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May 07, 1945 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1945-05-07

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Invasion of Europe
Started withSicily
Gerian Territory in Europe Shrinks
To NothinAg i Less lau Two Years

(Continued from Page 4) -
ly bloody battles were fought in beat-
ing the Germans back from one
Italy . *. hedgerow and sunken road to the
The Allies invasion of Europe really next. Cherbourg, the Allies' first
began with the attack on Sicily by major port in France, was taken by
Gen. Eisenhower's British and Amer- American troops on June 27 just three
ican forces on July 10, 1943. Fifteen weeks after D-Day after a bitter fight.
days later Mussolini was ousted in Then, American, Canadian and
Rome-the first serious break in the Allied troops liberated France in
Axis structure. one of the swiftest campaigns on
Striking swiftly on Sept. 3, after record. They did it from a beach-
completion of a 38-day campaign in head--one of the most unusual of
Sicily, Gen. Montgomery's troops in- military feats.
vaded the toe of Italy. The fifth While still depending on beach in-
Army of Gen. Mark W. Clark landed stallations for a flow of supplies, Lt.
at Salerno below Naples and after a Gen. Omar N. Bradley struck out on
blood battle with the Germans, estab- July 25 for the great objectives of the
lished a beachhead six days later, invasion. Bradley's U.S. First Army
almost simultaneously with an- broke through at. St. Lo and began
nouncement of the surrender of the throwing armored hooks westward
government of Marshal Pietro Badog- toward the Normandy coast which
lio which had succeeded Mussolini. repeatedly trapped large numbers of
The first of the big three in the Axis German troops.
had been knocked out of the war. Taking. command of a new U.S.
Through a bitter winter campaign, Third Army, Lt. Gen. George S. Pat-
the Americans and their allies made ton began a sensational sprint south-
but slow progress from Naples, fought ward through Avranches into Brit-
the bloody battle of Cassino, estab- tany, sent roaming columns speeding
lished the beachhead at Anzio below westward and southward to Brest at
Rome and finally on May 11 launched the' tip of Brittany, St. Nazaire, Lor-
the offensive which carried them to lent, Nantes and across the Loire,
Rome on June 4. The Palazzo Venezia then turned his main forces eastward
where Mussolini's balcony stands was in a stabbing offensive which seemed
turned into a museum. aimed straight at Paris.
Out-generaled, out-numbered and


and Canadians had led him to believe
that the main attack would be deliv-
Here Von Kluge held on, despite
Patton's spectacular penetrations
toward Paris, in the apparent de-
lusion that as long as the Caen
anchor positions held the Allies would
rot venture far inland. From the
Mortain area he had mounted his
fiercest armored counterattack to-
ward Avranches in the mistaken be-
lief that he could split the Allied
armies and bring them to disaster.
Suddenly all these German forces
were threatened with entrapment.
The attacks by Montgomery and
the newly created First Canadian
Army under Lt. Gen. D.D.G. Crerar
became an anvil upon which Patton
and Lt. Gen. Courtney H. Hodges
of the U.S. First Army beat the
German 7th Army to pieces.
Dragged into the German disaster
were a newly organized German 5th
tank army and a substantial part of
the 15th army charged with the de-
fense of the rocket coast and the re-
mainder of northern France.
By Aug. 21 Gen. Montgomery was
able to proclaim that the bulk of
German forces in northwestern
France had met with "definite, com-
plete, decisive" defeat and that the
end of the war was in sight.
The strategy. if successful, would
have paved the way for a possible
Bianking of the northern end of the
Siegfried Line, but Field Marshal
Sir Bernard L. Montgomery was un-
able to drive the 50 miles to Arn-
hem in time to exploit the position
gained by the British First Airborne
division. After eight days of heavy
lighting from their encircled position,
the airborne "red devils" were forced
to withdraw across the Noder Rhine.
Already Patton's forces were plun-
ging south of Paris and across the
Seine northwest of Paris to carry out
even more audacious plans.
The underground in Paris rose in
battle. The city of light and symbol
of liberty in thz western world was
liberated on Aug. 25, just a month
after the break-through at St. Lo,
by French and American troops en-
tering the city.
On Aug. 15 the army of France
under Gen. Jean de Lattry de Tas-
signy and the U.S. 7th Army under
Lt.-Gen. Alexander M. Patch invaded
southern France from the Mediter
ranean in a huge and skillfully co-
ordinated action which speedily won
control of the whole coast. The Ger-
mans began a precipitate withdrawal
from all southern France, but by the
first of September the German 19th
Army was fighting for its life up the
Rhone Valley where it had been in~.
tercepted by fast armored columns
slicing across the French Alps.
While Allied forces in the north and
south neared a junction, the Ameri-
can First and Third Armies began
a series of amazing dashes toward
the Rhine. Old battlefields along
the Marne, the Aisne, the Oise, were
reached and passed with bewildering
rapidity. The Americans hurtled in
a single day the Meuse-Argonne batt-
tleground where their fathers fought
for sixbloody weeks in 1918. Belgium
was invaded Sept. 2.
Lt.-Gen. Sir Miles C. Dempsey's
British Second Army tanks made an
astounding march of more than 200
miles in four days, roaring through
the Belgian capital of Brussels, the
big fort of Antwerp, and into the
On Sept. 6, just three months after
the invasion and on the 44th day of
the offensive which had begun at
St. Lo, and with more than 400,000
asualties inflicted upon the Ger-
nans who had lost 25 divisions and

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probably was the greatest of them all
in power and effectiveness.
Marshal Ivan Konev led off with
a smash from his Vistula bridgehead
toward Krakow, toppled that strong-
hold of ancient Polish kings and con-
tinued at a 13-mile-a-day clip into
Germany's industrial Silesia to break
across the Oder River, most import-
ant natural defense line in the east-
ern Reich.
Marshal Gregory Zhukov hit with
similar power, toppled Warsaw, the
blackened and ruined Polish capital
which had stood up under so many
months of Soviet attack, and sped on
through western Poland.
While Berlin thus became directly
menaced, two other Soviet armies
closed on East Prussia and began an
amazingly swift overruning of that
proud and rich old Junker strong-
On Feb. 4, 1945 the day Marshal
Stalin met President Roosevelt and
Prime Minister Churchill at Yalta in
the Crimea Conference, the flash of
Soviet cannon could be seen in Ber-
lin. Russian soldiers could see Amer-
ican planes banking for bomb runs
over the German capital.
On Feb. 8, Marshal Montgomery
began an attack toward the Emmer-
ich crossing of the Rhine near the
Holland border, and on Feb. 23 the
U.S. First and Ninth Armies along
the Roer, which had been such a
bloody obstacle, opened the long-
awaited offensive for the Rhineland.
Events Move Swiftly
Spectacular events followed in
spectacular order. The First Army
seized Cologne on March 6. The
next day the Ninth Armored Division
captured a bridge at Remagen before
it could be destroyed, and seized a
bridgehead on the east side of the
Rhine. The same day Patton's Third
Army made a 32-mile break-through
and reached the Rhine above Cob-
lenz, then with the U.S. Seventh
Army began a whirlwind drive to
capture ,the Saar and Palatinate
German prisoners surrendered faster
than they could be counted.
Five German armies had been de-
stroyed as fighting units and the
Reich robbed of its third most pro-
ductive industrial region, the Saar. As
the Allies closed up to the Rhine
from Holland to Switzerland they
discovered one reason for the Ger-
man defeat. Photographic interpre-
tation of. the results of Allied air
raids had, if anything, underestimat-
ed the damage. Large cities were

found with scarcely 100 habitable
houses. The population was resigned
to defeat, dully submissive to Allied
Final Heave Begun
It was in this moment of German
ruin and desolation that the British
and American Allies launched their
great blow-the final heave to end
the wax that had been forecast by
Prime Minister Churchill.
The crossing of the Rhine in force
began in the Third Army sector be-
low Mainz on the night of March 22
when Patton put his veterans across.
Next night, the British Second Army
began the large-scale attack north
of the Ruhr in and near Wesel, fol-
lowed a few hours later on the morn-
ing of the 24th by the Ninth Army.
Russian armies were only a little
over 300 miles distant-about the
length of Pennsylvania.
Elements of the first Allied air-
borne army were landed in the Ger-
man rear by 1,500 planes and gliders
on split-minute schedule. Ten thou-
sand planes supported the operation.
Landing boats 60 feet long capable
of carrying a tank or 60 men were
brought up to the river on huge trail-
ers in one of the engineering achieve-
ments of the war. Sailors, who had
practiced their part on the rivers of
Holland through the winter, manned
them. The British and United States
Navies thus were in action 250 miles
from the nearest ocean.
End of War Seen
In 48 hours it was clear that, al-
though Hitler might try to prolong
the war by scattered or guerrilla
fighting, organized nationwide resis-
tance could be expected to evaporate
The defenses on the Rhine bank
were quickly overcome and the Brit-
ish Second, American Ninth, U.S.
First and U.S. Third Armies quickly
broke through for deep gains. Im-
portant points were seized intact over
such strategic river defense lines as
the Issel and the Main. Patton's
illustrious Fourth Armored Division
raced 40 miles in a day.
With the crossing of the Rhine,
the storied river of German folklore,
the German god of militarism en-
tered its twilight in a glare of blood.
The ruin is so monstrous that it
may even satisfy the. Wagner-loving
Hitler's gloomy craving for the cata-
The cycle will be complete if all
this teaches the German people to
love peace.


Invasion ...
Two days after the first fall of an
axis capital, the greatest amphibious
invasion force of all time touched
land in Normandy. The D-Day for
which American factories had been
turning out weapons since Dec. 7,
1941, had dawned.
Untried American divisions quickly
proved they could beat Hitler's best
veterans. Despite the strength of the
Germans' Atlantic wall, the inivasion
stuck. The results were not long
showing in Berlin.
Second Battle of France
The first 49 days after Gen. Eisen-
hower's forces landed in Normandy
were spent in securing, enlarging and
building up the beachhead. Extreme-

overwhelmed by superior equip-
ment, fire power and air power, the
Germans seemed poweiless in the
face of lightning moves such as
they themselves had employed so
successfully to conquer France in
Chartres, 55 miles southwest of
Paris, Patton suddenly unmasked his
real intent and wheeled northward
toward the Seine.
Field Marshal Gen. Guenther Von
Kluge, German commander in the
west, had stripped the defenses of
Brittany, and drained divisions from
the 15th Army north of the Seine to
Bolster his defenses in the rugged
territory below Caen on the Allied
left flank, where the ferocity and de-
termination of Marshal Sir Bernard
L. Montgomery's British Second Army

I i .'Ii

1his war will not end till her
boy conks home. Let us not
zest on our labors.
719 North University

C " 1

suffered heavy casualties to at least
18 others. Gen. Eisenhower proclaim-
ed the Battle of Germany about to
begin. His armies already had probed
German soil, the liberation of France
and Belgium was all but complete,
the freeing of the Netherlands not
far off.
Battle of Siegfried Line
The men around General Patton
believed that, if they had received
enough gasoline to keep their spear-
heads in motion four more days,
they would have rolled completely
through the Siegfried Line and then
could have driven straight to Berlin.
It proved impossiale, however, to
move up sufficient supplies through
hub-deep and broken-down commu-
nication lines to keep pace with the
fast-moving spearheads.
Patrols penetrated the Siegfried
Line and entered Metz on the Mo-
selle, but had to retreat for lack of
support. When Patton's supplies
caught up with him, the Germans
had re-entered Metz and spread a-
long the Moselle. Progress thence-
forth was slow and costly.
Lt.-Gen. Courtney H lodges'
U.S. First Army, which had spread
swiftly across Belgium, trapping &
destroyin. a huge p ocket of Ger-
mans at Mons, entered Germany
below Aachen Sept. 13 after pre-
liminary probings in the area of
Hodges penetrated to the outskirts
of Aachen and drove a narrow hole
through the concrete and steel works
of the Siegfried Line in the first
7 days, and when he too lacked the
supplies and force to exploit his
gains, the Allies turned their atten-
tion to gaining a large supply port.
The First Canadian and British
Second Armies began the costly cam-
paign to root out the Nazis south of
the Waal in Holland and free the
mouth of the Schelde to permit sup-
ply convoys to enter the relatively
undamaged harbor of Antwerp. On
Sept. 17 there opened a huge ground
and air attack in which the First
Allied Airborne Army went into ac-
tion and parachute troops were drop-
ped at Nimagen and Arnhem in an
attempt to seize the bridges across
the Waal and Neder branches of the
lower Rhine.
The campaign to clear the Ger-
mans from south of the Waal in
Ilolland lasted to Nov. 6 and cost
the British and Canatdianis 4,0'00
Two days later, Eisenhower began
his November offensive which was in-
tended to hammer the Germans
everywhere until they were compelled
to give way somewhere. General
Patton's army went into action below
Metz first. In quick succession the
U. S. Seventh and First French ar-
mies to the south, and the U. S.
First and Ninth armies went on the
offensive, with some help from the
British Second army at the extreme
northern end.
The French pushed through the
Belfort Gap near the Swiss' border,
the Seventh army broke through to
Strasbourg at Saverne and Patton
made sensational gains and captured
Metz, an old Roman fortified city
which never before in modern times
had been taken by assault.
The Ninth army had broken the
permanent works of the Siegfried
Line above Aachen, and that city had
fallen Oct. 20 after an 11-day at-
tack and siege. The First and
Ninth armies now began some of
their bloodiest battling through the
pillboxes and "community diggings"
hurriedly thrown up behind the Sieg-
fried Line.
Every village was fortified and
every position tenaciously held.
The slaughter was heavy in the
Iurtgen Forest southeast of Aach-
en, but at length the Allied battle
line was drawn up to the Roer, 20
miles west of Cologne.

man generals and others involved
in that unsuccessful plot had en-
abled the Nazi party to strengthen
its hold more than ever in the deter-
mination to fight on to the bitter end,
and the high hopes of July for an
early end to the war faded.
Even the August breakthrough of
the Russians into the Calati Gap in
Romania and the falling away of
Germany's satellites one by one did
not affect German morale in the
disastrous way as in 1918.
The Russians entered Bucharest
on Aug. 31 after a revolution in
Romania, entered Sofia Sept. 16 after
forcing Bulgaria to end the war, com-
pelled Finland to sign an armistice
and turn against the Germans Sept.
19, took Belgrade Oct. 19 with the
aid of Yugoslav partisans and reached
the edge of Budapest in Hungary in
the first week of November. British
and Greeks drove the Germans out
of Greece in October and Albanians
reclaimed their capital of Tirana.
Battle of IIe ilge . .
Then, Dec. 16, Field -Marshal
Karl von Rundstedt, the German
commander in the west, launched
his surfrise offensive into the
Ardenne along the path of the
1940 German breakthrough.
Von Rundstedt threw three armies
against a sector lightly held by Amer-
ican rest troops with the minimum
objective of throwing Eisenhower's
winter offensive off schedule and per-
haps with the maximum objective of
reaching Antwerp and trapping the
Allied armies in the north. He prob-
ably hoped to paralyze Eisenhower's
forces so that they would not be able
to strike in the winter when Marshal
Stalin's Russians were expected to
mount another offensive in Poland.
The blow involved American troops
in their greatest battle since Gettys-
burg in the Civil War. Thousands
were trapped and overrun and Amer-
ican casualties mounted to more than
But trapped American units fought
back valiantly, held off and delayed
the German offensive, and with the
aid of some British divisions prevent-
ed a breakthrough across the Meuse
or at Sedan.
Especially valiant were the stands
at St. Vith and encircled Bastogne
where Brig. Gen. Anthony McAu-
liffs, commander of the 101st Air-
borne Division, made the short but
historic reply, "Nuts," when served
with a demand to surrender his
surrounded forces.
Reacting promptly, Patton's Third
army moved up and attacked in force
on the south flank of the 50-mile deep
German salient six days after von
Rundstedt opened his drive. Field
Marshal Montgomery took charge on
the northern side of the salient.
At the end of a month the Allies
virtually had erased the salient and
large forces of Germans were in hur-
ried withdrawal, perhaps to meet
the dire peril posed by the Russian
offensive in the East.
Battle in the East...
On Jan. 12, 1945, Stalin began his
fourth great winter offensive. It


When every


son or daughter
Your sweetheart, Father, or


comes home.
nal Lig ht of Democracy



And the Etert


glows over the world.. . THEN
Until then
And help the boys in the Pacific

to come home


-Marshall's& itham 's

I _ _ _ _ _ _ ____





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