America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

Yanks hammer railway yards in Burma raid

RAF night attack blasts repair centers at Rangoon

Editorial: Get a rule book

Editorial: Soldiers are men

Edson: Byrnes author of story predicting high casualties

By Peter Edson

Ferguson: Lighted windows

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

In Italy – (by wireless)
The other day I dropped into one of our prisoners-of-war collecting points and picked up a little lore on the super race.

German prisoners these days are on the whole a fairly crummy-looking lot. Most of them are very young. A great many are still in summer uniform and wearing light underwear, although I believe they all have winter overcoats by now.

The German winter uniform is grayish green, similar to the Italian and not nearly as military and snappy looking as their khaki summer clothes.

The prisoners are much more talkative now than they used to be. It’s only the dyed-in-the-wool Nazis who get on their high horse and refuse to talk. The others seem so relieved to be out of the war that they just open their traps and let it run.

Lots of the prisoners are Poles and Austrians, and many who aren’t Poles insist they are. They figure they’ll get better treatment if we think they are Poles. But they can’t fool the examiners, because most of our Army men who examine prisoners can speak German like a native and can tell an accent a mile away.

The German officers know we treat prisoners well, but apparently they feed their troops some horror stories to discourage desertion. Many prisoners come in obviously fearful about what we may do to them.

Many confident of victory

It may interest our optimists at home to know that a great many German soldiers captured in Italy still feel that Germany will win the war. That is, they thought so up until the time they were captured. But as they are brought to rear areas, they are astounded at the amount of Allied equipment and supplies that they see along the roads and in the fields.

Some of the more sensitive ones have actually been crying when brought to collecting points – overwhelmed by the sudden realization that we’ve got enough stuff to beat them.

The examiners say that by the time the prisoners reach the rear areas, 75% of them are doubtful of Germany winning. But that percentage has grown by leaps and bounds on the way back. While they are still in the German lines, they are confident.

The examiners often ask prisoners what makes them think they are going to win. Some of them say they’ll win because the Allies will collapse. Some think Germany will soon sweep back over Russia. Some talk wishfully about a new secret weapon, due out in the spring, which will bring quick victory.

Others hope for miracle

Others, almost in desperation, say some miracle will happen – they say Germany just can’t, just doesn’t dare lose the war, and so they won’t let themselves think of defeat.

As far as I could gather, the German soldiers in Italy are aware of what is happening in Russia and on the bombing front at home. I was surprised that the German censors allowed so much gloom to seep through in soldiers’ letters from home. I have heard of a good many letters found on German soldiers from their families in Germany. Some had fright in them, some bitterness. All of them carried an air of war weariness and of devout hope for quick victory.

But I can’t honestly say that on the whole the letters showed any general tendency to give up. Some of them rang with the same wordy confidence in victory that our own family letters and editorials carry.

In other words, the Germans don’t admit yet that they are whipped.

Our prisoner-collecting points are staffed, of course, with American soldiers who speak perfect German. Mostly these are men born in Germany who emigrated and became American citizens. They say that often when a prisoner is brought in and hears nothing but good old German flying around the place, he is utterly bewildered, and can hardly be made to believe he is in American hands.

I had a talk with two of these examiners of enemy personnel, as they are called. Both had worked all through the previous day and all night too, examining a steady flow of prisoners. It was then 3:00 in the afternoon and they hadn’t slept since the morning before.

One of them, a sergeant, was a short, slight man of scholarly appearance who seemed out of place in uniform. He had been a student most of his life. He went to America nine years ago because he sensed that he would likely get into trouble with the Nazis. He lived in America by tutoring.

Still has German accent

The other, also a sergeant, was a real-estate man in private life. He was born near Hamburg and went to America when he was 21, which was 17 years ago. He still talks English with a slight accent – says “v” for “w.” He has just passed his 38th birthday, and says he doesn’t know whether to apply for a discharge or not, but guesses he won’t, since his work is pretty important.

He says it’s almost impossible for a German prisoner to lie to him, because he knows so much about the German Army from having examined thousands of prisoners. He knows every unit, where it is, and who commands it. If a prisoner lies and tells him his company commander is So-and-so, the sergeant says, “Oh no he isn’t,” and then gives the right name. Which is disconcerting to the prisoner, to say the least.

He says:

Actually, I know a great deal more about the German Army than I do about the American Army, for all I do all day long is sit here behind this desk in this battered old building, talking to Germans, and I never get out to see the American Army.

Clapper: Seabees

By Raymond Clapper

Leaders of the second front –
Montgomery, who conquered Rommel, wants another crack at Hitler’s Fox

Dour, Bible-reading man is commander of British
By Boyd Lewis, United Press staff writer

Gen. Montgomery

The name which Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave the world as the leader of Britain’s armies in the western shores of Europe is one which must have brought chills to many a Nazi spine.

Among those tingled spines, perhaps, was that of the erstwhile Nazi gutter fighter, Marshal Erwin Rommel, who has made a military career out of running away from Churchill’s choice – Gen. Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, “Monty of El Alamein.” Rommel has reportedly been dashing up and down the coast of occupied Europe in recent months under special orders from the Führer to put defenses in order.

Now he knows that the doughty, wiry, sharp-featured Monty, who hurled him back from the gates of Alexandria and has chased his armies all the way to Ortona, Italy, is again on his trail. If the attack on Europe proves to be another “rendezvous with Rommel,” no one will be more pleased than Gen. Montgomery.

A Spartan life

Mr. Churchill has described him as “Cromwellian.” To make himself fit for war, he has led an austere, Spartan life, neither drinking nor smoking. His passion for physical exercise is a legend among the officers under his command, who frequently have been rooted off their couches at dawn to romp over hills or along beaches.

He once said:

There is only one standard of fitness – the standard of total war.

If this means dog-trotting six or seven miles with full pack – that’s Monty’s prescription and no officer can complain, because he will be jogging along in the lead.

Thirty-four years of army training and Spartan living have hammered Gen. Montgomery down to a steel spring resiliency. No “desk general,” he is happiest when scooting along the frontline of battle in a tank, dressed in shorts, shirt, and tankman’s beret, with a revolver strapped to his hip.

‘Study of war’

Mr. Churchill once said:

Let me pay tribute to that vehement and formidable Gen. Montgomery, a Cromwellian figure, austere, severe, accomplished, tireless, his life given to study of war, who has attracted to himself in an unusual measure the confidence and devotion of his army.

What is the secret of this “confidence and devotion”? It cannot be his human qualities because he drives his troops like he drives himself – to the limits of their ability. There are none of the stories that some general inspire of little unexpected kindly or human traits.

Perhaps it is because he leads them brilliantly and colorfully. Perhaps it is because he wields his talents and his lore of warfare like a tempered weapon and leads them to success.

Son of minister

The son of the Ulster-born Bishop of Tasmania, this warrior kneels in prayer night and morning and reads the Bible every day of his life. He recommends reading of the Bible to all his officers. Like Cromwell and Chinese Gordon, he is a Christian soldier as well as a British officer.

In staff conferences he is a martinet. He is likely to begin with some such statement as this:

Gentlemen: You may now clear your throats for two minutes. I will then address you for 20 minutes, after which you may have 30 seconds for coughing before I resume. We will have no coughing while I am talking.

He is confident

He is supremely confident – confident to the point of calling his shots. On the day before he sent his troops against Rommel at El Alamein, Gen. Montgomery sat coolly balancing a fly swatter on his index finger in front of his tent.

He said:

During the moonlight tonight, terrific battles will be fought – terrific. When day breaks tomorrow, we shall see how we stand, but there is no doubt of the issue.

A few weeks earlier, before taking command of the 8th Army, he toured the front and found workmen digging defense works behind El Alamein.

He snapped:

What are you doing?

One of the men replied:

Digging defense works.

He ordered:

Then stop it! You will never need them.

Three weeks later, he sent them on the offensive to the skirl of bagpipes. Gen. Montgomery’s men have remained on that offensive ever since – across the undulating shore of North Africa, past Rommel’s Mareth Line, past Tunis, across Sicily and up the Italian boot on the Adriatic side.

Greatest opportunity

Now he comes to his greatest military opportunity, 34 years out of Sandhurst, Britain’s “West Point.”

As a young officer, he was known as an enthusiast for rugby and hockey and attached to the perfection of his military learning. His friends were surprised when he married in 1927 at 40. He ruled his household, according to one writer, “like a medieval knight.” The advent of a son was handled like a staff problem, with Gen. Montgomery issuing daily orders regarding his care, feeding and upbringing.

In World War I, he won the DSO, the Croix de Guerre, and was mentioned six times in dispatches. On the death of his wife in 1937, he devoted himself to the art of war making with furious zeal. In December 1941, he was appointed commanding general of the South-Eastern Command – the portion of England which juts closest to a possible invasion from the continent.

Audacity and science

In 1942, he went to Egypt and launched the 8th Army on its march. On that march he has fought with audacity and science, welding planes, tanks and men. The other day he paused in a sunlit Italian meadow to tell something of what he had learned to Frank Fisher of the United Press.

He said:

First you must win the battle of the air. That must come before you start a single land or sea engagement… it is the first great principle of modern warfare.

Second front generalissimo Dwight D. Eisenhower has already summoned Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Arthur Tedder, who won the battle of the air for Monty in Africa, to clear the skies and “carpet-bomb” the land defenses of Hitler’s Europe. Soon they will be ready for Monty to lead his men out in another bloody dawn like Alamein – this time aimed straight at Berlin!

Maj. de Seversky: Airpower’s vital role in modern war recognized by ground generals in 1943

Marine tells of Jap attack on Pacific isle

Pittsburgh reporter writes on injury to Rachland Street private
By Tech. Sgt. Dan Campbell, USMC combat correspondent

Völkischer Beobachter (January 5, 1944)

Dichtung und Wahrheit in Anglo-Amerika –
Rauhe Wirklichkeit verdrängt amtlich gemachten Optimismus

Der Mann von der Straße soll die wahren Kriegsfolgen nicht erfahren

Bericht eines englischen Kriegskorrespondenten –
Süditalien kämpft um sein Leben

Namenloses Elend unter den chinesischen Volksmassen –
USA finanzieren Tschungking-Inflation

Eigener Bericht des „Völkischen Beobachters“

U.S. Navy Department (January 5, 1944)

Communiqué No. 495

The U.S. submarine POMPANO (SS-181) is overdue from patrol and must be presumed to be lost.

The next of kin of personnel in the POMPANO have been so informed.

CINCPAC Press Release No. 219

Army Liberators of the 7th Army Air Force bombed Jaluit on Janu­ary 4 (West Longitude Date). All of our planes returned.

Army medium bombers scored two hits on a cargo transport at Jaluit on January 3. Army dive bombers escorted by Airacobras raided Mille on January 3. One of our fighters was shot down by anti-aircraft fire.

Enemy planes dropped bombs at Tarawa, Makin and Apamama on the night of January 3 and at Tarawa on January 4 without damage to our installations.

U.S. State Department (January 5, 1944)


The Second Secretary of Embassy in China to the Ambassador in China

Chengtu, January 5, 1944

No. 12

Sir: I have the honor to report that on January 4, 1944 I called by appointment on General Chang Chun, Chairman of the Szechwan Provincial Government, who received me at his private residence south of the West China University campus.…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

… I inquired whether the Chinese Government had any plans for sending Japanese-trained administrators to Japan to assist in restoring order. He assured me that this question had been fully discussed and settled at the Cairo Conference and that the Generalissimo had informed him recently that the conferees had agreed that as soon as Japan’s military power had been broken the Japanese in Japan proper would be permitted to work out their own destiny without outside direction.…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Pittsburgh Press (January 5, 1944)

Yanks hammer Kiel again

‘Fortresses’ over Germany for second day; French targets lashed
By Phil Ault, United Press staff writer

Yanks storm 3 heights flanking road to Rome

Americans push forward mile toward Cassino; Allied bombers hit region near Sofia
By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer

Marines repel drive by Japs

Enemy tries to recapture Cape Gloucester
By Don Caswell, United Press staff writer

Much blood to spill –
OWI foresees heavy battles

Only fraction of Axis land has been regained

What of the baby?
FBI to probe Chaplin case

Joan Barry’s arrest becomes a new issue