By Michael Tolhurst
Via Christmas 1944, the Allies have been at the threshold of victory, having remorselessly rolled the Germans again to the very borders of «The Fatherland». Then, the surprise of a huge Nazi counter-attack throughout the Ardennes within the intensity of wintry weather threw the Allies into confusion. Bastogne was once on the very centre of this dramatic and most deadly setback.
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Additional resources for Bastogne Battle of the Bulge
30 on 16 December 1944, the massed guns and Werfers opened up. All hell was let loose along the front. The artillery was extremely accurate and immediately communication lines were severed. Shells rained down on the American positions and Clervaux was saturated with rockets. Cursing men half asleep, in the area for a supposed rest, spilled from their beds totally unaware of what was going on. Colonel Fuller was one of these men. He rushed downstairs to his operations room, just off the hotel lobby, only to be told that all communication to his front line units were out, and worse still, contact had been lost with General Norman D Cota at Divisional Headquarters in the town of Wiltz, seven miles southwest of them.
This was made up of the 52nd Armored Infantry Battalion, 2nd Tank Battalion, 9th Armored Engineers and the 73rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion. It’s commander Colonel Joseph H Gilbreth had already positioned his Combat Command in the village of Oberwampach, immediately to the rear of the threatened 28th Division’s centre, when orders came through from VIII Corps. He was told to form two road blocks on the main road leading from the east into Bastogne. 40, ten minutes after word was received that the enemy had crossed the Clerf.
AAA AW BN (SP) Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion. (Self-Propelled) AB DIV Airborne Division. (12,979 men) Made up of three Parachute Infantry Regiments and one GliderInfantry Regiment. AFAB Armored Field Artillery Battalion. Made up of 18 M7 self propelled 105mm Howitzers AIB Armored Infantry Battalion. (Fully mechanised infantry carried in half-tracks) AT Anti-tank. BN Battalion. Approx 871 men BAZOOKA American hand held anti-tank Rocket. CCA CCB CCR CP Command Post CO Company.
Bastogne Battle of the Bulge by Michael Tolhurst