Britons may get 2 invasion posts (12-25-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (December 26, 1943)

Britons may get 2 invasion posts

Tedder and Ramsay seen as air, sea commanders
By Edward W. Beattie, United Press staff writer

London, England – (Dec. 25)
Two British officers will probably be given the top air and sea commands for the invasion of Western Europe under the supreme command of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, it was understood today.

Air Chf. Mshl. Sir Arthur W. Tedder, commander-in-chief of all Allied air forces in the Mediterranean, was believed the most likely choice for the overall air command. He has worked in close association with Gen. Eisenhower since the early days of the U.S. invasion of North Africa.

Adm. Sir Bertram Home Ramsay, long known as an expert in amphibious landings, may be given the job of directing the landing of the huge “second front” army.

The only other top post on Gen. Eisenhower’s staff not yet filled, that of commander of U.S. invasion forces, may go to Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers, present commander of U.S. forces in the European Theater.

The appointment of Gen. Eisenhower to the supreme invasion command was welcomed in London, as were the appointments of Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery to head British invasion forces in Western Europe; Lt. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, to command U.S. strategic bombing forces operating against Germany from both Britain and the Mediterranean, and Gen. Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, to take over the supreme command of the Mediterranean Theater.

Some regret was expressed that Gen. Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander, who was appointed commander of Allied armies in Italy, was not to be brought to London with Gen. Eisenhower. However, it was realized that he might be given a more important post in the event of an invasion of the Balkans.

There appeared to be no resentment among Britons over the appointment of an American, to the supreme invasion command, as it was realized the second front armies will probably be predominantly American in view of the heavy drain on British manpower, particularly in the years when she stood almost alone against Germany.

Spaatz to head bombers

Gen. Spaatz, in his new post, will have overall strategic bombers in command of the U.S. 8th Air Force in Britain in addition to the 12th and 15th Air Forces in the Mediterranean, by far the greatest concentration of Flying Fortresses, Liberators, Marauders and Mitchells in any war theater.

His deputies presumably will be Maj. Gen. Ira C. Eaker, present commander of the 8th Air Force, and Maj. Gen. James H. Doolittle, commander of strategic bombing in the 12th and 15th Air Forces.

Eisenhower spends Christmas in Italy

Allied HQ, Algiers, Algeria (UP) – (Dec. 25)
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who will leave soon for Britain to take over the supreme command of “second front” armies, spent Christmas today with his troops in Italy.

Though his appointment to the invasion command was announced only yesterday, he was presumably informed formally of his next task by President Roosevelt during their two-day conference in Carthage nearly three weeks ago.

Gen. Eisenhower left Allied headquarters several days ago with his aides, Cdr. Harry Butcher and Lt. Col. Forrest “Texas” Lee, to be with his “protégé,” Gen. Mark W. Clark, on the holiday.

The “protégé” appellation was applied to Gen. Clark by Gen. Eisenhower himself, who explained that he was a third-year man at West Point when Gen. Clark was a plebe and became the young officer’s tutor.

In a Christmas message, probably one of the last he will direct to his Mediterranean forces, Gen. Eisenhower expressed confidence they would “meet every test in the coming year.”

Emphasis is urged on air offensive

Washington (UP) – (Dec. 25)
Senator Sheridan Downey (D-CA), one of the leading Congressional exponents of unrelenting air attack on Germany, said tonight that Allied bombing strength should be given a chance to reach its maximum before a cross-Channel invasion is ordered.

Mr. Downey said:

I am more than ever firmly convinced that Germany cannot endure our bombings past March or April. Bombing is a cheap and certain way to win.

During the debate last fall on father-draft legislation, Mr. Downey laid before the Senate an array of arguments in favor of full-scale air war to defeat the Nazis. He said Germany could be laid to waste, and it would take only a “token” land force to occupy the country and mop up scattered resistance.

He said:

An invasion involving heavy casualties would be a tragic thing and most unhappy in view of our ever-increasing raids on Germany, and the apparent weakening of the German defenses. Every day we are cutting down her morale, and her ability and capacity to fight and produce.

The number of Allied bombers going into action is growing every day, he said, the planes are carrying bigger bombloads, and more and more long-range fighters are escorting the bombers greater distances into enemy territory.

Information he has received indicates that Germany’s ability to defend herself in the air is diminishing. Mr. Downey said, adding that Hitler may run out of experienced and capable pilots even before he runs short of planes. Already there are indications that some German pilots are either “very young or over the age of peak efficiency.”

Making of invaders ‘shocks’ Senators

Washington (UP) – (Dec. 25)
Senator Edwin C. Johnson (D-CO) said today that he had heard the United States would furnish 73% of the troops to be used in the invasion of Europe.

He said a decision was reached at the Québec Conference to have England supply 23% of the men required for the invasion forces and Canada 5%.

Mr. Johnson added that he was “shocked” by the decision.