America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

Maj. de Seversky: Planes alone can win wars if given chance, high-ranking airmen contend

By Maj. Alexander P. de Seversky

Millett: Rumors

Many people repeat all they hear in wartime
By Ruth Millett

Midwest crops threatened by dry weather

Subsoil moisture in Wheat Belt lowest in many years
By the United Press

Völkischer Beobachter (January 21, 1944)

Die Westmächte in vollem Rückzug –
Restlose Kapitulation vor Stalin offen eingestanden

Hände der plutokratischen Außenpolitik durch den Verrat von Teheran gebunden

Das britische Empire im Umbau –
Canberra zwischen London und Washington

Eigener Bericht des „Völkischen Beobachters“

Die schweren Verluste der Terrorflieger –
‚Ein zweites Pearl Harbour‘

dnb. Genf, 20. Jänner –
Bei dem Luftangriff auf Schweinfurt hat die US-Regierung nach üblichem Rezept nur den Verlust von 60 Bombenflugzeugen mit 593 Besatzungsmitgliedern zugegeben.

Bekanntlich hat aber selbst diese Zahl schon so großes Entsetzen in der US-Bevölkerung erregt, daß die Presse aufgefordert wurde, beschwichtigend zu wirken. Jetzt erklärt nun ein Leitartikel von Colliers, die Verlustmeldung habe so erschütternd gewirkt, wie seinerzeit die Nachricht von dem Angriff auf Pearl Harbour und man fürchte weitere Einbußen dieser Art.

Diese weiteren schweren Einbußen sind inzwischen bei dem Tagesangriff auf Mitteldeutschland in noch größerem Umfange eingetreten.

U.S. Navy Department (January 21, 1944)

Communiqué No. 497

Pacific and Far East.
U.S. submarines have reported the sinking of twelve enemy vessels in operations against the enemy in these areas, as follows:


  • 1 large tanker
  • 1 medium cargo transport
  • 1 small transport
  • 7 medium freighters
  • 2 small freighters

These actions have not been announced in any previous Navy Department communiqué.

CINCPAC Press Release No. 233

For Immediate Release
January 21, 1944

Wotje was raided on the afternoon of January 20 (West Longitude Date) by Liberators of the 7th Army Air Force. We lost one plane.

Ventura search planes of Fleet Air Wing Two made a low-altitude at­tack on Imieji and Tmiet Islands during the morning of January 20. One of our planes was shot down by anti-aircraft fire.

A Navy search Liberator of Fleet Air Wing Two damaged an enemy cargo transport near Maloelap on January 19.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 21, 1944)

U.S., British subs strike heavy blows

Enemy warship destroyed ‘in the vicinity’ of Singapore

Bombs rip invasion coast; record raid blasts Berlin

2,000 tons of explosives rained on France, 2,300 on Reich capital
By Phil Ault, United Press staff writer

Nazis pushed farther back toward Rome

Germans reported planning new ‘Adolf Hitler’ defense line
By C. R. Cunningham, United Press staff writer

Allies smash Rabaul again

Panicky Japs rushing in air reinforcements
By Don Caswell, United Press staff writer

Girl ‘stands up’ colonel so he marries her twin

Original ‘date’ serves as bridesmaid for her sister

Registry at Chicago hotel studied for slaying case

Killer of diplomat’s wife may have been guest; revenge theory considered by prosecutor

Millionaire playboy claims he was gambler’s victim

Cry of ‘Welcher’ and mink coat gift highlight trial

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

In Italy – (by wireless)
Although our dive-bomber pilots are largely spared the worry of German fighter planes, they are plenty concerned over the anti-aircraft flak and other ground fire. The German ack-ack over the frontlines is smothering. Here’s the way it works:

Suppose our planes make a big circle back of the German lines in order to approach the target from a new angle, which they do every day.

Well, the Germans may pick them up 40 miles from their target. Our men have to fly every inch of that through heavy flak.

It’s a game of wits. The pilots above and the gunners on the ground know each other’s actions so well by now that it’s almost impossible for either side to do anything new.

If our pilots do think of a new evasive maneuver one day, the Germans have it figured out by the next; and vice versa, if the German gunners shoot a different pattern one day, our pilots have it figured out before the next mission.

Constant evasive action

The planes have to fly in constant “evasive action,” which means going right, going left, going up, going down, all the time they are over enemy territory. If they flew in a straight line for as long as 15 seconds, the Germans would pick them off.

A pilot sits up there and figures this way:

Right now, they’ve got a bearing on me. In a certain number of seconds, they’ll shoot and in a few more seconds the shell will be up here. It’s up to me to be somewhere else then.

But he also knows that the Germans know he will turn, and that consequently they will send up shells to one side or the other or above or below his present position.

Thus, he must never make exactly the same move two days in a row. By constantly turning, climbing, ducking, he makes a calculated hit almost impossible. His worst danger is just flying by chance right into a shell burst.

I asked one of the pilots:

Why wouldn’t it be a good idea to fool them about once every two weeks by just flying straight ahead for a while?

He said:

Because they’ve got that figured out too. They always keep the air dead ahead of you full of shells, just in case.

Some freakish escapes

Pilots have some freakish escapes from shell blasts. Several have had shells explode within a foot or two of their plane without getting hurt.

They say it sounds as if you’d fired off a dozen shotguns in the cockpit. The concussion tosses the plane around like a cork, yet often these close bursts don’t damage the plane at all.

A friend of mine, Lt. Jimmy Groswold of Los Angeles, was thrown violently into a dive by a shell that must have exploded within a foot of a tail of his plane, yet there wasn’t a mark on it when he got home.

The German gunners are canny. For instance, on a bad day when there is a high layer of clouds with just a few holes through which the bombers might dive, they’ll fill up those holes with flak when they hear planes overhead.

It isn’t the heavy flak up above or the medium flak on the way down that worries the pilots as much as the small-arms fire from the ground after they’ve finished their dive.

If you’d ever been in a raid on either side, you’d understand. I know that when German planes come over our lines the whole valley for miles and miles becomes one vast fountain of flying lead with bullets going up by the thousands. It’s actually like a water spray, filling the air as far as you can see.

Our dive-bomber pilots have to fly through this every day. They “hit the deck” the minute they’ve pulled out of their bombing dive, for it’s harder to see a plane that is close to the ground. Also, when they’re almost down to earth the Germans firing at them may shoot their own troops – but even that doesn’t stop them, they keep banging away.

The pilots say it’s the accidental bullet they’re most afraid of. They say that nine times out of 10, it’s some goof standing out in the field shooting wildly into the air that gets a hit.

What price politics?

By Florence Fisher Parry

Miss Kellems sticks to guns; can’t pay tax

Morgenthau fails to convince her, industrialist replied

Penal report recommends Western Pen be abandoned

Study by Maury Maverick of WPB severely criticizes Pennsylvania’s entire prison system
By Robert Taylor, Press Washington correspondent

Sparks lays Hopkins ‘letter’ to Ickes


Farm protest viewed as aid to fourth term

Midwest group proposes to oust Wickard and Black
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Washington (UP) –
Democratic National Committee members gathering here for tomorrow’s one-day meeting were developing enthusiasm today for a fourth term for President Roosevelt.

Representatives of Midwest Democrats have been invited to convene today in a protest meeting curtain-raiser to the national committee session. But all concerned explain there is no protest against Mr. Roosevelt, but only against some of his farm policy advisers.

Today’s meeting has been widely advertised as directed against Harry L. Hopkins and David K. Niles, two of the President’s political intimates. But the farm-conference sponsors deny that, too.

Nebraska committeeman James C. Quigley, who invited representatives of 13 farm states to meet today, said they would be gunning for Secretary of Agriculture Claude R. Wickard and Governor A. G. Black of the Farm Credit Administration.

Invited to the conference were national committeemen and state chairmen from North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Indiana and Wisconsin.

Mr. Quigley said he hoped the conference would help win back to the Democratic Party the farm vote “lost by such misfits as Wickard and Black.”

Looks to ‘the peace’

Mr. Quigley is for a fourth term, explaining that “President Roosevelt should write the peace.”

He added:

Who should make the peace is going to be the whole issue this fall. If the Republicans ever hope to win, they will have to produce a statesman who can sit down with Stalin and Churchill and hold his own.

Maine committeeman F. Harold Dubord said he was for a fourth term and predicted that Mr. Roosevelt could carry Maine this time. He lost in his first three tries.

California committeeman Culbert Olson said he and many other members were for the President again. Oregon committeeman Howard Latourette said his state would send a Roosevelt delegation to the Democratic National Convention.

It’s purely personal

Reports of Midwest rumblings against Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Niles have been interpreted as reflecting considerable farm sentiment against a fourth term for Mr. Roosevelt.

Mr. Hopkins was the actual ringmaster of the 1940 Democratic National Convention at which the President was nominated for a third term. Until the war began to absorb his interest, Mr. Hopkins was generally regarded as the administration’s most active political figure, next to Mr. Roosevelt.

Mr. Niles has been charged in the anti-Roosevelt camp with responsibility for fourth term strategy. He is one of six administrative assistants to the President.

According to report

Mr. Hopkins is a special assistant to the President in addition to his responsibilities as a member of the Red Cross Central Committee, chairman of the Munitions Assignment Board, member of the War Mobilization Committee, and trustee of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.

Other than persistent published reports, however, there is no evidence here that the farm state conference is intended as a challenge of any kind to a fourth term.