September 20, 2017

1942. RAF Strikes Northern Italy, Eighth Army Fights in North Africa

United Nations Aims to Tear Italy from the Axis
"Dawn of El Alamein Battle, tanks waiting to advance," 1942 (Photo by Frank Hurleysource)
Bill Downs

CBS London

October 25, 1942

Big four-engined Lancaster bombers of the RAF did it again last night. Only a few hours after a strong British force made the war's most daring daylight raid on Milan yesterday afternoon, more Lancasters took advantage of the full moon and dropped more "block buster" bombs on Milan last night. Only five British bombers are missing from last night's raid and only three from yesterday afternoon's attack.

It was the fourth raid on the Northern Italy industrial area in 48 hours. You remember the Genoa area was bombed Thursday and Friday nights. The Italian radio has admitted extensive damage from the two raids on Milan. The Italians also say that there were many civilian casualties.

Meanwhile, there was other bad news for Mussolini from the Egyptian desert. The British Eighth Army is continuing its offensive, and this communiqué said advanced elements had by dawn yesterday penetrated the enemy's main position at some points. The communiqué said these advances were maintained despite counterattacks and that fighting is continuing. The Allied air forces over the Egyptian battle area are maintaining forceful aerial superiority.

Coupled with the bombing of Northern Italy and the recent decision by the United States government not to treat Italians in America as enemy aliens, it would appear that the United Nations may be making an all-out effort to divorce Italy from the Axis.

Perhaps it is significant that this move came after Myron Taylor, the American ambassador to the Vatican, made his report to President Roosevelt which must have included his observations of the morale of the Italian people. It long has been reported that the ordinary Italian has little stomach for the war. But whether a series of devastating bombers and military reversals for the Italians will solidify the people or make them more despondent remains to be seen.

There is more optimism in London today than there has been for many weeks. However, it is a healthily cautious optimism. The British people have suffered disappointments in North Africa before. They don't intend to be fooled by a series of paper victories again.

However, the newspapers already are speculating as to the enormous advantages of completing a successful campaign in North Africa. For example, the Daily Express says that, besides the destruction of German and Italian forces in North Africa, the Allied objectives might include a push into Tripoli "to win unassailable mastery of the Mediterranean, to put the German jackal Mussolini in his cage, to bring relief and confidence to Russia."

And then the Daily Express continues, "The Allies must break Germany into pieces, win the war in Europe, and then turn with China to deal finally with Japan."

That is the Daily Express war program. It makes pretty good reading. We can only wait and see if the Allied victory can be obtained this way.