(E.T.'s note: A second post was needed to report actions in Europe and the Pacific)
RACINE, WIS., WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, MARCH 21, 1945.
Inland Sea for
U. S. Pacific Fleet Headquarters,
Guam. — (AP) —
At least 17 Japanese warships, including a 45,000-ton super battleship and eight aircraft carriers, were crippled Monday by more than 1,000 American
carrier planes which hunted down the bulk of the enemy home fleet hiding in
Nippon's 240-mile-long inland sea.
The audacious raiders from Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher's world's largest task force, penetrating a hitherto untouched area which Japan considered safe
for her navy, also destroyed 475 enemy planes Sunday and Monday and damaged well over 100 more.
No U. S. Ships Sunk
Not one American warship was sunk, although one was damaged seriously and others withstood minor blows as the Japanese home-based airforce sent wave on wave against Mitscher's armada.
All ships moved away under their own power.
Close on Twin
With U. S. Third Army—
(AP)—The Third army entered
The German debacle in the Saarland and Palatinate appeared likely today
to cost Hitler's badly led forces close to 100,000 casualties as the U. S. Third army closed to within five miles of the great chemical center of Ludwigshafen-Mannheim and fought inside Mainz.
Two German armies, the First and Seventh, either were wiped out or doomed except for scattered elements.
About 75,OOO Prisoners.
At supreme headquarters, it was estimated that the swift Third army of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton. J r . , alone had herded an estimated 3O.OOO nazis into prison pens in 48 hours as it and Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch's Seventh army closed new traps which might boost the overall total of captured in the whirlwind campaign
to 75.000. The Seventh army, driving up from the southern bases of the Saarland and Palatinate, did not even tabulateit’s prisoners beyond the first 6,000.
Cities such as Saarbruecken, Kaiserslautern, Worms, Voelkingen, Zweibruecken, Homberg, St.Ingbert toppled like ten pins. T he hard hitting Americans—27 divisions in all or nearly 400,000 men—were advancing speedily.
The German hold on the west bank of the upper Rhine was narrowed to a 35-rmle escape gap between the K a r l s r u h e a n d Ludwigshafen areas and it appeared doubtful whether the wounded wehrmacht could scrape together enough men from the defeat to man properly the Valhalla line east of the river.
Blast Remainin; Bridses.
The Germans blew their last remaining bridges on t h e Rhine, leaving stragglers west of the river to death or capture.
Except for a 30-mile stretch between Pirmasens and Lauternsbourg where the Germans clung to fragments of the Siegfried line, the enemy was in complete rout.
Nazi forces were surrounded in three places and threatened with imminent encirclement elsewhere.
The large Saarland city of Neunkircheri (40,500),Where steel and iron works and coal pits abound, was believed to h a v e fallen, although there was no specific word.