Crack crews of American railroaders haul supplies through Iran to Russia
Yanks overcome heat, bandits and mountains
By Lt. Col. Karl W. Detzer
Yanks overcome heat, bandits and mountains
By Lt. Col. Karl W. Detzer
By Ernie Pyle
Somewhere in Sicily, Italy – (by wireless)
It is an axiom that the closer you get to the front, the less you know about what is going on. During the invasion of Sicily, we would often say that we wished we were back in New York so we could find out how we were doing.
During the first two days, we had no word at all in our sector about the two American sectors to our right. Even though we were within sight and sound of their gunfire we knew nothing about how they were faring. You in America knew, but we didn’t.
Aboard ship, we were better off than the troops on land, for we did get some news by radio. Many of the troops inland didn’t know about the bombing of Rome till nearly a week later.
On our ship, what news we did get came mostly from BBC in London, the German radio in Berlin, and our little daily newspaper assembled from worldwide shortwave broadcasts picked up during the night.
Our skipper, Cdr. Rufus Young, feels that a lack of news is bad for morale, so he did all he could to give the ship’s crew the news. He asked me to edit the daily mimeographed paper, and took one radio operator off his regular watch and just gave him his own time to sit and sample various air channels for news.
Missed only one day
This operator was Frank Donohue, radioman second class, of 139-49 87th Ave., Jamaica, Long Island. He started in as a child with the Commercial Cable Company and has been a radio operator for 18 years, though he is still a young man. He was working for Press Wireless when he joined the Navy a year ago.
He has had so much experience taking down news dispatches that he has a good news sense. He took as much pride in our little paper as I did, and it got so he would sort out the stories by subjects before waking me at 3 a.m. Then while I assembled and rewrote the stuff, he would bring us cups of coffee and cut the stencils for the mimeograph.
It was always daylight when we finished, and I would stop on the bridge to talk for a little while with the men of the early-morning watch. Off Sicily, as everywhere else in the world, dawn is the most perfect part of the day – if you’ve got the nerve to get up and see it.
We did our work in a big steel-walled room where about 30 other radio operators were taking down code messages by typewriter, so it did seem sort of like a newspaper office. Throughout the invasion period we missed getting out our paper only one day. That was on the morning of our landings. Getting up at 3 a.m. every day and not getting any sleep in the daytime almost got me down before it was over, but there was considerable satisfaction in feeling that you were not entirely useless aboard ship.
Here’s that girl again
Such a privilege would doubtless seem fantastic to a German soldier, but we listened every night throughout our invasion to the Berlin broadcasts and to the special propaganda program directed at American troops.
The master of ceremonies on this program is a girl who purports to be an American and who tries to tell the boys that their sweethearts will marry somebody else while they are over here fighting a phony war for the “Jewish” Roosevelt, and that there will be no jobs for them when they get home. The boys listen to her partly to get mad, partly to get a laugh, and partly because the program always has excellent music.
The girl calls herself Midge. The soldiers in North Africa called her Axis Sally, and the boys aboard our ship nicknamed her Olga.
The biggest laugh the boys had had since joining the Navy was the night the traitorous Olga was complaining about something horrible President Roosevelt had done. She said it made her almost ashamed to be an American!
Olga has a come-hither voice, and she speaks straight American. Every night you’d hear the boys conjecturing about what she looked like. Some thought she was probably an old hag with a fat face and peroxide hair, but the majority liked to visualize her as looking as gorgeous as she sounded.
The most frequently expressed opinion heard aboard ship was that if they ever got to Berlin, they’d like first to sock Olga on the chin – and then make love to her.
By Morley Cassidy, North American Newspaper Alliance
Permanent K-K-K-Katy singers regarded by doctor as definitely unstable types
U.S. 7th Army HQ, Sicily, Italy (UP) – (Aug. 4, delayed)
Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. told the people of Sicily today, through the Palermo newspaper Sicilian Librarta, that the American aim is not to enslave but to liberate.
Gen. Patton promised that Allied arms would ruthlessly destroy military opposition and warned that any “misguided” Sicilians who interfere with telephone communications, with supply lines or with any other American military activity would be dealt with summarily.
He expressed regret that it had been necessary to fight the Italian armies in Sicily. He told any Sicilians who feared the advent of the Americans to look at Africa:
…where we not only have demonstrated no territorial aims, but have done everything to restore normal conditions.
Völkischer Beobachter (August 8, 1943)
dnb. Aus dem Führer-Hauptquartier, 7. August –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:
Am Mius und mittleren Donez scheiterten örtliche Angriffe der Sowjets. Am oberen Donez und südwestlich Bjelgorod wurden mit starken Infanterie- und Panzerverbänden geführte. Angriffe des Feindes in harten, wechselvollen Kämpfen abgeschlagen.
Schlachtfliegerverbände der Luftwaffe griffen im Tiefflug motorisierte feindliche Truppen an, Kampf- und Sturzkampfgeschwader vernichteten über 100 mit Mannschaften beladene Fahrzeuge.
Im Abschnitt von Orel vereitelten unsere Truppen in harten Kämpfen, wirkungsvoll durch die Luftwaffe unterstützt, weitere Durchbruchsversuche der Sowjets.
Auch südwestlich Wjasma und südlich des Ladogasees zerbrachen alle Angriffe des Feindes an der Abwehrkraft der deutschen Truppen.
Die Sowjets verloren gestern an der Ostfront 117 Panzer.
Auf Sizilien griff der Gegner an zwei Stellen der Front erfolglos an. Er erlitt wiederum empfindliche Verluste. Kampfverbände der Luftwaffe griffen mit guter Wirkung Schiffsziele im Seegebiet von Sizilien an. Ein schwerer Kreuzer und zwei größere Handelsschiffe wurden schwer getroffen.
Britische Flugzeuge warfen in der vergangenen Nacht über Westdeutschland Bomben ohne Schaden.
dnb. Genf, 7. August –
Der hartnäckige und verbissene Widerstand der deutschen Truppen auf Sizilien wird von dem Mitarbeiter der New York Times, Herbert L. Matthews, hervorgehoben. Er schreibt: Ein kurzer Besuch an der Front genügt, um die Illusion zu zerstören, daß Sizilien „eine leichte Beute“ für die Amerikaner sei. Es ist ein schwerer Kampf und jetzt vielleicht der schwerste Teil von allem. Die Deutschen kämpfen so hartnäckig, wie sie nur können, und die in Tunesien erprobten Kämpfer wünschen, sie wären wieder dort.
dnb. Stockholm, 7. August –
Nach einer amerikanischen Agenturmeldung aus dem anglo-amerikanischen Hauptquartier in Nordafrika in Ny Tid haben die Deutschen in den letzten 24 Stunden ihren Widerstand auf Sizilien noch verstärkt und verteidigen sich jetzt mit einer Erbitterung, die ohnegleichen ist. Gleichzeitig habe die deutsche Luftabwehr den britisch-amerikanischen Fliegerangriffen den bisher stärksten Widerstand entgegengesetzt.
dnb. Rom, 7. August –
Der italienische Wehrmachtbericht vom Samstag lautet:
In Sizilien geht der Kampf im Mittelabschnitt der Front heftig weiter. Neue starke Angriffe des Feindes, bei denen bedeutende Artillerie- und Panzerstreitkräfte zum Einsatz kamen, wurden von den Truppen der Achse aufgehalten.
Deutsche Flugzeuge gingen gegen die feindliche Schiffahrt in den Gewässern nördlich und östlich der Insel vor, wobei sie ein Schiff mittlerer Größe in Brand warfen und einen schweren Kreuzer sowie ein Handelsschiff von 10.000 BRT. schwer beschädigten.
Feindliche Einflüge auf Neapel, Messina und auf Orte in den Provinzen Salerno und Cosenza verursachten keine schweren Schäden. Ein feindlicher Bomber wurde über Neapel von der Flak und ein anderer über Bagnara (Reggio Calabria) abgeschossen.
dnb. Berlin, 7. August –
Wie im Wehrmachtbericht vom Samstag gemeldet, griffen Kampfverbände der Luftwaffe am 6. August Schiffsziele im Seegebiet von Sizilien mit guter Wirkung an. Im Seegebiet von Catania trafen sie trotz starker Jagd- und Flakabwehr einen Transporter von etwa 8.000 bis 10.000 BRT., dessen Bug durch Bombenvolltreffer völlig abgerissen wurde. Seine Versenkung ist wahrscheinlich. Gleichzeitig erzielten unsere Flugzeuge im Seegebiet nordwestlich San Fratello vor der sizilianischen Nordküste mehrere Bombentreffer auf einen schweren Kreuzer. Weitere Bomben schlugen dicht neben der Bordwand des Kriegsschiffes ein. Bei San Agata trafen die Bomben eines unserer Kampfflugzeuge einen Handelsdampfer von etwa 8.000 BRT.
Von unserer Stockholmer Schriftleitung
Stockholm, 7. August –
Als kürzlich der Generalsekretär des englischen Gewerkschaftsverbandes, Sir Walter Citrine, nach einem längeren Besuch in der Sowjetunion nach London zurückkehrte, verstimmte er die englische Öffentlichkeit mit der Feststellung, daß man in Moskau keineswegs zufrieden mit der englisch-amerikanischen Hilfe sei und daß die Operationen auf Sizilien von den Sowjets nicht als die ersehnte zweite Front angesehen würden.
Zur gleichen Zeit, da die englische Öffentlichkeit immer mehr den Blick für die tatsächlichen Gegebenheiten des Krieges zu verlieren beginnt, kommt Moskau erneut auf die Schaffung einer zweiten Front zu sprechen. Die Prawda hat mit einem Artikel, dessen amtlicher Charakter nicht bezweifelt werden kann, den Anfang gemacht. Dieser großaufgemachte Aufsatz kritisiert den „ausgebliebenen Angriff gegen Deutschland“ in der schärfsten Tonart und verbirgt, wie Dagens Nyheter aus Moskau berichtet, keineswegs „Unzufriedenheit und Gereiztheit über die Trägheit der Westmächte.“ Noch immer hätten die Engländer und die Amerikaner ihr Versprechen, eine neue Front zu schaffen und damit den schweren deutschen Druck von den Bolschewisten zu nehmen, nicht eingelöst. Die Prawda meint, dafür seien keine militärischen Bedenken maßgebend, sondern es kämen politische Gründe in Betracht.
Nur ein Auftakt
Es ist anzunehmen, daß diese Sowjetrussische Stellungnahme einigermaßen ernüchternd in London und Washington wirken wird, zumal es ganz den Anschein hat, als ob die Prawda den Chor der unzufriedenen und mahnenden Moskauer Stimmen nur eröffnet habe und als ob weitere Sowjetproteste zu erwarten seien.
Als erste Reaktion auf diese sowjetrussische Kritik kann, wie Aftontidningen aus Neuyork berichtet, „eine gewisse Unruhe unter den Achsengegnern“ festgestellt werden.
The Pittsburgh Press (August 8, 1943)
U.S. forces also seize Ustica Island north of Palermo
By Reynolds Packard, United Press staff writer
March to victory in Sicily
The pattern of attack that gave the Allies almost complete victory in Sicily in slightly over four weeks is shown in the maps above. The top maps show the progress of the Allied occupation after two days of fighting and at intervals thereafter. The attack arrows on the bottom map show the march of the Allied armies from their original beachheads on the southeast coast to the final battles in the northwest corner.
Allied HQ, North Africa – (Aug. 7)
Weary doughboys of the crack U.S. 1st Division have captured the Sicilian mountain stronghold of Troina after the bitterest fighting of the entire campaign and tonight Axis armies were reported falling back from their crumbling Mt. Etna Line toward new positions only 40 miles below Messina.
Troina, important road junction atop a 3,600-foot peak on the central sector, fell Friday morning after a bloody, seven-day battle which, according to United Press correspondent C. R. Cunningham at the front, made the fight for Hill 609 in Tunisia seem like “mere child’s play.”
The Yanks time and again neared the final objective only to be hurled back by fierce counterattacks from a German “suicide force” dug into rugged mountain positions.
Despite the fact many had been fighting steadily for 28 days, the Americans of Maj. Gen. Terry Allen’s famed division kept blasting away and finally took the town which commands roads leading 20 miles northeast to Randazzo, anchor of the new Axis line, and 16 miles southeast of Adrano, on which Canadian and British troops are closing.
The British radio reported that Italian troops at Biancavilla, three miles southeast of Adrano, surrendered to the British 8th Army after heavy air attacks.
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s headquarters announced that the Italian forces appeared to have withdrawn completely from the Sicilian fighting and that a total of 125,000 prisoners have now been taken in the campaign which entered its fifth week today.
Axis line reduced
The announcement said the enemy line strung across northeastern Sicily was now reduced to a mere 45 miles compared to the 170-mile line on July 20. That now cramps the Axis into an area of roughly 1,200 square miles which is being kept under ceaseless bombardment from the air and sea.
Far to the west of the fighting lines, U.S. naval and military forces were revealed in a naval communiqué to have occupied the tiny island of Ustica about 40 miles north of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea on Thursday. The garrison of about 100 Italian soldiers and sailors was made prisoner and the Americans found 216 Italian civil prisoners and a guard on the island. All Germans evacuated it on July 11. The civilian population of about 1,100 was destitute and without water and many had malaria.
Ustica is a volcanic island several miles square which Benito Mussolini had used as a place of banishment for political opponents.
As the Allied armies pressed forward toward a final victory in Sicily, warplanes hammered again and again at the enemy’s rear areas, delivering 350 tons of bombs Friday on Messina and battering Naples Thursday night for the fifth time in six days. Warships joined the long-range assault, bombarding the east coast road near Taormina, 34 miles below Messina, to prevent the Axis from escaping along it.
The daily ground communiqué, issued late in the day, reported the 8th Army was continuing to advance on all sections of its front and that the U.S. 7th Army was meeting stiffening resistance in the northern coastal sectors.
The announcement of the Italian withdrawal said that not a single Italian unit was observed anywhere on the Sicilian front Friday.
There were some indications, however, that the Germans were depending on their own troops for rearguard actions, fearful that the Italians, if left to themselves on the front, would go over to the Allied side. The Germans were reported to have three and a half divisions left for the final defense of Messina – the remains of the Hermann Göring, 15th Panzer and 29th Motorized Divisions and about half a division of parachute troops.
The Germans have lost virtually all roadways which once linked their three sectors and are now unable to shift forces as needed to meet increased Allied pressure at any given point.
All three Allied thrusts were within 60 miles of Messina following the fall of Troina as follows:
The Americans smashing along the northern coast west of Sant’Agata di Militello on the Corniche Road to Messina.
British 8th Army units moving up the east coast along the Catania-Messina coastal road.
The center thrust toward Randazzo Pass toward which the bulk of the enemy is retreating. This thrust is being made by a cosmopolitan army – Americans, French Moroccan Goumiers, Canadians and British.
Thrown back to pass
The capture of Troina, it was said, throws the enemy back to Randazzo Pass between Mt. Etna and the Nebrodi Mountain range just to the north and northwest of Mt. Etna. It also meant the Americans were threatening the juncture point of the Hermann Göring Division and the 15th Panzer Division where they come together west of Mt. Etna.
Headquarters said the German line appeared disjointed at a number of places as the result of Allied air and artillery bombardment. Indications that the Germans were beginning to withdraw was seen in their use, as in the latter stages of the Tunisian campaign, of boobytraps, landmines and timebombs. They have also begun dynamiting bridges to slow the Allied advance, destroying nine if them along the north coast road, where Americans are driving ahead from Caronia.
The British 8th Army was reported approaching Adrano, seven miles northwest of Paternò on the road running along the western slopes of Mt. Etna. With the Americans driving eastward from the Troina sector toward Bronte, 12 miles away on the same road, it appeared a big race was on to see whether the Germans could get up the road to Randazzo or would be cut off at Bronte.
A dispatch from United Press correspondent Ned Russell with the 8th Army said the trap might catch the Germans between the Americans and British, as:
…the Germans appear determined to hold Adrano and Biancavilla, two main points on the road, despite the fact both are commanded by the heights of Centuripe.
Pushes on Acireale
On the east coast, another British column was reported in the vicinity of Acireale, only 50 miles south of Messina.
In the air, all types of planes from Flying Fortresses to Warhawk fighters were hurled into all-out bombing and strafing attacks on crowded highways. Eight Allied planes were lost.
Messina, main escape port for Sicily, was kept under almost constant assault by both U.S. and British planes. The road junctions of Badjazzo and Gesso in the northeast were battered by medium bombers and 38 motortrucks were left wrecked in those areas. Adrano was also bombed.
Warhawks and Kittyhawk fighters on Friday hit seven barges and a merchant ship in the Messina area while an air communiqué revealed that in attacks by daylight Thursday 21 barges and four other small Axis vessels were sunk by fighter-bombers.
Führer rumored to have asked Japs to create ‘diversion’ in East
By J. Edward Murray, United Press staff writer
Tip on Nazi-trained linguist comes from Europe
Time is believed ripe for leaders to meet again’ Hitler ‘losing prestige’ at home
By Victor Gordon Lennox
Such reaction may be the object of draft heads, Senator says