Planes wage ‘wits’ battle with U-boats
Official tells how Nazis seek to lure pilots off of course
Cadets eager for careers in Air Force
By Jess Stearn, Scripps-Howard staff writer
U.S. State Department (August 18, 1943)
|United States||United Kingdom|
|President Roosevelt||Prime Minister Churchill|
|Mr. Hopkins||Foreign Secretary Eden|
|United States||United Kingdom|
|Mr. Hopkins||Foreign Secretary Eden|
Eden and Hopkins discussed the proposed tripartite meeting with the Soviet Union and the subjects in which that country was most interested – the second front, the western frontiers of the Soviet Union, and the post-war treatment of Germany.
London, August 19, 1943. Most secret Priority
For General Eisenhower’s eyes only from the Deputy Prime Minister.
To avoid inference which might be drawn from paragraph 3 of armistice terms, now in the hands of your staff officers travelling Lisbon, that we are “negotiating” with Badoglio Government, President and Prime Minister have agreed that after words “Commander-in-Chief” paragraph 3 should be amended to read “and none of these may now or at any time be evacuated to Germany.”
His Majesty’s Ambassador, Lisbon, has been informed.
|United States||United Kingdom|
|General Marshall||General Brooke|
|Admiral King||Admiral of the Fleet Pound|
|General Arnold||Air Chief Marshal Portal|
|Rear Admiral Cooke||Vice Admiral Mountbatten|
|Rear Admiral Badger||Lieutenant General Ismay|
|Brigadier General Kuter||Brigadier Porter|
|Brigadier General Wedemeyer||Brigadier Macleod|
|Commander Long||Captain Porter|
|Lieutenant General Somervell||Air Commodore Warburton|
|Vice Admiral Willson||Mr. Bernal|
|Major General Handy||Field Marshal Dill|
|Major General Fairchild||General Riddell-Webster|
|Lieutenant General Macready|
|Air Marshal Welsh|
|Brigadier General Deane||Brigadier Redman|
|Captain Royal||Commander Coleridge|
August 19, 1943, 2:30 p.m. Secret
The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted the conclusions of the 111th Meeting. The detailed record of the meeting was also accepted, subject to minor amendments.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff had before them a draft progress report to the President and Prime Minister.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Approved the Progress Report to the President and Prime Minister.
Lord Louis Mountbatten said that HABBAKUKS might be regarded as floating seadromes or giant aircraft carriers. They could be used as floating advance landing grounds and could form a staging base for air attacks. They might ultimately be used for four-engined heavy bombers. He outlined the principal characteristics of the three types. He then referred to pykrete, the material from which it was proposed to construct HABBAKUK II. This might prove a strategic material of which there was an abundant supply. It was formed of a frozen mixture of diluted pulp and water, the latest type of which contained 94 per cent water. He gave details of the characteristics and strength of this material. A thousand-ton model had been built and had spent the summer in Lake Jasper, refrigeration being maintained by means of an engine of only 15 horsepower. He wished to emphasize that a HABBAKUK II, constructed of pykrete, had no limit to its size. Four-engined bombers could use them if they were built of sufficient dimensions or if adequate arrester gear and assisted takeoff could be arranged.
Sir Charles Portal said that the British Chiefs of Staff regarded HABBAKUK II as essentially a Pacific project. General Arnold had mentioned the difficulty of providing adequate bases in the Islands for the deployment of air forces for the bombardment of Japan. It would be a long time before the supply route to China allowed the maintenance of large air forces in that country and therefore the HABBAKUKS might be regarded as strategic bases or staging points for air attacks against Japan and would thus fill a gap in our facilities. They could be provided without impinging on other programs.
Admiral King said that he would agree to accept the recommendations contained in paragraph 8b of CCS 315.
In reply to a question by General Arnold, Lord Louis Mountbatten said that it was proposed that experiments and construction of pykrete sections for HABBAKUK II should proceed during the coming winter. If these experiments proved successful, construction could start in the spring of 1944 and the completed HABBAKUK be ready by the spring of 1945. In the meanwhile no delay must occur in the preparation of plans and construction of sites for the building of the HABBAKUKS. He asked that the Combined Chiefs of Staff should also approve the setting up of a U.S.-British-Canadian Board to press on with the whole matter, not only with regard to the winter experiments and the preparation of sites, but also with the preparation of drawings for the completed HABBAKUK. This Board should, in order to insure results, be asked to report monthly to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
Professor Bernal demonstrated with the aid of samples of pykrete the various qualities of this material.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Took note of paragraphs a, b, and c, of CCS 315/1.
b. Agreed to the construction of a section of HABBAKUK II, the continuation of design, and the study of the construction and of the facilities necessary for a full-size ship. This agreement to be incorporated as paragraph d in CCS 315/1.
c. Agreed that the appropriate United States, British and Canadian authorities should be invited to set up a Board forthwith to press on with the action agreed in b above, and to report progress monthly to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
a. Manning of Landing Graft (CCS 286/3)
The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed to the modified proposal put forward by the British Chiefs of Staff in paragraph 2 of CCS 286/3.
b. Allocation of Landing Craft – Operation OVERLORD – Vehicle Lift (CCS 314)
The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed with the proposal of the British Chiefs of Staff in paragraph 4 of CCS 314 that the possibility of arranging an increase in the number of LCT (6) available for Overlord from American sources should be explored.
c. Allocation of Landing Ships and Craft – American Production (CCS 314/1-314/2)
Lord Louis Mountbatten explained that under the present ruling the Combined Munitions Assignments Board would feel themselves bound to allocate landing craft only to specifically projected operations. In order that the British should be able to play their part in operations in the Pacific, it was necessary for them to enter and train adequate personnel to man landing craft. If the present ruling were followed landing craft could be only allocated for specifically agreed operations which at present did not exist in the Pacific Theater. The British assault force which was in fact available and used for Operations TORCH and HUSKY had of necessity been built up before these actual operations were decided on. He felt that the allocation of landing craft should be based on agreed strategy rather than on agreed operations.
General Marshall said that the present position was such that there was everywhere a deficit of landing craft. Our operations were limited in many cases solely by the lack of these vessels. In view of this overall deficiency, he felt it essential to retain the ruling that landing craft should be allocated only to specifically agreed operations.
Admiral King said he would like to know the future construction program for landing craft in the United Kingdom. He appreciated the necessity for the provision of landing craft for training purposes.
Admiral King then suggested a modification to proposal 3b, in CCS 314/1, designed to meet Lord Louis Mountbatten’s point.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Approved paragraph 3b of the enclosure to CCS 314/1 modified to read as follows:
That the British should now work out their training requirements and submit requests for a corresponding share of U.S. production in 1944-45.
General Marshall said that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff agreed with the proposal that the capabilities of the PLOUGH force should be communicated to General Eisenhower and General Morgan who should be asked to report to the Combined Chiefs of Staff whether these forces could be usefully employed in their theaters. This force had already been ordered to withdraw from Kiska.
Lord Louis Mountbatten suggested that it would assist the two commanders if a United States officer from PLOUGH force could proceed to the two theaters to give details of the capabilities of the force. He himself could also send an officer.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Took note that Admiral Nimitz and General De Witt had been directed to return the PLOUGH force to the United States on the first available transportation.
b. Concurred in the proposal presented in paragraph 4 of the enclosure to CCS 316.
Sir Alan Brooke said that the British Chiefs of Staff had not yet had time to consider this paper.
General Marshall put forward certain amendments to the paper, which were suggested by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Took note of certain amendments presented by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff.
b. Agreed to defer action on the paper until the next meeting.
General Marshall said that though he had no reports from the theater commander on the matter, General Donovan had informed him of the excellent work accomplished by OSS personnel in Sicily. He had felt that even better results could have been obtained if they had been allowed to land prior to the operation, or at least in the first wave. He (General Marshall) believed that since no immediate military operations were planned against Sardinia, it would be well worthwhile to allow OSS and SOE to operate freely in this island. They might succeed in enabling an unopposed landing to be achieved or to seize airfields or other strategic points and hold them as centers of resistance. He had not, of course, as yet discussed this matter with General Donovan.
General Marshall then presented a draft telegram to General Eisenhower suggesting that OSS and SOE should be given a free hand to operate in the island of Sardinia.
Sir Alan Brooke asked for time to consider this proposal.
The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Took note of a proposal submitted by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff that General Eisenhower be requested to comment on a suggestion to gain an unopposed occupation of Sardinia by fifth column activities.
Québec, 19 August 1943. Secret CCS 314/2
The United States Chiefs of Staff have considered the proposals presented by the British Chiefs of Staff in CCS 314/1. They feel that the provision of landing craft still constitutes a bottleneck in the conduct of military operations and will continue to do so for some time. At present there is no likelihood of a reserve in landing craft being created.
The whole subject of the allocation of landing craft is being explored by the Combined Staff Planners. However, the United States Chiefs of Staff feel the landing craft must continue to be allocated as necessary to meet the needs of specific operations.
Québec, 19 August 1943. Secret CCS 315/1
The U.S. Chiefs of Staff have given careful consideration to the proposals submitted by the British Chiefs of Staff in CCS 315 and have reached the following conclusions:
a. By the expenditure of extraordinary effort and consequent stoppage of other essential war projects, the construction of HABBAKUK II and an erecting plant therefor is feasible and might be completed as early as the end of 1945.
b. Construction of HABBAKUK III could possibly be accomplished by the end of 1945. Claims for invulnerability of HABBAKUK III to hull damage may be somewhat justified, but they are outweighed by the operating advantages inherent in conventional carrier types by virtue of speed, maneuverability, and operating refinements.
c. Due to the relatively small value of the HABBAKUKS in increasing the effectiveness of aircraft operation, and in view of the existing aircraft carrier program, the diversion of manpower and critical materials involved in their construction is not warranted.
Québec, 19 August 1943. Secret CCS 318
It is the opinion of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff that the present conditions of unrest in Italy might offer an opportunity for favorable results from fifth column activities in Sardinia. They therefore suggest that the following message be sent to General Eisenhower:
It is understood that you have sufficient troops available to assault Sardinia at this time. However, you are unable to do so due to lack of landing craft. This fact and the promising situation existing throughout the Italian area would appear to offer an excellent opportunity by means of fifth column activities to establish conditions in Sardinia for an unopposed occupation of that island. The OSS and SOE organizations might collaborate in accomplishing this. Furthermore, this presents an excellent opportunity to test the effectiveness of these organizations and to provide them with experience and training for future operations of a similar character. Your comments and recommendations are requested.
|United States||United Kingdom|
|President Roosevelt||Prime Minister Churchill|
|United States||United Kingdom|
|President Roosevelt||Prime Minister Churchill|
|Mr. Hopkins||Foreign Secretary Eden|
|Admiral Leahy||General Brooke|
|General Marshall||Admiral of the Fleet Pound|
|Admiral King||Air Chief Marshal Portal|
|General Arnold||Field Marshal Dill|
|Vice Admiral Mountbatten|
|Lieutenant General Ismay|
|Brigadier General Deane||Brigadier Jacob|
August 19, 1943, 5:30 p.m. Secret
After welcoming the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the President and Prime Minister agreed that they should read through the Report of Progress which had been submitted to them. (NOTE: The amendments to the report that were directed by the President and Prime Minister have been included in a revised copy of the report and have been published as CCS 319.)
Mr. Hopkins raised the question as to whether POINTBLANK included air operations from Italy.
Sir Charles Portal said that it did not but it was anticipated that it might include such operations in the future. He said that one of the chief objectives of the POINTBLANK operation (in its first stage) was to destroy German fighter factories. Some of these can be better attacked from Italy.
General Arnold agreed and said it was contemplated that part of the POINTBLANK forces would eventually move so as to operate from Italian bases when they became available.
The President asked if the operation included attacks on Ploești.
General Arnold replied that the oil industry was one of the major objectives in the third phase of the plan and attacks on Ploești, if not specifically mentioned in the plan, could be included in that phase provided suitable bases had become available.
The President indicated that if we could reach bases as far north as Ancona in Italy they would be within striking distance of Ploești.
It was then agreed that the plan for the combined bomber offensive should include attacks from all convenient bases.
The Prime Minister discussed the paragraph pertaining to OVERLORD. He indicated that he was in favor of the plan but that it must [be] understood that its implementation depends on certain conditions being fulfilled regarding relative strengths. One of these was that there should not be more than 12 mobile German divisions in Northern France at the time the operation was mounted and that the Germans should not be capable of a buildup of more than 15 divisions in the succeeding 2 months. If the German strength proved to be considerably greater than this, the plan should be subject to revision by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
Mr. Hopkins said he did not feel that the Allies should take a rigid view of these limitations. He suggested that there might be 13 German divisions, or even 15 German divisions at two-thirds strength. Also it would be difficult to assess what the German fighter strength would be at that time. In this regard, he felt that General Morgan’s report was inelastic.
The Prime Minister agreed that there should be elasticity in judgment in deciding as to whether or not the operation should be mounted. He wished to emphasize that he strongly favored OVERLORD for 1944. He was not in favor of SLEDGEHAMMER in 1942 or ROUNDUP in 1943. However, the objections which he had had to those operations have been removed. He said that every effort should be made to add at least twenty-five per cent strength to the initial assault. This would mean an increase in the landing craft necessary but there are nine months available before the target date and much can be done in that time. The beaches selected are good but it would be better if at the same time a landing were to be made on the inside beaches of the Cotentin Peninsula. The initial lodgment must be strong as it so largely affects later operations.
General Marshall agreed that an increase in initial assault would greatly strengthen the OVERLORD operation.
The President said that he would like to have the time of arrival of U.S. troops in England stepped up, and General Marshall indicated that a study with respect to this was now being made. He wished to emphasize that the shortage of landing craft places the greatest limitation on all of our operations. He cited the case of the Mediterranean, at the present time, and indicated that we could have made an entry into Italy before this, had landing craft been available.
The Prime Minister pointed out that Mr. Lewis Douglas, Mr. Averell Harriman, and Lord Leathers had made an intensive study on the shipping situation which indicates that a large increase will be available as a result of our success in anti-U-boat warfare.
Admiral King said that the prospects are excellent that there will be more landing craft available than we had previously anticipated.
The President said that a study is now being carried on looking toward the possibility of converting excess dry cargo ships into troop carriers. Such conversion takes about six months, but he felt that it should be carried out to the extent necessary to bring the cargo lift and troop lift into balance.
General Marshall reported that General Somervell is optimistic over the prospects of making up our present backlog in troop lift.
In discussing the paragraph pertaining to Italy, the President asked if it was contemplated sending French troops to Sardinia and Corsica. He thought it desirable to use them in an operation against Corsica but considered it best not to use them in an operation against Sardinia.
Sir Alan Brooke expressed the thought that an attack against Sardinia depends entirely on what the Germans do with the forces they now have on that island. There is a possibility in the case of a collapse of Italy that the German force will be withdrawn entirely. In that case Sardinia will fall with Italy and a military operation to obtain it will not be necessary.
The Prime Minister wanted it to be definitely understood that he was not committed to an advance into Northern Italy beyond the Ancona-Pisa Line.
Sir Alan Brooke doubted whether we should have enough troops to go beyond this line, but it was not yet possible to say.
The President asked if it was necessary to go further into Northern Italy in order to reach Germany with our aircraft.
Sir Charles Portal replied that it was not necessary but there was a distinct disadvantage in permitting the Germans to occupy the airfields in Northern Italy south of the Alps. This had a particularly bad effect in improving the warning service for all raids into Germany. Additionally, the airfields in Northern Italy have greater capacity than those in Central Italy. These need considerable work done on them before they can accommodate our big bombers.
In discussing the paragraph pertaining to a diversion in Southern France, the Prime Minister indicated that he would be hesitant in putting our good divisions into that area to meet the resistance which might be anticipated, and he doubted therefore if French divisions would be capable of an operation of the kind suggested.
Sir Alan Brooke said that such a diversion would, of course, depend on what the German reactions had been and that troops would only be landed in Southern France if the Germans had been forced to withdraw a number of their divisions from that area. There are two routes by which it might be accomplished: from West Italy if our forces in Italy had been able to advance that far north; otherwise the landing in Southern France would have to be an amphibious operation.
Mr. Eden asked if there would be adequate air cover for an amphibious operation against Southern France.
Sir Charles Portal replied that the air cover would not be good.
The Prime Minister thought that it would be well to consider, as an alternate plan, the possibility of flying supplies in for guerrillas who might be operating in the mountains thirty miles from the coast. This mountain area would constitute an excellent rendezvous point for Frenchmen who objected to being sent into Germany and who might take refuge there. He described such an operation as “air-nourished guerrilla warfare.”
It was agreed that the possibilities of this proposal should be explored.
With reference to the Balkans, the President asked if plans were being prepared as to the action we should take in the event that the Germans withdrew from the Balkans to the line of the Danube.
Sir Alan Brooke replied that of course any such action would depend on the forces available. He did not think there would be any surplus from our main operation.
The President said that he was most anxious to have the Balkans [sic] divisions which we have trained, particularly the Greeks and Yugoslavs, operate in their own countries. He thought it would be advantageous if they could follow up, maintain contact, and harass the withdrawal of the Germans if they should elect to withdraw to the Danube.
The Prime Minister suggested that Commando forces could also operate in support of the guerrillas on the Dalmatian coast.
The President then referred to a suggestion made by the Netherlands Government that 1,500 potential officers should be trained in the USA with a view to organizing, if the Germans withdrew, formations in Holland to take part in the struggle against Germany.
General Marshall said that this would present no difficulty.
The discussion then turned to the garrison requirements and security of lines of communication in the Mediterranean.
It was generally agreed that there would be about forty-seven divisions available for operations in that area. These include the French, Greeks, Yugoslavs, and Poles in addition to the divisions of the U.S. and U.K. Seven of the latter were due to be brought back to the U.K. for OVERLORD.
The Prime Minister said that there are several British divisions that have to be reconstituted and that every effort is being made to do this as soon as possible. One expedient is the sending of nine independent battalions to North Africa to take over the guard duty now being performed by active formations.
Sir Alan Brooke said, that the operations now envisaged made use of all the divisions that will be available. This, of course, is subject to fluctuation depending upon the enemy’s reactions. He estimated, however, that seventeen to twenty divisions would be required in Italy, one in Corsica and Sardinia, and these, together with garrison troops in Cyprus and North Africa, would limit those available for other offensive operations. There was also a shortage of antiaircraft artillery. So long as the Germans occupy Crete and Sardinia maintenance of anti-aircraft defense will be necessary in North Africa, However, every effort was being made to remedy this deficiency.
The President reiterated his desire to use the Yugoslav and Greek divisions in the Balkans if the opportunity arose.
The Prime Minister said that he believed that, barring the necessity to retain the oil output in the Balkans, it would be to the Germans’ advantage to withdraw from that area.
Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that there were other raw materials, particularly bauxite, which the Germans secured from the Balkans that would cause them to hesitate to withdraw.
The discussion then turned to the occupation of the Azores.
The President suggested that within a week or ten days after the British occupation of the Azores, he would send the Prime Minister a notice that a British and American convoy and some British and American air units were proceeding to the Azores and would expect to use the facilities of those islands. The British could then say to the Portuguese “that they were frightfully sorry that their cousins from overseas had descended upon them but that, having done so, there was little that they could do about it.”
The Prime Minister agreed to this plan. He pointed out that the British were not at fault in failing to obtain the immediate use of these facilities for the United States. He had kept the President informed of events. He said the British have not given President Salazar any assurance as to what forces would be sent to help Portugal in case of attack. The British had only committed themselves to declare war on Spain in the event that she attacked Portugal, and to afford such help to Portugal as was in their power against an attack by the Germans. He said that, if on the 8th of October, the British have entered the islands and no attack against Portugal had resulted, President Salazar would feel much better about permitting United States use of the Azores’ facilities. Immediately upon occupancy, the British will make every effort by diplomacy to obtain the permit for United States entry.
Mr. Eden said that it had always been visualized that this would be done. He suggested that the proposed American-British convoy might sail in about a fortnight after the British entry. He thought that timing was an extremely important factor but he felt confident that the situation could be handled to everyone’s satisfaction.
In discussing the command situation in Southeast Asia, the Prime Minister pointed out that the setup agreed upon did not exactly coincide with the Mac Arthur model. He asked General Marshall if it might not be possible to have a British liaison officer appointed to General MacArthur’s Staff.
General Marshall said that arrangements to accomplish this were under way at the present time, and, in addition, he was taking the necessary steps to see that the situation in the Southwest Pacific was adequately reported to the Prime Minister at frequent intervals.
When an examination of the final report had been concluded, the Prime Minister referred to the long-term plan for the defeat of Japan, on which he understood work had been proceeding ceaselessly since the last Conference. This plan was both strategical and technical. It would deal with such things as the best method of gaining access to China, the securing of airfields from which to bomb Japan, and the provision of synthetic harbors and HABBAKUKS. There was no doubt that the combined resources of the United States and the British Empire could produce whatever special equipment might be required to permit of the concentration of the enormous air forces which would be released to attack Japan after the defeat of Germany. But apart from such considerations, there were many political factors to be taken into account. Great Britain would be faced with difficulties in moving her veterans, many of whom would have been on continuous service for several years, forward into a new campaign. It might prove somewhat easier to arrange matters in the Navy and the Air Force, and in the war against Japan it would be the air which would be of vital importance. These difficulties would, of course, be overcome. Nevertheless he hoped that the work of the Planning Staffs would only be taken as foundation data. With their comparatively circumscribed viewpoint, the Planners could not be expected to produce final solutions to the problems confronting our two nations. He hoped the Combined Chiefs of Staff would not think themselves limited by the results of the Planners’ study of the war against Japan.
Admiral King said that the Chiefs of Staff never felt themselves so limited.
Continuing, the Prime Minister said that he did not view with favor the idea that a great expedition should be launched to retake Singapore in 1945. He was most anxious not to set an aim for that year which would paralyze action in 1944. The campaign of 1942-43 had been most ineffective, and he felt ashamed that results in this theater had not been better. It was now proposed in the coming winter to extend the operation of the long-range penetration groups in Northern Burma, and he thought this should be supplemented by the seizure of the tip of Sumatra. If a strong air force could be lodged there, the Japanese could be brought to action, their shipping could be bombed, and they would be forced to gather resources to react against our initiative. Options would be kept open for subsequent action in either direction. Whatever happened, we must not let an ultimate objective paralyze intervening action, and he earnestly hoped that the Combined Chiefs of Staff would examine the possibilities in the Southeast Asian Theater, with the object of doing the utmost possible to engage all forces against the Japanese. Only in this way would our overwhelming superiority achieve rapid results against the waning strength of the enemy.
The President said that he looked at the problem from a rather different angle. The position occupied by the Japanese might be compared to a slice of pie, with Japan at the apex, and with the island barrier forming the outside crust. One side of the piece of pie passed through Burma, the other led down to the Solomons. He quite saw the advantage of an attack on Sumatra, but he doubted whether there were sufficient resources to allow of both the opening of the Burma Road and the attack on Sumatra. He would rather see all resources concentrated on the Burma Road, which represented the shortest line through China to Japan. He favored attacks which would aim at hitting the edge of the pie as near to the apex as possible, rather than attacks which nibbled at the crust. Thus, provided Yunnan could be securely held, an air force could be built up through Burma in China, which would carry out damaging attacks on Japanese shipping. At the same time the attack through the Gilberts and Marshalls to Truk would strike the opposite edge of the slice of pie. If one might judge by the operations in the Solomon Islands, it would take many years to reach Japan, but the other side of the picture was the heavy attrition to which the Japanese forces were subjected in these operations.
The Prime Minister expressed his agreement with the President’s simile, but inquired whether the conquest of Southern Burma was really necessary. The problem in Burma was not so much the finding of forces to deploy, but rather of overcoming the difficulties of an exiguous line of communication, and of a monsoon which limited operations to six months in the year. Burma was the worst possible place in which to fight, and operations could only be carried on by a comparatively small number of high-class troops. There were large forces in the Southeast Asia Command, and it was for this reason that he hoped to see an attack on the Sumatran tip. An attack on Akyab could hardly be regarded as profitable.
The President said that he also had never thought much of the idea of taking Akyab or Rangoon. The Generalissimo had favored the attack on Rangoon, because he thought that it would interfere with the Japanese communications, but these probably now ran across land from Bangkok, and the Japanese were in any event not so dependent on their line of communication as the Allied troops.
The Prime Minister said that he favored the extension of Wingate’s operations in Northern Burma, and the supporting advances; but he wished to emphasize his conviction that the attack on Sumatra was the great strategic blow which should be struck in 1944. CULVERIN would be the TORCH of the Indian Ocean. In his opinion, it would not be beyond the compass of our resources. We should be striking and seizing a point of our own choice, against which the Japanese would have to beat themselves if they wished to end the severe drain which would be imposed upon their shipping by the air forces from Sumatra.
The President suggested that the Sumatra operation would be heading away from the main direction of our advance to Japan.
The Prime Minister said that nevertheless it would greatly facilitate the direct advances. The alternative would be to waste the entire year, with nothing to show for it but Akyab and the future right to toil through the swamps of Southern Burma, He earnestly hoped that careful and sympathetic study would be given to this, the Sumatra project, which he was convinced was strategically of the highest importance. He would compare it, in its promise of decisive consequences, with the Dardanelles operation of 1915.
The Prime Minister then read to the meeting a telegram recently received from General Auchinleck, reporting the opinion of Admiral Somerville that greater resources than had hitherto been deemed necessary would be required for the operations at Akyab.
The Prime Minister observed that Akyab, the importance of which had apparently been overlooked in the retreat from Burma, and which we had failed to take last winter, had now been turned into a kind of Plevna. It was against this that we proposed to employ the whole of our amphibious resources in the Indian Ocean in 1943-44. He could not believe that this was right.
The President inquired whether the possession of Akyab was essential for an attack on Rangoon.
General Arnold said that it would certainly be useful in improving the scale of air attack which could be brought to bear on Rangoon, and possibly on Bangkok, but he doubted whether it was essential.
Admiral King said that he had always understood that Akyab was required in order that attacks might be made against the Japanese line of communication northward from Rangoon.
General Marshall said that the principal importance of Akyab was as a stepping-stone to the conquest of Southern Burma.
Reference was then made to the air route to China, and General Arnold reported that the figure of 7,000 tons was almost certain to be reached in August.
The President then inquired what would be the relationship between the Generalissimo and the new Allied Commander-in-Chief of the Southeast Asia Command.
He was informed that their relationship would be that of two neighboring Commanders-in-Chief. Liaison would be insured by the fact that General Stilwell would be the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Southeast Asia Command, and also Chief of Staff to the Generalissimo. The arrangements made for the new command guarded against the diversion of resources destined for China, unless agreed upon by the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
The President then suggested that it would be necessary to include in the final report a carefully considered paragraph relating to our action in support of Russia.
He was informed that this was under consideration, and an appropriate paragraph would be included.
The meeting then adjourned.
Québec, 19 August 1943. Secret Enclosure to CCS 319
The Combined Chiefs of Staff submit the following report on the progress made so far in the QUADRANT Conference.
We have agreed to accept tentatively Sections I, II and III of the final report made to you at the TRIDENT Conference as a basis for use in this Conference. These sections, covering the Overall Objective, the Overall Strategic Concept for the Prosecution of the War, and the Basic Undertakings in Support of the Overall Strategic Concept, to be reaffirmed at the conclusion of the present Conference.
We have approved the following strategic concept of operations for the defeat of the Axis Powers in Europe, 1943-44.
The progressive destruction and dislocation of the German military, industrial and economic system, the disruption of vital elements of lines of communication, and the material reduction of German air combat strength by the successful prosecution of the Combined Bomber Offensive from all convenient bases is a prerequisite to OVERLORD (barring an independent and complete Russian victory before OVERLORD can be mounted). This operation must therefore continue to have highest strategic priority.
[Subparagraphs a, b, and c are identical with the subparagraphs of paragraph 3 of CCS 303/3.]
We have approved the outline plan of General Morgan for Operation OVERLORD and have authorized him to proceed with the detailed planning and with full preparations.
Operations in Italy
[This paragraph is identical with paragraph 4 of CCS 303/3.]
Operations in Southern France
Offensive operations against Southern France (to include the use of trained and equipped French forces), should be undertaken to establish a lodgement in the Toulon-Marseilles area and exploit northward in order to create a diversion in connection with OVERLORD. Air nourished guerilla operations in the Southern Alps will, if possible, be initiated.
[This paragraph is identical with paragraph 6 of CCS 303/3, except that the cross-reference in subparagraph d has been changed to read “(see paragraph 10 below).”]
Operations at Sea
[This paragraph is identical with paragraph 7 of CCS 303/3.]
Operations in the Balkans
Operations in the Balkan area will be limited to supply of Balkan guerillas by air and sea transport, to minor Commando forces, and to the bombing of Ploești and other strategic objectives from Italian bases.
We have had encouraging reports from the Chiefs of the two Naval Staffs regarding the U-boat war. We have approved recommendations made by the Allied Submarine Board which should result in further strengthening our anti-U-boat operations. The board has been directed to continue and expand its studies in search of further improvements.
On the successful conclusion of the negotiations for the use of the Azores we have taken note of the assurance given by the British Chiefs of Staff that everything will be done by the British as soon as possible after actual entry into the Azores has been gained to make arrangements for their operational and transit use by U.S. aircraft.
We have considered the proposals of the British Chiefs of Staff for the setup of the Southeast Asia Command.
On the question of Command relationship, we have agreed:
a. That the Combined Chiefs of Staff will exercise a general jurisdiction over the strategy for the Southeast Asia Theater and the allocation of American and British resources of all kinds between the China Theater and the Southeast Asia Command.
b. That the British Chiefs of Staff will exercise jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to operations, and will be the channel through which all instructions to the Supreme Commander are passed.
We are giving further consideration to:
c. The precise duties of General Stilwell as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander; and
d. Arrangements for the coordination of American agencies such as OSS, OWI, FCB, etc., with comparable British organizations.
a. We have given preliminary consideration to a memorandum by the Joint U.S. Chiefs of Staff on specific operations in the Pacific and Far East 1943-44.
b. We have had an account from Brigadier Wingate of the experiences of the long-range penetration groups which were employed in Northern Burma in the early part of this year. We think that there is much to be said for further developing this method of conducting operations on a larger scale against the Japanese, and are working out plans to give effect to this policy.
c. We have not yet considered specific operations in Northern Burma or the Arakan Coast for 1943-44, pending the receipt of further information about the logistic situation which has been created by the disastrous floods in India.
d. Meanwhile the Combined Staff Planners have completed in outline a long-term plan for the defeat of Japan. This has not yet been considered. We propose to review specific operations in the Pacific and Far East for 1943-44 (See a, b and c above) in the light of the conclusions reached on this larger question.
Québec, 19 August 1943. Secret
The following summary of recent correspondence with AFHQ North African Theater relating to post-HUSKY operations, has been made for the convenience of the Combined Chiefs of Staff in connection with the discussion on post-HUSKY operations tabled for the 113th Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 20 August 1943.
J. R. DEANE
This message summarizes the operations following HUSKY that General Eisenhower considers to be possible assuming that seven veteran divisions will be sent to the U.K. In paragraph five he states:
In order to be in a position to take advantage of whichever line of action shows itself more likely to achieve my mission, I have arranged for planning to be undertaken for:
a. Operation BUTTRESS and Operation GOBLET.
b. Operation BUTTRESS followed by a rapid overland exploitation to the Heel, Naples, and Rome, and a reinforcement by sea of three divisions into Naples.
c. Operation BRIMSTONE both on a full and modified scale, the latter being in sufficient strength to overcome German resistance if Italian Army has ceased to fight.
d. After Operation BRIMSTONE, it may be possible to carry out Operation FIREBRAND. The French are now actively examining this problem.
The strategic concept in your NAF 250 accepted for planning purposes. In addition, the Combined Chiefs of Staff wish to express their interest in the possibilities of a direct amphibious landing operation against Naples in lieu of an attack on Sardinia, if the indications regarding Italian resistance should make the risks involved worthwhile.
The last paragraph is as follows:
In view of these considerations and assuming that substantial German reinforcement in Southern Italy has not taken place, I recommend carrying the war to the mainland of Italy immediately Sicily has been captured, and request very early approval in order that no time be lost in making preparation.
The recommendations contained in the last paragraph of your NAF 265 are approved, you should, however, extend your amphibious operations northward as far as shore-based fighter cover can be made effective.
With the object of expediting the elimination of Italy from the war, the Combined Chiefs of Staff consider you should plan forthwith AVALANCHE to be mounted at the earliest possible date, using the resources already available to you for PRICELESS. …
The air problem facing us in AVALANCHE is one of some difficulty, first, because of the distance from possible bases to provide cover for the initial assault and second, because of the increased effort required for neutralization of hostile air and disrupting lines of communications. Another difficulty arises because of the intensive air effort we have been maintaining for some weeks and the additional necessity for continuing this effort in a rapid cleanup of the HUSKY Operation. This cleanup is an essential preliminary to the AVALANCHE Operation in order to get necessary airfields and to have a reasonable bridgehead in the BUTTRESS area in order that German reserves may not be, with immunity, rushed directly to the point of landing.
This reads in part:
Yesterday I had a meeting with the three commanders in chief. Conclusions reached were in line with those reported following a similar conference of a week ago. We are positive that a lodgment must be made in the BUTTRESS area before any bold stroke should be attempted such as AVALANCHE. On the other hand, our hope is that this lodgment can be made without employing troops otherwise available for AVALANCHE. If ad hoc crossing of Straits proves too difficult, and former landing operations in close support of that effort are forced upon us, then the AVALANCHE project must be delayed materially.…
This message reads in part:
Meeting of commanders in chief was held today in Tunis. General agreement to effect that every effort must be made to mount AVALANCHE with 10th Corps so equipped with landing craft that it can be used either on that operation or on BUTTRESS if latter proves to be necessary. Every effort must be made to establish a bridgehead on Toe employing only troops and means now in Sicily. Agreed that we should avoid, if humanly possible, penning up sizeable forces in Toe where they could be rather easily contained, particularly since to do so would practically eliminate any chance of AVALANCHE type of operation this year. This is because of necessary use of landing craft in maintaining over beaches the troops we would have in Toe.
From the above, it appears that General Eisenhower has been given definite authority to operate against the mainland of Italy with a very distinct preference expressed by the Combined Chiefs of Staff for Operation AVALANCHE. General Eisenhower, on the other hand, has indicated that to do AVALANCHE, either BUTTRESS or an ad hoc crossing of the Sicily troops to the Toe of Italy must be effected in order to provide shore-based air cover for AVALANCHE. This conception has at least the tacit approval of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.
This signal gave information regarding AVALANCHE. Timing of all future operations must depend primarily upon date of completion of Sicilian campaign. All commanders were agreed that the establishment of considerable forces in Calabria would almost certainly result in stalemate being reached in Calabria this year, or at best, would permit only slow, laborious advance. Number of landing craft required would prevent any further amphibious operation this year on the scale of AVALANCHE. Two months from now weather conditions would prevent use of strips in Calabria and unless we could obtain all-weather airfields such as exist in Naples area, we should be unable to apply our air strength and would be unable to count upon the degree of air supremacy enjoyed up till now.
Previous conclusions confirmed that prior to AVALANCHE it was essential to obtain small bridgehead in Calabria in order to open Straits, hold German troops in Calabria and prevent them being employed in reinforcement of AVALANCHE area. Ability to do this and at the same time to launch AVALANCHE dependent entirely on serviceability of landing craft. Assessment being made of minimum landing craft requirements to see whether BAYTOWN or AVALANCHE could be mounted at or about the same time. Risks of AVALANCHE fully appreciated, particularly in light of apparent German reinforcement of Italy. Considered, however, that prize to be gained makes considerable risk acceptable. By air action in meantime it might be possible to make Italian people force a policy of non-cooperation with Germany on present Italian Government and so make Avalanche easier. As circumstances at the time might prevent launching of AVALANCHE allocation of landing craft and loading of 10th Corps to proceed so that it could be employed either in BUTTRESS or AVALANCHE. Following decisions therefore made:
To proceed with AVALANCHE preparations with target date 7 September.
Flexibility of 10th Corps and allocation of landing craft to be such that either BUTTRESS or AVALANCHE could be launched.
8th Army to make every effort to seize bridgehead with resources of craft remaining after allocation to 10th Corps.
Actual dates of operations to depend upon date of completion of Sicilian Battle.
Operations BARRACUDA and GOBLET cancelled.
5th Corps to be in AFHQ reserve.
Air effort against communications in Italy to be maintained at highest possible level consistent with maintenance requirements.
Gave provisional figures of buildup dependent on:
a. Whether BAYTOWN-AVALANCHE mounted, or BAYTOWN-BUTTRESS mounted.
b. Date of initial assault.
c. Progress made on mainland.
d. State of port of Naples when captured.
If German resistance in Calabria weakens and BAYTOWN can be exploited, intention is for 8th Army to move into Calabria and advance north and east with a view to joining up with AVALANCHE forces and occupying Heel. Maximum number of divisions which can be maintained through Calabria is 6. Forces available for further buildup, if required: one U.S. division, ex Sicily; two French divisions; 5 corps of two or three divisions from Middle East; First and Sixth Armored Divisions; further French divisions. Assuming target date for AVALANCHE 7th September, it appeared that the following forces could be put on the mainland through Naples by 1st December. Either 6 divisions and tactical air force, or 5 divisions plus tactical and strategical air force. In addition 3 divisions through the Toe and possibly up to 3 further divisions by ferry service into Calabria from Sicily. Estimated rate of buildup after 1st December might be one Division per month. LSTs essential for the above buildup until at least 1st December. The above based on no shipping limitations.
Results of AVALANCHE and succeeding operations likely to depend upon buildup race between the Germans and ourselves. Once we can get a firm hold on the Naples Area we should be well placed but it is at least probable that thereafter we may have to fight our way slowly and painfully up Italy. The difficulty of amphibious and overland operations against Southern France should not be minimized. Desirable areas in Southern France for amphibious assault cannot be reached by shore-based single-engined fighters operating either from Northern Italy or Corsica. Ability to undertake amphibious operation therefore dependent on German air strength in Europe being so reduced or otherwise committed that assault can take place under cover of carrier-borne or twin-engined fighters. Availability of land forces will depend upon defensive commitments in Northern Italy, which should not exceed a maximum of 10 divisions, and on our ability to equip and transport remainder of divisions then in Mediterranean. Estimate that 24 divisions will be available, of which perhaps not more than 16 will be fit for operations.
In spite of every effort, enemy is succeeding in evacuating much personnel and light equipment across the Straits. Crossing the Straits should be attempted by us as quickly as necessary supporting guns and supplies can be accumulated. Present indications as to date between September 1st and 4th, and for AVALANCHE target date September 9th. Since a 10-day interval between the two assaults would greatly alleviate difficulties in landing craft, we are straining every nerve to make the first assault on the earliest possible date.
AVALANCHE will be undertaken before next moonlight period and preceded at maximum interval by BAYTOWN, which hoped to launch before end of August or early September. Target date AVALANCHE may be deferred till September 11th.
|United States||United Kingdom|
|President Roosevelt||Prime Minister Churchill|
|Mr. Hopkins||Mrs. Churchill|
|Subaltern Mary Churchill|
Roosevelt dined with the Churchill family and Hopkins, and that Roosevelt and Churchill were closeted for several hours following dinner.
The Pittsburgh Press (August 19, 1943)
By Frank Hewlett, United Press staff writer
Somewhere in New Georgia, Solomon Islands – (Aug. 8, delayed)
The luck of the Irish – and some first-class skill – brought lanky Lt. (jg.) John F. Kennedy, son of former U.S. Ambassador to Britain Joseph Kennedy, and 10 of his torpedo boat mates back from a brush with the Japs and death today.
A week after they had been lost and practically given up, another PT boat went through hostile waters to rescue them in response to an SOS scrawled on a coconut shell and carried through enemy lines by a native.
Three men, including Petty Officer Patrick H. McMahon, 39, of Los Angeles, who has a son in the Navy, credited the 27-year-old Lt. Kennedy with saving their lives.
Their extraordinary adventure began the night of Sunday, Aug. 1, in Blackett Strait just west of Kolombangara Island north of New Georgia Island.
Three torpedo boats from this base were patrolling. A Jap destroyer bore down on the lead boat commanded by Lt. Kennedy and manned by a crew of 12 and cut it in two.
Lt. Kennedy said:
I’m certain that destroyer was going 40 knots. I summoned the crew to general quarters and then tried to get into position for a shot with the torpedoes. But we were too close.
The crewmen were flung into the water. Some were painfully injured.
The gasoline went up in flames. One section didn’t burn.
Petty Officer McMahon, who was badly burned, said Lt. Kennedy, a backstroke swimmer on the Harvard team before he graduated in 1940, towed him three miles.
Lt. Kennedy said:
We clung to that bow of the boat for nearly 12 hours. And we left it only when it was just a foot above water.
They drifted through the night nearer and nearer a Jap island that had a big garrison but a sudden shift in the current saved them and they reached a tiny unoccupied islet. But they were still surrounded by Japs.
After a few days, they sneaked over to another island and found friendly natives. Lt. Kennedy scratched an appeal for aid on a coconut shell. A native carried it through the enemy lines to this base.
Last night, in a PT boat, under one of the original expendables, Lt. Henry J. “Hank” Brantingham of Fayetteville, Arkansas, we went through rough weather into the Jap-controlled waters to pick them up.
Lt. Kennedy rowed out in a native canoe to meet us. He had told us to fire four shots, then he’d answer. We fired four shots. Only three came back through the darkness near the rendezvous point – then silence for a moment. Then came a louder burst. He had only three cartridges in his .45 caliber pistol. The last shot came from a rusty Jap rifle and the recoil nearly capsized the canoe.
Two trips in the canoe were necessary to bring all the men out to the PT boat.
Lt. Kennedy guided us through reefs and coral heads, in constant danger of being seen by enemy planes.
Among the men was Ens. Leonard Thorn of Sandusky, Ohio, a blond giant with a new beard whom the natives had thought a man from another planet. Ens. Thom used to play football at Ohio State. The other officer with Lt. Kennedy was Ens. George Henry Robertson Ross, 25, of Highland Park, Illinois, who went along for the ride because his own boat was temporarily out of whack.
Lt. Kennedy lauded the work of Petty Officers Charles Harris, of Boston, and McMahon. His other men were Seaman Raymond Albert, 20, of Cleveland, Ohio; Radioman John Maguire, 27, of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York; Torpedoman Ray L. Starkey of Garden Grove, California; Petty Officer Gerard Emil Zinser, 25, of Belleville, Illinois; Petty Officer William Johnston of Dorchester, Massachusetts, and Quartermaster Edman Mauer, 28, of St. Louis, Missouri.
Völkischer Beobachter (August 20, 1943)
Unsere Antwort: Härtester Kampf bis zum Endsieg
dnb. Aus dem Führer-Hauptquartier, 19. August –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:
In der am 16. Juli begonnenen fünften Abwehrschlacht am Kubanbrückenkopf haben die unter Führung des Generalfeldmarschalls von Kleist und des Generals der Pioniere Jänicke stehenden deutschen und rumänischen Truppen bis zum 12. August andauernde Durchbruchsversuche von 17 Schützendivisionen, 2 Panzerbrigaden und 3 Panzerregimentern der Sowjets in harten Kämpfen abgeschlagen und dem Feind sehr hohe blutige Verluste zugefügt. An diesem Abwehrerfolg sind deutsche, unter Führung des Generalleutnants Angerstein stehende Luftwaffenverbände, und rumänische, von General Gheorgiu befehligte Fliegerkräfte beteiligt.
An der Mius front trat der Feind im Raum von Kuibyschewo nach starker Artillerievorbereitung erneut zum Angriff an. Bei Isjum setzte er die Durchbruchsversuche mit starken Kräften fort. In beiden Abschnitten schlugen unsere Truppen im Zusammenwirken mit der Luftwaffe und rumänischen Schlachtfliegern die Angriffswellen des Gegners in zähen Kämpfen blutig ab.
Im Kampfraum von BjeIgorod dauert der harte und für die Sowjets äußerst verlustreiche Abwehrkampf an. über 100 Panzer und Sturmgeschütze der Sowjets wurden hier abgeschossen.
Im mittleren Frontabschnitt griffen die Bolschewisten weiterhin in wechselnder Stärke an. Alle Anstrengungen des Feindes, unsere Stellungen zu durchbrechen, scheiterten. Auch bei Staraja Russa und am Ladogasee brachen alle sowjetischen Angriffe unter schwersten Verlusten zusammen. Deutsche Gebirgsjäger warfen im Louhiabschnitt den auch gestern wieder anstürmenden Feind unter hohen Verlusten zurück. In Luftkämpfen wurden ohne eigene Verluste 21 feindliche Flugzeuge abgeschossen.
Am 18. August verloren die Sowjets 284 Panzer. In den letzten Tagen büßten sie 168 Flugzeuge ein. Sicherungsstreitkräfte der Kriegsmarine versenkten in der Nacht zum 18. August im Asowschen Meer zwei sowjetische Motorkanonenboote. Im Seegebiet der Fischerhalbinsel vernichteten schnelle deutsche Kampfflugzeuge vier mit Nachschub beladene sowjetische Küstenfrachter.
In der Zeit vom 10. Juli bis zur Beendigung der Kämpfe am 17. August fügten die im Raume von Sizilien kämpfenden Verbände aller Wehrmachtteile und Waffengattungen den amerikanisch-britischen Armeen schwere Verluste zu. Neben einer hohen Zahl von Gefangenen verloren sie etwa ein Drittel ihrer eingesetzten Truppen an Toten und Verwundeten. Vernichtet oder erbeutet wurden 383 Panzer und Panzerspähwagen, 63 Geschütze aller Art, 652 Flugzeuge und 11 Lastensegler.
61 meist mit Mannschaften oder Kriegsgerät beladene Transportschiffe mit insgesamt 290.100 BRT., ferner ein Kreuzer, sieben Zerstörer, drei Korvetten sowie zahlreiche Motorkanonenboote und kleinere Kriegsfahrzeuge wurden versenkt. Weitere 59 Fracht- oder Transportschiffe mit 278.750 BRT. wurden im gleichen Zeitraum so schwer beschädigt, daß mit ihrem Verlust gerechnet werden kann.
In den ersten zwei Wochen des August sind von Sizilien aüf das Festland mit Kleinschiffsraum überführt worden rund 17.000 Tonnen Munition, Betriebsstoff und Stückgut, fast 10.000 Kraftfahrzeuge sowie sämtliche deutschen und italienischen Truppen mit allen Waffen und Kriegsgerät. Zurückbefördert wurden schließlich mehr als 4000 Verwundete.
Bei diesen Transporten sind von den Besatzungen der Fähren und Kleinfahrzeuge insgesamt 48 feindliche Flugzeuge abgeschossen worden.
Ein Verband deutscher Kampfflugzeuge erzielte in der gestrigen Nacht bei einem Angriff in den Gewässern um Biserta Bombentreffer auf einem Kriegsschiff, 25 Transportern mit zusammen über 100.000 BRT. und Landungsfahrzeugen. In der Straße von Messina wurden durch Flakartillerie der Luftwaffe 7 feindliche Flugzeuge zum Absturz gebracht.
Im Morgengrauen des heutigen Tages kam es vor der holländischen Küste zu einem Gefecht zwischen den Sicherungsstreitkräften eines eigenen Geleits und britischen Schnellbooten. Der Feind verlor bei seinen erfolglosen Angriffen ein Schnellboot. Drei weitere wurden durch Artillerietreffer beschädigt.
Bei bewaffneter Aufklärung und freier Jagd über dem Atlantik warfen deutsche Kampfflugzeuge ein feindliches Handelsschiff von 5000 BRT. in Brand und schossen vier britisch-nordamerikanische Bomber, darunter zwei große Flugboote, ab.
In der gestrigen Nacht wurde bei Störeinflügen weniger feindlicher Flugzeuge im westdeutschen Grenzgebiet ein Flugzeug abgeschossen.
Von unserer Stockholmer Schriftleitung
The Pittsburgh Press (August 20, 1943)
44 Axis planes shot down in one of heaviest air attacks from Africa
By Reynolds Packard, United Press staff writer
But it doesn’t mean Allies will not attack Europe soon
Québec City, Canada (UP) –
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill – while aware of Russian demands for a second front – were believed today to have decided to give airpower its chance to crush Germany first and, in any event, to blast such a path of destruction that land armies may invade Europe with the fewest possible casualties.
Accompanying this first crushing phase will be reminders to the German people that they have the alternative of getting out of the war or seeing the Allies “bomb, burn and destroy” everything in their path.
Conference nears close
It was emphasized that this does not mean that the date of an Allied landing has not been fixed nor that it may not come sooner than ordinarily expected. It does mean, however, that the lessons of Pantelleria and Sicily have taught United Nations leaders the value of intensive air preparations in appreciably shortening any campaign.
The President and Prime Minister were drawing near the end of their historic sixth wartime meeting and late today were to be joined by Secretary of State Cordell Hull who, with British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden, will be given a review of decisions as they affect Anglo-American foreign policy.
The four will have dinner at the Citadel tonight.
Meanwhile, it was reported today that Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill have committed themselves to “bomb, burn and ruthlessly destroy the people responsible for creating the war” and have approved plans to invade Hitler’s Europe.
Japan to be levelled
As for Japan, that country will be “levelled” by the combined military might of Great Britain and the United States, once Hitler is finished.
The determination of the two leaders was made known here by British Information Minister Brendan Bracken, who indicated that the new pledges will be contained in a “Declaration of Québec,” expected to go far beyond the Casablanca “unconditional surrender” statement.
Meanwhile, it was understood here that plans for pounding into the European fortress had reached such an advanced stage that Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill have agreed on the general who will lead the assault on Western Europe.
Closest military secrecy naturally surrounded both military plans and the name of the military leader, but it became apparent that the welter of speculation produced by the conference is welcomed by the leaders as a convenient smokescreen.
The most touted choice for the Allied command was said to be Gen. Harold Alexander, chief of land operations under Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Mediterranean area. He is reputed to be Mr. Churchill’s choice. Though Gen. Eisenhower is considered a contender, his services probably would be needed in his present post in the event of a simultaneous smash from the south. A third speculation centered on some dark horse, such as Maj. Gen. Alexander Gatehouse, commander of the armored forces at El Alamein.
Warning to Germans
Also, it was understood today, a direct warning to the German people that they must get out of the war or suffer “utter destruction” is being drafted by Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill and their military and foreign affairs experts.
The appeal will not be made until the Allies are poised for a leap onto the continent of Europe. Then the population of Germany will be told with bombs as well as words that the time has come when they are to be “ruthlessly attacked.”
The public was told by Mr. Bracken yesterday not to expect any “real” news from the conferences. Mr. Bracken meant that it would be foolish to expect the two leaders to give the enemy an accurate idea of what is coming next. Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill, however, were expected to do their part in the “war of nerves” by concluding their talks here with a press conference that will bristle with predictions of doom for the Axis leaders and their followers responsible for plunging the world into war.
Mr. Bracken confirmed that the conferences are producing military decisions of “vital” import. He promised that after the fall of Germany, the British Empire will throw its “full might” against the Japs.
When Mr. Bracken said that while the war was going along “well indeed” for the Allies, the road ahead still remained “long and hard,” the correspondent of the official Russian news agency asked whether he made any distinction between Europe and the Far East.
The bushy-haired minister replied:
It is all one war. Great Britain will not lay down our arms until we have completely conquered and inflicted exemplary punishment on the Japanese.
Bitter against Japs
The plans being drawn were to “bomb and burn and ruthlessly destroy in every way available to us the people responsible for creating this war,” Mr. Bracken said.
Mr. Bracken talked to newsmen after he had conferred with Mr. Churchill.
Mr. Bracken was bitter in his discussion of the Japanese, describing them as seemingly “content to live on blood.”
He seemed particularly anxious to offset any idea that, once Germany is beaten, the British will “pull out” of the war and leave the Japanese to the Americans.
It is all one war.
Warning correspondents to expect no real, factual information from Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill, Mr. Bracken said:
The time will come when Hitler and Tōjō and their tribe of gangsters will get the news of Québec.
The news will come from the men in the Citadel through their generals, admirals and air marshals leading force fighting forces.
What of the Pacific?
Questions involving the Pacific loomed up with new importance after the Bracken press conference because of one off-trail remark of his. Talking about how Britain will fight to the finish of Japan, he said quietly:
We have very good sailors and bombers, and none of our Allies will be the slightest bit disappointed with our efforts.
Mr. Bracken’s casual remarks about Britain’s “good sailors” fitted in with reports that the naval situation in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean is easing to the point where Great Britain can transfer a large naval force from the Atlantic to the Pacific where, as the Allied timetable unfolds, the pressure on Japan will be increased.
Disposition of British naval strength may have been one of the big questions worked out here.
Yanks bomb airfields in continuing drives which experts say have cleared way for Western Europe landings
By Walter Cronkite, United Press staff writer