By Gracie Allen
George and I are having the most wonderful stay in Boston. They made me honorary mayor so I immediately lowered taxes, raised salaries and declared St. Patrick’s Day a legal holiday for the police force.
That handsome Mayor Tobin – who is Boston’s mayor in my absence – was very complimentary. He said my lawmaking was so progressive it would take years for them to figure out what I had done.
At the Greatest Boston United War Fund rally, I played my Concerto for Index Finger with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Symphony “Pop” Orchestra. They told me I was going to play before Governor Saltonstall but I guess I was so good I scared the Governor. He didn’t play at all.
Warns of ‘planned, regimented economy’
Congress cautious in its comment
Plans to help veterans and small business get in each other’s way; delay may hurt
By John W. Love, Scripps-Howard staff writer
But people are willing to retaliate
By George Gallup, Director, American Institute of Public Opinion
Official explanations don’t jibe but maybe some figures will lift the ‘smokescreen’
Völkischer Beobachter (November 17, 1944)
Zwei Offensiven im Spätherbstwetter
Führer HQ (November 17, 1944)
An der Front von Geilenkirchen bis in den Wald von Hürtgen hat gestern nach schweren Bombenangriffen die dritte Schlacht bei Aachen begonnen. Vom stärksten Abwehrfeuer aller unserer Waffen gefasst, blieb die Masse der angreifenden feindlichen Verbände vor unserem Hauptkampffeld liegen. Nur östlich Geilenkirchens und bei Stolberg konnten die Nordamerikaner in einigen Abschnitten in unsere Stellungen eindringen. Sie verloren dabei auf schmalem Raum in wenigen Stunden 39 Panzer. Die Schlacht geht weiter.
Im Kampfraum Metz setzte der Feind seine starken konzentrischen Angriffe fort, ohne zu wesentlichen Erfolgen zu kommen. Bei Gravelotte wurde eine feindliche Kräftegruppe eingeschlossen, Entlastungsangriffe zerschlagen.
Von unseren in Lothringen kämpfenden Truppen wurden am 14. und 15. November, wie nachträglich gemeldet wird, 52 feindliche Panzer und Panzerspähwagen abgeschossen. Zwischen Blâmont und Raon-l’Étape dauert der Druck nordamerikanischer Regimenter auf unsere Stellungen an. Die am oberen Doubs vordringenden französischen Verbände wurden in schweren Kämpfen aufgefangen.
Groß-London und der Raum von Antwerpen waren wiederum das Ziel des Fernfeuers unserer „V1“ und „V2.“
In Mittelitalien kam es nach längerem Zelt wieder zu örtlichen Kämpfen an der ligurischen Küste. Die bei Gallicano angreifenden feindlichen Bataillone wurden von Gebirgsjägern abgewiesen oder im Gegenangriff wieder geworfen. Bei der erfolgreichen Abwehr zahlreicher Vorstöße der 8. britischen Armee zwischen Modigliana und der Adria wurden Gefangene gemacht.
In Südungarn wurden wiederholte sowjetische Angriffe aus einem Donaubrückenkopf bei Batina zerschlagen, der feindliche Obersetzverkehr durch unsere Luftwaffe nachhaltig gestört.
Östlich Budapest, südlich des Matragebirges und in den Niederungen von Miskolc steigerte sich die Abwehrschlacht zu größerer Heftigkeit. Deutsche und ungarische Verbände stehen im Gegenangriff gegen den an einzelnen Abschnitten eingebrochenen Feind. Im Übrigen wurden die bolschewistischen Angriffe in harten Kämpfen zerschlagen.
Starke Verbände von Schlacht-, Kampf- und Nachtschlachtflugzeugen unterstützten die Heeresverbände und vernichteten feindliche Nachschubkolonnen, vor allem bei Kecskemét.
An der übrigen Ostfront kam es zu keinen Kämpfen von Bedeutung.
Anglo-amerikanische Terrorflieger führten Angriffe auf frontnahe Orte im westlichen Kampfraum. Außerdem wurden besonders Wohngebiete von München und Innsbruck angegriffen. Den Bomben fielen vor allem in München wertvolle Kulturdenkmäler zum Opfer. Die Bevölkerung hatte Verluste. 36 anglo-amerikanische Flugzeuge wurden durch Luftverteidigungskräfte vernichtet, fünf davon durch italienische Jäger.
Die bereits am 6. November erfolgte Zerstörung der Eisenbahnbrücke Moerdijk, die einer der wichtigsten Verbindungen zur Festung Holland darstellt, wurde vorgestern durch ein Sonderkommando der Kriegsmarine vollendet. Hierbei haben sich unter der Führung von Oberleutnant der Marineartillerie Prinzhorn sechs Einzelkämpfer der Kriegsmarine durch kühnes und unerschrockenes Verhalten besonders ausgezeichnet.
Supreme HQ Allied Expeditionary Force (November 17, 1944)
(A) SHAEF FORWARD
PRD, Communique Section
DATE-TIME OF ORIGIN
TO FOR ACTION
(1) AGWAR (Pass to WND)
TO (W) FOR INFORMATION (INFO)
(2) FIRST US ARMY GP
(3) ADV HQ 12 ARMY GP
(4) FWD ECH (MAIN) 12 ARMY GP
(7) EXFOR MAIN
(8) EXFOR REAR
(9) DEFENSOR, OTTAWA
(10) CANADIAN C/S, OTTAWA
(11) WAR OFFICE
(13) AIR MINISTRY
(16) CMHQ (Pass to RCAF & RCN)
(17) COM Z APO 871
(18) SHAEF MAIN
IN THE CLEAR
The Allied advance towards the Maas in southeastern Holland continued yesterday. Opposition was light and fighter-bombers gave support by attacking enemy positions west of Venlo. We have taken Wessem and are within a mile of Roermond. Three miles farther north, Buggenum has been freed, while other troops have reached the Omleidingskanaal in the Broekhide area. Contact has been established between the forces south of the Noorder Canal and the troops which captured Meijel.
In the Geilenkirchen sector, our units launched attacks and made gains of several thousand yards. We are in Floverich and Immendorf. These operations were preceded and supported by air attacks in very great strength by heavy, medium and fighter-bombers. In support of our ground forces in the Geilenkirchen area, fighter-bombers attacked at least 12 German towns and bombed and strafed dug-in enemy troops, gun positions and communications. in the Düren–Eschweiler area, 1,200 heavy bombers, escorted by 480 fighters, attacked enemy strongpoints, field batteries and anti-aircraft guns. Some of the escorting fighters also strafed enemy transport in the Frankfurt and Giessen region. Bombing generally was in adverse weather, although some crews reported seeing good results through breaks in the clouds. Medium bombers, none of which is missing, hit gun positions at Echtz and Luchem, east of Eschweiler. Another force of heavy bombers, numbering 1,150 with an escort of 250 fighters, struck at the towns of Düren, Jülich and Heinsberg, immediately behind the enemy lines. The bombing was controlled throughout by master bombers, who claim that all attacks were highly concentrated.
Striking deeper into Germany, other fighter-bombers attacked railway targets in the vicinity of Köln. Eight fighters and fighter-bombers are missing from the day’s operations. Further south, our forces continued the attack, enlarging the Moselle River bridgeheads. We have troops in the vicinity of Monneren, Lacroix and Metzervisse in the Thionville area. Stuckange is in our hands and our forces are in Augny and Marly, south of Metz. in the Blâmont–Saint-Dié area, resistance was moderate but progress was slow. Saint-Dié and several other villages in the path of our advance were set afire by the enemy and many explosions were heard. In the approaches to the Belfort Gap, the momentum of our drive was maintained. Several towns have been freed north and south of the Doubs River.
COORDINATED WITH: G-2, G-3 to C/S
THIS MESSAGE MAY BE SENT IN CLEAR BY ANY MEANS
“OP” - AGWAR
“P” - Others
PRD, Communique Section
NAME AND RANK TYPED. TEL. NO.
D. R. JORDAN, Lt Col FA Ext. 9
U.S. Navy Department (November 17, 1944)
Based on reports – necessarily incomplete due to the necessity of radio silence for certain fleet units and the impossibility of having some officers in attendance at evaluation conferences because of continuing operations of fleet units – the following information is now available on the second Battle of the Philippines:
I. A series of naval engagements and, in terms of victory, ones which may turn out to be among the decisive battles of modern times, were won by our forces against a three-pronged attack by the Japanese in an attempt to prevent our landings in the Philippine Islands.
The fact is known. Progress of the three-day battle which began October 23 was promptly reported to the American public as far as military security permitted. It is now possible to give a chronological and diagrammatic review of the second Battle of the Philippines, which left the United States Fleet in command of the eastern approaches to the Philippines, providing support for Gen. MacArthur’s invading forces and maintaining without interruption the seaborne supply lines pouring men and munitions into the combat area.
The Japanese are still wondering what hit them. It is impossible, therefore, to identify the composition of our naval forces or to describe the damage – other than losses – suffered by us in the three-day fight. All damage, however, was remediable and some of the U.S. ships hurt in the fight are already back on duty.
We lost one light carrier, the USS PRINCETON (CVL-23), two escort carriers, the USS ST. LO (CVE–63) and USS GAMBLER BAY (CVE-73), two destroyers, the USS JOHNSTON (DD-557) and USS HOEL (DD-533), and one destroyer escort, the USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS (DE-413) and a few lesser craft.
Against this, the Japanese definitely lost two battleships, four carriers, six heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and an undetermined number of destroyers. These ships were seen to go down. So severely damaged that they may have sunk before reaching port, and in any event removed from action for from one to perhaps six months, were one Japanese battleship, three heavy cruisers, two light cruisers and seven destroyers. In addition, damaging hits were noted on six battleships, four heavy cruisers, one light cruiser and 10 destroyers.
The victory not only made possible the continuing supply of men and munitions to Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur’s successful invasion forces, but by its magnitude can conservatively be said to have greatly reduced future casualties in both men and waterborne equipment.
Like all battles, this one did not just happen. The engagements, in one of which surface ships slugged it out against each other, and in which the far-ranging carrier-borne U.S. aircraft both intercepted and pursued enemy ships with conspicuous success, were preceded by a series of other actions which fall into a definite, strategic pattern when reviewed in order.
II. Preliminaries to the showdown battle can be said to have opened with the landings on Peleliu and Morotai, southwest of the Philippines, on September 16. These landings in themselves were preceded by a two‑weeks’ series of feints and thrusts, by VAdm. Marc A. Mitscher’s carrier task force of the Third Fleet, which kept the Japanese forces off balance while whittling down their aerial strength by some 900 planes.
These successes indicated the feasibility of advancing the date for the invasion of the Philippines, and the date of October 20 was set by Gen. MacArthur in consultation with Adm. Nimitz and approved by the High Command.
However, a great deal of hard, tough work had to be accomplished first, As much damage as possible had to be inflicted upon the enemy over the widest available area guarding the Philippines. Additionally, by hitting the Japanese hard, and again and again, the enemy was to be confused, and kept confused, as to the ultimate objective of our far-ranging forces.
On October 9, surface forces bombarded Marcus Island, and on the following day a carrier task force struck at Okinawa, in the Nansei-Shotō group, about 1,500 miles to the westward. The Japanese defenders were caught off base each time, losing 82 planes at Okinawa and 46 ships, not counting 11 probably destroyed.
On October 11, while the enemy was still trying to figure out what had hit him to the northward, the airplanes of one carrier group swept over the northern part of Luzon, main island of the Philippine Commonwealth, while the other carrier forces were refueling. That strike cost the Japanese 10 to 15 airplanes destroyed on the ground. Enemy opposition was inconsequential.
Three times, in as many days, U.S. forces had struck at three different and widely separated strongholds of the enemy. On the fourth day, October 12, a fleet appeared in the enemy’s own backyard, off the island of Formosa, from which the aerial attack against the Philippines had been launched by the Japanese nearly three years before. Our objectives were the 26 to 30 first-class military airfields on Formosa, the airplanes based there, and, of course, any other military establishments on shore and the enemy shipping in the harbors.
Our fleet maneuvered in the vicinity of Formosa for three days, October 12, 13 and 14. Fifty-five enemy vessels of all kinds were certainly destroyed, and 32 were probably sunk, while approximately 396 airplanes were destroyed in the air or on the ground. On the last day, and on October 16, Formosa was additionally the target of U.S. Army B-29s, flying from China.
The effrontery of the attack on Formosa from the sea provoked the Japanese into immediate counteraction. Strong units of bomber and torpedo planes swept down from the islands of the Empire, to be met and broken up by fighters from our carriers. Two Japanese planes which forced their way through found targets in a couple of U.S. medium-size ships, which were damaged by torpedoes but which successfully retired to the eastward.
Now comes one of the most fantastic chapters of the war. The Japanese aviators who managed to reach home reported an amazing victory, and Tokyo was quick to claim – for the fifth or sixth time – that the naval strength of the United States had been rendered puny. But this time the Japanese believed their own propaganda, that at least 15 carriers had been sunk and varying quantities of other warships.
A task force of the Japanese Navy was sighted leaving the Empire to give the American fleet its coup de grâce, but when the astonished pilots of the enemy scouting force saw the size of the healthy opposition deploying to receive them, the Japanese expedition wheeled and ran back to the safer waters of the Empire. Adm. Halsey ironically observed that his ships sunk by Jap radio announcement had been salvaged, and were “retiring at high speed toward the Japanese fleet.”
On October 14, our carrier planes began working over the Philippine island of Luzon, and the lesser islands of the archipelago to the south and east, in order to come into immediate support of the amphibious forces approaching for the invasion. Only about 85 enemy planes were bagged in the sweeps over approximately 100 airfields up to the time our carriers, both the large and fast ones and the smaller escort ships, converged in support of the landings of U.S. amphibious forces on Leyte. The strategy had succeeded, and the landings were effected by Gen. MacArthur’s forces in complete surprise.
III. The invasion of the Philippines employed a grand-scale use of all arms of modern warfare: land and amphibious forces, surface and sub-surface ships, and, of course, a tremendous air coverage.
A look at the chart will show the confusion of islands upon whose perimeter the initial assault was made. They form a maze of channels, of which the two providing the best egress to the Pacific are San Bernardino Strait in the north, between Luzon and Samar Islands, and Surigao Strait in the south, between Leyte and Mindanao.
One of the precautions our forces took against a Japanese incursion from the westward was to post submarines on the opposite side of the archipelago. Early on the morning of October 23, before daylight, two of our submarines flashed the word to the invasion forces that a strong Japanese fleet was headed northeastward from the South China Sea into Philippine waters – and characteristically reported, also, that they were moving in to attack. They sent four torpedoes in each of three heavy cruisers, two of which were reported to have been left sinking and the third heavily damaged. The enemy forces scattered, and in the pursuit one of our submarines ran on a reef in the middle of the restricted channel and had to be destroyed, after all of the crew was removed to safety.
Later that day other contacts with the enemy were reported, in Mindoro Strait, south of Luzon, and oft the mouth of Manila Bay where the reporting submarine badly damaged another heavy cruiser, which managed, however, to limp into the bay.
Thus alerted, the carrier air forces immediately extended their patrol searches westward over the Visayan Sea and the Sulu Sea. On Tuesday, October 24, two large enemy fleets were seen making their way eastward. One, in the Sulu Sea, was obviously headed for the Mindanao Sea and its exit into the Pacific, Surigao Strait. It consisted of two battleships, FUSŌ and YAMASHIRO, two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, and eight or 10 destroyers. Our carrier planes attacked and inflicted some damage on the battleships, one of the cruisers and two of the destroyers, but the enemy continued doggedly on the way to the strait, at whose mouth, where it debouched into Leyte Gulf, a surprise reception committee was being assembled.
The larger enemy force of the central prong of attack was initially composed of five battleships, the modern YAMATO and MUSASHI, and the NAGATO, KONGŌ and HARUNA. In support were seven heavy cruisers, one light cruiser and from 13 to 15 destroyers. This task force was also engaged as it steamed through the Sibuyan Sea by the carrier force of the Third Fleet. One of the Japanese battleships and two of the cruisers were heavily damaged and most of the other vessels in the group received hits. After engaging in a running battle, the Japanese turned back upon their course as if decided not to attempt to force San Bernardino Strait.
While these carrier strikes were being made against the two enemy fleets, our own ships and landing forces were being subjected to a very heavy air attack by hundreds of land-based planes darting out from the Philippines’ 100 or more airfields. During these attacks, the PRINCETON was hit and set on fire, and so damaged that the carrier had to be destroyed.
Among the attacking Japanese planes was one group of carrier-based aircraft which flew in from the north, so search groups were dispatched from the Third Fleet to track them down. At 3:40 in the afternoon of that same Tuesday, October 24, two enemy forces were detected coming down from the northern tip of Luzon to join battle. They included two battleships, the ISE and HYUGA, four carriers, including one large ship of the ZUIKAKU class, a heavy cruiser, three light cruisers and six destroyers. The Third Fleet, upon receipt of this information, turned to meet the oncoming enemy.
U.S. forces aiding and protecting the landing on Leyte were now the target for three converging Japanese groups totaling, without estimating submarines, nine battleships, four carriers, 13 heavy cruisers and seven light cruisers, and 30-odd destroyers. The stage was set.
Shortly after midnight, our PT boats off the southern approaches to Surigao Strait detected and reported the approach of the enemy’s southern force, the one that had been battered but not deterred. The PTs reported that two of their torpedoes had probably struck as many ships, but still the enemy came on. Three hours later, U.S. destroyers on picket duty in the Strait discovered the Japanese coming through in two columns, making about 20 knots. The destroyers attacked, and almost simultaneously the battleships and cruisers stationed at the mouth of the Strait opened fire. The enemy was caught in narrow waters, and caught in the fire, too, of five battleships, he had accounted as lost in the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor – the WEST VIRGINIA (BB-48), MARYLAND (BB-46), TENNESSEE (BB-43), CALIFORNIA (BB-44) and PENNSYLVANIA (BB-38), all modernized and more powerful than ever.
The Japanese columns slowed indecisively to 12 knots, and then, as shell after shell from the American vessels found their marks, the enemy tried to reverse course and escape. Of the two battleships, two heavy cruisers and two light, and 10 destroyers, all were sunk except one battleship, one or two cruisers, and perhaps half the destroyers. The next day our aviators discovered the battleship and a fugitive cruiser, badly crippled, and finished them off.
Our losses in the entire action were one PT boat sunk and one destroyer damaged.
While the southern prong of the Japanese attack was being obliterated by surface action, the northernmost had been located from the air during the night – and it promptly swung from a southeasterly course to a northerly one. Hot pursuit resulted in a new contact early in the morning of the 25th. The Japanese carriers had few planes on their decks – they had sent their aircraft out against our ships the day before, and the planes apparently had to refuel on Luzon before returning to their mother ships. Indeed, the Japanese airplanes came in to rejoin their carriers while U.S. bombers and torpedo planes were sending three of the four ships to the bottom and making the deck of the fourth no fit landing place for anything. Twenty-one of the homing Japanese airplanes were intercepted and destroyed by the fighter cover of U.S. forces.
Not only did the aerial assault sink three of the four carriers and damage the fourth, but two of the Japanese destroyers were sent down. The enemy force turned and made their way toward Japan, with some of our ships crowding on all steam to catch them – the remainder of the Third Fleet units turned south at full speed for a reason about to be made clear. Our cruisers and destroyers quickly overtook the surviving but crippled Japanese carrier and sent it down without effort. During the night, one of our submarines intercepted a damaged cruiser, and finished it off with torpedoes.
What had caused Adm. Halsey to divert part of his force southward was the report that a group of our escort carriers operating in support of the landings on Leyte was being threatened by superior enemy forces. The antisubmarine patrol of this group of six escort carriers and seven destroyers and destroyer escorts had detected in Wednesday’s dawn an approaching Japanese force of four battleships, seven cruisers and nine destroyers. These were apparently the surviving elements of the enemy task force which had been attacked from the air in the Sibuyan Sea and forced to flee westward. During the night the group had traversed San Bernardino Strait.
The escort carriers, silhouetted against the dawn, came under heavy fire from the Japanese force which, in the western gloom and with the Philippine hills providing further concealment, possessed every advantage of position and firing power. The carriers, converted merchantmen, headed off to the eastward into the east wind at the top of their limited speed, launching aircraft to attack the enemy. But the enemy’s superior speed and gunpower swiftly told. The Japanese continued to close in, hauling around to the northward and forcing this carrier group to head southward, under continuous fire from the enemy’s 16”, 14” and 8” shells. Japanese marksmanship was poor, and American seamanship excellent, however, and although frequently straddled, our ships were not heavily hit during the first part of the engagement. By 9 o’clock, though, despite a sustained air attack on the enemy and the best efforts of the destroyer support with smokescreens and forays against the Japanese, the carriers began to take considerable punishment. One of them was sunk. Two destroyers and a destroyer-escort which courageously charged the Japanese battleships went down under the enemy’s heavy shells. Nevertheless, the Japanese paid an exorbitant price for their success, such as it was. Two of their heavy cruisers were sunk, and one – perhaps two – of their destroyers went down under the concentrated counterattack from surface and air.
Still the enemy pressed his advantage, and by 9:20 the carrier group had been jockeyed into a situation with the Japanese, only 12,000 yards distant, and in position for the kill.
Then, suddenly, the enemy ships hauled away, gradually widening the distance, and to the astonishment of the battered American forces, broke off the battle with a final and harmless spread of torpedoes before steaming over the northern horizon at high speed, trailing oil from pierced hulls as they fled.
What had happened can be reconstructed from the events already reviewed. The Japanese admiral, with a costly local victory in sight, received word of the destruction of the southern force in Surigao Strait and the utter rout of the northern force with the destruction of its carriers. He had to get back through San Bernardino Strait, or face annihilation.
Further, though the Jap may not have known it, we had a battleship and cruiser force – a part of the 7th Fleet – in Leyte Gulf for the purpose of protecting the transports and landing craft from any enemy force attempting to destroy them. This was the force which so completely defeated the Japanese Southern Force before daylight in the southern part of Leyte Gulf, almost annihilating it – and which was still available – almost unscathed – to prevent the entrance of the Central Force.
The vanguard of the returning Third Fleet units caught one straggling enemy destroyer before it reached the Strait and sank it. Early the next day, air groups from our carriers ranged over the Sibuyan Sea and continued attacks on the fugitives, probably sinking one heavy cruiser and a light cruiser.
Back at the scene of the attack on the carriers, the Japanese continued to harass the American ships with land-based planes, resulting in the sinking of a second of the CVEs, but the Second Battle of the Philippines was over and decisively won. The enemy fleet had sustained losses and damage which materially weakened their overall naval and air strength against the final drive of U.S. forces against the Empire.
We must not, however, allow ourselves to feel that this victory effectively prevented any reinforcement of the Jap forces on Leyte and Samar, because he can still, by the very nature of the geography of the islands which afford protection and hiding places for short, fast transportation runs, continued his reinforcements at an increasingly diminishing rate. He cannot, however, prevent our own reinforcement and supply of Gen. MacArthur and his gallant troops. Our naval and air forces will continue to insure the control of these sea approaches to the Philippines and the effective support and supply of our troops.
The Third Fleet was under command of Adm. William F. Halsey Jr. (USN) during the operations, and the Seventh Fleet was under command of VAdm. Thomas C. Kinkaid (USN).
The Pittsburgh Press (November 17, 1944)
U.S. 1st Army drives close to Duren, biggest barrier to Cologne
By J. Edward Murray, United Press staff writer
Silence of Hitler saps morale in Reich