By Peter Edson
By Burt P. Garnett, editorial research reports
Demand still tops supply but ‘realistic planning’ cuts schedules
Controls imposed on TP&W abandoned when line is taken over
By Ernie Pyle
Somewhere in Sicily, Italy – (by wireless)
Army ambulances carry four stretchers each, or nine sitting wounded. When they reach a clearing station, they back up to the surgical tent and unload.
The men lie there on their stretchers on the floor of the tent while the aid men look at their medical tags to see how severe the wounds are, in order to handle the worse ones first. Those who don’t need further attention are carried right on through to the ward tents to wait for the next ambulance going back to a hospital.
Those who have graver wounds are carried into the operating room. Two big Army trunks sit upended there on the dirt floor. The trunks contain all kinds of surgical supplies in drawers. On top of each trunk is fastened a steel rod which curves up at each end. The wounded man is carried in his litter and set on these two trunks. The curved rods keep him from sliding off. Thus, his litter forms his operating table.
A portable surgical lamp stands in a tripod over the wounded man. A little motor and generator outside the tent furnish power, but usually the doctors just use flashlights. One or two surgeons in coveralls or ordinary uniform bend over the man and remove his dressings. Medical-aid men crowd around behind, handing them compresses or bandages with steel forceps from a sterile cabinet. Other aid men give the patient another shot of morphine or inject blood plasma or give him a drink of water from a tin cup through a rubber tube they put in his mouth.
Lots of morphine used
Incidentally, one of the duties of the surgical ward-boys is to keep the sweat wiped off the surgeon’s face so it won’t drop down onto the wound.
Just outside the surgical tent is a small trench filled with bloody shirt sleeves and pant legs the surgeons have snipped off wounded men in order to get at the wounds more quickly. The surgeons redress the wounds, and sprinkle on sulfanilamide powder. Sometimes they poke for buried shrapnel, or recompress broken arteries to stop the flow of blood, or inject plasma if the patient is turning pale.
They don’t give general anesthesia here. Occasionally they give a local, but usually the wounded man is so doped up with morphine by the time he reaches here he doesn’t feel much pain. The surgeons believe in using lots of morphine. It spares a man so much pain and consequently relieves the general shock to his system.
Wounds hard to look at
On my third day at the clearing station, when I was beginning to feel better, I spent most of my time around this operating table. As they would undress each new wound, I held firmly to a lamp bracket above my head, for I was still weak and I didn’t want to disgrace myself by suddenly keeling over at the sight of a bad wound.
Many of the wounds were hard to look at, and yet Lt. Michael de Giorgio said he had never seen a human body so badly smashed up in Sicily as he had in traffic accidents back in New York, where he practiced.
One stalwart fellow had caught a machine-gun bullet right alongside his nose. It had made a small clean hole and gone clear through his cheek, leaving a larger hole just beneath his ear as it came out. It gave you the willies to look at it, yet the doctors said it wasn’t serious at all and would heal with no bad effects.
The nerviest fellow I saw had two big holes in his back. You could have put your whole hand in either one of them. As the surgeons worked on him, he lay on his stomach and talked a blue streak.
‘Got five’ with a grenade
I killed five of the sonsabitches with a hand grenade just before they got me. What made me so damn mad was that I was just out of reach of my rifle and couldn’t crawl over to it, or I’da got five more of them. Jeez, I’m hungry! I ain’t had nothing to eat since yesterday morning.
But most of the wounded say nothing at all when brought in – either because they see no acquaintances to talk to or because they’re too weak from their wounds or too dopey from morphine. Of the hundreds that passed through while I was there, I never heard but one man groaning with pain.
Another thing that struck me, as the wounded came through in a ceaseless stream on their stretchers, was how dirt and exhaustion reduce human faces to such a common denominator. It got so everybody they carried in looked alike. The only break in the procession of tired and dirty men who all looked exactly alike would be when an extreme blond was carried in. His light hair would seem like a flower in a row of weeds.
Generals of the future turned out at top speed to beat time’s challenge
By Jess Stearn, Scripps-Howard staff writer
Empty shelves say even that idea won’t work
By Si Steinhauser
Proposed legislation calls for expansion of program to include health, disability and maternity insurance
By Fred W. Perkins, Pittsburgh Press staff writer
U.S. State Department (August 16, 1943)
|United States||United Kingdom|
|Admiral Leahy||General Brooke|
|General Marshall||Admiral of the Fleet Pound|
|Admiral King||Air Chief Marshal Portal|
|General Arnold||Field Marshal Dill|
|Lieutenant General Somervell||Vice Admiral Mountbatten|
|Vice Admiral Willson||General Riddell-Webster|
|Rear Admiral Cooke||Admiral Noble|
|Rear Admiral Badger||Lieutenant General Macready|
|Major General Fairchild||Air Marshal Welsh|
|Brigadier General Kuter||Captain Lambe|
|Brigadier General Wedemeyer||Brigadier Porter|
|Commander Freseman||Air Commodore Elliot|
|Brigadier General Deane||Brigadier Redman|
|Captain Royal||Commander Coleridge|
August 16, 1943, 2:30 p.m. Secret
The Combined Chiefs of Staff discussed in closed session the strategic concept for the defeat of the Axis in Europe.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed to give further consideration to this subject at their next meeting.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted the conclusions of the 108th Meeting. The detailed record of the meeting was also accepted, subject to minor amendments.
Sir Charles Portal gave certain figures with regard to the progress of the combined bomber offensive. Since the beginning of the war the Royal Air Force had dropped 136,000 tons of bombs on Germany, 73,000 tons of which had been dropped within the last seven months. In the first quarter of 1943 17,000 tons had been dropped by night and in the second quarter as much as 35,000 tons.
The damage caused by the air offensive was difficult to assess in precise terms, but he would like to draw attention to certain points in the report by the Joint Intelligence Committee which had been circulated to the U.S. Chiefs of Staff.
Only one-third of the German industry had been under heavy attack for three months. The effect of these attacks had fallen mainly on the basic industries in the Ruhr. Hence, the effect of the attack on the forces in the field was not immediate and results on these forces would increase as time went on. A further result of the attacks was the forcing on Germany of a defensive air strategy. In addition, they produced a serious drain on Germany’s manpower.
With regard to the submarine war, it was estimated that no less than 30 U-boats less than the planned program had been produced between June 1942 and June 1943. As a result of damage already inflicted an additional loss in U-boat construction would result, amounting to some 12 or 13 boats over the next six months.
Morale had also been seriously affected. Casualties were heavy and great destruction of industrial homes had occurred. It was estimated that some 422,000 workers had been rendered homeless and an additional 1,800,000 had suffered damage to their homes which was irreparable, since the necessary consumer goods to replace those destroyed were not available. The report stated that the bombing had affected the outlook of the population with regard to the regime, the war effort as a whole and willingness to hold out.
Damage to Krupps Works had decreased output from 50 to 75 percent and this was in addition to damage to other similar industries. The U.S. Air Force attack on the synthetic rubber plant had reduced the total rubber supply by 15 percent. Transportation was also dislocated and Germany’s plan for an expansion of locomotive production had been nullified by the destruction of locomotives and their manufacturing and repair facilities.
He had felt it right that he should put forward a memorandum on the air offensive in view of the task of coordination given him by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at Casablanca. Further, the day and night offensives were complementary and a heavy scale of daylight bombing rendered the task of the night bombers easier, since the Germans were being forced to use night fighters against daylight attacks.
The present situation had both good and bad features. On the one hand, German fighter strength was stretched almost to breaking point, and in spite of their precarious situation on the Russian and Mediterranean fronts, they had found it necessary to reinforce their fighter forces on the Western Front from these sources. On the other hand, the expansion of German fighter strength was continuing and had increased 13 percent during this year. It had been hoped that this expansion would by now have been stopped. The 8th Air Force, who were achieving a great task with their existing resources, believed that they could achieve even greater successes if their strength was increased.
He asked the Combined Chiefs of Staff to take action to make a victory in the battle of the air as certain as possible before the autumn. If this was not done, the Germans, by a conservation of their strength and by the development of new methods of defense, might be in an unassailable position by the spring. To achieve our object diversions from the 8th Air Force should be stopped, loans of aircraft from the 8th Air Force to other theaters must be returned, and the bomber command of the 8th Air Force must be built up and reinforced to the maximum possible. Such steps would, he was convinced, be amply justified.
With regard to the employment of the aircraft used for TIDAL WAVE, he considered that whether employed from the Mediterranean or from England, they should be under the command of the 8th Air Force and devoted to attacks on fighter factories. They should, in fact, revert to a part of the POINTBLANK forces and not be left under the control of General Eisenhower, whose air forces were already considerable.
Admiral Leahy said that the United States Chiefs of Staff had examined Sir Charles Portal’s paper, and that they were in full accord with the views expressed and wished to reaffirm that every resource within United States capabilities was being strained to provide the maximum reinforcement of POINTBLANK.
Admiral King referred to a directive to General Eisenhower (FAN 172), in which he was instructed that follow-up attacks on Ploești were to follow attacks on fighter factories. He was not clear as to how far the missions referred to in this telegram had been accomplished. It might now be necessary to modify the instructions with regard to follow-up attacks on Ploești.
Sir Charles Portal said he believed that at TRIDENT only one attack on Ploești had been decided on. A second attack would have serious results on POINTBLANK.
Admiral King pointed out that General Eisenhower’s latest signal (CCS 252/2) requested the use of the B-24s against Italian targets after the completion of their attacks on the fighter factories. General Eisenhower visualized further attacks on Ploești being carried out after the aircraft were established in Italy
General Arnold outlined the losses suffered in the Ploești raid; of the 178 aircraft dispatched, 54, including 51 crews, had been lost. The results had been excellent, with eight out of nine targets hit and five of them almost totally destroyed. The casualties had, at least in part, been caused by the loss of the leader of the formation at the outset. This had necessitated reorganization and an attack which was not completely coordinated. It might be impossible to ask crews to sustain a loss of 33 percent in more than one operation.
With regard to POINTBLANK, General Arnold said that in the month of July 25 attacks had been made, with a loss rate of 7.4 percent per mission, as compared with an average loss rate throughout the period of their operations of 6.7 percent. 3,400 tons of bombs had been dropped in July.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Took note of CCS 309 and of the following comment submitted by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff:
The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff are in full accord with the views of the British Chiefs of Staff that the maximum reinforcement of POINTBLANK, particularly over the period of intense combat with the German Fighter Air Force immediately ahead, is a subject of the most critical importance, and wish to reaffirm that every resource within U.S. capabilities is being strained to bring this about.
b. Agreed to defer action on CCS 252/2.
|United States||United Kingdom|
|Mr. Harriman||Prime Minister Churchill|
From Harriman’s notes:
The Prime Minister seemed quite satisfied with his talk with General Marshall which had taken place at dinner the night before. He was quite apologetic for keeping him up so late but said he thought it was fruitful.
He talked about the Italian situation and was quite optimistic that ‘important results’ would occur.
He was elated over the Sicilian news.
He seemed satisfied that the differences between the Chiefs of Staff could be ironed out. He does not fully understand the suspicion that exists on the American side regarding the British determination to cross the Channel. On paper the differences don’t look very great. I believe, however, that this fear will be removed within the next day or two as I am convinced the British now see the opportunity equally favorably as do our Chiefs of Staff, which has not been the case up to now. The above would be based on acceptance of British Mediterranean proposals.
(Admiral Leahy told me that he was much impressed by the logic of General Brooke’s presentation.)
I told the Prime Minister I was quite satisfied from discussions that Leathers and Douglas had had that the troop lift and cargo ships could be found to back up the strategic proposals.
Québec, 16 August 1943. Secret CCS 303/1
The discussion in the Combined Chiefs of Staff Meeting yesterday made more apparent than ever the necessity for decision now as to whether our main effort in the European Theater is to be in the Mediterranean or from the United Kingdom. The United States Chiefs of Staff believe that this is the critical question before the conference and that the effective conduct of the war in Europe makes this decision now a must.
We propose the following:
The Combined Chiefs of Staff reaffirm the decisions of the TRIDENT Conference as to the execution of OVERLORD including the definite allotment of forces thereto and assign to it an overriding priority over other operations in the European Theater.
The United States Chiefs of Staff believe that the acceptance of this decision must be without conditions and without mental reservation. They accept the fact that a grave emergency will always call for appropriate action to meet it. However, long-range decision for the conduct of the war must not be dominated by possible eventualities.
Québec, 16 August 1943. Secret Enclosure to CCS 127/3
East coast of North America. Submarine attacks on shipping and minelaying in the coastal zone are continuing possibilities. Sporadic bombardment of shore installations, or landing of commando raiders or saboteurs by submarines are also possible but only on a small scale. Similar attacks by surface raiders are possible, but highly improbable. Air attack, on a very small scale, is possible, but is even more improbable than surface attack.
West coast of North America. Our conclusions are the same as those for the East coast, with two slight shifts of emphasis:
a. The maximum possible scale of submarine attack is less.
b. The possible scale of attack by ship-borne aircraft is greater. Such an attack, however, is very unlikely.
Enemy capabilities are virtually limited to attacks by submarine or surface raider. Land-based air attack is impractical. Surface raiders might launch ship-borne aircraft. Both submarines and surface raiders might:
a. Attack shipping off the coast,
b. Mine coastal waters,
c. Bombard shore installations (including attacks by ship-borne aircraft),
d. Land commandos,
e. Land trained saboteurs and materials for sabotage,
Attacks by any type of aircraft are extremely improbable. Land-based air attack is physically possible, but because of range limitations would involve the sacrifice of the aircraft used and their crews and could not be carried out on a scale which could exert any material effect on the outcome of the war. An attack by ship-based aircraft would offer less physical difficulty, but would be very limited in its maximum scale. The one German aircraft carrier, GRAF ZEPPELIN, has been laid up and there is no indication that she will be available for service in the near future, if ever. Lacking an aircraft carrier, only catapulted planes or seaplanes could be used. The vessels transporting the planes would be subjected to a serious risk of loss. The possibility that Germany would accept these risks appears to be increasingly remote.
Operations by surface raiders of any type against sea communications within the coastal zone or against shore objectives are extremely unlikely. A merchant ship raider would probably have a better chance than a warship of reaching undetected the shipping lanes in the coastal zone or a shore objective. The chances of reaching the shipping lanes in the coastal zone are better than those of penetrating within effective gun range of a shore objective. It is most unlikely that either type, if at large in the North Atlantic, would attempt operations against objectives within the North American coastal zone in preference to attack of shipping on the ocean routes. Any relaxation of patrol activities would probably be taken advantage of by submarines rather than by surface vessels.
Attacks by submarines. Some 200 German and 40 Italian submarines are believed to be operational. At present, very few are operating immediately off the coast of North America. If, however, a reduction in anti-submarine activity in the coastal zone were perceptible, an increase in submarine activity against shipping in that zone would be likely to occur. Mining, bombardment, and the landing of raiders or saboteurs from submarines are continuing capabilities, but are possible only on a small scale.
Both submarines and surface raiders might:
a. Attack shipping off the coast,
b. Mine coastal waters,
c. Launch aircraft,
d. Bombard shore installations,
e. Land commandos,
f. Land trained saboteurs and materials for sabotage.
Carrier-borne air attack. Japan could form a suitable task force and, considering the vastness of the Pacific, could perhaps bring it undetected within effective range of a profitable target such as Los Angeles-San Diego, the Puget Sound–Vancouver area, or the San Francisco Bay area. The risks, however, would be enormous, and at this juncture Japan cannot afford to risk either carriers or other vessels for indecisive purposes. All such craft available to her are, moreover, required for other uses.
Surface raiders. Japan’s shortage of suitable types of naval vessels makes it extremely unlikely that she would employ them as raiders. The shipping stringency would have the same effect as regards armed merchantmen.
Submarines. About 60 Japanese submarines are believed to be operational. Some of these are capable of carrying up to 200 men. Japan has tended to use submarines in direct connection with military operations and has not employed them extensively in distant operations against shipping. Submarine attacks on shipping off the west coast of North America, mining, bombardment, and the landing of raiders or saboteurs from submarines are continuing capabilities, but are possible only on a small scale. An increase in the present low scale of submarine operations is possible but improbable. Increasing pressure on Japanese naval forces in the southwest and central Pacific would tend to occupy Japanese submarines in those waters and thus to decrease the probability of their use off North America.
Völkischer Beobachter (August 17, 1943)
Europa wird den Anschlag der Bolschewisten und ihrer plutokratischen Spießgesellen durchkreuzen
dnb. Aus dem Führer-Hauptquartier, 16. August –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:
Am Kubanbrückenkopf und am mittleren Donez scheiterten örtliche Vorstöße des Feindes. Im Abschnitt von Bjelgorod wurden die immer wieder anflutenden Angriffswellen der Sowjets im erbitterten Nahkampf von unseren Grenadieren zurückgeschlagen. Gegenangriffe von Panzerkampfgruppen des Heeres und der Waffen-SS drangen tief in die Flanken der feindlichen Stoßverbände ein, schlossen größere Teile von diesen ein und vernichteten sie.
Während im Raum westlich Orel die Angriffskraft der Sowjets nachließ, verdoppelten sie ihre Anstrengungen, um in den Abschnitten von Wjasma, Belyj und am Ladogasee unter Einsatz von Panzern, Schlachtfliegern und starker Artillerie durchzubrechen. Auch hier scheiterten alle Angriffe an der entschlossenen Abwehr unserer Infanterie- und Panzergrenadierdivisionen.
Überall, wo die Sowjets angriffen, erlitten sie auch gestern wieder schwerste Verluste an Menschen und Material. 193 Panzer wurden abgeschossen.
Kampf-, Sturzkampf- und Schlachtgeschwader unterstützten besonders im Süd- und Mittelabschnitt die in schwerem Ringen stehenden Erdtruppen durch erfolgreiche Angriffe gegen die Bereitstellungen und Marschbewegungen des Feindes.
Während es im Südabschnitt des Brückenkopfes auf Sizilien zu keinen wesentlichen Kampfhandlungen kam, verstärkte sich der Druck des Feindes im Nordabschnitt.
Wie bereits durch Sondermeldung bekanntgegeben, griff in den Abendstunden des 13. August ein deutsches Torpedofliegergeschwader unter Führung des Majors Klümper ostwärts Gibraltar einen starken, in das Mittelmeer einlaufenden Geleitzug überraschend an. In schneidig durchgeführten Angriffen erzielten unsere Besatzungen Torpedotreffer auf 32 Schiffseinheiten. Zwei Zerstörer und vier vollbeladene große Handelsschiffe, darunter ein Tanker, sanken sofort. Acht weitere Schiffe blieben brennend mit starker Schlagseite liegen. Wegen hereinbrechender Dunkelheit und starker Flakabwehr konnte das Schicksal der übrigen torpedierten Schiffe zunächst nicht erkannt werden. Die laufend durchgeführte Aufklärung bestätigt aber, daß mindestens 179.000 BRT. aus dem Geleitzug versenkt oder vernichtend getroffen wurden. Sieben eigene Flugzeuge kehrten nicht zurück.
Ein deutsches Unterseeboot versenkte an der Nordküste Siziliens in kühnem Angriff einen durch Zerstörer stark gesicherten nordamerikanischen Kreuzer der Brooklyn-Klasse.
Bei Vorstößen feindlicher Fliegerkräfte in den Küstenraum der besetzten Westgebiete schossen deutsche Jäger und Flakartillerie in den letzten 24 Stunden 16 Flugzeuge, vorwiegend schwere Bomber, ab. Weitere fünf feindliche Flugzeuge wurden in Luftkämpfen über dem Atlantik vernichtet.
Eine geringe Zahl feindlicher Störflugzeuge flog in der vergangenen Nacht in das nördliche Reichsgebiet ein.
Das Gebiet des Kriegshafens Portsmouth wurde in der vergangenen Nacht von deutschen Kampffliegerverbänden bei guter Sicht aus geringer Höhe wirksam mit einer großen Zahl von Spreng- und Brandbomben bekämpft.
dnb. Berlin, 16. August –
Der nordamerikanische Kreuzer der Brooklyn-Klasse, dessen Versenkung der Wehrmachtbericht vom 16. August meldete, gehörte zu einer Serie von leichten Kreuzern, die in den Jahren 1937 bis 1938 fertiggestellt wurde. Die Kreuzer dieser Klasse haben eine Wasserverdrängung von 9.400 bis 10.000 Tonnen und verfügen über eine Bestückung von fünfzehn 15,2-, acht 12,7-, vier 4,7- und acht 4-Zentimeter-Geschützen. Zu ihrer Ausrüstung gehören ferner zwei Flugzeugschleudern und vier Bordflugzeuge.
Diese Kreuzer, die zu den neueren Kampfeinheiten der nordamerikanischen Flotte gehören, haben eine Geschwindigkeit von 32,7 Seemeilen. Ihre friedensmäßige Besatzung besteht aus 868 Mann. Die Versenkung des Kreuzers gelang dem deutschen Unterseeboot, obwohl das feindliche Kriegsschiff durch einen Zerstörerverband besonders stark gesichert war.
dnb. Rom, 16. August –
Der italienische Wehrmachtbericht vom Montag lautet:
Italienisch-deutsche Truppen verlangsamten auch gestern in den Peloritanischen Bergen durch Widerstandskämpfe den Vormarsch feindlicher Kräfte.
Im Gebiet der Meerenge von Messina griffen Jagdflugzeugverbände des römischen vierten Sturmes und der römischen 21. Gruppe verschiedene feindliche Formationen an. Im Verlaufe der wiederholten harten Zusammenstöße schossen unsere tapferen Jäger fünf „Spitfires“ und drei „Curtiss“ ab.
Unsere Torpedoflugzeuge versenkten in mutigen Angriffen auf Geleitzüge im westlichen Mittelmeer zwei Dampfer von 12.000 Bruttoregistertonnen, während ein Dampfer mittlerer Tonnage, der von einem Torpedo getroffen worden war, explodierte. In den Gewässern von Sizilien beschädigten deutsche Kampfflugzeuge zwei Transporter mit insgesamt 9.000 BRT. schwer.
Italienische Flugzeuge warfen auf die Hafenanlagen von Biserta zahlreiche Bomben ab. Drei unserer Flugzeuge kehrten nicht zu ihren Stützpunkten zurück.
Bei Morgengrauen des gestrigen Tages unternahmen unsere Schnellboote unter dem Kommando von Kapitän zur See Franchesco Mimbelli aus Livorno einen tapferen Angriff auf einen britischen Flottenverband in der Nähe von Kap Spartivento Calabro und versenkten einen leichten Kreuzer.
Luftangriffe wurden unternommen auf Viterbo, Novara und in der vergangenen Nacht wiederum auf Mailand. Der Feind verlor in Viterbo vier und in Mailand drei Flugzeuge durch die Flak. Die in Mailand verursachten Schäden sind schwer – Ein weiterer Bomber stürzte, durch die Flak getroffen, in der Nähe von Cagliari ab.
Die Versenkung des Britenkreuzers
Die im Wehrmachtbericht vom Montag bekanntgegebene Versenkung eines leichten britischen Kreuzers durch italienische Schnellboote erfolgte, so meldet die Stefani-Agentur, in den Gewässern zwischen Sizilien und Kalabrien. Im Morgengrauen sichteten die Schnellboote einen Verband leichter Kreuzer und griffen ihn ohne Rücksicht auf die sehr heftige Abwehr an. Das Boot des Leutnants zur See Scialdone, auf dem sich auch der Flottenchef, Kapitän zur See Mimbelli, befand, traf mit seinen Torpedos einen der Kreuzer unter der Brücke. Der Kreuzer blieb sofort liegen und stellte das Feuer ein, die übrigen eilten ihm zu Hilfe. Die Schnellboote erreichten unversehrt ihren Stützpunkt. Aufklärungsflugzeuge sichteten am Morgen nur noch ein Floß mit Schiffbrüchigen des gesunkenen Kreuzers.