Jan. 22, 1945
Cal Poly's proposed budget for 1945-47 was estimated at $645,074, putting it over the half-million-dollar mark for the first time. The previous 1943-45 budget was only $357,690, showing how president Julian McPhee had made Cal Poly an important wartime training facility. The Southern California branch at San Dimas was expected to grow to 250 students.
The school projected growth of the student body to about 800 by 1946 as veterans were expected to take advantage of the G.I. Bill of Rights. The San Luis Obispo school received one of the highest percentage budget increases in the state, but if enrollment did not grow as anticipated, the budget would be reduced.
Thunderbolt and Lightning aircraft from the 19th Tactical Air Command destroyed 978 German vehicles as they retreated from the now flattened Ardennes bulge. When a key bridge was knocked out, the column of enemy vehicles was so concentrated that one airman said "we couldn't miss."
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Soviet troops were said to be only 165 miles from Berlin and racing west unchecked.
Flight officer Benjamin Dutton, 21, Santa Maria Airfield pilot, was killed instantly when his plane collided in mid-air with another twin-engine fighter plane 2 miles northeast of Arroyo Grande. The other pilot parachuted to safety.
Three soldiers from Camp San Luis Obispo and a sailor were stabbed Saturday night during a fight at the IDES hall. Their assailant fled before MPs took over. A suspect was arrested Sunday. A later story would correct the location to the 900 block of Chorro Street.
A drunk and disorderly soldier was also arrested by MPs on the north side of Monterey Street between Osos and Monterey streets about midnight Sunday. The event was so rowdy some spectators thought a riot was in progress.
Sgt. Herbert Thomas, formerly of San Luis Obispo, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for "extraordinary heroism in action" on Noemfoor Island, Dutch New Guinea July 13, 1944. Thomas had been involved in a firefight on an exposed flank of his company's position. His company had suffered heavy losses from enemy fire, and at one point he was the only man returning fire. Using ammunition from the dead and wounded, he was able to maintain rapid and accurate fire and hold the position. Later, a Japanese machine gun and 14 dead enemy soldiers were found before his position.
Jan. 23, 1945
County supervisors allocated $10,000 matched by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to study water storage and flood control projects.
Soviet troops under Marshal Ivan Konev had reached the Oder river, Germany's primary defense line, about 138 miles east of Berlin. Radio Berlin sent out urgent appeals to the Wehrmacht and People's Home Army for a "now or never" stand on the eastern frontier.
Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler was being sent to the front with authority to enforce Nazi directives. American troops under Lt. Gen. Courtney Hodges were having trouble keeping up with retreating German forces in Belgium.
General Douglas MacArthur's troops were within sight of Clark Airfield near Manilla.
Jan. 25, 1945
The Grand Jury recommended that the county seek a new location for the county jail, currently on the third floor of the courthouse. Adjacent county owned land was being considered.
Pvt. John Thomas of Oceano was listed as killed in action in Europe.
Abraham Van Horn, 26, with the U.S. Navy MM3-c, was listed as missing in action. He had been serving aboard a minesweeper.
An architectural contract for 30 Southern Pacific railroad homes had been awarded to be built on South Street on the old Exposition Park grounds.
Tens of thousands of German refugees from the east were jamming roads to Berlin in advance of the Soviet Red Army. Nazis were combing out manpower to hold the front even pressing young teens and elderly men into service. Berlin radio said: "In the midst of a once clean and sheltered life, war has overtaken us with all its filth and misery."
The 11 airstrips associated with Clark Field appeared to be ready to fall to General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines.
January 27, 1945
American bombing strategy shifted in Japan. In Europe, American generals held to the concept of precision bombing. They wanted to target military targets like enemy manufacturing and transportation.
Bombing through cloud cover combined with anti-aircraft defenses and the limitations of technology would hamper effectiveness.
The British made no pretense of precise bombing. They had suffered sometimes indiscriminate bombing over home and perhaps had fewer illusions about the neatness of war.
The British resorted to imprecise night attacks in the face of huge losses from German defenses in daylight raids. Their strategy was to use area bombing, with a recipe of incendiary bombs mixed with explosives to set a town ablaze.
Now the Americans firebombed Tokyo and according to Japanese radio the fires raged for 4 hours.
Thee U.S. provost marshal said that between 18,000 and 19,000 American soldiers were absent without leave in the European theater. The number was said to be lower than in World War I. The disclosure came a day after a general claimed as many as 6,000 men were involved in a growing black market in the Seine section of France.
Soviet armies led by Marshal Konstanin Rokossovsky and Gen. Ivan Cherniakhovsky were commended by Marshal Stalin for their progress in the Masurin lakes area, a key defense to Germany.
Lt. Gen. George Patton's forces had reached the German frontier at the Luxembourg border. The allied offensive was said to be resuming after responding to the German counterdrive.
American medium tanks were spearheading a drive to Manila.
There was a serious lack of 1945 license plates in California. Labor shortage was blamed.
President Roosevelt was given a setback in court when a federal district judge said the government did not have authority to seize the plants and facilities of Montgomery Ward. The company had refused to comply with a War Labor Board order. Though the board was advisory, the refusal was seen as a threat to urgent wartime production. Judge Phiilp Sullivan reluctantly said though loyalty to our country and fighting forces should influence disputants, the only branch of government with authority in this situation was Congress. "It is the duty of Congress to enact the laws, and the duty of the courts to interpret them."