America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 23, 1943

For the President from Secretary Hull

Marshal Stalin, who is at the front, states that he will arrive not later than the 28th or 29th at the appointed place.

Roosevelt-Chiang dinner meeting, 8 p.m.

United States China
President Roosevelt Generalissimo Chiang
Mr. Hopkins Madame Chiang
Dr. Wang

The conversation touched on the following topics that are not mentioned in the Chinese summary record: The formation of a coalition government in China, British rights in Shanghai and Canton, the use of American rather than British warships in future operations based on Chinese ports, and the future status of the Malay States, Burma, and India.

Dinner party of the British Chiefs of Staff, evening

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
General Arnold Admiral of the Fleet Cunningham
Field Marshal Dill

Churchill-Marshall dinner meeting, evening

United States United Kingdom
General Marshall Prime Minister Churchill

There was discussion of operations in the Dodecanese, the capture of Rhodes, the deployment of landing craft, the progress of the Italian campaign, aid to the guerrillas in the Balkans, the relation of operations in the Mediterranean to the date of OVERLORD, and coordination of the command of strategic air operations.

The Secretary of State to the President

Washington, November 23, 1943

For the President from Secretary Hull:

Lisbon reports that an interview with Salazar regarding Azores facilities has been fixed for November 23, 1943, 5:00 p.m. The British Ambassador has received instructions to support approach to Portuguese. The Chargé plans to ask Salazar to confirm that Portuguese Government does not object to use by American forces of Horta and Terceira facilities or to participation by United States engineering units in improvement of these facilities. The Chargé intends at the same interview, informally to sound out Salazar regarding desire United States Army and Navy for the further facilities required.


The Pittsburgh Press (November 23, 1943)

1,000 planes drop 2,300 tons –
Berlin shattered by RAF in greatest raid of war

Huge fires rage in city; government buildings may have been hit
By James W. Grigg, United Press staff writer

Yanks ashore on third isle in mid-Pacific

Marines invade Apamama, widening offensive in Gilberts
By William F. Tyree, United Press staff writer

Screenshot 2022-11-23 040614
Yanks widen invasion of the Jap-held Gilbert Islands, with Marines storming ashore on Apamama (inset map) as heavy fighting raged on Makin and Tarawa Islands to the north. U.S. bombers attacked Nauru Island, near the Gilberts. In the Solomons, to the south, Jap forces were reported trapped on Bougainville. In the New Guinea area (lower left), Australian troops were closing in on the Japs at Sattelberg, 10 miles from Finschhafen.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii –
Marine veterans of the Solomons expanded the American mid-Pacific offensive today by storming a third Gilbert Islands atoll as other forces slowly crushed the bitterly resisting Japs on Tarawa and Makin.

The invasion of the Gilbert Islands marks the beginning of a new drive aimed directly at Japan across the Central Pacific, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox said in Washington.

Bringing an increasingly heavy weight of men, ships and planes to bear on Japan’s cracking ocean outpost system, U.S. commanders sent Marines of the 2nd Division to win a landing on Apamama, 80 miles south of Tarawa.

Statement brief

Their success was announced by the unadorned statement, “we have landed on Apamama Atoll,” included in Adm. Chester W. Nimitz’s Pacific Fleet headquarters communiqué.

The report was equally blunt on other operations in the 72-hour-old invasion drive through the island-studded seaways protecting Japan’s broad empire conquests.

Improve positions

It said:

Our troops have improved their positions on Tarawa and Makin Atolls, but are still encountering considerable enemy ground resistance.

Tokyo radio today began making extravagant claims of success off the Gilberts. A broadcast quoted a communiqué as claiming a medium-sized aircraft carrier and a destroyer were sunk and 125 planes shot down around the Gilberts since last Friday. Loss of 15 planes was admitted. “Severe” fighting on the islands is continuing, especially on Tarawa, the Japs said.

While the fighting raged, Army Liberator bombers operating nonstop from undisclosed bases raided Nauru, phosphate mining island 500 miles west of the Gilberts, and the Marshalls, to the north, to prevent the Japs from sending air fleets from their nearby bases.

New Yorkers in action

Scene of the new landing by Marines who learned to whip the Japs at Guadalcanal was a coral islet 12 miles by five which had a pre-war population of 841. Wording of the communiqué indicated resistance was less on Apamama than on the other two islands, which were the most powerfully-developed in the chain astride the equator.

Other units of the 2nd Marines handled Tarawa while infantrymen of the 27th Division – New Yorkers – invaded Makin, it was announced, Lt. Col. James Roosevelt, son of the President, who accompanied Col. Evans F. Carlson’s Marine Raiders in a sweep of Makin in August 1942 aided the Army forces by landing with them.

The Marines were under Maj. Gen. Holland McT. Smith of Montgomery, Alabama, and Maj. Gen. Julian C. Smith of Elkton, Maryland, while a third Smith, Maj. Gen. Ralph Smith of Tucson, Arizona, was in charge of the 27th Division.

Other commanders of the operations were revealed as VAdm. John H. Hoover of Great Falls, Montana (chief of land-based air operations which preceded the attacks), VAdm, Richmond K. Turner of Carmel, California, Solomons veteran (commander of amphibious forces), and VAdm. Raymond A. Spruance of Indianapolis, Indiana, chief of all the invasion forces.

Berlin radio, quoting Tokyo, added to the Jap claims two large aircraft carriers damaged, one of which was presumed sunk, a medium-sized carrier damaged and presumed sunk; a battleship, a heavy cruiser and a transport damaged or set afire.

At the same time, reports carried from Tokyo by Berlin gave the first hint the Japs may be planning to give up the Gilberts, Berlin said that it was:

stated in Tokyo that the invasion of the Gilberts was viewed without alarm since the Gilberts are of no importance for Japan as far as her defenses is concerned.

Ready for naval battle

While there was no indication the Japs were trying to send in reinforcements to save their positions, the strong fleet sent to back the invasion was believed waiting to repel any enemy effort – even to fighting a major sea battle.

CBS correspondent Webley Edwards, broadcasting from Honolulu last night, said the forces may “plow on through” toward Truk, the great Jap sea-air base 1,300 miles northwest.

It can now be revealed that the Army, Navy and Marine forces, in a move to coordinate all operations, set up a joint board for the Pacific with representatives of the services planning together the procedure for training and attack.

Hard fight forecast

Even while training was in progress, the commanders expressed belief the Japs would be hard to push out of the Gilberts, where they have had two years to develop airfields and defenses along the narrow sand beaches fringed by coconut trees.

Adm. Turner said:

They are probably out there waiting for us. But we are going to get them. They are wise to the ways of taking advantage of terrain and they’re probably dug in. We will dig them out.

During the training he expressed belief some losses must be expected. Gen. Holland Smith said he “never saw” such cooperation between forces.

May last week

While military experts refused to comment, observers believed the battle would not last longer than a week among the 16 islands in the Gilberts chain, the first two of which were invaded at dawn Saturday.

The choice of the two strongest islands in the group 2,400 miles southwest of Hawaii for the initial invasion indicated that the leaders believed conquest of those pinpoints would collapse the Japanese elsewhere in the group quickly.

British drive near junction

Canadians repulse German attack in Italy
By Harrison Salisbury, United Press staff writer

Selfless expansionism for peace.

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Hmm… what if they had a german spy here? Wouldn’t the germans know that the allies were going to make naval landings?

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Didn’t the Poles take Half of Belarus and Ukraine here in the russian civil war? So how are they important centres of Polish national life?


Threatened with demotion –
Apology for blow at soldier saves post for Patton

Eisenhower ordered general to make amends after incident in Sicily hospital tent last August
By Donald Coe, United Press staff writer

Private’s letter tells of slapping

Mishawaka, Indiana (UP) –
Pvt. Charles Herman Kuhl wrote to his family from Sicily last August saying he was slapped and kicked by Lt. Gen. George Patton, his wife revealed today.

The letter, dated Aug. 4, said:

Gen. Patton slapped my face yesterday and kicked me in the pants and cussed me. This probably won’t go through, but I don’t know. Just forget about it in your letter.

In later letters, Mrs. Kuhl said, the soldier told of appearing at a hearing and of receiving apologies from the general.

Allied HQ, Algiers, Algeria –
Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. struck a shell-shocked soldier twice in a Sicilian hospital tent last August but apologized for his conduct when Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower threatened to “break him” unless he made full amends at once, it was revealed officially today.

A high staff officer, in disclosing the incident, said Gen. Eisenhower explained in reprimanding Gen. Patton that the only reason the chief of the U.S. 7th Army was not relieved of his command immediately was that Army commanders were hard to find and the services Gen. Patton was performing were valuable.

The revelation of the personal exchange between Gens. Eisenhower and Patton showed that the general, known as “Old Blood and Guts,” was ordered to clear himself with all the troops under his command on pain of losing his rank.

The official version revealed Gen. Patton told the soldier he struck:

Why, in the last war, we used to shoot people like you.

The disclosure followed by a day an official statement that Gen. Patton had not been reprimanded and no soldier had ever disobeyed his orders. A spokesman said that had been a “half-truth,” and apologized for it. He said it had been issued in a desire to hold up the full story until it could be presented to all correspondents.

The soldier whom Gen. Patton struck was an artilleryman. After the general left the hospital, the soldier kept asking attendants what would happen to him. He said:

Think of the disgrace. I have a wife and kids. What will they think?

There was no indication of the future disposition of Gen. Patton as a result of the revelation of the incident, which had been an open secret since a couple of weeks after it occurred. However, it was emphasized that Gen. Patton was still regarded by the Army as valuable command material.

He was allowed to retain command of the 7th Army only after he explained that “my feelings got the better of me” and acknowledged in public that he never should have done what he did.

He still holds the command of the 7th Army, which has been in Sicily since the start of the Italian operations and has been completely out of the news since the Sicilian campaign ended.

The War Department in Washington said there was no command, that it was a theater problem and that all details would come from Gen. Eisenhower’s headquarters.

An investigation showed the 24-year-old soldier twice refused to leave the frontlines and finally did so only upon orders and was back in the fighting a week later after Gen. Patton saw him.

Gen. Eisenhower obtained a full report and “took the hide” off Gen. Patton for his action, the officer said.

Gen. Patton apologized to the hospital commander, a nurse and a doctor who watched the episode. This apology was witnessed by C. R. Cunningham, United Press correspondent. He also apologized to the soldier and to the men of the divisions under his command.

Merrill Mueller, NBC correspondent, and Demaree Bess, of The Saturday Evening Post, made a thorough investigation.

Later, Gen. Eisenhower was understood to have asked correspondents not to transmit reports of the incident.

Gen. Patton directed operations in both Tunisia and Sicily, once during the latter campaign disembarking on a beachhead to command a drive against a serious German counterattack. He goes into battle packing pearl-handled frontier model revolvers.

Incident related

As related by the staff officer, here is what happened.

Gen. Patton, on a visit to an evacuation hospital in Sicily early in August, found a soldier in bed wearing the lining to a steel helmet and crying. Gen. Patton asked him what was wrong.

The soldier said:

My nerves, I guess. I can’t stand those shells going over.

Gen. Patton replied angrily:

You are yellow-bellied. Get out of this hospital and back up to your unit at the front.

Blow reported

The soldier continued crying while Gen. Patton, who is 57 and who has gained a reputation for picturesque curses, grew more angry, raging at the soldier.

He finally struck the soldier with the back of his hand, knocking off his headgear, which rolled across the floor. The nurse tried to stop him but the doctor ordered her away. Gen. Patton then went around to others in the tent, telling them all “yellow-bellies” should be sent back to the front.

Gen. Patton returned a second time to the soldier’s bedside, cursed him some more, and again struck him with the back of his hand. The nurse fled crying. The commanding doctor also left because he could not stop the general.

The doctor who had admitted the soldier then escorted Gen. Patton to a car and the general drove off, without investigating how the soldier had been admitted. The incident was seen by at least three hospital staff members as well as most patients.

Talks on shell shock

Mr. Cunningham said that he sat in Gen. Patton’s office during the general’s talk with the hospital commander, nurse and doctor. The doctor, he said, was a psychiatrist. Gen. Patton talked at length on the appearances of shell shock, praised medical work in the Sicilian campaign and then said it was often difficult to tell whether a soldier was actually suffering from such shock or merely trying to escape the front.

In modern war, he said, there should be competent medical authorities who could determine quickly whether a man actually has such a break in nerve. Several times during the meeting, Mr. Cunningham said, a member of Gen. Patton’s staff opened the door to report a similar case had been found and each time Gen. Patton promised to look into it at once. Finally, he thanked them all for coming and invited the nurse to ride back to the hospital in his small private plane.

Inquiry demanded by Congressmen

Washington (UP) –
Senator Claude Pepper (D-FL) said today that Lt. Gen. George S. Patton “should have been court-martialed” for striking a shell-shocked soldier in Sicily, and from other members of Congress rose demands for an inquiry into the case.

House Republican Whip Leslie Arends (R-IL) said there should be “some investigation” as soon as all details of the incident were available. However, no actual steps toward an inquiry were taken in either House or Senate.

Gives source of news

Drew Pearson, columnist and radio commentator who first revealed the Patton incident in a Sunday night broadcast, said his information that Gen. Patton had been reprimanded by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower came from “high War Department officials.” The War Department has not commented on the incident.

Mr. Pearson, in a statement today, proposed that the Senate Truman Committee investigate “the high-ranking officers’ self-protective club.” Mr. Pearson said:

When a soldier strikes an officer, he is shot. When an officer strikes a soldier, it is denied.

Articles of War cited

The Articles of War, governing conduct of the Army, do not specifically prohibit a superior officer from striking a subordinate or an enlisted man. However, students of military law said charges may be brought for such an act under Article 95 of the Articles of War which covers conduct unbecoming an officer or gentleman. Conviction would result in dismissal.

Chairman Andrew J. May (D-KY) of the House Military Affairs Committee, which would normally handle any Patton investigation for the House, said he considered it “a closed case.”

‘Up to Army’

“It is up to the Army to discipline its commanding officers,” Mr. May said, adding that the incident:

…does hurt morale and I believe it has hurt morale more on the home front than on the battlefront.

Mrs. Patton, the general’s wife, apparently referring to yesterday’s denial of the incident by Algiers, criticized the “spreading of nasty gossip.”

She had nothing to say concerning the admission today in Algiers of the denials, but added:

The War Department has denied it. I go by what the War Department says.

The War Department made no denial here.

Subsidy fears heard in House

Fulbright urges change in bureau rule

Veterans’ aid plan offered by Roosevelt

Mustering-out pay and unemployment compensation requested

Mrs. Doherty thumbs nose at Red opera

Roosevelt-honored ‘hero’ parades again – into jail

Texan who boasted of killing 62 Japs at Kiska was never out of United States

They also serve–

By Florence Fisher Parry

Soviet Union assured voice in relief plan

Russia to share authority and hence political influence

Charlie Ray, movie star, dies at 52

Mouth and throat infection fatal to silent-era hero

Simms: Jap-mandated Pacific isles may go to U.S. after war

Marshalls, Carolines and Marianas termed vital factor in maintaining peace
By William Philip Simms, Scripps-Howard foreign editor

Japs trapped in Solomons, general says

U.S. aircraft will soon be operating from Bougainville
By Brydon C. Taves, United Press staff writer

Hull accepts leadership of Gen. de Gaulle

Secretary confers with French chief during trip to Russia

Father draft rests in hands of Roosevelt

Senate action takes service decisions from McNutt

W. W. Barbour, U.S. Senator, taken by death

Republican was third member of Congress to die in 24 hours