"Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen."
The reverse of the card had General Patton's Christmas Greeting:
"To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory.
May God's blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day.- G.S. Patton, Jr., Lieutenant General Commanding, Third United States Army."
If it hadn't been for the sacrifice made by the 28th and other divisions against an entire German army corps, there wouldn't have been a Bastogne for the 101st to defend.
Suggested reading on the seldom-talked-about, opening days of The Bulge:
"To Save Bastogne", Robert Phillips:
"Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible ", John C. McManus:
A question for people reading this post. Do you consider The Battle of the Bulge as an American “victory”? I do. I once got in an argument with a British leftist who said it was a huge defeat for the Americans. My point was that the German offensive failed to achieve its objectives and the Germans could not hold their gains - hence they lost this battle. Comments?
On cold winter nights I remember my dad saying, at least I am not as cold as I was during the Battle of the Bulge.
My grandfather served with Patton. Back in the US he left behind 4 young children and his wife had passed away in February 1942 after succumbing to a head injury occurred on the night of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1996 my grandfather passed away. The Greatest Generation is slowly shrinking day by day. What a loss to America, the people whom made sacrifices and knew what America was up against!
One of the major goals of this German attack was to capture the port at Antwerp. The allies needed this port in order to rush supplies to their troops as they moved on towards Germany. The actions of the U.S. military in the Ardennes stopped the Germans’ drive to Antwerp and sent them packing. Major victory.
My dad was a scout for the third army for this battle.
I haven’t read much about it and all he said was it was cold.
Thanx for the post and reminder to do my homework
It's a good thing that people take an interest in history. Is it okay if I point something out?
(Please don't anyone take offense, 'cause I don't mean to criticize anyone personally.)
The Battle of the Bulge was not "The Battle of Bastogne", or "The 101st Airborne against the German army.", or "General McAuliffe's eloquent reply to a bunch of arrogant obtuse krauts."
The Battle of the Bulge was the largest, and costliest battle ever fought by the US Army.
Six US divisions were deployed to the east of Bastogne and fought a delaying action that allowed the 101st to get into position, and also allowed THE REST OF THE US ARMY to get into position to defend a front that was over a hundred miles wide, and to then counterattack and then effectively destroy the German army on the western front.
Those divisions took horrifying casualties, and at least one, the 28th Division, was ultimately written off as destroyed in action. (I know someone who saw this happen for real; so I'm sorry if I take it a bit too personally.) The Nazi objective wasn't the town of Bastogne; Bastogne was an important crossroads on the way to the ultimate strategic goal, the port of Antwerp, which happened to be smack between the American and British/Canadian forces.
Many military historians have argued that the defense of St. Vith, to the north of Bastogne (what, 90 miles, I think I read somewhere?) was every bit if not more important than the defense of Bastogne itself, just not as uh, legendary.
This isn't to diminish the 101st or their service at Bastogne, but jeez... how many US Army divisions were in Europe in the winter of 1944-45, and where do people think they all were at the time?
Sometimes one would think that a High School kid studying this for history would conclude that the 101st Airborne fought the war by themselves, with 1,000,000 "other guys" not doing anything, or maybe not even there.
In Branson, MO’s military museum they have rooms with walls covered with everyone’s name who was lost. We lost my brother in Nam and I was always overwhelmed by how many we lost there. Then I went into the WW1 & 2 rooms and thinking about it makes my head want to explode.
Generals IKE, Patton, Bradley, etc., it was an era of great “Leadership”, where did all the leaders go? It seems today Leadership has been redefined as Rock Star Type Popularity.