Clapper: Day in Sicily
By Raymond Clapper
By John Gunther, North American Newspaper Alliance
With the British 8th Army in Sicily, Italy – (July 28, by wireless, delayed)
Anyone who thinks Sicily is a green verdant isle should visit this sector of the Catania front where the Germans are fiercely resisting tried British troops. Perched on a cropped hilltop 1,000 yards from the enemy lines, we can survey a broad arc embracing almost all of the Catania plain.
As far as the eye can see, there is not a single spot of green and not a sign of water. The dusty fields have been harvested. They are covered with dry, tawny stubble that looks like Nebraska during a heat wave.
I asked an officer at headquarters in a deserted barn where we were. He replied:
We aren’t anywhere. This is a point on a map, nothing more.
The Germans up here are attempting infiltration tactics at night. They cross no man’s land in small groups, get among or behind British advance guards and try to toss grenades or shoot up posts with Tommy guns and then retreat into the darkness. Some of these enemy raiders speak English. They call out in good Oxford accents:
Sergeant major, who goes there? What unit is this?
They hope to get information this way, but they don’t often get it.
Main enemy position
The German defenses appear threatening in this particular area which I reached after a long tour of the front. It is one of the enemy’s main positions.
One officer told me:
I should call the situation rather stationary from the big point of view but we certainly are kept busy.
He described a British battalion which was isolated for 23 hours. It could not be relieved; no supplies could be sent up and nobody could be evacuated except a few men who were seriously wounded. Violent German shellfire prevented relief units from reaching the battalion.
An officer with a ripe Scottish accent commented:
It was a hellish business, mark you. Our troops in this sector are being carefully rested before new operations begun. In this kind of fighting, a man is virtually useless after eight or ten days in the frontlines. He must be given a chance to recuperate and replenish his energy.
British exposed on plain
So, the general lull and stalemate continues with the British pecking away and maintaining steady pressure but not yet attempting a full offensive. As in other areas of this general front, the enemy has cover on high ground whereas we are exposed in the plain below.
German reinforcements are believed still pouring in. The British are tired, largely because of the intense, pitiless heat and the lack of sleep. They didn’t get much sleep at night because German artillery keeps busy and infiltration parties cause confusion.
This is not like the desert. Digging in is very difficult because of the stubborn, stony nature of the ground. By day, rest is almost impossible because there is no shade.
An officer said:
My men are shag tired, that’s the word for it, shag tired.
A group of us manage to spend an hour swimming at a beach near Catania nearly every day and we see some remarkable sights from the waterfront. Those elegant folk accustomed in former days to loll lazily on the Mediterranean beaches should get a quick eyeful of this one. It is not merely a beach with a fine aquamarine water, but it is also a perfect ringside seat for one of the most striking shows on earth.
Find ‘chutist’s grave
We first got the idea that swimming at the beach had unusual elements when – the first time we were there – our conducting officers happened to find a couple of grenades lying around. They thoughtfully exploded them and tossed them aside. Next, we saw a grave of an unidentified British parachutists a few yards from the pellucid surf. He had been buried where he fell presumably in the first landings. His parachute gear was set up in a kind of tombstone.
Then it became apparent that we had accidentally stumbled on a sheltered cove which commands an absolutely clear view of German-held Catania, a few miles away. We saw Spitfires rolling in nice decision patterns above the town and we poked through long reeds along the shore, wondering how close Nazi patrols were.
By L. S. B. Shapiro, North American Newspaper Alliance
With the Canadians in central Sicily, Italy – (July 24, delayed)
A dramatic change took place this afternoon in the shape of the battle for Sicily.
After advancing northwest for 100 miles from the Pachino Peninsula in 14 days, the Canadians suddenly wheeled right from the central part of the island and moved due east in a flareup of the most spectacular fighting they have experienced in the campaign.
Resembles Tunisian campaign
Gen. Alexander’s plan of campaigning naturally cannot be revealed but as I stood on a mountain top this evening, I watched the Canadians moving eastward, battling fiercely for a town and later fanning out toward the mountain top. The direction of the Canadians was easily visible from my point of vantage.
Beyond the rolling foothills of Mt. Etna, the famous mountain itself hung like a shimmering backdrop in the heat haze of a blazing day. Beyond the gun muzzles of the Canadians is Mt. Etna and eight miles beyond that lies the sea.
On the south side of the mountain, the British are developing a situation comparable with the next final stages of the Tunisian battle. The Germans are steadily being pushed back into the northeast corner of the island and the Allied forces are converging on the enemy’s defenses perimeter.
Maps hardly necessary
This campaign is a war correspondent’s dream. From commanding mountain tops, an observer can see not only the complete battleground, including the artillery of both sides and movements of tanks and infantry, but also the final objective of an advance.
Allied planes supporting the attack swooped down to the level of my vantage point and beyond loomed Mt. Etna, the south side of which I saw a few days ago while observing the battle for the Simeto Bridge. Printed maps are hardly necessary in this campaign, for each mountain top affords a view of a natural relief map.
Today’s action started promptly at 3 p.m. when the biggest concentration so far in the Sicilian campaign opened up suddenly against the German positions. War correspondents had been advised in advance and early in the afternoon I drove up the mountain to the observation post.
Allied air force strikes
This town is protected by sheer cliffs which were conquered by the Canadians last Tuesday (July 20). My jeep had difficulty in managing the terraced road to the town. It was full of sharp hairpin turns and we were eating our own dust all the way, I finally went the last lap on foot, climbing the cobbled streets built for mule traffic until I reached the topmost peak, crowned by an ancient turret reputedly built by the Normans.
From here the entire battle scene lay before me. After 45 minutes of creeping artillery barrage, a Canadian regiment advanced behind tanks.
At this point, the Allied air force swept over the German positions. I counted 50 planes in five minutes, and probably there were many more. Meanwhile, the Canadian artillery got the range of the German posts and our troops swept through.
I saw the flash of a German anti-tank gun, followed in a minute by a heavy explosion at the same point. The German gun was silent from then on.
As darkness fell, the Canadians had cleaned up and were advancing toward frightening heights guarding the approaches to the east. The hardest part of the battle remained for the hours of darkness. The Canadians were scaling cliffs which made the cliffs of Québec City look like curbstones and Gen. Wolfe’s storied victory seem like a second-class affair.
As I write this by the light of a curtained military truck the valley below is dotted with burning tanks and other vehicles. Shells are still screaming across the valley with a sound not unlike Benny Goodman’s top note. Canadian troops are still pouring into the valley. Tomorrow’s dawn will have a bloody story to tell.
Special Army unit uses grenades and cold steel, neither of which the Nipponese like
By George E. Jones, United Press staff writer
Island first enemy territory to receive aid
Washington (UP) –
An innovation in Lend-Lease procedure which would make Sicily the first enemy territory to receive American supplies and equipment may be announced soon, official sources said today.
President Roosevelt discussed the steps being taken by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to help the Italian people yesterday while other government officials went forward with plans to put the whole undertaking on a business basis.
Meanwhile, Washington was outwardly calm, in contrast to the apparent tension caused in London by the urgent early morning cabinet meeting there yesterday.
Many rumors heard
Rumors raced through this capital and there was a feeling that momentous events were in the making, but there was no exceptional activity by any of the high-ranking government officials.
The more or less customary Friday Cabinet meeting at the White House was not held and department heads appeared to be concerned only with their usual wartime duties.
The Lend-Lease arrangements with Sicily would presumably be through AMGOT, the Allied military government there. The first movies would be through the military commanders.
But after military operations have ceased in Sicily, the Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation would probably take over. Eventually, some stable Italian government may be developed for the handling of supplies.
Supplies to be sold
Lend-Lease supplies in Sicily, except for those used for urgent relief needs, will not be given away but will be sold or bartered. The Office of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation has reported that the great bulk of its operations in Tunisia has been conducted on a commercial basis rather than on a direct contribution basis.
Mr. Roosevelt, discussing a cable he had just received from Gen. Eisenhower, told his press and radio conference yesterday that supplies for the civilian population in Sicily are being furnished from a stockpile in North Africa. They included pasta, sugar, flour, milk, olive oil, meat, soup, matches and medicines. Public heath officers are going into Sicily and agriculture experts are helping to organize the island’s food resources.
Völkischer Beobachter (August 1, 1943)
Washington sieht Moskau nicht deutlich genug
Von unserer Stockholmer Schriftleitung
Stockholm, 31. Juli –
Schon der Abschiedsartikel der Times für den zum Stellvertretenden Außenkommissar ernannten Londoner Botschafter Maisky zeigte, daß man in London und Washington die Furcht vor dem sowjetrussischen Verbündeten nicht loswerden kann. Die Times sprach von Gefahren, die aus einer Uneinigkeit zwischen den Westmächten einerseits und der Sowjetunion anderseits entstehen könnten, und meinte, daß es nun höchste Zeit sei, sich für eine Politik der wirklich guten Zusammenarbeit zu entschließen, die in erster Linie darin zu bestehen habe, daß sich die Bundespartner endlich vorher und in aller Form über ihre nächsten militärischen oder politischen Absichten unterrichten.
Wie aber denkt man sich in England eins Verwirklichung dieses Wunsches, wenn sich nicht einmal England und die USA. in wichtigen Punkten ihrer Politik einig werden können? Sie haben sich in dem Ziel, die Achsenmächte zu vernichten, zusammengefunden, wie sie aber darangehen wollen, welche Methoden und welche Grundsätze sie dabei anwenden wollen, darüber können sie sich schon heute, da die Vernichtung der Achsenmächte jedoch nichts anderes ist als ein alliierter Wunschtraum, nicht einigen. Die Entwicklung in Italien hat, wie bei den Ereignissen in Nordafrika, schon dieses Problem wieder aktuell gemacht. Daß der amerikanische General Eisenhower auch hier wieder alle Vollmachten erhielt, um Entscheidungen nicht nur militärischer, sondern vor allem auch politischer Art zu treffen, ruft besonders in den Kreisen der englischen Linken Mißtrauen und Verärgerung hervor. Sie erinnern sich an den noch immer nicht beseitigten Konflikt in Nordafrika, fürchten ein eigenmächtiges Eingreifen der amerikanischen Regierung und sprechen, wie der Londoner Vertreter von Dagens Nyheter schreibt, bereits offen von „englisch-amerikanischen Gegensätzen in der italienischen Frage.“
Besonders bemerkenswert daran ist aber, daß flicht nur Labourkreise derartige Befürchtungen hegen, sondern – nach der Ansicht des schwedischen Beobachters – auch zahlreiche Londoner Politiker, die in verschiedenen Presse- und politischen Kommentaren zur italienischen Frage hervorheben, daß es:
…zweifellos verschiedene Meinungsdifferenzen gibt zwischen den britischen und den amerikanischen Ansichten über das italienische Problem und die politischen Fragen Europas überhaupt. Diese Gegensätze haben sicherlich kaum eine Bedeutung für die tagesaktuelle Lage, aber sie können möglicherweise späterhin Bedeutung bekommen.
Beunruhigend in den Augen englischer und amerikanischer Beobachter ist, daß man in Moskau noch ganz andere Ansichten zu vertreten scheine. Erst jetzt hat, wie der Vertreter von Stockholms Tidningen in Neuyork schreibt, Stalin die USA. und Großbritannien:
…darüber aufgeklärt, daß die Sowjetunion die Absicht hat, unabhängig von ihren Verbündeten Schritte und Maßnahmen für die Regelung nach dem Kriege zu ergreifen im Hinblick auf Ost-, Zentraleuropa und den Balkan, wenn nicht überhaupt ganz Europa.
Stalin scheine – so stellt man in diplomatischen Kreisen Washingtons erschrocken fest – die Absicht zu haben, „eine europäische Ordnung nach seinen eigenen Richtlinien und unter der Führung Moskaus zu errichten.“
Obwohl man, wie die Ausführungen des ehemaligen USA.-Botschafters in Moskau, Davies, gezeigt haben, selbstverständlich bereit war, der Sowjetunion das Recht auf „eigene Sicherheitszonen in Europa“ zuzubilligen, scheint die Tatsache aber, daß Stalin anscheinend nicht bereit ist, sich etwas von der Gnade der Westmächte „zubilligen“ zu lassen, sondern sich eigenmächtig das nehmen wird, was er haben will, in den USA. und in England peinliche Gefühle hervorzurufen. Während die Iswestija einen scharfen Artikel über das ost- und südosteuropäische Problem veröffentlichte, der, da er im Moskauer Rundfunk in englischer Sprache wiedergegeben wurde, ausdrücklich an die Westmächte gerichtet war und sich gegen die alliierten Pläne, Staatenbünde in Ost- und Südosteuropa zu schaffen, wandte, melden sich also in den USA. Stimmen, die die Sowjetunion bitten, sich mehr um ihre Verbündeten im Westen zu kümmern und ein wenig Rücksicht auf die Wünsche Englands und der USA. zu nehmen. Diese „Ermahnungen“ gehen selbstverständlich nur von einzelnen Politikern aus, die noch dazu in einem gewissen Gegensatz zu der offiziellen Regierungspolitik stehen. Daß Roosevelt und Churchill es schon längst aufgegeben haben, die Sowjetunion zurechtzuweisen, ist bekannt. Sie haben in ihrer Fügsamkeit allen Moskauer Wünschen gegenüber ihrer eigenen Atlantik-Charta bereits heute durch eigenen Willen ein unrühmliches Ende bereitet. Immerhin aber ist es ganz interessant zu wissen, daß man in den USA. dennoch im ungewissen über die Moskauer Politik ist, weil man nicht weiß, worauf sie hinausläuft und wie weit sie gehen wird.
Politik des Nachgebens
Der als „fortschrittlicher Republikaner“ bekannte Senator Nye drückte sich vor einiger Zeit so aus, daß Stalin leider noch immer die Welt über seine Kriegsziele in Unkenntnis schweben lasse. Was er bisher darüber enthüllt habe, sei ein „beunruhigendes Zeichen dafür, daß es nicht die Grundsätze der Atlantik-Charta zu enthalten scheine, sondern nur seine traditionelle Realpolitik.“ Wenn Stalins Außenpolitik, so stellte Senator Nye fest:
…nach wie vor im krassen Gegensatz zu unseren Grundsätzen steht, für die wir kämpfen, kann er nicht erwarten, daß wir miteinander einig bleiben…
Die Times hat also recht. Es gibt Konfliktstoffe zwischen den Westmächten und der Sowjetunion. Die Times forderte eine Politik der wirklichen guten Zusammenarbeit. Das kann nur bedeuten, daß England und die USA. den Forderungen Moskaus gegenüber immer nachgiebiger werden und noch immer größere Zugeständnisse machen müssen. Denn daß Stalin nicht gewillt ist, sich von seinen Verbündeten etwas vorschreiben zu lassen, das hat er nun schon oft genug gezeigt und ausgesprochen.
dnb. Aus dem Führer-Hauptquartier, 31. Juli –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:
In den Hauptkampfabschnitten der Ostfront nahm gestern die Kampftätigkeit an Stärke wieder zu. Gegen unsere Stellungen im Orelbogen führte der Feind neue schwere Angriffe zusammengefaßter Infanterie- und Panzerkräfte. Sie sind in wechselvollen Kämpfen unter hohen feindlichen Verlusten gescheitert.
Am Kubanbrückenkopf und am Ladogasee griff der Feind wieder mit starken Kräften an. Westlich Krymskaja brach der Angriff mehrerer Sowjetdivisionen vor unseren Linien zusammen. Südlich des Ladogasees wurden die mit starker Artillerie und Schlachtfliegerunterstützung angreifenden Sowjets abgeschlagen und feindliche Kräfte, die in die Front eingedrungen waren, vernichtet.
In den beiden letzten Tagen zerstörten unsere Truppen an der Ostfront 148 Panzer.
Ein Unterseeboot versenkte im Schwarzen Meer einen Tanker von 7.000 BRT.
Auf Sizilien erzielten gestern unsere Truppen bei den heftigen Kämpfen im Mittelabschnitt der Front einen vollen Abwehrerfolg. Alle feindlichen, zum Teil mit frischen Kräften geführten Durchbruchsversuche wurden unter sehr hohen Verlusten abgewiesen. Über dem Mittelmeerraum wurden 16 feindliche Flugzeuge abgeschossen.
Im Kampf gegen den feindlichen Nachschub nach Sizilien beschädigte die Luftwaffe einen großen Transporter schwer und erzielte Bombentreffer zwischen Landungsbooten, in Treibstofflagern und Anlagen des Hafens Avola an der Südostküste der Insel.
Feindliche Fliegerverbände griffen am gestrigen Tage die Stadt Kassel und einige Orte in den besetzten Westgebieten an. Sie bombardierten in der vergangenen Nacht die Stadt Remscheid. Die Bewohner der angegriffenen Städte hatten Verluste. Schwere Zerstörungen und Brandschäden entstanden vor allem in den Wohngebieten von Remscheid. Luftverteidigungskräfte vernichteten nach bisher vorliegenden Meldungen insgesamt 60 Flugzeuge, meist viermotorige Bomber.
Deutsche Unterseeboote versenkten im Atlantik drei Schiffe mit 15.000 BRT. und im Eismeer einen Bewacher. Bei der Abwehr feindlicher Luftangriffe schossen sie im Atlantik ein nordamerikanisches Luftschiff und ein Flugzeug ab.
dnb. Berlin, 31. Juli –
An der sizilianischen Front entwickelten sich am 30. Juli am mittleren und nördlichen Abschnitt größere Kampfhandlungen, während es an dem Südostflügel, vor allem im Abschnitt von Catania, bis auf geringe Spähtrupptätigkeit völlig ruhig blieb. Im nördlichen Küstenabschnitt versuchten sich die nur zögernd vorfühlenden nordamerikanischen Infanterieverbände an die neuen, günstigen Abwehrlinien der deutschen Truppen heranzutasten. Der einzige aus diesen Bewegungen heraus entstehende stärkere Vorstoß feindlicher Kräfte, der in den frühen Morgenstunden nach heftiger Artillerievorbereitung in Gang kam, blieb jedoch schon vor unseren Stellungen im Abwehrfeuer liegen. Den heftigsten Angriff führte der Gegner im mittleren Abschnitt mit starken Kräften, er begleitete den mit Infanterie, Panzern und Artillerie geführten Stoß durch örtlich begrenzte Entlastungsangriffe. Das Ziel der Unternehmungen war die Wegnahme beherrschender Höhenstellungen. Die Angriffe scheiterten jedoch unter empfindlichen Verlusten für den Feind, so daß die Höhen nach Bereinigung örtlicher Einbrüche fest in unserer Hand blieben.
dnb. Tokio, 31. Juli –
Wie aus Nanking gemeldet wird, gab die japanische Expeditionsarmee in China bekannt, daß Einheiten der japanischen Luftwaffe in China, die am 23. Juli ihre Aktionen begannen, die wichtigsten Luftstützpunkte der amerikanischen Luftwaffe in China bombardierten und dabei große Erfolge erzielten. Bis zum 29. Juli gelang es ihnen, insgesamt 35 amerikanische Flugzeuge zu zerstören beziehungsweise zu beschädigen.
Auch die Heeresgruppen der japanischen Expeditionsarmee entfalten überall an der chinesischen Front rege Operationstätigkeit.
The Pittsburgh Press (August 1, 1943)
Virtual revolution reported in northern cities after warning from Africa that great air blitz is imminent
By Aldo Forte, United Press staff writer
Berne, Switzerland –
Riots approaching revolution broke out in northern Italy tonight as Allied radios announced that Italian cities were going to be bombed again because the government of Marshal Pietro Badoglio had ignored Allied peace offers and was dealing with the Germans.
Reports reaching Switzerland said that at many points, soldiers had joined civilians in bringing a state of “virtual revolution.” The demonstrators were demanding Badoglio’s immediate overthrow and peace.
The situation was reported to be particularly acute in the industrial city of Milan, scene of sporadic and violent rioting all this week. The reports said the street mobs there accused Badoglio of “betraying” them.
Italian reports reached Madrid that rioting was also occurring in Rome, Florence and Naples, the latter much bombed by Allied planes. They told of a number of clashes between Italian and German soldiers, mostly fistfights. They described women walking the street with squalling infants in their arms, crying:
We want peace. Badoglio, do something quickly! We don’t want our cities bombed again.
Rome churches were crowded day and night, these reports said, with thousands prying for peace.
The only troops remaining orderly, it was said, were the Carabinieri – military police – but they were unable to stem the wild wave of objection reported to be sweeping northern Italy.
Thousands were said to have jammed themselves into the principal squares and streets of Milan, Turin and other cities, angrily shouting their demands. Some had heard the Allied warning broadcast in Italian by the London and Algiers radios and had passed the word along.
A clandestine Italian radio station appealed to the people to support five left-wing parties banded in a united front against the Badoglio government since last Monday. The broadcaster, who said he was speaking from Leghorn, called upon workers to end the so-called “armed truce.”
Henceforth, refuse any collaboration with the Badoglio government and begin immediate active resistance.
A temporary return to normalcy in some Italian industrial centers had been reported earlier. Believed to have been a gesture by the workers to permit the government to negotiate some sort of peace, it was apparently broken when the Allied warning gained wide circulation.
There are many rumors concerning the whereabouts of former Premier Benito Mussolini, but best information was that he was confined in the Bracciano Fortress outside of Rome. Two generals, one of them the former commander of the Fascist militia, were said to have been transferred last night to the fortress where political offenders condemned by the Fascisti formerly were executed.
Mussolini’s wife, Rachele; his son, Vittorio, with his wife and children; his daughter, Edda, and her husband, Count Galeazzo Ciano, and the widow of his late son, Bruno, with his four-year-old daughter, were said to be under guard in a villa outside of Rome.
By William B. Dickinson, United Press staff writer
London, England – (July 31)
Allied broadcasts told Italians tonight the holiday from bombs was over because of the Badoglio government’s failure to oust the Germans, but other reports – via Madrid and without confirmation – said Italian emissaries had already contacted Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower for peace discussions.
An Allied spokesman said in repeated broadcasts to Italy over Radio Algiers:
Six days have passed since Mussolini’s fall. Instead of acting quickly, the Badoglio government played for time and thus helped the Germans.
We give you a solemn warning: The respite is over. The bombing of military objectives will resume. Keep away from factories, rail lines and German barracks.
Prefer to deal with U.S.
Although conditions in Italy were still obscured by censorship, reports reaching Madrid from France said emissaries, fully empowered by Badoglio to discuss peace terms, had arrived in North Africa aboard a special Italian plane and had established contact with Gen. Eisenhower.
The Madrid information said that Marshal Badoglio and King Victor Emmanuel were in control of the Italian situation and had agreed that Italy must come to terms with the Allies. However, it was understood that both preferred to deal with the United States rather than with Great Britain.
There were increasing reports that an armistice could be expected momentarily, perhaps during the weekend, and members of the British War Cabinet stood by for another sudden call such as occurred at 1:30 a.m. Friday.
The Daily Mirror’s headline, “Italy May Be Out Tomorrow,” reflected the general sentiment here that the Italian situation was fast approaching a showdown climax.
Rome announced that Count Galeazzo Ciano, Benito Mussolini’s son-in-law and Italian Foreign Minister for six years, had resigned as Ambassador to the Vatican.
Radio Rome said that the 39-year-old Ciano, who was made Foreign Minister in 1937 by Mussolini and figured in many of the most prominent Axis deals, had submitted his resignation to King Victor Emmanuel, who accepted it immediately. Ciano was “banished” to the Vatican last February when Mussolini effected a general shakeup of his government.
To force stand
There was little doubt that the Allies intended to force the Badoglio government to take a concrete stand, abandoning its policy of temporization.
The Algiers broadcasts said:
When Mussolini’s fall was first announced, the Germans were flabbergasted and feared they would be trapped if Badoglio made peace quickly. Then, day by day, the Germans observed the inactivity of the Badoglio government. You know better than we that, thus far, there has been no sign of evacuation of the Germans.
Italians, you know that immediately after Mussolini was chased from power, we stepped down the bombing of Axis targets in Italy. In this way, we wanted to give Italy a period of respite to unite for peace and liberty.
But the Germans have profited by this period of respite in order to reinforce their position in Italy. Responsibility for this falls exclusively on the new Rome government.
If the Badoglio government had acted quickly, the Germans by now would be in full retreat from Italy. But instead, the Badoglio government played for time and thus allowed the Germans to restore their positions.
We cannot allow this state to continue. Very soon, the air offensive will be resumed in all its violence… When the bombs explode, remember the blood of each Italian hit falls on the heads of the Rome government who, in Italy’s decisive hour, have temporized instead of acting for honor, peace and liberty.
Observers were not completely discounting reports of peace discussions in North Africa despite the Allied warnings. They felt that perhaps Badoglio’s emissaries had offered capitulation on terms not reconcilable with the “unconditional surrender formula.”
A Zürich dispatch quoted a diplomatic source as saying that the following policy had been outlined by Marshal Badoglio:
This source said that if these proposals were refused by either side, Badoglio would resign.
Meanwhile, a Stockholm dispatch said well-informed circles in Switzerland believed King Victor Emmanuel would abdicate in favor of Crown Prince Umberto and that Badoglio, as a result of his promises to continue the war, would be succeeded by Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, enabling Italy to negotiate peace without losing too much power.
8th Army opens heavy barrage near Catania
By Reynolds Packard, United Press staff writer
Squeezed into corner of Sicily, the Axis forces were battling hard against advancing Allied troops. The British 8th Army opened a heavy artillery barrage south of Catania, possibly a prelude to a smashing advance. The map shows the direction of the American, British and Canadian drives.
Allied HQ, North Africa – (July 31)
Allied troops, supported by crushing air and sea power, were tonight reported nearing the enemy’s main Etna line across northeastern Sicily and, with the British 8th Army opening another of its famed artillery barrages, the zero hour for the final drive to conquer all Sicily appeared to be fast approaching.
Far to the west of the fighting lines, three tiny islands off Sicily’s west coast – Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo comprising the Aegadian group – submitted to unconditional surrender.
Down 21 fighters
In the air and on the sea, the Allies scored smashing new victories. U.S. Warhawk fliers, taking on 35 enemy fighters over southern Sardinia Friday, shot down 21 at a cost of only one plane in their greatest triumph of the campaign. U.S. Mitchell bombers hammered an airfield only 11 miles below Rome as other Allied fliers destroyed five other Axis planes for a one-day total of 26.
U.S. motor torpedo boats sank or damaged six vessels during a series of daring attacks this week, one of them 100 miles up the Italian coast from the Strait of Messina area. Allied planes accounted for 12 other ships in the Thursday-Friday period.
Make good progress
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s daily war bulletin announced that British, Canadian and U.S. forces in Sicily had made “good progress” during the past 24 hours, although it did not reveal the extent of the gains.
The 8th Army of Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, reverting to the tactics that opened the way through the enemy lines at El Alamein and Mareth in the North African campaign, opened up a number of artillery barrages below Catania and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.
Men of the U.S. 7th Army, captured 941 more prisoners, including 500 Germans, indicating that Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr.’s forces were continuing the tactics of cutting off whole areas as they forged ahead with French Moroccan Goumiers fighting with them.
The Allied advance was reported to have narrowed down the strip of virtual no-man’s-land that has been separating the Allies from the main bulk of the enemy forces to a thin ribbon “some” miles wide. It appeared that the important showdown battle was approaching rapidly.
The Morocco radio reported that U.S. troops had captured Sperlinga, five miles northwest of Nicosia, but that a slight slowing of the U.S. advance could be expected because the retreating Germans were blowing up roads.
The Algiers radio reported that German troops were retreating towards Messina while in another broadcast, the same station said Germans and Italians on the northern and central sectors were falling back toward a second defense line based in the Caronia Mountains, east of the San Stefano-Nicosia Road.
London military observers, asserting there were now between 50,000 and 60,000 Germans in Sicily, said the Etna Line was held as follows: Germans, probably the 25th Motorized Division, are deployed on the coast near San Stefano south through Mistretta to the Nicosia area; then Italians as far as Regalbuto; then the German 15th Panzers and Hermann Göring Division to Catania.
Meanwhile, Allied warplanes ranged over Sardinia, Sicily and Italy.
Mitchells, escorted by Lightning fighter-bombers, attacked Pratica di Mare Airfield, 11 miles southwest of Rome and Flying Fortresses hit the airfield at Grottaglie, 10 miles east of the Taranto Naval Base.
Milazzo, on the north coast of Sicily, was attacked by U.S. fighter-bombers which sank a 500-ton merchant ship and damaged others.
Beaufighters of the Coastal Command Thursday night hit a medium-sized merchant ship with torpedoes and shot up escorting ships, setting a destroyer and motor torpedo boat afire.
Damage seven ships
Planes of the British Middle East Command damaged seven enemy vessels in the Aegean Sea area Thursday and set fire to a large tug Friday off Rhodes at a cost of one plane.
A naval communiqué issued here revealed that British cruisers and destroyers on Wednesday night bombarded important rail bridges near Locri on the sole of the Italian boot. The railroad runs near the coast at that point and damage to the bridges would hold up the movement of supplies southward for days.
Yank planes hit enemy’s positions on 2 isles
By Don Caswell, United Press staff writer
‘Heroic’ effort urged to finance victory, forestall higher prices at home; lower living standard foreseen
Raids on northern France follow heavy blow at Ruhr tool center
By Walter Logan, United Press staff writer
London, England – (July 31)
Additional thousands of U.S. soldiers have reached the British Isles after an Atlantic crossing that was without incident, it was announced today.
NLRB announces that vote will be held Aug. 4 at Illinois plan
Currency black market brought to light
British and Russia join in Roosevelt’s statement on war criminals
Air Forces organized by Signal Corps order on Aug. 1, 1907
Bootlegging and hijacking are cropping up again as country threatens to go dry without legislation