Photos from the Vault

A second invasion of France, World War II week by week

"Americans within 87 miles of Paris" was the lead headline in the San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune on August 9, 1944.
"Americans within 87 miles of Paris" was the lead headline in the San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune on August 9, 1944.

The Allies continued their rapid advance in France after achieving a breakout in Normandy. Though a German Prisoner of War declared the Nazi army "kaput," there would be many more bitter months of fighting.

Aug. 9, 1944

Canadian troops broke through German defense lines near Caen while American forces were streaming toward Paris.

German radio said American tanks were 87 miles from Paris.

Le Mans, an industrial city and five-way rail junction, was taken almost without a fight before the Nazis had time to organize defenses.

German counterattacks were blunted by strong allied air support. The German Luftwaffe had been depleted and was unable to provide the effective punch it had when invading France in May 1940. German ground forces faced attack from air and ground.

Supreme Allied commander Dwight D. Eisenhower announced that his headquarters had moved from England to France.

Fighting on Guam was entering the final phase as Japanese troops were pushed back. More than 10,000 enemy soldiers had been killed.

Two San Luis Obispo county men were officially listed as killed in action this week. Lt. William Holland was killed July 20 in France fighting with the U.S. Infantry. Charles Vaca of Templeton was serving in Italy.

Aug. 11, 1944

He lived on rainwater and food stolen from the enemy for almost two years and seven months. Navy chief radioman George Ray Tweed, 42 had lived in a cave high up a cliff on Guam waiting and praying though he had given up hope of being rescued. He was rescued July 10 and shared his story while visiting an aunt in Portland, Ore.

The Russians resumed offensive on the 500-mile eastern front. They had out run their supply lines and needed to regroup. They did not seem to be in a hurry to get to Warsaw, Poland, where resistance fighters had taken on German armored forces in a hopeless lopsided fight. Stalin would be content to let the resistance be crushed by the Germans so he would have a more compliant population when the Red Army occupied Poland.

President Franklin Roosevelt conferred with Pacific commanders Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. Chester W. Nimitz at a surprise visit to Hawaii.

Three Super-Fortress aircraft were lost over Japan after raids on the industrial town of Nagasaki, Japan, and and oil refinery at Palembang, Sumatra.

Aug. 15, 1944

The secret was out. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower announced that Lt. Gen. George S. Patton was leading the motorized spearheads sweeping around the flank of the German 7th Army in France. Congress confirmed the promotion of the once disgraced commander now in charge of the Third American Army.

British and Canadian troops were attempting to encircle the Germans near Falaise and trap a large Nazi force but resistance was fierce allowing some Germans to escape. It was estimated that only 49,000 of the original 100,000 remained.

France was invaded from the south by a new force landing along the Mediterranean coast between Marseille and Nice.

Thousands of American and British soldiers came ashore and via parachute. The force was expected to advance north up the Rhone River Valley to eventually link up with the Normandy invaders on the march to Berlin.

More than 3,000 allied aircraft took to the skies over Europe slashing at German airfields in Germany, Belgium, Holland, France and Germany.