.

Our battalion marched in two sections. The first left early, with orders to attack a certain forward hill at 3 a.m. The other half was to start after midnight, reach a certain protected wadi before dawn, dig itself in, and stand by for use whenever needed. I went with the second batch.

The men weren’t upset about going into the line again so soon. They just accepted it. They feel they have already done more than their share of this war’s fighting, but there is in their manner a touchingly simple compliance with whatever is asked of them.

At 1 a.m., we were ready to go. Blanket rolls and personal gear were left behind. I carried only my mackinaw and small hand shovel. In columns of twos, we plowed down a half-mile slope waist-high in wild grass. The slope was full of big bomb craters. We had to feel for them with our feet and walk around them. There were big rocks hidden in the grass, and soldiers stumbled and fell down awkwardly in their heavy gear, and get up cussing.

Finally, we hit a sort of path and fell into a single line of march. It was very slow at first, for we were crowding the last stragglers of the first section. For long periods we would stop for some unexplained reason and just sit on the ground.

The man ahead of me, Pvt. Lee Hawkins of Everett, Pennsylvania, had a 50-pound radio strapped on his back, plus two boxes of ammunition. How he kept on his feet in that rough sightless march, I don’t know.

Orders prohibit talking

After a couple of hours, the route ahead seemed to clear up. We walked briskly in single file. You had to keep our eyes on the ground and watch every step. The moon came up, but it was behind a great black cloud and gave only a little light. We talked some, but not much. We made a couple of brief unexplained stops, and then suddenly word came down the column:

No more talking. Pass it back.

From then on, we marched in silence except for the splitting crash of German artillery ahead, and of ours behind. The artillery of both sides was firing almost continuously. There would be the heavy blast of the guns, then an eerie rustle from each shell as it sped unseen across the sky far above our heads. It gave the night a strange sense of greatness.

As a first-timer, I couldn’t help but feel a sort of exaltation from this tense, stumbling march through foreign darkness up into the unknown.

Seems Howell never comes in

It did have its lighter touch, if you were inclined to hunt for a laugh. One soldier with a portable radio had been trying since early evening to get contact with our leading column. He was having static trouble, and kept walking around trying various locations all night long. Wherever you turned, wherever you stopped, you could always hear this same voice, gradually growing pitiful in its vain quest, calling softly:

Lippman to Howell. Come in, Howell.

As the night wore on and this voice kept up its persistent wandering and fruitless calling for its mate, it got to be like a scene out of a Saroyan play, and I had a private giggle over it.

Shells from both sides kept going far over our heads. They were landing miles away. Then, all of a sudden, they weren’t. With the quickness of an auto accident, a German shell screamed toward us. Instinct tells you, from the timber of the tone, how near a shell is coming to you. Our whole column fell flat automatically and in unison.

The shell landed with a frightening blast 200 yards to our right. We got up and started, and it happened again, this time to our left. I felt weak all over, and all the others had the creeps too.

Then, off to the left, we heard German machine-gun fire. You can always tell it from American machine-gun because it is so much faster. Word was passed down the line for us to squat down. We sat silently on our haunches for a minute, and then on another order we all crept over into some grass and lay hidden there for about five minutes. Then we started on.

All dig in, go to sleep

We got to where we were going half an hour before dawn. It was an outcropping of big white rocks, covering several acres, just back of the rise where the earlier half of our unit was already fighting.

The commanding officer told us to find good places among the rocks, get well scattered, and dig in immediately. He didn’t have to do any urging. Machine guns were crashing a few hundred yards off. Now and then a bullet would ricochet down among us.

The order went around to dig only with shovels, for the sound of picks hitting rocks might give us away to the Germans. We talked only in low voices. The white rocks were like ghosts and gave an illusion of moving when you looked at them. I picked out an L-shaped niche formed by two knee-high rocks, and began shoveling out a hole in front of them. At dawn, we were all dug in, and the artillery had increased to a frenzy that seemed to consume the sky.

We now had been without sleep for 24 hours, and we lay in our holes and slept wearily, oblivious of the bedlam around us and the heat of the bright early sun. Just as I fell off to sleep, I heard a low voice just behind my rock, pleading, it seemed to me now, a little hoarsely, but still determinedly:

Come in, Howell. Come in, Howell.

U.S. Navy Department (May 7, 1943)

Communiqué No. 369

South Pacific.
On May 6, Lightning (Lockheed P‑38) and Corsair (Vought F4U) fighters strafed Japanese positions on Vella Lavella Island in the Central Solomons.

On May 6, during the morning, a force of Dauntless (Douglas) dive bombers, Avenger (Grumman TBF) torpedo bombers, and New Zealand War­hawk bombers (Curtiss P‑40), escorted by Corsair and Wildcat (Grumman F4F) fighters, attacked Japanese installations at Munda, on New Georgia Island in the Central Solomons. Numerous explosions and fires were observed.

Pacific and Far East.
A U.S. submarine reported the following results of operations against the enemy during a war patrol in these waters, early this year, under the command of the late Cdr. Howard W. Gilmore, USN:

  1. One medium‑sized cargo ship sunk.
  2. One gunboat damaged and probably sunk.
  3. One medium‑sized cargo ship damaged.

Cdr. Gilmore gave his life in the action against the gunboat listed above. As he lay on the bridge mortally wounded by enemy machine-gun fire, he ordered his submarine submerged to save it from threatened destruction.

These actions have not been announced in any previous Navy Depart­ment Communiqué.

Memorandum to the Press:

In previous war patrols, the late Cdr. Gilmore’s submarine was credited with sinking a total of 26,946 tons of enemy shipping, in addition to entering an enemy harbor on one occasion and attacking three enemy de­stroyers, sinking two of them and damaging the third. All of these results of operations have been previously announced in Navy Department Communiqués.

Communiqué No. 370

North Pacific.
U.S. forces have established military positions, including an airfield, on Amchitka and have been in occupation of this island since January. Amchitka is an island in the Rat Island group, in which is also located the Japanese‑held island of Kiska. Previous to the occupation of Amchitka the island of Adak, in the Andreanof Islands, had been occupied by U.S. forces (Occupation of positions in the Andreanofs was announced in Navy Department Communiqué No. 138, on October 3, 1942). The announcement of the occupation of Amchitka has been withheld until our positions on this island were fully consolidated.

The occupation of Amchitka and Adak were unopposed by the enemy. In the occupation of Amchitka the weather presented the greatest obstacle, causing damage to landing craft and severe privation to personnel in the early stages of the operations. In later periods the positions were subjected to air reconnaissance by Japanese aircraft and light bombing attacks (Reconnais­sance and bombing flights by enemy planes over U.S. positions in the Western Aleutians were reported in Navy Department Communiqués No. 268, 273, 281, and 287).

On May 5, Army planes carried out six attacks against Japanese in­stallations at Kiska. Liberator (Consolidated B‑24) heavy bombers, Mitchell (North American B‑25) medium bombers and Warhawk (Curtiss P‑40) fighters, participated in these raids. Hits were scored in the Gertrude Cove, main camp, North and South Head, Submarine Base and beach areas. A number of fires were started in the beach section and one building was destroyed on North Head.

On the same day, Attu was bombed and strafed four times by Liberator heavy bombers, Mitchell medium bombers and Lightning (Lockheed P‑38) fighters. Hits were scored on Japanese installations and one enemy plane was destroyed.

CINCPAC Press Release No. 137

For Immediate Release
May 7, 1943

Text of remarks by Adm. C. W. Nimitz, USN, Commander‑in‑Chief, Pacific Fleet, at presentation of awards ceremony at Hickam Field, Hawaii, 1100 Friday, May 7, 1943

Officers and men of the Pacific Ocean Areas:

Two and a half weeks ago B‑24 Liberator bombers, led by Maj. Gen. Willis Hale, Commanding General of the 7th Air Force, in a daylight attack, dropped thousands of pounds of bombs on phosphate plants, parked aircraft, barracks, fuel and munition storage and other valued installa­tions on Nauru Island. The damage inflicted was considerable.

Two nights later American planes came out of the darkness over Tarawa and dropped many thousands of pounds of explosives. Again there was considerable damage.

It is my great pleasure to be here again at Hickam Field in recogni­tion of the men who led the attacks. Nauru is one of the great phosphate-producing centers of the world and is important to the Japanese war machine. Tarawa is an important air base. It will take some time to repair the damages done by the men of the VII Bomber Command at Nauru and Tarawa.

Many of the officers and men participating in these missions were in action for the first time. The reports of your commanding officers laud your aggressive spirit and courage under fire. You have taken your place beside the men in combat with the enemy in other parts of the Pacific.

For his share in the preparation and execution of this mission great credit is due Maj. Gen. Willis Hale. His courage and determination in leading both attack flights sparked the men of his command, and serve as an inspiration to all fighting men in this area.

Credit must also go to Brig. Gen. Truman H. Landon, Commanding General of the VII Bomber Command. Not content with the endless detail of organizing the mission, Gen. Landon also participated in the attack on Nauru.

In addition to the personnel of the Nauru and Tarawa attacks, there are here officers and men who have participated in other actions and missions.

To the squadron leaders, the navigators, the bombardiers and all the others who made these attacks successful ‑- Well done!

The Pittsburgh Press (May 7, 1943)

British enter Tunis; Yanks reach Bizerte

End of North Africa fighting appears to be imminent
By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer


London, England –
A London broadcast quoted a German radio commentator today as admitting that Allied troops had penetrated the inner fortifications of Bizerte and saying that:

The Battle of Tunisia has entered its last stage.

In battle with Japs –
Skipper gives life to save sub, crew

Wounded on deck, he orders craft to submerge

U.S. occupies isle near Jap base at Kiska

Amchitka, 63 miles from enemy position, held since Jan. 12

Can’t strike, miners told by Roosevelt

Status as federal employees is emphasized by President

3 a.m. in Tunisia –
School friends meet in hospital at front

Pittsburgh nurse finds sergeant, victim of shell fire

Gable mans gun in Antwerp raid

London, England (UP) –
Capt. Clark Gable, former movie star, flew in a Flying Fortress Tuesday in the U.S. raid on Antwerp.

Capt. Gable is a gunner but not a regular member of the crew with which he flew.

Munitions men indicted by U.S.

Ohioans accused of making defective parts

Midway Marine’s gun, ‘widowmaker,’ no jest

But tough Cpl. Wojciak cries when he greets parents

Senate group will rewrite Ruml tax plan

Committee hopes to speed bill so system can start July 1

Theodore Roosevelt, son decorated for bravery

Awards given for voluntary service in battles

War loan drive exceeds goal by $5 billion

Success decreases need for forced savings, Roosevelt says

‘On other side of fence’ –
Henderson gets new job with price institute

Ex-OPA chief to interpret government regulations for businessmen

Southern Democrats threaten party revolt

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