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January 4, 1945 – News Of The World – NBC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
January 4, 1945 – News for this day was optimistic. General Eisenhower launched a major offensive on the Western Front. General Patton’s 3rd Army launched a many-headed armored attack on German positions around Bastogne with the allies gaining up to a mile along the Eastern corridor. Reports back and forth of casualties. The Germans reported some eight American divisions, upwards of 110,000 troops were engaged in encircling the town of Bastogne. Dispatches from the 3rd Army mostly confirmed the German reports and also told the Germans were engaged in a sly, fluid, withdrawing action on the Southern flank in an apparent attempt to win enough time for retreat of their forces north and west. This action started on New Years Eve, when the Germans would pull out of a village near Bastogne, letting the Allied forces move in un-opposed. Then, they would filter back in to land sneak punches during the night, making extensive use of mines, booby-traps and well-concealed roadblocks. Meanwhile, attacks on the southern end of the line in the Saar basin continued with the Germans making gains of 1-2 miles. Allied headquarters however, regarded those attacks as “feelers”, not being the proportions to be considered true offensive action but rather diversionary.
Further evidence the situation was improving was the gradual lifting of the news blackout on the Belgian Bulge. It had been revised downward from the complete blackout when the action started. Now it was only a 24 hour lag behind battle action. The previous week it was downgraded to a 36 hour blackout. So the situation was improving.
Meanwhile, back home: the 79th Congress convened and elected Sam Rayburn as Speaker of the House. This session was expected to tackle the problems of what were the leanest of the War years. Just as it met, the White House issued a directive to Selective Service; an order to proceed to draft farm workers between 18 and 25 years old.
And that’s just a small slice of the news for this January 4, 1945 as presented by News Of The World from NBC Radio.