America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

Background of news –
Ring of steel around Japan

By Jay G. Hayden, North American Newspaper Alliance

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

At the frontlines in Italy – (by wireless)
You have been reading on the papers for weeks about the mountain fighting in Italy, and how some of the troops are so high and remote that they have to be supplied by pack mule.

Well, for the last few days, I have been hanging around with one of these mule outfits.

There is an average of one mule packing outfit for every infantry battalion in the mountains. Some are run by Americans, some by Italian soldiers.

The pack outfit I was with supplied a battalion that was fighting on a bald rocky ridge nearly 4,000 feet high. It fought constantly for 10 days and nights, and when it finally came down, less than a third of the original men were left.

All through those butter days, every ounce of their supplies had to go up to them on the backs of mules and men. Mules took it the first third of the way. Men took it the last bitter two-thirds because the trail was too steep even for mules.

The mule skinners of my outfit were Italian soldiers. The human packers were mostly American soldiers.

The Italian mule skinners were from Sardinia. They belonged to a mountain artillery regiment, and thus were experienced in climbing and in handling mules. They were bivouacked in an olive grove alongside a highway at the foot of the mountain.

Shells scare Italians away

They made no trips in the daytime, except in emergencies, because most of the trail was exposed to artillery fire. Supplies were brought into the olive grove by truck during the day, and stacked under trees. Just before dusk, they would start loading the stuff onto mules.

The Americans who actually managed the supply chain liked to get the mules loaded by dark, because if there was any shelling, the Italians instantly disappeared and you never could find them.

On an average night, the supplies would run something like this – 85 cans of water, 100 cases of K ration, 20 cases of D ration, 10 miles of telephone wire, 25 cases of grenades and rifles and machine-gun ammunition, about 100 rounds of heavy mortar shells, one radio, two telephones, and four cases of first-aid packets and sulfa drugs.

In addition, the packers would load their pockets with cigarettes for the boys on top; also cans of Sterno, so they could heat some coffee once in a while.

Also, during that period, they took up more than 500 of the heavy combat suits we are issuing to the troops to help keep them warm. They carried up cellophane gas capes for some of the men to use as sleeping bags, and took extra socks for the boys too.

Mail most tragic cargo

Mail was their most tragic cargo. Every night they would take up sacks of mail, and every night bring a large portion of it back down – the recipients would have been killed or wounded the day their letters came.

On the long man-killing climb above the end of the mule trail, they used anywhere from 20 to 300 men a night. They rang in cooks, truck drivers, clerks, and anybody else they could lay their hands on.

A lot of stuff was packed up by the fighting soldiers themselves. On the biggest night, when they were building up supplies for an attack, another battalion which was in reserve sent 300 first-line combat troops to do the packing.

Back to the mules again – they would leave the olive grove in bunches of 20, starting just after dark. American soldiers were posted within shouting distance of each other all along the trail, to keep the Italians from getting lost in the dark.

Those guides form a little sidelight that I wish everybody in America who thinks he’s having a tough time in this war could know about.

The guides were men who had fought all through a long and bitter battle at the top of the mountain. For more than a week, they had been far up there, perched behind rocks in the rain and cold, eating cold K rations, sleeping without blankets, scourged constantly with artillery and mortar shells, fighting and ducking and growing more and more weary, seeing their comrades wounded one by one and taken down the mountain.

Finally, sickness and exhaustion overtook many of those who were left, so they were sent back down the mountain under their own power to report to the medics at the bottom and be sent back to a rest camp. It took most of them the better part of a day to get two-thirds of the way down, so sore were their feet and so weary their muscles.

And then – when actually in sight of their haven of rest and peace – they were stopped and pressed into this guide service, because there just wasn’t anybody else to do it.

So, there they stayed, right on the mountainside, for at least three additional days and nights that I know of, just lying miserably alongside the trail to shout in the darkness and guide the mules.

They still had no blankets to keep them warm, no beds but the rocks. And they did it without complaining. The human spirit is an astounding thing.

Pegler: ‘Dr. New Deal’

By Westbrook Pegler

Clapper: Island war

By Raymond Clapper

Leaders of the second front –
Hero of Dunkirk evacuation ready to take Allies back to continent

Eisenhower chooses man active in invasions
By Boyd Lewis, United Press staff writer

A handful of Allied leaders will lead millions of soldiers in the “second front” against the Nazis on the continent of Europe. Who are these men? What are they like? Are they capable of the big job before them?

In this, the third of a series of articles, Boyd Lewis of the United Press tells the story of Adm. Sir Bertram H. Ramsay, the hero of Dunkirk, who has been chosen by Gen. Eisenhower to command the fleet that will take the Allies back to France.

Adm. Ramsay

“Ramsay got ‘em off and Ramsay’ll get ‘em on again,” is a common reaction to Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s designation of the naval commander-in-chief in Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “second front” invasion staff.

Adm. Sir Bernard Home Ramsay is the miracle man of Dunkirk, whose patchwork flotilla of motor launches, cabin cruisers, fishing boats, private yachts, tugs, trawlers and destroyers snatched 330,000 British troops out of France under the noises of the advancing German armies.

Gen. Eisenhower must have known when he asked Mr., Churchill to name Adm. Ramsay to command the “return engagement” that no other name would strike the Prime Minister with such dramatic impact, it fell to Adm. Ramsay in Britain’s “darkest hour” to extemporize the brave little fleet which chugged in under shellfire and dive bombers to take the remnants of the British Expeditionary Force and a few regiments of French to England to fight another day.

That bitter June

Now this tough old sea dog has been chosen to organize and command the naval armada which will thrust the Americans and British onto the western shores of Europe for the kill – the start of the March on Berlin.

In capsule form, the appointment condenses the panorama of Allied progress since that bitter June in 1940 when Britain clutched at the negative success in u=snatching a beaten army from utter disaster. In less than three years – from evacuation in a tatterdemalion navy to assault in what will probably be the greatest armada of specially-constructed landing craft ever floated on any sea.

There is nothing in the appearance of Adm. Ramsay to suggest a man with the daring and imagination of a Drake and Hawkins. He is clean-shaven, austere, studious-looking. His thinning hair is combed across a bald spot.

Retired in 1938

In 1938, he had been retired at the age of 55 to his home at Coldstream, Berwickshire, home of the famed Coldstream Guards.

He returned to active service shortly after the outbreak of the war and was appointed flag officer commanding the Port of Dover. This was a not-too-demanding post for a “retired gaffer” and somewhat of a familiar hob for Adm. Ramsay, for in World War I, he had sailed from that port in HMS Brooke in the famed Dover Patrol.

The nature of Adolf Hitler’s blitzkrieg across France changed all that. Gen. Erwin Rommel’s panzers slashed through the French lines to Abbeville. The Germans commenced a steady squeeze that compressed the British and French into a pocket by the channel at Dunkirk.

He was ready

Little is known of Adm. Ramsay’s epochal decision to organize the “Little Navy.” The Admiralty communiqué recorded that several days before the evacuation order was given, the Dover commander sent out questionnaires to every boatowner on the coast. When the word came, he was ready.

His command sent the weirdest conglomeration of shipping the channel had ever seen scuttling across 35 miles of choppy waters to save as many as could be taken off Dunkirk Beach.

In his office at Dover, Adm. Ramsay and his assistants worked through four feverish days and nights to keep this ferry service working.

At first, they came in driblets – little clusters of exhausted, shell-shocked soldiers – then in larger groups. They accumulated on the Dover shore and were rushed inland as fast as trains could load them aboard.

Dazed nation thrilled

A dazed nation counted the arrivals and slowly it dawned upon them that the BEF was returning not in broken remnants but by hundreds of thousands – returning without its tanks and artillery, but proudly carrying its rifles and ready to contest an invasion if one should follow.

The King spoke for a grateful nation when he knighted Adm. Ramsay.

Recognition of a different sort came in 1942 when the Admiralty selected him to organize the huge fleet which was to sail in utter secrecy in April of that year to plant Americans and Britons on North Africa. Here he showed that retirement had not dulled him.

He was a natural choice of Gen. Eisenhower to organize the assault upon Sicily. Drawing upon the tremendous supply of special assault craft coming off production lines in the United States, Adm. Ramsay used more than 2,000 troopships and landing craft to bridge the water gap between Tunisia and Sicily. Gen. Eisenhower paid tribute afterwards to the “precise training” and “perfect technique.”

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Bradley will seek election to Senate

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (UP) –
Congressman Michael J. Bradley, Philadelphia Democrat, announced his candidacy last night for the Democratic Party nomination for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

He said he felt:

My record merits for me the support of the Philadelphia Democratic organization, the party leaders in the state and the Democratic State Committee.

A member of the House Naval Affairs Committee, Mr. Bradley is serving his fourth term in the House, to apply the decision to other cases pending in various federal courts, including cases in which “permit fees” charged by unions on federal construction jobs are in question.

Fees went to stewards

These cases include instances in which, the government charges, some of the money collected in permit fees went, not into the union treasury, but to business agents or stewards.

Assistant Attorney General Tom C. Clark said:

Where the union doesn’t extend union membership, but simply collects fees for the right to work, we are hopeful of putting that under the federal statute.

The Supreme Court opinion did not touch on application of the “kickback” law to labor unions but, significantly, stated that the court was not passing on “the outside limit of the statutes.”

Labor cases pending

In some of the pending federal cases, labor unions, providing workers on requisition of contractors, certified them for jobs on payment of “permit fees” which did not entitle them to union membership.

One of the pending cases which will come before the Supreme Court on argument later this month involves the right of a federal grand jury to subpoena books of a labor union to determine what “permit fees” were collected by the union on a federal project.

The case came up on appeal of Jasper White, official of the Stationary Engineers Union of Philadelphia, who refused to present the union records during a grand jury investigation of kickbacks in construction of the naval supply depot at Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

Justice Black pointed out that the kickback law was part of a Congressional program, including the National Industrial Recovery Act and a law requiring minimum wages on federally-financed construction projects to assure that federal funds provided for workers would actually be received by them for their own use. The law provides a penalty of $5,000 fine or five years in prison or both.

Kay Kyser gives rookie soldiers a chance

Sergeants serve breakfast in bed
By Si Steinhauser

Tribute paid memory of Negro scientist

In tribute to the memory of Dr. George Washington Carver, famed Negro scientist who died a year ago today, civic leaders participated in a mass meeting last night at Schenley High School.

The principal speaker at the commemoration was Dr. G. Lake Imes, who for 25 years was associated with Dr. Carver at the Tuskegee Institute.

Dr. Imes said:

George Washington Carver is evidence of the reality of democracy. Without democracy giving him equality of opportunity, his great achievements never would have been possible. His life is an example of democracy of the future.

Others who spoke included Dr. Henry H. Hill, superintendent of schools; George W. Culberson, principal of the A. Leo Weil School, and Mrs. John M. Phillips, member of the Board of Public Education.

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Völkischer Beobachter (January 6, 1944)

So belogen und betragen sie das italienische Volk

Die wortbrüchigen Gauner von 1918 sind sich gleichgeblieben

USA-Bomber in Schweden notgelandet –
Die Besatzung interniert

„Neutralität“ schützt nicht vor dem Sowjetimperialismus –
Schweden soll den Bolschewisten überlassen werden

Drahtbericht unseres skandinavischen Vertreters

Gerüchte um eine Regierungsumbildung –
Roosevelts politische Krise

dr. th. b. Stockholm, 5. Jänner –
Die schon seit einigen Tagen verbreiteten Gerüchte über eine Regierungskrise in den Vereinigten Staaten verdichten sich nach einer Meldung der Daily Mail aus Neuyork, die auch vom Reuters-Büro aufgegriffen wurden.

Führende Mitglieder der Demokratischen Partei haben an Roosevelt die Aufforderung gerichtet, sich von seinem vertrauten Mitarbeiter Harry Hopkins und von dem Landwirtschaftsminister Wickard zu trennen. Aber auch der Kriegsminister Stimson, der Marineminister Knox, der Justizminister Biddle und der Arbeitsminister Miß Frances Perkins werden genannt.

In der Meldung der Daily Mail wird es als ausgeschlossen angesehen, daß sich Roosevelt von Hopkins trennen wird. Es ist aber möglich, daß er den Landwirtschaftsminister Wickard fallen läßt, der sich unter den Farmern keiner Beliebtheit erfreut. Schon aus Wahlrücksichten könnte Roosevelt zu diesem Schritt gezwungen sein, wie ja eine Regierungsumbildung überhaupt nur im Hinblick auf die Präsidentenwahlen akut ist.

U.S. State Department (January 6, 1944)

740.0011 EW 1939/32572: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union to the Secretary of State

Moscow, January 6, 1944

43, January 6, 4 p.m. Personal and secret for the President and the Secretary from Harriman:

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

Molotov continued that Marshal Stalin at Tehran had outlined the terms which the Soviet Government were prepared to accord Finland and, as he recalled it, the President and Mr. Churchill had expressed no objection to these terms.

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


The Pittsburgh Press (January 6, 1944)

5th Army slashes into Nazis

Allies open gap in road to Rome defenses, drive into San Vittore
By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer

On New Britain –
Yanks launch new offensive

Marines drive to seize Borgen Bay
By Don Caswell, United Press staff writer

Ties all-time mark –
Yank ace bags 26th Jap plane

Marine flier ‘slowed down’ by broken leg

Gilberts death estimate expected to be lowered

Fourth of aid goes to Soviets

Roosevelt sees Lend-Lease as a lifesaver

In first 11 months of 1943 –
No strike pledge flouted to tune of 3,425 walkouts

Mine disputes help swell total of man days lost to 400% over 1942 figure

Giant trust rules arms, U.S. charges

DuPont, British concern linked with Germans in civil suit