Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6, 1944; ERNIE PYLE QUITS:


'The Hurt Has Become too Great;'
So Pyle Leaves Front for Long Rest at Home
THIS IS the last of these columns from Europe. By the time you read this, the old man will be on his way back to America. After that will come a long, long rest. And after the rest—well, you never can tell.
Undoubtedly this seems to you to be a funny time for a fellow to be quitting the war. It is a funny time. But I'm not leaving because of a whim, or even especially because I'm homesick. I'm leaving for one reason only—because I have just got to stop. "I've had it," as they say in the army. I have had all I can take for a while.
I've been 29 months overseas since this war started; I have written around 700,000 words about it; have totaled nearly a year in the front lines.
I do hate terribly to leave right now, but I have given out. I've been immersed in it too long. My spirit is wobbly and my mind is confused. The hurt has finally become too great.
All of a sudden it seemed to me that if I heard one more shot or saw one more dead man, I would go off  my nut. And if I had to write one more column I'd collapse. So I am on my way.
It may be that a few months of peace will restore some vim to my spirit, and I can go warhorsing off to the Pacific. We'll see what a little New Mexico sunshine does along that line.
EVEN AFTER TWO AND A HALF YEARS of war writing there still is a lot I would like to tell. I wish right now that I could tell you about our gigantic and staggering supply system that keeps these great armies moving. I'm sorry I haven't been able to get around to many branches of service that so often are neglected. I would like to have written about the transportation corps and the airport engineers and the wire-stringers and the chemical mortars and the port battalions. To all of those that I have missed, my apologies. But the army over here is just too big to cover it all.
       *        *       *
I KNOW THE FIRST QUESTION EVERY one will ask when I get home is: "When will the war be over?" So I'll answer even before you ask me, and
the answer is: "I don't know." We all hope and most of us think it won't be too long now. And yet there's a possibility of it going on and on, even after we are deep in Germany. The Germans are desperate and their leaders have nothing to quit for.
Every day the war continues is another hideous black mark against the German nation. They are beaten and yet they haven't quit. Every life lost from here on is a life lost to no purpose. If Germany does deliberately drag this war on and on she will so infuriate the world by her inhuman bullheadedness that she is apt to be committing national suicide.
In our other campaigns we felt we were lighting, on the whole, 'a pretty good people. But we don't feel that way now, A change has occurred. On the western front the Germans have shown their real cruelty of mind. We didn't used to hate them, but we do now.
The outstanding figure on this western front is Lieut. Gen. Omar Nelson Bradley. He is so modest and sincere that he probably will not get his proper credit, except in military textbooks.
But he has proved himself a great general in every sense of the word. And as a human being, he is just as .great. Having him in command has been a blessed good fortune for America.
    *        *        *
I CANNOT HELP BUT FEEL BAD about leaving. Even hating the whole business as much as I do, you come to be a part of it. And you leave some of yourself here when you depart. Being with the American soldier has been a rich experience. To the thousands of them that I know personally and the other hundreds of thousands for who I have had the humble privilege of being a sort of mouthpiece, this is to say good by—and good luck.

(ET’s note: see future post, April 18, 1945) This older newspaper man, reported from the standpoint of the average American soldier, under battle conditions, in and out of foxholes in many battles. He did return to report on the war in the Pacific and was killed by sniper fire. He was great reporter.

News Blackout
Lifted; Patrols
Cross Border
Strong forces of the U. S. Third army established themselves firmly across the Moselle river today in preparation for an assault on Hitler's west wall after their armored patrols, reconnoitering the path of the advance, Had crossed the German border and then returned to the main elements.
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the battle of Germany was about to begin.
"Battles soon will be fought on German soil," he said in broadcast instructions to foreign workers in Germany on ways to aid Allied troops in combat areas.
Entered Reich Sunday.
Supreme headquarters officially described the penetrations of the reich frontier as actions perhaps 25 to 30 miles ahead of the main front. The Third army permitted disclosure only today that these had occurred Sunday—the first officially reported armed entry into Germany by land since the fall of France.
What has happened since Sunday on the Third army front still was under secrecy of security but it was announced officially that the Third army's breaching of the Moselle, last river barrier short of the Rhine itself, had occurred midway between Metz and Nancy, some 40-odd miles short of the nearest point of the German frontier.
A senior staff officer at supreme headquarters declared that Germany's last defense hope in the west, the Siegfried line or west wall, was no stronger than the Atlantic wall, if as strong, and "at course we are going to break if
Lack Manpower.
The only question, he said, was where—and that part he left for the Germans to worry about. He made it clear that the greatest problem for the' German defense was its insufficient manpower, that there were far fewer troops in the line than intended to man it against a major assault—which may come anywhere -'along its length from the Swiss frontier to its northern flank. .

Tokyo Reveals
6 Admirals
Killed Recently
(By The Associated Press)
The Tokyo radio said today that a Japanese vice admiral and five rear admirals were killed recently "by enemy action in the command area" of the Yokosuka naval station.
The naval station is situated on the west shore of Tokyo bay 12 miles south of Yokohama. Its command area should cover thousands of square miles of the Pacific. The broadcast did not bring out whether the deaths resulted from sea orair attacks.
The "enemy action" may have been the shell fire of an American submarine. Tokyo radio has previously reported submarines operating in waters near the Japanese shore. There have been no announced Allied bombing attacks so close to Tokyo since Lt. Gen. James Doolittle's raiders struck in 1942.
The announcement came as the Japanese diet opened an extraordinary session to hear "the true war situation" from Premier Gen. Kuniaki Koiso.
His report tomorrow should include the increasing threat to the Philippines brought by Gen. Douglas MacArthur's bombers who knocked out 37 more Japanese ships and barges in the sea approaches to the Philippines Sunday and Monday. Among them were 13 small craft and barges
laden with troops.
Typical of land actions outside China was MacArthur's report today of the elimination of nearly 1,000 more Japanese by Americans and Australians mopping up New Guinea. They included the unusually large number of 242 prisoners.

No comments:

Post a Comment