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

U.S. State Department (August 16, 1943)

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 2:30 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
General Arnold Field Marshal Dill
Lieutenant General Somervell Vice Admiral Mountbatten
Vice Admiral Willson General Riddell-Webster
Rear Admiral Cooke Admiral Noble
Rear Admiral Badger Lieutenant General Macready
Major General Fairchild Air Marshal Welsh
Brigadier General Kuter Captain Lambe
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Brigadier Porter
Commander Freseman Air Commodore Elliot
Commander Long
Brigadier General Deane Brigadier Redman
Captain Royal Commander Coleridge

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

August 16, 1943, 2:30 p.m.


Strategic Concept for the Defeat of the Axis in Europe (CCS 303-303/l)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff discussed in closed session the strategic concept for the defeat of the Axis in Europe.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Agreed to give further consideration to this subject at their next meeting.

Conclusions of 108th Meeting

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Accepted the conclusions of the 108th Meeting. The detailed record of the meeting was also accepted, subject to minor amendments.

POINTBLANK (CCS 309 and CCS 252/2)

Sir Charles Portal gave certain figures with regard to the progress of the combined bomber offensive. Since the beginning of the war the Royal Air Force had dropped 136,000 tons of bombs on Germany, 73,000 tons of which had been dropped within the last seven months. In the first quarter of 1943 17,000 tons had been dropped by night and in the second quarter as much as 35,000 tons.

The damage caused by the air offensive was difficult to assess in precise terms, but he would like to draw attention to certain points in the report by the Joint Intelligence Committee which had been circulated to the U.S. Chiefs of Staff.

Only one-third of the German industry had been under heavy attack for three months. The effect of these attacks had fallen mainly on the basic industries in the Ruhr. Hence, the effect of the attack on the forces in the field was not immediate and results on these forces would increase as time went on. A further result of the attacks was the forcing on Germany of a defensive air strategy. In addition, they produced a serious drain on Germany’s manpower.

With regard to the submarine war, it was estimated that no less than 30 U-boats less than the planned program had been produced between June 1942 and June 1943. As a result of damage already inflicted an additional loss in U-boat construction would result, amounting to some 12 or 13 boats over the next six months.

Morale had also been seriously affected. Casualties were heavy and great destruction of industrial homes had occurred. It was estimated that some 422,000 workers had been rendered homeless and an additional 1,800,000 had suffered damage to their homes which was irreparable, since the necessary consumer goods to replace those destroyed were not available. The report stated that the bombing had affected the outlook of the population with regard to the regime, the war effort as a whole and willingness to hold out.

Damage to Krupps Works had decreased output from 50 to 75 percent and this was in addition to damage to other similar industries. The U.S. Air Force attack on the synthetic rubber plant had reduced the total rubber supply by 15 percent. Transportation was also dislocated and Germany’s plan for an expansion of locomotive production had been nullified by the destruction of locomotives and their manufacturing and repair facilities.

He had felt it right that he should put forward a memorandum on the air offensive in view of the task of coordination given him by the Combined Chiefs of Staff at Casablanca. Further, the day and night offensives were complementary and a heavy scale of daylight bombing rendered the task of the night bombers easier, since the Germans were being forced to use night fighters against daylight attacks.

The present situation had both good and bad features. On the one hand, German fighter strength was stretched almost to breaking point, and in spite of their precarious situation on the Russian and Mediterranean fronts, they had found it necessary to reinforce their fighter forces on the Western Front from these sources. On the other hand, the expansion of German fighter strength was continuing and had increased 13 percent during this year. It had been hoped that this expansion would by now have been stopped. The 8th Air Force, who were achieving a great task with their existing resources, believed that they could achieve even greater successes if their strength was increased.

He asked the Combined Chiefs of Staff to take action to make a victory in the battle of the air as certain as possible before the autumn. If this was not done, the Germans, by a conservation of their strength and by the development of new methods of defense, might be in an unassailable position by the spring. To achieve our object diversions from the 8th Air Force should be stopped, loans of aircraft from the 8th Air Force to other theaters must be returned, and the bomber command of the 8th Air Force must be built up and reinforced to the maximum possible. Such steps would, he was convinced, be amply justified.

With regard to the employment of the aircraft used for TIDAL WAVE, he considered that whether employed from the Mediterranean or from England, they should be under the command of the 8th Air Force and devoted to attacks on fighter factories. They should, in fact, revert to a part of the POINTBLANK forces and not be left under the control of General Eisenhower, whose air forces were already considerable.

Admiral Leahy said that the United States Chiefs of Staff had examined Sir Charles Portal’s paper, and that they were in full accord with the views expressed and wished to reaffirm that every resource within United States capabilities was being strained to provide the maximum reinforcement of POINTBLANK.

Admiral King referred to a directive to General Eisenhower (FAN 172), in which he was instructed that follow-up attacks on Ploești were to follow attacks on fighter factories. He was not clear as to how far the missions referred to in this telegram had been accomplished. It might now be necessary to modify the instructions with regard to follow-up attacks on Ploești.

Sir Charles Portal said he believed that at TRIDENT only one attack on Ploești had been decided on. A second attack would have serious results on POINTBLANK.

Admiral King pointed out that General Eisenhower’s latest signal (CCS 252/2) requested the use of the B-24s against Italian targets after the completion of their attacks on the fighter factories. General Eisenhower visualized further attacks on Ploești being carried out after the aircraft were established in Italy

General Arnold outlined the losses suffered in the Ploești raid; of the 178 aircraft dispatched, 54, including 51 crews, had been lost. The results had been excellent, with eight out of nine targets hit and five of them almost totally destroyed. The casualties had, at least in part, been caused by the loss of the leader of the formation at the outset. This had necessitated reorganization and an attack which was not completely coordinated. It might be impossible to ask crews to sustain a loss of 33 percent in more than one operation.

With regard to POINTBLANK, General Arnold said that in the month of July 25 attacks had been made, with a loss rate of 7.4 percent per mission, as compared with an average loss rate throughout the period of their operations of 6.7 percent. 3,400 tons of bombs had been dropped in July.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Took note of CCS 309 and of the following comment submitted by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff:

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff are in full accord with the views of the British Chiefs of Staff that the maximum reinforcement of POINTBLANK, particularly over the period of intense combat with the German Fighter Air Force immediately ahead, is a subject of the most critical importance, and wish to reaffirm that every resource within U.S. capabilities is being strained to bring this about.

b. Agreed to defer action on CCS 252/2.

Harriman-Churchill meeting, afternoon

United States United Kingdom
Mr. Harriman Prime Minister Churchill

From Harriman’s notes:

The Prime Minister seemed quite satisfied with his talk with General Marshall which had taken place at dinner the night before. He was quite apologetic for keeping him up so late but said he thought it was fruitful.

He talked about the Italian situation and was quite optimistic that ‘important results’ would occur.

He was elated over the Sicilian news.

He seemed satisfied that the differences between the Chiefs of Staff could be ironed out. He does not fully understand the suspicion that exists on the American side regarding the British determination to cross the Channel. On paper the differences don’t look very great. I believe, however, that this fear will be removed within the next day or two as I am convinced the British now see the opportunity equally favorably as do our Chiefs of Staff, which has not been the case up to now. The above would be based on acceptance of British Mediterranean proposals.

(Admiral Leahy told me that he was much impressed by the logic of General Brooke’s presentation.)

I told the Prime Minister I was quite satisfied from discussions that Leathers and Douglas had had that the troop lift and cargo ships could be found to back up the strategic proposals.

Memorandum by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff

Québec, 16 August 1943.

CCS 303/1

Strategic Concept for the Defeat of the Axis in Europe

The discussion in the Combined Chiefs of Staff Meeting yesterday made more apparent than ever the necessity for decision now as to whether our main effort in the European Theater is to be in the Mediterranean or from the United Kingdom. The United States Chiefs of Staff believe that this is the critical question before the conference and that the effective conduct of the war in Europe makes this decision now a must.

We propose the following:
The Combined Chiefs of Staff reaffirm the decisions of the TRIDENT Conference as to the execution of OVERLORD including the definite allotment of forces thereto and assign to it an overriding priority over other operations in the European Theater.

The United States Chiefs of Staff believe that the acceptance of this decision must be without conditions and without mental reservation. They accept the fact that a grave emergency will always call for appropriate action to meet it. However, long-range decision for the conduct of the war must not be dominated by possible eventualities.

Report by the Combined Intelligence Committee

Québec, 16 August 1943.

Enclosure to CCS 127/3

Scale of Attack on the East and West Coasts of North America

Statement of the problem

  1. The Combined Chiefs of Staff have directed the Combined Intelligence Committee to report on the probable scale of attack that might be expected on the east and west coasts of North America.


  1. The probable scale of attack on the east coast of North America is discussed in Enclosure “A;” that on the west coast in Enclosure “B.” In this paper, consideration is limited to the Atlantic Coast north of the Straits of Florida and to the Pacific Coast north of Mexico.


  1. East coast of North America. Submarine attacks on shipping and minelaying in the coastal zone are continuing possibilities. Sporadic bombardment of shore installations, or landing of commando raiders or saboteurs by submarines are also possible but only on a small scale. Similar attacks by surface raiders are possible, but highly improbable. Air attack, on a very small scale, is possible, but is even more improbable than surface attack.

  2. West coast of North America. Our conclusions are the same as those for the East coast, with two slight shifts of emphasis:

a. The maximum possible scale of submarine attack is less.

b. The possible scale of attack by ship-borne aircraft is greater. Such an attack, however, is very unlikely.

Enclosure “A”

Scale of Attack on the East Coast of North America

  1. Enemy capabilities are virtually limited to attacks by submarine or surface raider. Land-based air attack is impractical. Surface raiders might launch ship-borne aircraft. Both submarines and surface raiders might:
    a. Attack shipping off the coast,
    b. Mine coastal waters,
    c. Bombard shore installations (including attacks by ship-borne aircraft),
    d. Land commandos,
    e. Land trained saboteurs and materials for sabotage,

  2. Attacks by any type of aircraft are extremely improbable. Land-based air attack is physically possible, but because of range limitations would involve the sacrifice of the aircraft used and their crews and could not be carried out on a scale which could exert any material effect on the outcome of the war. An attack by ship-based aircraft would offer less physical difficulty, but would be very limited in its maximum scale. The one German aircraft carrier, GRAF ZEPPELIN, has been laid up and there is no indication that she will be available for service in the near future, if ever. Lacking an aircraft carrier, only catapulted planes or seaplanes could be used. The vessels transporting the planes would be subjected to a serious risk of loss. The possibility that Germany would accept these risks appears to be increasingly remote.

  3. Operations by surface raiders of any type against sea communications within the coastal zone or against shore objectives are extremely unlikely. A merchant ship raider would probably have a better chance than a warship of reaching undetected the shipping lanes in the coastal zone or a shore objective. The chances of reaching the shipping lanes in the coastal zone are better than those of penetrating within effective gun range of a shore objective. It is most unlikely that either type, if at large in the North Atlantic, would attempt operations against objectives within the North American coastal zone in preference to attack of shipping on the ocean routes. Any relaxation of patrol activities would probably be taken advantage of by submarines rather than by surface vessels.

  4. Attacks by submarines. Some 200 German and 40 Italian submarines are believed to be operational. At present, very few are operating immediately off the coast of North America. If, however, a reduction in anti-submarine activity in the coastal zone were perceptible, an increase in submarine activity against shipping in that zone would be likely to occur. Mining, bombardment, and the landing of raiders or saboteurs from submarines are continuing capabilities, but are possible only on a small scale.

Enclosure “B”

Scale of Attack on the West Coast of North America

  1. Enemy capabilities are limited to attacks by submarines and surface raiders, the latter ranging in scale up to hit and run operations by a carrier task force. Land-based air attack is impossible so long as Kiska remains effectively neutralized. Japan lacks both the naval strength and the shipping to conduct large scale naval or shipborne attacks against North America.

Both submarines and surface raiders might:
a. Attack shipping off the coast,
b. Mine coastal waters,
c. Launch aircraft,
d. Bombard shore installations,
e. Land commandos,
f. Land trained saboteurs and materials for sabotage.

  1. Carrier-borne air attack. Japan could form a suitable task force and, considering the vastness of the Pacific, could perhaps bring it undetected within effective range of a profitable target such as Los Angeles-San Diego, the Puget Sound–Vancouver area, or the San Francisco Bay area. The risks, however, would be enormous, and at this juncture Japan cannot afford to risk either carriers or other vessels for indecisive purposes. All such craft available to her are, moreover, required for other uses.

  2. Surface raiders. Japan’s shortage of suitable types of naval vessels makes it extremely unlikely that she would employ them as raiders. The shipping stringency would have the same effect as regards armed merchantmen.

  3. Submarines. About 60 Japanese submarines are believed to be operational. Some of these are capable of carrying up to 200 men. Japan has tended to use submarines in direct connection with military operations and has not employed them extensively in distant operations against shipping. Submarine attacks on shipping off the west coast of North America, mining, bombardment, and the landing of raiders or saboteurs from submarines are continuing capabilities, but are possible only on a small scale. An increase in the present low scale of submarine operations is possible but improbable. Increasing pressure on Japanese naval forces in the southwest and central Pacific would tend to occupy Japanese submarines in those waters and thus to decrease the probability of their use off North America.

Völkischer Beobachter (August 17, 1943)

Das Schicksal der Ostvölker als Beispiel –
1,25 Millionen Verschleppte, davon mindestens 400.000 tot

Europa wird den Anschlag der Bolschewisten und ihrer plutokratischen Spießgesellen durchkreuzen

Auch am Sonntag schwerste Sowjetverluste an allen Kampfabschnitten
Feindliche VerbÀnde eingeschlossen und vernichtet

dnb. Aus dem FĂŒhrer-Hauptquartier, 16. August –
Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt:

Am KubanbrĂŒckenkopf und am mittleren Donez scheiterten örtliche VorstĂ¶ĂŸe des Feindes. Im Abschnitt von Bjelgorod wurden die immer wieder anflutenden Angriffswellen der Sowjets im erbitterten Nahkampf von unseren Grenadieren zurĂŒckgeschlagen. Gegenangriffe von Panzerkampfgruppen des Heeres und der Waffen-SS drangen tief in die Flanken der feindlichen StoßverbĂ€nde ein, schlossen grĂ¶ĂŸere Teile von diesen ein und vernichteten sie.

WĂ€hrend im Raum westlich Orel die Angriffskraft der Sowjets nachließ, verdoppelten sie ihre Anstrengungen, um in den Abschnitten von Wjasma, Belyj und am Ladogasee unter Einsatz von Panzern, Schlachtfliegern und starker Artillerie durchzubrechen. Auch hier scheiterten alle Angriffe an der entschlossenen Abwehr unserer Infanterie- und Panzergrenadierdivisionen.

Überall, wo die Sowjets angriffen, erlitten sie auch gestern wieder schwerste Verluste an Menschen und Material. 193 Panzer wurden abgeschossen.

Kampf-, Sturzkampf- und Schlachtgeschwader unterstĂŒtzten besonders im SĂŒd- und Mittelabschnitt die in schwerem Ringen stehenden Erdtruppen durch erfolgreiche Angriffe gegen die Bereitstellungen und Marschbewegungen des Feindes.

WĂ€hrend es im SĂŒdabschnitt des BrĂŒckenkopfes auf Sizilien zu keinen wesentlichen Kampfhandlungen kam, verstĂ€rkte sich der Druck des Feindes im Nordabschnitt.

Wie bereits durch Sondermeldung bekanntgegeben, griff in den Abendstunden des 13. August ein deutsches Torpedofliegergeschwader unter FĂŒhrung des Majors KlĂŒmper ostwĂ€rts Gibraltar einen starken, in das Mittelmeer einlaufenden Geleitzug ĂŒberraschend an. In schneidig durchgefĂŒhrten Angriffen erzielten unsere Besatzungen Torpedotreffer auf 32 Schiffseinheiten. Zwei Zerstörer und vier vollbeladene große Handelsschiffe, darunter ein Tanker, sanken sofort. Acht weitere Schiffe blieben brennend mit starker Schlagseite liegen. Wegen hereinbrechender Dunkelheit und starker Flakabwehr konnte das Schicksal der ĂŒbrigen torpedierten Schiffe zunĂ€chst nicht erkannt werden. Die laufend durchgefĂŒhrte AufklĂ€rung bestĂ€tigt aber, daß mindestens 179.000 BRT. aus dem Geleitzug versenkt oder vernichtend getroffen wurden. Sieben eigene Flugzeuge kehrten nicht zurĂŒck.

Ein deutsches Unterseeboot versenkte an der NordkĂŒste Siziliens in kĂŒhnem Angriff einen durch Zerstörer stark gesicherten nordamerikanischen Kreuzer der Brooklyn-Klasse.

Bei VorstĂ¶ĂŸen feindlicher FliegerkrĂ€fte in den KĂŒstenraum der besetzten Westgebiete schossen deutsche JĂ€ger und Flakartillerie in den letzten 24 Stunden 16 Flugzeuge, vorwiegend schwere Bomber, ab. Weitere fĂŒnf feindliche Flugzeuge wurden in LuftkĂ€mpfen ĂŒber dem Atlantik vernichtet.

Eine geringe Zahl feindlicher Störflugzeuge flog in der vergangenen Nacht in das nördliche Reichsgebiet ein.

Das Gebiet des Kriegshafens Portsmouth wurde in der vergangenen Nacht von deutschen KampffliegerverbĂ€nden bei guter Sicht aus geringer Höhe wirksam mit einer großen Zahl von Spreng- und Brandbomben bekĂ€mpft.

Von deutschem U-Boot versenkt –
Kreuzer der Brooklyn-Klasse

dnb. Berlin, 16. August –
Der nordamerikanische Kreuzer der Brooklyn-Klasse, dessen Versenkung der Wehrmachtbericht vom 16. August meldete, gehörte zu einer Serie von leichten Kreuzern, die in den Jahren 1937 bis 1938 fertiggestellt wurde. Die Kreuzer dieser Klasse haben eine WasserverdrĂ€ngung von 9.400 bis 10.000 Tonnen und verfĂŒgen ĂŒber eine BestĂŒckung von fĂŒnfzehn 15,2-, acht 12,7-, vier 4,7- und acht 4-Zentimeter-GeschĂŒtzen. Zu ihrer AusrĂŒstung gehören ferner zwei Flugzeugschleudern und vier Bordflugzeuge.

Diese Kreuzer, die zu den neueren Kampfeinheiten der nordamerikanischen Flotte gehören, haben eine Geschwindigkeit von 32,7 Seemeilen. Ihre friedensmĂ€ĂŸige Besatzung besteht aus 868 Mann. Die Versenkung des Kreuzers gelang dem deutschen Unterseeboot, obwohl das feindliche Kriegsschiff durch einen Zerstörerverband besonders stark gesichert war.

Durch die italienische und die deutsche Luftwaffe –
12.000 BRT. versenkt, 9.000 schwer beschÀdigt

dnb. Rom, 16. August –
Der italienische Wehrmachtbericht vom Montag lautet:

Italienisch-deutsche Truppen verlangsamten auch gestern in den Peloritanischen Bergen durch WiderstandskÀmpfe den Vormarsch feindlicher KrÀfte.

Im Gebiet der Meerenge von Messina griffen JagdflugzeugverbĂ€nde des römischen vierten Sturmes und der römischen 21. Gruppe verschiedene feindliche Formationen an. Im Verlaufe der wiederholten harten ZusammenstĂ¶ĂŸe schossen unsere tapferen JĂ€ger fĂŒnf „Spitfires“ und drei „Curtiss“ ab.

Unsere Torpedoflugzeuge versenkten in mutigen Angriffen auf GeleitzĂŒge im westlichen Mittelmeer zwei Dampfer von 12.000 Bruttoregistertonnen, wĂ€hrend ein Dampfer mittlerer Tonnage, der von einem Torpedo getroffen worden war, explodierte. In den GewĂ€ssern von Sizilien beschĂ€digten deutsche Kampfflugzeuge zwei Transporter mit insgesamt 9.000 BRT. schwer.

Italienische Flugzeuge warfen auf die Hafenanlagen von Biserta zahlreiche Bomben ab. Drei unserer Flugzeuge kehrten nicht zu ihren StĂŒtzpunkten zurĂŒck.

Bei Morgengrauen des gestrigen Tages unternahmen unsere Schnellboote unter dem Kommando von KapitÀn zur See Franchesco Mimbelli aus Livorno einen tapferen Angriff auf einen britischen Flottenverband in der NÀhe von Kap Spartivento Calabro und versenkten einen leichten Kreuzer.

Luftangriffe wurden unternommen auf Viterbo, Novara und in der vergangenen Nacht wiederum auf Mailand. Der Feind verlor in Viterbo vier und in Mailand drei Flugzeuge durch die Flak. Die in Mailand verursachten SchĂ€den sind schwer – Ein weiterer Bomber stĂŒrzte, durch die Flak getroffen, in der NĂ€he von Cagliari ab.

Die Versenkung des Britenkreuzers

Die im Wehrmachtbericht vom Montag bekanntgegebene Versenkung eines leichten britischen Kreuzers durch italienische Schnellboote erfolgte, so meldet die Stefani-Agentur, in den GewĂ€ssern zwischen Sizilien und Kalabrien. Im Morgengrauen sichteten die Schnellboote einen Verband leichter Kreuzer und griffen ihn ohne RĂŒcksicht auf die sehr heftige Abwehr an. Das Boot des Leutnants zur See Scialdone, auf dem sich auch der Flottenchef, KapitĂ€n zur See Mimbelli, befand, traf mit seinen Torpedos einen der Kreuzer unter der BrĂŒcke. Der Kreuzer blieb sofort liegen und stellte das Feuer ein, die ĂŒbrigen eilten ihm zu Hilfe. Die Schnellboote erreichten unversehrt ihren StĂŒtzpunkt. AufklĂ€rungsflugzeuge sichteten am Morgen nur noch ein Floß mit SchiffbrĂŒchigen des gesunkenen Kreuzers.

Feindliche TeilgestĂ€ndnisse ĂŒber die Schiffsverluste –
Auszehrung der britischen Tonnage durch die USA.

Zur Drosselung des englischen Exports –
Neue Forderung Washingtons an London

Eigener Bericht des „Völkischen Beobachters“

The Pittsburgh Press (August 17, 1943)

Italian mainland shelled

Allies mop up Axis suicide units remaining in trap on island
By Reynolds Packard, United Press staff writer

Screenshot 2022-08-17 104318
Capture of Messina by U.S. forces was announced today as the end of the Sicilian campaign was only hours away. Late developments on the island included:
1. The U.S. 7th Army drove into Messina and American guns were shelling the Italian
2. The British 8th Army drove northward along the coastal road, cleaning out Axis troops left as a rearguard.

A. Another landing on the north coast was made by the Americans, who went ashore near Milazzo, speeding up land drive.
B. A similar operation was performed by the British in a landing eight miles south of Messina.

Allied HQ, North Africa –
The Battle of Sicily ended today in a smashing Allied victory as U.S. troops stormed into Messina in the wake of an Axis evacuation to the Italian mainland and official announcement of the island’s complete occupation was expected at any moment.

Radio Algiers reported that the Americans had captured Messina. Reliable reports reaching London also said Messina had been taken. The Axis claimed to have evacuated all troops from Sicily.

All that remained for the U.S. 7th and the British 8th Armies on the narrow strip of Sicily along the Strait of Messina opposite Italy were cleanup operations against German and Italian suicide units.

A dispatch from United Press writer C. R. Cunningham, with the U.S. Army before Messina, reported that all ordered resistance had ended last evening and German noncommissioned officers falling into American hands explained they were expendables left behind to slow the Allied advance. Their officers and the German main body had fled.

U.S. artillery was shelling the Italian mainland, two miles across the Strait of Messina from Sicily, in a thunderous prelude to the next step of the Mediterranean offensive – the invasion of Italy proper.

A terrific artillery barrage unleashed at 3 a.m. yesterday (8 p.m. Sunday ET) softened the outer rim of Axis defenses for the successful American thrust into Messina, Sicily.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, in an address to a group of WACs, predicted that all of Sicily would be in Allied hands by midnight or earlier.

“Messina will fall tonight or tomorrow,” he said. He had just returned from Sicily by plane where he had conferred with field commanders.

Already, big guns were thundering the overture to the Battle of Italy proper. Allied and Axis artillery traded fire across the watery no-man’s-land of the Strait of Messina.

Axis demolition activity on the mainland was seen for the first time, indicating that the enemy was already preparing for whatever eventuality might result from the mop-up in Sicily.

Destroyers on patrol at the south end of the Strait of Messina clearly saw flames and smoke of explosions which marked the destruction of mainland installations that might be useful to the Allies later on.

The Northwest African Air Force yesterday turned much of its power against the Germans trying to escape northward through the toe of Italy, where roads and railways are barren, exposed targets.

The British push up the east coast highway toward Messina, bringing steadily closer a junction with the Americans along the north coast, was impeded by artillery fire from the mainland.

Some of this shellfire was also aimed at the Americans moving into Messina, but the terrain in the northern tip afforded them better protection.

A lightning advance of at least 20 miles brought the U.S. Army 3rd Division to outskirts of flaming, bomb-battered Messina last night and they moved into the city this morning.

The British 8th Army was believed only a few miles south of Messina following a daring commando landing eight miles south of the city and only nine miles across the Strait of Messina from Reggio Calabria on the Italian mainland.

Another U.S. amphibious landing – the third in a week – was also announced. The Americans pushed ashore from assault boats early yesterday near Milazzo, 16 miles west of Messina, but the town was soon far in the rear as the main forces effected a junction and slashed eastward.

Enemy resistance crumpled rapidly in the face of the final Allied onslaught and it was apparent that the Sicilian campaign had virtually ended five weeks and four days after U.S. and British troops first landed on the southern shores of the island.

The Axis command had apparently evacuated all the troops it could. Reconnaissance planes reported only a trickle of boats running the gauntlet of Allied bombs across the Strait of Messina yesterday.

Messina itself was only a burned-out shell of the former modern city of 176,500. The ruins resembled those left by the great earthquake of 1908, which razed the city.

It had been bombed without respite since the last days of the Tunisian campaign with particularly heavy raids being directed against it in the past week during the small-scale Italo-German “Dunkirk” evacuation to southern Italy.

Gen. Eisenhower’s communiquĂ© revealed that the next-to-last chapter of the campaign yesterday saw the U.S. 7th Army overrunning enemy defenses as far east as San Giorgio, on the north coast within five miles of the eastern tip of the island, and Gesso, five miles west-northwest of Messina, before pushing on into the base itself.

The British 8th Army drove on through Santa Teresa di Riva, 18 miles south of Messina, in an eight-mile advance from Taormina, the communiqué said, and then leapfrogged their line 10 miles to the north with a commando landing on the east coast across from Reggio Calabria.

The commandos were shelled by Axis guns near Reggio Calabria, but quickly overcame sharp resistance put up by Axis rearguards and pressed northward toward Messina and a rendezvous with the 7th Army.

The day’s only counterattack on either coast was repulsed by the British about five miles north of Taormina.

Captured documents showed that the Germans left two Italian coastal regiments to hold a line between Taormina and the north coast to cover the evacuation from Messina, but this line was shattered by the commando landing south of Messina.

The collapse of enemy resistance along the north coast was demonstrated by the ease with which U.S. warships landed amphibious troops near Milazzo early Monday. Only last week, a bloody battle developed when a similar force landed west of Capo d’Orlando.

Allied reconnaissance pilots reported decreased anti-aircraft fire over the Strait of Messina beginning yesterday and it was soon apparent that the Axis was about to end its evacuation attempt. Soon afterward, fire from the Italian mainland was stepped up, indicating that some guns had been ferried across from Sicily.

Allied and Axis artillery were dueling across the Strait of Messina.

A naval communiqué said Allied naval forces sighted Axis demolitions in northern Sicily and also on the mainland near Reggio Calabria Saturday night.

That same night, it added, the warships bombarded southwestern Italy, sending 1,000 shells into Scalea on the south side of the Gulf of Policastro and hitting shore batteries on Cape Pellaro. Early Monday, other naval forces bombarded Port Vibo Valentia on the Gulf of Saint Eufemia. Gunboats and destroyers also bombarded the east coast road to Messina daily while light coastal forces operated in the strait nightly.

British warships were credited with sinking an armed light cruiser and two escort craft early Monday south of Cape Boniface. U.S. naval units drove off a light formation of enemy torpedo boats north of Messina yesterday.

Axis claims success in evacuation

Berne, Switzerland –
A DNB communiqué just issued in Berlin admits the end of military operations in Sicily and claims the complete evacuation of the island by Axis troops.

The evacuation, says the communiqué, was completed early this morning.

The Germans declare boastfully that all war materials and supplies of the Axis in Sicily have been transferred successfully to the mainland, contrasting it with the Allied evacuation of Dunkirk.

Now the communiqué concludes, the entire Axis army awaits an Allied landing on the mainland, ready to fight until the last machine gun.

Push on France reported near

Invasion may result from Québec Conference
By Merriman Smith, United Press staff writer

QuĂ©bec, Canada –
An invasion of Western Europe by way of the English Channel may be one of the first tangible results of the sixth war conference between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, it was believed here today.

This city was marking time awaiting the President’s arrival. Meanwhile, the military staffs of Great Britain, Canada and the United States continued at work in the Chñteau Frontenac, completely inaccessible to all outsiders.

The London Daily Mail printed a dispatch from its Québec correspondent that Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commander-in-Chief of Allied forces in the Mediterranean Theater, was expected to arrive in Québec soon.

It was believed that the military staffs had long since completed plans for the Mediterranean Theater and were now concerned exclusively with an offensive based upon Great Britain utilizing the British, Canadian and U.S. troops gathered there, which could include attacks on Norway as well as against France with Paris as the first objective.

As far back as January 1942, Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill considered throwing the Allied weight against Western Europe, it was said, but their military advisors told them the probable casualties made the cost prohibitive.

Yanks skirt Jap bases, seize island

Soldiers, Marines capture Vella Lavella in Solomons
By Brydon Taves, United Press staff writer

Wasp launches as heroes’ sons stand in salute

Ration Book 3 in use Sept. 12

Brown stamps A to become valid then

Unfair enough

By Florence Fisher Parry

48-hour week is authorized in U.S. mines

Action may hasten peace between operators and union

Soldiers blast Senators’ trip to war fronts

Thousands of gallons of needed gas wasted on them, sergeant says
By Helen Kirkpatrick

U.S. bombers down

ZĂŒrich, Switzerland –
Two U.S. heavy bombers made forced landings in Switzerland today and their crews, totaling 20 men, were interned. One bomber came down at a ZĂŒrich airport. It was damaged slightly. The other landed in the Berne area.