U.S. transports reported in big battle fleet (11-7-42)

Brooklyn Eagle (November 7, 1942)

U.S. transports reported in big battle fleet

Mediterranean convoy led by great force, Spain dispatches say

London, England (UP) –
Axis dispatches said today that American and British troop transports were among a great convoy reported to have steamed out of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean late yesterday.

Dispatches from La Línea, Spain, said the convoy was led by a battle fleet, including the battleship Rodney, the aircraft carrier Argus, 26 destroyers and several corvettes.

A Radio Berlin broadcast said today that the Rodney left Gibraltar under an umbrella of fighter planes. It was escorting both American and British troop carriers, the broadcast said.

See important development

Spanish and Axis reports emphasized more and more that a development of importance was occurring at Gibraltar. Reports said 125 ships, including three carriers, seven cruisers and 34 destroyers, had been concentrated at the rock.

Radio Paris said Royal Air Force reinforcements arrived at the fortress yesterday. A La Línea dispatch said 26 planes, including six American Flying Fortresses, flew in from the direction of the Atlantic yesterday afternoon and then took off toward the Mediterranean.

A dispatch from the official Spanish news agency said Gibraltar authorities had confiscated all barges, lighters, dredges and scows and ordered them prepared for immediate use. It implied that they would be used for transporting troops, saying disembarkation exercises were being held on the beach at Gibraltar.

Second front mentioned

A Stockholm dispatch asserted that vast quantities of tanks and planes were stored at Gibraltar:

…and it is believed they are intended for the opening of a second front with Gibraltar as a base.

Axis radios put out almost hourly warnings. They emphasized that Casablanca, the chief port of French Morocco, was in immediate danger, and suggested that the Allies were planning to attack Dakar, the great French West African base.

The Axis propagandists evidently feared a “squeeze play” would be carried out against their harried desert troops, with Allied forces striking against them from the west as well as the east.