World War II Chronicle: 15 December 1941

Col. William Jeffers, CSA

Headlines from today’s edition, which can be read below:

  • Defenders of Luzon Check Japs
  • Enemy Loses 15 Vessels
  • Germans Flee as Soviet Drives On
  • C.A. Wills, Veteran of Civil War, Dies; Native of County
  • U.S. May Expect Air Attacks Along East, West Seaboards

Columbus Alexander “Alec” Wills (see page 2) served in Col. William Jeffers’ 8th Missouri Cavalry, which the Mexican-American War veteran raised in the fall of 1862 and recruited heavily from Cape Girardeau County. They rode with Confederate Generals John Marmaduke and Sterling Price, participating in battles across Missouri and Arkansas. As the article states, Wills lived his entire life on the family farm in Oak Ridge, Mo. excepting his time in Confederate service. He lived to be 95 years old.

The AP “War Bulletins” section on the front page references German long-range artillery targeting the Dover area. The Germans installed a number of coastal defense batteries (originally intended for battleships) along the Dover Strait, featuring cannons ranging from 8.3-inch to the 16-inch “Adolf cannons” which at this point of the war were about to be shipped over from Poland. The Adolf Cannon could fire a 1,300-lb. long-range projectile named the “Adolf shell” that could hit targets 75 miles away (the strait is just over 20 miles at its narrowest point).

Sure, the “former Austrian sign painter” may impress the ladies with his 16-inch Adolf cannon and Adolf projectiles back at the Wolf Lair, but the Marines on Wake Island turned a Japanese invasion fleet into swiss cheese and sank a destroyer with six old 5-inch guns — and that was just in one day. By the end of the war, Nazi Germany’s network of massive coastal defense guns only sank two vessels.

Non-war items: In case you’re interested in the Hollywood gossip on the bottom of page 2, the engagement between actress Faith Dorn (a/k/a Faith Domergue) and Howard Hughes (whom she met when just 15 years old) did not last. Also on pages 4 and 5,  commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. In sports, the George Halas’ Chicago Bears defeated Curly Lambeau’s Green Bay Packers in the National Football League’s first-ever divisional playoff game. The Bears and Packers each had a 10-1 record in the 1941 season, the Bears’ only loss to the Packers, and the Packers’ only loss was the Bears (they played twice). Also, with the Army’s blackout demands, college football’s Rose Bowl and East-West games now need to be moved to other stadiums. Duke will play Oregon State at home in Raleigh, N.C. and the East-West game is moved from San Francisco to New Orleans.

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Author: Documents

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