America at war! (1941–) – Part 5

Staggering Bucs easy prey for Cubs

Paul Derringer gets third win in comeback – unearned runs blast Sewell in 7-3 loss

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

This is Ernie Pyle’s last column. It is a beautiful tribute to Fred Painton, war correspondent who died of natural causes on Guam a few weeks ago. Ernie was on Okinawa when he was informed of Mr. Painton’s death. Ernie took time out from covering the war to write this touching story about his friend. Only a few days later, Ernie was killed.

OKINAWA (by Navy radio) – This is a column about Fred Painton, the war correspondent who dropped dead on Guam a short time ago.

Fred wrote war articles for Reader’s Digest and many other magazines. He even gambled his future once writing a piece for the Saturday Evening Post about me.

Fred was one of the little group of real old-timers in the European war. He was past 49 and an overseas veteran of the last war. His son is grown and in the Army. Fred had seen a great deal of war for a man his age.

He was just about to start back to America when he died. He had grown pretty weary of war. He was anxious to get home to have some time with his family.

But I’m sure he had no inkling of death, for he told me in Guam of his post-war plans to take his family and start on an ideal and easy life of six months in Europe, six in America. He had reached the point where life was nice.

Fred Painton was one of the modest people; I mean real down-deep modest. He had no side whatever, no ax to grind, no coy ambition.

He loved to talk and his words bore the authority of sound common sense. He had no intellectualisms. His philosophy was the practical kind. He was too old and experienced and too wise in the ways of human nature to belittle his fellow man for the failures that go with trying hard.

Prided self on production

Fred didn’t pretend to literary genius but he did pride himself on a facility for production. He could get a thousand dollars apiece for his articles and he wrote a score of them a year. And his pieces, like himself, were always honest. I’ve known him to decline to do an assignment when he felt the subject prohibited his doing it with complete honesty.

Fred’s balding head and crooked nose, his loud and friendly nasal voice, his British Army trousers and short leggings were familiar in every campaign in Europe.

He took rough life as it came and complained about nothing, except for an occasional bout with the censors. And even there he made no enemies for he was always sincere.

There were a lot of people Fred didn’t like, and being no introvert everybody within earshot knew whom he didn’t like and why. And I have never known him to dislike anyone who wasn’t a phony.

Fred and I have traveled through lots of war together. We did those bitter cold days, early in Tunisia, and we were the last stragglers out of Sicily.

We both came home for short furloughs after Sicily. The Army provided me with a powerful No. 2 air priority, while Fred had only the routine No. 3.

We left the airport at Algiers within four hours of each other on the same morning. I promised Fred I would call his wife and tell her he would be home within a week.

When I got to New York I called the Painton home at Westport, Connecticut. Fred answered the phone himself. He had beat me home by three days on his measly little priority! He never got over kidding me about that.

Natural death seems incongruous

As the war years rolled by, we have become so indoctrinated into sudden and artificially imposed death that natural death in a combat zone seems incongruous, and almost as though the one who died had been cheated.

Fred had been through the mill. His ship was torpedoed out from under him in the Mediterranean. Anti-aircraft fire killed a man beside him in a plane over Morocco.

He had gone on many invasions. He was in Cassino. He was ashore at Iwo Jima. He was certainly living on borrowed time. To many it seems unfair for him to die prosaically. And yet…

The wear and the weariness of war is cumulative. To many a man in the line today fear is not so much of death itself, but fear of the terror and anguish and utter horror that precedes death in battle.

I have no idea how Fred Painton would have liked to die. But somehow, I’m glad he didn’t have to go through the unnatural terror of dying on the battlefield. For he was one of my dear friends and I know that he, like myself, had come to feel that terror.

This is Ernie Pyle’s last column. The Press has printed all the stories written before he was killed by Jap machine-gun bullets on Ie Island, off Okinawa.

For the second time in little more than a year, we publish with sadness and deep regret the final column of a great reporter and a splendid human being. In February 1944, we printed the last column of Raymond Clapper who, like Ernie, met death covering the Pacific warfare.

It has been suggested that The Press publish some of Ernie’s former columns. But we have done this in the past when he was on vacations, and another publication of those columns would, we believe, probably be something of a letdown after the stories which led to his death.

Hence, this is goodbye to Ernie. As he, himself, wrote in the concluding sentence of his book Here Is Your War:

“When we leave here for the next shore, there is nothing we can do for the ones beneath the wooden crosses, except perhaps to pause and murmur: ‘Thanks, pal.’”

Stokes: The big kid

By Thomas L. Stokes

Love: Lesson learned

By Gilbert Love

Are we coddling prisoners of war?

Disintegration of Germany hurts prisoners
By S. Burton Heath

‘Are you all right?’ Ernie asked of major just as bullet hit him

Pyle lived 2 or 3 minutes, officer said, but he was unconscious all the while
By Bryce Watson, USCG combat correspondent

This story just arrived. It tells of Ernie Pyle’s last words, and details of the ambush of which he was the victim. His last column is printed today, on this page.

ON THE IE SHIMA BEACHHEAD (delayed) – I watched a battered jeep return with the body of Ernie Pyle, bringing him 500 yards from the forward area.

The Ie Shima terrain is smooth here, looking like the Indiana farmland where he was born – except it is broken by lines of advancing tanks and tractors.

Maj. George H. Pratt, who was beside Ernie on that tragic instant, was sitting wearily in front of an abandoned Jap cave.

“Ernie Pyle,” Maj. Pratt said softly, “was worth two divisions as a morale factor alone.”

Ernie’s body had just been recovered from beneath the machine gun and sniper fire up ahead by John J. Barnes of Petersburg, Virginia. He was the driver of the jeep when it happened, and had remained with Ernie, pinned down by fire.

5 start out in jeep

The body was resting near Maj. Pratt. Ernie’s battledress was unpressed, his dusty shoes shielded from the sun by a poncho.

“He was one of the enlisted men really,” Maj. Pratt said.

When the jeep had started out, hours before, there had been four men in it besides Ernie – Dale Bassett from Denver, Colorado; Lt. Col. L. B. Coolidge of Helena, Arkansas; Barnes, the driver, and Maj. Pratt, who is from Eugene, Oregon. They were driving to the front lines.

Suddenly, a Jap machine gun opened up.

The swath of fire swung to the right and swept under the jeep which pitched to a halt.

Dive into ditches

All five men went into the ditches. Barnes dived to the left, the others to the right.

The machine gun swept back and forth across their positions.

“I looked to my left,” said Maj. Pratt. “Ernie looked at me and smiled. He raised up slightly and said: ‘Are you all right?’”

There had been a slight break in the firing. Just as Ernie Pyle asked his question, a burst got him.

Lives several minutes

“He went backward slowly,” Maj. Pratt said. “It was a head wound. Thank God he never knew what happened. It was two or three minutes before he was dead, maybe, but he was unconscious all the time.”

The machine gun was joined by sniper fire. All four men on the right side of the road managed to crawl away.

But Barnes had to remain until a special detail of infantrymen cleaned out the area, about four and a half hours later.

Then Barnes drove his flat-tired jeep back with Ernie’s body.

Voice breaks

As I talked to Maj. Pratt, his voice broke several times.

“He was so damned modest and human,” he said.

I walked toward the beach, to the temporary burial ground. Men were standing about, saying nothing.

There were other dead there. In death, Ernie Pyle was lying among the common, trudging foot soldiers – the brave men – he had glorified in life.

That Girl: Your memory of Ernie his reward

Saturday, April 28, 1945

The following statement to Ernie Pyle’s readers is published at the request of Mrs. Pyle:

To all of you who have tried to find words to express the grief in your hearts for the deeply personal loss you feel because Ernie has gone from us, I want to say I am one of you. Our loss is a common loss. Your letters and messages made me feel you had come to me for comfort – the comfort that Ernie had given you each day.

That he will live in your hearts forever will be his reward – his monument.


Gracie Allen Reporting

By Gracie Allen

SAN FRANCISCO – Well, girls, I predict we’re going to be in for some new fashions as a result of the World Security Conference.

Personally, I don’t think I’d care for those veils up to the eyes that the Egyptian women are wearing. But I’ve learned from the Russian women how to solve the nylon stocking problem. They just wear boots that come up to their dresses.

Yes, there are many different fashions here, but girls, we all have something in common. There is not a pre-war girdle in any language.

Seriously, we’ve got to quit feeling that other people are strange just because they’re different. I never could understand how a person speaking only English thought it funny to hear broken English spoken by a foreigner who spoke ten other languages, too.

The life of Harry Truman –
Truman Committee was his child

By Frances Burns

Atrocities called worst in history

LONDON, England (UP) – Members of the United Nations War Crimes Commission, back from inspecting the German horror camp at Buchenwald, said today that evidence bore out the view that atrocities in the present war had no counterpart in history.

Lord Wright, chairman of the group, said authentic information showed at least 50,000 prisoners perished at Buchenwald.

He said U.S. military authorities had shown remarkable efficiency at improving appalling conditions at the camp, reducing the death rate from 300 daily to between 20 and 30 daily after only 12 days of occupation.

On the return from Germany yesterday, the group stopped at Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s headquarters for further consultations.

Some wounded Yanks being discharged

Stockholders back policies of Ward

Defeat resolution condemning Avery

Neues Österreich (April 29, 1945)

Mussolini auf der Flucht verhaftet

Rom. 28. April – Der Generalprokurator in Rom hat gegen Mussolini Anklage erhoben und einen Haftbefehl erlassen. Mussolini wurde in Lesco am Comosee beim Versuch. Die Schweizer Grenze zu überschreiten, verhaftet. Auch Marschall Graziani und die Faschistenführer Pavolini und Farinacci sind verhaftet.

Kämpfe vor Venedig

Rom, 28. April – In Italien ist die deutsche Abwehr zusammengebrochen. Alliierte Truppen sind in Genua eingedrungen, nachdem sie von La Spezia aus in 48 Stunden 80 km weit vorgedrungen waren. Ein Großteil von Genua war bereits von den italienischen Freiheitskämpfern besetzt worden. 1.500 Mann der deutschen Flottille samt Ausrüstung haben sich gefangen gegeben.

Die 5. und 8. Armee haben die Etsch überschritten und stoßen in die Lombardische Tiefebene vor. Sie stehen am Rande der Verteidigungslinie vor Venedig.

Im Vormarsch auf Mailand hat die 5. Armee Piacenza genommen. In Mailand selbst liquidieren Freiheitskämpfer die letzten deutschen Widerstandsnester. Mailand ist beflaggt. Eine jubelnde Menschenmenge ist auf den Straßen.

L’Unità (April 29, 1945)

Mussolini e i suoi accoliti giustiziati dai patrioti in nome del popolo

Patrioti italiani hanno giustiziato il 28 aprile alle ore 16,10 in località Giulino di Mezzegre (Como):


Gli stessi patrioti hanno fucilato a Dongo:

Pavolini Alessandro Coppola Goffredo
Barracu Francesco Porta Paolo
Zerbino Paolo Gatti Luigi
Mezzasoma Fernando Daquanno Ernesto
Romano Ruggero Nudi Mario
Liverani Augusto Bombacci Nicola

vari altri gerarchi e la Petacci. I cadaveri di questi criminali sono esposti da stanotte in piazzale Loreto.

Führer HQ (April 29, 1945)

Kommuniqué des Oberkommandos der Wehrmacht

Tag und Nacht tobt nun der fanatische Kampf in den Stadtteilen Berlins. Die tapfere Besatzung verteidigt sich in schwerem Ringen gegen die unaufhörlichen Angriffe der bolschewistischen Massen. Trotzdem konnte weiteres Vordringen des Feindes in einzelnen Stadtteilen nicht verhindert werde: Zwischen der Potsdamer Straße und dem Belle-Alliance-Platz wird noch erbittert gekämpft. Von Plötzensee drang der Gegner bis zur Spree durch.

Südlich Berlin führten die Sowjets neue Verbände gegen unsere im Angriff befindlichen Divisionen heran, mit denen wechselvolle Kämpfe entbrannt sind. Beelitz wurde genommen und östlich Werder die Verbindung mit dem Verteidigungsbereich in Potsdam hergestellt. Angriffe gegen die Ostflanke dieses Vorstoßes nordwestlich und südlich Treuenbrietzen wurden abgewiesen.

Im Mecklenburg-pommerschen Raum wurde die sowjetische fünfte Panzerbrigade neu herangeführt und drängte unsere Verbände von Templin auf die Seenkette zwischen Lychen-Neubrandenburg und Anklang zurück.

In Nordwestdeutschland kam es an der unteren Ems zu heftigen Ortskämpfen, in deren Verlauf leer verlorenging. An der Elbe, südöstlich Hamburg, bildeten die Engländer unter starkem Artillerieschutz einen kleinen Brückenkopf auf dem Nordufer des Flusses bei Lauenburg. Reserven sind zum Gegenangriff angetreten. In Oberschwaben drängt der Feind gegen die Linie Memmingen-Augsburg.

In Italien versucht der Gegner, sich den Absetzbewegungen unserer Divisionen durch starke Vorstöße aus dem Raum Parma nach Nordwesten und aus seinem Po-Brückenkopf nach Norden vorzulegen. Bei Piadena und Verona sind heftige Kämpfe mit vorgezogenen feindlichen Abteilungen im Gange.

Auch gestern beschränkten sich die Bolschewisten im Südabschritt der Ostfront auf örtliche Vorstöße. Aus dem Raum Brünn setzten sie ihre Durchbruchsversuche fort und traten auch westlich Mährisch-Ostrau zu dem erwarteten Angriff an. Austerlitz ging in feindliche Hand. Schwere Kämpfe mit eingebrochenen sowjetischen Angriffstruppen sind im Gange. Die tapferen Verteidiger von Breslau schlugen starke Angriffe an der Westfront unter Verlusten für den Gegner ob. Im Kampfraum Bautzen und Meißen drangen unsere Angriffe weiter nach Norden vor. Kamenz und Königsbrück wurden wieder genommen und die Sowjets unter hohen Verlusten zurückgeworfen.

Der Feind konnte gestern nach starker Artillerievorbereitung vom Festland her on der Ostküste der Frischen Nehrung Fuß fassen. In diesen verlustreichen Kämpfen mussten unsere Truppen dem Gegner geringfügig Raum geben.

Über dem gesamten Reichsgebiet herrschte gestern nur geringe feindliche Jagdfliegertätigkeit.

In Fortsetzung ihres Kampfes gegen den feindlichen Nachschubverkehr versenkten Unterseeboote erneut acht vollbeladene Dampfer mit 45.000 BRT, drei Zerstörer und zwei Korvetten.

Supreme HQ Allied Expeditionary Force (April 29, 1945)


PRD, Communique Section

291100B April


(16) CMHQ (Pass to RCAF & RCN)


Communiqué No. 386

UNCLASSIFIED: Allied forces advancing along both banks of the Weser River in the Bremen area have occupied Seehausen and Groepelingen. Northwest of Rotenburg we have advanced seven miles and reached Horstedt and Vorwerk. Southwest of Zeven we captured Kirchtimke.

Enemy strongpoints south of Leer and other objectives in Leer were attacked by fighter-bombers.

Our forces advanced three miles into Czechoslovakia and entered Karlsbach, 16 miles south of Tachau. Farther south we entered Maxberg against strong enemy resistance.

North of Regen, in Germany, we reached the vicinity of Neukirchen and entered Oberried.

We captured Deggendorf and entered Schoefweg and Oberauerbach, east of Deggendorf.

Southeast of Regensburg, we reached the outskirts of Aiterhofen and Perkam and cleared Alteglofsheim and Thalmassing.

In the area southwest of Regensburg, our troops cleared Teugn and Abensberg and advanced six miles into the Durrenbucher Forest.

South of Ingolstadt, we repulsed a small enemy counterattack and reached the vicinity of Mainberg and Hirnkirchen.

Our units are closing in on Munich in a wide arc extending from north to southwest of the city. Advance elements are within 20 miles of the city.

Mechanized cavalry drove 15 miles southeast from the vicinity of Neuberg to Pfaffenhofen. Infantry across the Danube, west of Neuburg, was within 20 miles of Munich to the northwest after capturing Haag and Tandern.

Our forces across the Lech River north of Augsburg reached Aindling and Willprechtszell. We captured Augsburg including the garrison and the major general commanding it, and advanced to Freiburg four miles farther east.

East and south of Landsberg, we captured several towns including Schoeffelding, Finning and Stadl. Farther south along the Lech River, we reached Schongau after a 20-mile advance from the northwest.

Other elements advanced 25 miles east from the Kempten area to the vicinity of the Lech River between Schongau and the Austrian frontier. Burggen, Lechbruck and Dietringen were captured.

To the south Fuessen was taken and we crossed into Austria in that vicinity.

All organized resistance in the Black Forest Pocket ceased and the area is being mopped up.

On the Maritime Alps front, our forces were at or across the Italian frontier for a stretch of 50 miles from the Ligurian Sea. At some points we pushed ten miles into Italy.

From the vicinity of Neuburg to the Iller Canal area we captured 24,887 prisoners, including three generals, and between the Iller Canal and the Rhine, more than 7,000 were taken.

Allied forces in the west captured 57,533 prisoners 27 April.



“P” - Others

PRD, Communique Section

D. R. JORDAN, Lt Col FA4655


U.S. Navy Department (April 29, 1945)

CINCPOA Communiqué No. 347

A Navy Hospital Ship, USS COMFORT (AH-6), was attacked and heavily damaged by a Japanese aircraft about 50 miles south of Okinawa at 2058 local time on April 28 (East Longitude Date). The crashed Japanese plane which made the suicide attack is still on the COMFORT. The vessel which was engaged in evacuating wounded from Okinawa suffered 29 killed, 33 seriously wounded, and 100 missing, including patients, passengers, and crew. At the time of the attack, she was operating under full hospital procedure, was clearly marked and was fully lighted. She is now proceeding to port under her own power.

Elements of the 27th Infantry Division captured the northern half of Machinato Airfield on Okinawa on April 28 as a general advance was made in the southern sector of the island. The 7th Infantry Division secured the high ground near Kochi Village and was continuing to move southward. Corsair fighters of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and planes from the carriers of the Pacific Fleet bombed and strafed ahead of the advancing troops. The attack was supported by heavy artillery and by the guns of heavy units of the fleet.

A series of attacks involving a total of about 200 enemy aircraft were made on our forces in the Okinawa area during the afternoon of April 28 and the night of April 28‑29. Combat air patrols from escort and fast carriers of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and from the 2nd MarAirWing prevented any enemy planes from penetrating to our main forces during daylight. Attacks after nightfall and continuing until 0215 on April 29 caused some damage to light units of the fleet. A total of 104 enemy aircraft were destroyed by ships’ guns and carrier and land‑based aircraft.

Carrier aircraft strafed targets on Kume Island west of Okinawa on April 28.

From the beginning of operations against Okinawa and surrounding islands through April 27, the Tenth Army lost 1,527 soldiers and 320 Marines killed in action. A total of 7,826 soldiers and 1,322 Marines were wounded and 413 soldiers and five Marines were missing.

Navy search aircraft of Fleet Air Wing One attacked a convoy west of Kyushu on April 27 scoring four hits with medium bombs on cargo ships. Aircraft of the same wing attacked shipping in Shimonoseki Strait with bombs and torpedoes during the night of April 28‑29. During daylight on April 29, FlAirWing One planes destroyed a small cargo ship, damaged seven others, and set a picket ship afire in attacks made in the waters around Kyushu, Honshu, and the Ryukyus.

Army Mustangs of the VII Fighter Command strafed small craft, radio installations, and other targets in the area of the Bonins on April 29.

Corsair fighters and Avenger torpedo planes of the 4th MarAirWing bombed targets in the Palaus through moderate anti-aircraft fire on targets April 28 and 29.

Army Liberators and Thunderbolt fighters of the Strategic Air Force bombed and strafed airfields and installations at Truk in the Carolines on April 28 and 29. On April 29, Navy search planes of FlAirWing One hit the same target setting a drydock afire and sinking a ship in the harbor.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 29, 1945)

Soviet armies join in center of dying city

Parts of 3 downtown districts captured
Saturday, April 28, 1945

**Cutting up the Nazi Army, Allied forces advanced from all directions. In the north, the Second White Russian Army drove far west of Stettin. Soviet troops gained inside Berlin, and drove to the Elbe River to the west. In the south, the U.S. Third Army in Austria near Passau advanced toward a junction with the Russians along the Danube. To the west, the U.S. Seventh Army closed in on Munich, where an anti-Nazi revolt road, and crossed into Austria to the southwest. In Italy, U.S. troops were reported to have reached the Swiss border at Como.

LONDON, England (UP) – The Red Army, breaking through Berlin’s last defense line to the Alexander Platz, captured parts of the three central districts of the doomed capital, today.

The German radio reported Nazi parachutists were dropping into the city in a last, desperate reinforcement gamble.

The First White Russian and First Ukrainian Armies joined forces at the western edge of the Berlin downtown area, a Moscow communiqué announced.

More than 45,000 Germans had been killed in two days in the hopeless defense of the city and 14,000 prisoners were taken from a huge trap southeast of the city where survivors are being “annihilated.”

Beyond falling capital

Forces of three Soviet armies were storming on beyond the falling capital and had gained up to 25 miles in an overwhelming offensive that was ripping what remains of Germany to shreds.

Marshal Gregory K. Zhukov’s First White Russian Army captured the big electrical works settlement of Siemensstadt, the Moscow communiqué said – revealing that the town had been temporarily lost following its first reported capture three days ago.

The Russians then stormed through the northwestern quarter of Charlottenburg and reached the Bismarckstrasse, a continuation of the Charlottenburger Chaussee and Unter den Linden – the main axis of the German defense. They also seized the western half of Moabit, just east of Charlottenburg and site of Moabit Prison.

Marshal Zhukov’s tank forces in Eastern Berlin moved west from the fallen Tempelhof district to seize half of adjoining Schoenberg.

Swinging up through Berlin’s southwest section, Marshal Ivan S. Konev’s First Ukrainians captured the town districts of Friedenau, Grunewald and Ruhleben and linked up with the First White Russians.

A German High Command communiqué admitted that Zhukov’s tank teams had broken through to the Alexander Platz, eastern anchor of the Unter den Linden line. They also penetrated to Berlin’s Waterloo Circle to the southwest, only 1,000 yards from the Reich Chancellery, the communiqué said.

Turn backs on Yanks

German defenders of the erstwhile Western Front were reported “turning their backs” on the Americans in an effort to fight through to the relief of Berlin.

The Germans still held 30 square miles of Berlin, based on the Tiergarten, Unter den Linden and the Friedrichs, Potsdam and Anhalter stations. Heavy Soviet cannon, in one of the most terrible barrages of history, were obliterating everything inside that pocket.

The Germans insisted Adolf Hitler was staying in Berlin to meet a Wagnerian death. Moscow broadcasts said he had fled to the Austrian Tyrol and had made a brief flight from there to the Baltic port of Flensburg, described as the emergency seat of the German High Command.

Marshal Konstantin K. Rokossovsky’s Second White Russian Army struck swiftly to forestall a protracted German stand in Schleswig-Holstein, where Flensburg lies, and Denmark. Marshal Joseph Stalin announced his troops had captured the Pomeranian strongholds of Eggesin, Torgelow, Pasewalk, Strasburg and Templin.

Templin is 30 miles north of Berlin, 48 miles southwest of Stettin and 100 miles from British Second Army troops at the Elbe. Reaching Templin in an overnight advance of 25 miles, Marshal Rokossovsky’s forces were driving beyond fallen Stettin and north of Berlin on a 45-mile front with a speed that promised to overrun Germany’s “northern redoubt” in a matter of days.

Linking on 85-mile front

Moscow indicated the Allied armies were linking up on an 85-mile front from Torgau north to the Elbe west of Rathenow, where Cossack horsemen had driven 14 miles to the river from the captured town. The U.S. Ninth Army was on the Elbe west bank there. After the initial linkup at Torgau, Moscow dispatches said, two other Soviet divisions made contact with corresponding U.S. forces farther downstream.

German “mobile reserves,” presumably parachutists, as well as food and ammunition were landed in the city, the Nazi communiqué said in an indication of the desperateness of the situation.

Truman spikes peace rumor

German surrender report ‘unfounded,’ President announces
By Merriman Smith, United Press staff writer

Nazis fight Munich revolt

Yanks near birthplace of Nazism – Germans giving up in droves

Himmler offer of peace spurned

Must include Russia, U.S., Britain warns