Adding to atmosphere of siege, the public utilities here are gradually deteriorating, with power failing in many sections, telephones inoperative more often than not, the water supply uncertain and public transport almost completely lacking. City mail services were suspended yesterday.
Rumors of plans to burn down Nanking, though they are daily officially denied, are causing terror among many sections of the populace. Explaining the burning outside Nanking, the garrison spokesman said it had been done as much to force the evacuations of civilians from the fighting zone as to destroy obstructions.
Chinkiang Burned by Chinese
A. L. Patterson, an American airplane salesman who passed through Chinkiang Monday, arrived here last night and reported that that city, the former Kiangsu capital, with a population of 200,000, was a mass of flames and ruins. He said the city had been fired by the Chinese themselves.
Mr. Patterson, whose trip from Shanghai took ten days, came by a tortuous route along the north bank of the Yantze from Tungchow, and took a junk from a new boom sixteen miles from Nanking to reach this city. He said the new boom was a flimsy string of small boats linked by cables, which, though doubtless mined, did not appear hard to break.
With tens of thousands of refugees flocking into Nanking, the safety zone committee was expected today to make a formal declaration that the zone had been established and to proclaim its complete demilitarization.
An anti-aircraft battery and a number of military offices moved out of the zone today, giving further indication of the Chinese military's intention to carry out demilitarization pledges.
Refugees were flocking particulary to the areas about the United States and Italian Embassies, where the streets were jammed. The safety zone committee has made great progress in moving in supplies and now has enough nice to feed 25,000 needy for more than a week.
A start was made yesterday in ringing the boundary of the zone with identifying flags and signs. Public buildings, such as the Ministry of Justice, the War College and other schools, are being thrown open to the poor and vacant residences will be taken over, if necessary.
The departure of Chiang Kai-shek with his aides was at the break yesterday in his private plane, operated by Royal Leonard and Co-Pilot Arnold Wier, both Americans. Madame Chiang, accompanied by W. H. Donald, Australian adviser of herself and the Generalissimo, departed at the same time, also for Hankow, in another plane.
The time of departure had been kept a strict secret, the pilot having been "on call" since late Manday. Only at midday did the departure become known among Nanking's well informed.
Yesterday, for example, the town was raided eleven times by squadrons of heavy bombers that loosed explosives around the railroad station, at the airdrome, along the waterfront and elsewhere, killing and injuring scores. The British Butterfield warehouse was strunk and severely damaged.
Twenty-one Americans, including three women are now in Nanking. Eight more are spending part of the time on the United Stated gunboat Panay, where the efficient hospitality of Captain J. J. Hughes and his crew is winning much praise.
Report Foiling Two Assaults
SHANGHAI, Wednesday, Dec. 8 (AP). -- Chinese sources reported today that Japanese columns storming two gateways of Nanking's ancient walls had been repulsed by Chinese defenders, who had infliced 1,000 Japanese casualties.
Chinese reports said the vanguard of one column had advanced to the Chilin Gate of the outer walls, but had been driven back with heavy casualties. A main motorized column next attacked the "Morning Sunshine" gateway in the southern main walls, leading to the beautiful Ming palaces. Chinese defense forces were said to have staved off the attack and to have pushed the column back to the village of Tenghwachen.
Chinese troops inside the barricaded city of Nanking, apparently convinced that the capital would fall before the oncoming Japanese, began to destroy military supplies and equipment to keep them from being taken by the enemy.
About 200,000 Chinese soldiers were massed in the vicimity of Nanking, objective of a force of 75,000 Japanese.
Foreign battleships at Nanking reported the Yangtze River devoid of all craft that might afford a possible means of Chinese retreat to the north. The Japanese previously asserted they had blocked all roads on the south and east.
Japanese officers said the vanguard of the invaders had reached the capital last night and immediately had begun trying to scale its walls with ladders in the manner of medieval warriors. They said their main forces were "pregressing satisfactorilly and according to schedule."
Artillery was being rolled into position for the attack, but there was no official indication as to when it would begin.
The extent of the damage caused by last night's air attack on Nanking by ninety planes was not disclosed. Extensive damage was reported by Chinese, however, in other raids in the Nanking area. They said the village of Shunhwanchen, ten miles from the capital, had been bombed in eight separate raids and that more than 200 persons had been killed or wounded.
Japanese Army sources said their forces moving toward Nanking along the Yangtze had passed Chinkiang without attacking the city, forty miles east of Nanking. They planned to take Chinkiang after Nanking's fall.