Dear Mother and Father:
Please forgive this poor letter. I know how hard it must be for Sister to read, but we are confined to our camps and all outgoing mail is being impounded. So I write it on this stuff and out it goes in the laundry, just like a Republic serial! Mother's aunt's grand-daughter is going to take it up to the Wing Commander, and, from him, America. Queenie is one swell girl! She and her mother even took me around the town last week to see the sights! Keyham is a very small place, all English and sad. Not at all what I pictured.
If Sister has to give up on this, I hope it sets your heart at ease that since it was made from a ditto, there is a fair copy in the Wing Commander's papers. If anything happens, you will have it after the war.
Since my letter before this was all about my afternoon out with the Chungs, I shan't repeat myself, as the English say, although you may not have received that letter yet, so I am not really repeating myself! Instead, Father will surely want to know that I shall have my own ship for the Invasion! Well, not really a ship, an LCT, and it will not carry my name on D-Day, though, I hope, soon after.
It happened this way. Commander Stump of the 510th Port Battalion, who I mentioned, has been staffing his unit by the old-fashioned method. White officers are no good for Coloured troops, but the Navy gets upset about commissioned Coloureds, so the Commander arranges Mess Chiefs to be transferred to the Battalion, then has a friend in Washington lose their jackets. No fuss, no muss, another "White" Officer who is good with Coloureds --at least until he gets it in his head that he can be promoted.
Well, now that we're shut down, it is hard to play this game, so he has been looking further afield, since Admiral Hall is desperate to get some decent management on the ground. I mentioned Harry Sullivan, the Ojibway highliner from Grand Island? I set up an LCI whose ramp won't drop with some radios and one of the new LORAN sets, and he'll be a breach guide, talking boats through the obstacles and mines and marshalling the rear echelon landings. I'll take over his LCT. From the look the flag gave me in the minute he spent approving it, I have a feeling that Hall's minded to wink at something a little irregular. (I knew I would make it into a frat some day, Sis!)
The scuttlebut around the fleet is that the swimming tanks are useless. The Admiralty Instructions say that there's a cross-current off the beach, and the tank drivers have no idea how to keep from being swamped by it, but the Army major who is in charge won't hear of any changes. Well, Dad, I hope that the next you hear of me won't be court-martial charges!
Mom, once again, I can't thank you enough for introducing me to Gracie. She just knocks my socks off. Can't wait to see you guys again, even you Sis, and you see I didn't mention Douggie? Hah! Did you read that aloud?
With All My Love, Tommy
My Dearest Reggie:
Not much of a note for you this time around. I should love to fill you in on the hijinks of the young and careless ("Miss V.C." has now conceived the idea that the university archives will reveal the secret of her "McKees." I cannot help but think that someone is pulling her leg. It is close enough to the story of Judith's people that I have actually mentioned it to her, but she denies it.)
Well, that is already more than I intended to write. I really need to be going, and I think I linger at home because of the unpleasantness of my task, which is to somehow chivvy our mutual friend's young associate out of hospital, where he has booked in on pretext of tonsilitis in an attempt to escape a European tour. If I can. I fear that I have no leverage on him at all! In all likelihood, any chivvying to be done will be of our mutual friend, who is spooked of talk about "Section 60" in his contract, with much ominous shading to suggest that it will be the death of him if he breaks his contract.
I hope that I am not flying between equally awful outposts on the continental lines when the invasion is announced.
Time, 15 May 1944
The Marquess of Hartington marries an American heiress. The paper reports breathlessly. After what was reported as a six year courtship, I should hope so. Your youngest has known “Miss V.C.” for less than a year, and the sighs and distracted looks and moody poetry. A least he can bestir himself to tinker with his car and the dispatch motorcycle, so there is hope.
The paper also informs us that the controversy between Poland and Russia is nearing its end. As with the Cavendish romance, it took long enough, but all’s well that ends well.
The omens are good in Naples, and Gandhi has malaria. Icelanders are excitable. I infer from the paper’s tone that it is appalled by the US Embassy’s behaviour in the recent attempted coup in El Salvador. Latin Americans are excitable, as the 6’7” Mistress of School Lunches in Guatemala, who stalks the street with a “ready pistol,” lest any dare to laugh at her mannish jackets and flowing skirts. If the paper applies the same vivid imagination to the Presidential race over the summer, I might even read it! I gather that MacArthur likes flowing skirts…
“Where?” The paper reviews possible invasion sites. St. Nazaire has a good port and beaches on either side. Lorient, also. Brest is a major port, but heavily fortified on a rocky coastline. Nevertheless, there are ports across the bay, although an attack from Lorient would be more feasible. Cherbourg is a major port on a minor peninsula, but it is guarded by the Channel Islands, while the beaches are limited by cliffs. Le Havre has a great port and excellent beaches. Dieppe has good beaches, blocked by a formidable cliff, but we tried that. Boulogne is a small port with many beaches studded with dunes, and with cliffs. Calais, the port nearest England, has many fine beaches. Dunkirk is a fine port, but canals are hazards, defensive flooding possible. The ports of Belgium and the Netherlands have special flood defences, and reports from Belgium say that the Germans have already inundated defensive zones, but “low moats are not impassable to modern armies.” The Germans have been building fortifications, which the paper chooses to describe as “kolossal,” but, like the inundations, they can be overcome. A “comforting thing to remember.” Let me know if you ever need a copy of the letter you sent me after Dieppe, Reggie, or the enclosures. I will never forget your anger. In my mind, I saw again the boy volunteer, the day we steamed back into Lu-shun.
Anyway, enough of painful memories; the article is promoting Le Havre so hard that I come around to Calais as the invasion destination.
The paper adds new adjectives to the Bevin-Bevan fight. And implies that Bevin is a drunken brawler. Occupied Germany is to be divided into three parts, once we win the war. Bad news for Mars-Men, as it sets a precedent for Helium to come under Cossack rule once we conquer it. Anthony Eden finally spelled out in the Commons that the French Committee of National Liberation will administer liberated France, which presumably commits Washington, which has declined to be committed, and puts de Gaulle’s wooing of Russia on the back burner, perhaps. (The idea is that Roosevelt is so conservative that he will make an accommodation with Vichy as readily as he will with some Latin American strong man. I shall have to remember this line the next time business takes me to the club. “Roosevelt is a conservative” is always good for a laugh.)
“The Long Wait” The invasion. What’s keeping it?
“The Wehrmacht” The invasion. What’s keeping it? Forty divisions in France, Belgium, Holland and Denmark, five to seven armoured divisions, Rommel, and “frosty, amoral beau ideal of Prussian militarism Field Marshal Karl Gerd von Rundstedt” want to know in France, a Falkenhausen in Belgium, and a Falkenhorst in Norway. (Biographies so short that they have no adjectives). The assumption is that Allies are landing at Calais, which is not that close to Belgium, and quite far from Norway.)
“Paper is Very Flammable: The paper is reminded of last month’s low-level attack on the Gestapo headquarters in the Hague by six Mosquitoes by the award of a DSO.
Secretary Stettinus has returned to Washingto from London. He held a news conference. Various newsmen amused themselves by trying to get him to say something controversial. He didn’t. It is confidently reported that “in England, he outtweeded the tweediest Britons.”
“Better Farther South” The paper tells an amusing anecdote about that idiot A.B.C. looking up a WREN’’s skirts. (Or perhaps some other “crusty sea lord,” but I prefer to imagine Randy Andy in the role.
“Again: Twin Aces” Bong, Foss and now Captain Robert S. Johnston, flying a P-47, are tied at 27 kills. The paper needs to look up “twin” in the dictionary.
“Koga’s End” The paper reports on Admiral Koga’s state funeral, and speculates on the cause of death. It also notes the appointment of a new CinC, of the Fleet, Soemu Toyoda, a “bitter-end jingo” who had hitherto succeeded in sitting the war out.
“Some Give Up” The paper finds it remarkable that Japanese troops will surrender if given a chance. It notices that these were rear-echelon troops, but not, explicitly that they gave up to US Army Services of Supply troops near Hollandia, and not to Marines.
“Design for Defence” The paper notices the Japanese offensive in Honan Province, directed against the Peking (the paper uses the current “Peiping”)-Hankow railway, inferring a Japanese intent to capture the full line of internal communications down to Kuan-tung Province, presumably to shift troops against an American landing on the coast. The paper also notes that the Eastern Capital is aflame. For the good of my stomach, I am going to pretend that that is hyperbole.
“Delivered for D-Day” “Lank, dandified General Somervell” reports that 79 of 100 stores to be stockpiled for the invasion are now in their required quantity, and that “the mad supply rush was easing up.” 21,000 boxcars, 91,000 bazookas, 1,270,000 microphones, 9,000,000 gas masks, 17,000,000 neckties, 21,000,000 rifle grenades, 36,000,000 pairs of goggles, 52,000,000lbs soap, 98,000,000 chemical warfare defensive agents, 13,500,000,000 rounds rifle and .50 cal ammunition, 109,200,000 rolls of gause bandages, 617,000,000 sufadiziane tablets, 20,000 75mm tank guns. The general notes recent rushes, for example a hurry-up order for 7000 big truck tractor and semitrailer vehicles, which required taking 800 from army units in the States, rounding up 200 from “here and there,” and cutting back production of six other kinds of motor vehicles to give them priority so that they could be built and sent off. The army also required 30,000 rounds of a special kind of artillery ammunition. The factory that made it was out of production, so it was put back into it. A last minute requirement for 2000 medical kits was filled from a freight train “cached” in Kansas City. (Technically, the paper says that the kits were cached, not the boxcars. But you can’t have one without the other, and see my earlier comments about the rail system being overstrained.)
“Whimsical, sometimes irascible Bill Somervell” has been criticised for many things, many times. (The paper helpfully summarises), but has accomplished what he set out to do, which, apparently, is to get a great many neckties to supply dumps in Britain.
I am sorry, I know that the paper dangled the neckties in front of me, but I could not resist pulling on them.
“Mummy” Major Mary Bell, formerly dean of women at Coe College in Iowa, has been made the first female instructor at the Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.
“Into Hell Harbour” When the Allies landed at Anzio, the original plan was to not be there very long. Instead, here they are, and they require supplies. Consequently, Landing Craft, Tanks and Landing Ship, Tanks, have been delivering 8000 tons of stores across the beaches every 24 hours. Much credit goes to flotilla commander Lieutenant Commander John B. Freese, formerly a bond salesman and public works commissioner in Framingham, Massachusetts.
“.45 shotguns” Chrysler Corporation is making a scattershot shell to fit the regulation .45 pistol so that castaway sailors can hunt small game on Pacific islands. It does not sound like the worst way to spend one’s overseas service, at least until the ammunition runs out. One wonders why Chrysler is required for the work. Surely my boyhood memories are not deceiving me, and we did fire regular shotgun shells in from the .44s the Chief gave us for our birthdays that golden summer between Keyham and Greenwich?
“Tact” General Patton has ruined public speaking for the rest of the American general officer corps in Britain.
“Final Fling” The paper turns into Aviation. That is, planes were involved, and air marshals are disappointed that they will have to wait to the next war to win it from the air. Also, the Germans have flooded the Pontine Marshes, a trend that I hope does not spread. I take panic about imminent famine with a grain of salt, but this sort of thing will not help. A thousand acres flooded through the harvest might be less devastation than ten acres of city levelled by bombs, but the consequences of the former, unlike the latter, cannot be made up, however uncomfortably, by a winter under canvas. Or, more likely, corrugated iron, these days.
Rumours which had the President everywhere from the Mayo Clinic to London were dispelled when Roosevelt returned from an extended vacation at the Hobcaw Barony, Bernard Baruch’s 23,000 acre South Carolina plantation. He either did “no paperwork,” or some, and kept up to date on all current affairs, having no comment on Sewell Avery, nor on the replacement for the Secretary of the Navy. The President is well-tanned, and has shaken off his winter sniffles and bronchitis. This all calls Harding and Wilson –and perhaps Coolidge-- to mind. The Presidency so often kills the men who work hardest and most conscientiously in office. Is that a swipe at the Engineer? I believe that it is!
Jim Forrestal is working hard as acting Secretary of the Navy. The paper says that the landing-craft programme is his biggest worry, and that he has personally visited eight shipyards to “exhort bosses and workers to speed up production.” We do not need exhortations, Reggie. We need more reliable labour and timely deliveries of steel, and it is not hard to apply a little imagination and see that the two problems are related. Good workers for the shipyards have to come from somewhere else, and the inland waterways and railways are obvious candidates. I hope that Mr. Forrestal has more to offer than exhortations, but the paper’s pocket biography does not fill me with confidence. Born a neighbour of the President in Duchess County, attended Princeton, served in the Navy in the World War, emerged as a lieutenant (j.g.) of 26, went to work as a bond salesman at a prominent firm, married an Ogden, became a registered Democrat, stood at the right hand of his firm’s president from about the moment that the Democrats entered power, made friends amongst the Preident’s circile of would-be securities regulators, entered the government in 1940, rose to the high eminence of assistant secretary of the navy, remained there until death cleared his path to an acting secretaryship. It is not that such a mediocre trajectory leads me to eye his marriage more closely. It’s that it is so mediocre that I wonder if he married a first-classheiress!
A go-slow in Detroit is inspired by arguments about whether foremen should be union members or not. “Cousin H.C.” held forth in a rare rant on the folly of simultaneously putting more pressure on foremen and, at the minimum, appearing to deny them higher pay. “Plenty for How Long?” A ration holiday has been declared on meats except beef steaks and beef roasts. Stocks are on the increase, cold storage space critically short. (Having just shared my frustration at delays in steel deliveries due to rail congestion, I thought I would bring out this evidence of further trouble “down the line.”) The War Department has relaxed deferrments on 600,000 agricultural labourers. War Food Czar Marvin Jones says that food production is above schedule “all along the production front,” and promises ice cream in May and June. But this plenty might not last long, depending on the invasion and the harvest. A poor feed crop harvest will bring back meat rationing on an even stricter basis than before. It has also been suggested that there might be some commercial alcohol manufacture at some point in the near future, perhaps in three or four months. Thank Heavens.
“Naziphile” George Viereck, on trial in New York for public indecency of the Nazi-loving kind, was coldly told by his wife that his oldest son had died in action in Italy, just as she had been coldly told by the War Department. It is noted that his younger son is also in the army, and furthermore is a Nazi-hater.
“Still Solid South.” The race-baiting anti-New Deal insurrection in the South is failing to happen.
“Insurance” The Army has signed a contract for sixty million barrels of oil at $1.25/barrel from the Canol field on the middle Mackenzie, so as to justify its pipeline-and-refinery investment. It will be interesting to learn whether there are 60 million barrels of oil down there.
“Colliding Colonels” Colonel JamesCanella, air force commander at Santa Ana, California, has been convicted of corruption. Apparently, public sympathies were with Canella, as the prosecution was instigated by the army commandant, Colonel Robertson, an upper class swell who like to “play polo with cinema people and rich orange growers.” As a rich orange grower, may I be permitted to suggest that polo is a dreadful waste of a perfectly good ride? (I have that joke from a golfing fiend.) It turns out that Colonel Canella was selling jobs, taking kickbacks on the base’s milk contract and arranged the assignment of someone’s cousin as cook at the base on his being called up. He also sold concessions in the base PX. Rather naively, he put his money in the bank and spent lavishly.
“The Navy’s Ladies” More than half the Navy Department’s staff in Washington is now distaff. I am amazed anything gets done there. On a more authentically feminine note, the paper registers new summer uniforms for the Marine Women’s Reserve Officers (a neat white Palm Beach suit), enlisted WACs (tropical khaki, with a new garrison cap by Hatter Knox), WAVES and Spars in slate-grey seersucker with fitted jacket with four pockets, one real, three false. Somewhere in the middle, I hope they make time for running the war.
“Biddle’s Battle” Attorney General Francis Biddle is on the hotseat over the Federal takeover of Montgomery Ward (a management-union thing, you will recall, Reggie), a trial of eight laides of the evening from Washington’s Hopkins Institute that has turned from a prosecution of a “million-dollar call house” into a typically sordid prostitution case (who could have guessed that real-life prostitutes would turn out to be drab and troubled women?), and a trial of 29 alleged seditionists that is collapsing from the government’s found disinclination to prosecute the kind of people who get their amusement from saying outrageous things in public. (See above: “drab and troubled.”) The point of the story, buried at the bottom, is that Congress is going to investigate Biddle’s handling of the Montgomery Ward affair.
Science, Medicine, Education
Dr. Robert Burns Woodward (27), and William von Eggers Doering, also 27, both of Harvard, announced the artificial synthesis of quinine from coal tar this week. I note that if this the project of 27 year olds, then while the effort to synthesise quinine has gone on for 90 years, it has been aggressively pressed at Harvard for only four or five –since the occupation of the East Indies, in other words. Polaroid, sponsor of the research, is working to develop licensing for mass production, as US troops in the Pacific are in dire need of two-and-a-half billion tablets annually, twice the prewar output. It is hoped the further work on the “15 stepping stones to quinine” will uncover a permanent malaria cure.
“Elementary Murder” Dr. Le MoyneSnyder, medico-legal director of the Michigan State Police believes that in the future, many murders that currently go undetected will be solved by advanced scientific techniques of investigation, such as lie detectors and gunpowder residue tests.
“That’s Not My Baby” Mistaken baby identifications may or may not be rife at Los Angeles-area hospitals. Or possibly just the South Hoover Hospital. I shall take the high road, Reggie.
“Twentieth Century Seer” Large quantities of penicillin will be available for the invasion, and it is all thanks to the work of Dr. Fleming.
Although deep in the article it is noted that others pressed the development of a manufacturing method, and the paper underlines the eight year delay between the development of the first practical penicillin treatment in 1933 and the beginning of factory production in the late war. Is there no form of progress, be it ever so purely beneficial, that was not delayed by the late Depression?
“Umbilicose” North Carolina Congressman Carl Thomas Durham and his House Military Affairs subcommittee has attacked a pamphlet distributed by the Army as communist. The paper jokes that it is because it represents Adam and Eve as having navels, which is heretical, and Communists might be heretical when they are not being atheistical. However, this is the “Races of Mankind” pamphlet of recent notoriety, and the Congressman might be more upset about its allegations of racial equality.
“For Negro Colleges” Yale spent seven and a half million dollars last year to educate 3,112 students. The United Negro College Fund Campaign aims to raise $1.5 million to be shared among 27 U.S. Negro colleges. With exquisite discretion, keynote speaker, Fisk University’s White President, Thomas Elsa Jones, suggests that given the advantage conferred by their skin pigment, the slogan for the Coloured graduate should be “Go south, east and west.” Because they suffer less from sunburn, you see, Reggie. So they should go away. To somewhere were their skin colour is an advantage. But not here. Thank, you, Dr. Fisk. You have been a real help to the cause.
“Jitters Recur” The colleges will not get their full allocation of tuition-paying profit units –I mean, students—from the Army’s Specialized Training Reserve Program. Some small men’s colleges may have to close for the duration.
“Berrer Veterans” The paper is amused by the prospect that discharged veterans will make better students in college, and so will learn to write ‘better.’
“Good First-Quarter” We were warned in advane that earnings would show anticipation of the postwar slowdown. This did not happen. Sales are up 23%, profits very much less, due to renegotiation, which is still underway at many firms. Some firms did unexpectedly well (Libby-Owens-Ford Glass Co, Texas Co., GM). Others, notably the rail companies, did poorly, while steel was unable to make good on its alarmist predictions, disappointingly ending up on profits. But it surely all shall end in tears due to cutbacks, cancellations, and the like. After all, last year, the first-quarter numbers were among the year’s poorest, and the paper reads the auguries to discover that this proves that this year’s first quarter earnings will be the best.
People are talking about talking about oil; MGM is expanding in Britain’ farm earnings are up, debt down.
“The Big Drive” “To help him [move 45 million feet of lumber down river to the Van Buren Madawaska Lumber Mill in Keegan, Maine], Gardner has hired 150 0f the toughest woodsmen he could find. Most of them come from New Brunswick –hard-muscled, catfooted lumberjacks who like to wear the loudest mackinaw shirts that money can buy. They work in crews of six, travel in bateaux (over-sized row-boats)….[and] will seldom be dry until the logs reach Keegan late in June.” Etc, etc, romance of the woods, eat minced meat pies, baked beans and mashed potatoes, etc. There are a great many US dollars to be carried up the Restigouche to rustic cabins in the wood if the national target of 34 billion board feet is to be met.
“Big Steel Tries Prefabrication” US Steel has bought Gunnison Housing Corporation of New Albany, Indiana, which are prefabricated houses built in sections and quickly assembled. Attention, Big Steel: America already has a prefabricated modular home construction material that can be easily moved and quickly assembled on site. It is called “wood.” Or perhaps that is the voice of special interest, and this will turn out to be a roaring success. Whatever: I am not putting any of our money in it.
“Furs: Chinchilla comeback?” It could happen.
The Hayes Code, which has recently banned sweaters in movies, now adds garters. “Hollywood publicity cameramen have taken to shooting backsides, which are still within the law.” Or perhaps Hollywood is beginning to depend on cameramen who have resorted to a certain morals disqualification to avoid call-up.
“On Sir Osbert’s Tail” The paper spends three pages on Sir Osbert Sitwell, who has written a book. Well, at least it makes a change from articles about comings and goings from great orchestras, art books, and the recently published memoirs of Washington Post Shanghai correspondent Mark Gayn. Gayn predicts that the Pacific War will continue through 1948. since he also thinks Chiang can save China, he at least gives me a concrete date for future planning. If Gayn says it will continue through 1948, that is when it will have ended by. It is the Janeway effect.
“Bruce Barton, advertising tycoon, onetime GOP Congressman,” told 370 New Jersey socialites in a speech this week that Franklin Roosevelt was on the same low moral level as Robin Hood. Both justified their thefts on the grounds that they took from the rich to give to the poor. Now that’s the way to win an election, Mr. Barton!
Professor Nicholas John Spykman’s last book, a treatise on geopolitics called America’s Strategy in World Politics reveals that Eurasia encircles America, which is thus under unfathomable threat by assorted Eurasians, and calls for a foreign policy that makes it impossible for any one power to dominate Eurasia and thus surround America. I think with that in mind, before I plot my Eurasian ill upon America, I will dispose of the whiskey in front of me. It has me encircled, you see.
Flight, 18 May 1944
…And a pleasant evening was had by all. At least after your eldest was persuaded by his children to desist from talking about the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and its miracle machine, and melt into fatherhood.
I will be there when you meet your grandchildren, Reggie.
“Our New Transports” The paper is enormously pleased with the Short Shetland, and also all the other planes that have not actually flown yet, but mainly the Shetland.
“The Lords Debate” of civil aviation did not contribute much. Though it is noticed that rail companies are trying to move in on the civil aviation business. One wants to smack their noses. That is our business to invade! More seriously, I find aviation a more than lucrative business to be in covertly. I have my doubts about whether we should involve ourselves overtly. It is not like shipping, for planes can only land where they land, and even that freedom is being taken away by radar.
War in the Air
Crimea falls! Aircraft were involved! We are bombing the “back areas” of Hitler’s Europe. Sounds rather naughty, Reggie. “Tank busters” are in operation in Burma, where a story is told of planes chasing two Japanese tanks a mile down the road before destroying them. Left unanswered is the question of how the Japanese got tanks into the Imphal valley. Hard work and ingenuity, I know, but these virtues are not to be attributed to the Japanese. For reasons perhaps relating to Captain Brown doing something, the paper revives the controversy over the death of Manfred v. Richthofen. Offensive in Italy! Aircraft were nvolved. Further to this summer’s project of flooding every acre of convertible land in Europe, bombers breached the Pescara dam to inundate the flanks of 8th Army and allow it to concentrate its attack. A. L. Wykes, managing director of Taylorcraft Aeroplanes, died this week in an ill-judged aerobatics display during a “Salute the Soldiers” event in Leicester. He leaves a widow, a young son, and an unintended example to the soldiers being saluted. A Mosquito of RAF Transport Command just bettered the Liberator-set record for a flight between Labrador and Britain by 2h, 10 minutes, to 5h, 40 minutes.
Here and There
France (the Fighting kind) now has a civil air plan. Sir Richard Fairey was in Vancouver last week
(better for everyone’s sakes than at Stockport), where he gave a speech to the Board of Trade about how at current rates of production, the industry could supply the world’s needs for aircraft in about three days. So build better aircraft more slowly! North American wants you to know that part of the armament of the B-25H Mitchell is in the form of “package guns,” and we are to be as amazed by this innovation as every other time it has been announced in the last five years or more. (I am thinking of the Blenheim Fighter, but doubt that it was original, either.) The American fighter jet is to be known as the P-59. The paper is pleased to announced that the USAAF now uses the Avro Anson as a trainer. Some of the wonderful anaglyphs of aerial devastation of Germany exhibited in Parliament by the Prime minister are now on show. It is suggested by a speaker to the Post Office Controlling Officers’ Association that after the war, mail might be flown about. I presume that the paper is subtly mocking. General Arnold says that the average life of a B-17 in the European Theatre of Operations is 231 days, or 21 operations.
“Postwar Civil Aviation” Is talked about
Norman Hall Warren, “Rhombic Ruminations: The Designer of the Warren-Young Tandem Explains Why the Machine Should be Viceless” The invasion. What’s keeping it? Oh, well, let us run this publicity hound’s bit, instead. The number can’t just be ads all the way through. The readers might feel cheated.
“Studies in Aircraft Recognition” Explain how to tell the Vought-Sikorsky Kingfisher, Arado AR-196 and Vickers-Armstrong (Supermarine) Walrus II apart. Something that I would have thought would not have required explaining, since apart from the fact that all three are catapulted from battleships to correct naval gunnery, they look nothing alike. I think the moral of the story is that if you see any of the three, they are likely to be accompanied by one-ton shells flying about at 2000 feet per second, and you probably have more immediate worries.
Behind the Lines
The performance of the Japanese MitsubishiOB-01 bomber is announced. The N.C.T.1 announced by Hispano-Suiza at the 1938 Paris show, basically two Hispano-Suiza 12Ys coupled to a common driveshaft, has had its final drive appropriated for the He 177. Junkers is trying to recruit labour for its new plant in Milan. The Germans have a new fighter. A Berlin resident recently arrived in Switzerland reports that seventy to eighty percent of Berlin’s war factories have been put out of action by bombing. This would be good news, were it not so pessimistically refuted by Fat Chow, who will be out of the capital in less than two months, it looks, and is happy about it, but not because all the factories are levelled. I still cannot quite imagine him flying across Asia in a small aircraft cabin with a Japanese colonel, but Fat Chow is nothing if not cool.
James Barlow, “Bombing Policy: Why I Believe in the Night Offensive” Editorial copy is like the chaperones at a high school dance for advertisments. Needful to keep the ads from touching each other, but a drag on the proceedings when it takes itself too seriously. Case in point.
“Camera Recorder: New Hawker Instrument Writes Time Histories of Acceleration, Control Movements and Stick Forces” The idea is that photographic film serves as the medium for recording the instrument outputs. Ingenious, in that the medium is rather a sticking point for all kinds of motor-driven recording. Wax cylinders work well enough, at least on land, but cannot be splices. With all due respect to your present, chemical paper is fragile and cannot be reused, unlike magnetic wire, which has its own limitations, but also the near-miraculous advantage of being able to replay sound. Film paper has many of the disadvantages of chemical paper, as you will know perhaps better than anyone, but can potentially record much more information.
“Aircraft Engineer Training: Recommendations of the S.B.A.C. Committee” SBAC prefers an apprenticeship scheme in which boys are enrolled beginning at 16, and graduated at 21. Only exception candidates will be enrolled above the age of 18, with the option of transferring to an aeronautical engineer programme. Premiums are to be abolished. Apprentice aeronautical engineers should have satisfactory grades in appropriate School Certificates, and graduates of Junior Technical Schools may be favoured. The firms will be in charge of the apprentice’s industrial training, while local technical schools will be used to further the apprentice’s theoretical studies, unless a works school is necessary due to distance. Your eldest fears that this programme is rather at risk of slighting young engineers’ mathematical training. In a practical sense, it is likely to keep the empyrean realms of upper management for University graduates of good birth and connections.
Then he blushes. It is good to see that he is aware of the privilege that wealth and family have brought him.
“Air Transport: viscount Knollys tells Empire Society What it Will Mean in the Future” In the future, you will be able to fly to New Zealand or India. Very nice for the man in a hurry to go to New Zealand. (Why?)
W. S. Farren, “Research” Farren’s Seventh Wright Brothers Lecture to the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences was too full of encomiums to research to confine to a single number of the paper. In the future, planes will fly higher and faster, but not faster than 70% of the speed of sound, and not higher than perhaps 40,00ft, except with difficulties in both cases.
ATC officers should be allowed to wear caps, and ROC officers have not been giving away more precious “gen” than others. Gunpowder is so too a good aircraft fuel, ducted radiators are not well understood by people who write about them in letters to the paper, and the paper has received a very nice drawing of a “mail” heli-gyrocopter. In sum: letters to Flight are once again being written by people for whom time weighs heavy.
Time, 22 May 1944
This number of the paper has General Smuts on the cover, so it should be a rare treat.
Assorted Prime Ministers are in London to talk about talking. Curtin and Mackenzie King disagreed about where and when they should in the future talk about talking. Other premiers had other opinions, including the one from New Zealand, a country that I should have thought too small to be able to fit an opinion. General Smuts was there, but was too wonderful to contain to only a single article, so there is another one. Quite a long one. And perhaps more. I get a little vague when I am falling asleep. Eire was not there, as all the Eirish politicians were in Eireland squabbling about money, public contracts and elections. And also because this Commonwealth thing was never more than an excuse to get the British out of Ireland, even if some dullards still seem unaware of it.
“Fire in Bombay” A Canadian-built Liberty ship (so, actually, “Victory ship, dear paper) caught fire while unloading in Bombay. Being loaded with 300 tons of high explosive and 708 bales of cotton, the dockers understandably abandoned their work ahead of the fire brigade. The fire spread, causing 350 dead, 1815 injured. “Probably cause: spontaneous combustion. There was no sign of sabotage.” That is, the ship was loaded with $4,293,500 in gold bullion, and, apart from one 28 oz bar which fell on the verandah of a house a mile away, there is no word what happened to it. I hope that it was all recovered, but my cynical side suggests that it was not.
“Tito’s Yugoslavia” The Marshal had a press day.
“Theosophist’s End” The dictator of El Salvador, who so offended the paper some weeks ago, has resigned office and fled the country in the wake of a successful civil disobedience campaign. His Minister of War has assumed the governance of the country. All are pardoned, all is forgiven. Soon, democracy will sweep the isthmus.
“Muttering Left” Labour’s failure to discipline Aneurin Bevan means that the Tories will lose the next election, says the paper. People suspect hidden reserves of reaction.
Lacandone Indians of Chiapas State in southern Mexico are rustic, primitive, untouched by the corrupting ills of modern society. Etc.
“First Blow” The Invasion. What’s keeping it?
“Air Harvest” The invasion. What’s keeping it? Aircraft were involved.
“To Destroy the German Armies” Is the answer to the question put to General Alexander: Why are you attacking towards Rome? The paper notices that there are 20 divisions to be destroyed, and that right now they are cut off from supplies by the breaching of the Avisio rail duct in the Brenner Pass.
“Into the Mountains” Further in this line, the French under General Juin stepped off into the Italian nmountains this week. It turns out that French colonial alpine troops are quite good at mountain warfare, to the surprise of someone, somewhere.
“Landsale’s End” A short piece about the loss of the USS Landsale destroyerends with the information that the executive officer, Lietenant Robert M.Morgenthau, son of the Treasury Secretary, was amongst the vast majority of the crew saved.
“Off the Beam” A German pilotless, rocket-driven, bomb-carrying German aircraft crashed in south Sweden recently.
“The Light Goes Out” In the Crimea, where the last German resistance came to an end this week.
“The Calm Before” It was a quiet week in the Pacific as we wait for the next operation against an undisclosed location. The paper closes by noting that “the Navy’s three four-star top dogs, Admirals King, Nimitz and Halsey” met in San Francisco last week to touch up their plans for it. You will notice the conspicuous inclusion of Halsey rather than Spruance. Of course, as a theatre commander, Halsey has a right to be there. But as Lieutenant A. keeps brashly reminding me, the only American admiral ever to have lost two air-sea naval battles really ought to replace the only American admiral to have won one. For the good of the country, you see.
“Catastrophe in Asia” In Honan, the Japanese advance. In Burma, the Chinese do. The difference? General Stillwell has seen to the training and equipping of the Chinese force in Burma from American resources, and allocated U.S. trained officers to command. Perhaps they even take the time to pat Chinese soldiers on the head and tell them that they are good boys. And pay them; good pay being one of those things uniformly and coincidentally related to victories in the field.
“Fortunes of War” Gruesome, hopeful and tragic stories of the war in the air over Europe.
“No Stone Unturned” German troops garrisoning the Atlantic Wall were instructed to kill their 300,000 tame rabbits this week, lest they get loose in the bombardment and trigger mines. Oh, for the love of... They're just making these stories up, Reggie.
“Cannons and Guns” Were you wondering what kinds of cannons the US Army has? The paper explains, and does not quite say (only heavily implies) that cannons were invented in the Civil War. American version. Given that anyone actually interested can learn these things in Popular Mechanics –as I should know, as I tripped over a pile of the same on the stairs on my way up a moment ago- I would prefer to file this story under “waiting for the invasion.”
The President’s health, the paper tells us, is not failing after all. But the details in text (wrinkles, spreading bald spot, inability to “overwork,” bad temper) go against the summary. The President’s ill-temper does seem justified, however. Montgomery-Ward cannot ignore the War Labour Board. There are laws. You do not defy them; you sneak around them. Though it should be noted that the company was returned to Mr. Avery a few hours after the press conference.
“Who Should Ratify the Peace?” A Gallup poll finds that the two-thirds requirement for Senate ratification of treaties is not approved by the American public.
“The Poll Tax Peril” A bill to abolish the poll tax in eight Southern States draws a dramatic performance from Senator Connally of Texas, even though the Senate had already arranged that the bill would not come to vote. It was just a painless way for southern Senators to demonstrate their fidelity to white supremacy in an election year.
“Indian Buyers” 10.9% of the E-bonds ($2,379,000,000) have been redeemed in the last three months, equal to a month’s sales by the rate of the latest drive.
Given the ferocious sales campaigns, the paper should really not be surprised. Honestly, what do you expect when quotas are handed down from on high?
“Lessons of History” Former US Ambassador to Japan, Joseph Grew, has his second fawning piece in the paper of no discernable content in two weeks. Make of that what you will.
“Baby Shortage” The nation’s wartime birth rate is declining froom its peak of 3.2 million in 1943. The Census Bureau expects the number to remain stable at 2.1 million per year for the remaining war years, to go through a temporary “birth boom” in the postwar years, and then to slump again, with the US population beginning to slump again within 50 years.
“Winners and Losers” Tea Leaves! The paper has them!
“What We Don’t Know” A Gallup poll finds that many Americans are unaware of some remarkably commonplace facts.
“Western Dewey” “Blue-eyed, baby-faced Byron Hirst, 31, the new county attorney” of Cheyenne, Wyoming, has been prosecuting vice and corruption, prominently involving the families of Coloured troops at the nearby base, just like Tom Dewey used to do in New York. No doubt he will be President someday. Cracking down on men mistreating the families of 2nd Cavalry Division should be just the ticket! In other vice-related news, a brothel owner from Minnesota who took two of his employees with him on vacation with him to Salt Lake City has been acquitted on appeal to the Supreme Court of violating the Mann Act.
“Maybe Later” Shall America have a Secretary of Defence? Not if the Navy has anything to say about it.
Richard Bong has been rotated off the front lines.
“Fourth Gear” The paper notices that Mr. Roosevelt will be the Democratic Party’s candidate for President in 1944.
The Dies Committee on Un-AmericanAffairs may expire now that its former chair, a Texas Congressman, is not running in November. Other members of the Committee hope that it will be made a permanent House Committee.
“Mild and Bitter” A Martin Marauder B-26 of that name has just completed its hundredth mission, a rare accomplishment for a modern warplane. This proves that i) the B-26 is not as bad as people make it out to be, and that ii) Blaine Stubblefield is not the only man getting Martin money to push that line.
“Too Many People?” Warren Simpson Thompson of Miami University (the one in Oxford, Ohio, of course) points out that there are Plenty of People in his recent book. Western Europe’s population has risen from 115 million in 1800 to 435 million in 1940, or, counting all of Europe, because GErmany kept growing, and if it is part of Germany it must be Western Europe, I suppose, to 542. Which, if these numbers are anywhere near correct, and the 225 is intended to be the 1975 number, implies a staggering, even catastrophic, rate of decline in the 1960s and 1970s.
Perhaps my scornful attitude towards temporary housing was misplaced. Not only are prefabricated modular buildings a better temporary solution, but aging backs and shoulders will have an easier time clearing them away so that they can dig graves for each other, there in the silence of the moody oakwoods that will replace them.
The US will rise to 160 million in 1975 and then begin to decline. “Eastern Europe, Russia and Japan, chiefly agriculatural nations, will increae in population for some time to come.” The Soviet Union, for example, will reach 251 million in 1970. India may grow from 389 to 500, China from 500 to 600.
At which point he pivots from what I would suggest is the obvious conclusion –that, overall, it is a wash with a negative trend (390 million gained in India, China and the Soviet Union, 311 in lost in Europe), to taking about birth control. The Earth cannot withstand this burgeoning population, this pressure on resources, all that science and industry can do will not suffice, political explosions…
Oh, I understand. Fewer Whites, more Asiatics.
Actually, this perplexed me so much that I seen Wong Lee out to obtain a copy from a bookseller. It turns out that "Northwest and Central Europe" expect a decline from 237 to 225 millions in 1970. I notice, however, that no projection for 1975 is made, however. The question for the builder is, at what point does dilapidation fall below the rate of abandoment: that is, when it is no longer a question of not replacing housing stock, but of giving up still-livable housing for lack of tenants? Houses lacking tenants of less than twenty years life will begin to be built in Britain in, what, 1950? 1955? 1960? The water here is murky, and I should like, if demographers are to frighten us so, for a bit more confidence in stating their conjectures.
Science and Medicine
Opthamologist Hedwig Stieglitz Kuhn, daughter and niece of assorted famous Stieglitzes, and Dr. Joseph Tiffin, Purdue psychologist, promise to revolutionise industry with revolutionary new vision tests. Because that is a reasonable thing to expect to happen.
“Magnetic Current?” Dr. Felix Ehrenhaft is irritated that no-one takes his theory that “magnetism, like water, flows in currents and can decompose water” seriously. Results of a confirming test of his decomposing apparatus were given to the annual session of the American Physical Association. Two scientists attending, Jacob Goldman of Westinghouse and James T. Kendall, over from the Metropolitan-Vickers laboratory in Britain for various reasons(!) gently pointed out that this was nonsense, hopefully without scattering Hamilton’s horrid quaternions all over the table, as your son did, when I asked for clarification. (Fortunately, his attention was soon distracted from his hapless victim by his wife, who apparently had opinions of her own in the matter. Much reference to Gibbs and that bizarre old crank, Heaviside, followed.)
“Docs Flock” Also conventioneering this week, notwithstanding the ODT’s beseeching reminders that there was a war on, assorted medical associations.
“Tuberculosis Progress” There has been considerable. A drug treatment is eventually hoped for, but, in the mean time, mass x-ray methods are improving, and the survival rate from whole lung pnuemonectomy is rising from the old 35% fatality rate, and so can be considered much earlier in the progress of the disease than hitherto.
“Penicillin Echoes” New studies suggest that penicillin might be effective in late stage syphilis.
“Medicine: One Every Year?” Planned Parenthood has long advocated having children at a rate of one evey two years. Now Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Nicholson Joseph Eastman says that there is no reason to wait for a year, and good reason to get on with it and have babies every year. Planned Parenthood admits that they have been completely wrong, although “new research is needed.”
What is happening in this country, Reggie? Has all of our traditional belligerence been shipped to camps in the south of England? Even Planned Parenthood has turned meek and mild, and the Dies Committee has disintegrated before our eyes. What hope other professional controversialists if Southern Congressmen and those "more deadly than the male" turn inward?
Although,of course, it may have something to do with the coming of summer. Or that everyone is waiting to write about the invasion.
“Ringside in the Solomons” Lunga beach is bloody again, this time with weekly amateur boxing matches. Winners get $5 in war stamps, losers $2.50. The beach is packed with spectators for huge cards. The promoter has a stable of 150 fighters, and one Saturday “popular card” saw Hawaiian soldiers against Marines, with the Marines taking 6 of 9. “MPs ruled no decision on five fist fights in the audience. Between you and me, Reggie, I think boredom is at risk of breaking out down there. I would also have liked to be there to see the three of nine.
In various government-related news, a debate was held last week between proponents of freedom and economic planning; a wealthy California businessman was fined for ignoring the FAA, establishing its right to regulate private aviation; Ford recognised that foremen were labourers entitled to union representation over the anguished protests of the Automotic Council for War Production.
“New Boss, More Goods” The War Production Board’s Office of Civilian Requirements has a new boss, Wiliam Yandell Elliot, replacing “shy, gnome-like Arthur Dare Whiteside,” who went back to run Dun & Bradstreet. Various limits on production for the civilian market were relaxed or lifted. A “small bonanza” of farm equipment, household goods such as irons and baby carriages and textiles, such as children’s and infants’ clothes is expected. The WPB “has at last taken a firm stand against the Army & Navy’s demand for “everything of everything.”
“Another Biddle, Another Show” Attorney General Francis Biddle produced “the picture of the decade” by having two U.S. soldiers carry Sewell Avery out of his own office. Now his brother has an exhibition of his war pictures! It’s not a stretch! Why is everyone forgetting about Montgomery-Ward already? Troops stationed around Manhattan are going to be treated to a free ballet. But it will be a vigorous, lively ballet.
Look, gentle paper: put your average, red-blooded American boy in the same room as a ballerina and he will spontaneously promise her fealty onto death. . Put him in a room with her, dancing, and he will melt to the ground in a puddle. Put him in the audience of a ballet in which she stars, and he will get bored. It is that simple.
The Radio intelligence Division of the FCC reports that it has suppressed all pirate radios and German radio-controlled spy networks in the Western Hemisphere. The Germans cannot be very good at this.
“Look Homeward Fighter” DuncanNorton-Taylor’s With My Heart in my Mouth is the TIME correspondent’s report of his southwest Pacific tour. By the time he got his ride to Kula Gulf, he was convinced that action had passed his tour by; then his squadron fell in with the Japanese at Kula Gulf, and he found himself in the middle of a sea fight. I can sympathise, as I well remember the experience –even if we were only twelve in our first, and Norton-Taylor won his. But I digress. Needless to say, the paper loved it, but the story is further evidence of the feminisation of the home front, or at least the paper, becacuse what it loved is the portrait of what “the warrior truly wants,” which is to “get back home and stay there,” the reviewer says.
Norton-Taylor’s favourite acquaintance along the way was Red Quigley, who “became a father at sea” and proudly showed his baby daughter’s red ringlet to Norton-Taylor. Karl Kawa, a married machinist from Buffalo, made a little model of the house he planned to build back home. And, finally, Duncan Norton-Taylor “got home to give a finis to his book which every fighter wants as a finis to his war:” his wife and his daughters “standing on the sidewalk in the dim light which fell from the windows of the Red Star bus station.” I don’t know, Reggie, but I think that I detect a unifying theme in this review.
Caroline Gordon’s Come Die Along with Me is about assorted members of the distaff of a decaying family of Tennessee gentry in a decaying house who decay, have horses and black servants who also decay, and sometimes murder people. Mrs. Gordon’s prose lingers over the possibility that the Civil War was won by the wrong side.
Letters to the Paper:
Get an English Girl
Sirs:Elizabeth Gellhorn [TIME, April 13] and other jealous Yankee gals appear perturbed about so many soldiers being in England this spring. Elizabeth expresses her jealousy by denouncing the English mother of an American soldier's illegitimate quads. A friend of mine in a letter last week expressed it in classic parody: "Oh to be in England now that the Army's there." British females, given good girdles and such, silk stockings, high heels, a permanent wave and a good set of cosmetics, could easily come up to American standards of beauty. After five years of war they aren't doing bad now.The startling thing I find about English girls though is their helpful and cooperative nature. Gladly will they darn your socks, wash your clothes, share their limited food rations with you, . . . listen to your bragging about central heating and then apologize for what five years of war have done to what appears to me a beautiful little island after the flat dry desolation of Texas and the stinking swamps of Louisiana.Yes, indeed, the girls back home should worry, or else learn to ... darn socks or something else besides play bridge and sip cocktails all afternoon. The English say we spoil our women. After seeing and going out with a number of both I'm convinced we certainly do. My advice to any bewildered bachelor back home: send to England for a wife. The initial investment may be large but she will save you two thousand bucks a year in upkeep.
(PFC.) JOHN M. STEVENS c/o Postmaster New York City
Flight, 25 May 1944
Cover: In the future, your daughter-out-of-law explains, when British girls fly home to Mother because their husbands have brought them one more sock to be darned, they will need to take the train to some dock dredged out to take a battleship. Or we can measure our words, and buy flowers when we don’t. Chances are, the latter will be cheaper, the former easier.
“Weapons and Tactics” Dive bombers and tanks used to be thought of as the wave of the future. Then it was fighter-bombers and infantry. Perhaps in the future, it will be something else again. “Unfortunate Misunderstandings” The Civil Aviation Debate in the Lords has led to them in the United States and Canada.
“War in the Air”
The paper is pleased with the capture of Myitkyina. Or, rather, of Myityina's airfield. Myitkyina is a big place.
It is also pleased with the carrier raid off Norway. French colonial troops, “led by French officers,” the paper adds, have distinguished themselves in Italy. I seem to recall something about the Rif War that suggests that they would probably distinguish themselves even more under their own chiefs. Although considering the language barrier, one imagines that that is, effectively, what is happening anyway. I know that it is what is happening in Myitkyina. The paper notes that with the heavy monsoon rains coming, the main requirement on that front is permanent quarters to maintain the health of the troops. For this, Myityina, not its airfield, is necessary, and hopefully it will fall soon. The paper notes that Hellcats were used as fighter bombers in the Norway attack for the first time, and that 5th Indian division was moved by air from Arakan to Imphal. Not, of course, with all of its stores and weapons. Certainly “Long Toms” cannot yet be moved by air, but it is a pointer towards the future. Last Saturday, a record 5000 Allied aircraft took off from Great Britain for the Continent.
Here and There
The RCAF is now 191,500 strong, plus 15,000 “Waafs.” Perhaps the English should make an effort to feed them better? Keith Shackleton, who has done amusing illustrations for his father’s “Horace Says…” articles in this paper (which in my experience really are amusing, unlike much which passes for funny here and elsewhere) has had an exhibit. May there be many more. The paper prints a picture showing a vast armada of gliders being prepared.
The reduction in US Navy fighter deliveries is noted. I am amused that news of the Budd Conestoga follows that. The largest stainless-steel aircraft ever constructed also got generous federal money on the strength of a willingness to play the President’s game.
|Very entertaining Wiki.|
RAAF Bristol Beauforts have a very low loss rate, attesting to their toughness, or reliability, or perhaps that there are no Japanese fighters left in the Southwest Pacific. Sir Oliver Simmonds, he of Simmonds Aerocessories, was most uncomplimentary about BOAC and the “chosen instrument” approach to international civil aviation in the House.
F. A. de V. Robertson, “The Prevention of Wars” What, my bar tab is due? And Flight has space to fill? Oh happy coincidence! The idea is that if the Axis ever plans to attack us again, we will make them not have planes, and, so, war is prevented! Add another dash of gin to that, would you, my good man?
Edward C. Bowyer, “Britain’s Overseas Air Services: Diary of a 26,000 Mile Wartime Tour: R.A.F. Transport Command and B.O.A.C. in Four Continents” The General Director of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors flew the world on a Warwick, C-54, Empire Boat, C-47, Hudson, Liberator and assorted De Havilland crates. I am a pretty seasoned air traveller, Reggie. I have flown to Chicago, Honolulu, Seattle and Vancouver, to Los Angeles several times, across the continent five times, Paris and Berlin any number of times in the old days, and once, before the war, to the East. But I cannot even conceive of 26,000 miles in 30 days. Apparently, the C-54 is fast, the Warwick is faster, the C-47 is a crate, the Atlantic services are tests of endurance, flying in January is cold, even in Mesopotamia, wakeup calls for aircraft boarding are far too early, and flying boats take forever to dock and disembark.
“Studies in Recognition” The difference between the Civil Lancaster, Lockheed Lodestar, and Curtiss Commando is explored. This is a better attempt at being thematic than most, I think to myself as my eyes glaze over at the thought of flying on any of them. I have the money. It will not be spent on anything less than the Constellation. Leave these reconditioned warbirds to younger bones.
Behind the Lines
Spanish sources report that there is now a version of the Me. 210 that actually flies, the Me. 210R. German air force transports will no longer land in Sweden. St. Gallen’s local paper reports that German aircraft production does not exceed 1500/month. It goes on to add that aircraft are the new number one priority, ahead of other number one priorities such as tanks and U-boats. Problems in the air include the fact that Messerschmitt and Heinkel are feuding, the curtailment of Luftwaffe ground engineer training back in 1942, and lack of fuel. Massed formations of German rocket guns are appearing on the front. They are terrifying. The Slovak army has raised a battalion of parachutists, which is not.
“Horace Says” In celebration of his son’s first exhibit, W. S. Shackleton returns to the pages of Flight for the first time in, I think, years. He seems less amusing than I remember. One or the other of us is growing old faster.
Z. Ciolkosz, “The Claims for Fair Participation by European Nations in Future Air Traffic.” If you want to fly over Poland, Poland gets a slice of the gravy. (This image of gelid gravy is brought to you by the fact that our housekeeper is out on the town tonight to see a film with Lieutenant A. I do not know how he makes time for her when his Admiral is in town, and it is not just for the sake of my diet of a late night back from the office that I continue to pray that a use will be found for the young man in New Caledonia. Although I urge the powers concerned not to let him fly to the South Pacific, as I can just imagine the boy in the vicinity of cockpit controls.) Where was I? Oh, yes, a an actual reason to have countries. They get you a slice of what would otherwise all go to London or Washington.
The Air Transport Association and Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers are going posh, with coats of arms and meetings, and, perhaps, chains of office and ceremonial hats.
A Rotol ad reminds us that a pound of weight is £11/annum of savings in operating expenses. So every pound we smuggle is £11 lost to BOAC or the RAF? I almost feel guilty.
Persons believe that dispatch riders should learn to fly; that the Home Guard are idiots; that the ATC are young and callow. Turn the page over, and all the silliness is put in the shade by a letter from an expert who wants to explain, once and for all, how jet propulsion works. There are even footnotes, but he gives away the game by signing himself “E. Burke, M. Sc. (Eng.) Lond., A.C.G.I., D.I.C., A.M.I.C.E., F.P.S.” Need a job, due you, Mr. Burke? Then be more careful about the impression you make, because this makes you look like a would-be social climber.
Time, 29 May 1944
Another number, another gentleman on the cover in a khaki cap. This time, it is General de Gaulle.
“Partners for Peace” An invasion of Europe is planned, it says here. In anticipation Greeks, Poles and Yugoslavs have apparently been told to stop being so excitable.
“Sooner or Later” Spaniards, on the other hand, are free to continue to run about talking loudly, gesturing wildly and being Catholic.
“Coptic Quarrel” Ethiopians also. Except not Catholic.
“The Symbol” Who is General de Gaulle? I mean, really? Who is he? What kind of underwear does he like? Long socks, short socks? Also, is he a Fascist? Communist? Remarkably tedious questions like that. As for ideologies, it should be obvious that the General will have whatever will be required for him to be important.
“Thirteenth Month” Germany is getting ready to collapse at some point in the next six months or so.
“Inside the Fortress” You know who is wonderful, Reggie? Tito. Marshal Tito is wonderful.
“Dictator Under Cover” But President Vargas of Brazil is not.
“I Lament” Rather like the former President of El Salvador. The paper now notices that Ambassador Wright made up for upsetting the paper by having a stern word with the former President. This led to his overthrow, and the coming of a new dawn to El Salvador, where from henceforth democracy and progress will reign.
“Fighting Hearts” a roundup of news from Norway, where the Germans abandon investment plants but not their occupation, includes a note from the “Essener National Zeitung,” which is concerned that the British are teaching Norwegian saboteurs the jujitsu touch of death.
“Unconditional Terms” Anthony Eden denied that this government is revisiting Unconditional Surrender this week. If the Germans want conditions, let them repel the invasion first.
“Inner Hunger” The invasion. What’s keeping it?
“Death at Stalag Luft III” the delayed revelation of the death of 47 Allied prisoners in a mass escape from that prison upsets the paper, and the Foreign Office.
“The Gathering Storm” The invasion –Never mind, Reggie. I notice that the press in occupied Europe believes there to be 40—50 Empire divisions in Britain, 40 American, 80,000 airborne troops, 10,000 aicraft, 10 million tons of shipping. That is quite the armada. (Last weeks, number had a review of a scholarly biography of the Eighteenth Century Spanish statesman, Cardinal Alberoni, I noticed it as out of the paper’s usual line, but didn’t think it worth mentioning. Now I read the paper’s inadvertent reference to the Invasion as a “great storm,” and remember the review’s comment that Alberoni attempted his own Spanish Armada, only to have it wrecked by a storm. Suddenly I do not feel quite like mocking others for being so palpably anxious about the invasion.
“Reflex” B-24 “Sweating it Out” is returning from Germany, damaged by flak, with bombs jammed up and unable to drop. Fearing a crash landing, bombardier Lieutenant Edward M. Gibbens, of Mountain Home, Idaho (a tenant?) takes a crash axe, removes his parachute, balances on the narrow catwalk of the bomb bay, cuts them free, only to slip on leaking hydraulic fluid. Catching a bomb rack, he pulls himself to safety to discover that he never let go of the axe. Heaven above, Reggie. The young men…
“Artillery, Frenchmen, Etc.” The paper is pleased by the progress in Italy. Poles, Indians, Americans, were all attacking, but it was Juin's Moroccan Goums, Senegalese infantrymen and Algerian riflemen who distinguished themselves. The paper cannot help adding that they are “serving under French officers and noncoms,” however. German prisoners complained of the effectiveness of Allied artillery, CBS correspondent Eric Sevareid reports.
“Here and There” Allied air attacks on the Kuriles, Wake, Truk, Palau, Marcus Island, even old Surabaya to force the Japanese to disperse their garrisons, I suppose.
“Before the Monsoon” The paper thinks that Stilwell may capture Myitkyina soon. That would be good, because the Ledo Road cannot be completed until the town falls. Of course, since the road cannot be completed during this war, it might be argued that the attack is a waste of effort. On the other hand, it keeps General Stilwell’s name in the news, which is nice for General Stilwell.
“Enemy’s Men” The paper notices that Rundstedt, Blaskowitz, Rommel and Sperrle are to command in the west. It supposes that Blaskowitz’s appointment is evidence that Hitler’s position is weakening.
“Aces” The paper supposes that the Germans inflate their aces’ scores. The paper also notices that Cassino has fallen, rather uncharitably noticing that there were German troops and equipment in it when it fell, implying that this means that they were there in February, too. And Eisenhower had lunch at the “Willow Run” officer’s cafeteria at Grosvenor House, and was unable to finish his lunch until prompted. The paper makes excuses, but would hardly have run the story had the obvious conclusion not already been drawn. Poor man. I am amazed that he can eat at all. (A footnote notices that Ernie Pyle has lost his appetite. Pyle is under as much pressure as Eisenhower, but is much more likely to be killed in action than is the General. Though, admittedly, Eisenhower, like poor old Jellie, can lose the war in an afternoon.
“Prayer” The invasion. What’s keeping it?
“Anna’s Back” The President’s daughter, Anna Roosevelt Boettiger, has moved into the White House to supervise her father’s day and keep him from overstrain. This is a perfectly normal thing for a 62-year-old executive and should cause no concern whatsoever about the President’s health.
“Roger Lapham’s Triumph” The paper notes that Mayor Lapham’s recent successes on the public transportation front have caused his critics to reverse their low opinion of him to the extent that they now talk about him for the Senate in place of Hiram Johnson. Obviously Governor Warren would like to appoint a 62-year-old junior senator, but Lapham is too cagey to go for it. It will go to Joseph Knowland, I hear, unless Johnson makes it to '48.
“Government by Default” The Governor of New Jersey, and the paper, are sad about low voter turnout in the primaries.
“Home is the Hoosier” The death of Indiana humorist George Ade is big enough news to warrant a bylined story instead of an obituary. Fair enough, as it has only been 30 years since he penned his last bit of side-splitting mirth, at the retirement-worthy age of 48, after an arduous writing career of 24 years that enriched him to the point of being able to live as a squire. The imposter! You need to be born into that kind of money before you can deserve to live in a nice house and be treated with the greatest deference by all about. Not earn it, however agreeably! “His work constitutes a vast comedy of Midwestern manners,” says the paper.
“Unnecessary and Undesirable” General Arnold was up before Congress defending his WASP pilot-and-flight-crew training programme, which is apparently deemed an expensive luxury. Female pilots and aircrew are no longer needed. There is no mention of whether anyone particularly wanted t fly with female pilots!
“The Separated” Since Pearl Harbor, 1,163,000 men and women have separated from the army. 24,000 by death in combat; 34,00 by accidental death; 56,000 by capture by the enemy; 903,000 by honourable discharge. It is an interesting number that suggests just how many veterans are already out there working. Although later comments in the paper about the "neuropsychiatric" discharge are interesting.
“Assurance” The paper notices the $16 billion cut in army and navy procurement. Men are being laid off, and the Navy has told planemakers not to exceed production schedules. Nevertheless, Nelson, Forrestal and Robert Patterson were before Congress to ask for some kind of national labour registration. Secretary Forrestal noted the 60% annual turnover at the Navy Yards to make his case. Rather badly, if the Committee pressed for details, I expect. Though since only 3 of 18 Senators on the committee bothered to show up, that is not very likely. The paper is skeptical. “Citizens wondered how on earth the Navy had been able to get its ships.” Somehow, the paper says, public opinion has not been able to work up “any real rage over the latest wave of strikes.”
For some reason, the paper proceeds to ask “Rear Admiral Thomas L. Gatch” his opinion, which was that without a national service act, the fighting men at the front will resent the soft life of workers on the home front. Apparently, a man can get promoted in spite of being unable to keep his ship in action in the face of a blown fuse. And his opinions are worth soliciting. I imagine, had he been pressed for honesty, it would have been that “It is not what you know, but who you know." His intuition is probably already intuited by all, and that intuition stands at the base of reluctance to embrace national service.
“Labor at the Polls” Representative John M. Costello (D, California) was defeated in this week’s primaries. He is the third member of the Dies Committee to go down this primary season, and the CIO is pleased at the success of their campaign. Enemies of “Un-American activities” may be less so.
“Men Around Dewey” The paper notices that Governor Dewey will be the Republican candidate, and devotes two pages to his brain trust of advisors, who are, the paper thinks, very brainy indeed.
“The Bin Runs Low” There is a grain shortage in Canada!
The paper notes: a study showing that rich men have worse teeth than poor, due to rich diet; that “hormone” treatment, generally by injecting people with horse urine extract (stallions for “male hormones,” pregnant mares for “female”) is showing promise in the treatment of acne, terminal cancer. The services have discharged or rejected 1.1 million men as “meuropsychiatric” cases since Pearl Harbor, but there is no treatment for them, the American Pyschological Association reports. It is also concerned about the effects of battle on the mind and even body. One commenter rather crassly noted that psychosomatic conditions are even on the rise amongst Coloureds, “Who are not, as a rule, great fighters.” It is not clear to me how not being a great figher is supposed to immunise you against nervous breakdowns, on or off the battlefield.
“America Firster” The New York Daily News has done an investigation to explain why it is so popular, and concluded that it is because of its isolationist, anti-New Deal editorial policies.
“Frederick Faust, et al.” Frederick Schiller Faust, 51, was killed by a shellburst in Italy last week while serving as a war correspondent for Harpers. Author of westerns, roamnces, whodunits and cinema stories, in total 30 million words, including 115 published books, under pseudonyms as diverse as Max Brand and Frederick Frost, he might have been the most famous American no-one had ever heard of, and now he is the 17th U.S. war reporter killed on duty.
Management’s right to fire is confirmed. Harry Sinclair, the slippery customer who got out from under the Teapot Dome, is back in the thick of it, buying back shares from the company ahead of his announcement of a dividend increase that made him millions on appreciation in the shares. It is not illegal because rich people do it. The War Production Board is facing off with SKF Bearings, Ltd., in an attempt to put pressure on its Swedish parent firm to stop selling bearings to Germany. SKF responded with a production slowdown, suggesting that two can play the blackmail game. Brewster’s contract for Corsairs was cancelled almost as soon as we got out. It’s good to have friends, and “Cousin H.C.” can now posture about, complaining about the 10,000 imminent layoffs on three days notice in Brewster’s Long Island plants.
“Invasion Special” Radio Station RGBS, of Harlingen, Texas is offering to phone all listeners personally the moment that the invasion is announced. Some 400 customers have requested the service. I hope they have not paid, as it is extremely unlikely that the invasion will be announced in the small hours, given the six hour time difference.
This week, Paulette Goddard and AnnCorio got married; while Captain Levi Plesner and Grandfather's old friend, Eugene Chen, has died. (I would be surprised indeed if that were news to you.) This is the world we live in as we turn back the plate, stomachs heavy and anxious, hoping for the best, fearing for the worst.
Aero Digest, 1 May 1944
The semi-monthly publication schedule seems to be cutting at the meagre flesh of editorial. Fortunately, the paper has not obviously resorted to political opinionating to make up the space. Kidding, Reggie! President Roosevelt is an incipiently totalitarian tyrant, in case you were wondering.
Albert Lodwick, “On the Threshold of the Invasion,” is a summary of things that this “Special Correspondent to the War Department” saw. Which is to say, fog. Not the fog of war, but the fog of Merrie Olde England, which kept his planes mostly grounded. The War Department photographs are provided, which illustrate the fact that bombs, once dropped, hit the ground. The stronger point, that the aircraft are over the places they are supposed to be bombing, is more difficult to show from the photographs, though I would be willing to concede it. On cloudless, beautiful days over Germany, the USAAF is doing a good job of blowing up the factories that it thinks are important.
“Hangar Roof Runway Terminal Airport” In the near future, when we are flitting cross-continent by rocket belt, these outmoded structures will be a quaint curiosity of the distant past. Wait! Page over, there is a costing estimate! A hangar big enough and long enough to support a runway will cost $700,000! And, apart from the crisscross of such hangars at the aerodrome of the very near future, there will be a flying boat and seaplane ramp. (Not an underwater city with a mooring station in its roof? I am disappointed.)
Washington In Formation
Richard E. Saunders summarises the discussion over the failure of the national service bill in a reasonably sane way (I say that in contrast to his passion over the Lea and McCarren bills, following.) He makes the point that servicemen overseas will be more impressed with the efforts of the homefront if they are told more about the “miracles of production” achieved at home. No worries on that score, Mr. Saunders! He Also reviews continuing talks about the winding down of government contracts. Some in Congress are fighting a rear-guard action for careful accounting of the contracts, but this is not likely to happen, as it would slow reconversiosn down too much. He also adds the interesting point, of which I was unaware (I hang my head!), that there is an allocation for advertising in Government cost-plus contracts. No wonder there is so much of it!
“Damn the Experts: Go Ahead!” If we really, really want it, there will so be helicopters in every yard, in ten years, or perhaps five. The experts were wrong about man flying, back in the old days, and they will be proven wrong about every pessimistic prediction they make now. I think that underneath the blather is some kind of push for private flying. If the paper thinks that the taxpayer will subsidise the hobbyhorses of wealthy businessmen, doctors and lawyers, it has another think coming. (Ranchers, on the other hand, need aircraft to do their business, and should get some kind of tax writeoff.)
The chief engineer of Aeromatics Propellers thinks that Aeromatic’s linen of propellers is wonderful. Albert E. Arnnhym, writing in “The ‘Forgotten Miracle’ of the All-Electric Airplane’,” thinks that everything would be all-electric everywhere if there were sufficiently efficient batteries, but there are not, so they aren’t.
“Consolidated’s Model 39 Transport” Is a 48-seater that the company has cooked up for the postwar market.
Lieutenant Commander R. E. White, USNR, “Field Maintenance of Warplanes” Interesting problems include moisture getting into the oil; carburettor diaphragms being eroded by aromatic fuels; corrosion damaging undercarriages. Electrics require constant work, and fighter engines more frequent overhauls.
In other news, GM is making Wildcats, Ranger is researching new engines, the Tubular Alloy and Steel Plant in Cox, Indiana, just reopened, working three eight-hour shifts with an almost half-female workforce, used oil is being reclaimed, du Pont Nemours is afraid that you have forgotten that they are doing wood-impregnation and want to remind you, Lockheed has a radio-testing station, an engineer at Ventnor thinks that swarthy foreigners might buy gliders after the war for ….gliding things,and C. J. Reese, President and General Manager of Continental Aviation and Engineering Corp, shares his view of “Requisites of the Mass-Flight Age.” You could start by not appearing to refer tp potential customers as “the masses,” Mr. Reese.
“Vacuum Forming Speeds Plastic Sheet Formation” is news to me. I have dilated before about the future possibilities of high-efficiency evacuation pumps, Reggie, so there is no need to remind you again about the potential for a “cold chain” providing refrigerated goods, motivating consumer sales of refrigerators and a nice boom –or however the chain of supply and demand might work--. The point here is that yet another industry that I had not even thought of before is buying evacuation pumps.
“The Allen Memorial Wind Tunnel” Is a new air tunnel going into service at Boeing’s Seattle works. It is the largest in private use.
And, after thumbing through pages of ads for ball bearings, control cables and even a “chart [which] will help Simplify ordering gages,” the prize for most boring ad of the number goes to Waldes Koh-i-Noor Inc.’s Truac Retaining Ring. It is, however, a much prettier ad than the David Brown one in Flight for “20 degree helical gears,” although that one sounded more impressively technical. It is the "degrees" and the "helical" which do the trick.
Actually, I lied, as I should have waited to page through “Digest of the News” to find the really boring ones.Shenango-Penn has centrifugal castings!
Digest of the News
The Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce met in Los Angeles and agreed that more money should be spent on planes after the war. New planes, thank you. Others agree. One aircraft manufacturer thought that a “standing air force” was a good idea, while the association of feeder airlines think –but you are getting ahead of me, Reggie. Manufacturers are making enormous amounts of money, but their profits are meager, and will be threatened by the least Government move to tax them. Of more interest to me, Westinghouse Electrical manages $714 million in sales, net income being 3%, distributed as four $1 dividends in 1943. 115,000 people were employed at year’s end 1943, compared with 97,000 the year before, and 48,000 in 1939. Unlike four-engined bombers, I foresee a vigorous market for electrical engineering thingies --Again, I imagine you are ahead of me, Reggie.
Aero Digest, 15 May 1944
The indefatigable Mr. Bowyer has “A Message from England.” Which seems to be that England makes aeroplanes. Also, Scotland.
Tappan Collins, “Grondwork for a New Interprertation of the Problem of Air Navigation, Part One” The ‘Part One’ is especially deadly, Mr. Tappan. Your daughter-out-of-law likes to read books with titles that start with ‘Groundwork,’ usually rendered out of especially deadly German, but no-one else does. “Let us construe air navigation as a problem of rotation about a spinning Earth’ Yes, let us do, Mr. Collins.
“The Shape of Post-War Personal Flight” “It won’t be just wealthy men hobbying about, but I really cannot explain why I think that way, other than that there would be a great deal of money for me if that proved to be the case.”
Frank Herrus, (‘lifelong specialist in shipping and foreign trade’) “Wanted – A Bold Merchant Marine Plan” I think most of the summary above will serve.
A. D. Caddell, “Safety on the Production Line” The problem with sanity is that it is boring.
Nelson E. Metcalf, “Better Production Methods” Deadly boring.
The paper wants a Department of Defence, and thinks that the President is carrying water for the Navy in forestalling it. The President is bad, Montgomery Ward, totalitarianism at home, the President broke the Constitution once, John L. Lewis a traitor. Can’t we have more articles about better production methods, instead?
Washington In Formation
Aircraft production is down, but that’s a good thing. Something about contract renegotiation, and then on to the question of a Department of Defence, which is linked to an independent air force.
Dr. Michael Watter, “”Introducing the Budd RB-1 ‘Conestoga’ Cargo Carrier and Troop Transport.’” Here is an interesting plane that will never be built in numbers!
“The Aeromatic Propeller Makes its Debut, Part 2” Part 2. Oh, good Heavens.
“Cooling Fan Raises Power Output of Engines” Is an article squarely aimed at anyone in America who is interested in this but who has never heard of the Focke-Wulf 190. Hello, Eugene Farmingham of Coeburn, New York!
“Calibration of Air Speed Meters” and “The Vose Memorial Altitude Test Chamber “ show that things that you never thought about are hard, and require a great deal of math and hardware.
“Post-War Versions of the Mars” Are a fantasy.
“The Percival Proctor IV Communications Plane” No-one cares about it in Britain, either.
“Adjustable Frequency for Model Plane Testing” Is actually about using airplane models in wind tunnel testst. To run their propellers at the necessary speed, quite extraordinary electrical motors are needed.
“Plywood Masts Expedite Field Radio Installation” As eager as I am to see plywood in more general use, making masts of it seems like a blind alley.
“Effects of Altitude on Electrical Insulation, Part 2” Part 2. Though, to be fair, those who care about electrical insulation in aircraft clearly are doing important work for the rest of us. I had no idea that the task of preventing "flashovers" was so complicated at higher altitudes, although, when you think about it, the rarefaction of air does put an extra load on the insulators, as electrons neither know nor care what is producing the uncrossable dielectric barrier, be it rubber or air. Lighter insulation, of course, will play its part in the future development of ground-level --tah dah!-- electrical engineering.
Franklin M. Reck, Detroit Editor, “Double Wasp Engine Now Mass Produced at Kansas City,” The plant has an output of 3 million horsepower a month (I assune that we are being invited to divide by 2000hp and come up with 1500 engines), and 641 parts are made in the plant.
C. J. Rigdon, “Analysis of Progress Trends in Aircraft Production” Charts prove that factories get better at making planes as they go along. With math! I think that the thought is that a logarithmic chart could be created to guide management in planning future aircraft production programmes, which strikes me as a bit of a leap of faith about the quality of data to hand.
“Highlights of Automatic Pilot Manufacture at Auto-Lite” I am not terribly comfortable with the idea of exacting precision manufacture at a place where they cannot spell ‘light,” but the picture does not lie. The young ladies assemblilng the machines are wearing laboratory coats and everything! As with many other firms which publish advertising editorial material here, the company is proud of its specially-built testing equipment and the exacting cleanliness standards of its work rooms.
It is remarkable how much the ladies making "electrical brains" here look like seamstresses. And a good thing for the employer, who can see if he can get away with paying them like seamstresses! (It is just as well that I see the family's future in selling houses to the young ladies, or my heart would be in danger of hardening to the cynicism I affect.)
Digest of the News
Talking about talking about civil aviation policy is a rousing success! New speed records set by Mustangs and Mosquitoes! “83443 Aircraft built in April as WPB Emphasizes Change to Combat Types.” “A(viation)W(riters)A(ssociation) Convention an Odyssey!” At what point are we allowed to call conventioneering the official craze of the (pre-invasion) summer? “Navy’s 1945 Program Calls for 37, 355 Planes.”
And that, Reggie, is as much news as I have time to share. Rather a lot though you may think it, I find myself coming to a halt on time rather than on content, as my deprecating comments about the contents of Aero Digest might suggest. I do not relish yet another flight across continent, or the prospect of an entirely pointless interview with my young acquaintance. I have pretty much concluded that I shall have to call on the little brothers and make a show of force, which cannot end well unless some neutral party steps in to tell the man that his business is to be in Europe this summer.