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

Background of news –
Legislation to defer fathers

By Bertram Benedict, editorial research reports

Italians change under U.S. occupation, but once-superior feeling is still evident

By Reynolds Packard, United Press staff writer

Salerno changes hands often in violent struggle

Nazi ‘ghost’ formations fling themselves against allies, trying to block beachhead expansion
By L. S. B. Shapiro, representing the combined Allied press

Five Jap ships blasted in raid on naval base

Paramushiru blow shows need for planes in Pacific theater

Disguised Nazi plane downed U.S. Fortress

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

NOTE: Ernie Pyle has returned to the United States after 15 months in Ireland, England, Africa and Sicily. Before taking a much-needed rest, Mr. Pyle has written a couple of homecoming columns.

Washington – (Sept. 11)
How should a war correspondent who has been away a long time begin his first column after he returns to his homeland?

Frankly, I don’t know. I can’t truthfully say “My, it’s wonderful to be back,” because I haven’t had a moment to sense whether it’s wonderful or not. In my first 48 hours in America, I got two hours’ sleep, said “no” 324 times, lost my pocketbook and caught a bad cold.

That pocketbook business, incidentally, is sort of disheartening to a guy who returns full of eagerness for his own people. The wallet contained about a hundred dollars and all my War Department credentials and private papers. It had my name and address in it at least a dozen times, but it has not yet been returned.

Whoever got it, if he had a crumb of decency, could certainly send back the papers even if he kept the money. Anybody who wouldn’t do that, it seems to me, would make a fine client for some oil-boilers. This thing happened in New York on my first day home. And here I’ve been ranting for a year about the lowly Arab!

Return is explained

Perhaps you who read this column wonder why I came home just at this special time, when events are boiling over in Italy.

Well, I might as well tell you truthfully. I knew, of course, that the Italian invasion was coming up, but I chose to skip it. I made that decision because I realized, in the middle of Sicily, that I had been too close to the war for too long.

I was fed up, and bogged down. Of course you say other people are too, and they keep going on. But if your job is to write about the war, you’re very apt to begin writing unconscious distortions and unwarranted pessimisms when you get too tired.

I had come to despise and be revolted by war clear out of any logical proportion. I couldn’t find the Four Freedoms among the dead men. Personal weariness became a forest that shut off my view of events about me. I was no longer seeing the little things that you at home want to know about the soldiers.

When we fought through Sicily, it was to many of us like seeing the same movie for the fourth time. Battles differ from one another only in their physical environment – the emotions of fear and exhaustion and exaltation and hatred are about the same in all of them. Through repetition, I had worn clear down to the nub my ability to weight and describe. You can’t do a painting when your oils have turned to water.

There is, in the months and years ahead, still a lot of war to be written about. So I decided, all of a sudden one day in Sicily, that you who read and I who write would both benefit in the long run if I came home to refreshen my sagging brain and drooping frame. To put it bluntly, I just got too tired in the head. So here I am.

It has been 15 months since I left America. Things at home have changed a lot in that time, I’m sure. But at first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much change.

When I rode in from the airport in New York, and checked into the hotel, everything was so perfectly natural that it truly seemed as though I had never been away at all. It was all so normal, so exactly like what it had been on other returns, that I couldn’t realize that now I was going through that beautiful hour that millions of our men overseas spend a good part of their waking hours yearning for and dreaming about. I do hope that when their hour comes, they’ll find themselves more capable of enthrallment by it.

Sugar bowl surprise

On the whole, the few little things that struck me the most were normal things that I had thought would be gone by now. I was surprised to find sugar bowls on the table. We have plenty of sugar in the Army overseas, but we had figured you were very short over here.

And I was astonished at finding the store windows of New York looking so full and so beautiful. I’d like to take a pocketful of money and just go on a spree, buying everything that was smart and pretty whether I really wanted it or not.

We’ve had nothing to spend money on for so long, over on the other side. The countries we’ve been in were so denuded; why, England was shorter of everything after one year of war than we are after nearly two.

The decline of traffic on the streets was noticeable; and how much nicer it is too, isn’t it? In fact, it’s too nice, and I propose to recreate some of our old congestion by getting out my own jalopy and dashing nonessentially around the streets for a month or so.

Well, anyway, on second thought, it’s wonderful to be home.

Pegler: On Marshall Field III

By Westbrook Pegler

Clapper: World ‘police’

By Raymond Clapper

Inflation seen unless rise in debt is halted

Complete regimentation of national economy urged

Völkischer Beobachter (September 15, 1943)

Das Verräterkleeblatt feige nach Palermo geflohen

König, Kronprinz und Marschall begaben sich unter ‚Alliiertenschutz‘

Schwere blutige Verluste der Anglo-Amerikaner –
Sowjetangriffe in Noworossijsk gescheitert

Feindliche Stellungen südlich Eboli im Sturm genommen – Feindkreuzer in Brand geworfen

Eine USA.-Feststellung –
Die Not in der Sowjetunion

U.S. War Department (September 15, 1943)


In spite of stiff enemy resistance and air interference, troops with their supplies and equipment continue to be disembarked on the beaches in the Salerno area by the Royal and U.S. Navies working under VAdm. Henry K. Hewitt, USN. The bombardment of enemy positions by strong forces of cruisers and destroyers continues. In one day, one U.S. cruiser fired 355 rounds on enemy tanks and machine-gun nests.

Allied naval forces continue to assist Army movements into the Taranto area and the advance of the 8th Army on the coast of Calabria.

The island of Capri was occupied by an Allied force during the afternoon of September 12. The defense of the island remains with the Italian naval and military authorities who are cooperating with ours.

Bitter fighting continues in the 5th Army sector between Salerno and Agropoli. Determined counterattacks have been carried out by both sides. In some places, our troops have been forced to yield around, but new positions are being consolidated and reinforcements continue to arrive rapidly.

Support provided by naval units and our air forces is excellent.

To the south, the 5th Army continued to make progress and our troops have reached Belvedere on the west coast road. In the Taranto sector, operations are proceeding according to plan.

During the night of September 13-14, and throughout yesterday, heavy, medium and light bombers, fighter-bombers and fighters of the Northwest African Air Forces in their most intensive and concentrated operation to date attacked roads and railroads, enemy positions, transport and troop concentrations at numerous points around the Salerno area. Night bombers continued the attack after darkness. Six enemy aircraft were destroyed during the period. None of our aircraft is missing.

The Pittsburgh Press (September 15, 1943)

Americans yield some ground but hold beachhead

5th Army counterattacks heroically as planes and warships pound foe; bitter battle continues
By Richard D. McMillan, United Press staff writer

Reporter crosses frontier –
Eyewitness reports on Italy

People eager to fight Nazis
By Aldo Forte

Thousands of fathers here assured of draft deferment

State board orders local groups to follow rules laid down for replacement schedules
By John Troan

Farm bureau head charges –
Soldiers who saved crops forced to pay union dues

Axis announcement –
Duce proclaimed dictator of new Italian government

Fascist decrees broadcast; German paratroopers set up guard in square before Vatican City
By William B. Dickinson, United Press staff writer

Wide open

By Florence Fisher Parry

Men and women to be included in service act

Stage being set in capital for President to rule on manpower