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Battle for Malaya Ends, Siege of Singapore Begins, Imperiling Indies and India —---.. . . - _ America's Eighth Week of War (126th Week of World War II) By John C. Henry. A lot of war was being fought last week as corners of the globe that have been remote and unfamiliar names became battle fronts of this greatest of history’s conflicts. In the forefront to a greater degree than ever before, portending what la to come, were things American—ships, planes, tanks and fighting men— while at home relentless constriction settled more securely over peacetime habits and modes of living. In summation, these were major developments: In Malaya, British Empire troops withdrew to the island fortress of Singapore, ready for a full siege. Still without decision as the week drew near an end was a savage ■even-day naval and air battle along the narrow and winding 800-mile length of Macassar Strait—invasion highway to Java, between Borneo and the Celebes. Sunk or damaged by savage Dutch-American thrusts were some 50 Jap transports and warships, but presumably the armada still was en route as this was written. On Luzon, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s gallant little army continued to dismay superior Jap forces in unsuccessful attempts to complete their conquest of the Philippines. In North Africa, other British Empire forces claimed to have slowed Gen. Rommel’s Nazi counterattack, but loss of Bengasi was admitted. In Russia, Red armies continued to hammer the Germans backward. In China, Chiang Kai-shek's fighters continued to slash successfully at Jap invasion troops, while outnumbered but recklessly daring British and American air squadrons Deat off Jap threats to Rangoon and southern sectors of the vital Burma road. The newest of a host of American Expeditionary Forces, part of an eventual Army of 7,000,000, landed at North Ireland—their initial responsi bility that of protecting American bases there, but with greater tasks undoubtedly on the future book. At Rio de Janeiro, delegates of 21 “good neighbors” agreed unanimously to recommendations that normal relations be broken with the Axis. Swiftly the governments applied this decision, with only Argentina and Chile yet to act. In American Atlantic waters, German submarines continued indis criminate sinkings. ^ Far Eastern Front The most savage combined sea and air engagement of World War II had its beginning 10 days ago when those "in domitable Dutch” scored a dozen direct, crippling hits on eight Jap ships in a strongly escorted armada discovered moving southward through Macassar Strait. Presumably, it was an invasion fleet In all the grand proportions with which Tokio thus far has undertaken its opera tions—headed for one of the twin prizes of the Indies, oil-rich Java. But the Dutch counterattack was merely a signal for what was to come as battlfe-eager air and Battle of naval forces of the united Macassar Dutch and American command pounded re lentlessly at the huge Jap convoy, sys tematically blasting at loaded transports and at escorting warships. While potential success of the invading squadron in reaching Java and estab lishing a bridgehead on that island would be of tragic implication to the united cause, there was some reason to believe duri.ig this week that trapping of the Jap armada in Macassar had resulted [ from carefully devised ambush strategy. Presumably reconciled to inevitable Jap landings on Borneo, Dutch defenders somewhat ostentatiously had announced withdrawal of their forces at Balik Papan, oil port on the strait side of Borneo, after complete destruction of i facilities there. Evidently believing that this withdrawal indicated a general one with regard to the entire waterway, the Jap commanders dispatched their Java bound convoy from the captured port. Vengeful air and naval units of Dutch and American forces pounced on the slow'-moving sea train, pounding at it Incessantly from Friday through Friday, and being supplemented by Australian air fighters as the drawn-out engagement continued. An accurate boxscore on Jap losses was difficult to compile with dupUcating information often coming from Jap several American and Dutch Toll sources, but there seemed little doubt that more than a dozen warships had been sunk or heavily dam aged and about 30 loaded transports either sent down or badly battered. Chief among the united claims was “'probable sinking” by Dutch planes of an unidentified Jap battleship and the tor pedoing of a Jap aircraft carrier by an American submarine. Including casualties of Macassar, Netherlands sources on Friday claimed that Dutch had sunk or badly damaged 54 Jap ships in 54 days of war. Another compilation of united successes placed Jap ship losses since start of war at nearly 100 vessels, including two battle ships, two cruisers and one carrier, and greater numbers of transports and mer chant vessels. Another 50 of various classes were listed as damaged. Among these victims, incidentally, are . two Jap ships which had been sunk by j daring thrusts of American torpedo boats j in Jap-controUed Subic Bay in the Philippines. Second of these forays in the dancing mosquito boats was made during this past week. Meanwhile, land operations were under way at several points on Borneo with j Japanese troops threatening Pontianak after being landed at Pemangkat and others attempting to push their way out of Balik Papan. Elsewhere in this arc of islands north of Australia and the Indies, Australian forces battled Japs in the hills of New Britain and New Ireland, and Aussie flyers plastered Nippon ships in Rabaul Harbor. i” ^ i'i ^ F?ELW Q T'N M'CA ||f| °j^f;'E° <j^ IRON MANGANESE *^g AREAS «ASES That India should be threatened by a power with headquarters 4,000 miles away is a startling commentary on modern warfare. But that’s the prospect India faces. Singapore, threatened by the Jap drive down the Malay Peninsula, alone guards against Nipponese incursions into the Indian Ocean. Singapore in Japanese hands would be the signal lor Japanese submarine and airplane raiders to harry the commerce of the whole Indian Ocean. The siege of Singapore, just beginning, thus carries grave implications for the future. On battle-scarred Batan, MacArthur marked his 62d birthday by maintaining his positions against en MocArthur raged Jap forces several Fights on times reinforced with men and planes. As on pre vious occasions, American artillery proved itself too methodically accurate to permit headlong Nipponese infantry assaults to get beyond the No Man's Land of this bitter siege. With his flare for the dramatic fully evident, the American general acknowl edged his commander in chief's congratu lations by a birthday message to the White House on Friday from the "smoke begrimed men • • • from the foxholes of Batan and the batteries of Corregidor.” Despite heroic resistance by fresh Aus tralian battalions. Japanese invaders moved steadily southward on Malaya to ward positions sure to mean all-out siege of great British base on Singapore. Sur render of Bahu Pahat, western anchor of defense line in Johore, weakened Brit ish chances to point of permitting enemy to come virtually within sight of its goal by week end. Bayonet fighting by Australian units and guerriUa tactics by Indian companies cost Japs men but slowed them little. 'BEAT JAPAN FIRST' NOW UNITED STRATEGY Nippon's Drive South Makes Pacific Vital Theater of War By Constantine Brown. Unpleasant as the Far Eastern situ ation continues to be for the United Na tions, it is far less distressing than a week ago. Hope for the Allies is begin ning to shine through the clouds over the Western Pacific. The whole of Luzon Island is likely to be occupied by the Japanese before long, with the remainder of the heroic defend ing force withdrawing to the bastion of Corregidor, where it is hoped resistance to the enemy can be maintained a while longer. Singapore's situation is no cheer ier, and the fortress appears doomed. In spite of these two critical spots there is growing optimism in Washing ton military circles, and the reason is to be found in the fact that a final de cision has been made on a definite strategy for the United Nations. It was not satisfactory from the mili tary point of view to utter vague and bombastic threats to come to grips with the enemy wherever he could be found. It embraces too much territory at a time when we have a force capable of doing well just one job at one place. The result of our confused war plans was that we had no strategy at all. We had a number of plans for action, all of which were shuffled and reshuffled in accordance with momentary political exigencies. We were going to send forces here, there and everywhere, with the idea that somehow, sometime, sowewhere we would defeat the principal enemy—Hit ler. But specifically when and how he could be defeated no one quite knew. Plan of Action Formulated. The several strategic plans of the United States and Great Britain tallied with those of the Soviet Union because they pertained mainly to Europe. But the Russians did not dare press us for an all-out European adventure at this time. During the White House conver sations when Prime Minister Churchill was in Washington, the Russians merely Indorsed the general policy that we would not, as Hitler wanted us to do, di vert our main forces to the Far East. American military and naval men were not particularly fond of this discjsitior, to overemphasize the European theater at the expense of the Far East. But they were only advisers to the two great strategy-makers — President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill. The lat ter had formulated the basic plan or action between them and consulted the military experts simply on technical de tails. The Australians and Chinese were freatly concerned. They knew that il we allowed the Japanese to overrun the i Far East—and that was inevitable un less we decided to throw all our weight into the Pacific—the face of the world might be changed even if Hitler were de feated. They knew what a complete vie • tory for Japan in the next year would mean. The people of India—which had been seething with unrest—Malaysia, the Philippines and all the other races of the South Pacific would be greatly im pressed by Japan’s victories and of neces sity would join the Nipponese. Overtures Made to Chiang. Gen. Chiang Kai-shek found himself in a perilous position. If the Burma road were cut by the Nipponese, witj> the as sistance of the Thailanders ana the Bur mese, he no longer could count on as sistance from the outside world. Some of his followers were asking how long he would continue a fight which to many eppeared hopeless. Unless the United Nations made a real effort to stem the Japanese advance he could not ask his people to continue resisting the Jap anese. Gen. Chiang had a hard enough time keeping his men in line after the first victories of the Japanese in the Philip pines, at Hong Kong and in the Malay Peninsula. If, after the effect of the j Japanese surprise had worn off, the Brit ish and Americans failed to put up more than a perfunctory resistance, there was no telling how long he could control them. Tckio lost no time taking advantage of the situation, and overtures were made not only to the Chungking govern ment but to Gen. Chiang himself. All would be forgiven and forgotten, the Japanese told him. if he could see the light and enter the greater prosperity fold of the little sons of heaven. No Temporary Loss. Contrary to the way some of our lead ers had It figured, inaction in the Pacific which would permit the Japanese to win a complete victory would not be a tempo rary affair, lasting only until Hitler was defeated. It could have n'eant the union of millions of Asiatics from the Philip pines to Iran under the military leader ship of Japan. This vast alliance of Oriental races would have had at its dis posal not only a huge population but also aU those raw materials which the whites so far have controlled. This point of view was pressed with energy on Wash ington and London by the spokesmen of the largest and most advanced of the yellow peoples—China. The Australians, too, were more than forthright in their demand that the strategy of the United Nations be cen tered on the Pacific. They, too, insisted that the Allies concentrate on Hitler only after the danger of a Japanese vic tory is removed. They pointed out that Australia, with its still untapped riches ! and a very small white population, in vited invasion by the Japanese unless they were abruptly checked. The whole organized force of Australia and its dependencies had been sent to fight for the empire. Now they could not be brought back to fight for their home land without disastrous results for the British. But Australia had to be de fended at any price, and unless America were willing to assume full responsibility for the defense of the continent the Aus tralian government could not give guar-, antees against the future. It would take the Australians at least a year to train and equip a defense force capable of resisting Japanese invasion; mean while the Japs could hardly be expected to pull their punches and wait for the Australians to prepare. So forceful were the pleas of the Can berra cabinet that serious attention was paid to them, but until the middle of January few in Washington or London believed invasion of Australia was to be feared. Precautionary measures w'ere contemplated and some war supplies and personnel, brought together for opera tions in other quarters, were held ready. Decision Relieves Military Men. Once more Tokio rendered the United Nations an invaluable service when it tipped its hand by occupying a number of Australian outpost islands with a view to using them as bases for future op erations. The first service they did us was ir raiding Pearl Harbor and unify ing the American people for this fight to the finish. Japanese occupation of islands in the Solomon group and a portion of New Guinea decided the strategy board of the United Nations—mainly President Roose velt and Prime Minister Churchill—to give up for the time being all thought of adventures in Europe and the Medi terranean area and to concentrate all Allied efforts to defeat the Japanese before seriously tackling Hitler. That decision occasioned a great sigh of relief among American military and naval men. They fully realize that un der the present circumstances, and con sidering the losses suffered at Pearl Har bor, the task will not be an easy one. But the great majority of Army, Navy and air men believe the job can be done Evacuation of civilians from north shore of Singapore Island was ordered in midweek and repetition of successful siege tactics of Jap6 against Hong Kong appeared likely strategy of Tokio forces. Not far from this theater of Axis op erations, Jap and Thailand forces con tinued their offensive ges Burma tures at Burma, but R. A. F. Resists and American volunteer air fighters based in Rangoon were inflicting a heavy price. Flying with all the abandon, of country fair acrobats, this small aviation garrison was counting some 125 Jap victims by the week's close with British-American cas ualties not yet in double figures. Objective of Japanese westward thrust at this point probably is cutting of Burma road, vital supply line to Chinese armies, followed by full-dress invasion drive at India. Grave danger of such a twin maneuver to cause of United Nations is easily dis cernible with rich sources of raw mate rials and supply lines not only to China but to Russia desperately dependent upon maintenance of present control. Diverting substantial portions of their man power southward to reinforce Burma road protection, Chinese still were claim JOHN CURTIN, Premier of Australia. —A. P. Photo. more quickly than is generally believed possible. _What disheartened American generals and admirals was the failure of the United Nations’ strategy board to give evidence of possessing a definite strategy. Forces Rushed to Pacific. The Australians spoke their mind forcefully. Their Premier. John Curtin, did not mince words in his urgent appeal to London and he spoke plainly to the authorities in Washington. He didn't dwell on the unselfish sacrifices of the Australians in the battlefields of Europe and Africa, knowing that sentimental considerations don’t weigh much these days. But he did point out frankly the consequences of Australia's plight and indicated that he was demanding real support before it was too late. The time element, which during the staff conversations in Washington had been somewhat disregarded, was empha sized by the Australian Premier, who showed conclusively that the United Na tions cannot afford to make the mistake of thinking In terms of next year or next summer. Assistance in great quan tity must come at once, he made clear. Otherwise, he said frankly, it might be too late and even Hitler's defeat would be a relatively unimportant factor in the face of an immediate catastrophe in the Pacific. The earnest words of the Canberra government, supported by those from New Zealand, achieved their purpose. Forces are now being rushed to the Pacific in such strength that we can look forward with confidence that at least one member of the Axis may be halted before long. ing Jap invaders under retreat in di rection of Canton-Kowloon line. * * * * African Front In /the see-saw war of North Africa, Gen. Rommel's augmented Axis columns whipped up a full-grown counteroffensive in this past week, finally forcing fall of Bengasi and clearing of eastern shore of Gulf of Sirte. Success of German-Italian naval and air units in moving men and equipment across Mediterranean holds the answer to this latest flow of the desert tide. Only last Tuesday, incidentally, did the London Admiralty acknowledge loss of one of its biggest watchdogs of the Medi terranean—the 31.000-ton battleship Bar ham, sunk by submarine torpedo last November 25. Countering this loss to Britain's fleet was announced commissioning of 35,000 ton Duke of York in time to bring Prime Minister Churchill to America in Decem ber. Although five of Britain's greatest fighting ships have been announced as lost in this war, at least three and prob ably twice that number have been added to active service. w ^ Russian Front On a long, blizzard-swept front, the cause of the United Nations took con tinued encouragement last week in the steady successes of Russian armies. Under the momentum that has swept away Nazi threats at Moscow, winter toughened Red columns pounded deeper into Smolensk Province. Behind them, salvage crews collected great quantities of German war material, preparing much of it for quick transformation into arms against the Axis. And this week came a new intensifi cation of Russian operations in the south, Moscow disclosing on Thursday and Fri day that Red columns had driven 93 miles into Donets Basin territory occu pied by German troops five months ago. Imperiled was the entire Axis position along the Sea of Azov, threatened was Nazi foothold in Crimea. * * * * Atlantic Front Axis submarines ranging along the Atlantic seaboard had counted at least 15 victims through the final two weeks of January, and Berlin was claiming more than twice that number. Most spectacular of these assaults was sinking of Canadian liner Lady Hawkins, carrying 321 passengers and crew from Bermuda to Eastern American port. Only 71 survivors had been listed on Wednesday, 10 days after actual torpedo attack. A submarine alarm in the Gulf of Mexico led to fears at midweek that an attack on Panama Canal might be at tempted but the raider never was located. Curtly, one naval pilot reported: ‘Sighted sub, sank same.'’ There was good reason to believe that ether under sea enemies had been accounted for dur ing past fortnight. * * * * Behind the Lines Major developments in the noncombat areas of this war probably were the suc cessful culmination of the two-fteek Pan American Conference at Rio de Janeiro and the disclosed creation of three all embracing British-American supply boards. To bring about the former required the persistent and diligent leadership of Brazilian and United States delegates at the conference, plus willingness—in some cases eager and in others reluctant—on the part of all other nations of this hemisphere to join in the common cause of democratic defense. In brief, the results were reflected In 41 resolutions, principal effect of which was to recommend sever Axis Ties ing of formal relations with Severed aU Axis partners and to provide for the establish ment of Joint military, economic and financial boards for the mobilization of hemisphere strength. Prerequisite to the unanimity eventu ally accomplished was a settlement of the 111-year-old boundary dispute be tween Peru and Ecuador. Not until an agreement was finally effected on this issue did Ecuador Join in approving the overall resolutions of the conference. But even pending this settlement, all but two—Argentina and Chile—rushed to completion by midweek the implementa tion of their commitment to sever Axis relations. Important to the new supply boards will be agreement among the pan-Amer ican nations for relaxation or removal of tariff barrier* now impeding free transfer of natural resources, most of which will be poured Into the war effort. On these boards—divided in jurisdictions to the fields of munitions assignments, shipping and allocation of war materials—will fall the responsibility of actuaUy placing the supplies and armaments where they can do the utmost good to the united cause. Out of this system should come order and efficiency in the marshaling of the strength of four-fifths of the world. Startling was disclosure on Monday that an American Expeditionary Force— which President Roosevelt later described as one of 8 or 10—had landed in North Ireland to receive fervent British wel come. In the words of Prime Minister Churchill, this lusty band is but the vanguard of more men and more fighting equipment destined to flow eastward across the Atlantic to aid in striking at the enemy “where he is.” For the British official they probably helped to bring a 464-1 vote of confidence on Thursday from a House of Commons that had wrangled through three days of critical debate on government policies. Threat of Invasion Unifies India British India has been apprehensive of an invasion from the northwest border region for years. Armaments and forti fications have been concentrated there. Now British generals face the unhappy prospect of invasion, not from the guarded northwest, but against the fat, soft southeastern sector. From the Japanese advance bases on the Burma-Thai-Malay line, the south east coast is within range of medium bombers. The rest of India could easily be reached by long-range bombardment airplanes. The east shore also is the least defensi ble area in the whole subcontinent. Flat lands stretch down to the ocean from the eastern ghats, are almost ideal for a determined landing force to estab lish a foothold and lay out "quickie" air bases. The threat to United Nations com munications is deadly serious. Two of the mcst vital routes of supply to the two biggest members—China and Rus i sia—intersect in the waters of the Indian Ocean. One is the only all-weather route to Russia, the artery around Africa and to the head of the Gulf of Persia where goods r.re transshipped across Iran. The other is to Rangoon, Burma, where the Burma road haul to Chungking begins. Internally. India seems in better shape than at any time for several years past. The very real threat of Japanese in vasion has unified the Indian people, and Nehru, the new leader of the Indian Nationalist movement, has given quali fied support to the war effort. India supplies some soldiers, but no forces in proportion to its 325.000,000 population. The fighting forces come largely from the northern states and Nepal. The Gurkas, Sikhs and northern Mohammedans are India's fighting men. India's part in past wars, in addition to the fine fighting men from the north, has been to supply raw materials and wealth to the empire effort. It w'as con sidered as a safe and remote and virtu ally inexhaustible storehouse of goods and provender. Now the enemy is at the virtual gates of the storehouse. WEST COAST GUARDED AGAINST JAPANESE Defenses Set Up From California to Bottom of Chile By John Lear, Wide World News. The ring of steel which the Inter American Conference at Rio de Janeiro was called upon to weld around the New World is already in place against Japan. All the way down the Pacific Coast, from the southern edge of California to the Straits of Magellan at the bottom of Chile, the Latin American republics are on constant guard by land and sea. At no point could the Japanese land on the western rim of Central and South America without meeting resistance. Nor could they cross over into the Atlantic without passing naval guns. The defenses are not airtight yet by any means. But they employ every thing the Latin nations can muster. They made it clear that “common de fense" is more than a friendly phrase. Mexico Co-operates. Mexico, acting with the approval of the United States, has cleared Japanese agents out of the Lower California pe ninsula and has moved in troops to guard that strategic coastline. It has placed the entire Mexican Pacific coast on the alert, on wartime footing, sharpening the point of this maneuver by signing a mutual defense pact with Washington. Movements of all Axis nationals—Ger mans. Italians and Japanese—are closely scrutinized under a recent order requir ing them to present their papers for Government inspection. , The six Central Americas—Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama—are too small and too weak to do much for themselves. But all of them have opened their ports and airports to wartime use by the United States. Panama Is a stronghold of mili tary and naval riiight. Costa Rica has borrowed $550,000 from lease-lend to build Its first army. And $20,000,000 is to be spent to finish the Pan-American highway from Mexico to Panama. South of Panama, the Republic of Colombia has moved troops into position along both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, with special guards at all ports. A constant close check is kept on Jap anese and other Axis fifth columnists. Ecuador has ordered all Axis peoples out of the hump of Pacific coastline which commands the approaches to the Galapagos Islands, south of the Canal. Those who stay face the fate of spies. There is a great deal more in this last move than meets the eye. I visited Ealinas last January' and saw what was happening then. Axis agents were pre tending to dig oil wells in small conces sions surrounded by British and United States oil fields. They drilled for months but never produced a drop of petroleum. They spent their week ends in Axis owned Salinas hotels, in company with an Italian flying mission which previ ously had advised the Ecuadorian gov ernment but had been displaced by a United States mission. Employes of the German news agency, Trans-Ocean, also vacationed there more often than most newspaper reporters could afford. So did the flyers of Sedta, the German air line which since has been grounded. Ecuador's Airports. To counter whatever plotting was go ing on at Salinas, Ecuadbr and the United States co-operated to build im mense airports along the coast. Osten sibly for the use of Pan-American planes, the landing fields were much larger than required for commercial purposes and the runways were made to handle heavy bombers. So that vital information stays within the hemisphere, Ecuador has banned in terned Japanese from leaving the coun try. The navy of Peru, consisting of a few small boats and some submarines, is be ing advised by United States naval offi cers. This Is also true of the air force. Which could be increased in size through the production of an airplane factory near Lima, one of the few in South America. The Chilean Navy Is on convoy patrol, protecting its supply of strategic min erals to the north. Argentine Attitude. Although the hemisphere defense scheme is not restricted to the Pacific, its effectiveness in the Atlantic will depend to some degree on Argentina's attitude. That country thus far has been unwilling to do more than permit the United States Navy and air force to use Argentine ports and airports for war purposes. The ro'e of the relatively strong Argentine Army and Navy is, therefore, a question mark. Most military men believe the greater part of the Argentine coastline can be covered safely by operations from the harbor of Montevideo in Uruguay and the more northern coast of Brazil—if the strength of the United States Navy is not too much in demand elsewhere at the decisive moment. Uruguay has gone all-out for hemi sphere defense. The Brazilian coast has been heavily fortified with airports, sup ported by the Brazilian Navy. Brazil's position dominates the sea route from Dakar to Belem, the shortest passageway between the old and new worlds. Thus, it would force any invader from that direction to take a more roundabout route, which would be more difficult to maintain. It is a good guess that Argentina will , close the backdoor to this invasion route as soon as the war production program in the United States erases all doubt of the United States Navy's power to defend all the coasts of the New World.