Friday, October 31, 2014

Postblogging Technology, September 1944, II: Autumn Moon


Wing Commander R_. C_. RCAFVR, DFC (Bar),
L_. House,
Isle of Axholme, Lincs.

Dear Sir:

Good fortune to you from your daughter-in-law on the auspicious occasion of the Autumn Festival. Next year, we promise to be reunited with you in a Vancouver at peace, to share mooncakes.

In the mean time, there is news from home, to amuse you with the entanglements that we have made for ourselves. As I write those words, I try to calm my brush. It is no matter for you that it proves to have been the Engineer who signed out the folio containing the old Hudson Bay Company indentures from the Sacramento archives. I have a photograph of the register book with his signature, and the folio itself, less the indentures. (Fortunately, security there is down to one old man literally sleeping with his feet up on his desk, and Wong Lee did not have to hurt anyone. Now I am wondering what to do with the rest of the folio. I am not inclined that it return to the archives, and it is innocuous enough that I wonder if it might not reach a scholar's hands.)
Not surprisingly, I confronted him in the matter. An admission of ill-will on his part, after all, would probably put the Fontana matter to rest once and for all! He, of course, blandly denied it, although he then said that we should be ashamed to abet a known miscegenator's duplicity, at which I did not trust myself to speak lest I point out anything best forgotten about those less than 99 and 44/100ths pure. Fortunately, he was not done annoying me, going on that even if life were inclined to imitate fiction and I, Fah lo Suee, my dacoits would not be able to recover what we are looking for from the United States Navy.

How did he ever get elected to anything? Does he seriously believe that I would send thugs onto a university campus to ransack the president's mansion? Perhaps he does. That is why he has entrusted "Lieutenant A" with it. Now, it seems to me that it would be easy enough to get it back from him via womanly wiles. I just need to be careful with my agent. Who can place reliance on the common sense of a teenage heart? I brought "Miss V.C." up to Arcadia and showed her the unveiled Whale Man, and, of course, the Pele totem stood out from the rest, as it does. We had an amusing talk about origins, for it is not as though the fire goddess belongs in Kamehameha's ancestry any more than the great king belongs in the ancestry of Maquinna --such stories are told to satisfy "taboo." That said, it did not take much to nudge her towards a trip to Hawaii. I shall go, and the rest of the gang --I wonder when your youngest is going to find time to actually learn to fly-- and the rest can be left, for now, to the magic of the islands.

At least, I  hope so. Our commitment to our friend is not going to be easy to meet if his employer has proof that he has married across racial lines, as silly as the idea that such a thing could be a "matter of morals" in this day and age. At least the work at the university is going well. Over the radio, I doubt that a listener in a hundred will be able to tell the difference between recorded and live performance, so seamless is the "splicing" possible between one tape and the next.

Uncle George and Tommy Wong are now firmly attached to Felix's squadron for the cruise to Leyte, after which they will go to the amphibious force to support the army by interfering with the Japanese artillery, with recording-and-playback added to their arsenal alongside "jamming." It is the same technique that the squadron you support has experimented with over Europe, but the German recording medium supports playing back so much more readily than the fusty old British paper tapes that it looks to be actually practicable.

To test the premise, Uncle has conducted an "offensive against the enemy," to wit, Third Fleet. There has been much radio traffic as the force cruises towards the Philippines, including a recent radio exercise simulating a "surface action." This would entail aircraft spotting the fall of shells, just as in a land artillery barrage, and Tommy now has a full coil of tape recording the exercise. Uncle George thinks that the Admiral has allowed Spruance's admirable radio discipline to lapse, and that there might be consequences. The similarity in treatment between Spruance and Jellicoe has filled Uncle George with quixotic ideas of evening the balance of a forty-year-old wrong. That strikes me as unlikely given the American fleet's massive superiority, but what if the Engineer is right, and there is an embarrassment? The "tape" might end up an exhibit at a court martial, and so much for our attempts to conceal your part in assembling the apparatus! I have written to Tommy to "erase" it (yet another advantage of the German technology).

Time, 18 September 1944


“Light” The paper is pleased that the blackout in Britain is ending this week. Says the Times of London: “We thank thee, London, for thy constancy/There’s not a heart today but to thee draws/So speak the voices and I love their thanks/What now are weedy courts and shrines forlorn/Does not my Thames between his seaward banks/Flow all the prouder this September morn?”
This being, however, a newspaper writing from London, there must be balance and even-handedness, so Professor Thomas Edmund Jessop of Hull University is quoted to the effect that “The only salvation of the English people may be their traditional phlegmatic attitude towards events …the machine is going too fast for the average human mind and the strain may prove too great.” All this giddiness can only end in tears! This reminds me of Judith, of course, who is uncanny in her ability to anticipate when the tears are like to begin. But that is, she tells me, because infants do not get hungry until they are hungry. Adults, she says, naming no names (Uncle Henry!) have no such excuse.

On the continent, 50% of Belgian children are found to have rickets, and “constant semi-starvation and diet deficiencies were leaving their mark on a whole European generation.” France’s infant death rate had increased by 25% from some earlier period when things were better. In Italy, we are told, the U.S. and Britain have already distributed $100 million in food and other supplies, yet Italy’s infant mortality was up four times since the last prewar year, while the general mortality rate had doubled and the tuberculosis rate had tripled. The average Italian has lost five to ten pounds of weight.

“Freedom!” Brussels is wild with the emotions of the liberation. The paper tells various tales, of which one at least, about a truck driven by members of the underground “White Brigade,” is so ...well, that I hope that it is not true. 

“Rebirth” General de Gaulle and the Provisional Government are settling into Paris.

“Gott mit Uns” Various things are happening in Germany that show how terrible or misguided, or both, are the Germans and their leaders.

“King’s Coup” Uncle George liked to ridicule the endless streams of stories out of Rumania about its incipient surrender by talking about how “Rumania is surrendering more.” Now that Rumania has surrendered, you would think that it would get less press coverage. But not a bit of it, because here is a retrospective story about how it surrendered. The king was involved.

“Together at Last” Jinnah and Gandhi meet, postpone discussing future discussions about discussions because Jinnah has taken a vow of silence for Ramadan.

“Suspicions” Life, the paper’s sister publication, recently published an article by former American ambassador William Bullitt that made unfortunate comments about the Russians. Now the Russian press has responded by criticising Bullitt. James likes to joke that he is safe going to bed before the 10 o’clock news comes on the radio because if the news is too urgent to keep to the morning, the big new air raid siren in San Jose will wake him up. To many of this kind of news stories and they will tear the siren down.

“One Strike and Out” Bulgaria has surrendered!

Argentines, Chileans, Brazilians and Costa Ricans are all excitable, each in their various ways.

“Anachronism” CBS’s Eric Sevareid found and interviewed Charles Maurras, the 76-year-old editor of Action Francaise, whom the FFI are looking for. He turns out to be a musty, obdurate old man with no conception of the world as it is today.

“Tally Ho!” The French were out hunting collaborationists last week. Seven thousand have been imprisoned in Paris alone, while others were “dispatched out of hand.”  Rumours of a 700,000 name Gaullist black list are going around.

“Death in the Rain” The paper has an eyewitness report of the summary execution of six members of the Vichy militia in Grenoble. As might have been expected, they turn out to be the young and low-ranking.

“The Army Pays” The Army has had to pay out many claims for damages caused by American troops. Although 15,000 claims are cited, 11,000 allowed, with a total payout of just over a million dollars, which sounds well below where I would expect  the numbers to fall.

“No V-Day?” There may not be the great Victory Day celebrations that everyone is expecting as the German armies may disintegrate instead of capitulating.

“Conference at the Citadel” The Prime Minister and the President are meeting in Quebec City to talk about very important things. Very important things do need to be discussed, mainly about putting the finances of the postwar world in order, but given that it is happening two months before the Presidential election, it is hard to see any controversial announcements coming out of it. An announcement that Russia would join the war with Japan, on the other hand, would be very good news for the President.

“Overture on the Vistula”  The paper says that people think that the Russians will attack again soon.

“Arctic Twilight” The Germans have seven divisions in northern Finland which must withdraw under the terms of the Finnish armistice with Russia. They might go to Norway. Speaking of Norway, British carriers attacked Tirpitz, indicating that the British might shoot at the retreating Germans, too.
“Battle of Mons” Twenty thousand Germans encircled by American forces between Mons and Maubeuge surrendered this week under General Ruediger v. Heyking.

Crescendo” American carrier forces have struck various places around the Philippines in anticipation of an American invasion of the islands, or possibly in the western Carolines. Apparently a “crescendo” is a phased of gradual increase in loudness of a piece of music, so it wouldn’t be out of place for things to keep on getting louder, so this metaphor is not quite dead yet.

 “Chinese Pattern” The Japanese continue toadvance into Kwangsi and Hunan against Chinese troops, who, we are told, are handicapped mainly by their lack of weapons and ammunition. It is supposed that this operation will cut off the bases from which the Americans are conducting their China-based air offensive against Japan. 

A desperate stand must be made in the Hwangshaho defile! Dear America: If you want to see your Chinese Republic again, please send munitions and walking around money to the Chinese Republic, c/o His Excellency, T. V. Soong.

“Robots Score” “I’m on a better wicket now and can say more than I could a week ago,” began tall, young Duncan Sandys (rhymes with ampersands), facing a packed press conference in London.” The Prime Minister’s son-in-law has batted 5700 for 8000 over 80 days. Sporting analogies are a very amusing way of summarising the death of 5,817 people, 92% of them in London. 75% of the houses in Croydon were damaged or destroyed, compared with 66% in the Coventry blitz of 1940!  Again, this is the current, assessed damage. We are talking about damage done by high explosives, which create waves of high pressure which impinge on the entire structure of a house. Every structure springs a leak at some point, but more will when blast damage is considered. This acan be a disaster to the poor householder if it happens when they lack the means to repair it promptly, and Britain is a rainy country. The Earl needs to attend to this urgently.

“Utter Contempt” Admiral Sir Walter Henry Cowan, 73, has received a bar to his DSO for involving himself vigorously in the frontline activities of the Commandos after having been seconded by the Admiralty to train them in boat-handling. He is being awarded it now because he was captured at Bir Hacheim and was an Italian prisoner of war for 16 months, although in the interim he has been involved in small boat operations on the Adriatic coast, where he showed “utter contempt” for enemy fire. Admiral Sir Walter Henry Cowan stands 5’ 2”.

“Army of Occupation” The Allies are talking about talking about the postwar occupation of Germany.

“You Bet Your Life” Technical Sergeant Harry Horner, an ex-stage designer, has a musical revue-cum-camouflage-training session which travels around the West Coast teaching Army Air Forces personnel who to make camouflage, with singing and dancing and bare legs. “Students earn credits by attending,” I notice. So the under-employed (you do not have to scold me, sir, I have seen them) personnel at West Coast air stations are “students,” earning “credits,” I assume credit hours, against something. A high school diploma? Watching dancers explain "disruptive paint schemes" is unlikely to help them decline Latin verbs or prove geometric theorems, but, on the other hand, those skills were always far more unlikely to get them gainful employment than the distinction of the diploma taken by itself, so all is good.

“Deflated Soldier” In contrast to the overvalued Occupation Lira that made the American soldier a rich man in Italy, in Paris the Occupation Franc has proven to have so little value that the paper’s correspondent William White reported that luncheon for four in Brussels set him back $45. Look for a continuing stream of news from Rome, and a thin trickle of despatches from Paris! 

“A Smart War” General Eisenhower is “collecting royalties” on his “smash hit” in Normandy. Specifically, we hear again about the bag at Mons, this time in an article that bothers to tell us that it was troops from General Hodges’ First American Army that encircled the Germans. Lieutenant-General Patch is also credited with good royalty payments, although the figures are more vague. The Germans are said to have lost 60,000 men in southern France. Thousand plane raids against German targets have resumed, Hodges’ troops are on German soil, but not across the West Wall, so they are not very far into Germany. We are told that the Germans are reinforcing with what they have, and Eisenhower is promoted to Producer status as Hitler Youth volunteers appear at the Front. Marshal Model has been placed in command. Or been brought in as director to save the troubled production?

“Strategical Nightmare” The Germans are in an impossible position in the Balkans, and the paper hopes that a collapse in Yugoslavia will make the German position in Italy untenable.

“Under the Red Ensign” Speaking of the Pas de Calais, the 250,000 Canadian troops of First Canadian Army are fighting for the Channel Ports. Dieppe has fallen. You must be so proud, sir.   The cost, to 31 July, is reported at 9,788 dead, 1,308 missing, 3,800 prisoners, plus 15,209 RCAF casualties and 1724 for the navy, for 50,000 casualties compared with 300,000 American. We are told here that 20% were “from French regions.” This is actually a profile of H. D. G. Crerar, the commander of First Canadian Army, this number’s cover. A young electrical-engineer who entered the regular army in WWI and remained with it, “his main social gambit is a bawdy story, diffidently told. He keeps a methodical file of these stories, to which his offices contribute regularly, each story being neatly written out on a piece of paper.”  

The Two Smiths” Lieutenant General Holland “Howling Mad” Smith of the Marine Corps gave a press conference in Washington this week, and was invited to say scandalous tings about Major General Ralph Smith, he declined. The paper obliges the press by summarising the facts of the case: the Marines think that the Army is a bunch of poltroons, while the Army thinks that the Marines are a bunch of butchering donkeys. Good feelings all around!


“Something for Everybody” Governor Dewey has accused the Administration of being too late with its reconversion plan. The Administration has replied with various announcements and schedules, tied to a new, graduated schedule featuring separate “Victory in Europe” and “Victory over Japan” Days. Rationing of everything except canned fruits and “a few other items” will be lifted from September 17, alcohol is flowing back to the distilleries, with whiskey on the shelves already. War production will be cut at least 40%. The Controlled Materials Plan will be dropped soon. The remaining war work will be concentrated in Government plants, which will not be operated postwar by Government, we are reminded for the millionth time. The excess profits tax will be dropped “at the end of the war.” The 48 hour week will soon be reduced to 40, to spread the work, and “Home Front Czar Jimmy Byrnes” once again begged Congress to pass legislation aiding the states in increasing unemployment benefits to $20/week. However, price ceilings on civilian goods will be maintained. Byrnes promised that with 8 million tons of surplus food, prices will soon drop, making ceilings on food unnecessary. Congress will continue to buy surpluses to keep a floor on farm prices. $2 billion is to be appropriated for this. Gas rations will be increased –the A coupon might be doubled. The fear of unemployment after the end of the war was overstated because war production would be needed until “V-J” Day, and other industries, unregulated, will “speedily return to civilian production.”

Buy more war bonds. Buy them for keeps.

As to when the new cars and refrigerators would begin pouring out, the WPB’s new chief optimistically stated that one leading automobile manufacturer expects to be producing new cars three months after Germany collapses. (Presumably one of Uncle Henry's cronies, dreaming of a vast flow of new cars instantly filling the assembly lines at Willow Run.)

Summing it up, an anonymous member of the WPB said that “The password is love.”

“A Wage-Raise?” It is thought that the War Labor Board will soon scrap the Little Steel formula and allow a substantial pay raise in coal, iron and steel, which will be a trend-setter leading to a general pay-raise, straight out of “President Roosevelt’s 199 Santa Claus bag.” While it has political implications, it will be justified by the fact that wages are not keeping up with the rise in the cost of living.

 “No Strike Pledge” Some people are excited by the fact that the 5200 strikes of 1944 are a twenty-five year record, while others point out that man-days lost to strikes are down to 4.85 million in January-July 1944 versus 8.272 million in the same period in 1943. The real wave of strikes, the paper predicts, will come after the war, when labor tries to maintain its wartime earnings.

“The War for Texas” Texas might nominate a slate of anti-Roosevelt electors, who would then deny the President the electoral college votes for Texas and throw the American election to Dewey. Also, pigs might fly, although the paper does have to make sense of a flying visit to the White House by Governor Stevenson of Texas.

“Afraid of Peace?” Governor Dewey gave a speech in Philadelphia. He emphasised that the President elected in November will be a peace president, which is why we should not vote for Roosevelt. the Engineer is very angry about this throwing over of the age and infirmity issue. Our feud aside, I cannot imagine what he might do.

“Death of a Fighter” Jim Reed, Senator from Missouri until 1929, has died of old age. This would be a good time to remind everyone who was involved in matters now-forgotten that he was wrong about many things, right about some others, and quite colourful, as Southern senators are required to be.

Canada is beginning to reconvert, enjoying a boom in gold prices, allocating money to support UNRRA with Canadian goods and food bought at Canadian prices, and preventing the export of Prairie barley to American breweries in order to hold it as livestock feed. Also, it has a navy, which now supplies 30% of the convoy escorts in the North Atlantic.

“First Out” The Army’s plan for demobilisation has been published, and it makes a scrupulous effort to be fair, astonishing all, who thought that it would be deliberately unfair.

Business, etc.

“Fattest Contracts Ever” Donald Douglas won contracts for 93 four-engined airliners from Panagra, America and United. This brings the Douglas backlog to $100 million, three times higher than his best prewar year, but, of course, is far short of what is needed to keep his plants operating postwar and their present levels. Douglas thinks that he will be able to retain 15—20% of his workers.

Goofer Feathers” The reference to the famous Mack and Moran radio skit is justified by Food Machinery Corporation’s announcement that it has developed a peach defuzzing machine which will soon be producing premium, de-fuzzed peaches at $1/box. It will be made just down the hill along with dehydrated hay making machinery, a new fast-moving sprayer for orchards, and a potato-harvesting machine.
“The Peak” the US war economy has hit its peak, with the national income at an annual rate of $158 billion, and a gross national product of $196 billion. This is $74 billion over the highest result predicted at the beginning of the war, even allowing for the rise in the price level. Production actually peaked at the end of 1943, the subsequent gains being made in Federal spending, mainly on payments to servicemen and families. Yet, even so, federal spending dropped 7.6% in July to the lowest point in seven months. In spite of this, the US citizens went right on saving, now at an estimated annual rate of $36 billion. It is now thought that U.S. citizens will have more than $115 billion to spend postwar, if they are not too fearful of hard times ahead to spend it.

“CAB Goes West” The Civil Aeronautics Board held hearings in Denver to allocate feeder lines.

“Airports from Catalogues” The paper notices the Westinghouse advertisements for “terminals from catalogues.”

“Busy” During the first half of 1944, U.S. ship sailings averaged 1400/month, carrying 27 million tons of dry cargo and 9.3 million tons of petroleum.

“More Social Security” Eric A. Johnston, discouraged at not having had press coverage in lo, these many months, made a statement to a Chicago crowd encouraging business to engage with the social security law. Specifically, including workmen’s compensation, the employer pays 84% of social security costs, the employee 16%, and it would be fairer if employees paid more. He also thinks that social security extensions such as coverage for hospitalisation and sickness, should not be carried out at the federal level, but by state and local governments, to minimize “the evil effect of bureaucracy and remote Washington control.”

“The Transition is Here” Industry and labor are deep in the twilight zone between war and peace. Various signs include the reappearance of “Situation Wanted” ads in the classified columns of the Los Angelese Times; a real estate agent in Windsor, Connecticut who reports interest from potential buyers of retail properties; the continuing decline of aircraft production totals and layoffs in the industry; Consolidated Vultee’s attempt to involve itself in non-aviation projects, including Greyhound’s future super-bus; Boeing’s recent statement that its payroll after the war will be much lower than now, much higher than before the war;

 breakneck production rates at shipyards; the return of the Kaiser Northwest yards to seven day weeks to save the Victory ship programme (although the paper does not phrase it that way, instead continuing Uncle Henry’s attempts to blame labor shortages); a Wall Street crash brought on by talk of a 40% cut in war production after VG day, with the biggest losses in rail, steel and oil shares; dumping of futures on commodity markets due to fears of a postwar food (feast or famine!); and “extravagant buying” on retail markets despite continuing uncertainty about jobs. Department store sales are up 16% over the year.

“A Nation of Shopkeepers” As the United States comes nearer to attaining full employment after the war, the proportion of Americans engaged in manufacturing must decline, the number engaged in the service industries must rise, says Clinton Hartley Grattan in his new article in the September Harper’s, “Factories Can’t Employ Everybody.” While some economists deem the service sector as a mere parasitic growth, “Social Scientist Grattan” rebuts this idea as “antiquated nonsense.” As factory work is reduced to button-pushing by fewer and fewer workers, there must be more opportunity outside of them.

Science, Medicine, etc.

“Heirs and Assigns” The late Mrs. Marguerite Shaw of Long Island, who shared her home with 23 Pekinese in life, left $100,000 in trust to a friend to care for them in death. Meanwhile, custody of a bulldog was holding up a divorce proceedings in San Francisco, while another bulldog was to be killed and interred with its late mistress by another will and millionaire attorney Woodbury Rand left $40,000 to cover the maintenance of his male tiger cat, Buster.

“A Night in Mattoon” The Mad Anesthetist of Mattoon attacks by night, anesthetising one woman, “squirting perfume” at another in a bedroom attack, and bating a third with a pink cloth soaked in some noxious substance, perhaps chloropicrin according to Richard T. Piper of the Illinois Criminal Investigation Laboratory. Five Chicago chemists announced that they suspected a hoax, but next night 17 families on one block reported that they had been gassed by a mysterious substance that made them vomit and interfered with the free action of their arms and legs. Now Mattoon is in a state of hysteria, with vigilantes patrolling the night.

“Four Year Quake” A major quake hits the East Coast about every four years, and last week was the latest. Harvard seismologist Lewis Don Lee thinks that Easterners are far too complacent about earthquakes. A big one could hit any time. Engineers, however, think that a modern city could weather an earthquake pretty well thanks to modern architecture.

“Dogfight” Chicago’s anti-vivisectionists secured a hearing before Council on a measure to prevent hospitals from taking unclaimed animals from the pounds. It failed to pass. The paper concludes that anti-vivisectionists are lunatics. In less important news, appended, the ongoing polio epidemic may have peaked, as the 1620 cases reported last week represent a decline, with total cases this year 9,474, compared with 27,621 in 1916, the worst year ever.

Shocks Recommended”  “New York State’s hard headed Commission on Temporary Hospital Problems” recommends insulin shock as an economical and efficient way of treating dementia praecox, but will not recommend electrical and metazol shock therapy at this time.

In conclusion, all the real scientists are busy this week.

“Chain Literacy” Mexico will beat mass illiteracy by having all the literate people tutor the illiterate, who will be registered in their home towns, and assigned a literate to instruct them. This should end well! (I especially like the “registering” part.)

“School for Unity” The dissension between French and English speakers is “Canada’s central problem.” The President of the University of Western Ontario proposes to solve the problem by an exchange of summer boarders. A summer, perhaps two, of young French speakers in English-speaking homes, and vice versa, will soon solve the problem. Why, there are fully 171 students enrolled this year!

“All the Sad Young Men” Japanese universities are cramming students in physics, medicine, engineering,  agricultulre, and preventing them from having contact with young women. This is why they are very sad, and get drunk a lot. The Japanese certainly are an odd people!

Press, etc.

“Change” Colonel Parham, former publicity officer for Ninth Air Force, is in London waiting reassignment after being accused of directing war correspondents to give Ninth Air Force more favourable coverage. If only there were a publicity officer who could direct the paper not to use “Rape of the Rhine Maidens” as the title of a story about the American attack on the West Wall.

“Dope on the Delanos” One of Westbrook Pegler’s last columns for Scripps-Howard “reveals” that Warren Delano, the President’s grandfather, was a principal in Russell & Co, and was one of those imprisoned by the obstreperous Lin Tse-hsu, hence was an opium runner, hence passes a hereditary taint of drug-smuggling to his grandson. Perhaps statues will be built to Westbrook Pegler someday, though his chances might be better if he managed to provoke a losing war.

“Times Topicker” Simeon Strunsky, anonymous author of the New York Times “Topic of the Times” column has a controversial book out presenting New York City’s reputation as a city of opportunity as a deceitful lure. “No colonization without misrepresentation.”

“Hoax & Hate” The Chicago Times is first off the mark in noting that the Tribune’s long time European correspondent, Donald Day, is doing propaganda broadcasts from Berlin. This guilt by association proves that the Chicago Tribune is a haven for “hoaxes and hate” directed against the President, his Administration, and the labor movement, as opposed to the Japanese and the Nazis, whom they should be hating.

“O’Malley for Dewey” Mr. O’Malley, of Barnaby and Mr. O’Malley, is for Dewey, the paper tells us. I know that must sound like gibberish to you, sir, but before I gush about Crockett Johnson, I will let it summarise the first (actually second) collection of “Barnaby and O’Malley” cartoons in print as a “quietly fey and edgy comic strip[.]” Put another way, it is a highlight of my day. While the story here is that “Mr. O’Malley endorses Dewey because lots of generals have got to be President, but no admiral has before,” the reality is that Johnson is absolutely hammering Dewey in the ongoing daily strip. Probably not surprising for a comic strip that got its start in PM, of all places, but hilarious notwithstanding. A separate story profiles writer Nunally Johnson, a celebrity in his own right, not that you would know that, sir, not following the Hollywood gossip.

The paper likes Spenser Tracy in Seven Crosses, is unimpressed with Gary Cooper in Casanova Brown. Which was not our opinion! Yes, we girls get out now and then, thanks to Judith and Fanny, and we loved the movie, because it had Gary Cooper and a baby. There was a serviceable romance, and some kind of plot, but, mainly Gary Cooper and a baby. 

Among milestones this week are the marriage of the son of General Short and the death in action of the son of Admiral Kimmel, and of Bishop James Cannon, regrettably not of cirrhosis, which would have been the proper capper. The President and Governor Dewey are seventh cousins once removed, Miss America is Venus Ramey, first redhead to win the title. Ernie Pyle is coming home on his way to the Pacific, Andre Malraux has turned up as a commander of Maquis, Fred Astaire is in London, and Loretta Young has sued Benjamin Siegel over real estate, while Elsa Maxwell and Katherine Cornell amuse the troops. Colonel Lindburgh has returned from the Pacific and is renting a house in Green Farms, Connecticut on 14 acres of land. . It’s not quite the fate that Uncle George had in mind for Mr. Siegel, over the whole “acquaintance of a friend” matter. Mr. Siegel might be advised to stay away from unobstructed views when Wong Lee is in town. Speaking of which, General de Gaulle is shocked and appalled at the accidental wounding of General Giraud. Strike “accidental,” add “'accidental.'”

Source: Hansa Tingsuwan, Pinterest

The paper is very pleased with itself about its new V-Mail edition.
I am a composer! It took me only ten minutes; I turned a few dials, and a song was born. I thought you would like to know this, because the Compos-A-Tune device, which you wrote about in TIME, Aug. 28 was responsible for this accomplishment. The song will be published by Mills Music Co., and with their backing I hope to be the first person to write a hit song on the Compos-A-Tune.
Flight, 21 September 1944
Aircraft and the Lull” The paper, unlike Time, has noticed that the Allied advance has come to a stop due to lack of supplies, and is pleased that the air power has come to its senses and is striking at targets of immediate importance such as rail communications and oil industry targets rather than enemy factories, a mission which cannot bear fruit for months to come.
“Only One Service?” Air Mail proposes this for various reasons, which James, doing his best to attempt light humour, reproduces in a “funny” voice. (James makes me laugh with whimsy, not parody and sarcasm, but does not give his loving wife’s view the overriding importance it deserves on the grounds that this is but his “silly” side.) James’ objection is that this is what all the interservice committees, interservice colleges, and the Ministry of Defence were already supposed to accomplish.
“Airborne Division” The paper is sad that Sir Nigel Norman did not live to see the Airborne Army attack.
War in the Air
Cherbourg is certainly a valuable port, but the air force helped liberate Le Havre by bombing it brick from brick, and so is clearly even more valuable. Because of aeroplanes. The advance of the armies has been halted for lack of supplies. Air transport has been put to use in lieu. The paper is interested by the way in which the Army Air Forces are allocating flights of Thunderbolts to specific armoured columns for air support, thus mimicking German rather than British air cooperation doctrine. The Germans have evacuated Mytilene, and the Americans have done a complete photographic survey of the Siegfried Line, although even the paper is unsure why this might be news, given that comprehensive aerial photographic surveys were commonplace in the last war, and even used to find particularly valuable stands of timber in Canada during the interwar period, as some might have heard.
The Paper’s Over-the-Rhine Correspondent, “Over the Rhine,” The Airborne Army vaulted the Rhine with a correspondent of the paper along for the ride. Our correspondent’s despatch ends before he  actually sets foot in the land defended by the “Watch on the River Rhine,” however. Not, considering more recent news, a good omen.
Here and There
Group Captain Whittle is promoted acting Air Commodore. Air Commodore W. M. Page, head of Educational Services at the RAF, has retired. Belgium has resumed air services between Brussels and Leopoldville, because otherwise we would not be able to make air-related Heart of Darkness references. Air Marshal Coryton is to succeed Baldwin in command of Third Tactical Air Force in Burma. General Norstad has also been promoted. 

Air Chief Marshal Pierce gave a speech. Air service has been provided to Magdalen Island. Lockheed is spending $40 million to prepare for production for the Pacific. The French Air Force has formed a squadron. Australian National Airways has ordered 16 Douglas airliners. 

Flying interests in Leicester have been consolidated.  It is possible that the Germans will fire V2s at London, whatever they are. (Because the Germans might not know that they are ballistically-launched rockets, it is important not to tell them.) Percival Aircraft has been acquired by Hunting and Son.
“Defeating V-1” Mr. Sandy’s statement is covered here, as elsewhere, though with more detail about the colossal anti-flying bomb picquet line south of London and the bombing offensive against the launching sites in the Pas de Calais.
Behind the Lines
Peter  Kellenberger has deserted the German Air Force in Copenhagen, and the paper thought that it would reward him by publishing his name for maximum convenience of domestic reprisals against his family. Though he gave his name, so perhaps he does not like his family very much. Milan workers have been told to work through air raid sirens, while the Salo Republic’s air force is to be disbanded and its personnel, if any, transferred to the German Air Force. The German Air Ministry says that the country’s air defence has been greatly strengthened by the arrival of a new generation of “lightning fighters.” Also coming in a “measurable amount of time” is a bomber too fast for enemy fighters to intercept. As the British have yet to take cognisance of this new concept of a “jet turbine,” it is important not to alert them to the possibility that Germany will deploy jet aircraft like the Lockheed P-59A or the Gloster experimental aircraft

Commodore Colonel v. Schoenborn, a veteran dive bomber pilot, has been killed in action, as has fighter pilot Lt. Friedrich Wachowiak. 

With the demise of the Vichy government, it is a fine time to do a complete post-mortem on their air organisation, in very small print at the bottom right hand of the column. Believe me, paper, my problem is not falling asleep. It is staying asleep with twins in the house. I do not know what I would do without Fanny, and I certainly do not need the help of minute descriptions of the Administration of Civil and Miltary Officials of Administration “headed by Vivent.”
“’Golden Hind’ Goes East” The old Empire “G” Boat, which we can see in retrospect was the prototype of the Shetland in the same way that the E boats were the prototypes of the Sunderlands, has flown to parts eastwards to show how luxuriously posh by 1939 standards are its appointments. If anything could mollify Australian passengers endlessly delayed by interminable, chilly berthing difficulties, it will be lightweight furniture finished in the finest doped fabrics! But enough of my trip to Honolulu with my husband, which I am glad enough to have taken, even if by ancient Catalina.
On a more sensible note, Scottish Aviation envisions night sleepers to New York after the war.
“A.T.A. Achievement” For five years, the Air Transport Auxiliary has been transporting –well, not auxiliaries, mostly cargo, and wearing a not-entirely satisfactory uniform. (Had I my druthers, I should have been a WAF on this score. Not that much thought has been given to this, official headdress apart.) The author of the retrospective thinks that “women have come to stay” in the world of aviation.
“Aircraft Heating” Janitrol has a new system which operates independently of the engine at all altitudes.
One “Record” enters the fray in the controversy between correspondents Pollitt and Potts on the subject of air-cooled versus liquid-cooled engines to point out that Mr. Pollitt uses some strained data to establish the inferiority of the Hercules VI to the Merlin XX. Donald Lord writes to argue that the fuel advantages of diesel aeroplane engines (which do not exist) would be much greater than another correspondent believes. Given Mr. Lord’s place in the industry, I suppose that it is only up to outsiders to infer that a diesel aeroplane engine might soon exist, and for insiders to know what exactly thisargument is about. F. J. P. writes to defend the RAF engineering syllabus against Mr. Ashley’s recent criticism. S. A. Handasyde writes in support of “Indicator” on the subject of private aircraft ownership, H. V. Roe to criticise him. “Free Lance” is also a critic, but since he is not an old and notorious name in the industry, who cares?  Rupert Forrester Simms writes on the subject of “Endurance and Range” to correct some highly technical point made by Squadron Leader A. Sipowicz. Specifically, he does not think that a high rpm/low boost alternative for achieving high endurance exists. High rpm increases strain on the engines and increases the power wasted running the auxiliaries. Including, I infer, the supercharger, so that the auxiliaries cannot be cut out, as one might think, when flying for extreme range. Rather, there is no alternative to low rpm and maximum boost to give maximum airshaft horsepower for a given fuel consumption. I know that you know all of this, sir, but I am thinking it through and teasing out implications that might interest the Earl. The long and the short of it is that the most fuel efficient gasoline engine of the future is the one that is going to tolerate the highest boost/lowest rpm combination, and that this will entail great strain on the engine, and high temperatures, for which engineering might not be fully prepared. Better steels, in short, not cheap ones. Fontana. It all comes back to Fontana, not that this ought not be a dead issue given the Engineer’s recent behaviour.  
Studies in Aircraft Recognition Today we cover the Dornier Do 217, which would be more interesting if it had not already been done more than a year ago.
Time, 25 September 1944


“The New Freedom” Allied victories mean that various places such as Poland, China, the Balkans and even France are now free, or at least have new freedoms. As often these ads subtly provide an answer to the unasked question of why a new one is needed. This one is “storm proof,” so we are given occasion to imagine chilly winter flights across the Atlantic enlivened by pilot lights being extinguished by pitching and heaving, or by sudden changes in air pressure.

“Model Armistice” Rumania’s armistice is a model armistice for Bulgaria and perhaps Hungary.
“The Ambassadors” Because the Allies do not recognise the de Gaulle government, the newly reopened embassies in Paris all have Ministers Plenipotentiary and Charges d’Affair instead of actual ambassadors; but when one of them is Duff Cooper and his “exactress wife, LadyDiana,” the paper sees it as a distinction without a difference.

Poles are excitable. The paper awaits the inevitable French ciivl war of left and right more in sorrow than in anger. It can start any time now, the paper hints.

“Look Where it Comes Again” Italy is a mess, as evidenced by the fact that Victor Orlando is in the news and by a riot over irregularities in the trial of Pietro Caruso in Rome.

“Blitz Score” About a quarter of London will have to be rebuilt after the war, said Reconstruction Minister, Lord Woolton. A million Londoners are homeless, “hundreds of thousands are living in ‘acute discomfort.’” Ten thousand Nissen-type Army huts will be erected in London for the winter. The resumption of “robobomb” attack by air-launched weapons provoked a return to dim-out conditions. It must be so depressing.

“Heavings” Some Germans in the western forest towns occupied by Americans have greeted American troops. Others sniped at them, provoking American troops to burn the town of Wallendorf to the ground. There is persistent talk of peace riots in Berlin and “frequent killings in the street,” while Bern and Stockholm travellers report that Germans might revolt. I imagine that you hear extraordinary things if you haunt the bar at the Stockholm train station, particularly if you stand drinks. The German press reports that Allied bombs hit the Buchenwalde concentration camp, killing various famous political prisoners, while “neutrals” claim that the German air force dropped the bombs,, “destroying some 7500 inmates” with remarkably politically-aware bombs.

“A Liberal” William Beveridge will stand for Parliament as a Liberal. The paper tells us that he will soon have “another rod in pickle” for the Government: his new Plan for Full Employment in a Free Society.”

“WPBoss Donald Nelson” is still in China, meeting T. V. Soong along with General Stillwell, as well as Chiang and assorted other ministers. Various American forms of aid may be available should Chungking comply with various American dictates. In other news, the paper reports that Gandhi is still promoting British departure from India. In China, talks continue between Chungking and Yenan on the subject of talking about postwar China. “A subject whose ultimate consequences might well be more important to Americans than a Presidential Election.” From now on, the Chungking Government’s budget will be made public.

“Pregnant Poem” The New Statesman publishes a poem which the paper quotes in full because it is so amusing to compare America in the throes of a Presidential election to am irrational, moody pregnant woman.Time hears from its circulation department that it still has some female readers, and wishes to fix this. 

“Results at Quebec,” The first impression from the title is that the High Delegatory Parties in Quebec had no idea how these things are done. A closer inspection revealed that faits accompli are presented as “results,” (Russia will keep its German prisoners of war for a few years and use them as slave labour) and all politically problematic decisions put off until later. Will General Patton go to the Pacific as a subordinate of General MacArthur? Well, it would certainly be entertaining if it happened.
“Forward Step” Cordell Hull called a press conference to talk about what the new League of Nations would look like. It looks like what America wants it to look like, because America has all the money.
Canada continues to hold the paper’s circulation hostage to stories about Canada, continues to fail to come up with interesting stories. This week, colourless Canadian diplomat colours the UNRRA colourlessly; Canadian self-described war hero self-describes himself; attention-seeking Christian sectaries get attention. 

“Swindler’s End” Tired of musical metaphors for describing the German retreat, the paper tries out a financial one. The paratroop assault in Holland is like a kited cheque? Is that what we really want to say? General Brereton features very prominently. Also, “hell-for-leather” Lieutenant-General William Simpson accepts the surrender of stubby Major-General Elster with full Prussian amenities. “Prussian amenities” are silly, while “hell-for-leather” generals are manly.

“The Miracle of Supply” This is the cover story, and the cover portrait this week is General Lee, who is chief of the Communications Zone, as I am told, and you, of course, know full well. Unfortunately, this sounds like a somewhat vague descriptor to me. Is he in charge of the zone through which the communications pass, or of the communications which pass through the zone, or of both? The paper comes down on communications, as the article starts of as an economium on the administration of the army’s supply system.
The allies are winning the war so quickly because General Eisenhower is a madman, ignoring what the military textbooks have to say about the importance of supply. Seven hundred thousand tons of supplies and 100,000 vehicles have poured into France, and kept up with the speeding columns of Allied troops via truck, pipeline, and railroad. This is the miracle of the “North American Way.” America’s experience with continental-scale transport, which makes us a “nation of movers and shakers.” “It was a joint miracle, wrought by many hands,” but above all by Lieutenant General Brehon Somervell’s Army Service Forces and his chief planner, “cool, efficient Major General Leroy Lutes.” “They were wholesalers, getting the supplies from the producers, estimating how much could go to Europe (and how much to every other battlefield in the world, and delivering them on the far shore of the ocean in the quantities needed and at the time required.”
 Etc, etc. Now a few details that sound to me less than optimistic --“Last week, on D-plus-100, more than 100 freighters waited off the Normandy shores to be unloaded”—it moves on to a rather muddled account of the artificial harbours, of which I have heard in some detail privately. We are told that at Cherbourg, where the Germans had wrecked the breakwater, 25,000 engineering troops had sunk a string of concrete barges. When these failed to hold in a storm, swift improvisation sank “dozens of emptied Liberty ships” to form a new sea wall. This must have served its purpose, because now 20 trains leave Cherbourg daily loaded with supplies. Seven hundred miles of pipelines have been laid. A “Red Ball Express Highway” carries supplies forward in two-and-a-half-ton trucks. A “fabulous” delivery service operates between the ports and front lines.
Now we move on to the subject, and what is either an extraordinarily naïve profile, or a sly one that slipped entirely by whoever approved it. Lieutenant General John Clifford Hodges Lee, “Eisenhower’s supply chief.” A man of “exceptionally friendly and attractive personality,” he is a lion of soiceyt, and a martinet of a soldier of driving energy. He is named after his mother, “John Clifford Hodges II,” who was named after her father, a captain in the Confederate army. He is an engineer, is further described, as if the “martinet” were not clue enough, as “passionately, deeply devoted to propriety.” Which, apparently, is no vice when a non-Prussian general does it. He is an Episcopalian, goes to church every day and sometimes twice or thrice on Sunday, often taking his entire staff of 40. “He likes important people and they usually respond.” “His old friends in the Army extend from General Somervell to Beneral MacArthur.” “He is just as loyal a friend to many people who are not important.”
In short, Lee is so blinded by his own self-importance that he approved this article for publication. What I am left to wonder at the end is whether the same blithe incompetence is applied to his work, which would explain the operational halt which means that Mr. Janeway is right, and Uncle George is wrong about the war in Europe ending this year. Unless the Russians end it.

“Red Dawn Over Warsaw” The Russian fall offensive looks set to finally take Warsaw. Continuing rapid progress in the Baltic area continues to push the Red Army rapidly towards places that they have been rapidly approaching since August.

“Now it Can Be Told” During the Battle of Warsaw, Allied air transports parachuted supplies to the Partisans. Is this really news?

Battle of Germany (South)” The Balkans are being overrun more! Field-Marshal Kesselring is still holding the Gothic Line in Italy, but it can’t be much longer now.

“Taste of Defeat” The paper’s correspondent in China covers the Army Air Force’s withdrawal from Kweilin. “But now in this place and hour of defeat we know that this campaign has tacked six months on to the U.S. war against Japan.” As hard as it is for me to believe that the Soongs would part with the silver, or that the Luces would need it, I wonder if the Soong’s bagman trips over Ottawa’s on the way out of the paper’s editorial office?

“New Jumps” While the Japanese ordered the evacuation of Davao (at least the paper spells it correctly now), the Americans instead land on Morotai and Peleliu. Predictably, the Army’s landing on Morotai wrong foots the Japanese and easily captures an airfield, while the Marine landing at Peleliu runs into entrenched Japanese resistance and takes heavy casualties. Neither place, however, is the key anchorage the Allies need, which is helpfully designated for the Japanese as Babelthuap and Koror. I ask James if even the paper could be so inept, and he introduces me to the artificial harbour concept, in case you were wondering when I heard about MULBERRY. I do not imagine that the advanced anchorage in the Pacific will be as elaborate, but it certainly will not wait on another amphibious preliminary against alerted Japanese defences! 

“Beyond Anything Imagined” Post VE Day, aircraft production will be reduced and the number of models produced will be cut back. The B-29 and B-32 will be retained as “heavy bombers,” the B-17 and B-24 as newly reclassified “mediums.” The B-25 Mitchell is to be retained, the B-26 not, while Douglas is to produce the new A-26 Invader, “an improved version” of the A-20. 

Three fighters, probably the Mustang, P-47 and P-38 will be kept, the latter on a reduced production schedule, while P-40 production will be terminated by year’s end and the P-63 made for Russian deliveries and the P-61 retained in its night fighter role. By a literal reading, then, the simplification consists of dropping two models out of 14, including one made “almost” solely for export.

“Over Japan” Colonel RichardCarmichael, General Arnold’s “executive assistant” at 20th Air Force, has been listed missing over Japan.

“Where Are They Now” The paper catches up with various people involved in the Pearl Harbor catastrophe as the investigating committee met on Oahu. Private Lockard, who detected the oncoming Japanese but was not believed, is now a lieutenant in the Signals Corps, stationed in Louisiana. So at least he has been punished enough. GeneralMartin, who gathered all the aircraft in the garrison in one place and put them under armed guard in case of fifth column sabotage, has retired on grounds of illness and now passes time playing golf and listening to phonograph rcords in West Los Angeles. Captain McMorris, Kimmel’s war plans officer, is now a rear admiral in Pearl Harbor. Rear Admiral Kimmel is employed by a New York dock-building firm due to his extensive experience in sitting around in the water. General Short is in charge of “traffic and transportation” at a Ford plant in Dallas. Former CNO Admiral Stark is now “commander of the U.S. fleet in Europe.” It would be safer if they were near Europe, it seems to me.

“Ill-Starred” Discussion continues of a “five-star” rank for the United States services so that it can have field marshals and grand admirals, too. Only they won’t be called that, lest it lead to monarchy.

“Unbound” WAVEs may finally go overseas, at least to Alaska, Hawaii and the Caribbean over the last ditch resistance of “bumbling, lumbering” Senator David Ignatius Walsh of Massachusetts. The name “Ignatius” is hilarious, because the first syllable is the same as in “ignorant!” Admiral Nimitz is pleased, because he could release over 5000 men for the Pacific if he had WAVEs t replace them. Perhaps Lieutenant A. will get to see a shooting war before  I can shoot him. . .

“Good Old Siwash” A Marine duck mascot is returning to America after three campaigns. We are told that he personally vanquished a Japanese rooster on Tarawa on D-Day, and captured a “tiny Japanese duck on Tinian, but had to leave his war bride behind him.”  Hopefully the paper someday be forced to expand on its definition of marriage to the shotgun-armed father of the “bride.”


As Maine Goes” Republicans swept Maine by their biggest win since 1928. GOPers predict that as Maine goes, so goes the nation.

“The Listening Campaign” Governor Dewey’s train is making its way through the Midwest so that he can listen to everyone. One of the reasons that the insiders do not like Dewey is that he comes out of a prosecuting background, and “not even Dewey’s most ardent admirers pretended that he ever showed a superabundance of warmth or relaxed in backslapping formality. His deportment was precise and correct, at times even chill.” Thus, the listening. Not to put too much weigh on “kid stuff,” but I think that Crockett Johnson’s “A.A.,” who is “able to give us the direct, uncolored view of the Man in the Street” is dead-on in this. The average voter thinks that Dewey listens, all right –to rich men watching the stock market. Though why those men should be against Roosevelt is lost on me.

“Clear Everything with Sidney” The GOP plans to spend a million on radio time in the next seven weeks, spreading the phrase: “Clear it with Sidney.” Because Sidney Hillman is secretly running for President. The GOP thinks that Governor Bricker’s one-liner is up there with “Rum, Romanism and Rebellion.”

“The Great Whirlwind” Thanks to ample meteorological warnings, the great hurricane last week did a fifth the damage of the 1938 storm. Hurrah for science!

Back Home in Indiana” Twenty-nine people, 26 of them returning servicemen, were killed in a head-on traincollision outside Terre Haute, Indiana on the 14th. This should not be possible with modern block signalling, but the signalling is only a backup. If one of the trains proceeded without authorisation, perhaps as a result of someone misreading a schedule, the signals would not help.

“Brethren, Follow John L.” A scuffle at the United Mineworkers convention is denounced by John L. Lewis as an attempt by Franklin Roosevelt and Sidney Hillman to embarrass him after he introduced a resolution condemning the New Deal and endorsing Dewey.

“NO Collective Begging” Speaking of the CIO, its United Auto Workers just voted to extend their no-strike pledge until V-J Day, although the final decision is to be referred to a general referendum., and the partial victory shows how split the labor movement is between leadership and rank-and-file.
“Roosevelt and Olsen”  It is thought that George Olsen might win thegovernorship in Nebraska as a Democrat by virtue of his Scandinavian name, but he has declined the support of the national party, due to the Republican leanings of the state electorate. Which the paper finds remarkable.


“Prize” The automobile association has won from the War Manpower Commission permission to deovte 1% of their personnel to planning passenger-car production. Given the disparity between assembly-line manpower and engineering, wouldn’t this be more than enough? I suppose that it depends on whether “planning” includes tooling.

“The Dream of Banker Aldrich” The 59-year-old president of Chase National thinks that the Bretton Woods agreement should be junked because it is not as good as a complete free trade agreement between the United States and the British Empire, with an American grant, “which may be large,” to stabilise the pound. Then, once all the world is politically stabilised, the plan should be extended to the whole world, the dollar stabilised domestically by balancing the federal budget and avoiding “both a postwar boom or depression.” The paper is skeptical about whether this plan is practical.

“The Good Competitor” “Shy, dignified Chicago bachelor, Harold Lenoard Stuart, head of Halsey, Stuart &Co.,” has won another hundred million dollars worth of bond business as he continues to fight his eleven year war with Wall Street for open, competitive bidding for securities. What an extraordinary coincidence that a famous, rich old family named “Halsey,” and a famous admiral named “Halsey” are in the news together! You can see why it is so hard to explain to Father that there is no nepotism and corruption in American public life. On the other hand, I do not need to justify my decision not to send dacoits to ransack the Engineer’s home, lest I provoke the attentions of Director Hoover of the FBI. Entirely coincidental similarities of clan name fly to my aid!

“Pointing Gun” The Administration’s  promise at Quebec to take aim at “international cartels” took concrete shape with an antitrust action against British-owned Borax Consolidated, American Potash & Chemical, and elevenidnividuals for operating a worldwide borax cartel. Wendell Berge, head of the antitrust division, is prosecuting this one personally. Unfortunately, he sees no way of proceeding against patent pools, perhaps the most effective form of trust-building, says the paper.

“Phil Johnson” The 49-yearold president of Boeing, is dead of a sudden cerebral hemorrhage. My innocent, girlish view of these things was permanently destroyed the first time Uncle George harrumphed over a paper at a similar story, threw it down and suggested amphetamine abuse. Now I read of Johnson’s hard work and success and cynically speculate about the hidden costs.

Science, Medicine, etc.

“The Doldrums” Australians are silly, for they call hurricanes “willy-willy.” Meterological scientists are not, as see above, especially aircrew weather inspectors Colonel Lloyd Woods, Lieutnant Frank Record, and Major Harry Wexler.

“Chemical Annual” The AmericanChemical Society had its national convention in Manhattan, rather out of convention season, but were rewarded with control of Universal Oil Products,Corp. A research consortium of the major oil companies, it had to be given away before the Department of Justice unleashed an trust-breaking case against it, and now the Chemical Society enjoys its patent incomem of $1 million/year. The money will be spent on university studies in pure science relating to petroleum, the chemists think, still stunned at their unexpected acquisition. Recovering its equilibrium, the Society got on to brass tacks, with President Thomas Midgley, Jr., complaining about old men at the helm dragging down scientific progress, while on the other hand Theodore G. Klumpp predicted that our grandchildren would live in good health for 130 years thanks to new life-saving drugs, while R.C.A. chemists predict that “night time will be made safer and more colourful” by abundant luminescent “ceilings, murals, doorknobs and keyholes.” Du Pont has a spray-on polythene plastic to protect metal from corrosion, which can be used on shoes, upholstery, toothpaste tubes, milk cartons. Potatoes are now peeled with the help of lye, says another presenter. The process uses a lye solution to lossen the skinds and water sprays to knock them off, and has supplied the Army with great quantities of peeled potatoes, reducing the burden of K.P.

Streptothricin” A new drug similar to penicillin has been discovered, an article in the Journal of the AMA announces. Its advantage is that it attaks some bacteria against which penicillin is powerless. This is quite exciting. Where there is one, one might imagine that it is unique. Where there is two, one  might imagine that there are many.

“Health and Fiorello” New York City is introducing an employee health insurance plan.

“Sissy or Neurotic” Dr. Henry Link, in an article entitled, “Against Coddling,” published in the American Mercury last week, charged that military psychiatrists are “extremists” who left “sissies, poor sports, hypochondriacs and malingerers” out of army service for purported neuropsychiatric difficulties. Karl Murdock Bowman, President of the American Psychiatric Association,  replied this week that Dr. Link is a bully, a cad and an obscurant.

Press,  Education, Literature, etc.

Various important public officials are for press freedom, especially press freedom to say nice things about them. In unrelated news, all of the journalists who entered Paris before they had permission to do so  have been suspended of their privileges for a month.

“Openings, 1944” Girls are going to college this fall in record-breaking numbers. “Miss V.C.’s” class will number 1,550 girls, up from 1,240 in 1938. The Negro colleges are seeing a surge in enrollments because the community has more money to spend, and expects discriminatory competition for jobs after the war.

“Want a Husband, Too?” On the other hand, in Montana, three out of ten country schools failed to open on S-day for lack of teachers. Oregon and other states were offering pay increases of up to 50%, and rushing through emergency teaching certificates.

 Iowa School Superintendent Charles H. Tye comes up with an additional incentive: he is offering any teacher with what it takes –personality and brains—the guarantee of a good job and man within a year if they are in that big a hurry. “We need both teachers and wives up here. We have the jobs and we have the men.”

In other news, Wellesley had to reject 1000 applicants this year.

The paper was quite taken with 20th Century Fox travel documentary “Dangerous Journeys,” featuring “the gigantic, incredibly handsome Watusi tribesmen” hunting elephants, and a “Burmese priestess of fertility” taming a “slavering, divine king cobra.” The paper’s critic is badly in need of a train ticket to Iowa.

“Midnight Editions” Jean Bruller, author of the prewar cartoon book, Twenty-One Delightful Ways of Committing Suicide, is revealed as the publisher of the covert “midnight editions” of forbidden books which circulated under the occupation of Paris. In a sadder milestone, William Heath Robinson died last week. H. F. Heard has a book out, but you will be psychically aware of this.

Speaking of Halseys and Halseys, a Sulzberger, Gould and Astor have had children or been married this month, while the Marquess of Huntington, “Protestant husband of ex-ambassador Joseph Kennedy’s daiughter, Kathleen” was killed in action in France, and one Thomas Hart Benton[2, 3], of Missouri, is identified as a landscape painter and given a forum in the paper to complain that no-one buys his paintings. Uncle George would add some heavy irony about the fact that Mr. Benton does not have any visible means of support at this point. In Chungking this would go without saying. 

Congressman Nat (“Cousin”) Patton ofTexas, just defeated in a run-off election, physically assaulted Drew Pearson in a Washington restaurant this week. Emil Ludwig, émigré German musician, condemned Democracy for not producing great art to an audience in Los Angeles.

Flight, 28 September 1944

I quite like this number’s cover, which shows a “future” scene of a twin-engined, shoulder winged plane (transport? It is an unlikely design for a transport given that some passengers will always prefer not to look down) approaching one of those cylindrical aluminised buildings that are all the rage right now. I like it because the plane is passing over a junk and approaching a befogged mountain, which makes me think of old Hong Kong, and I smile at my memories, and the hope of a postwar future in which the dear old town is safe and prosperous enough for a bright new building.


“The Time Has Come” The paper demands prompt talking about talking about civil aviation.

“America’s Lead” Because America is in the lead.

“Airborne Queries” It is almost time when it can be admitted that the airborne attack across the Rhine was a cockup. Once we can admit that, we can move on to deciding who is to blame.

War in the Air

This feature had not advanced as far as the Airborne Army, or the leading articles, and so the Airborne Army is “progressing well.” The Channel Ports are still being bombed, the Russians are advancing rapidly in place in the Baltic, and our Eastern Fleet has attacked Sumatra, theother end this time. Also attacked yet again, Tirpitz, by Bomber Command. Bremerhaven was attacked by 420,000 incendiary bombs, and “left alight from end to end.” Horrible. The paper notices that supplies were parachuted to the partisans in Warsaw. The Balkans are overrun by the Russians more. A photograph of a captured He 177 is shown.

Here and There

Uncle Henry is in the  news again, having acquired the rights to the Stanley Hiller helicopter. We are told that he learned to fly the plane in five minutes under the instruction of the designer. I would pay very good money to have seen that conversation. I wonder if Mr. Hiller gave as good as he got? We hear of the new Lockheed “Constitution,” and see a picture of the new, experimental Grumman twin-engined carrier fighter.

Behind the Line

Swissair has suspended its Stuttgart service. German service air mail has flown 4 million kilometers since its inception “a few years ago.” Slovaks are being recruited for AA service in Germany. The Times of Cologne writes that since Germany cannot keep up with the material superiority of its enemies (this is now what Herr Speer was saying recently!), it must rely instead on creating “revolutionary weapons.” No need for that. A fleet of jet fighters should suffice! The Hitler Youth is taking over air apprenticeship training, ostensibly because residents in Hitler Youth hostels have better health than ones boarded out.

R. G, Markham, “Air-cooled Engines” Various problems will be encountered and developments undertaken as air-cooled piston aeroengines reach 6000hp over the course of the next seven years. Unless someone invents something like a combustion gas turbine to replace the kind of plumbing required in a 6000hp(!) piston engine. Air cooled! Honestly! Mr. Markham works for Bristol Aeroengines. Not only will the engines be much larger, but the fuels will have much higher octane ratings. They will loft aircraft of 100 tons. Contra-rotating airscrews will be capable of handling 12,000 hp. (Two 22ft 8-blade contra-props.) 32-cylinder, four bank, dual crankshaft designs will be used. They will be built of the organs of the dead, stolen from their graves, vivified by the Heavenly power of the lightning, and Mr. Markham will be master of the world! As far as  mad science this month goes, I prefer the idea of living to 130.

Studies in Aircraft Recognition

The Waco CG-13 glider. Haven’t we done this one already?


Vernon Brown writes to discuss the old days. Who invented the roll? Was it Balcombe-Brown? James Fitz-Maurice writes to remind us that in the earliest days of the automobile it had to be preceded by a man with a red flag, and this is obviously relevant to those who are pessimistic about future private aviation involving everyone and going everywhere. Uncle Henry would be pleased with Mr. Fitz-Maurice, but Mr. Fitz-Maurice might not want to hitch a ride with Uncle Henry in his new helicopter. R. F. Simms writes to correct another writer, R. .H. Gardner, on the actual roll of “Pitch levers.” G. Borg-Myatt writes to correct Mr. R. Hudson on invasion tactics. The bridges behind enemy lines should be destroyed, to prevent their use by the enemy, because first you must win the battle, and then you can advance. E. Burke writes to correct Shelford Bidwell’s misapprehensions on the subject of the inconstancy of sonic speed with temperature and Mr. Maxwell Smith’s blithering misunderstanding of the role of air pressure and the speed of sound, hence the variation of the speed of sound with altitude.

Service Aviation has pictures of the Spitfire XIV in flight, because the Tempest is still Secret.

And now the (semi-)monthlies

Aero Digest, 1 September 1944


This is a little out of place, since the editorials are buried in the middle of the exhaustingly long paper. And I think that I shall save us both some time by a brief summary: Vote Dewey because Roosevelt and his Administration are awful.

Guest Editorials Again, brief summary will do for both numbers. Glenn L. Martin makes “the case for the flying boat,” which is as devoid of consideration of all the practical difficulties as ever. You may think that I am just parroting Uncle George’s nautical concerns, but I have the very personal experience of waiting a whole morning for our Catalina to find a berth down in San Francisco Bay the other day. That kind of thing will be intolerable for the kind of passenger that the airlines think they can attract with promises of greater luxury in flying boats than is possible in landplaned. In the September 15th number,  and some fellow from the industry thinks that we are selling the peacetime use of aircraft short, and that they will be bought for all sorts of purposes in vast numbers. This is more like a boiler-room stock scam than a serious opinion.

General Features

Major Richard W. Kirschbaum, “Saga of the ‘Flying Tigers’” The “Tigers” are, of course, General Chennault’s American Volunteer Group, and it goes without saying that you will find far more enlightenment on their activities in my Father’s correspondence than in an article by one of Chennault’s officers cleared for American publication.

Max M. Muller, “Resonance Reaction Drives as used in Flying Robot Bombs,” Doctor Muller is one of the paper’s best commissioned technical authors, and here he discusses the basic operating mechanism of the “pulse jet” engines of the flying bombs. He points out that they are reasonably efficient in fuel economy and very cheap to build, making flying bombs and extremely cost-efficient way of conducting a “satrategic” bombing campaign.

“Analysis of Non-Carrier Plane Accidents 1944” A summary of accidents in the first half of 1944 reveals a sharp rise in the number of engine plant failures and accidents attributable to “lack of technique.” I am very happy that your youngest is getting his naval flight training through the University of California rather than some awful, fly-by-night “flight training school.”

J. K. Lasser, “Outstanding Current Proposals for a New Tax Policy,” Economists agree that the income tax must be cut, some kind of excise tax of perhaps 5% levied, and high capital gains taxes (a 50% rate is mooted) made deductible or somehow offset by credits to balance the “double taxation” of dividend earnings. So here is an analysis of likely changes of the tax bill of very wealthy men co-existing with childish cartoon advertisements and a rodomontade against the Administration thatwould not pass muster in high school. This is a very strange paper.

“Sweden’s New World Airport” Exists.

Washington In Formation The paper is pleased by the nomination of Theodore P. Wright (a man in aviation named Wright!) as new head of the CAA, disappointed by the resignation of Charles I. Stanton. Wright was a former navy flyer and president of Curtiss-Wright. The paper also supposes that the Germans were so “groggy” in Normandy because our precision bombing had been even more effective than previously imagined, and quotes with approval Admiral Nimitz’s suggestion that Japan might be brought to the peace table by actions short of an invasion of the mainland.  

“The New P-61 Night Fighter” The P-61 is a massive Northrop project built on the basis of the 1940 

It is a 4000hp+ fighter, and scaled to match at 26,000lbempty weight. Some interesting camera angles emphasise just how big it is, and the nature of the aerodynamic challenge in getting something so big to act like a fighter.

R. J. S. Pigott, “De Soto Builds B-29 Components” A sarcastic rejoinder is hard to bite back. The article is illustrated by some interesting photographs, none of which appear to have turned out properly once I fixed the negatives.

“Use of Rotary Pumps in Aircraft” The use of rotary pumps in hydraulic installations is not new, going back to the pre-1914 Hele-Becham-Shaw motors in gun turrets. I can recite this so readily because when James waxes historical about feedback and automatic control, this is where he begins. American firms did not follow suit until this war, preferring positive displacement pumps of easier engineering but no capacity for continuous feedback, and the Dowty “live-line” carburettor seems to have been instrumental in changing this, leading to the use of the rotary pump beyond the aircraft engine industry. You will find none of that here, though. It’s all from your son.

“Coated Optical Lenses Have Greater Efficiency” I do not have a canned expert on optics to hand, but it is my understanding that coated lenses are nothing new. What is new, or at least is something that I have been tasked to pursue, is the heavy use of high-vacuum conditions for blowing coatings. Hence, as Uncle would say, automatic control on air pressure, temperature and moisture content, hence not only the use of components that would be useful in “food chain” refrigeration but also yet more automatic controls that electrical engineering companies might make. Robots, robots everywhere!

“Portfolio of Design Features: The “Catalina PBY5A Flaying Boat, Part 2” I must have missed Part 1. Perhaps it was when I was being chilled to the bone by a failing aircraft heater while drifting with the tide in San Francisco Bay?

A. F. Meye, “Mobile Unites in the Fueling and Servicing of Planes” Did anyone, anywhere, not know that truck-mounted fuel bowsers are being used on airfields? Hoonestly.

“Fighting Fires Aloft” The Curtiss Commando has a unit that floods the engine nacelles with carbon dioxide to smother fires, built by Walter Kidde. What is interesting here is that, as I understand it, the RAF has used methyl bromide instead on various scores of efficiency. So this article might implicitly be an argument that carbon dioxide units can be sufficiently effective. Certainly it has to be a concern for Curtiss that rivals might have fire suppression systems deemed more efficient by the Air Ministry.
Raoul J. Fajardo, “General Approach to the Study of Forces on an Aerofoil.” I bet there are a thousand articles with this exact title in the literature by now. You would have to give this one greater attention than I have to spare to see whether it has any merits above and beyond the other 999.

Charles H. Brown, “Parts Spoilage Control Simplified” is an article I passed over quickly, but not so the slightly later James R. Crawford, “Mathematics of Quality Control,” which is actually an essay on the use of some basic statistical significance tests to be applied to quality control measurements. This implies that quality control is limited to a sufficiently large random sample of the production flow, which is not a way of handling aircraft components which I am particularly comfortable with, but is,  I suppose, inevitable for rivets going into B-24s. It is certainly a strong argument that we should be looking to higher quality warplanes rather than higher quantities, though. The editor of the Times of Cologne may be a Nazi, but he is not wrong.

“Magnetic Indicator Speeds Rivet ‘Cleanup’ Job,” and “new Propeller Blade Sharpener” are basically advertisements disguised as articles.

Douglas ‘Skybus,’ and “Martin Model 202,” are the same, with the distinction that neither plane yet exists. But they will be splendid when they do!

“’Mariner’ Takes off from Dry Land” The Martin Mariner is not being built as an amphibiain, or if it is, the article says nothing about it. This is just a test of beaching gear, in other words, a sort-of boat trailer in which the Mariner can make a takeoff run, given enough land. In this case, the salt flats in the Mojave Desert where people used to attempt speed records before the war.  

“Over the Hump” You may have heard that American forces in China are being supplied by aircraft that fly over the Himalayas. It has been in the news. What this article has to contribute is that some of the things flown are quite large, and were cut apart by welders so that they could be flown as cargo, and then reassembled by welders in China. It is suggested that this is something novel and American. I sometimes think that the worst thing this country could do for China is to leave these men there.  Father of course assumes that the Army sends its worst men to China as a matter of deliberate economy. This may well be true, and may have been necessary, but America is going to pay a price for it.

Aero Digest, 15 September 1944

“AAF Inspection Standards Insure Uniformity of Material” You may think something along the lines of “Of course they do,” but apparently the Army Air Corps had no inspection branch before the war, and depended on industry instead. I promised not to dwell on the editorials any further, but the paper is right about one thing. Not enough money was spent on the armed forces, at least in relation to their pretensions, before the war. I sometimes get the impression that this is soft-pedalled by industry as well as by the Administration, however. That’s not something I want to defend strongly, just a segue to this extraordinary picture contrasting two “Flying Fortresses,” one from 1934, the other from 1944. The point being that, given that they are not really the same plane at all, we could easily be misled into thinking that the Army Air Force was more ready for war in 1941 than it was.

“Feeder-Line System Successfully Pioneered on Pacific Coast” The article is self-explanatory, but the drift is that people might want to invest in “feeder airlines” in other parts of the country. As the paper’s attempts to drum up business for the industry goes, this is pretty plausible.

“Perishable Foods by Air Express” On the other hand. Here, I have an idea: it is berry season in Chilé when it is winter in America. Why not fly strawberries from Santiago to Boston?

“Power Boat for Air-Sea Rescue Work” Not a Power Boats advertisement, but a discussion of the small, 5p boat motors installed in the dinghies that air-sea rescue planes drop. The little boats, which also have oars, a sail, and supplies, sound very cozy and comforting to read about. Actually being in them in a high sea, not so much.

Washington In Formation

After VE Day, the Japanese will sue for peace, but on unacceptable terms, so we have to be prepared to keep attacking until the “yellow bellies” are ready to accept favourable terms. According to a statement by Vice-Admiral Fitch, the contribution to the defeat of Japan made by 14 Essex-class aircraft carriers and the 50,000 ton “super-carriers,” of which two are actually being built, was or will be enormous. Notice that this is a reduction of two “super-carriers” and, I think, 6 Essex-class. My insider information is that the ‘missing’ Essex-­types are only delayed in production, but only if by ‘delay’ we think in terms of prewar building times. The super-carrier programme, however, has been cut back by three hulls, with a third hull recently laid down, so that, strictly three are building, but the third will not see service against Japan unless something truly unforeseeable happens.

Tom Clark, “Choice of Timber for Aircraft” Sorting timber to find material of high enough grade for aeronautical use is hard! But that was your business, sir, and you would know it better than I.

J. A. Butcher and R. E. Franz, “Reconversion of Army Planes, Part 2,” is interesting for some, I imagine.

“Portfolio of Design Features: Grumman J4F-2 ‘Widgeon’” An ancient plane, detailed.

“Remote Hydraulic Unites Actuated by Electrical Energy” This is an advertisement in disguise for a Pesco remote electrical motor built into a hydraulic actuator. Given the use of electrical power in hydraulic systems generally, I doubt that it is a unique product, but American manufacturers are more likely to be able to buy it from Pesco than from Jumo-Dessau AG!

Vernon R. Grom and Martin R. Brumbaugh, “Statistical Quality Control” A very succinct article, but quite interesting in the light of last month. It is all very well to use simple RMS and average deviation methods to calculate when a batch of rivets ought to be rejected. It is quite another to apply a statistical treatment to the run of quality control rejections on a project as complex as the Curtiss Commando, as here. There is a very large number of numbers to be treated here, and the gist of the article is a probability analysis that captures the size of the random sample needed to be taken by the manufacturer to guarantee acceptance by the Army and Navy. It sounds like good business, but a great deal of arithmetic, but then we have robots for that sort of thing now.

Michael A. Picciano, “Role of Thermal Conductivity Cell in Aircraft Instruments, Part 2” I missed Part 1. The point here is that aircraft instrument components should be tested to find their heat loss rate in order to make their measures more accurate. Imagine that for twenty years planes have been depending on instruments that took no account of this at all!

Robert Brooks, “Inserts Serve as Spark Plug Bushings” And Mr. Brooks’ firm supplies them.

Albert A. Arnhym, “De-Icing and Anti-Icing Progress” The more progress made, the more reliable Atlantic flying will be. Icing can happen anywhere –a solenoid de-icer is illustrated! But Bendix has developed a “unique electronic device which provides the pilot with a series of  illuminated push buttons to control the de-icing system for both the accretion and texture of the ice, by changing the cycle from any one of ten stations to automatic operation of all stations over a broad range of time and amplitude.” This control system will greatly reduce the bulk of “boot” de-icers and ease the complexity of their operation.

G. J. Harman, “Post-War Aircraft Fuelling and Oil Servicing Facilities” Oil barrels can go on trucks, too.

Dimitry Olshevsky and Richard A. Smith, “Design-Strengthened Materials and Their Applications” By calculating the thickness of steel and alloy steel plates required to give a specific buckling and plate strain energy, we can reduce the weight of aircraft. Much of the work necessary has not been done, but now Olshevsky’s Aero Research, Inc, is making up the lack. Math follows.  

Image: Angela Green, "Hollywood Halloween," from Abigail Greydanus, on Pinterest. It's a bit late to shop for costumes on her Etsy page this year, but bookmark it for next year!