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WORLD WAR II

Published Oct. 6, 2005

From newspapers of March 8, 1944: Adm. Chester Nimitz says U.S. submarines have sunk so many Japanese tankers and supply ships that the enemy has been forced to withdraw its heavy warships from Truk because they could not supplied and refueled. In an unexpected appearance at a news conference in Washington, the commander-in-chief of the Pacific Fleet says he is eager to meet the Japanese fleet in a grand action, but Tokyo appears not to want to risk its ships. The principal obstacle in the Pacific war "now is not the Japs, but geography _ the size of the Pacific," Nimitz says. President Roosevelt talks with Nimitz for two hours at the White House, prompting speculation that overall Pacific strategy is being formulated in preparation for a major blow at Japan. U.S. Marines leap-frog 110 miles up the north coast of New Britain to land at Talasea, 160 miles from Rabaul. And in the Admiralties, the 1st Cavalry Division has gained control of Los Negros Island after bitter fighting. Lord A.

V. Alexander, Britain's First Sea Lord, says convoy losses to submarines in the Atlantic during the last half of 1943 were fewer than one ship in 1,000. In 1941, he says, the loss rate was one in 181, and in 1942 it was one in 233.