Preamble to the battle for Bastogne



The battle for Bastogne was a decisive moment during the Ardennes offensive. The harsh wintery conditions and the fact that the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division were poorly rested and completely surrounded, made the successful defending of the city into a heroic happening. Also thanks to this martial exploit the 101st has become immensely popular. Many books, articles and movies have been dedicated to it. But much less well-known are the efforts and stories of the men of the 28th Infantry Division and units of the 9th and 10th Armored Divisions. Without their heroic performance the Germans would have reached the town already before the 101st Airborne Division. They succeeded, although being a vast minority, in delaying the German advances in the direction of Bastogne in such a way that the paras of the 101st could dig in around and inside the town.

This article originally was published first in the magazine " Wereld in Oorlog" [World at War]. "Wereld in Oorlog" provides remarkable, moving and dramatic happenings behind important events, developments and military operations in the recent history of war. Emphasis is put on the First and the Second World Wars.


Ardennes offensive
Battle of the Bulge, ďVon Rundstedt offensiveď or ďdie Wacht am Rheinď. Final large German offensive in the west from December 1944 through January 1945.
Military unit, usually consisting of one upto four regiments and usually making up a corps. In theory a division consists of 10,000 to 20,000 men.
Foot soldiers of a given army.
Attack on a smaller or larger scale.
Airborne Division. Military specialized in parachute landings.

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Soldiers of the 28th Infantry Divioson in Bastogne.
(Source: U.S. Army Center for Military History)


Translated by:
Fred Bolle
Article by:
Pieter Schlebaum
Published on:
Last edit on:
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