AIR ONSLAUGHT RAKES AXIS EUROPE
U.S. bombers rip airfields; Berlin raided
Research plant in Reich, bases in France and Holland plastered
By Walter Cronkite, United Press staff writer
Research plant in Reich, bases in France and Holland plastered
By Walter Cronkite, United Press staff writer
306 Axis evacuation boats blasted; fighting ends on island
By Reynolds Packard, United Press staff writer
Allied HQ, North Africa –
Allied planes have opened the Battle of Italy with heavy raids on railroad and highway lifelines into the southern provinces after destroying or damaging 306 evacuation boats in the final round of the Sicilian campaign, it was announced today.
All resistance on Sicily has ended, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s communiqué said, and U.S. and British forces have joined in Messina, whose capture yesterday officially wound up the conquest of the island.
Ahead of timetable
The Sicilian campaign, which lasted slightly over five weeks, was completed ahead of the timetable laid down by Allied commanders, it was announced.
U.S. and Allied bombers and fighter-bombers ranged up the peninsula almost to Naples blasting and strafing bridges and other railway and highway objectives along the route over which the Axis soon must evacuate its troops or reinforce them against an Allied invasion of southern Italy.
Light bombers of the Tactical Air Force rounded out their offensive on Axis evacuation boats in the Strait of Messina yesterday with a series of attacks on disembarkation points on the Italian mainland.
34 vessels destroyed
An official tally for the almost-continuous assault on evacuation craft from Aug. 5 to 17 showed 34 destroyed, 47 knocked out of action by direct hits and 225 damaged severely by near or partial misses. The craft included every type vessel from medium-sized supply ships to barges.
Allied artillery mounted in and around Messina bombarded Axis positions across the Strait of Messina. Axis guns on the mainland were shelling Allied positions in northeastern Sicily.
The Allied conquest of Sicily cost the Axis 167,000 men up to the last week of the whirlwind campaign, it was officially announced today, and the final figure is expected to be about 200,000.
Against the staggering Axis toll, incomplete figures in Allied casualties in the battle for the biggest island in the Mediterranean totaled about 25,000 killed, wounded, captured or missing.
An official summation of the Sicilian battle revealed that 135,000 German and Italian troops were captured and 32,000 killed or wounded up to Aug. 10.
May abandon area
A statement said:
The Sicilian campaign is standing testimony to the supremacy of Allied navies in this area of the Mediterranean, to Allied air supremacy, and to the determination of the Allied land forces to engage and defeat the enemy wherever they may encounter him.
A French report relayed by Madrid said some German units had completed demolition assignments in southern Italy, regrouped, and left by train for Rome – a possible sign of Axis intentions to abandon the exposed part of the peninsula.
Gen. Eisenhower hailed the Sicilian conquest as a “real victory.” He told correspondents at Allied headquarters that he was highly gratified with the results but disappointed over the escape of even “a single German.”
Ahead of schedule
The campaign came to an end on the beaches of Messina “well ahead of schedule,” Gen. Eisenhower said. The campaign was won, he added, when the Allies placed their divisions on the island without substantial losses.
The statement of Axis losses up to Aug. 10 listed 260 tanks and 502 field guns destroyed or taken. Axis planes shot down or captured on the ground up to and on Aug. 12 were 1,013, of which 598 were German.
The official statement said:
Allied armies twice within the last few months inflicted severe defeats on the so-called “invincible” German Army, in each case at very small cost to themselves.
Axis boast empty
The enemy’s proud boast that he would drive the Allied forces into the sea wherever he met them in Europe seems to be as empty as the promise to the German people that not one bomb would fall on their cities.
Gen. Eisenhower revealed that the Axis evacuated all or most of its effectives during the last days of fighting in Sicily. He pointed out that the Strait of Messina is narrow – only two miles wide at the narrowest point – and in the last hours of evacuation, the commanders used Italian troops in a rearguard covering action.
‘Tough, good soldiers’
Gen. Eisenhower said:
As an American, I had as much pride in the 8th Army as any Britisher, and it was gratifying that we had developed an American army which can be its partner.
The American soldiers showed themselves in this campaign to be tough, good soldiers.
He praised Lt. Gen. George S. Patton for personally rallying and leading the Americans against the critical Axis counterattack at Gela soon after the invasion.
Flying Fortresses which penetrated to the Istres-Le Tubé and Salon Airfields near Marseilles, France, yesterday caused great damage among parked planes, it was announced. Only two heavy bombers were lost, while bombs were showered among 150 grounded planes at one field. Six enemy fighters tried to attempt.
Railroad lines battered
Mitchell and Marauder bombers, aided by Lightnings, bombed and strafed railroad lines and highway intersections across the toe of the Italian boot, setting several railway cars and many trucks afire. The Battipaglia yards south of Naples was battered.
Fighter-bombers destroyed nine small enemy evacuation craft last night and other planes scored five direct hits on as many clumsy pontoon barges trying to cross the Strait of Messina.
Eight planes out of a force that attacked the Bizerte area of Tunisia last night were shot down by Allied fighters and anti-aircraft guns.
Nine planes missing
Nine Allied planes were missing from all operations.
Raids by light and fighter-bombers on the Italian coast were concentrated from Reggio Calabria, which was also under fire from light and heavy artillery on Sicily, to Palmi, about 20 miles northward on the main railroad line.
Air attacks on Wewak airfields cancel enemy plans for New Guinea counteroffensive
By Brydon Taves, United Press staff writer
Lake Clear, New York –
Secretary of War Henry Stimson was vacationing today in the Adirondack Mountains. He landed in an Army plane at Lake Clear, but declined to reveal his destination.
Roosevelt, Churchill view victory blueprint
By Merriman Smith, United Press staff writer
Québec, Canada –
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill today inspected a newly-drawn blueprint for the conquest of Europe today, amid indications that their sixth war conference was already paying dividends in a war of nerves against the Axis.
Reports from both Germany and Italy of new peace trial balloons came at a time when the two leaders were deep in a heavy schedule of talks with their war chiefs plotting what was generally regarded here as the body wallop against the German Army.
To visit Ottawa
As the two chiefs resumed discussions which started last night and continued past midnight, the White House staff here announced that the President would visit Canadian Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King in Ottawa at the conclusion of the wear talks here, probably making the trip sometime early next week.
Meanwhile, the arrival of British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Cordell Hull, U.S. Secretary of State, was imminent and when they meet, they will undoubtedly explore with Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill new questions of foreign policy which must be considered in the light of the military situation.
Makes second proposal
The effect on the Axis of the growing assembly of Allied war leaders in this ancient city was reflected by reports of a second proposal from Marshal Pietro Badoglio to have Rome declared an open city, and Berlin radio broadcasts that the German people might favor a negotiated peace and the removal of Nazi extremists.
Both proposals will fall on deaf ears, it was believed by observers close to the conference here, since both Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill are definitely committed to accept nothing short of “unconditional surrender.”
Lunch with Athlone
The President and the Prime Minister lunched with the Earl of Athlone, Governor General of Canada, and tonight, Mr. Mackenzie King will entertain them at a dinner for about 50 guests.
The President and Mr. Churchill were together well after midnight, according to White House Press Secretary Stephen T. Early, and in conference again shortly after both arose this morning.
The President arrived yesterday afternoon.
May presage action
Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill had before them the fruits of a week’s intensive preparations by the best army, navy and air brains of both countries. Their endorsement probably means action in the near future.
Harry Hopkins, Mr. Roosevelt’s No. 1 adviser, came here with the President and with him is Isador Lubin, ranking statistical expert of the U.S. government and Mr. Hopkins’ principal assistant.
Mr. Lubin preceded the presidential party and has presumably been sitting in on some of the “spade work” conferences that have been in progress for days at Château Frontenac, not far from the Citadel where both the President and the Prime Minister are staying.
Work nearly done
Two of the men who drafted the plans for the President and Mr. Churchill met more than 100 reporters late yesterday, and expressed the hope that the heavy work – the drafting of detailed plans – was near an end.
The belief that Mr. Roosevelt would have an important public statement to make – perhaps a radio address – while he is here was strengthened by the fact that he brought with him his stenographer.
The members of his party included Adm. Wilson Brown, his naval aide and Miss Grace Tully, the President’s personal secretary.
W. Averell Harriman, American Lend-Lease “expediter” in London, and Adm. William D. Leahy, Mr. Roosevelt’s chief of staff, were at the train to greet him.
Moscow, USSR (UP) –
Red Star, the Russian Army newspaper, offering the first Soviet comment on the Roosevelt-Churchill conference in Québec, said today that disposition of German reserves indicated that the Axis expected no large-scale Allied operations in the near future.
Red Star observed:
The main enemy effort is being concentrated against the Red Army which for more than two years has been continuing to beat the entire brunt of the struggle against main German forces.
Konstantin Goffman, the newspaper’s political commentator, noted that the British and American oppress was speculating on the form of Allied aid to Russia.
The Soviet standpoint on this question has long been well known. It has been repeatedly pointed out that by a second front we understand such action which would divert from the Russian front 50 or 60 German divisions. Only such action would considerably shorten the war. This is what the peoples of all freedom-loving nations desire.
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