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

U.S. Navy Department (July 28, 1943)

Communiqué No. 452

Central Pacific.
On July 27, Army Liberator (Consolidated B‑24) heavy bombers again attacked Japanese positions on Wake Island. Approximately 25 Zero fighters intercepted the Liberators. Seven Zeros were destroyed, five were probably destroyed and three others were damaged. In spite of heavy anti-aircraft fire, bombs were placed on designated targets. All U.S. planes returned safely There were no casualties to U.S. personnel.

North Pacific.
On July 26, fights of Army Liberators, Lightning (Lockheed P‑38) and Warhawk (Curtiss P‑40) fighters, carried out 13 bombing attacks against Japanese installations on Kiska. As a result of these bombings, fires were started and explosions were observed on North and South Heads, the runway, the bivouac and submarine base sections, Gertrude Cove and Little Kiska. Individual targets in these areas were also subjected to strafing. One U.S. Warhawk fighter was forced into the sea but its pilot was rescued by a Navy Catalina (Consolidated PBY) patrol bomber.

On July 27, various formations of Army Liberators, Warhawks and Lightnings carried out six bombing attacks on Kiska. Hits were made in the bivouac area. Spotty weather conditions precluded full observation of the results of the attack.

Press Release

For Immediate Release
July 28, 1943

More than 1,500 U.S. naval vessels carried invasion force to Sicily

More than 1,500 vessels of the U.S. Navy, ranging in size from cruisers to small landing craft and manned by well over 40,000 officers and men, effected the landing of U.S. invasion forces on Sicily.

In addition to larger combat units, the fleet included a number of anti­submarine patrol craft and a swarm of motor torpedo boats.

Under the immediate command of VAdm. H. K. Hewitt, USN, commander of U.S. naval forces in North African waters, the vast invasion fleet successfully carried out, in conjunction with British amphibious forces, the largest amphibious operation in the history of warfare, landing and supply­ing U.S. Army troops on a hostile shore with minor loss of life and equipment. The U.S. forces were under the general operational control of Adm. Sir Andrew Browne Cunningham, Bart., GCB, DSO, who commands all naval forces under Gen. Eisenhower.

Naval units engaged in the landing operation were part of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet which, under the command of Adm. Royal E. Ingersoll, USN, has since the opening of the North African campaign eight months ago, transported several hundred thousand U.S. troops and vast quantities of supplies across the Atlantic.

The actual landing on the Sicilian shore was only the culmination of long months of extensive preparation, of intensive training in the complex maneuvers of amphibious warfare, of working out logistical problems, and of meticu­lous planning on a vast scale to insure that every vessel would be at the proper spot at the proper moment. The training of personnel was continued in North Africa until the last moment before shoving off.

Naval landing forces Included men specially trained in the unloading of supplies under conditions made hazardous by surf and enemy action. In beach landing operations, naval forces are responsible not only for the transporta­tion of men and supplies across open water, but also for the safe disembarking of the troops and the unloading of supplies to points on shore.

Directing the operations under VAdm. Hewitt were RAdm. Alan G. Kirk, USN, RAdm. John L. Hall, USN, and RAdm. Richard L. Conolly, USN.

The story of the invasion is, from the naval standpoint, the story of the success of the many types of specialized landing craft, large and small, which have been developed to break down the coastal walls of the Axis’ European fortress.

Operating in numbers which dotted the surface of the Mediterranean black, the vessels of every size and shape, each with a specialized job to do and making up the largest amphibious operation in history, constituted by far the greatest number of craft in the invasion fleet.

One of the initial waves of invading U.S. troops was transported across the Mediterranean entirely by landing vessels. One group of hundreds proceeded to the first rendezvous accompanied only by small escorts. Against a 25‑knot wind the fleet of odd‑looking craft plunged and reared steadily and doggedly ahead. PCs and SCs escorting the group sometimes showed half their bottoms as they leaped, spray flying, over the seas. Experienced officers marveled at the seamanship of the crews – many of whom had never seen the ocean a year before – who drove their rearing, blunt‑nosed craft ahead at a steady pace.

As mechanical difficulties developed, special repair crews went into action until, once underway again, an additional knot or two was forced from protesting engines until the lost time was made up. The fleet arrived at the rendezvous on time and intact.

Part of the U.S. forces engaged in the landing had been transported across the Atlantic specifically for the job. Huge convoys took over the men and supplies, and so securely were they ringed by naval escort vessels, including cruisers, that neither convoy was once attacked.

The actual landing of American forces on Sicily began in the early morn­ing. Since surprise was to be one of the elements of the attack, split‑second timing was demanded. Off every possible landing beach the enemy had sown mines. But due to the skillful work of naval minesweepers, not a single con­tact with an enemy mine was reported during the entire landing operation.

Apart from the actual landing of troops and supplies, naval combat units had three major duties: protection of landing forces from enemy surface and undersea forces; maintenance of anti-aircraft barrages; and gunfire support of advancing troops on shore. Every landing group had offshore a supporting force of destroyers or cruisers or both.

Naval gunfire continued during the next few days to play an important role in the movement of troops inland, blasting enemy positions even in the hills.

With the lessons of the invasion of North Africa eight months before well learned, operational losses of landing craft were extremely low. Special salvage and repair units had been set up afloat and ashore in the opening stages of the invasion, and damaged craft were speedily repaired and returned to service.

Within 48 hours, the entire fleet of landing vessels had made another round trip to Africa and returned loaded to the gunwales with men and supplies.

The Pittsburgh Press (July 28, 1943)

Peace talks begun, some reports say

Fascists trapped on top of Milan building; party is dissolved
By William B. Dickinson, United Press staff writer


London, England –
Radio Rome said tonight that the new Italian government has only one goal – peace.

Madrid, Spain –
Travelers from Italy said today that the Germans had established a headquarters at Bolzano, near the Brenner Pass, for the defense of northern Italy.

London, England –
Reports that Italian Premier Marshal Pietro Badoglio had initiated a peace move through American and British representatives at Vatican City came from several sources today as violent anti-Fascist clashes increased in northern Italy and spread southward to the Naples area, and the new regime dissolved the Fascist Party.

There was still no official confirmation that negotiations had been started.

Dispatches from Madrid said church circles understood that on the suggestion of Marshal Badoglio, American and British representatives at Vatican City had asked their governments for instructions as to attitude regarding any peace move by Italy.

Talks reported begun

The Algiers newspaper Dernières Nouvelles reported in a dispatch from Berne that Badoglio had begun discussions regarding an armistice through the American and British envoys at the Vatican.

Fascists, defying the new regime that deposed Benito Mussolini, were reported in Swiss dispatches to have taken refuge on the top floor of the newspaper Popolo d’Italia at Milan, from where they threw bombs and fired on soldiers and a crowd of anti-Fascist demonstrators, causing many casualties.

The dispatches said that the soldiers, under Marshal Badoglio’s orders, brought armored cars and small tanks to the scene, but hesitated to train their cannon on the building because the Fascists were holding many hostages, including women and children.

One report said that the Fascists barricaded on the top floor attempted to placate the crowd by throwing from the roof a prominent Fascist named Oreste Bonomi, formerly a member of Mussolini’s Cabinet. The report said Bonomi was mauled to death by the crowd.

Strikes in war centers

Two soldiers were killed during last night’s disorders when they attempted to turn searchlights on the newspaper building. The Fascists, reportedly shielding themselves behind their hostages, opened fire with machine guns.

The newspaper Popolo d’Italia was formerly owned by Mussolini.

Strikes were reported spreading in Milan and other war industry centers, where some reports said the demonstrators waved red flags and shouted communist slogans.

Radio Rome, recorded by CBS, said Italy had no choice “under the circumstances” but to fight on against the Allies.

Suppresses court

The Cabinet, with Badoglio presiding, ordered the dissolution of the Fascist Party, which had ruled Italy for 20 years, and also suppressed the Fascist Special Tribunal for the Defense of the State, the Italian Stefani News Agency said.

The case previously tried by the special court will henceforth be tried before military courts, the agency said.

Reliable diplomatic sources in London said a tense behind-the-scenes struggle was believed in progress between the German government and Badoglio, with the question of Italy’s continuance in the war at stake.

Plan line along Po

It was reported Badoglio was seeking to induce the Germans to evacuate all Italian territory, including northern Italy, in order to save Italy from becoming a battlefield, following its capitulation to the Allies.

The Germans, through diplomatic channels, were said to be applying the utmost pressure to keep Italy in the war, at least for the time being. This was believed to be part of a plan to establish a strong German line on the Po River in northern Italy and evacuate German troops in southern Italy to that line.

Dispatches from all neutral listening posts adjacent to Nazi-controlled Europe reported many peace feelers, but for the time being, the Badoglio government’s stability was being tested by the grave problem of maintaining order in the country.

Hungary mentioned

German reaction was reported extremely nervous regarding Italy, but Hitler’s worries were also increased by indirect reports that Hungary was extending tentative peace feelers toward the Allies and by reports of precautions by the Spanish government against possible opposition to Gen. Francisco Franco’s regime.

Developments included:

  1. The Nazi-controlled Scandinavian Telegraph Bureau reported that the Germans had rejected Italian requests to withdraw Nazi troops from Italy. Other Swedish rumors said Italian troops were marching to northern Italy, presumably to maintain order.

  2. Usually-reliable sources in London reported that Hungary was putting out peace feelers through Turkey and that Romania and Bulgaria might follow suit. Yugoslav sources reported that Italian occupation troops had started moving out of the Balkans and that German replacements were moving in.

Controversy reported

Bulgaria appeared about to pull out from under the Axis, the Swedish newspaper Allehanda said, after a controversy between King Boris and his Premier, Bogdan Filov. The King was reported to have accused his Prime Minister of allowing his country to drift toward revolution.

  1. Archbishop Francis J. Spellman of New York, who has sometimes been mentioned as a possible peace negotiator, cancelled engagements in South Africa and left by plane for the north. Madrid dispatches again reported that peace negotiations had been started through Vatican City, but in London, it was stated that no move has been made by Italy.

The New York churchman left the United States last winter after conferring with President Roosevelt, then saw Prime Minister Churchill in London and continued on to Vatican City by way of Spain.

He had several long conferences with Pope Pius XII at the Vatican and at the time, it was speculated that he may have discussed means by which the Allies would permit Italy to withdraw from the war, although this naturally was never confirmed.

Sees Turkish minister

The Turkish Anadolu News Agency said that Raffaele Guariglia, named Foreign Minister in Marshal Pietro Badoglio’s new Italian government, was still in Ankara yesterday despite a premature report of his departure and:

If he delays his departure after tonight, important events must be impending.

Guariglia, as Italian Ambassador to Turkey, has had an opportunity to contact British and American diplomats, but there was no indication that he has done so. He conferred yesterday with Turkish Foreign Minister Nuğman Menemencioğlu and it was considered noteworthy that President Gen. İsmet İnönü was due to return to Ankara last night.

A dispatch from Ankara said that Guariglia in recent months has openly asserted that Italy would do well to quit the war as best she can.

Fate of Duce unknown

Despite the flood of rumors pouring out of European capitals, however, there was still no authoritative word of what was actually occurring inside Italy, or of what has happened to the deposed Premier, Benito Mussolini.

London sources were inclined to believe that Badoglio has placed his predecessor in protective custody, probably to use him as a pawn in talking peace terms with the Allies, who want to try Mussolini as a “war criminal.”

Every report reaching London indicated that the Italians were striving to wipe out the last vestiges of the Fascism that had enslaved them for more than 20 years, but it was recognized that the Italian propaganda machine might be spreading these stories in an attempt to make a favorable impression on the Allies in advance of any peace negotiations.

Barricade selves

The newspaper Corriere della Sera of Milan said Fascists barricaded themselves in their homes and in office buildings and fired on soldiers and crowds outside. Most of the Fascists were dislodged and arrested.

Riots have also broken out in Milan prison, according to a Corriere della Sera dispatch broadcast by the Swiss radio. At least one prisoner was killed and several injured.

A Moscow broadcast said that a huge crowd surrounded the German Embassy in Rome without being opposed by troops, but that the German representatives had fled. The London radio said that the Milan demonstrators carried red flags and that disorders extended through Rome, Bologna, Florence, Turin and other big cities, with some Fascist groups still resisting the regular army forces.

The Italian underground radio station Italia Avanti (Italy Forward) charged that the Germans have occupied the Albanian ports of Durazzo and Valona, after violent clashes with Italian troops, in a move to forestall Italian evacuation of the Balkans.

Kidnap Italians

It asserted that German Marshal Albert Kesselring, German commander in Italy, had ordered the destruction of war stores and installations in localities likely to be abandoned in Italy as well as the kidnapping of Italian officers known to be anti-German.

Neutral sources in Madrid said that Pope Pius XII was straining to arrange peace between Italy and the Allies with Harold Tittmann, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires at the Vatican, taking an active part in negotiations.

The main obstacle to a quick agreement, Madrid said, was Badoglio’s hesitation to make peace until he is sure that Germany will be too weak to turn her army and air force against her ally.

The Daily Mail said Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Allied Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean, has been given full powers to deal with the new Italian government or any replacing it.

Germans digging in –
Allies in Sicily drive 15 miles

Americans take Cefalù; Canadians advance
By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer

Screenshot 2022-07-28 032824
Allied advance of 15 miles in North Sicily today brings the invasion forces approximately to the positions shown by the black line on the map. Axis forces were digging in along a front (broken line) from San Stefano to below Catania.

Allied HQ, North Africa –
U.S. and Canadian troops have advanced the main Allied offensive line 15 miles eastward in Sicily, front reports said today.

The Canadians, the reports said, were driving forward against bitter opposition, trying to pierce the center of the German defenses.

Official announcements said that the Americans had occupied Cefalù, north coast harbor 35 miles east of Palermo, and with other troops from the center, had taken Petralia, Polizzi Generosa and Alimena.

Germans digging in

Front reports said that the Germans were digging in on a solid line beginning at San Stefano on the north coast, running south and east through Nicosia and Catenanuova and along the Dittaino River to the east coast.

The Germans massed for a pitched battle to hold their last one-eighth of the island. They were reported sandwiching Italian troops among their units, but only for labor rather than fighting.

The major Allied line now runs from below Catania on the east coast to Cefalù on the north coast, although advance U.S. units were considerably past the latter port. A German stand was expected along the Dittaino River against the British 8th Army.

Italian divisions escape

It was learned that two Italian field divisions, that were nearly trapped in the American drive that captured Palermo, had managed to withdraw eastward toward Messina. This made at least eight Axis divisions known to be still in the field on Sicily.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s communiqué said activity on the eastern front where the British 8th Army faced German units before Catania had fallen off to patrol action and that the American front on the left flank was static.

Twenty-four hours earlier, units from the U.S. 7th Army had joined with the Canadians to break up an attempted German counterattack in the center.

While the 8th Army was held up temporarily by the stiffened German defenses south of Mt. Etna on the east coast, front reports said German losses in that area were running as high as 50% for some battalions.

Wake hit hard by Liberators

Yanks blast 15 Zeros in second raid in 4 days

Roosevelt to speak on war at 9:30 p.m.

Washington (UP) –
President Roosevelt will deliver a speech “of major importance” at 9:30 p.m. (EWT) tonight, over all broadcasting networks.

The baseball game tonight at Forbes Field will be halted at 9:30 and Mr. Roosevelt’s address will be broadcast to the fans over the park’s public address system.

Mr. Roosevelt told his press conference yesterday that the address would be about the war. Asked if he meant the home front or the battlefronts, he said there was only one front – and that includes all war efforts both at home and abroad.


It comes like lightning

By Florence Fisher Parry

One day he was there, strutting, filling the Palace with his noise and bombast. The next, he was gone, the Palace overrun by the people who were yesterday slaves, and now felt themselves to be free.

It comes like lightning. The page of history does not turn with a slow rustle. One comes to the bottom of one page, and lo, in an instant, it has turned as though a sword had turned it and what is written on the next page is anybody’s guess.

One day the Czar was safe – scared but safe. The next day he was dead, and his wife and children. So, it is with all those in high places that have become too high. Gentle or terrible, raised by fate or by their own maneuverings, when they sit too high, they fall.

One day Hitler will walk down the bristling aisle of raised hands in stiff salute. No one will look to be as safe, as guarded, as powerful as he. The next day, his carcass will crave, uneasily, a grave.

But always leaders will be raised and carried through the streets and set upon the seats of the mighty, and be invested with attributes no mortal man can have. Leaders and followers, leaders and followers. It is the course of mankind.

Toppled idols

I was at Baden-Baden, and the Kaiser was borne down the avenue on his way to the castle. There was something terrible in the slavish cheers. The people seemed to turn to worms groveling. In a few frightful years he was a craven fugitive, a man without a country.

I was in New York when President Harding spoke reverently before the caskets of returned dead soldiers. Americans, loyal and trusting, remarked upon the man’s noble mien. In a few years, he was disgraced and dead.

I was in Washington when Charles A. Lindbergh returned. Up from a window in the New Willard Hotel, we saw a demonstration the like of which had never been accorded any American. The boy was a god, millions went delirious with love and pride in him. I lived to see angry, disgusted citizens turn away from him as he walked, lonely, through Grand Central Station, a hated man.

I remember the first year of the first administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Has there ever been such a united support behind a President, I wonder? Washington did not have it, nor Jefferson nor Lincoln nor Wilson. A strange humility and united intention possessed the hearts of Americans. “There is nothing to fear but fear,” he had said, and we believed him, and so cast out fear and were born again.

I cannot remember how long it lasted, can you? The change was gradual, more gradual than most changes. But it did not start until long after our own attitude had been communicated to distant lands, and the population of the whole world had taken on, in imitation, our own trustfulness and love for this new President.

Now strangers, visiting our country, are struck with bitter amazement over our frank and growing coolness toward the administration now in power. To them, who for 10 years have sustained, unaltered, the image we first gave them of our President, our change of heart is near to sacrilege. What? Dare we criticize our President, upon whose benignity rests the salvation of the world?

Leader on the make

Yet here at home, deep forces are beginning to move against the bland bonanzas of the New Deal… Three years ago, they started, and we were witness again to that strange manifestation of revolt which unseats and topples the most illustrious idol…

For do you remember the visit of Wendell Willkie to Pittsburgh, and the crowds, the crowds, their faces marked with a strange new exaltation, as though some inner baptism had occurred?

I do. I remember this bronzed and shaggy man, being borne down Fifth Avenue, hatless, his face lifted to the sun. “What a man!” was muttered under the breath of thousands who, before sight of him, were unconvinced and sullen… For he was marked for leadership – but marked before his time.

No one quite knows what happened… He seemed to be lifted up into the sun on a bright, piercing spear of acclaim, millions of hopes a capsule in his palm.

And then – he was a man among men again, merely… Was it that his clock had struck too soon?

Hurricane hits on Gulf Coast

Six are killed; damage is estimated in millions

Simms: Preparations already begun for surrender

Allies will deal with duly constituted Italian authority
By William Philip Simms, Scripps-Howard foreign editor

Washington –
Preparations for the eventual surrender of Italy are already underway, official denials notwithstanding, is the opinion of many diplomats here.

This does not mean that London and Washington have offered Italy detailed peace terms. There are reports, however, that King Victor Emmanuel had put out feelers via Madrid and that London, after contact with Washington, has definitely made known the answer.

The essence of that answer has been made public. In his speech to the House of Commons yesterday, Prime Minister Churchill told Italy that unless she withdrew from the war at once, she would be “seared, scarred and blackened from one end to the other.” Unquestionably King Victor Emmanuel has the official text of that speech at hand now.

But that was not the significant part of what the British statesman had to say. He made it unmistakable that Great Britain and the United States were prepared to deal with the King, Marshal Pietro Badoglio or any other duly constituted authority.

Warns of mistake

When Italian affairs are in the present flexible, formative position, he said:

It would be a grave mistake for the rescuing powers – Britain and the United States – so to act as to break down the whole structure and expression of the Italian state.

On both sides of the Atlantic, there are certain ideological groups that strenuously object to having anything to do with King Victor Emmanuel, the House of Savoy, Marshal Badoglio or anybody else who, in the past 12 years, has had anything to do with the Italian scene. It is to these, apparently, that Mr. Churchill addressed his word of caution.

Similarly significant was President Roosevelt’s sharp rebuke yesterday to the Office of War Information. The OWI had broadcast by shortwave that:

There is no reason to believe that the essential nature of the Fascist regime of Italy has changed.

…and had quoted an American columnist as calling the Italian ruler a “moronic little king.”

Roosevelt agrees

That was on Sunday night. Yesterday, Prime Minister Churchill announced that:

Mussolini has gone and the Fascist power has certainly been irretrievably broken.

He went on to say that he and President Roosevelt were in daily contact and were in complete agreement on the course to pursue. And, speaking of the Badoglio government, he added that:

We would be foolish to deprive ourselves of any means of coming to a general conclusion with the Italian nation.

Mr. Churchill said:

We certainly do not seek to reduce Italian life to a condition of chaos and anarchy and find ourselves without an authority with which to deal.

Won’t start revolution

From the above, it would seem conclusive that Great Britain and the United States have no intention whatever of waiting for a revolution to break out in Italy – let alone stirring one up – before taking steps to “a general conclusion.”

Months ago, both Mr. Churchill and Mr. Roosevelt told the Italian people that if they would oust Mussolini and his Fascists, they could set up any kind of democratic government they wanted. Mr. Churchill said:

One man, and one man alone, has brought them to this pass.

And now, he says:

Mussolini has gone and the Fascist power has been irrevocably broken.

If, as he said, he and Mr. Roosevelt see eye to eye with regard to Italy, it would seem that the Italian surrender can proceed.

Police seek mystery man in lovers’ lane slaying

Nude, mutilating body of soldier’s wife found in Hollywood gold club flower bed
By M. J. Jenkins, United Press staff writer

Address by Wallace praised by Roosevelt

Yanks raid Hankow, down 13 Jap planes

Storehouses blasted by Yanks in Burma

Counsel appointed for accused spies

Post-war air planning urged

‘Welfare of millions’ in U.S. viewed at stake

1,496 vessels delivered ‘since Pearl Harbor’

Italians reach interim period in peace moves

Steps necessary prior to negotiations have been fulfilled
By Helen Kirkpatrick

Intense hate for Germans shown by Italian captives

Nazis attack prison ships en route to England; men will be assigned to farm labor
By Nat A. Barrows

Jungle troops inching ahead against Munda

Japs hold fortified points on New Georgia Island until wiped out
By Brydon Taves, United Press staff writer

Russians mob 2 theaters at Davies’ film premiere

Audience laughs at inaccuracies in Mission to Moscow, thinking them comedy

Program for feeding Europe to be studied

OWI broadcast ‘blunder’ may bring major shakeup

Roosevelt sharply denounces the characterization of Italian ruler as ‘little moronic king’
By Joseph Laitin, United Press staff writer

Point values increased on frozen foods

Action also taken providing for sale of items canned at home