Aug. 31, 1944
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower repeated an earlier prediction that Germany "can and will be defeated before year's end." Fighting in France alone had resulted in more than 400,000 casualties and the loss of thousands of tanks, aircraft and vehicles for the Nazi forces.
American casualties in all theaters to this time were at 284,838.
After a difficult start to the invasion, Eisenhower estimated that troops were well past the timetable for D+90 after fighting 81 days.
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Allied troops were streaming through a breach toward Sedan and the Belgian frontier. It was hoped that they would soon overrun the "robot bomb" bases, home of V-2 rockets raining destruction on London. Soon the more powerful V-1 rockets would go into operation.
American units were reported entering the Ardennes forest, the same forest that Germany had penetrated to break French defenses in 1940.
The Soviet 2nd Ukrainian army was driving south from the burning oil fields of Polesti and entered Bucharest, capital of Romania. Hitler had taken pride in collecting capitals, and the blow to his prestige was considerable.
In Southern France, the reconstituted French army was making a spectacular 82-mile sweep south to within 50 miles of the Spanish frontier while American troops were driving the remnants of the German 19th army north through the Rhone valley into Leyon. The rear-guard was fighting desperately to cover the retreat of the main force.
Both Gen. Bernard Montgomery and Lt. Gen. Omar Bradley were given promotions, both reported to Eisenhower. Montgomery was in charge of British and Canadian forces on the north of the Norman invasion front and Bradley led the American forces on the south.
The advances were costly.
The U.S. alone had lost 3,000 airplanes and had consumed the equivalent in replacement parts to build 225 more. Planes had dropped 55,000 tons of bombs and used 44 million gallons of aviation gasoline.
In the Pacific, American submarines had sunk a total of 723 Japanese ships. Sadly on Sept. 11, 1944, one of the many tragedies of the war, two Japanese prisoner-of-war transports would be torpedoed. Almost 1,300 American, British and Australian lives were lost despite the rescue efforts of the submarines and Japanese vessels who recovered almost 800 men.
On the home front the death toll on the highways continued. Two Paso Robles women died when their car crashed into a truck about midnight. Two soldiers from Camp Roberts were injured as well. Another accident between an ambulance and car returning from a USO dance injured three men and two women in Atascadero.
Featured in a front-page photo, the canning factory at San Luis Obispo High School was in full operation as local housewives preserved what they had grown in gardens. With many items rationed the facility was popular. Since May, 417 women from Shandon to Arroyo Grande had produced 34,520 cans of peas, asparagus, cherries, apricots, peaches, beans, beats, carrots, plums, corn, chicken and apples.
More volunteers were needed to issue new "A" gasoline ration books.