America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

Hero ends own life

Los Angeles, California –
Staff Sgt. Floyd L. Evans, 37, who held three citations, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, was found dead today in a downtown hotel, his wrists slashed.

Civil affairs Marine teams run Marshalls

Islands are first Jap territory placed under U.S. control
By Charles Arnot, representing combined U.S. press

Yanks face a mighty task in invasion of Marshalls

Japs have had 22 years to fortify islands, and nature also plays a big hand
By Morris Markey, North American Newspaper Alliance

Dopking: Navy’s guns blow Japs sky-high on Kwajalein

Marines meet only sporadic resistance after shelling levels enemy blockhouses and pillboxes
By Alva Dopking, representing combined U.S. press

Finch: 3-day shelling and bombing crushes atoll

Ships ring island with fire; planes rain down blockbusters
By Percy Finch, representing combined U.S. press

We’re not tough!

By Maxine Garrison

Millett: Letter-a-day to your boy like heart-to-heart talk

By Ruth Millett

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

In Italy – (by wireless)
The British Army recently announced a new system of wound and foreign-service stripes, similar to ours of the last war. I’ve wondered for a long time when we would get around to doing it ourselves, and if you ask me the sooner the better.

The new British wound insigne is to be straight up-and-down gold strip an inch and a half long on the left forearm. There will be one for each wound. Similar stripes of red will be granted for each year of service in the war.

Ours of the last war was a golden “V” on the right sleeve for each wound, and the same on the left sleeve for each six months of service abroad.

A little thing like a stripe can do wonders for morale. And certainly it’s pointless to wait till everybody gets home, for the average soldier will get into civvies the moment he gets his discharge. Over here and right now is when wound and service stripes would give a guy a chance to get a little kick out of wearing his record on his sleeve.

In fact, I wouldn’t mind parading a few stripes myself. Very shortly I’ll have a total of two years overseas since World War II began, and since I’m now at the age where hardening of the arteries may whisk me off at any moment. I’d like somebody to see my stripes before it’s too late.

Typewriter breaks down

A thing I’ve always feared in war zones has at last happened – my typewriter has broken down.

A certain metal bracket has cracked right in two, and you can no longer turn the cylinder and make a new line by hitting the little lever on the side.

Fortunately, you can still turn the cylinder the old-fashioned way, but that’s like a soldier with a machine gun who has to stop and load every bullet separately. It will be possible to get the little gadget welded the next time I get to an airfield, but jumping around as we d that may the weeks away.

Still, all in all, breakdown could be much worse, and I don’t know that a broken typewriter makes so much difference anyhow to a correspondent who is unable to think of anything better than his broken typewriter to write about.

That bet on beer bottles

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the boys in a certain artillery battery were betting on whether Schlitz beer ever came in green bottles or not.

Well, R. Ray Parsons of Indianapolis writes that the Schlitz bottle was brown for many years but that because of the wartime bottle shortage it is now often put in green bottles. That settles the argument but the best part is yet to come.

Mr. Parsons was a private in the AEF in the last war and he is a Schlitz salesman. He now has and his enthusiasm for the ripe quality of his own suds, that he offers to buy the two artillerymen all the beer they can drink in a week after they get back to America. If they’ll write him, he’ll make the date.

That would be fine but, Mr. Parsons, what the artillerymen and everybody else want is beer over here right now. Everybody but me, of course.

Must cut voting red tape

All America seems to be worrying about whether the soldiers are going to get to vote. It sounds as though Congress is practically in fistfights about it.

Well, if you’ll met have the platform a moment, I think I can tell you how it is. I can’t answer for the Army which is either in training or in behind-the-lines routine jobs, but I think I can answer for the frontline combat soldier, and the answer is this:

Sure he wants to vote, if you ask him he’ll say yes. But he actually thinks little about it, and if there’s going to be any red tape about it, he’ll say nuts to it.

The average combat soldier is so consumed with the job of merely keeping alive, and with contributing what bare little he can to his own miserable existence, that he has little room in him for thinking about the ballot. If you offered him his choice between voting in November and finding a dirty cowshed to lie down in out of the rain tonight, the cowshed would win.

Won’t fuss with questionnaires

If the Army could set up the machinery and some day all of a sudden tell every soldier in the combat zone to step up and mark his “X” if he wanted to, then 99% of the frontline troops would vote.

But if soldiers have to full out long questionnaires from their home states, sign affidavits, and fuss around with reading and writing out complicated lists, then I think 99% of those same frontline troops would say:

To hell with it, he’d rather have a cigar ration at suppertime instead.



Pegler: Dewey’s record

By Westbrook Pegler

Albany, New York –
It would be foolish to pretend that the rising interest in Tom Dewey’s work as Governor of New York is limited to just that.

Although he is not a declared candidate for the Republican nomination for the Presidency nobody is naïve enough to think he would refuse to and that is why his work as governor, the adoption of a short, understandable state income tax form, his determination to make the cities meet their financial responsibilities so as to reduce their debts, the better to meet post-war conditions, his attitude toward the people whom he regards as citizens, not wards of the government, are of national interest.

This new state income tax form consists of just one page, for taxpayers whose income consists of wages, salaries, commissions, pensions, interest, dividends, partnerships, estates or trusts. It contains only 22 questions and schedules from A to I, such as “Were you married and living with your wife or husbands?” and “if so, state name and did your wife or husband have a separate income and if so, it included in this return?”

There is a reverse side, but half of that is taken up by instructions and the blanks on the top half are for the explanation of deductions claimed on page one. It can be used for incomes up to any amount derived from the sources specified, by contrast with the idiotic federal return required of individuals above a certain rather modest bracket.

Duplication in taxes

Moreover, although Mr. Dewey has not attacked the subject, his tax department is imbued with the idea that the federal and state governments should divide the tax field by agreement and avoid duplications. The income tax is the horrible example of this duplication, because the New York law compels the citizen to pay a state tax on money already paid to the national Treasury, a plainly cynical imposition.

The question may be raised, for example, whether the federal government has any right to collect amusement taxes inasmuch as amusement is a strictly local occasion. A man takes a girl to the movies. In what respect is that an interstate transaction? If the federal government may tax tickets, why may it not tax real estate? But if it confines itself to its own traditional American responsibilities it won’t have to collect local taxes.

The Dewey administration’s tendency seems to be toward restoration of the responsibility of the subdivisions of government and the division of taxing powers so that the federal government will not be collecting from the people to finance local improvements and assuming the function of the subdivisions without reducing their wasteful rapacity. Similarly, the state would operate in its own well-defined tax field and the cities and other inferior subdivisions would have to make their own way on their own revenues.

Old bonds for sale

Recently, Mr. Dewey’s controller, Frank Moore, has been telling careless cities that they can’t refund old bond issues but will have to pay them of. There is political risk in this because it means higher immediate local taxes in some cases but Mr. Dewey pointed out in a speech to a meeting of publishers that one city has repeatedly refunded an issue of bonds sold to raise soldier bounties in the Civil War and is still paying interest on them although the payments have amounted to many times the original amount. In another case, Boss Tweed in 1868 sold a bond issue paying 7% to pay for a sidewalk in the Bronx. The sidewalk is gone and probably no man lives who remembers it.

He said:

Some of the bonds will mature in 1975, but some cannot be paid for another 100 years since they are not callable. The bonds go on and on. These stories could be multiplied by the hundred.

There is no Harry Hopkins anywhere in the Dewey state government, nor a Henry Morgenthau or Randolph Paul. there are no timeless moochers’ quarters in the Governor’s mansion or embittered failures in the battle of life striving to revise the rules in favor of the incompetent to the detriment and discouragement of those who are able.

That simplified tax return is a bright example of the new type of New Deal. The old one, including instructions, contained six pages.


Clapper: Hospital

By Raymond Clapper

This is one of the last columns written by Raymond Clapper.

Somewhere in New Guinea – (by wireless)
I hope it will give comfort to many parents, wives and sweethearts at home to know that, bad as conditions are where the fighting must be done, the wounded and ill in New Guinea are in the more serious cases evacuated back to station hospitals which are the opposite of what I had imagined jungle conditions here to be.

I visited the 171st Station Hospital, near Port Moresby. It consists of a large group of tents out in an open valley, overlooking the sparkling waters of the Coral Sea and fringed around with hillsides of brilliant flame trees in luxurious blossom.

Lt. Col. C. T. Wilkinson, formerly a physician at Wake Forest, North Carolina:

Four days after we were given this real estate, which was covered with high kunai grass, we had 500 patients.

They had to bring in water from miles away. there were Jap air raids every night. Doctors did the carpentry work for the operating room, and nurses painted the interior. In 14 months, they have handled 1,174 patients, including a considerable number of psychoneurosis cases, most of whom have returned to duty. Some of these are boys who have been spoiled by easy luxury at home and find it hard to adjust to Army life, some are suffering from plain homesickness, some from fear.

White sheets and women

The big thing about the hospital is the bright, open, cheerful atmosphere. When one group of patients came in after a long stretch in the jungle at the front, under severe conditions, one of them said to a nurse:

Gosh! White sheets, and women!

Bright flowers are planted in little gardens all around the hospital tents. Many of the boys are sent seeds from home. I saw zinnias in bloom, and marigolds, and poppies, and native poinsettias, and morning-glory vines over the nurses’ tents. Everything possible is done to help the men forget the gruesome sights of the front.

Patients work a five-acre garden. Col. Wilkinson picked a 15-pound watermelon outside his tent the day before I was there. Palms provide shade over the tents.

I was walking along with Col. Wilkinson when suddenly we came upon a big open ward tent full of kneeling men. I could see the back of a priest, in white vestments, at an altar, and suddenly I realized it was Sunday. You can’t tell one day from another out here, because everything goes on just the same. The hospital has Catholic and Protestant services on Sundays, Jewish services on Fridays, Mormon services on Wednesdays.

Gardening heals soul

The Red Cross helps instruct patients in manual therapy, using old airplane metal and other scraps. The patients have just made 200 screen-wire fly traps. They convert shell packing cases into sinks, and so other improvised work. But it is gardening that seems most of all to heal the soul.

They have a rolling Army kitchen which they say is the only one used by any hospital. It is in the charge of one of the nurses, Lt. Clara Palau of Northfield, Minnesota, who told me the food was always cold when it had to be carried on trays to wards as far as a quarter of a mile from the kitchen. So, they wangled this mobile kitchen from the Australian Army, and now they bring piping hot food to every patient.

The hospital streets are named after nurses. There is a baseball field, and there are movies five nights a week.

They have just used the new drug penicillin for the first time. Tail gunner Patrick Missita of Glens Falls, New York, had an internal abscess and they couldn’t operate. Penicillin saved him. He told me he was leaving the next day to go back to his gunning.

The last thing I saw on leaving the mess hall was a large poster: “Buy War Bonds.”

Maj. de Seversky: German fighters form barrier to successful European invasion

By Maj. Alexander P. de Seversky

Simms: Russian plan is puzzle to U.S. observers

Chance to get bases for bombing of Japan surmised
By William Philip Simms, Scripps-Howard foreign editor

Tribe head draws blasts from majors

‘Cry baby’ sums up replies of rivals
By Jack Cuddy, United Press staff writer

‘Big board’ has first profit in seven years

Stock exchange earnings reflect increase in trading activity

Furlough plan to extend to Pacific troops

Number to return to states will depend upon shipping facilities

Völkischer Beobachter (February 4, 1944)

London und Washington klatschen Beifall –
Die ‚Verfassungsänderung‘ im Dienst des Weltjudentums

Bolschewistischer Giftköder für die kleinen Völker

Erbittertes Ringen um das Bergmassiv von Cassino –
Die schweren Abwehrkämpfe im Osten dauern an

U.S. Navy Department (February 4, 1944)

Communiqué No. 501

North Pacific.
On the night of February 2-3, two Navy Catalinas from the Aleutian Islands bombed enemy installations on the southeast coast of Paramushiru. Results of the bombing were not observed. No enemy planes were encountered. Both of our planes returned.

Communiqué No. 502

South Atlantic.
Within the space of 48 hours early in January, three German blockade runners, heavily laden with vital war materials, were sent to the bottom of the South Atlantic by surface forces of the U.S. Navy operating under the command of VAdm. Jonas Ingram, USN.

The enemy ships sunk were the BURGENLAND, RIO GRANDE and WESERLAND, en route from Far Eastern Japanese‑held ports. Their holds were filled with thousands of tons of rubber, tin, fats and strategic ores.

The blockade runners were sunk by the USS SOMERS (DD-381) and the light cruiser OMAHA (CL-4) and the destroyer JOUETT (DD-396). A large number of prisoners were picked up following the sinkings. In two of the sinkings, Navy search planes found the enemy ships and called for the surface force to complete their destruction. The WESERLAND fell to the SOMERS alone while the other two were scuttled by their crews and their sinking hastened by gunfire from the OMAHA and the JOUETT.

Summoned by planes, the SOMERS found her target in the darkness of early morning and, on identifying the vessel as hostile, opened fire with her main battery of five‑inch guns. The first salvo hit the WESERLAND, forcing the crew to abandon ship. The destroyer then sank the vessel after internal explosions were set of by the crew as they left. Survivors were picked up at daylight.

A scouting plane from the OMAHA and a lookout in the ship’s foretop were the first to sight the RIO GRANDE. As the OMAHA and the JOUETT closed to investigate the stranger she burst into smoke and flame, the result of demolition charges placed by the crew. The two U.S. warships fired six-inch and five‑inch shells into the blockade runner and she soon sank.

On the following day the OMAHA and JOUETT found the BURGENLAND. As the U.S. warships approached, a similar scene to that enacted by the RIO GRANDE took place. However, destruction was completed as in the former case by shellfire.

Hundreds of tons of baled rubber found floating amid the debris after the sinkings were recovered and are now on their way to the United States.

CINCPAC Communiqué No. 30

Operations at the Kwajalein Atoll continue satisfactorily.

Our forces have landed on Ebeye, north of Kwajalein Island. The landing was unopposed but resistance was encountered a short distance inland from the beach. We have now occupied half the island.

Two small islands between Kwajalein and Ebeye have been occupied following neutralization of moderate opposition. Gugegwe and Loi Islands, north of Ebeye, have been taken under attack by bombing and Naval gunfire, and the enemy is answering our fire.

Resistance on Kwajalein Island continues, but progress is being made. Our casualties continue to be moderate.

The Pittsburgh Press (February 4, 1944)

Yank raiders soar through thick ack-ack

Frankfurt reported target of escorted B-17s and Liberators
By Phil Ault, United Press staff writer

German ships found on way from Orient

Hundreds of tons of baled rubber salvaged from South Atlantic

Japs isolated in Marshalls

U.S. invasion fleet enters Kwajalein, main enemy base east of Truk
By William F. Tyree, United Press staff writer

Victory at Kwajalein Atoll for U.S. forces was almost complete today as Army troops mopped up the last Japs on Kwajalein Island, on the southern tip of the atoll. Marines wiped out the last Japs on Namur Island, in the north, and captured several nearby islets, including Edgigen and Gagan. Meanwhile, the U.S. invasion fleet sailed into Kwajalein Lagoon, formed by the reef of the atoll.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii –
The biggest invasion fleet ever assembled in the Pacific has sailed into and occupied Kwajalein Lagoon, Japan’s main naval base east of Truk, a front dispatch disclosed today as U.S. Army troops mopped up the last battered enemy troops on Kwajalein Island.

RAdm. Richmond K. Turner, commander of the amphibious forces, ordered all troop transports and most of the supporting, warships into the lagoon – the world’s largest – in the heart of the Marshall Islands so that the surrounding reef would protect them against Jap submarines.

Leif Erickson, representing the combined Allied press on the joint expeditionary force flagship, said the ships entered the lagoon on the second day of the invasion Tuesday while Marines and Army troops were still battling desperately-resisting Japs at either end of the 66-mile-long Kwajalein Atoll.

Other islands cut off

The dispatch did not mention whether the vessels encountered any opposition, but it was presumed that the terrific preliminary bombardment had wrecked any Jap ships still in the lagoon and knocked out enemy coastal batteries.

Mr. Erickson indicated that the Americans might not bother to invade the other atolls in the Marshalls. Cut off from their main supply base at Kwajalein, the enemy garrisons may be left to starve, Mr. Erickson said.

Overruns airfield

A U.S. Army regiment has overrun the airfield on Kwajalein Island, the last airstrip in the atoll remaining in enemy hands, and overwhelmed a tank trap position to the east, Mr. Erickson reported.

Radio Tokyo broadcast an Imperial Headquarters communiqué early today, but it contained no mention of the Marshall Islands.

The 4th Marine Division under Maj. Gen. Harry Schmidt, completed the conquest of Namur Island, blasted by bombs and shells in probably the most concentrated bombardment in history, at the northeastern corner of the atoll at 1:00 p.m. (local time) Wednesday after wiping out the defenders in 24½ hours.

Losses small

The adjacent islands of Gagan, Edjell, Debuu and Edgigen were also overrun by the invaders, with overall U.S. losses in the northern part of the campaign totaling only 100 dead and 400 wounded.

On Kwajalein Island at the southern tip of the atoll, the Army 7th Infantry Division under Maj. Gen, Charles H. Corlett was reported making “satisfactory progress” with tanks, flamethrowers and possibly secret weapons never before employed in the Pacific, methodically annihilating the remnants of the trapped garrison.

A spokesman for Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, commander of the Pacific Fleet, announced yesterday that known enemy dead on Kwajalein Island up to Wednesday night were 1,250 of the estimated original garrison of 2,000, while U.S. casualties totaled 27 dead, nine missing and 190 wounded.

Japs counterattack

The Japs counterattacked on Kwajalein Tuesday night, but were thrown back and dispersed with heavy losses.

Kwajalein Island, 2½ miles long, was the main Jap base for the atoll of the same name and the enemy had massed a huge concentration of military stores in 250 large buildings in the northeastern corner, where the last defenders were holding out.

The record Allied air and sea bombardment preceding and accompanying the invasion of Japan’s principal Marshalls base was so paralyzing that not a single enemy plane had attacked the amphibious forces from the time they left their home port at least through Thursday, Mr. Erickson’s dispatch revealed. Not a ship was lost from any cause.

Cites lives saved

Adm. Turner told Mr. Erickson:

Our gains are important and they haven’t cost us much. Maybe we had too many ships for this job, but I prefer to do things that way. It was many lives saved for us, and it should be a discouragement to the Japs everywhere to know that when we hot, we really hit hard and for keeps.

The U.S. naval escort for the invasion fleet comprised the largest naval striking force every assembled on any ocean and included every type warship from the newest 16-inch gun battleships to submarines.

Attack other islands

Meanwhile, the U.S. 7th Air Force and Fleet Air Wing Two kept up their ceaseless pounding of other islands in the Marshall group, making at least five attacks Tuesday and Wednesday.

A special announcement said Army Liberators dropped nearly eight tons of bombs on Rongelap, 125 miles north of Kwajalein Atoll, Wednesday, while Dauntless dive bombers with a fighter escort placed more than 13 tons of explosives on the airdrome and gun emplacements at Mili. No enemy fighters were encountered and anti-aircraft fire was described as only moderate.

Bomb beached vessel

Navy search planes bombed a small beached vessel at Namur Atoll, just south off Kwajalein, and also dropped one ton of bombs each on Wotje and Taroa Tuesday.

The 7th Air Force alone was revealed to have dropped more than 1,750 tons of bombs ranging from 25-pound fragmentation missiles to half-ton atoll-busters on the Marshalls before the start of the invasion.

The bombings were supplemented with cannonading by new rapid-landing 75mm cannon mounted in Mitchell medium bombers. The Liberators were forced to fly up to 2,400 miles – equal to two roundtrips between London and Berlin – for their 680 preliminary sorties.

Jones: Japs almost driven insane by bombardment of island

By George E. Jones, United Press staff writer

Namur Island, Kwajalein, the Marshalls – (Feb. 3, delayed)
Scattered snipers and unseen enemy wounded remain on this shattered, stinking island, but the actual end of sustained combat came at 1:00 p.m. yesterday in a little corner near the northwest tip of Namur Island as the Marines pressed in for the kill.

Organized enemy resistance was ended, and even the toughened, battle-hardened Marines were disgusted with the task of wiping out Jap troops who hovered on the borderline of insanity as the result of the Allied bombardment and the ensuing hopeless retreat across the island.

U.S. casualties have been very moderate, although they include one of the most popular officers in the Marine Corps.

Only a few score Japs of the original force who garrisoned Namur and the adjoining island of Roi were left as a ring of Marine gunfire tightened about their defensive position, which was probably a command post.

Their fight was hopeless from the very beginning. It was a murderous bombardment, then an inevitable retreat in the face of superior Marine firepower. Light mobile artillery, flamethrowers and bazookas thundered and rocked against the crumbling concrete pillboxes and then the Japs were surrounded.

Most remained in hiding, awaiting the end which came quickly in most cases. Only a few tried to break the encirclement and they could not make it.

I was on that battlefield with Capt. Arthur Hanson of Washington when the staccato chatter of machine guns and the resonant thumps of Marine mortars died away.

For more than four hours, I had been dodging sniper bullets as I poked among the ruins, and the silence seemed unnatural.

In their two-day battle, the Japs resorted to a few of their favorite tactics. During the night, some crawled back into wrecked pillboxes and had to be killed yesterday morning.

Sergeant cleans up

The most ambitious maneuver of this kind involved a half-dozen riflemen who sneaked into a dugout and harassed rear echelons until an unidentified sergeant walked inside along with a Garand and killed every Jap.

Sgt. Archie Vale, 45, of Grand Junction, Colorado, was credited with destroying another nest of snipers. He shot three Japs and then tossed in a grenade.

He said:

They’d keep popping up and I threw more grenades. The tip of one officer’s saber kept showing above the shell hole where the Japs lay.

Sgt. Vale killed 13 Japs, including three officers.

Like Indian warfare

The Marines brought ashore a large assortment of heavy and fancy weapons past the wrecked beach defenses. The battle, however, became true French and Indian warfare – tree to tree, men flopping into the coral soil behind available protection when hidden enemy rifles and machine guns opened fire, then circling the flanking pocket of resistance and finally destroying it with grenades and bullets.

The effect of the bombardment can be appreciated only by seeing for yourself the destruction wrought on the islands of Roi and Namur, blockhouses terrifically battered, gun barrels of the coastal defenses twisted and shattered amidst debris and the dismembered bodies of their crews.

The entire island of Namur was transformed into an inferno. Neat rows of palm trees were mutilated and burned by shells and bombs. Tin-roofed barracks were crumpled and disintegrated. Sturdier buildings burned to their concrete framework.

Debris goes 3,000 feet high

The explosion of one blockhouse threw debris 3,000 feet into the air. As I picked myself from the ground, a chunk of concrete the size of my fist, brushed my arm, narrowly missing my typewriter.

Tons of stores and supplies are now pouring ashore, and the Marines who destroyed enemy resistance in 24½ hours are unloading cargo from scores of landing craft.

The crowded beaches greatly resemble Coney Island on a hot summer day. There is a display of newly-acquired loot – nearly every other man carries a bottle of Jap wine or beer. Other Marines captured officers’ swords, knives and insignia and stared in awe at pornographic pictures, of which the Japs seemed to have plenty.

Mostly the Marines are sleeping and eating, comparing experiences and wishing they could remove some of the rotting bodies from these islands.

Each death hard to take

They are also finding out who was killed or wounded. While U.S. casualties were very moderate, each one shot was hard to take.

They brought down the body of one of the most popular officers in the Marine Corps yesterday afternoon. He leaped into battle, throwing grenades and firing a rifle, standing upright in a field of fire. A machine-gun burst got him.

As his poncho-covered body came down a trail on a litter, one Marine told me:

He was standing up when he got it.

The Marine looked at the corpse and muttered, “Damn fool!”

There were tears in his eyes as he plodded on.

Death fight being waged for Cassino

Allied beachhead forces face serious threat below Rome
By the United Press