Editorial: Seven Peglerized!
Huge air ‘umbrella’ now covers area, writer finds on flight
By Hal O’Flaherty
By Ernie Pyle
At the frontlines in Italy – (by wireless)
You’ve heard of trench mouth and athlete’s foot, but now another occupational disease of warfare has sprung up on both sides here in the Italian war. It isa called “trench foot.” The Germans as well as the Americans have it. It was well known in the last war.
Trench foot comes from a man’s feet being wet and cold for long periods and from his not taking off his shoes often enough. In the mountains, the soldiers sometimes go for two weeks and longer without ever having their shows off and without ever being dry.
With trench foot, the tissues gradually seem to go dead, and sores break out. It is almost the same as the circulation being stopped and the flesh dying. In extreme cases gangrene occurs. We have had cases where amputation was necessary. And in other cases, the soldier won’t be able to walk again for six months.
In a way it’s much like frostbite, and as in frostbite, it is the wrong thing to put your feet in hot water when you get an opportunity.
Sometimes they’ve let their trench foot go so long without complaining that they have finally been unable to walk and have had to be taken down the mountain in litters.
Others get down under their own power, agonizingly. Recently one boy was a day and half getting down the mountain on what would normally be a two-hour descent. He arrived at the bottom barefooted, carrying his shoes in his hand, and with his feet bleeding. He was in a sort of daze from the pain.
One battalion has been experimenting by having its soldiers wrap part of a cellophane gas cap around their feet between their shocks and their shoes, in order to keep their feet dry. The battalion surgeon doesn’t yet know whether the experiment will work, because right in the middle of it we had a week of dry weather.
Cavemen in the Stone Age
The fighting on the mountaintop sometimes almost reaches the caveman stage. The Americans and Germans are frequently so close that they actually throe rocks at each other.
They use up many times as many hand grenades as we have had in any other phase of the Mediterranean war. And you have to be pretty close when you throw hand grenades.
Rocks play a big part in the mountain wat. You hide behind rocks, you throw rocks, you sleep in rock crevices, and you even get killed by flying rocks.
When an artillery shell bursts on the loose rock surface, rock fragments are thrown for many yards. In one battalion, 15% of the casualties are from flying rocks.
Also, now and then an artillery burst from a steep hillside will loosen big boulders which go leaping and bounding down the mountainside for thousands of yards. The boys say such a rock sounds like a windstorm coming down the mountainside.
Comin’ round the mountain
When soldiers come down the mountain out of battle, they are dirty, grimy, unshaven and weary. They look 10 years older than they are. They don’t smile much.
But the human body and mind recover rapidly. A couple of days down below and they begin to pick up. It’s funny to see a bunch of combat soldiers after they’ve shaved and washed up. As one said:
We all look sick after we’ve cleaned up, we’re so white.
It’s funny to hear them talk. One night in our cowshed, I heard one of them say how he was going to keep his son out of the next war.
As soon as I get home, I’m going to put 10-pound weights in his hands and make him jump off the garage roof, to break down his arches. I’m going to feed him a little ground glass to give him a bad stomach, and I’m going to make him read by candlelight all the time to ruin his eyes. When I get through with him, he’ll be double-4 double-F.
Another favorite expression of soldiers just out of combat runs like this:
Well, let’s go down to Naples and start a second draft.
Meaning let’s conscript all the clerks, drivers, waiters, MPs, office workers and so on that flood any big city near a fighting area, and send them up in the mountains to fight.
The funny thing is they wouldn’t have to draft many soldiers down there. A simple call for volunteers would be enough, I really believe. One of the paradoxes of war is that those in the rear want to get up into the fight, while those in the lines want to get out.
Piles up weapons until he has superiority – then strikes hard
By Boyd Lewis, United Press staff writer
A handful of Allied leaders are being trusted to plan and lead the “second front” which the Anglo-American powers are expected to send across the English Channel soon. Who are these men? What are they like? Are they capable of the jobs assigned to them?
Boyd Lewis of the United Press War Desk has written a series of articles, telling about those men. In the following, the last of the series, he discusses Generalissimo Eisenhower.
When you fight the way Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower fights, you can telegraph your punch to the enemy and get away with it.
The Allied “second front” invasion generalissimo is a “sure thing artist,” who believes in oiling up so much of everything on his side that the enemy doesn’t have a chance.
It was that way in Sicily and in Italy. He made no secret of his intention to attack either objective. When “mathematical Ike” was ready, he rolled. He knew the enemy might halt him temporarily at one point or another, but he also knew that it could not halt him everywhere because he had more of everything that it takes to do modern battle.
Along with the planes, ships and guns, Gen. Eisenhower gathers to his side a team of the best available brains. He has created a new kind of war-making, replacing the traditional staffs, each working on its own plans and tied by liaison to the others, with a hard-hitting, imaginative team of the best available fighting brains – land, sea and air – of two nations.
Same tactics used
In previous dispatches in this series, the characteristics of the fighting team captained by the big smiling, muscular man from Texas were examined. By viewing them in lineup, some idea of how Gen. Eisenhower plans to stage the March on Berlin can be glimpsed. Presumably the enemy gets the same ideas because “Ike” has whipped him in the Mediterranean with the same kind of team tactics.
Here is the top Allied invasion lineup:
Captain, coordinator, inspirational leader, American.
Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Arthur Tedder:
Deputy commander, advocate of “carpet bombing” to blast an avenue of destruction through an enemy defense position, British.
Adm. Sir Bertram Home Ramsay:
Hero of the Dunkirk evacuation and master of amphibious landing operations, British.
Air Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory:
Air commander-in-chief, fighter-pilot supreme, expert on the use of fighter cover for cooperation with ground forces, British.
Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz:
Commander of the strategic bombing force, exponent of the late Gen. Billy Mitchell’s theory that air attack alone can – if adequately applied – reduce any enemy fortification afloat or on land, the man who will rain explosives across the length and breadth of Hitler’s Fortress Europe while the amphibious force springs the front gate, American.
Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery:
Commander of the British ground forces, hero of El Alamein and the 8th Army’s march across North Africa and Sicily up the shrank of the Italian boot.
There still remains one vacant position in this list, that of the American ground commander.
The “punch” which Gen. Eisenhower has telegraphed thus would appear to shape up like this:
A terrific pasting by airplane of the entire vulnerable section of seacoast, along with bombing of communications lines supplying the area.
A massive air assault on the “carpet” plan, aimed at breaching the enemy fortifications.
An amphibious assault, covered from the sea by naval bombardment and from the air by an umbrella of fighters, pouring through a breach and fanning out beyond.
A continuous bridge of ships and landing craft bringing reinforcements and supplies – probably well over the 3,000 craft used in the Sicilian invasion.
Certain other features may be forecast from knowledge of the Eisenhower team. One early objective will be to gain control of a seaport so that large supply vessels may be utilized, as in Sicily. Another will be to snatch airports away from the enemy. In the first phase, the planes may operate from the British shore but before any substantial progress inland can be made, the Allies will need forward bases for fighters. Gen. Montgomery has characterized modern warfare as a struggle for airports.
One more forecast
It would seem logical that there be one or more diversionary blows to cause the enemy to waste his forces and continue him as to the place the main force will aim.
One more forecast is possible on the basis of Gen. Eisenhower’s previous fighting – that the European invasion will see the greatest utilization of artillery of any war in history. Germany has had plenty of time to prepare for this attack and will be well dug in. There will be no swift, mobile slashing by mounted columns.
Behind this attack will be the good-humored Gen. Eisenhower, born in Texas, reared in Kansas, educated at West Point. The name handed down by his Swiss forebears generations ago means to the Germans “iron beater,” an appropriate name for the man chosen to forge the weapon with which the Allies hope to bring Germany to her knees in 1944.
By Maj. Alexander P. de Seversky
Congressman says admiral’s dismissal has been recommended at Fly’s request
Völkischer Beobachter (January 9, 1944)
Über Giraud und de Gaulle zu Bogomolow und Wyschinski – ein beispielhafter Weg
Von unserer Stockholmer Schriftleitung
U.S. Navy Department (January 9, 1944)
Dive bombers of the 7th Army Air Force accompanied by Navy fighters attacked Mille Atoll in the Marshall Islands on January 7 (West Longitude Date). No fighter interception was encountered. On the evening of January 7, enemy planes dropped bombs at Tarawa without damage to our installations.
The New York Times (January 9, 1944)
Naples, Italy (AP) – (Jan. 8)
A huge and spectacular “V” sign has appeared on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius facing directly toward the 5th Army front. Two long streams of fiery lava have spilled from the crater and slanted down the side of the volcano, finally converging some 400 feet below. At night, the giant “V” glows cheery red against the background of the snowy cone – an omen of an early Allied victory, Italians say.
Not by their husbands? Weird
The Pittsburgh Press (January 9, 1944)
Cassino under bombardment; battle fought for every house
By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer
Someone should make a movie about this. A very different setting to ww2 while being a ww2 movie.