America at war! (1941–) – Part 3

Poll: Get-out-vote need faced by Democrats

Many not registered favor Roosevelt
By George Gallup, Director, American Institute of Public Opinion

Flier’s air pal comes home to comfort hero’s widow

Cocker spaniel veteran of 48 missions in Pacific pines away after master loses life

Millett: They find time to write and you let them down

Boys on fighting lines never forget but we at home are plain lazy
By Ruth Millett

American League flag race still wide-open despite Browns’ edge

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

Somewhere in Normandy – (by wireless)
It was just beginning dusk when the order came. A soldier came running up the pasture and said there was a call for our ordnance evacuation company to pull out some crippled tanks.

We had been sitting on the grass and we jumped up and ran down the slope. Waiting at the gate stood an M19 truck and behind it a big wrecker with a crane.

The day had been warm but dusk was bringing a chill, as always. One of the soldiers loaned me his mackinaw.

Soldiers stood atop their big machine with a stance of impatience, like firemen waiting to start. We pulled out through the hedgerow gate onto the main macadam highway. It was about 10 miles to the frontlines.

“We should make it before full darkness,” one of the officers said.

We went through shattered Carentan and on beyond for miles. Then we turned off at an angle in the road. “This is Purple Heart Corner,” the officer said.

With an increasing tempo, the big guns crashed around us. Hedges began to make weird shadows. You peered closely at sentries in every open hedge gate just out of nervous alertness.

No dignity in death

The smell of death washed past us in waves as we drove on. There is nothing worse in war than the foul odor of death. There is no last vestige of dignity in it.

We turned up a gravel lane, and drove slowly. The dusk was deepening. A gray stone farmhouse sat dimly off the road. A little yard and driveway semicircled in front of it. Against the front of the house stood five German soldiers, facing inward, their hands above their heads. An American doughboy stood in the driveway with a Tommy gun pointed at them. We drove on for about 50 yards and stopped. The drivers shut off their Diesel motors.

One officer went into an orchard to try to find where the tanks were. In wartime, nobody ever knows where anything is. The rest of us waited along the road beside an old stone barn. The dusk was deeper now.

Out of the orchards around us roared and thundered our own artillery. An officer hit a cigarette. A sergeant with a rifle slung on his shoulder walked up and said, “You better put that out, sir. There’s snipers all around and they’ll shoot at a cigarette.”

The officer crushed the cigarette in his fingers, not waiting to drop it on the ground, and said, “Thanks.”

“It’s for your own good,” the sergeant said, apologetically.

Somehow as darkness comes down in a land of great danger you want things hushed. People begin to talk in low voices and feet on jeep throttles tread less heavily.

An early German plane droned overhead, passed, turned, dived – and his white tracers came slanting down out of the sky. We crouched behind a stone wall. He was half a mile away, but the night is big and bullets can go anywhere and you are nervous.

On ahead there were single rifle shots and the give and take of machine gun rattles – one fast and one slow, one German and one American. You wondered after each blast if somebody who was whole a moment ago, some utter stranger, was now lying in sudden new anguish up there ahead in the illimitable darkness.

That old familiar wail

A shell whined that old familiar wail and hit in the orchard ahead with a crash. I moved quickly around behind the barn.

“You don’t like that?” inquired a soldier out of the dusk.

I said, “No, do you?”

And he replied as honestly, “I sure as hell don’t.”

A sergeant came up the road and said:

You can stay here if you want to, but they shell this barn every hour on the hour. They’re zeroed in on it.

We looked at our watches. It was five minutes till midnight. Some of our soldiers stood boldly out in the middle of the road talking. But you could sense some of us, who were less composed, being close to the stone wall, even close to the motherhood of the big silent trucks. Then an officer came out of the orchard. He had the directions. We all gathered around and listened. We had to back up, cross two pastures, turn down another lane and go forward from there.

We were to drag back two German tanks for fear the Germans might retrieve them during the night. We backed ponderously up the road, our powerful exhaust blowing up dust as we moved.

As we passed the gray stone farmhouse we could see five silhouettes, very faintly through the now almost complete night – five Germans still facing the gray farmhouse.

We came to a lane, and pulled forward into the orchard very slowly for you could barely see now. Even in the lightning flashes of the big guns, you could barely see.



Pegler: Union menace

By Westbrook Pegler

New York –
Up to date in this campaign for the Presidency, neither candidate has expressed any intention to work for legal reforms which would free the American worker from the oppression of the union movement. It has been a long time since Tom Dewey signified that he was even aware of the unions’ menace to individual, human freedom and, thus, to the collective freedom of us all, within our own country.

It may be taken for granted that Mr. Roosevelt will not even mention the subject, for he successfully has ignored it for years and has actively thwarted several attempts by Congress to establish legal standards and restraints with which the unions would have had to comply for the protection of the whole people.

Mr. Dewey operates under a handicap, because the Roosevelt propaganda has created a thoughtless belief, or superstition, among millions of voters, that he is pro-labor, whereas, in fact, he is free labor’s worst enemy. Therefore, Mr. Dewey, or anyone else who would impose on unions fair obligations to the whole community, would be falsely depicted as a man hostile to labor.

That, however, is Mr. Dewey hard luck. It sets for him a test of debate and statesmanship in the campaign which, however, for expediency and votes, he may decide to ignore with a mental reservation that, if elected, he would take it up later in recommendations to Congress.

Immune to legal restraints

Whatever candidates may say, the fact remains that the unions are out of control of their members and immune to legal restraints. They are a powerful anti-labor movement with absolutely no obligation to hold free elections of their officers, or any elections at all, to account for their funds, to limit the salaries and graft of their officials, to admit qualified workers to membership, to limit their activities to collective bargaining or to exclude criminals and alien Communists from official position in their councils.

They have forced unwilling workers to accept representation by henchmen of President Roosevelt’s own political machine in contempt of the Wagner Act, the very law which they hailed as labor’s Magna Carta. By this process, workers by millions have been forced to contribute to the Roosevelt campaign funds through collections taken up by his own political agents under compulsion and threat.

This method is almost identical with that of Benito Mussolini in Italy, and it may be that the workers are too stupid and too emotional in their politics to care even though this is demonstrated to be so.

Mussolini won the Italian workers with the same bait that Mr. Roosevelt has used in chumming up the suckers of American labor, and up to this time the American worker has not shown himself to be any more intelligent or careful of his liberties than his Italian brother who sold out for a little more cheap, paper money and the promise of an old-age pension which is now still pie in the sky.

Right to commit robbery upheld

Roosevelt’s Supreme Court has established for union bosses the right to commit highway robbery in the guise of soliciting employment for their subjects. Highway robbery is a crime which calls for a low, criminal character and it was shown in the Supreme Court case that most of the defendant union men were not workers or chosen labor agents but common, underworld jailbirds.

If a union boss will rob an employer on the highway, he will have no compunction to rob his own subjects in the union through shakedowns or theft of their money from the treasury. Yet, Mr. Roosevelt prevented the adoption of a law to forbid highway robbery in the name of unionism.

Just how far gone is the American worker in his cynicism, political emotion, prejudice, docility and ignorance of his actual condition one can only estimate. At times, he seems to be hopelessly persuaded to Fascism because it doesn’t hurt much, yet. Mr. Roosevelt won’t try to arouse him, for it was he who put the spell on him.

Mr. Dewey might try, but if so he would run the risk of losing the faceless American’s vote and all chance to save him from his own greedy, selfish immediate delight in war wages and the right to tell the boss, but never the union agent, to go to hell.

Maj. de Seversky: Complex warfare

By Maj. Alexander P. de Seversky

4-year battle against Nazi slave-masters told in dispatch secreted from Belgium

Resourceful Belgians find ways to escape Germany’s labor draft
By a Belgian journalist

Need for strict censorship cited


Soldier Voting Act broken, Navy officials admit

Marked federal ballots received in violation of Oct. 2 deadline set by Congress

Washington (UP) –
The Navy Department acknowledged today that a few marked federal ballots have been received from naval personnel overseas in violation of the Oct. 2 deadline set forth in the Soldier Voting Act.

The Navy said it has mailed some sealed federal ballots overseas but that no ballots have been distributed within the United States. Those shipped overseas, it said, were plainly marked “not to be opened until or after Oct. 2.” These instructions were apparently ignored, it added, and a few ballots opened and returned to home states.

Probe demanded

The Navy statement was issued after California Secretary of State Frank M. Jordan charged that some California servicemen overseas had been issued federal ballots for the November election without being given an opportunity to use state ballots.

Republican National Committeeman Raymond Haight of Los Angeles called for a Congressional investigation. He said:

On the basis of the facts available, it is too early to conclude how much is fraud and how much is stupidity. In any event, our Armed Forces are the victims.

The War Department said ballots have been received prematurely in Iowa, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and California. Investigation, however, showed that none was marked by Army personnel, he said.

To get another chance

The Navy Judge Advocate General’s Office said an inquiry had determined that the men who had mailed ballots prematurely may be given another chance to vote, since the ballots already received cannot be counted.

A total of 7,600,000 federal ballots were printed, of which 3,800,000 are for the Army, 3,400,000 for the Navy and 400,000 for the War Shipping Administration. The Soldier Voting Act provides that they are to be distributed only to servicemen unable to obtain ballots from their home states. In no case are they to be distributed prior to Oct. 2.


Stokes: Party heads fear Willkie and Wallace

Both may influence independent voters
By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Washington –
Two gentlemen who have been kicked and cuffed by the regular politicians of their parties are likely to have more to do with the November election than some practical politicians seem to suspect.

One is Wendell L. Willkie; the other, Vice President Henry A. Wallace.

Both have an appeal for the independent vote which, as of today, seems unusually large. A recent Gallup Poll estimates that about 25% of the voters have not decided yet whether they will vote Democratic or Republican.

Their doings important

This element probably comprises representatives of all classes and categories. In such an independent group, you are likely to find political and economic progressivism, with a strain of idealism, and considerable concern for a forward-looking program, both domestic and international. Sensible and sound argument, coupled with vision, will be needed here, not partisan denunciation and political hogwash.

What Messrs. Willkie and Wallace do and say will be important with this independent element. Each man is ahead of his party and its platform on both domestic and international issues, and each speaks plainly.

Vice President Wallace will support the Democratic ticket. There is no question about that.

Willkie delaying decision

Mr. Willkie has not indicated what he will do about the Dewey-Bricker ticket and, it is understood, will not until he finds out how Governor Dewey stands on several major issues, which probably will not be until the Republican candidate’s main campaign speeches some weeks hence.

Incidentally, such forthrightness as Governor Dewey’s flat repudiation of Rep. Ham Fish is the sort of thing that impresses Mr. Willkie, and a continuation of such straight talking might be persuasive with the 1940 Republican candidate.

While Vice President Wallace will support the Roosevelt-Truman ticket, the caliber and tone of his support may become important. He said in his convention speech that the party could continue only as a progressive party.

Wallace ousting raises question

Mr. Wallace has a large following, because he stands for something which appeals to so many ordinary folks. This was attested by his rank-and-file support for the nomination, as revealed in a Gallup Poll prior to the convention, by his showing in the convention when you consider that the game was stacked against him, and by reactions since. His ousting by President Roosevelt and the party bosses has raised a question in the minds of many voters.

To one who has watched the cold-blooded operations of the party bosses against both the Vice President and Mr. Willkie, and who has heard the bosses’ private cynical remarks about the two men, it seems the politicians have not yet caught on to what is going on in the country, have not caught the note of yearning among the people for a different order of things out of the suffering of this war, both in this country and all over the world.

Both stand as symbols

The people are ahead of the politicians. So are Messrs. Wallace and Willkie. That’s why both men have become symbols.

Republicans try to dismiss Mr. Willkie as of little influence, but they don’t seem to believe it even as they say it. Publicly, they express confidence he will come along, but they really don’t know, and they seem embarrassed that they can’t tell for sure.

Their attitude indicates they are afraid of Mr. Willkie. They would like so much to have him in their side. His word that the Republican ticket is OK might help a lot with the independent vote.

Reporters in robot’s path tell of escape from death

By Collie Smith and J. Edward Murray, United Press staff writers

Doll-doings letter reveals ship moves, attorney says

Espionage charge on customer is dropped

G.I. barracks bags to go to prisoners of Nazis

Hitler speaks to help rally home front

Talk is scheduled for next Thursday
By Edward W. Beattie, United Press staff writer

2,000 Jap bodies litter route of infiltration

Marines on Guam hurl back pre-dawn charge by several thousand on Guam
By Percy Finch, representing combined Allied press

Guam Japs waging fight to death

Cliff-to-cliff battle much like Saipan
By Keith Wheeler, North American Newspaper Alliance

Shapiro: Fanatical Nazi resistance below Caen puzzles Allies

British and Canadians stopped cold by fiercest enemy opposition since D-Day
By L. S. B. Shapiro, North American Newspaper Alliance

With British and Canadian forces below Caen, France – (July 27, delayed)
Out of the tortured, rubble-strewn terrain that marks the rolling battlefield between the Orne River and the town of Bourguébus, one dominating fact emerges. It is that the German formations opposing the British and Canadian troops are fighting more effectively now than at any other time since D-Day.

Whether or not this is merely a coincidence, they have retaliated with a new degree of frenzied violence since the attempted coup within Germany. They have, temporarily at least, stopped our advance and there was only one reply when an Allied officer in the line was asked for an explanation.

“Jerry is throwing everything he’s got into this fight,” he said, “and that’s plenty.”

Fighting like madmen

There is no tendency to blame the weather or the artillery fire or the air support or any of the many facets of a modern battle that can be used to concoct an excuse for failure to move forward. The only possible story is that the Germans are fighting like madmen and are using superbly the weapons they have at their disposal.

Sullen, exhausted prisoners coming into our lines can give few clues to explain this development, but several explanations are put forward. One is that, since last Friday, young, fanatical Nazi officers have been promoted to take charge of formations on this front and have imbued their men with or bullied them into new powers of resistance.

Another is that they have a special plea from Hitler to hold on pending the arrival at the front of so-called new victory weapons. A third explanation is that the full extent of the German crisis has been revealed to the troops and they have been exhorted to make the supreme effort to stabilize the front on the theory that retreat means collapse everywhere.

Poles, Russians fight well

Any one or all of these explanations may fit the situation, but none explains the sturdy resistance of Russian, Yugoslav and Polish elements which form probably 20 percent of the German formations.

Whatever form of bribery or compulsion has been practiced on them, they are fighting effectively enough to point up the power of discipline and training upon the peasant mind. They desert when they have the opportunity, but their German noncoms see to it that they have precious little opportunity, and so long as they are in the line, they do their work like automatons.

Whether this is the beginning of unforeseen German strength on this front or a last superhuman effort before they collapse remains a very lively question.

The Afro-American (July 29, 1944)

Tan gun crew stuns Germans; Nazis call artillery ‘whispering death’

Part of mixed unit; boys with long toms called Army’s best
By Ollie Stewart, AFRO war correspondent

With advanced U.S. forces, France –
We were about three miles from the German lines. Heavy gunfire was continuous and German ack-ack was spattering mushroom bursts of flak as our planes dived over their lines and our observation grasshopper planes sailed placidly along, spotting the German guns and radioing back their positions.

When a white colonel saw colored troops in the midst of all this, he said: “This is the first time that I have ever seen quartermasters up so close to the front line.”

Staff Sgt. Eugene W. Jones of 1611 W Butler St., Philadelphia, replied:

Sir, we are not quartermasters, we are field artillery and we have just been given a firing mission. Want to watch us lay one on the target?

One of best in Army

That was my introduction to the first colored 155mm howitzer outfit in France, one of the best groups of artillerymen in the Army, white or colored. Two battalions have been in action for weeks and had a big part in the taking of La Haye-du-Puits. Another unit operating 155mm Long Toms has just arrived.

These hardworking gunners will tell you frankly that they know they are good. Their officers told me that they are good. White infantrymen who won’t budge unless these guys are laying down a barrage say that they are good and German prisoners ask to see our automatic artillery that comes so fast and so accurate.

Late in the afternoon, I was conducted to a cleverly concealed gun of one battery engaged in shelling a target miles away by 1st Sgt. John Clay of Louise, Mississippi.

As we arrived, Staff Sgt. W. G. Gaiter of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, had a field phone in his hand and said quietly “fire mission” and all twelve men jumped to alert. “Base deflection so and so,” said Gaiter, and the men automatically twisted dials causing the big gun to swerve to the described position. “Load with charge so and so and fire.” Gaiter snapped.

It happened so quickly that I had no time to put my fingers to my ears. Boom, went the gun, and you could hear the heavy projectile whispering on its way. “Cease firing, end of mission,” said Gaiter, and the men had the gun open and clean even as he spoke. End of mission means that the target has been demolished, which usually comes after one shot from these boys.

New Jersey lad ace gunner

Gunner at this post was baby-faced Donald Morre, 21, of New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was at Rutgers when drafted. The kid is known as one of the best gunners in the Army. The boys tell a story of another outfit firing at a German observation post in a church steeple during the fight for La Haye-du-Puits. They missed several rounds, but Moore and his gang blasted the steeple at first shot. I saw what was left of the church.

Others in the gun crew are: Cpl. Ozzie Jones of Birmingham, Alabama; Cpl. George Hood, Pvt. Perry Cockrell and Pvt. Eseasy Redmand, all of Lexington, Mississippi; Pvt. Willie Allison of Columbus, Georgia; Pvt. Isaac Rolle of West Palm Beach, Florida; Pfc. Lester Dobson of Patterson, Georgia; Pfc. Allan Davis of New York City; and Pvts. Jefferson Stockard of Oxford, Mississippi; Nathaniel Davis of Chula, Mississippi; and Eddie Scott of Reddick, Mississippi.

Artillery whispering death

The Germans call our artillery whispering death because the shells don’t whine and the lads sit at the guns day and night, ready for the phone to ring. Before arrival of the Long Tom the group had two white and two colored battalions, but now it has three colored and one white battalion, with white officers except two chaplains, Capt. H. C. Terrel of Birmingham, and Lt. Carranza Holliday of Longview, Texas.

On the roads nearby and all around the gun crews are signs of bitter fighting. Our boys entered the area before the mine detector crews and found dead Germans and Yanks and many cattle. I saw dead swollen livestock all around that perfumed the neighborhood; also much discarded equipment, German and American. I saw one American helmet, still full of clotted blood, where a sniper had scored a direct hit on the helmet.

Snipers were still around and I approached each hedgerow cautiously. That first night, I wrapped a blanket around me and slept in a foxhole without undressing. The gun crews had their shoes on for five days. There was no laughter or loud talk as every man realized that this is serious business, with death stalking all day and hovering in the air at night.

Save thousands of lives

Unmindful of this, however, these men take pride in taking the lead in every big push and they will have performed a memorable service for the Allied cause. Their accurate fire preceding advancing infantry columns has saved thousands of lives and softened many targets the gunners never see.

As I crawled through the brush to a camouflaged position, a message came over the field phone that enemy planes were approaching the area. I was already nervous and dived into a foxhole dug by the Germans, but these men stayed at their posts, some manning machine guns, others cursing Jerry as they calmly scanned the sky overhead.

Stewart describes work of artillery unit in Normandy

By Ollie Stewart, AFRO war correspondent

With advanced U.S. forces, France – (by cable)
Every member of our field artillery unit that I have talked to in this sector has expressed nothing but contempt for the German 88s when compared to the 155mm howitzers they operate.

This unit, a part of a four-unit artillery group including a battalion of 105’s and two 155mm Long Toms, has been termed “one of our best units” by the colonel at corps headquarters.

All are specialists

Every man in the unit is a specialist with a definite job to do for which he has had intensive training. To fire one shell requires the use of precision instruments and the latest equipment known to modern warfare.

The headquarters or command post is the nerve center which directs the fire of all battalions under its command. The battalion headquarters likewise has a fire direction network of phones to direct the fire of three firing batteries under its control, and finally the battery commander directs the fire of his four guns.

Experts in unit

All along the line are radio experts, observation post experts, surveyors, computors, gun crew chiefs, machine-gunners, recorders and dispatchers. Dug in the ground, the draftsmen chart the exact position and elevation of the gun necessary to score a hit on the target, and also the power charge to be used.

The guns are dispersed but the fire of all of them can be directed on any given area.

When the big push begins and a heavy barrage is called for, the corps commander may order “serenade,” which means that perhaps the battalion will aim to fire all guns simultaneously so that the target is completed blanketed by fire. The effect is frightfully devastating and a wide area is pulverized.

Usually, however, the artillery is used to knock out gun positions, tanks, or ammunition dumps. The muzzle of the howitzer is covered except when firing to keep the enemy from spotting the position. After firing, the barrel is lowered and hidden.

The battalions have their own mine detector squads and signal section for stringing wires.

Our troops 9% of invasion force

SHAEF, England –
Colored soldiers, now constituting nine percent of U.S. troops in Normandy, are contributing generously to the Allied effort, the War Department recently announced.

Maj. Gen. Cecil R. Moore, chief engineer, in this theater, recently praised their accomplishment of engineer tasks. He said that one battalion volunteered its free time for six weeks to expedite special programs of construction.

An engineer firefighting company is credited with saving millions of dollars’ worth of such vital supplies as gasoline, paint, lumber, and other stocks in depot of the United Kingdom.

Two colored signal construction battalions in Normandy have earned praise for signal installations there. They rehabilitated German communication lines and instruments for our use and captured a number of prisoners.

No buildings left standing; men knocked from beds mile away

AFRO at the scene; third blast Wednesday halts salvage
By Pauline A. Young and J. Robert Smith

2nd largest infantry group also lands; Brazil unit mixed

Joe Louis to begin tour of Italy
By Art Carter, AFRO war correspondent