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

Roosevelt-Churchill luncheon meeting, 1:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins
Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt

According to Elliott Roosevelt, it was in the course of this luncheon that the phrase “unconditional surrender” was “born”. Elliott Roosevelt recalls that it was the President, rather than the Prime Minister, who first used the term. It was strongly approved by Hopkins and accepted by the Prime Minister. The President appeared to be especially impressed with the beneficial effect the phrase would have on the Russians. It is probable that the original “unconditional surrender” discussion between the President and the Prime Minister which Elliott Roosevelt recalls as occurring on January 23 actually had taken place some days earlier. On January 18 the Prime Minister had already suggested the preparation of a statement to the press using the phrase “unconditional surrender.”

U.S. Navy Department (January 23, 1943)

Communiqué No. 259

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter NATSEK (WYP-170) has been overdue in the North Atlantic for several weeks and must be presumed to be lost. The next of kin of personnel in the NATSEK have been notified.

South Pacific.
U.S. forces on Guadalcanal Island continue mopping up and patrol operations.


The U.S. Coast Guard cutter NATSEK was built by the Snow Shipbuilding Corporation, Rockland, Maine, in 1941 and was placed in commission in June 1942. The cutter, which bore the Eskimo name for Fjord Seal, was 116.9 feet in length with a beam of 23.16 feet, and a draft of 11.8 feet. Her gross tonnage was 225 tons, and her net tonnage was 134.

Brooklyn Eagle (January 23, 1943)

U.S. blasts road of retreat

Yanks, French halt Germans’ Tunisian drive

Surviving Japs hunted down in Papua cleanup

Only handful of hungry, tattered foes left of original 15,000

La Guardia testifies on Flynn today

To be last witness – charge well-founded, Herlands declares

Westchester’s citizens expendable, WPB hints

Battle remnants of Axis army

Encircled men get out of trap, Nazis report

London, England (UP) –
The British Eighth Army marched into Tripoli and hoisted the Union Jack at 5 a.m. today and then sent striking forces racing west of Benito Mussolini’s last African capital in an attempt to encircle and annihilate Axis forces straggling into Tunisia.

A lively battle was said to be developing between the advanced units of the British and the Afrika Korps, presumably west of Tripoli. The German-controlled Radio Paris admitted that the battle had started and that Axis forces had been encircled in the early stages but said that attempts of the British to throw a firm ring around the Germans and Italians had been “frustrated.”

An Italian High Command communiqué admitted the fall of Tripoli, but attempted to convey the impression that Axis forces had retired from the city voluntarily.

The smashing blow to Mussolini’s dreams of African empire was hailed here by War Minister Sir James Grigg as having been an action that firmly turned the tide of war for the British and Russian armies. He paid tribute to the remarkable offensive conducted by Sir Bernard L. Montgomery, Eighth Army commander, who in three months moved almost 1,400 miles across the desert, fighting most of the way.

Officials try to escape

The Axis offered a brief, sharp rearguard defense of Tripoli, but the British pushed through to the city that has been under heavy Allied air attack for two weeks. They found that Italian and German civilian officials had fled from the city to the port of Zaura, 70 miles to the west, and were attempting to escape in small boats. Allied planes attacked the boats and damaged some of them.

Medium bombers and fighter bombers from the 9th U.S. Air Force in Cairo played an important part in the capture of Tripoli and the subsequent drive on west. A communiqué said the American pilots operating west of Tripoli started numerous fires among retreating Axis vehicles. At one point incendiary bombs caused a large explosion and fire on the road leading to Tunisia. All U.S. planes returned safely, the communiqué said.

French move up

Brig. Gen. Jacques Leclerc’s Fighting French forces from the Lake Chad region were reported to have turned toward Tunisia and the Mareth Line, along the border, where Marshal Erwin Rommel was believed to be hoping to hole up for a while and give his Afrika Korps a breathing spell.

A dispatch from a United Press staff correspondent in southern Tunisia had hinted that U.S. paratroops and infantry, along with French forces, might soon stab to the coast, cutting the Afrika Korps off in a narrow, desolate corridor.

Three months to a day from the start of his smashing offensive at El Alamein, more than 1,300 miles to the east, Lt. Gen. Bernard L. Montgomery’s desert-hardened Empire troops were swinging down the narrow, twisted streets of Tripoli, and under the marble triumphal arch that the Caesars built.

A column that had bypassed Tripoli moved ahead on Zaura, 70 miles west of Tripoli, along a road that was a graveyard of Axis tanks, trucks and troops.

Italian Empire gone

Beyond the border lay the old French Mareth Line of forts, Ben Gardane, 20 miles inside Tunisia; Medenine, 48 miles west of Ben Gardane, and Gabes, 45 miles north of Medenine, the first big enemy base and anchor point of the corridor to the north.

The Italians’ once-pretentious African empire was for practical purposes gone.

Only 300 miles by land separated the forces of Montgomery and the U.S. Fifth Army, the British First Army and strong French forces in Tunisia. Only 200 miles separated them by air, and U.S. and British planes from Africa and Tripolitania overlapped in an eternal pounding of the fleeing Afrika Korps.

Rommel’s ultimate plan was presumably to flee to northern Tunisia and join forces with Col. Gen. Hans Arnim in holding a small bridgehead encompassing Tunis and Bizerte. If he could get there, the two Axis forces might total 150,000 men. The Allies were believed to have two or three times that many.

To fight delaying action

At best, it was believed, the Axis planned to fight only a delaying action in northern Tunisia, to give the Germans time to prepare their European defenses before the Allies swarm on to the continent.

Tripoli, besides being a great symbolic victory, was of great potential benefit to the Allies. It has a magnificent harbor, presently clogged with wrecked ships sunk by U.S. and British bombers. Great Castel Benito Airdrome, 10 miles south of Tripoli, will give the Allies a nearby base for operating against the Axis in Tunisia.

Radio Morocco said the Axis retreat was now a complete rout.

WAAC wins annulment because mate refused a Catholic ceremony

Mineola, New York –
Supreme Court Justice Cortland A. Johnson here today had granted an annulment of marriage to Gloria Genevieve Munroe of 163 Clement Ave., Elmont, a member of the WAACs, from Donald Robert Munroe, now of Bellmore. They were married July 14, 1940.

Mrs. Munroe testified that when she was married, her husband agreed he would later go through a Catholic marriage ceremony. She said that after marriage, she reminded him of his promise and he refused, saying that he thought It was a “silly notion.” She left him on Jan. 1, 1941.

Mrs. Munroe was inducted into the WAACs two weeks ago and she expects to be called for active duty soon.

Errol Flynn takes stand next week

Treasury officials defend currency

U.S. plans reforms to retard rise in price of milk

Milk order is first step in move to force economy, says Wickard

Hunt 25 Navy men missing on 2 planes

Movie crews tour barren Aleutians for camp shows

Seagoing Broncs end Marine unit’s Bahama paradise

One kisses the earth after wild ride on fast Navy vessel
By Sgt. Maurice E. Moran, USMC combat correspondent

Editorial: Faith in U.S.-led Filipinos alone in East to fight Japs

That the Philippines should have been the only country in the Orient where the natives fought on the side of the foreign power controlling it against the Japanese, in spite of all the Japanese propaganda to the effect that they came as liberators, not as conquerors, is a fact of the highest importance.

In the countries controlled by the British, the French and the Dutch, the only fighting against the Japanese done by the natives was by the very few enrolled in small specialized military and police forces, under officers drawn from their foreign masters. But in the Philippines, not only was the great bulk of the fighting forces actually enrolled against the Japanese drawn from the Philippine people, including their officers, but there the great masses of the people fought against the Japanese on their own account, and were, almost universally, immune to Japanese propaganda and produced no Quislings of any consequence.

But in French Indochina, British Burma and Malay and the Dutch East Indies, generally speaking, the masses of the people were either hostile or indifferent. Either they actively aided the Japanese, or at least preferred Japanese rule, even if harsh, to European rule, because outside control by people of an Oriental race was less humiliating than rule by white men whose whole policy seemed to be built upon the dogma of the inferior status of the native races.

As the tide of war now turns against Japan, as in Europe it turns against Hitler, not only is the lesson furnished by the Philippine exception to the general rule in the Orient important as a factor in prosecuting the war to a victorious issue for the United Nations, it is even more important as a factor in the problems that must face us after the victory.

The explanation of the Philippine situation, as provided by men having the best possible right to testify such men as President Manuel Quezon of the Philippine Republic and his aide, Col. Carlos P. Romulo not only should be a source of legitimate pride both to the Filipinos and the people of the United States but it also provides the fundamental policy to guide the world when not merely their statesmen, but their enlightened peoples, turn from the tasks of war to the even more essential tasks of world reconstruction.

President Quezon’s recent speech in Baltimore before a meeting of the Bar Association and Col. Romulo’s book, I Saw the Fall of the Philippines, both agree that it was because the United States alone among all the great nations controlling Oriental peoples succeeded in convincing the people under its flag, by deeds and not merely by words, that it truly intended to liberate them and uplift them rather than to exploit them commercially that the Philippine people fought for the Stars and Stripes and what that banner symbolizes as if it were their own.

President Quezon said:

When we fought for your flag, we were fighting for our own freedom. You did by us what no other colonizing power has done by the people who had fallen under its sway. For you have been our liberators and our benefactors, and the presence of your flag in the Philippines was the symbol of our freedom. It was there only to allow you to finish the work you had started to do to help set up an independent Philippine republic.

Not all the myriad races of the swarming Orient, it is true, possess that solid core of centuries-old Christianity enjoyed by the bulk of the Filipino people, who have been further instructed in the spirit and practice of democratic processes by decades of such extensive public education as we have provided, but all of them, as President Quezon points out, possess natural self-respect, and that instinctive belief that they:

…like any other nation, possess the right to determine their own destiny as part of the interlocking society that is the human race.

What the United States has achieved in the Philippines, therefore, points the way to the future peace and security of the world even as it throws bright light upon the otherwise somber tragedy of the Filipinos’ struggle, at the side of our American warriors, against the temporary triumph of the Japanese hordes.

Cage to open automatically developed for pigeons

LaMotta chills Hayes in sixth

Karloff, George Raft, Muni aides in Scarface

The reissued Scarface offers three famous names in the same cast, Paul Muni in the role of Tony Camonte, Scarface himself, Boris Karloff and George Raft, Ann Dvorak and Karen Morley have the leading feminine roles.

The film, one of the best of the gangster pictures that were popular a few years ago, tells the story of the rise to power of racketeer Tony Camonte and of gang warfare to the death. It required 62 sets for its filming and was more than a year in the making.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 23, 1943)

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

A forward airdrome in French North Africa – (Jan. 22)
You read the official communiqués a few days ago about a devastating raid by our Flying Fortresses on a huge German bomber airdrome near Tripoli. What you didn’t read, at least in any detail, is the story contains in these next three columns.

It was late afternoon at our desert airdrome. The sun was lazy, the air was warm, and a faint haze of propeller dust hung over the field, giving it softness. It was time for the planes to start coming back from their mission, and one by one they did come – big Flying Fortresses and fiery little Lightnings. Nobody paid a great deal of attention, for this returning is a daily routine thing.

Finally, they were all in – all, that is, except one. Operations reported a Fortress missing. Returning pilots said it had lagged behind and lost altitude just after leaving the target. The last report said the Fortress couldn’t stay in the air more than five minutes. Hours had passed since then. So, it was gone.

Ten men were in that plane. The day’s accomplishments had been great, but the thought of 10 lost friends cast a pall over us. We had already seen death that afternoon. One of the returning Fortresses had released a red flare over the field, and I had stood with others beneath the great plane as they handed its dead pilot, head downward, through the escape hatch onto a stretcher.

The faces of his crew were grave, and nobody talked very loud. One man clutched a leather cap with blood on it. The pilot’s hands were very white. Everybody knew the pilot. He was so young, a couple of hours before. The war came inside us then, and we felt it deeply.

Half a dozen of us went to the high control tower. We go there every evening, for two things – to watch the sunset, and to get word on the progress of the German bombers that frequently come just after dusk to blast our airdrome.

The sunsets in the desert are truly things with souls. The violence of their color is incredible. They splatter the sky and the clouds with a surging beauty. The mountains stand dark against the horizon, and palm trees silhouette themselves dramatically against the fiery west.

As we stood on the tower looking down over this powerful scene, the day began folding itself up. Fighter planes, which patrol the field all day, were coming in. All the soldiers in the tent camps had finished supper. That noiseless peace that sometimes comes just before dusk hung over the airdrome. Men talked in low tones about the dead pilot and the lost Fortress. We thought we would wait a few minutes more to see if the Germans were coming over.

And then an electric thing happened. Far off in the dusk, a red flare shot into the sky. It made an arc against the dark background of the mountains and fell to the earth. It couldn’t be anything else. It had to be. The ten dead men were coming home!

An officer yelled:

Where’s the flare gun? Gimme a green flare!

He ran to the edge of the tower, shouted, “Look out below!” and fired a green rocket into the air. Then we saw the plane – just a tiny black speck. It seemed almost on the ground, it was so low, and in the first glance we could sense that it was barely moving, barely staying in the air. Crippled and alone, two hours behind all the rest, it was dragging itself home.

I am a layman, and no longer of the fraternity that flies, but I can feel. And at that moment I felt something close to human love for that faithful, battered machine, that far dark speck struggling toward us with such pathetic slowness.

All of us stood tense, hardly remembering anyone else was there. With our nervous systems, we seemed to pull the plane toward us. I suspect a photograph would have shown us all leaning slightly to the left. Not one of us thought the plane would ever make the field, but on it came – so slowly that it was cruel to watch.

It reached the far end of the airdrome, still holding its pathetic little altitude. It skimmed over the tops of parked planes, and kept on, actually reaching out – it seemed to us – for the runway. A few hundred yards more now. Could it? Would it? Was it truly possible?

They cleared the last plane, and they were over the runway. They settled slowly. The wheels touched softly. And as the plane rolled on down die runway, the thousands of men around that vast field suddenly realized that they were weak and that they could hear their hearts pounding.

The last of the sunset died, and the sky turned into blackness, which would help the Germans if they came on schedule with their bombs. But nobody cared. Our 10 dead men were miraculously back from the grave.

U.S. State Department (January 23, 1943)

Informal American-British conversations, 3:50-5:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Mr. Macmillan
Mr. Murphy

Wilbur-de Gaulle conversation, 4 p.m.

United States France
Brigadier General Wilbur General de Gaulle

Wilbur Notes

Casablanca, 23 January 1943.


I called on General de Gaulle at his villa this afternoon at four o’clock. As we were both in the same class at the École Supérieure de Guerre, we started on a friendly basis. He seemed inclined to unburden himself to me, and told me the entire situation.

He told me that before our arrival in Morocco, his forces were the only French Forces that had been fighting for the liberty of France; that they were the only elements that represented the true France; that without question the whole of the France that is willing to fight for its rights rested with people who were for him. He said that there had grown up the mystery of the Marshal and the mystery of La France Combattante, that these had become almost two religions. He said that the real Marshal Pétain had died in 1925, and that the present Marshal was weak, was vain, and had the spirit and attitude of a grandfather.

He said that when Darlan came into power he represented the collaborationists. De Gaulle and his people could have no traffic with him. Darlan in his opinion had remained too long.

General Giraud did not in his present position, and could not in his present position represent the government of France because he held a position by virtue of the vote of Noguès, Boisson, and Chatel, all of whom were representatives of the Vichy Government.

He said that he had offered General Giraud the command of the troops, but that General Giraud in his present position could not represent the true France. His thesis was that General Giraud should join the France Combattante, rather than that the Gaullists should join the present government.

He said that it was perfectly possible that the United States might make the decision that he should be deprived of supplies and equipment and that under such circumstances England and the others would have to agree to the United States’ decision and that he, de Gaulle, would have to fold up.

He said that even if General Giraud succeeded in reaching France at the present time, he would find that the people would rise against him and that communism would result. I told him that as a friend of France I deplored the present situation, that it was of great importance that the French compose their differences now before the invasion of the continent took place; that they must compose their differences before the peacetable was reached or that the French would find themselves in a very weak and poor position. I told him that I personally, and many Americans, were extremely sorry for the French that we felt that the French people must be under-going a very severe winter, that it was only by unity that we would reach them at the earliest possible date.

I stated that it seemed to me that General de Gaulle, who I knew had the real interest of France at heart, must be willing to withdraw from any position if no other way could be found to accomplish the union of those who wished to fight to liberate France. We discussed the situation of his adherents in Morocco. He is very anxious to have those individuals who wish to serve with his forces be permitted to join them. He asked for my address so that he could communicate with me further. I told him that many Gaullists had come to me with their stories. He asked me if any others came to see me, if I would tell them that I had seen him, that he had seen General Giraud, that they had not been able to compose their differences, but that he was sending a liaison officer to join Giraud.

I emphasized the necessity for calm and order in Morocco – and suggested that his adherents not only should not cause trouble but should also do everything they could to help the American effort. He agreed to do that.

Brig. Gen.

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff with Roosevelt and Churchill, 5:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Admiral of the Fleet Pound
General Marshall Field Marshal Dill
Admiral King General Brooke
Lieutenant General Arnold Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General Somervell Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Commander Libby Lieutenant General Ismay
Brigadier General Deane
Brigadier Jacob

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

January 23, 1943, 5:30 p.m.


The President suggested discussing the report submitted to him and the Prime Minister in C.C.S. 170/1, paragraph by paragraph.

Both the President and the Prime Minister, before starting the discussion, said that they wished to congratulate the Chiefs of Staff on the character of the work which had been done during the conferences. The Prime Minister said it was the first instance he knew of when military leaders had remained together so long, free from political considerations, and had devoted their full thought to the strategic aspects of the war.

The President agreed to this and recalled an incident in the last war when Marshal Foch, Field Marshal Haig and General Pershing had had a similar conference which lasted but 5 hours.

  1. Security of Sea Communications

In discussing the security of sea communications, the Prime Minister indicated that he wished German submarines to be referred to as “U-Boats” rather than dignifying them by calling them “submarines.”

  1. Assistance to Russia

A discussion regarding assistance to Russia in relation to other commitments then followed.

The President said that in March we will be faced with the necessity of arranging to extend the Russian Protocol. He thought the last sentence in paragraph 2 of C.C.S. 170/1 which provides that “supply to Russia will not be continued at prohibitive cost to the United Nations’ efforts” should stand and asked Mr. Hopkins for his view on the subject.

Mr. Hopkins said that the present Protocol has such a clause but that, of course, it cannot be exercised without raising violent objections from Premier Stalin.

The Prime Minister said that aid to Russia must be pushed, and no investment could pay a better military dividend. The United Nations cannot let Russia down. He said that the Chiefs of Staff had been considering whether or not 16 destroyers could be made available from the United States in order to reduce the length of the convoy turnaround from 40 to 27 days.

Admiral King said that the destroyers simply were not available. The escort vessel situation is so tight as to make it necessary to eliminate the Russian convoys starting about June 14th in order to take care of the needs of Operation Husky. He pointed out that there is already a shortage of 65 escorts to protect the convoys in the Atlantic service and that the Husky operation will make this shortage more acute.

Mr. Hopkins suggested the possibility of stopping the convoys entirely if we could give Russia something that she had not previously expected and suggested that this be airplanes.

The President asked what new escort construction would be available by June of 1943.

Admiral King replied that there would be 100 escort vessels completed but that, if the present loss rates continued, this number would represent only a small net gain.

Sir Dudley Pound said there is no substitute for destroyers in protecting convoys. At the present time we are utilizing 16 destroyers and 8 ships of other types with the convoys running on a 40-day cycle. If this were to be reduced to 27 days, it would be necessary to double this force in order to have two convoys in operation.

Mr. Hopkins asked whether the destroyers and escort vessels that are now with these convoys could not be released for use elsewhere if the convoys were eliminated entirely.

Sir Dudley Pound said the escort vessels would be released, except for the Home Fleet destroyers which must be kept available to watch for a break-out into the Atlantic of the German fleet.

Mr. Hopkins repeated that some consideration should be given by the Chiefs of Staff regarding the entire elimination of the Russian convoys via the northern route. He said that it might be possible to increase the delivery of munitions to Russia over the Persian route and via Alaska although the Russians object to handling some types of munitions over these routes. At the same time, we could increase the Protocol in certain types of munitions such as aircraft. If this were done, there would be a saving in the use of the 500,000 tons of shipping from the Russian convoys. The considerable losses of shipping connected with the northern convoys would be eliminated, as well as the cargoes which are lost when ships are sunk. He felt that the Chiefs of Staff have been inclined to consider aid to Russia as a political expedient and that actually the question should be viewed from the standpoint of military necessity.

The Prime Minister said it would be a great thing if we could continue the Russian convoys throughout the Husky Operation. He thought it better to continue them on a 40-day cycle rather than attempt the 27-day cycle prior to Husky and then stop the convoys while Husky was being undertaken. He said we have never made any promises that we would take supplies to Russia. We have merely committed ourselves to making munitions available to them at our ports.

General Somervell said that by July 1st we will be able to send 30 ships a month to the Persian Gulf ports, and this would offer good prospects for increasing the supply to Russia.

The President said that supplying Russia is a paying investment. Stopping the convoys in July and August would occur just at the time when the Russians would be engaged in their most severe fighting. He pointed out that it is difficult to say now just what the situation regarding shipping losses will be in July or August, or what the conditions will be along the route of the northern convoys. He said, for example, at the time of the last conference in June 1942, the United States was suffering great shipping losses along her eastern coast. This area has now been almost cleared of submarines, and the greatest losses are now occurring off the coast of South America.

Admiral King said that we are definitely committed to mounting Operation Husky and that everything must be done to insure its success, including the elimination of the Russian convoys if that be necessary.

General Marshall , in referring to Mr. Hopkins’ opinion of the Chiefs of Staff’s attitude towards aid to Russia, said that in the current conferences, it had been decided that the first charge against the United Nations was the defeat of the submarine menace and aid to Russia had to come next. He said that if we had to take the losses which had been suffered in the Murmansk convoys, they would hurt Russia as much as the U.S. and U.K. Such losses make it impossible for us to attack on other fronts and thus eliminate the possibility of forcing the Germans to withdraw ground and air troops from the Russian front. He said these losses last year came just at the time that we were laboring to build up Bolero. It must be made certain that we do not hazard the success of Operation Husky.

The Prime Minister agreed that if passage of convoys on the northern route were prohibitive in cost, they must be stopped. He thought it would be right to have in our minds the possibility of continuing convoys through the Husky period, but to make no promises to Stalin.

Sir Dudley Pound said this must be the case because if we were committed to continuing these convoys, the Royal Navy could not play its part in Operation Husky.

The Prime Minister said that the discussion should rest on the point that the discontinuance of these convoys will depend upon the losses that are suffered. He said we must tell Mr. Stalin the facts, that he must rely on a 40-day schedule. Also that we cannot promise the continuance of the convoys while Operation Husky is being undertaken. He said it should also be made clear to Mr. Stalin that the U.S. and U.K. are under no obligation to continue the convoys.

The President said that the draft message to Mr. Stalin would require some revision. It must be remembered that the Russian General Staff are making plans on the assumption that the munitions called for in the Protocol will be available. In justice to them, they should know just what is intended. He asked how a 2.4% per month loss rate would relate to the 700,000 tons loss of shipping per year.

Admiral King said he thought the loss rate of 2.4% would reduce the losses in shipping to less than 700,000 tons. He recalled the Prime Minister’s having said before the House of Commons that if our losses could be reduced below 500,000 tons per year, the shipping situation would be satisfactory.

The President said that the shipping situation is bound to improve during the coming year as a result of nearly doubling the construction program and by reason of the more effective antisubmarine measures which are to be taken.

Admiral King agreed with this and said that the great losses on the eastern coast of the United States were possible in large measure because of a lack of effective means to combat the submarines. He said that great improvement has been made in this respect.

The Prime Minister suggested that it should be decided that if the shipping situation is better than we expect, we shall continue the 40-day convoy throughout Operation Husky, but that we should not commit ourselves either way. He said that, while it might be possible to continue the convoys, they must be stopped if the losses are too great.

Admiral King suggested that before deciding on discontinuing the convoys, the situation should be reviewed as of the first of May.

  1. Operations in the Mediterranean

The discussion then turned to Operation Husky.

The Prime Minister said he wished to set the target date as the period of the favorable June moon rather than that of July.

General Marshall said that the matter of training must be considered as well as other features in connection with the preparations for Operation Husky. He said that all training and preparations must be scheduled, and that if an impossible or improbable target date was set and then later changed to one that was practicable, all of the schedules would be out of adjustment. This might result in compromising ourselves with regard to every aspect of the operation. The subject of the target date had been quite exhaustively studied, and it is going to be difficult to mount Operation Husky with properly trained forces even in July.

The President asked if the fixing of the target date in July was made on the assumption that the Axis forces would be driven from Tunisia by the end of April. He asked what the effect would be if they were to be eliminated from Africa by the end of March.

General Marshall replied that success in Tunisia at the end of March would improve the situation somewhat but was not the limiting factor. The limiting factor was on the naval side with respect to organizing crews and assembling landing craft. After this has been accomplished, the naval crews and landing craft must be made available for the training of the troops. He said that the situation in Tunisia might result in delaying Operation Husky but that an earlier success there would not help in moving the target date forward.

Admiral King said it was a question as to whether the assault on Sicily should be made by partially or fully trained forces.

The President suggested that the operation might be easier than Operation Torch in view of the better weather found in the Mediterranean.

Lord Mountbatten said that the difficulty of the Husky Operation was not in the weather but the excellence that might be expected in the enemy’s defenses.

General Marshall pointed out some of the errors that had been made in the Torch operation through lack of adequate training. Some of the landing boats went to the wrong place. One Ranger unit had the mission of taking a shore battery and clearing a certain area. It actually landed 18 miles away from its objective.

The President said he thought this might have been the result of poor navigation rather than a lack of adequate training.

General Marshall replied that while we do have divisions with amphibious training, we do not have the landing craft or crews. The craft must be built and the crews must be trained.

The Prime Minister agreed that General Marshall’s point that the target date for Husky did not depend on the Tunisian operations but rather on the necessity of training was a good one.

He said, however, that the British are to send their overseas assault force which has a capacity of 7 brigade groups to participate in Operation Husky. He had been told that this could not leave England until March 14th and then must undergo some training in the eastern Mediterranean. He said he felt sure that the force could be sent earlier. In this connection, Lord Louis Mountbatten said that he had been informed that it could be sent by the end of February.

The Prime Minister said that this would be done. He then discussed the question of navigation. When operations of the importance of Husky are to be undertaken, no effort should be spared to obtain capable navigators. He suggested the possibility of combing the navy, particularly the “R” class battleships, with the purpose of setting up a special group of navigators.

Sir Dudley Pound said that skilled navigators could not be taken from the navy without serious effects and, in any event, they would have to be supplemented by inexperienced men and the training period could not therefore be shortened.

The Prime Minister said that he feared the gap of perhaps four months during the summer when no U.S. or British troops would be in contact with the Germans.

The President agreed and said that this gap might have a serious effect all over the world.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the Combined Chiefs of Staff had examined the timing of the operation most carefully. September was the first date that had been put forward and this they had rejected. Further study had brought the date back to the end of August. The Combined Chiefs of Staff had then put on the same kind of pressure that the President and the Prime Minister were now applying, with the result that July had been tentatively fixed, though August remained a more likely date. He was in agreement with General Marshall that to try and fix too early a date would prejudice the preparations. It was impossible to shorten the loading period, and thus the only process off which time might be lopped was training. If this were curtailed, the result might be disastrous.

The Prime Minister thought that by intense efforts the loading might be accelerated. Similarly if landing craft now employed in maintaining the 8th Army could be recovered forthwith, training might start earlier. All these points must be rigorously examined before the July date could be accepted.

General Marshall pointed out that if the date were to be made earlier, it would have to be by a complete four weeks unless the added risks of moonlight were acceptable.

The President said that the present proposals were based on a large number of factors which might well prove correct, but which were estimates. Another estimate which must be taken into account was the state of morale in Italy, which recent reports showed to be deteriorating. If this process continued, the Germans might be faced with an Italy in revolt, and it would then be essential for us to have our preparations far enough advanced to be able to act, not necessarily in Sicily but perhaps in Sardinia, or even in Italy. For this reason, he would like to set the date of the operation in June, it being understood that it might have to be carried out in July if the enemy’s strength remained as at present.

General Marshall pointed out that to bring back the date at the expense of adequate preparation would not make it any easier to stage an improvised operation during the intervening months. The troops would have been moved into place quite early in the preparatory period, so that they would be standing ready if required.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed and pointed out that we should probably get some advance indication of an Italian collapse which would enable us to speed up the launching of a smaller force. It would be quite wrong to risk a costly failure by unduly curtailing the period of preparation.

The Prime Minister said that General Marshall was pleading for the integrity of the operation, and the arguments which he had employed were most convincing. Nevertheless, he was not himself yet convinced that the integrity of the operation could not be maintained with a June date. Some quicker methods might be found of moving troops into place.

General Marshall said that this also had been examined. He pointed out that the period after the fall of Tunis would not be one of inactivity, as a growing air bombardment of Italy would be launched. We ought to place ourselves in a position to do the hard operation against Sicily while being ready to improvise if the enemy weakened. The initial landing in Sicily was on a larger scale than had been envisaged for Operation Roundup.

The President inquired whether any easement could be secured if the Spanish situation cleared still further during the Spring.

General Marshall said that in any case the troops standing ready to move into Spanish Morocco would be simultaneously training for Sicily.

Admiral King said that one of the innumerable items which had to be considered in this operation was the provision of armored landing craft, which he and Lord Louis Mountbatten agreed were essential. None of these was at present available for the U.S. forces. He agreed that the ideal method of launching the operation would be to follow in on the heels of the Germans fleeing from Tunis. He was convinced, however, that the closest we could come to this ideal was July. He would have liked June, but felt it impossible to promise such a date.

The President said that the important point was to retain a flexible mind in the matter so that advantage could be taken of every opportunity.

General Marshall said that he had felt embarrassed over the date of this operation remembering as he did the incentive which had existed for hastening Torch in view of the U.S. elections. In spite of that, it had not proved possible to advance the date.

The Prime Minister said there had been much admiration in England of the fact that the election had not been allowed to influence in the slightest the course of military events.

After some further discussion, it was agreed that:

a) Operations for the Capture of Sicily:

The July date should stand subject to an instruction that in the next three weeks, without prejudice to the July date, there should be an intense effort made to try and achieve the favorable June moon as the date of the operation. If at the end of this three weeks, the June date could be fixed, General Eisenhower’s instructions could be modified to conform.

b) Cover Plans:

The Prime Minister suggested that Norway should again play a part in the cover plans.

Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that it might be awkward for the Russian convoys if we gave the Germans cause for reinforcing Norway. He thought that much the best cover would be given by the active preparations going on all over the North African shore. These would not only disguise the objective, but would cause dispersion of enemy forces.

The President thought that the creation of General Giraud’s French army might also play a part in making the enemy think that the southern coast of France was our objective.

c) Command of the Mediterranean Theater:

The Prime Minister said that he thought the United States had been very generous and broad-minded in the command arrangements. He thought that the most natural method of procedure would be at the appropriate moment to announce that the 8th Army, on entering Tunisia, had passed under the command of General Eisenhower, and that General Alexander had been appointed as his deputy.

d) The Bomber Offensive from North Africa:

The Prime Minister thought that it would be advisable to maintain the threat of bombardment against Rome, but that it should not actually be carried out without further consultation.

The President agreed.

  1. Operations in and From the United Kingdom

b) Bolero:

The Prime Minister thought that it was very disappointing that there would only be 4 U.S. divisions equipped in the U.K. by August 15th. He inquired whether by using the Queens, the number for September could not be achieved in August.

General Somervell said that the limiting factor in the first half of the year was cargo ships, and in the second half of the year it was personnel ships. To move more men over in the first half would only result in their arriving in England with no equipment, and thus their training would be interrupted. The Queens were all fully employed in various parts of the world.

General Marshall pointed out that the figures in the table were a minimum, and the 4 divisions shown for August 15th would probably be 19 rather than 15. Allowance had to be made in the early build-up for the Air Corps personnel.

The Prime Minister inquired whether the initial equipment of 8 tons per man, and the maintenance of 1.3 tons per man per month, could not be reduced; similarly, could not savings be made on reserves and on vehicles. For the type of operations which would be undertaken in France in 1943, a big advance was not likely. Fighting men for the beaches were the prime essential.

General Somervell said that the calculation of the rate of buildup had been made on the basis of one ton per man per month. The other factors mentioned by the Prime Minister had also been taken into account, and everything would be done to reduce any unnecessary volume to be transported. He pointed out that there was a 45-day interval between the arrival of a division and its availability for operations; thus, the divisions which were shown as being available on August 15th would have sailed by July 1st. If the British could lend additional cargo shipping in the early part of the year, the flow of troops could be increased.

The Prime Minister said that it was in the early part of the year that the British shipping shortage would be most acute. He suggested that it should be recorded that the figures shown in the report were a minimum and that every effort would be made to increase them.

c) Amphibious Operations in 1943 from the U.K.

The Prime Minister suggested that the word “vigorously” should be inserted before the word “exploiting” in subparagraph (2) of this section of the report. This was agreed to.

The President inquired whether an operation against the Brest Peninsula could not be staged instead of against Cherbourg. The advantages of the former were very much greater. He also inquired about the date proposed for the operations.

Lord Louis Mountbatten said that the date for the Channel Island operations had been chosen so as to fit in with Operation Husky. A difficulty had arisen in that the armored craft required by the Americans for Husky would have to come from the British Channel Assault Force. A telegram had been sent to the Admiralty asking that the output of these craft should be doubled so as to produce 160 more in the next four months. This might be done provided 400 additional Scripps Ford conversion engines were allocated to the U.K. from the U.S.A. He understood this point was under investigation.

The President inquired whether some Ford tank engines could not be produced and taken by air transport from the U.S.A. to the U.K. He understood that the engine was much the same.

General Somervell said that there was a difference in the engines, though the same facilities were required to produce both. He could not at present state the production possibilities.

The Prime Minister suggested that some reduction of tank engine output could be accepted if necessary.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed.

Lord Louis Mountbatten said that the landing craft resources would only permit of an initial assault by 2 brigade groups with an immediate follow-up of one brigade group and some armor. This could only be increased with U.S. help.

Admiral King said that all available U.S. resources would be devoted to Operation Husky.

On the question of command the President inquired whether sufficient drive would be applied if only a Chief of Staff were appointed. He hoped there would not be a long delay before a Supreme Commander was selected.

General Marshall said he understood it was a question of the availability of the right man.

Sir Alan Brooke thought that the Chief of Staff, if a man with the right qualities were chosen, could do what was necessary in the early stages.

The Prime Minister suggested that in any case an American Deputy to the Supreme Commander should be appointed.

Sir Alan Brooke and General Marshall agreed.

The President suggested that the last sentence of this section should be omitted. This was agreed to.

  1. Pacific and Far East Theater

The President said that he was disturbed to find that this section contained no reference to operations in or from China. Operations in Burma, though desirable, would not have the direct effect upon the Chinese which was necessary to sustain and increase their war effort. Similarly, an island-to-island advance across the Pacific would take too long to reduce the Japanese power. Some other method of striking at Japan must be found. The opportunity was presented by Japan’s shipping situation. She began the war with 6,000,000 tons. In the first year of the war 1,000,000 tons net had been sunk, leaving her with 5,000,000. When this was reduced to 4,000,000, Japan would be hard pressed to maintain her garrison in the chain of islands stretching all the way from Burma to New Guinea and would have to start pulling in her lines. The most effective weapon against shipping was the submarine, and the U.S. submarines were achieving notable results. There was another method of striking at the Japanese shipping, and that was by attacking the routes running close to the Asiatic shore from Korea down to Siam. This could be done by aircraft operating from China. He thought that 200 aircraft should be operating in China by April. They could spend most of their time in attacks on shipping, but occasionally they could make a special raid on Japan. There seemed to be two methods of achieving this object: either the planes could be based and maintained in China or else they could be based in India, moving to China each time for a mission, returning to their bases in India on completion. An indication of the shortage of Japanese shipping was the fact that they were buying up junks to replace coastal steamers, so that they could employ these on their maintenance routes.

General Arnold said that he was fully aware of the need for reinforcing the U.S. Air Force in China. One group of aircraft was just preparing to leave the U.S.A.; and he would examine, when he got to India, the best method of operating the aircraft. He hoped that effective operations would start before April. It should be remembered, however, that there were large demands for transport aircraft in other theaters, and these could not be neglected. Nevertheless, he hoped to have 135-150 transport planes operating on the India-China route by the end of the Fall.

General Marshall said that the provision of transport planes for India competed with urgent requirements for Husky, and for cross-channel operations. Nevertheless, he felt it was vital to step up the effort in China, and this would be done.

The Prime Minister expressed his agreement with the President’s proposals. He suggested that the document should now be reconsidered by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, and amendments arising out of the present discussion should be incorporated in a final edition. The document would then fittingly embody the results of a remarkable period of sustained work.

The President agreed with this proposal, and expressed his congratulations to the Combined Chiefs of Staff on the results which they had achieved.