Feb 24

Prisoner of War, Rationing and Kasserine Pass, World War II week by week

Telegram-Tribune headlines from Feb. 17, 1943.

Telegram-Tribune headlines from Feb. 17, 1943.

Feb. 17, 1943
Former Cal Poly student and basketball letterman Lt. Charles A. Cook Jr. was taken prisoner of war by Germany. The 1940 graduate was flying in bombers as a flight officer with the Royal Air Force and had completed about 36 operational sorties over enemy territory.
He sent a letter from the prison camp to friend W.B. Howes at Cal Poly:
“I just can’t say much except that I’m still kicking. About all I do now is eat, walk around the compound and read the Bible. I’m very sorry that I’ll not be able to see you during the year of ’43 but hope to sometime during ’44. Give my regards to all and when you write give me all the news.
The card was dated Dec. 29, 1942 and he was shot down some time in September.
Fill out your rationing card, no hoarders.

Fill out your rationing card, no hoarders.

“Housewives in San Luis Obispo county were asked today to clip a copy of the “consumer declaration” from the Telegram-Tribune and have it filled out before registering next week for War Ration Book No.2”
It was an attempt to head off hoarding of coffee, canned fruit, vegetables, juices soups, chile sauce and catsup. Persons failing to declare excessive stocks face maximum penalties of $10,000, 10 years imprisonment or both.

With the British advancing from the East and Americans from the West in North Africa Marshal Erwin Rommel launched a counterattack against the Americans in the Kasserine Pass area of .
Since 1940 the British had gone back and forth over the same ground in Lybia and Egypt. Wavell, Auchinlek and now Montgomery had faced the German commander in the sea-saw struggle. Rommel hoped by striking a blow against the green American troops he would be able to turn attention to the battle hardened British.
This would be the American’s first major test against a full strength Nazi force and it was a failure. The Americans had to rely on assistance from the British First Army to salvage the situation.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower would initiate an investigation which uncovered weak intelligence on enemy strength, a remote and calcified command structure and poor battlefield doctrine on the use of tanks.
Eisenhower tasked Gen. Omar Bradley to investigate and the result was Gen. Lloyd Fredendall was relieved of battlefield command and replaced with a brash, outspoken advocate of armored warfare, Gen. George. S. Patton.
With the exception of Gen. George Marshall in Washington and Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur in the Pacific most the generals quoted in news articles the late 1930s and early 1940s are not familiar names.
Marshall and Eisenhower made adjustments when mistakes were uncovered, and were not afraid to reassign leaders when they did not meet standards.

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  3. Gas Rationing, Amphitheater Construction- World War II week by week
  4. Klau Mine, Erwin Rommel – World War II week by week
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