Boyd Lewis: Leaders of the second front (1944)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 3, 1944)

Leaders of the second front –
Jug-eared, scholarly little man to lead air drive against Nazis

El Alamein victory partly due to his genius; Tedder can quote Shakespeare’s poetry!
By Boyd Lewis, United Press staff writer

Opening of the “second front” and victory this year have been heralded by Allied military leaders.

In a series of articles of which this is the first, Boyd Lewis of the United Press War Desk in New York, describes the kind of men chosen to lead U.S. troops into their supreme assault on the German continental bastion.

The first leader is Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Arthur William Tedder, the British air genius whom Gen. Eisenhower has chosen as his deputy.

Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Arthur W. Tedder: He knows what to do with blockbusters!

New York –
“War is a beastly thing and the sooner we get it over with, the better.”

The speaker is a compact, jug-eared little man with kindly blue eyes set in a weather-reddened face, a pipe drooping from a corner of his mouth and the insignia of a British air chief marshal on his tunic. He is Sir Arthur William Tedder, the dynamic human force which Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower has recruited as his deputy commander of the forthcoming Allied assault against Germany’s continental bastion.

The phrase quoted is the war philosophy of one who had lost his son in a raid over Germany and his wife in a plane crash in North Africa, but in no way does it imply pacifism. Sir Arthur Tedder’s idea of the way to get the war over with as soon as possible is to hammer the enemy into submission with overwhelming airpower.

Sir Archibald Sinclair, British Air Minister, has described him as a man “with fire in his belly,” but this describes his quality of dynamism, drive and good-humored enthusiasm. Physically he is the antithesis of the fire-eating warrior. He is short of stature and he laughs frequently.

Plays good cricket

His diminutive frame is well muscled and he is said to play as good a game of cricket as many a man far less than his 53 years. When his airplanes are out, he likes to put on a faded blue RAF blazer and drop over to watch ground crewmen playing cricket or soccer. He avoids the symbols of rank whenever possible to save frequent salutes.

He can quote Shakespeare or the “moderns” by the yard and his personal scholarship rests firmly on a study of the British Navy in the time of Charles II which is still regarded as authoritative.

He was married last autumn to a tall, auburn-haired widow, the former Mrs. Marie Black, 18 years his junior, whom he met at a canteen in Africa where she was stationed as a WAAF officer. The first Lady Tedder died in the crash of a military plane in Africa the previous winter.

Almost unknown

Thrust into his greatest opportunity by accident, Marshal Tedder is almost unknown to the general public, although his professional reputation among military leaders – on both sides of the line – is supreme. Two and a half years ago, he was hardly known outside the Air Ministry in London, where he had the reputation of being a rather cocky little individual given to advocating innovations and experiments.

The son of Sir Arthur and Lady Tedder, he had the advantages of education at Whitgift and Magdalene College, Cambridge. In 1914, he was simply Mr. A. Tedder, an employee of the Colonial Service.

He volunteered at the outbreak of the war and was commissioned in the Dorset Regiment. The following year, he saw active service in France. In 1916, he requested transfer from the ground forces to the Royal Flying Corps and since then, the air has been his ruling passion.

Become squadron leader

Fighting as a pilot in France, he was mentioned in dispatches three times and in 1918 went to the Middle East as a squadron leader. Between wars, he employed himself in a succession of endeavors all aimed at developing the air weapon to its highest perfection. Successively he was a member of the Imperial Defense Council, the directing staff of the RAF Staff College, officer commanding the Air Armament School, Director of Training of the Air Ministry and Director General for Research and Development in the Air Ministry.

He was in this last post, working feverishly with Lord Beaverbrook to arm Britain’s skies, when fate trapped him for his big opportunity. To favor Marshal Tedder, it dealt unkindly with Air Vice Mshl. O. T. Boyd, who had been sent to Egypt in a Wellington bomber to become deputy to Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Arthur Longmore. The Wellington was compelled to make a forced landing on Sicily and Boyd was taken prisoner. Britain’s Air Council dispatched Tedder to take Boyd’s place.

Marshal Tedder arrived at Cairo in November 1940, a dark hour in Britain’s Mediterranean ordeal. British airmen were striving to match the speedy Nazi fighting planes with cumbersome biplane Gladiators and to bomb the enemy with lumbering Blenheims. Doughty little Malta had only three planes left to defend her against the mighty onslaughts of the Luftwaffe and the Italians.

Had tough task

In June, Tedder was promoted to command as Air Chief Marshal, was knighted and lost his son. With tenacity and imagination, he plunged unswervingly into the task of building an indomitable air cover for the desert troops. His first job was to get the planes. Gradually the Gladiators gave way to the Hurricanes and Spitfires and the Blenheims to U.S. Lend-Lease bombers.

Marshal Tedder was everywhere laying the groundwork for his tactics. He would bob up unexpectedly at an airdrome close to the front firing questions at pilots and ground crew and taking careful note of the answers which were often given with amazing bluntness, for the braided fatigue cap he inevitably prefers to his round cap with the gilded “scrambled eggs” on the visor gave no hint of his rank.

When the time came to launch the 8th Army’s march from El Alamein, Marshal Tedder was ready to deliver the mightiest air cooperation ever given an attacking army. He had shared a tent with Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery and their land and air plans were synchronized.

Up into Italy

From El Alamein to Ortona, Marshal Tedder has covered the 8th Army and blasted its path. Across the desert he perfected the most deadly and sustained air bombardment yet seen in the war.

When Montgomery and Tedder reached the borders of Tunisia, Eisenhower flew to them in a B-17. The impression he received of Tedder impelled him to draft him for the land and air team he was forging to drive the enemy out of its last stronghold on the African continent.

He saw a man “supremely vital,” spare with the leanness of the warrior, keen with the sharpness of the great military leader, speaking with the scholarship of a Shakespearean student. He was “Gen. Ike’s” kind of man.

Greatest experiment

On May 6, 1943, Marshal Tedder launched his greatest experiment carpet bombing. Across a stretch of German Gen. Jurgen von Arnim’s almost impregnable line, he threw wave upon wave of bombers of every available type. In 2,000 sorties, they laid a carpet of destruction through the German line four miles long and 1,000 yards wide.

No defense could live under such an attack. The troops who charged through the gap and drove the Germans and Italians to their Tunisian debacle said there was hardly a yard of that strip which had not been plowed by explosives.

While his bombers were laying this carpet, Marshal Tedder sat in a bed in his headquarters chaffing a young flight lieutenant who was a writer of poetry.

Tedder said:

Of course, you fellows aren’t impressed with me. You think I’m not much good because I don’t know modern verse. Well, I do.

Warrior and scholar

He rattled off quotations from contemporary poets – including the lieutenant.

In another man, this would have been incongruous. In Tedder, it was consistent. Those who have known him well have always struggled to describe him in contradictory terms – “warrior and scholar,” “more than a mere fighting man.”

His good humor is proverbial. Once in the sweltering desert when he had discarded his tunic, an officer who did not recognize him joshed him for wearing his tie.

Marshal Tedder explained:

Oh, I’m a headquarters bloke and you know how stuffy the chief is.

Lady Tedder was killed last winter while on her way to visit wounded at a hospital. Marshal Tedder went in her place the next day and chattered and laughed with the men in the wards. One of them remarked afterward: “What a man!”

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The Pittsburgh Press (January 4, 1944)

Leaders of the second front –
Montgomery, who conquered Rommel, wants another crack at Hitler’s Fox

Dour, Bible-reading man is commander of British
By Boyd Lewis, United Press staff writer

Gen. Montgomery

The name which Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave the world as the leader of Britain’s armies in the western shores of Europe is one which must have brought chills to many a Nazi spine.

Among those tingled spines, perhaps, was that of the erstwhile Nazi gutter fighter, Marshal Erwin Rommel, who has made a military career out of running away from Churchill’s choice – Gen. Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, “Monty of El Alamein.” Rommel has reportedly been dashing up and down the coast of occupied Europe in recent months under special orders from the Führer to put defenses in order.

Now he knows that the doughty, wiry, sharp-featured Monty, who hurled him back from the gates of Alexandria and has chased his armies all the way to Ortona, Italy, is again on his trail. If the attack on Europe proves to be another “rendezvous with Rommel,” no one will be more pleased than Gen. Montgomery.

A Spartan life

Mr. Churchill has described him as “Cromwellian.” To make himself fit for war, he has led an austere, Spartan life, neither drinking nor smoking. His passion for physical exercise is a legend among the officers under his command, who frequently have been rooted off their couches at dawn to romp over hills or along beaches.

He once said:

There is only one standard of fitness – the standard of total war.

If this means dog-trotting six or seven miles with full pack – that’s Monty’s prescription and no officer can complain, because he will be jogging along in the lead.

Thirty-four years of army training and Spartan living have hammered Gen. Montgomery down to a steel spring resiliency. No “desk general,” he is happiest when scooting along the frontline of battle in a tank, dressed in shorts, shirt, and tankman’s beret, with a revolver strapped to his hip.

‘Study of war’

Mr. Churchill once said:

Let me pay tribute to that vehement and formidable Gen. Montgomery, a Cromwellian figure, austere, severe, accomplished, tireless, his life given to study of war, who has attracted to himself in an unusual measure the confidence and devotion of his army.

What is the secret of this “confidence and devotion”? It cannot be his human qualities because he drives his troops like he drives himself – to the limits of their ability. There are none of the stories that some general inspire of little unexpected kindly or human traits.

Perhaps it is because he leads them brilliantly and colorfully. Perhaps it is because he wields his talents and his lore of warfare like a tempered weapon and leads them to success.

Son of minister

The son of the Ulster-born Bishop of Tasmania, this warrior kneels in prayer night and morning and reads the Bible every day of his life. He recommends reading of the Bible to all his officers. Like Cromwell and Chinese Gordon, he is a Christian soldier as well as a British officer.

In staff conferences he is a martinet. He is likely to begin with some such statement as this:

Gentlemen: You may now clear your throats for two minutes. I will then address you for 20 minutes, after which you may have 30 seconds for coughing before I resume. We will have no coughing while I am talking.

He is confident

He is supremely confident – confident to the point of calling his shots. On the day before he sent his troops against Rommel at El Alamein, Gen. Montgomery sat coolly balancing a fly swatter on his index finger in front of his tent.

He said:

During the moonlight tonight, terrific battles will be fought – terrific. When day breaks tomorrow, we shall see how we stand, but there is no doubt of the issue.

A few weeks earlier, before taking command of the 8th Army, he toured the front and found workmen digging defense works behind El Alamein.

He snapped:

What are you doing?

One of the men replied:

Digging defense works.

He ordered:

Then stop it! You will never need them.

Three weeks later, he sent them on the offensive to the skirl of bagpipes. Gen. Montgomery’s men have remained on that offensive ever since – across the undulating shore of North Africa, past Rommel’s Mareth Line, past Tunis, across Sicily and up the Italian boot on the Adriatic side.

Greatest opportunity

Now he comes to his greatest military opportunity, 34 years out of Sandhurst, Britain’s “West Point.”

As a young officer, he was known as an enthusiast for rugby and hockey and attached to the perfection of his military learning. His friends were surprised when he married in 1927 at 40. He ruled his household, according to one writer, “like a medieval knight.” The advent of a son was handled like a staff problem, with Gen. Montgomery issuing daily orders regarding his care, feeding and upbringing.

In World War I, he won the DSO, the Croix de Guerre, and was mentioned six times in dispatches. On the death of his wife in 1937, he devoted himself to the art of war making with furious zeal. In December 1941, he was appointed commanding general of the South-Eastern Command – the portion of England which juts closest to a possible invasion from the continent.

Audacity and science

In 1942, he went to Egypt and launched the 8th Army on its march. On that march he has fought with audacity and science, welding planes, tanks and men. The other day he paused in a sunlit Italian meadow to tell something of what he had learned to Frank Fisher of the United Press.

He said:

First you must win the battle of the air. That must come before you start a single land or sea engagement… it is the first great principle of modern warfare.

Second front generalissimo Dwight D. Eisenhower has already summoned Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Arthur Tedder, who won the battle of the air for Monty in Africa, to clear the skies and “carpet-bomb” the land defenses of Hitler’s Europe. Soon they will be ready for Monty to lead his men out in another bloody dawn like Alamein – this time aimed straight at Berlin!

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Very weird reaction indeed.

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The Pittsburgh Press (January 5, 1944)

Leaders of the second front –
Hero of Dunkirk evacuation ready to take Allies back to continent

Eisenhower chooses man active in invasions
By Boyd Lewis, United Press staff writer

A handful of Allied leaders will lead millions of soldiers in the “second front” against the Nazis on the continent of Europe. Who are these men? What are they like? Are they capable of the big job before them?

In this, the third of a series of articles, Boyd Lewis of the United Press tells the story of Adm. Sir Bertram H. Ramsay, the hero of Dunkirk, who has been chosen by Gen. Eisenhower to command the fleet that will take the Allies back to France.

Adm. Ramsay

“Ramsay got ‘em off and Ramsay’ll get ‘em on again,” is a common reaction to Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s designation of the naval commander-in-chief in Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “second front” invasion staff.

Adm. Sir Bernard Home Ramsay is the miracle man of Dunkirk, whose patchwork flotilla of motor launches, cabin cruisers, fishing boats, private yachts, tugs, trawlers and destroyers snatched 330,000 British troops out of France under the noises of the advancing German armies.

Gen. Eisenhower must have known when he asked Mr., Churchill to name Adm. Ramsay to command the “return engagement” that no other name would strike the Prime Minister with such dramatic impact, it fell to Adm. Ramsay in Britain’s “darkest hour” to extemporize the brave little fleet which chugged in under shellfire and dive bombers to take the remnants of the British Expeditionary Force and a few regiments of French to England to fight another day.

That bitter June

Now this tough old sea dog has been chosen to organize and command the naval armada which will thrust the Americans and British onto the western shores of Europe for the kill – the start of the March on Berlin.

In capsule form, the appointment condenses the panorama of Allied progress since that bitter June in 1940 when Britain clutched at the negative success in u=snatching a beaten army from utter disaster. In less than three years – from evacuation in a tatterdemalion navy to assault in what will probably be the greatest armada of specially-constructed landing craft ever floated on any sea.

There is nothing in the appearance of Adm. Ramsay to suggest a man with the daring and imagination of a Drake and Hawkins. He is clean-shaven, austere, studious-looking. His thinning hair is combed across a bald spot.

Retired in 1938

In 1938, he had been retired at the age of 55 to his home at Coldstream, Berwickshire, home of the famed Coldstream Guards.

He returned to active service shortly after the outbreak of the war and was appointed flag officer commanding the Port of Dover. This was a not-too-demanding post for a “retired gaffer” and somewhat of a familiar hob for Adm. Ramsay, for in World War I, he had sailed from that port in HMS Brooke in the famed Dover Patrol.

The nature of Adolf Hitler’s blitzkrieg across France changed all that. Gen. Erwin Rommel’s panzers slashed through the French lines to Abbeville. The Germans commenced a steady squeeze that compressed the British and French into a pocket by the channel at Dunkirk.

He was ready

Little is known of Adm. Ramsay’s epochal decision to organize the “Little Navy.” The Admiralty communiqué recorded that several days before the evacuation order was given, the Dover commander sent out questionnaires to every boatowner on the coast. When the word came, he was ready.

His command sent the weirdest conglomeration of shipping the channel had ever seen scuttling across 35 miles of choppy waters to save as many as could be taken off Dunkirk Beach.

In his office at Dover, Adm. Ramsay and his assistants worked through four feverish days and nights to keep this ferry service working.

At first, they came in driblets – little clusters of exhausted, shell-shocked soldiers – then in larger groups. They accumulated on the Dover shore and were rushed inland as fast as trains could load them aboard.

Dazed nation thrilled

A dazed nation counted the arrivals and slowly it dawned upon them that the BEF was returning not in broken remnants but by hundreds of thousands – returning without its tanks and artillery, but proudly carrying its rifles and ready to contest an invasion if one should follow.

The King spoke for a grateful nation when he knighted Adm. Ramsay.

Recognition of a different sort came in 1942 when the Admiralty selected him to organize the huge fleet which was to sail in utter secrecy in April of that year to plant Americans and Britons on North Africa. Here he showed that retirement had not dulled him.

He was a natural choice of Gen. Eisenhower to organize the assault upon Sicily. Drawing upon the tremendous supply of special assault craft coming off production lines in the United States, Adm. Ramsay used more than 2,000 troopships and landing craft to bridge the water gap between Tunisia and Sicily. Gen. Eisenhower paid tribute afterwards to the “precise training” and “perfect technique.”

The Pittsburgh Press (January 6, 1944)

Leaders of the second front –
Man who beat Luftwaffe in 1940 leads fighters under Gen. ‘Ike’

Leigh-Mallory hailed as victor in Battle of Britain in England’s dark days
By Boyd Lewis, United Press staff writer

A handful of Allied leaders will lead millions of soldiers in the “second front” against the Nazis on the continent of Europe. Who are these men? Where are they like? Are they capable of the big job before them?

In this, the fourth of a series of articles, Boyd Lewis of the United Press tells the story of Marshal Leigh-Mallory, the hero of the Battle of Britain, who haws been chosen by Gen. Eisenhower to command the air fleet that will help the Allies back to France.

When the American, British and Canadian armies swarm across the English Channel in their supreme assault upon Hitler’s “Fortress Europe,” a quiet-spoken, dapper, middle-aged former lawyer will sit in a secret headquarters somewhere in England directing the greatest air armada in the world’s history.

For Air Marshal Sir Trafford L. Leigh-Mallory, Allied air commander-in-chief under Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, that will be an historic day.

As his planes hammer the enemy’s stronghold and provide an umbrella of protection without which the ground assault would not be possible, he will be reliving the Battle of Britain, when, as commander of the famed Fighter Command Group No. 11, he was one of the men chiefly responsible for saving Britain from invasion.

Prime Minister Churchill said of the RAF:

Never have so many owed so much to so few.

The Spitfires and Hurricanes exacted so punishing a price from the German Air Force for its bombing that it was compelled to call off its mass raids when a few more weeks of smashing attacks upon British industrial centers might have turned the tide of the war.

Predicted disaster

The dark-haired, trim-mustached ex-barrister had organized his forces coolly and helped produce a result which he had forecast. He had said before the outbreak of war:

Although the enemy may send over very large numbers, I believe that with the organization we have, the enemy’s efforts would not last very long.

In August 1942, he made further impression upon the Allied Command by organizing the fighter umbrella thrown across the Channel to protect the skies over the famous Dieppe Raid, an operation which dragged the wary Luftwaffe off the ground and cost it 170 planes.

To airmen, Marshal Leigh-Mallory’s appointment caused no surprise because he is famed among them as one of the most capable and methodical of air chiefs.

He is 50

The public was inclined to ask, “Who’s he?” Marshal Leigh-Mallory has always sought to avoid the spotlight, even to the extent of not disclosing his age in Who’s Who. He is 50.

Had it not been for the First World War, he might have spent his life in the wig and robe of a lawyer instead of the uniform of a commander of fighter pilots. He had a typical “upper middle class” education at Haileybury College and studied law at Cambridge.

In August 1914, he joined the army. Two years later, he joined the Royal Flying Corps, then in its infancy. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for service in France.

When peace came, Leigh-Mallory turned his back on the law and decided to make a career as an air officer. He was commissioned a squadron leader. For several years he commanded the School of Army Cooperation. He is married and has two children.

Progress is steady

His progress was like his methods – steady. Outbreak of this war found him a vice marshal in command of Fighter Group 11. He has stuck with the fighters across the Channel in relentless sweeps which have all but driven the German planes out of the sky during daylight.

His dogged philosophy is illustrated by recent advice to British air cadets:

When we have our “downs,” don’t get the jitters. We can take it and we mean to go on taking it until we have defeated them.

A year ago, he issued this Christmas order of the day:

Best of luck in 1943 and damnation to the Luftwaffe.

It was a prophetic order: The RAF had excellent hunting in 1943. Now it is ready to carry rout Marshal Leigh-Mallory’s further orders and bring “damnation to the Luftwaffe” so that the Allied forces may fight under friendly skies.

The Pittsburgh Press (January 7, 1944)

Leaders of the second front –
Spaatz, Pantelleria’s conqueror, to lead air assault on Germans

He plays wild poker but knows planes and pilots
By Boyd Lewis, United Press staff writer

Upon a handful of Allied leaders rests the success or failure of the coming “second front” against the European continent. Who are these men? What are they like? Are they capable of the big job?

In this, the fifth in a series of articles, Boyd Lewis of the United Press tells the story of Gen. Carl Spaatz, the man who reduced Pantelleria by airpower alone, and who will lead Eisenhower’s bombers against the continent.

Gen. Spaatz

Lt. Gen. Carl Andrew Spaatz has devoted most of his adult life to an effort to transform airport from a question mark to a sure thing.

He soared into newspaper headlines in 1929 when he took the Army plane Question Mark aloft in a refueling endurance flight and held it there for six days and a new record. His assistant was a young Army captain named Ira Eaker. Both boys have done rather well in flying circles since.

He comes up from the Mediterranean to command the strategic bombing of Germany for Second Front Generalissimo Dwight D. Eisenhower, convinced that he has erased that question mark on American airpower.

If adequate airpower can be applied against the heart of a nation, no other force is necessary, he asserted after Pantelleria hoisted the white flag to airpower unassisted in June of last year.

Nothing has occurred in the course of the air war since that time has caused him to change the idea – one which he has held, incidentally, since he fell under the spell of Gen. Billy Mitchell as a young officer.

Will get bombers

Informed persons believe that the heavy bomber force which will be available to Gen. Spaatz in Britain, soon to include the B-29 super-bombers, will satisfy him as “adequate.” Of course, he will not be asked to reduce Germany by air assault alone.

His task will be to wage a war without front – to pour destruction through the open roof of the Nazi “Fortress Europe” – before, during and after Gen. Eisenhower hurls his massive land forces across a bridge of ships against the German land defenses.

The man behind this 20th-century war-making concept is no winged automation but an extremely human high-stake poker player, fond of strumming a guitar to accompaniment of group singing and addicted to buckets of coffee and chains of cigarettes when under pressure.

In World War I

One of the first American fliers of World War I, he commanded the training center at Issoudon through which virtually every American pilot and mechanic was filtered. He emerged a rabid fan for air war and was delighted to demonstrate it with a flying circus of Army planes after the war. Then followed command of various Army flying fields and training centers until he and Capt. Eaker took the Question Mark up for its endurance record.

Gen. Spaatz’s name is pronounced “spots,” like in spots before your eyes. Because it was too often pronounced “spats” (like what you wear on your feet!} the colorful air officer added another “a” to his name as it was originally spelled, Spatz. He laughingly admits, however, that his friends and enemies have other, and more colorful, names for him from time to time.

While Eaker held the controls, Spaatz would juggle the refueling hose, leaning far out of the supply hatch. At one point in the flight the Question Mark jerked away from the refueling ship, drenching Spaatz with high octane gasoline which would have scarred his skin. Without hesitation, he stripped off his soaking clothes and resumed refueling – stark naked.

A return engagement

He was one of the first officers called by Gen. Eisenhower to join his air-ground team in North Africa. Teaming up with British Air Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, another red-hot airpower fan, he had ample chance for experimentation, culminating in the reduction of Pantelleria by air.

His return to England will be in the nature of a return engagement because he was stationed there as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army Air Forces in the European Theater when Gen. Eisenhower recruited him for Africa. His blunt, forthright diplomatic methods and his flamboyant poker playing made him a popular officer among British as well as American circles.

Of his diplomatic methods, these stories are told:

He had been warned that Sir Sholto Douglas, then chief of the Raf Fighter Command, was a formidable individual. When they met, Gen. Spaatz thrust out his hand and said:

I hear you’re damned tough and that you and I aren’t going to get along together. Is that right?

They got along famously from that moment.

‘You’re a general!’

While reviewing the 8th Air Force with Queen Elizabeth, a storm blew up. With the gallantry of a Sir Walter Raleigh, Gen. Spaatz draped his battered air force raincoat over the Queen’s shoulders and said:

Your Majesty, this makes you a major general in the American Air Force.

His poker playing is described as more enthusiastic than expert, he plays generally with an “inner circle” of officers on his own staff who are said to be regarded by old-0timers among airmen poker artists as “easy meat.”

British Air Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder and several correspondents are supposed to have discovered that while the free and easy betting of the Spaatz clique is momentarily disconcerting, they usually fall victim to close-to-the-vest players.

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The Pittsburgh Press (January 8, 1944)

Leaders of the second front –
Eisenhower is a ‘sure thing guy’ who whips enemy mathematically

Piles up weapons until he has superiority – then strikes hard
By Boyd Lewis, United Press staff writer

A handful of Allied leaders are being trusted to plan and lead the “second front” which the Anglo-American powers are expected to send across the English Channel soon. Who are these men? What are they like? Are they capable of the jobs assigned to them?

Boyd Lewis of the United Press War Desk has written a series of articles, telling about those men. In the following, the last of the series, he discusses Generalissimo Eisenhower.


When you fight the way Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower fights, you can telegraph your punch to the enemy and get away with it.

The Allied “second front” invasion generalissimo is a “sure thing artist,” who believes in oiling up so much of everything on his side that the enemy doesn’t have a chance.

It was that way in Sicily and in Italy. He made no secret of his intention to attack either objective. When “mathematical Ike” was ready, he rolled. He knew the enemy might halt him temporarily at one point or another, but he also knew that it could not halt him everywhere because he had more of everything that it takes to do modern battle.

Along with the planes, ships and guns, Gen. Eisenhower gathers to his side a team of the best available brains. He has created a new kind of war-making, replacing the traditional staffs, each working on its own plans and tied by liaison to the others, with a hard-hitting, imaginative team of the best available fighting brains – land, sea and air – of two nations.

Same tactics used

In previous dispatches in this series, the characteristics of the fighting team captained by the big smiling, muscular man from Texas were examined. By viewing them in lineup, some idea of how Gen. Eisenhower plans to stage the March on Berlin can be glimpsed. Presumably the enemy gets the same ideas because “Ike” has whipped him in the Mediterranean with the same kind of team tactics.

Here is the top Allied invasion lineup:

Captain, coordinator, inspirational leader, American.

Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Arthur Tedder:
Deputy commander, advocate of “carpet bombing” to blast an avenue of destruction through an enemy defense position, British.

Adm. Sir Bertram Home Ramsay:
Hero of the Dunkirk evacuation and master of amphibious landing operations, British.

Air Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory:
Air commander-in-chief, fighter-pilot supreme, expert on the use of fighter cover for cooperation with ground forces, British.

Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz:
Commander of the strategic bombing force, exponent of the late Gen. Billy Mitchell’s theory that air attack alone can – if adequately applied – reduce any enemy fortification afloat or on land, the man who will rain explosives across the length and breadth of Hitler’s Fortress Europe while the amphibious force springs the front gate, American.

Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery:
Commander of the British ground forces, hero of El Alamein and the 8th Army’s march across North Africa and Sicily up the shrank of the Italian boot.

There still remains one vacant position in this list, that of the American ground commander.

The “punch” which Gen. Eisenhower has telegraphed thus would appear to shape up like this:

  • A terrific pasting by airplane of the entire vulnerable section of seacoast, along with bombing of communications lines supplying the area.

  • A massive air assault on the “carpet” plan, aimed at breaching the enemy fortifications.

  • An amphibious assault, covered from the sea by naval bombardment and from the air by an umbrella of fighters, pouring through a breach and fanning out beyond.

  • A continuous bridge of ships and landing craft bringing reinforcements and supplies – probably well over the 3,000 craft used in the Sicilian invasion.

Certain other features may be forecast from knowledge of the Eisenhower team. One early objective will be to gain control of a seaport so that large supply vessels may be utilized, as in Sicily. Another will be to snatch airports away from the enemy. In the first phase, the planes may operate from the British shore but before any substantial progress inland can be made, the Allies will need forward bases for fighters. Gen. Montgomery has characterized modern warfare as a struggle for airports.

One more forecast

It would seem logical that there be one or more diversionary blows to cause the enemy to waste his forces and continue him as to the place the main force will aim.

One more forecast is possible on the basis of Gen. Eisenhower’s previous fighting – that the European invasion will see the greatest utilization of artillery of any war in history. Germany has had plenty of time to prepare for this attack and will be well dug in. There will be no swift, mobile slashing by mounted columns.

Behind this attack will be the good-humored Gen. Eisenhower, born in Texas, reared in Kansas, educated at West Point. The name handed down by his Swiss forebears generations ago means to the Germans “iron beater,” an appropriate name for the man chosen to forge the weapon with which the Allies hope to bring Germany to her knees in 1944.