July 15, 1942 – NBC News Of The World – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
July 15, 1942 – News for this day began with word on the latest action taking place in the Middle East around El Alamein, a much fought-over slice of the Egyptian desert and a key obstacle in the German movement toward Cairo.
The British position in Egypt was desperate, the rout from Mersa Matruh had created a panic in the British headquarters at Cairo, something later called “the Flap”. On what came to be referred to as “Ash Wednesday”, at British headquarters, rear echelon units and the British Embassy, papers were hurriedly burned in anticipation of the fall of the city. Gen. Auchinleck—although believing he could stop Rommel at Alamein felt he could not ignore the possibility that he might once more be outmaneuvered or outfought. To maintain his army, plans must be made for the possibility of a further retreat whilst maintaining morale and retaining the support and co-operation of the Egyptians. Defensive positions were constructed west of Alexandria and on the approaches to Cairo while considerable areas in the Nile delta were flooded. The Axis, too, believed that the capture of Egypt was imminent; Italian leader Benito Mussolini—sensing a historic moment—flew to Libya to prepare for his triumphal entry into Cairo. The battle of El Alamein continued.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, after two days of relative quiet, news from the South Pacific told of Allied air attacks at Japanese bases around New Guinea and other points in the South Pacific. Japanese reaction had been described as “nothing for three days running” and the situation in the South Pacific remained “static”. In Australia, a resurgence of pledging support for Russian was a major topic of conversation. On factory walls and in the streets of Melbourne were signs and flyers saying “Save Russia” and calls from Russia Sympathizers for Australia to join in for a second front were growing in number. An organization in Australia called “Friends Of The Soviet Union” which was previously banned, was now functioning openly. Newspaper editorials all over Australia were calling on increased support of the Soviet Union. Considering the relative distance and seeming remoteness between Australia and Russia, this sudden outpouring of support was viewed as truly amazing.
And the subject of British output came up in the House Of Commons. Mr. Littleton, the Minister of Production gave his assessment as “in high gear”. That didn’t play with the public because the general feeling was “if Britain is in such high gear, why is German equipment beating British equipment in the Middle East?” On the other hand, Britain had shipped to Russia more planes, tanks and guns; “things that go bang” as the Minister put it than Britain had received from America under the Lease-Lend agreement.
And that’s only a small sample of what went on this July 15, 1942 as presented by NBC’s News Of The World.
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