Hutchinson's Pictorial History of the War, Series 25 No. 1

HUT CHIN SONS PICT O RIAL HISTORY OF THE WAR ALL QUIET ON THIS BEACHHEAD One of the D-Day beachheads of Normandy four months after the landings on (5th June. Apart from a few wrecked landing- craft there is now little indication of the exploit that gave it front-page importance. two other airborne divisions and the British 2nd Army, to sccure intact the vitally important bridges and to form a strong bridgehead over the mainstream of the Rhine at Nijmegen. “Not in vain” may bethe pride of those who have survived and epitaph of those who fell. To return to the main theme Brest Havre Dieppe, Boulogne and Antwerp are already in our hands. All the Atlantic and Channel ports from the Spanish frontier to the Hook of Holland will presently be in our possession, yielding fine harbours and substantial masses of prisoners of war. All this has been accomplished by the joint exertions o!' the British and American armies assisted by the vehement and widespread uprising and fighting efforts of the French Maquis. While this great operation has been taking its course, an American and French landing on the Riviera coast, actively assisted by a British airborne brigade British air force and the Royal Navy has led with inconceivable rapidity to the capture of Toulon and Marseilles to the freeing of the great strip of the Riviera coast and to the successful advance of General Patchs 7th Army up the Rhone Valley. This army after overtaking 80,000 prisoners joined hands with General Eisenhower and has passed under his command. When I had the opportunity 011 15th August of watching—-alas from afar— the landing at San Tropez, it would have seemed audacious to hope for such swift and important results. They have however under the spell of victories in the north already been gained in super-abundance and in less than half the time pre­scribed and expected in the plans which were prepared beforehand. So much for the infighting France. Simultaneously with that very hard and successful fighting on a major scale has also proceeded on the Italian front. General Alexander who commands the armies in Italy with complete operational discretion, has under him the 5th and 8th Armies the 5th Army— half American and half British with whom arc serving the fine Brazilian Division some of whose troops I had the opportunity of seeing a magnificent band of men— is commanded by the United States General Clark an officer of the highest quality and bearing with a proud record of achievement behind him and behind his troops. The 8th Army under General Oliver Leese whose qualities are also of the highest order— a proved man— comprises the Polish Corps which fought so gallantly under General Anders and a Greek Brigade which in 2 happier surroundings has already distinguished itself in the forefront of the battle. There are also fighting on this front a strong force 0/ Italians who are ardent to free their country from the German grip and taint. This force will very soon be more than double in strength. The Lieutenant of the Realm is often with these troops. The largest mass of all the troops on the Italian front come of course from the United Kingdom not far short of half the divisions on the whole front are from this island. Joined with them are New Zealand Canadian South African and Indian Divisions or perhaps I should say British Indian Divisions because as is sometimes forgotten one-third of them arc British. The British Army in Italy includes also Palestinian units and here I would mention the announcement, which I think will be appreciated and approved that the Government have decided to accede to the request of the Jewish Agency for Palestine that a Jewish Brigade Group should be formed to take part inactive operations. I know there are vast numbers of Jews serving without forces and the American forces throughout all the armies but it seems tome indeed appropriate that a special Jewish unit a special unit of that race which has suffered indescribable torments from the Nazis should be represented as a distinct formation among the forces forgathered their final overthrow and I have no doubt they will not only take part in the struggle but also in the occupation which will follow. Avery hard task lies before the army in Italy. It has already pierced at several points the strong Gothic byline which Kesselring has sought to defend the passage of the Apennines. I had the opportunity of watching and following the advance of the 8th Army across the Metauro River which began 011 26th August. The extraordinary defensive strength of the ground held by the enemy was obvious. The mountain ridges rise one behind the other in a seemingly endless succession like the waves of the sea and each has to be conquered or turned by superior force and superior weapons. The process was bound to be lengthy and costly but it is being completed— has in fact been practically completed. At the same time General Clarks 5th Army advanc­ing from the Florence area has pierced deep into the mountain ranges and having broken the enemy’s centre now stands 011 the northern slopes of the Apen­nines and no great distance from Bologna a place of definite strategic importance. But General Alexander
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