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

Millett: Be kind to soldier’s wife and you’ll make him happy

Fellow who knows friends and neighbors think of his mate will be more content
By Ruth Millett

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

Somewhere in Sicily, Italy – (by wireless)
Our first few days aboard ship after the Sicilian landings were broken by many things besides air raids.

A few wounded soldiers were brought from shore for our doctors to treat before the hospital ships arrived. Important generals came to confer on our ship. We had fresh tomatoes and watermelon at the same meal. We took little trips up and down the coast. Repair parties back from the beaches brought souvenir Fascist banners, and stories of how poor the Sicilians were and how glad they were that the war was over for them. The weather remained perfect. Our waters and beaches were forever changing.

I think it was at daylight on the third morning when we awoke to find the Mediterranean absolutely devoid of ships, except for scattered naval vessels. The vast convoys that brought us over had unloaded to the last one and slipped out during the night. For a few hours the water was empty, the shore seemed lifeless, and all the airplanes had disappeared. You couldn’t believe that we were really at war.

Crawling with ships

And then after lunch you looked out again and here the sea was veritably crawling with new ships – hundreds of them, big and little. Every one was coated at the top with a brown layer like icing on a cake, which turned out when we drew closer to be decks crammed solid with Army vehicles and khaki-clad men.

We kept pouring men and machines into Sicily as though it were a giant hopper. The schedule had all been worked out ahead of time: On D-Day Plus 3, Such-and-such Division would arrive. A few hours later another convoy bringing tanks was due. Ships unloaded and started right back for new cargoes.

The whole thing went so fast that in at least one instance I know of, the Army couldn’t pour its men and equipment into the African embarkation ports as fast as the returning ships arrived.

Unloading these ceaseless convoys in Sicily was a saga. The Navy sent salvage parties of Seabees ashore right behind the assault troops and began reclaiming harbors and fixing up beaches for unloading. The Army worked so smoothly that material never piled up on the beaches but got immediately on its way to the front. The number of vehicles that had to be landed to take care of this was almost beyond conception.

We have stevedoring regiments made up of New York professional stevedores. We have naval captains who in civil life ran worldwide ship-salvaging concerns and made enormous salaries.

Days reduced to hours

We run some ships up to the beaches, we unload others at ports, we empty big freighters by lightering their cargoes to shore in hundreds of assault barges and amphibious trucks. Great ships loaded with tanks have been known to beach and unload in the fantastic time of half an hour.

Big freighters anchored a mile from shore have been emptied into hordes of swarming, clammering small boats in 18 hours, when the same unloading with all modern facilities at a New York pier would take four days.

Convoys arrive, empty, and slip away for another load. Men work like slaves on the beaches. Bosses shout and rush as no construction boss ever did in peacetime. Speed, speed, speed!

You walk gingerly on big steel pontoon piers, and you can’t tell a naval lieutenant commander in coveralls from an Army sergeant in a sun helmet. Sometimes it seems as if half the men of America must be there, all working madly together.

Power of production

And do you realize what it is? It is America’s long-awaited power of production finally rolling into the far places where it must be to end the war.

It sounds trite when it is put into words, but if you could be here and see, you would understand how the might of material can overwhelm everything before it. We saw that in the last days of Tunisia. We are seeing it here. We can picture it in inklings of the enemy collapse that inevitably lies ahead.

The point was that we on the scene know for sure that you can substitute machines for lives and that if we can plague and smother the enemy with an unbearable weight of machinery in these next few months, hundreds of thousands of our young men whose expectancy was small can someday walk again through their own front doors.

Pegler: On Fascism

By Westbrook Pegler

Clapper: Exit Italy

By Raymond Clapper

U.S. State Department (August 3, 1943)

740.00119 European War 1939/1560a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the Soviet Union

Washington, August 3, 1943 — 2 p.m.


Your 977, July 30, 4 p.m.

Please call upon Molotov as soon as you are able to obtain an appointment and hand him an aide-mémoire reading substantially as follows:

Begin aide-mémoire. The Government of the United States is of the opinion that following the disappearance of Mussolini Italian resistance is rapidly crumbling and that within a relatively short period full capitulation is to be expected. The Allied Commander-in-Chief of the area is being authorized to accept unconditional surrender from anyone who in his judgment is in a position to offer it. He is also being authorized to take such military measures as may seem to him to be appropriate in order to preserve order, guarantee the security of the Allied forces in Italy, and to prepare for his next immediate future military operations. We understand that the British Government has informed the Soviet Government of our joint ideas on the terms of surrender to be exacted from Italy.

The Government of the United States continues to share the view that it is essential that the United States, British, and Soviet Governments keep each other fully informed regarding military developments in the various areas in which their respective armed forces are operating and also that they maintain constant touch with each other regarding such developments of a political nature as may arise from the immediate military developments.

Any suggestions with regard to the situation in Italy which the Soviet Government may at this or at any future time care to offer would, therefore, be welcomed by the United States Government. Furthermore, the United States Government would be glad to reply to any specific inquiries which the Soviet Government might care to make with regard to the Italian situation. End aide-mémoire.

For your confidential information the British Government has been informed of and has agreed to the contents of this aide-mémoire. The British Government’s aide-mémoire in reply handed to Winant by Eden on August 2 with annexes reads as follows:

Aide-mémoire. A day or two ago the Soviet Chargé d’Affaires was given a summary of the draft instrument of Surrender, which is still before the United States Government (annex 1). It was made clear that this instrument was purely provisional, pending agreement with the U.S. Government, and that its terms might have to be modified. A note has now been received from Monsieur Sobolev saying that the Soviet Government consider the provisions contained in this summary to correspond fully to the existing conditions, and have no objection to them.

Since communicating the above to the Soviet Government, the President has suggested a shorter formula for a purely military arrangement to be used by General Eisenhower in case of necessity. The Prime Minister has indicated to the President that in case of emergency General Eisenhower may be authorized to present this document. But he has asked the President to consider further the draft instrument already communicated to Washington, so that, if agreement can be reached on it before the emergency arises, General Eisenhower may be authorized to present this fuller document in reply to any Italian request.

The Soviet Government are now being given a summary of the shorter document (annex 2) with an explanation of the circumstances in which it was drafted, and in which it may be used. End aide-mémoire.

We are advised that the first information given to the Russians by the British was given on July 30. You will note that the British have limited their messages simply to informing the Russians whereas our aide-mémoire specifically asks them for suggestions and agrees to reply to specific inquiries they may choose to make.


The Pittsburgh Press (August 3, 1943)

G.I. shoes and dog tags identify bomber survivor

Otherwise Ohio sergeant looks like native after passing through enemy lines in 15-day trek
By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer

Mistretta, Sicily, Italy – (July 31, delayed)
The slender fellow was a blond, wore G.I. shoes and dog tags but the rest of him looked native Sicilian, including the green-checked shirt.

He told Capt. Paul Gale as the officer came out of his headquarters here:

Honest, captain. I’m an American. Here, see my dog tags. I’m in the Air Corps.

Capt. Gale took the fellow to a casualty clearing station. He identified himself as Sgt. Arthur P. Rohr, 21, of Lewisville, Ohio, and downed five plates of sauerkraut, a whole chicken and a bottle of wine.

Then he said:

Boy, I was lonely. For 15 days, I was lonely.

Only survivor

He had lived with Sicilians, slept on hillsides and moved through enemy lines for 15 days before he met the advancing Americans.

He is the only survivor of a bomber lost near Mt. Etna, and he doesn’t know how he managed to get out. The plane caught fire.

He said:

I ran to escape through the trap and pulled the release but it wouldn’t open. I jumped on the hatch, which you aren’t supposed to do because if you go out that way you might get caught in the slipstream. I guess that’s what happened to me.

Head aches

He must have struck his head on the fuselage because he remembered nothing more until he awoke with the sun high in the sky. He was on a mountain slope. His head ached, was cut and bloody. Near him was his tangled parachute. How it opened he doesn’t know.

He said:

I started out to find my ship, but the Italians beat me to it. I finally saw it. It had crashed all night, but a lot of Italian soldiers were around it and some more were digging a big hole a little distance away. I looked around and then decided to get the hell out of there.

Starts south

St. Rohr started south toward the British line. Unable to speak Italian, he tried a single word on a native he met. It was “aqua.” He got both food and water and that night, he slept on a hillside.

He said:

I tried to sleep but it was cold. I was lonely, boy, I was lonely and I thought about back home on the farm and my girl, Martha Owen, down at Hastings, West Virginia. You may not think there’s a God, but I’m telling you, I thought about Him plenty.

He stayed there for seven days and the Italian who first had fed him, continued to feed him. Hearing guns in the distance, he started off toward them. An Italian shepherd gave him the clothes he reached Mistretta in – “and the pants were so dirty they could stand by themselves.”

Meets deserters

He said:

I cruised around in the mountains and met two Italian deserters heading for the American lines. We made a three-day hike and those Italians like to have walked hell out of me. They were going too fast.

One day he ran into a family of Sicilians who helped him.

The father of the family heard about the Americans reaching Mistretta and brought Sgt. Rohr in on a mule.

Völkischer Beobachter (August 4, 1943)

Prüfung der Schiffahrtslage für England negativ –
Das Sternenbanner verdrängt den Union Jack

Von unserer Stockholmer Schriftleitung

Der teuer bezahlte amerikanische Angriffsversuch –
Ploestis Abwehr bewährte sich

vb. Wien, 3. August –
Der Gedanke eines Bombenangriffs gegen das rumänische Erdölzentrum Ploesti hat seit langem in vielen britischen und amerikanischen Köpfen gespukt, und auch die britisch-amerikanische Luftkriegführung hatte sich, wie jetzt feststeht, dieses Planes seit mindestens einem Vierteljahr ernsthaft angenommen. Der Angriff, der dann schließlich in den späten Nachmittagsstunden des vergangenen Sonntags erfolgte, war so mit einer Präzision und Sorgfalt vorbereitet wie kaum eine feindliche Luftkriegsunternehmung je zuvor.

Trotz dieser günstig erscheinenden Momente wurde der Angriff schließlich doch zu keiner bösen Überraschung für die deutsch-rumänischen Abwehrkräfte und noch viel weniger für unsere Erdölversorgung, sondern vielmehr zu einem der verlustreichsten und negativsten Abenteuer der amerikanischen Luftstreitkräfte. 52 der schweren viermotorigen „Liberators“ der 9. USA.-Luftflotte liegen heute zerschmettert und verbrannt auf dem Boden. Etwa sieben weitere Maschinen holten die tapferen bulgarischen Luftstreitkräfte in ihrem Luftraum herunter. Zu dieser bereits sehr hohen und zweifellos kaum tragbaren Verlustquote kommen noch jene Ausfälle hinzu, die den Verband auf seinem überlangen Heimflugwege nach dem Nahen Osten ereilt haben mögen.

In einem stark dramatisierten Kommuniqué haben die Amerikaner dann auch prompt versucht, wenigstens die Prestigefrage der mißglückten Aktion etwas zu ihren Gunsten zu korrigieren. Sie erzählen darin überaus ausführlich von ihren vielfältigen Vorbereitungen und überraschenderweise auch von der – Stärke der deutsch-rumänischen Abwehr.

So heißt es in diesem amerikanischen Bericht:

Die Spezialausbildung des eingesetzten fliegenden Personals erfolgte seit Monaten nach dem Gesichtspunkt, daß die Ölfelder von Ploesti nicht nur stark verteidigt sind, sondern ihre Verteidigung auch von der Natur aus stark begünstigt ist. Angriffe kleiner Verbände sind daher zwecklos. Die Flugzeugbesatzungen wurden besonders im Tiefangriff geschult und haben einzeln und in Gruppen die ersten kriegsmäßigen Einsätze, die ebenfalls im Hinblick auf das große Vorhaben von Ploesti geflogen wurden, auf Sizilien durchgeführt. Besonders konstruierte Tiefflugbombenzielgeräte wurden für diesen Zweck eingebaut.

Viel Prahlerei und wenig Wahrheit

Soweit mögen sich die amerikanischen Angaben noch mit der Wahrheit decken. Aber was des weiteren über die Menge der abgeworfenen Bomben und die Zahl der beteiligten Flugzeuge behauptet wird, läßt nicht mehr die Wirklichkeit, sondern nur noch die Absicht erkennen, eine einigermaßen positiv wirkende Endbilanz für die eigene Öffentlichkeit zu erreichen. Obwohl höchstens 120 bis 140 feindliche Maschinen eingesetzt waren und nur ein Prozentsatz davon das Zielgebiet erreichte, heißt es in der amerikanischen Verlautbarung, daß „175 ‚Liberator‘-Bomber innerhalb von 60 Sekunden 300 Tonnen Bomben abgeworfen“ hätten.

Aber zu diesem Punkt werden die Amerikaner uns wohl zugestehen müssen, daß wir die eigenen Beobachtungen als die einzig richtigen und wirklichkeitsgetreuen bewerten. Und aus ihnen ergibt sich ein wesentlich anderes Bild. Als die Amerikaner in geringer Höhe heranbrausten und später zum Tiefangriff übergingen, schlug ihnen ein solch konzentriertes Abwehrfeuer von größter Wirkungskraft entgegen, daß kaum gezielte Bombenabwürfe erfolgen konnten. Die zahlreichen Flaktürme im Erdölgebiet konnten bald ihre ersten Erfolge verbuchen, und danach holten sich die deutschen und rumänischen Jäger ihre Beute.

Als der Abend auf Ploesti herabsank, waren zwei Tatsachen einwandfrei erhärtet: erstens, daß selbst ein Überraschungserfolg den Amerikanern versagt geblieben war, und zweitens, daß der Umfang und die Länge der europäischen Abwehrfront Deutschland nicht daran hindern können, seine für die Kriegführung wichtigen Objekte ständig in stärkster Verteidigungsbereitschaft zu halten. Dieses Ergebnis von Ploesti kann und mag deshalb vielleicht auch für die deutsche Öffentlichkeit eine Erklärung dazu beitragen, welche weitgespannten Aufgaben die deutschen Verteidigungskräfte in der Luft heute zu bewältigen haben, die ja praktisch den gesamten Luftraum dieses Kontinents überwachen.

In einem amtlichen rumänischen Bericht über den Angriff wird die Zahl der amerikanischen Bomber mit etwa 125 angegeben, von denen jedoch nur ein Teil bis über die Angriffsziele gekommen sei. Die Zahl der Toten wird mit 116, die der Verletzten mit 147 angegeben, davon entfallen 63 Tote und 60 Verletzte auf Insassen des Gefängnisses Ploesti, auf dessen Dach ein brennender amerikanischer Bomber fiel. Bisher, so schließt der amtliche Bericht, konnten 66 amerikanische Flieger gefangengenommen werden.

Neuer Terrorangriff auf Hamburg

dnb. Aus dem Führer-Hauptquartier, 3. August –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:

Am Kubanbrückenkopf wurden mehrere Angriffe der Sowjets blutig abgewiesen. Der eigene Angriff nördlich Kuibyschewo wurde erfolgreich fortgesetzt. An der Donezfront brachen mehrere mit schwächeren Kräften geführte feindliche Angriffe zusammen. Im mittleren Frontabschnitt, vor allem südwestlich Orel, setzte der Feind seine Durchbruchsversuche unter Einsatz neuer starker Infanterie-, Panzer- und Fliegerkräfte fort. Unsere heldenhaft kämpfenden Truppen wehrten alle feindlichen Angriffe ab und gewannen, von der Luftwaffe unterstützt, vorübergehend verlorengegangenes Gelände im Gegenangriff zurück. Abermals wurde eine große Zahl von Sowjetpanzern vernichtet.

Auch südlich des Ladogasees traten die Sowjets nach heftiger Artillerievorbereitung mit starker Fliegerunterstützung erneut zum Angriff an. Sie wurden in harten Nahkämpfen und zum Teil im Gegenstoß unter schweren Verlusten abgewiesen.

An der Ostfront verloren die Sowjets am 1. und 2. August in Luftkämpfen und durch Flakabwehr 227 Flugzeuge.

Auf Sizilien standen unsere Truppen besonders im mittleren Abschnitt der Front in schweren Abwehrkämpfen. Unter sehr hohen blutigen Verlusten und erheblichem Materialausfall brachen die Angriffe zum Teil in Nahkämpfen zusammen. Eine vorübergehend in eine Höhenstellung eingebrochene feindliche Kampfgruppe wurde im Gegenstoß zurückgeworfen.

Auch im südlichen Abschnitt der Front hat die Kampftätigkeit wieder erheblich zugenommen. Schnelle deutsche Kampfflugzeuge griffen in die Erdkämpfe ein und bombardierten Panzer- und Kraftfahrzeugansammlungen des Feindes im Raume von Nicosia.

Der Feind verlor gestern im Mittelmeerraum 21 Flugzeuge.

Nach vereinzelten Tagesvorstößen feindlicher Luftstreitkräfte in die besetzten Westgebiete und an die norwegische Küste bombardierten die Briten in der vergangenen Nacht erneut das Stadtgebiet von Hamburg und die weitere Umgebung. Wieder entstanden Verluste unter der Bevölkerung und erhebliche Zerstörungen. Nach bisher vorliegenden Meldungen wurden bei diesen Angriffen 27 feindliche Flugzeuge abgeschossen.

Bei einem überfall britischer Torpedo- und Bombenflieger auf ein deutsches Geleit schossen Sicherungsfahrzeuge und die Bordflak von Handelsschiffen zehn Flugzeuge ab. Weitere vier feindliche Flugzeuge wurden von Einheiten der Kriegsmarine über dem westeuropäischen Küstengebiet vernichtet.

Der am 2. August gemeldete feindliche Luftangriff auf das rumänische Ölgebiet erweist sich mehr und mehr als ein schwerer Mißerfolg. Die Verluste des Feindes haben sich bisher auf 52 gezählte Abschüsse erhöht. 15 feindliche Bomber sind nach Auslandsmeldungen auf neutralem Gebiet notgelandet. Damit ist nach unseren Feststellungen allein über die Hälfte des gestarteten Verbandes nicht zurückgekehrt. Der wirkliche Verlust des amerikanischen Bombergeschwaders wird aber noch weit darüber liegen.

Gescheiterte Durchbruchsversuche auf Sizilien

dnb. Berlin, 3. August –
In Sizilien entwickelten sich neue örtliche Kämpfe auf der ganzen Front zwischen Catania und San Stefano. Am nördlichen Küstenstreifen tasteten sich die nordamerikanischen Verbände nur mit großer Vorsicht weiter vor. Sie stehen immer noch im Vorfeld der deutschen Widerstandslinie und haben die Gefechtsberührung mit ihr noch nicht herstellen können. Trotz Einsatz von Minensuchtrupps hatten die vorfühlenden Nordamerikaner empfindliche Verluste durch hochgehende Sprengladungen.

Auch südlich Catania waren die Briten wieder aktiver, ohne jedoch an unsere günstigen Verteidigungsstellungen herankommen zu können. Unsere Artillerie brachte die Vorstöße schon im Vorfeld der deutsch-italienischen Linien zum Scheitern. Die heftigsten Kämpfe spielten sich am mittleren Abschnitt im Raum nordöstlich von Enna ab. Den wiederholten, vom Feind gerade hier mit starken Kräften unternommenen Durchbruchsversuchen traten unsere Truppen in energischen Gegenstößen wirksam entgegen. Am Vortage hatten sich hier Kanadier durch Einsatz erheblicher Kräfte und unter Hinnahme beträchtlicher Verluste einer Höhe bemächtigen können. Am 1. August traten jedoch unsere Verbände überraschend zum Gegenstoß an und warfen den Feind aus der Bergstellung wieder heraus. In den harten, durch die ungewöhnliche Hitze erschwerten Kämpfen hatten die Kanadier sehr hohe Ausfälle.

Der Feind hat aber seine Absichten, unsere Front nordöstlich von Enna zu durchstoßen, um dadurch die unangreifbaren Stellungen am Nordrand der Ebene von Catania in der Flanke und im Rücken zu fassen, noch keineswegs aufgegeben. Im Laufe des Nachmittags griff er daher mit frischen Infanterie- und Panzerverbänden, die durch starkes Artilleriefeuer und zahlreiche Fliegerstaffeln unterstützt wurden, den langgestreckten Bergrücken hart nördlich der Linie Gerbini – Enna an verschiedenen Punkten an. In mehrstündigen erbitterten Kämpfen, die auch die Nacht über andauerten, schlugen unsere Truppen, denen Luftwaffenverbände helfend zur Seite standen, den Feind immer wieder blutig zurück.

20 Flugzeuge abgeschossen

Der italienische Wehrmachtbericht vom Dienstag lautet:

In Sizilien dehnte der Feind seine Angriffe auf den Südabschnitt der Front aus, wo heftige Kämpfe im Gange sind.

In den Gewässern Südkalabriens kam es zu einem Gefecht zwischen unseren Schnellbooten und feindlichen Einheiten, die abgewiesen wurden.

Die Stadt Neapel und Umgebung sowie zahlreiche Ortschaften auf Sizilien und Sardinien waren das Ziel feindlicher Luftangriffe. Sechs feindliche Bomber wurden von der Bodenabwehr abgeschossen, darunter zwei über Neapel, zwei über Messina und zwei über Cagliari. Zwei „Spitfires“ wurden von deutschen Jägern über Sizilien zum Absturz gebracht.

Zwölf zweimotorige Flugzeuge wurden über Sardinien im Verlauf von wiederholten Luftkämpfen von den tapferen Jägern unseres 51. Sturms vernichtet.

The Pittsburgh Press (August 4, 1943)

Axis lines ripped apart, collapse in Sicily near

Yanks seize another city, drive within 55 miles of Messina
By the United Press

Two major Allied victories appeared to be ripe for the plucking today – the smashing of diehard Axis resistance in Sicily and the capture of the key German defense bastion of Orel on the Russian front.

Land, sea and air assaults in Sicily were rolling back the Etna Line and ripping apart the defenses of the Messina apex of the big Italian island. Military sources believed the end of the campaign was near, and said it would probably be as sudden as the Axis collapse in Tunisia.

Russia reported that a German army, estimated at 250,000, was in general retreat from the Orel salient, and a gloom-laden Nazi communiqué told of powerful Red Army attacks all along the southern front. It barely mentioned Orel, but clearly intimated that more bad news was brewing on the Eastern Front.

By Virgil Pinkley, United Press staff writer

Screenshot 2022-08-04 002747
Allied troops push ahead in Sicily, with Americans capturing Caronia, near San Stefano on the north coast, and driving on westward towards Messina, only 60 air miles away, and British Imperial forces now occupying Agira and Catenanuova on the Mt. Etna front. There were indications the Axis might seek to make a stand on a line from San Agata on the north coast to Cesarò, 16 miles to the south. Allied warships were pounding enemy attempts to reinforce their lines.

Allied HQ, North Africa –
A terrific Allied land, air and sea bombardment was levelled today against the receding Axis defenses on the northeastern tip of Sicily as American doughboys captured Caronia on the northern coast and drove six miles beyond it to within 55 miles of Messina.

U.S. and British warships up to cruisers shelled enemy reinforcements and supplies moving up to the front along the northern and eastern coasts, while heavy concentrations of land artillery hammered at German and Italian defense positions. Allied planes kept up unrelenting attacks on the whole Axis-held area.

British forces on the central front have smashed a German tank thrust and resumed their advance, it was announced. British, U.S. and Canadian troops were driving hard through the mountains toward the foot of Mt. Etna, threatening to dissolve the enemy’s defense line around the volcano.

Naples bombed again

Meanwhile, British Wellington bombers subjected Naples, Italy’s biggest port, to its third raid in 36 hours Monday night to give added weight to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning that Italy’s failure to capitulate would bring death and destruction to its cities.

Ground forces made “very satisfactory progress” yesterday, Gen. Eisenhower’s communiqué reported and front dispatches said that fighting along the British-Canadian front south and southwest of Mt. Etna was so intense that the Germans for the first time have abandoned their dead in the battlefield as they fell back under relentless pressure.

A Berlin communiqué today said that German and Italian troops in Sicily were “outnumbered several times,” and their “big defensive successes” were scored in difficult terrain and unfavorable weather.

Americans advance

Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr’s U.S. 7th Army rolled up advances yesterday of up to six miles through hills and valleys, driving before them German and Italian forces believed preparing for a major stand along a line stretching from San Agata on the north coast, 11 miles east of Caronia, to Cesarò, 16 miles to the south.

The advances engulfed both Caronia Marina on the coast and Caronia itself, one mile inland.

A German communiqué broadcast by Berlin radio said that U.S. divisions attempted “again and again” to break through the Axis central front, but were thrown back each time with heavy losses.

U.S. cruisers and destroyers aided the American coastal drive by bombarding enemy defenses and roads, over which reinforcements and supplies were being rushed to the front.

Catenanuova, 21 miles west of Catania, fell to the Canadians yesterday after being bypassed by a column that captured Centuripe, five miles to the northeast, 24 hours earlier.

Nazi tanks smashed

German tanks from the Hermann Göring Division lashed out in a counterattack a few miles southeast of Catenanuova, but were repulsed by British infantry who destroyed three of them, including one 60-ton “Tiger.”

Agira, 11 miles northwest of Catenanuova, changed hands several times in dingdong fighting yesterday before the Canadians finally consolidated their positions in the city and pushed on well beyond it.

The communiqué said:

Bitter fighting has taken place in this sector, and the enemy has had heavy casualties inflicted on it.

Patrol activity increased on the plain just south of Catania as the opposing forces tested each other’s defenses while further inland other British forces pushed forward in some cases several miles.

Navy is big help in Sicily drive

Allied HQ, North Africa –
The complete coordination between the three breaches of the Allied services which has especially marked the Sicilian campaign, has been well illustrated by naval activities since start of the big offensive here on Sunday.

Along the northern coast of Sicily, as the Americans steadily fight their way eastward, the U.S. Navy has been bombarding the coastal road along which the enemy is retreating. Our fleet’s guns are shelling the enemy’s positions constantly.

Up in the triangle still held by the Axis, the enemy’s supply position is being made more difficult by PT-boat operations between Sicily and the mainland.

On Saturday night, before our offensive started, British light coastal craft met Axis E-boats off Cape Armi – at the toe of Italy – and engaged them in brisk battle. At least one E-boat was damaged before low visibility caused our boats to break off contact.

The pattern of air bombing continued yesterday as on Monday, with medium and light bombers making return visits to Adrano, Nazi communications center, to enemy positions around the town, and to roads leading to it.

Gas ban ruling due in few days

OPA chief drops a hint, he’s against it

Bouncing bureaucrat bounced –
Bovingdon won’t quit so Crowley fires him

Ballet dancing OEW official claims he’s a victim of anti-New Deal smearing

Draft dodging school bared by FBI arrest

Noted hoax artist held for teaching evasion for fancy fees

Over the teacups –
Mild Mr. Lewis tells WLB meaning of ‘on the make’

Organ tones are muted as UMW leader explains how easy it is to boost mine wages
By Fred W. Perkins, Pittsburgh Press staff writer

The state of the nation

By Florence Fisher Parry

Decline in war production hit

Chief of services of supply warns of dangers

Georgia votes to give ballot to 18-year-olds

Amendment places states first on the list to lower age

Atlanta, Georgia (UP) –
Georgia today apparently became the first state in the nation to grant voting privileges to 18-year-olds.

Returns from yesterday’s balloting gave almost certain approval of a measure to lower the voting age and 27 other constitutional amendments sponsored by Governor Ellis Arnall to “complete my campaign promises to the people of Georgia.”

State officials estimated, on the basis of Selective Service figures, that more than 160,000 names would be added to registration lists.

The figures, however, included Negroes who do not vote in Georgia Democratic primaries, whose nominations are tantamount to election.

In Ploești raid –
Farmhouses spout ack-ack at U.S. fliers

Anti-aircraft batteries disguised as barns, chicken coops

Tel Aviv, Palestine (UP) – (Aug. 3, delayed)
Four miles from the Ploești oil fields in Romania, innocent-looking farmhouses, barns and chicken coops “opened up and spat out ack-ack fire” at the American raiders who hit the area Sunday, Col. John R. Kane of Shreveport, Louisiana, said today.

Col. Kane, in charge of a group of the Ploești fliers on furlough here, said the bombardment was an anniversary raid for his men because they first attacked the Germans at Marsa Matruh in North Africa Aug. 1, 1941. Since then, they have attacked Rome once and Naples 13 times.

Col. Kane, a former West Point football player, said many anti-aircraft guns were wiped out in the raid.

Brereton gives ‘pep talk’

Sgt. Harry Rifkin of the Bronx, New York, a waist gunner, said:

After we had practiced for two weeks, Lt. Gen. Lewis Brereton gave us a pep talk the day before the raid. He told us if the mission was successful, it would shorten the war by six months. We think it was successful.

Huge flames were licking up in the oil fields when his plane came in for its low-level attack, Lt. R. Sternfels of Detroit, Michigan, said.

Lt. Sternfels said:

We tore through a balloon cable and skimmed over the target, flying low. The flames were so high they licked at us on all sides.

No time for fear

We had no time to be frightened. All we thought of after dropping our bombs was to get away from the place, but we kept flying 50 feet off the ground for 100 miles to prevent enemy fliers from diving at us.

Lt. Sternfels said about 50 Me 110s, 210s and 109s were in the air over the fields.

We saw one damaged Liberator land in a cornfield while the crew of another baled out not far from the target.

Air chief lauds ‘magnificent’ jobs

Cairo, Egypt (UP) –
Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Arthur Tedder, Allied air commander in the Mediterranean Theater, characterized the American bombing of the Ploești oil fields in Romanian today as “a big job magnificently done.”

He messaged Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, U.S. commander in the Middle East:

I wish to express my deep admiration of the magnificent manner in which the IX Bomber Command carried out their great task of striking to the very heart of the enemy’s war capacity.

I was immensely impressed by the thorough way in which the plans were prepared and the training completed.

Lone American captures city, ‘saves bullets’

Private walks through Yank artillery barrage to get to area
By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer

With a U.S. reconnaissance platoon, Cerami, Sicily, Italy – (Aug. 1, delayed)
One man walked through the American artillery barrage and captured this town Friday. He wanted to “save the division some ammunition.”

He is tall, blond Pvt. Edmund Wheeler, former New York City bank clerk, from Old Chatham, New York. He belongs to this super reconnaissance outfit which goes in ahead of regular reconnaissance units.

Pvt. Wheeler was on a reconnaissance mission about three miles from Cerami when “I went forward and got lost.”

He said:

Our mission was to locate a German self-propelled artillery piece on our right flank, but the damned thing must have been moved. We kept getting higher and higher in the mountain and when I got lost, I remembered the division’s objective was Cerami.

Sights patrol

Our artillery was working ahead of me and I wanted to save them some ammunition if possible. As I got closer to the town on the southeast flank, I saw a man folding a blanket. I knew he must have been a soldier because no civilian would fold a blanket. Then I saw a four-man patrol going into the town to the east.

By now, it was getting dark and I saw a house about the three-quarters of a mile outside the town and when I approached it, I heard a lot of kids talking. I went to the house and the Italian family gave me a royal reception, shouting “Americano, Americano.”

I shivered in my boots because I knew there were Heinies about and I thought the shouts would give me away.

There was one old guy there who was drunk. He spoke English and yelled “Hello, American soldier,” and I had trouble quieting him down.

This family kept talking to me and fed me eggs, cheese and goat’s milk and then asked me if I wanted to sleep there. I agreed if they promised to wake me at 4 a.m. But shortly after midnight, I was awakened by the roar of our artillery which had started again.

I grabbed my gun and made for the door, where a man and a woman had been on guard. They suddenly lighted a lamp which lighted me up like a Christmas tree. I dropped to the floor and scooted to a dark corner like a woodchuck, where I quit shaking and slept another couple hours.

Then again, the artillery started up and the old people told me it was American. The people just lay in bed whimpering but being a soldier, I started looking for a foxhole. They gave me a sort of hood – I must have looked like the shadow – and I found a hole and crawled in.

Captures town

Early in the morning, I heard a heavy explosion followed by the noise of trucks and figured the Heinies were pulling out, so I went back to the house. The old guy had sobered up and I sent them into town to look around.

He came back and said the Heinies had gone, but the Americans still were shelling. I started for town. I figured maybe I could send a message back saying I was in the town and that the shelling should be stopped and reinforcements sent in.

The only German in the town was a straggler. I made him a prisoner and as I started out of the town with him, I ran into the 9th Division. I stopped at the house and they were tickled to see my prisoner. Then I started hitchhiking back to my outfit.

I sure had a lot of fun.