1,500 U.S. ships carry invasion army
By Ernie Pyle
With the U.S. Navy in the Mediterranean – (by wireless, delayed)
As long as this ship of ours sails the high seas, even after every member of the present crew has been transferred away, I’m sure the story of the searchlights will linger on in her wardroom and forecastle like a written legend.
It is the story of a few minutes in which the fate of this ship hung upon the whim of the enemy. For some reason which we probably will never know, the command to obliterate us was never given.
Our great, bad moment occurred just as we had ended our long invasion voyage from North Africa and stopped at our designated place off the south coast of Sicily. Our ship was about three and a half miles from shore which in the world of big guns is practically hanging in the cannon muzzle.
Two or three smaller ships were in closer than we, but the bulk of our invasion fleet stood far out to sea behind us. Our admiral had the reputation of always getting up close where he could have a hand in the shooting and he certainly ran true to form throughout the invasion.
We’d been stopped only a minute when big searchlights blinked on from the shore and began to search the waters. Apparently, the watchers ashore had heard some sounds at sea. The lights swept back and forth across the dark water and after a few exploratory sweeps one of them centered dead upon us and stopped. Then, as we held our breaths, the searchlights one by one came down with their beams down upon our ship. They had found their mark.
Just like sitting ducks
All five of them, stretching out over a shoreline of several miles, pinioned us in their white shafts as we sat there as naked as babies and just as scared. I would have been glad to bawl like one if it would have helped, for this searchlight business meant the enemy had us on the block. Not only were we discovered, we were caught in a funnel from which there was no escaping.
We couldn’t possibly move fast enough to run out of those beams. We were within simple and easy gunning distance. We were a sitting duck. We were stuck on the end of five merciless poles of light. We were utterly helpless.
One of the officers said later:
When that fifth searchlight stopped on us, all my children became orphans.
Another one said:
The straw that broke my back was when the anchor went down. The chain made so much noise you could have heard it in Rome.
A third one said:
The fellow standing next to me was breathing so hard I couldn’t hear the anchor go down. Then I realized there wasn’t anybody standing next to me.
We got all set to shoot at the lights, but then we waited. Our admiral decided there was some possibility they couldn’t see us through the slight haze although he was at a loss to explain why all five lights stopped on us if they couldn’t see us.
We had three alternatives – to start shooting and thus compel return fire; to up anchor and run for it; or to sit quiet like a mouse and wait in terror. We did the latter.
Lights blink out
I don’t know how long the five lights were on us. It seemed like hours. It may have been five minutes. At any rate, at the end of some unbelievably long time one of them suddenly blinked out. Then one by one, seemingly erratically and with no purpose in mind, the others went out too. The last one held us a long time as though playing with us. Then it too went out and we were once again in the blessed darkness. Not a shot had been fired.
Assault boats had been speeding past us all the time and a few minutes later they hit the beach. The searchlights flashed on again but from then on, they were busy fanning the beach itself. It didn’t take our attacking troops long to shoot the lights out from close range.
I’m not sure some of them weren’t just turned out and left off for good. We’ve never yet found out for sure why the Italian big guns on the shore didn’t let us have it. Several of us inquired around when we got ashore after daylight. We never found the searchlight men themselves, but from other Italian soldiers and citizens of the town we learned that the people ashore were so damn scared by whatever was about to attack them from out there on the water that they were afraid to start anything.
I guess I’m always going to have to love the Italians, for had anybody else been behind those searchlights and guns that night, we of this ship would be telling our searchlight yarn to St. Peter by now.
U.S. State Department (July 29, 1943)
London, 29 July, 1943. 387.
I was so glad to hear your voice again and that you were in such good spirits, and also that you like our plans for “QUADRANT” to which we are all ardently looking forward.
I have told Eisenhower that we fully agree to his releasing the proclamation with our amendment inserted about British and Allied prisoners.
Discarding etiquette, I have sent a direct message to the King of Italy through Switzerland emphasizing our vehement and savage interest in this matter. I am most grateful for your promise to put the screw on through the Pope or any other convenient channel. If the King and Badoglio allow our prisoners and keymen to be carried off by the Huns without doing their utmost to stop it, by which I mean using physical force, the feeling here would be such that no negotiations with that Government would stand a chance in public opinion.
Armistice terms: The War Cabinet are quite clear that we ought not to broadcast armistice terms to the enemy. It is for their responsible government to ask formally for an armistice on the basis of our principle of unconditional surrender. Then I suppose envoys would be appointed and a rendezvous fixed. Our version is already in your hands. As you will see, it follows the main lines of Eisenhower’s draft, but is more precise and is cast in a form suited to discussion between plenipotentiaries rather than a popular appeal. There are great dangers in trying to dish this sort of dose up with jam for the patient.
We also think that the terms should cover civil as well as military requirements, and that it would be much better for them to be settled by envoys appointed by our two governments than by the general commanding in the field. He can of course deal with any proposals coming from the troops on his immediate front for a local surrender.
Finally, all our thoughts are concentrated upon the great battle about to be fought by the British 8th and United States 7th Armies against the 65,000 Germans cornered in the eastern Sicilian tip. The destruction of these rascals could not come at a better time to influence events, not only in Italy but throughout the world. It is grand to think of our soldiers advancing side by side like brothers and with good prospects of victory ahead.
Völkischer Beobachter (July 30, 1943)
Im Osten neuerdings 186 Panzer abgeschossen
dnb. Aus dem Führer-Hauptquartier, 29. Juli –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:
An mehreren Stellen des Orelbogens standen unsere Truppen, von starken Verbänden der Luftwaffe wirksam unterstützt, den ganzen Tag über in schweren Abwehrkämpfen. Alle feindlichen Durchbruchsversuche wurden nach wechselvollem Ringen abgewiesen und den Sowjets dabei erneut erhebliche Verluste zugefügt. Sie verloren allein im Abschnitt nördlich Orel über 100 Panzer und 33 Flugzeuge. An den anderen Frontabschnitten führte der Gegner nur örtlich begrenzte Angriffe, die in stellenweisen sehr harten Kämpfen oder Gegenstößen abgeschlagen wurden. Insgesamt wurden gestern 186 Sowjetpanzer abgeschossen. In den letzten schweren Abwehrkämpfen südlich des Ladogasees zeichnete sich die ostpreußische 1. Infanteriedivision besonders aus.
Vorstöße der Amerikaner entlang der Nordküste Siziliens wurden abgeschlagen. Starke feindliche, von Fliegerkräften unterstützte Durchbruchsangriffe gegen den Mittelabschnitt der sizilianischen Front scheiterten an der entschlossenen Abwehr unserer Truppen. Vor der Südküste Siziliens beschädigten deutsche Kampfflugzeuge bei Nachtangriffen sechs Transportschiffe schwer.
Nordamerikanische Fliegerverbände flogen in den gestrigen Vormittagsstunden in das Reichsgebiet ein. Von deutschen Jagdgeschwadern zum Kampf gestellt, warfen sie planlos Bomben auf einige Orte, darunter Kassel, und mehrere offene Landgemeinden. Es entstanden einige Verluste unter der Bevölkerung und Gebäudeschäden. Unsere Luftverteidigungskräfte schossen 35 schwere viermotorige Bombenflugzeuge ab. Sieben eigene Jagdflugzeuge gingen verloren.
In der vergangenen Nacht überflogen wenige feindliche Störflugzeuge das nordwestliche und westliche Reichsgebiet.
Deutsche Kampfflugzeuge griffen Ziele im Gebiet von London an.
dnb. Rom, 29. Juli –
Das Hauptquartier der italienischen Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:
Im Mittel- und Nordabschnitt der Sizilienfront hat der feindliche Druck unter Mitwirkung starker Luftstreitkräfte an Heftigkeit wieder zugenommen. Heftige Kämpfe sind im Gange.
Im Hafen von Gela erzielten deutsche Kampfflugzeuge bei Nachtangriffen gute Erfolge. Sechs Dampfer von zusammen 29,000 BRT. wurden getroffen und beschädigt. Orte in der Provinz Salerno und am Stadtrand von Neapel wurden von der englisch-amerikanischen Luftwaffe angegriffen. Die gemeldeten Schäden sind von geringer Bedeutung. Die Zahl der Verluste ist beschränkt. Insgesamt wurden 12 Feindflugzeuge abgeschossen, 5 davon von deutschen Jägern über Sizilien, 6 von den Flakbatterien in Neapel und auf den Inseln, 1 von einem Wasserflugzeug unserer Seeaufklärung im Mittelmeer.
Von Kriegsberichter Oskar Peter Brandt
dnb. pk. …, 29. Juli –
Sizilien braucht Nachschub! Sizilien braucht englisch-amerikanischen Schiffsraum! Täglich, ja stündlich steigen die Versenkungsziffern. Hervorragend ist der Anteil der deutschen Luftwaffe an diesem Aderlaß der feindlichen Tonnage. Wie in den Gewässern vor Sizilien und vor der afrikanischen Küste wird der Kampf auf dem Atlantik geführt.
Hier, am Atlantik, liegen die „Condore.“ Tag für Tag und Nacht für Nacht wird geflogen. Bis weit auf den Atlantik hinaus wird jeder Streifen systematisch abgesucht. Kein Geleit wird unentdeckt und unbehindert den so dringend benötigten Nachschub nach Sizilien bringen können.
Die Erfolgserie, die wir in diesen Tagen haben, begann mit der im Wehrmachtbericht gemeldeten Versenkung von 20.000 BRT. großen Fahrgastschiffes durch Oberleutnant P. R. An dem gleichen Tag versenkte Oberleutnant Sch. durch Volltreffer am Vorschiff einen 15.000-BRT.-Dampfer.
Ein neues Geleit wird ausgemacht
Nun sind sie wieder unterwegs. Nach einem heftigen Gewitter, bei dem der durch die Hitze fast völlig ausgedörrte Boden sich gierig vollsog, erfolgte der Start. Draußen auf dem Atlantik war es wieder klar und wolkenlos. Wie blankgefegt war die Wasserfläche. Einförmig gingen die Stunden dahin. Wasser, Wasser, sehr viel Wasser… Die „Condore“ zogen auseinander, jedes Flugzeug übernahm den ihm befohlenen Abschnitt.
Oberleutnant G. R. war der erste, der das mit Südkurs fahrende Geleit entdeckte. Bei der klaren Sicht waren die Schiffe wunderbar auszumachen. Unter dem Gros der kleineren 4000 bis 5000 BRT.-Frachter fuhren verschiedene größere Pötte. Vier Korvetten und ein Kreuzer waren ihnen als Schutz beigegeben. Vorn, hinten und an den Seiten sicherten sie ständig nach allen Richtungen. Den Stunden ermüdenden Suchens über dem leeren Wasserspiegel folgten nun solche höchste Anspannung und Konzentration. Der Funker setzte seine Meldung ab, holte auf drahtlosem Wege die auf anderem Kurs fliegenden Kameraden herbei. In einem großen Bogen umflog der Oberleutnant das Geleit, machte genau Anzahl und Größe der Schiffe und der Bewacher aus. Der Kreuzer lief auf vollen Touren; er ließ das deutsche Fernkampfflugzeug nicht aus den Augen und umfuhr wütend schießend seine ihm anvertraute kostbare Fracht. Die leichte, mittlere und schwere Flak legte einen ganzen Teppich in die Luft, schwarze und weiße Wölkchen bezeichneten den Flugweg des „Condors.“
Der Bombenschütze war lange in die Wanne geklettert. Ruhig und sicher kamen die Befehle. Der Flugzeugführer flog geraden Kurs. Nur äußerste Konzentration, die Anspannung aller Kräfte konnte zu dem gewünschten Erfolg führen.
Inzwischen hatten die anderen Flugzeuge zu dem Geleit gefunden. Die Tommies und Amerikaner dort unten sollten nicht zur Ruhe kommen. Nur Minuten später war Oberleutnant F. am Ziel. Sein Angriff auf einen mindestens 8000 BRT. großen Frachter war von vollem Erfolg, die ganze Bombenladung traf das vollbeladene Schiff. Unter der Gewalt der Explosion wurde der Frachter hin und her geworfen. Sofort ging einer der Bewacher längsseits, um die in die Rettungsboote gehenden Mannschaften aufzunehmen. Das Heck lag bereits unter dem Wasser. Fünf Minuten später schon ging der Bug senkrecht in die Höhe, und über das Heck sank der Frachter in die Tiefe. 20 Minuten nach dem Bomben Volltreffer war sein Schicksal besiegelt.
Oberleutnant H. setzte seinen Angriff auf einen 5.000 bis 6.000 BRT. großen Frachter an. Seine Bomben trafen mittschiffs. Beim Abflug stand ein Rauchpilz über dem Schiff, das bis zum Verlassen in eine dunkle Rauchwolke gehüllt war. Es hatte eine Kesselexplosion erlitten. Damit waren bei dem ersten Angriff der „Condore,“ wie der Wehrmachtbericht vom 27. Juli bereits meldete, ein vollbeladener 8000-BRT.-Frachter auf den Grund des Meeres geschickt und ein Frachtschiff größerer Tonnage schwer beschädigt worden.
Die Besatzungen sind zurückgekehrt. Soeben hat ihnen der Stellvertretende Kommandeur, Ritterkreuzträger Hauptmann Mayr, Anerkennung und Glückwunsch aussprechen können. Freudig erregt ist die Stimmung. Das war wieder einmal ein erfolgreicher Flug! Wie schon so oft und das letzte Mal erst vor wenigen Tagen werden die Kameraden bei der Fernaufklärung feststellen, inwieweit sich die Erfolge noch erhöhen. Der schwer angeschlagene große Frachter wird nicht nach Hause kommen. Und die Ablösung ist schon zur Stelle. Lange, bevor das erste Frühlicht den heraufkommenden Morgen anzeigt, sind sie schon wieder unterwegs. Wiederum dem Geleit entgegen. Jetzt, nachdem nach einem nebligen Morgen wieder strahlende Sonne über dem Horst liegt, die Hitze wahrhaft über dem Feldflughafen brütet, kehren sie von erfolgreichem Einsatz zurück.
Wieder 17.000 BRT. Ausgeschaltet
Das englische Geleit hatte keine Ruhe. Hart, zäh, eisern und verbissen wurde es von den deutschen Fernkampfbombern auch am heutigen Tag verfolgt, gestellt. Und wiederum konnten neue Erfolge gemeldet werden. Oberleutnant S. setzte in einem schneidigen Anflug seine Bomben mitten auf einen Sechstausender. Kurze Zeit später schon wurde dieses Handelsschiff gestoppt hinter dem Geleitzug liegend gesichtet. Drei große Stichflammen und Rauchwolken wurden im Vorschiff beobachtet. Die Besatzung des tödlich getroffenen Handelsschiffes war in drei große Boote gegangen und überließ ihren Frachter, der dann absank, seinem Schicksal. Ebenfalls ein Sechstausender war es, den Leutnant G. versenkte. Hier trafen die Bomben auf Backbord- und Steuerbordwand. Eine lange weiße Rauchwolke umzog den Frachter, der zusehends an Fahrt verlor und dann gestoppt liegen blieb. Nur wenige Minuten später brach er auseinander und versank in den Fluten des Atlantiks. Dann erwischte Leutnant St. einen Fünftausender, der schwer auf dem Achterschiff getroffen wurde. Mit Schlagseite blieb der Frachter gestoppt liegen, in seinem Kielwasser wurden große ölige Flecke beobachtet. Zwei weitere große Frachter waren beschädigt. Ein später zurückkehrendes Flugzeug ergänzte diese Feststellungen.
Damit wurden aus diesem für Sizilien bestimmten Nachschub innerhalb von weniger als 24 Stunden allein durch deutsche Luftstreitkräfte in den Gewässern des Atlantiks etwa 40.000 BRT. herausgeholt, die entweder auf den Grund des Meeres geschickt wurden oder so schwere Beschädigungen erlitten, daß sie nicht mehr eingesetzt werden können.
One year ago today, the United States Navy opened to this nation’s patriotic womanhood an opportunity for service within its ranks. The wholly voluntary response came in such swelling volume as to constitute a ringing confirmation of the tenet that, in total war, democracy must be fought for and defended by all the people. Once again, the women of this free land stepped forward to prove themselves worthy descendants of those proud pioneer daughters who first nurtured freedom’s flame.
Thousands of fighting Navy men are now at battle stations because they were released from vital shore jobs by women within and wholly a part of the naval service. Other thousands will sail to meet the enemy as more women become available to take over these vital jobs ashore.
In their first year, the WAVES have proved that they are capable of accepting the highest responsibility in the service of their country. On behalf of a grateful nation, I offer birthday congratulations and a hearty “Well done.”
On August 21, 1942, I issued a statement to the press in which after referring to the crimes against innocent people committed by the Axis powers I stated:
The United Nations are going to win this war. When victory has been achieved, it is the purpose of the government of the United States, as I know it is the purpose of each of the United Nations, to make appropriate use of the information and evidence in respect to the barbaric crimes of the invaders, in Europe and in Asia. It seems only fair that they should have this warning that the time will come when they shall have to stand in courts of law in the very countries which they are now oppressing and answer for their acts.
On October 7, 1942, I stated that it was:
…the intention of this government that the successful close of the war shall include provisions for the surrender to the United Nations of war criminals.
The wheels of justice have turned constantly since those statements were issued and are still turning. There are now rumors that Mussolini and members of his Fascist gang may attempt to take refuge in neutral territory. One day Hitler and his gang and Tōjō and his gang will be trying to escape from their countries. I find it difficult to believe that any neutral country would give asylum to or extend protection to any of them. I can only say that the government of the United States would regard the action by a neutral government in affording asylum to Axis leaders or their tools as inconsistent with the principles for which the United Nations are fighting and that the United States government hopes that no neutral government will permit its territory to be used as a place of refuge or otherwise assist such persons in any effort to escape their just deserts.
U.S. State Department (July 30, 1943)
Washington, July 30, 1943. 331.
My thoughts of today on prospects and methods of handling the Italian situation with which we are now confronted are expressed generally in your message No. 383 dated July 26, 1943.
I have suggested for consideration in the following draft certain minor changes. If the reasons for these changes are not obvious, we can discuss them at our next meeting.
There seems to be a high probability that Mussolini’s fall will involve the overthrow of the Fascist regime and that the new government of the King and Badoglio will attempt to negotiate with the Allies a separate arrangement for an armistice. If this should develop, it will become necessary for us to make up our minds first of all as to what we want and secondly as to the conditions and measures necessary to achieve it for us.
Our thoughts at this moment above all others must be directed at the supreme goal namely the destruction of Hitlerism and Hitler. Should the surrender of Italy occur, every military advantage arising out of it must be sought for this objective.
Of these, the first is the control of all Italian territory and transportation against the Germans in the north and against the entire Balkan peninsula in addition to the use of air bases of all types. Included in this must be the surrender to our garrisons of the Dodecanese and Corfu and Sardinia as well as all the air and naval bases on the mainland of Italy as soon as they can be acquired.
The second of these and of equal importance is the immediate capitulation of the Italian fleet to the Allies, or at least its effective demobilization and the disarmament, to whatever extent we find needful and useful, of Italian ground and air forces. The surrender of the fleet will be most agreeable to the United States and will liberate powerful British naval forces for service in the Indian Ocean against Japan.
The immediate surrender or withdrawal to Italy of all Italian forces wherever they may be outside of Italy proper will also be of equal consequence.
Still another goal of the greatest importance regarding which there will be passionate feeling in Britain and in this country is the immediate release of all prisoners of war from the United Nations in the hands of the Italians, and the prevention of their being transported northwards towards Germany, which can in the first instance be made only by the Italians. I look upon it as a matter of humanity and honor to obtain the return of our own flesh and blood as soon as possible and to spare them the incalculable horrors of incarceration during the last stages of the war in Germany.
Fighting between the Germans and the Italian Army and population will probably be a result of the fate of the German troops in Italy and particularly of those south of Rome.
We can take a further view about action to be taken north of Rome when we see how this process goes. However, we should attempt at the earliest moment to get possession of points on both the west coast and east coast railways of Italy as far north as we dare and of a safe and friendly area on which we can base the whole forward air attack upon south and central Germany. And dare we must at this time.
We cannot afford in our struggle with the German Army and with Hitler to deny ourselves any means that will kill Germans. The Italian population’s fury may now be turned against the German intruders who, as the Italians will feel, have thrust these miseries upon Italy and then come to her aid so grudgingly and so scantily. In order that the new liberated Anti-Fascist Italy shall afford us at the earliest moment a safe and friendly area on which we can base the whole forward air attack upon south and central Germany, we should stimulate this process.
A new advantage of the first order is obtained by this air attack as it brings the whole of the Mediterranean Air Forces into action from a direction which exposes all those centers of war production which have been increasingly developed to escape air blows from Great Britain and which furthermore turns the whole line of air defenses in the west. The highest degree of urgency will apply to getting supplies, agents and commandos across the Adriatic into Greece, Albania, and Yugoslavia by sea. It must be borne in mind that there are 15 German divisions, of which 10 are mobile, in the Balkan Peninsula. However, it is by no means unlikely that the Hun will be forced to withdraw northwards to the line of the Save and Danube, thus liberating Greece and other oppressed countries, once we have control of the Italian Peninsula and of the Adriatic and the Italian armies in the Balkans withdraw or surrender.
The effects of Italian capitulation and of Mussolini’s fall upon Bulgaria, Roumania and Hungary cannot yet be calculated. It may be that they will be profound. The collapse of Italy, in regard to this situation, should establish the time for applying to Turkey the strongest pressure to act according to the spirit of the alliance. Britain and the United States should, if possible, be joined or at least supported by Russia in this move. If practicable, I believe the agreement of Russia should be obtained in any important negotiations affecting the Balkans.
Our primary goal of getting Italy out of the war would, I believe, be prejudiced by an effort to seize the “head devil” in the early future. In due time we can try to secure the person of the “head devil” and his assistants, and then their individual degrees of guilt for which “the punishment should fit the crime” may be determined.
U.S. Navy Department (July 30, 1943)
The U.S. non‑rigid airship K‑74 was lost at sea recently as the result of a gunfire attack by a surfaced enemy submarine.
The K‑74 was fired on while attacking the submarine, and, as the result of a hit, was forced to make a landing on the sea.
All except one member of the crew of the K‑74 were rescued. Next of kin of the one casualty has been notified that he is missing in action.
The Pittsburgh Press (July 30, 1943)
Roosevelt set to talk peace
By Joseph L. Myler, United Press staff writer
The United States and Great Britain today pointedly urged neutral nations not to give sanctuary to Benito Mussolini or any other “war criminals” whom the United Nations are determined to bring to justice.
President Roosevelt enunciated this nation’s views in a formal statement, and the British government officially endorsed his declaration.
The British War Cabinet held an extraordinary session early today for an unannounced purpose but possibly to discuss a peace feeler by Italy or to get a time limit for a reply by Italian Premier Pietro Badoglio to Allied terms.
Seeks to avert anarchy
In addition to clarifying the U.S. attitude to war criminals, Mr. Roosevelt announced that the Allies will not discuss Italian capitulation with any persons definitely known to be Fascists. But we will be willing to accept surrender from any other Italian authority capable of averting anarchy there.
The Allied military purpose, he said, is first to knock Italy out of the war and then to prevent the chaos of anarchy which would force the United Nations to employ large numbers of troops to maintain order. These troops could be used more effectively on the fighting front against Germany.
Raises many questions
Mr. Roosevelt’s statement about bringing war criminals to justice raised many questions as to how it will be received by the neutral countries.
Pointing out that there are rumors that Mussolini may try to escape and that “one day Hitler and his gang and Tōjō and his gang will be trying to escape,” the President added:
I find it difficult to believe that any neutral country would give asylum to or extend prosecution to any of them.
The President also reiterated the firm determination of the United Nations to punish leaders of the Axis for their crimes against innocent persons.
In the long history of European wars, leaders of lost causes have frequently fled to neutral countries, whose governments have usually adopted the attitude that to give up the refugees on demand would be a violation of the asylum nation’s sovereignty.
Holland thus gave sanctuary to Kaiser Wilhelm II when he fled to that country after Germany’s collapse in World War I.
Leaves little doubt
But Mr. Roosevelt’s statement left little doubt that he does not consider this and other precedents valid in this war.
The President did not say what action the United Nations might take against a neutral nation providing refuge for fleeing Nazis or Fascists, but he did declare:
The government of the United States would regard the action by a neutral government in affording asylum to Axis leaders or their tools as inconsistent with the principles for which the United Nations are fighting and that the United States government hopes that no neutral government will permit its territory to be used as a place of refuge or otherwise assist such persons in any effort to escape their just deserts.
There have been many rumors since Mussolini’s resignation that he has fled to Spain, to Switzerland, to Germany.
Under news conference questioning as to whether this government would be willing to deal with the government of Marshal Pietro Badoglio of Italy, the President said he did not care who we dealt with in Italy as long as it was not a definite member of the Fascist Party.
The peace negotiations might well, he said, be with a King, a Prime Minister, or a mayor of a town.
Asked whether this meant that he did not regard Badoglio as a Fascist, the President said he was not going to discuss personalities.
The President told of a report from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower showing the extent to which the Allies are aiding the economic rehabilitation of the people of Sicily and promising similar treatment for Italy.
The President said the plight of the civilian population in Sicily was relieved immediately by the Allied forces, who carried with them emergency rations.
Sent from Africa
Meanwhile, the President said, shipments from a stockpile in North Africa are moving across the Mediterranean to Sicily to care for the civilian population particularly.
The shipment include sugar, flour, milk, meat, soap, matches, medical supplies, and even quantities of an Italian food favorite – pasta (a kind of macaroni).
Public health and sanitation experts went in with the troops to tackle immediately the task of restoring municipal facilities. Mr. Roosevelt also said that Gen. Sir Harold Alexander, deputy to Gen. Eisenhower, had been ordered to free selected Sicilian prisoners of war to help put the island back on a livable basis as fast as possible.
Get diesel oil
Shipment of diesel oil are also going into Sicily, he said, to provide fuel for the milling of native wheat.
The President cited these facts to show that the Allies are making good on their promises.
He expressed the hope that in this harvest season the people in Italy proper, as well as in Sicily, could keep their own crops instead of sending them to Germany.
Rioters storm Milan prison
By Aldo Forte, United Press staff writer
Land and air raids pave way for pushing enemy into sea
By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer
Allied HQ, North Africa –
Allied armies bit deep into the center of the Axis last-ditch defense line in northeastern Sicily and smashed enemy front and rear bases with mounting aerial attacks today in apparent preparation for the final all-out offensive to drive the remaining German and Italian forces into the sea.
A big-scale blitz against the narrowing Axis bridgehead was indicated following small gains by Americans and Canadians on the 40-mile front stretching from San Stefano on the north coast through Nicosia and Agira to Catania on the east coast.
Spirited Allied patrol attacks were reported at all key points and both sides were engaging in sharp artillery duels, while Allied air squadrons hammered at enemy transport and concentrations around Mt. Etna and hit at targets on the mainland. British warships again bombarded the Italian coast.
Coincident with a front dispatch reporting indications that the German 15th Panzer Division is withdrawing before the Americans in northern Sicily, a communiqué said. Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s 7th Army had moved forward at several places.
In the center of the Allied front, the Canadians pushed ahead through strong opposition while Allied planes pounded the Axis “escape” bridgehead in the northeast end of Sicily. On the British 8th Army front below it, patrols punched at German defenses in small but successful skirmishes.
The Americans met stiffer resistance as they moved eastward against Axis defenses anchored at San Stefano, but they edged forward steadily over rough terrain along the 40-mile front.
Frontline dispatches today said Canadian forces have captured Nissoria, three miles east of Leonforte, and U.S. troops have made new gains in the direction of San Stefano.
The Canadian struck at the Axis line below Nicosia, on the southern end of the American line, and were slowly bending it back. Capture of Nicosia had snapped the links between the enemy forces on the center of the American flank and wedged the outer defenses of the chief Axis line of strongpoints protecting the Messina bridgehead.
The Axis forces had been rammed back into an area small enough for Allied aircraft, enjoying complete superiority, to blitz their remaining foothold on the island much as was done in the final phase of the Tunisian campaign.
Reaching 50 miles above Rome, U.S. Flying Fortresses battered the Viterbo Airdrome yesterday against weak enemy opposition, a headquarters announcement said.
A dispatch from the British 8th Army headquarters in Sicily said RAF pilots had seen trucks filled with men moving eastward through northern Sicily toward the narrowing Axis bridgehead around Messina.
Alfred Wagg, United Press correspondent, reported that British warships, in the second bombardment of the mainland since the Sicilian campaign began, hit a bridge yesterday and sent six-inch shells into railroad lines near Crotone on the sole of the Italian boot.
One merchantman was left sinking and two escorting warships, including a destroyer, were set afire in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Flying Fortresses set a half-dozen fires and touched off one huge explosion at the Viterbo Airdrome. Three other Italian airdromes, all around Naples, were hit in heavy raids Wednesday night and yesterday.
The Tactical Air Force concentrated behind the enemy’s Sicilian front, bombing the harbors of riposte and Messina. RAF Warhawks and Kittyhawks damaged a merchantman and the ferry docks at Messina.
U.S. Warhawks carried out sweeps over northern Sardinia.
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