January 20,1945 – Wartime In Winter

January 20, 1945 - The push to Berlin was on.

January 20, 1945 – The push to Berlin was on.

January 20, 1945 – NBC Radio: War Telescope – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

January 20, 1945. News of sweeping gains by the Russians in the East. Word that the Red Army was some 200 miles outside of Berlin. Advances were happening all along the eastern front. The Russian offensive was gaining momentum.

In the West it was slower. Having recovered from the surprise attack in the Ardennes Forest and the battle of the Bulge, the allied armies were regaining lost ground and pushing eastward. Resistance was stiff in places, and the weather was unpredictable. But part of the problem was the lack of fresh equipment to be available quickly. Since the allies had crossed the English Channel to invade, the supply lines stretched across the ocean, and weather along with rough seas made delivery slower. It was a handicap that faced the allied forces ever since the landings at Normandy – and now with the increased distance from that original landing point, the time to get much needed equipment and supplies was getting longer and longer. The weather was also playing a factor, with alternate rain and snow making for difficult movement; with roads reduced to mud in some places, snow drifts in others. Cloud cover and dense fog was making air support good for only a few days out of the month. The Allies were making progress, but it was slow and hard fought. By most accounts, the Allies were taking one village while the Russians were taking 50 over the same period. But everyone agreed that, come Spring, it was going to be considerably different. For the moment, news of Russian advances were a huge morale boost for American and British troops.

Meanwhile, in the Pacific, gains were being made in the Philippines, with an allied spearhead pushing some 60 miles from Manila. And a B-29 raid over Osaka was reported to be the most successful to date, destroying aircraft manufacturing and assembly plants.

And that’s what was going on via this installment of War Telescope, a weekly report on the War as reported by NBC Radio on January 20, 1945.

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