What doesn't get much talk now is that on this date in 1944, the 28th Division, PA national guard, had already been pretty much destroyed in action while delaying the Nazi advance FROM THE EAST, towards Bastogne.
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:
posted on 12/22/2013 9:06:17 AM PST
("Like, cosmic, man.")
You're right about the heroic action of the 28th. Div.(”The Bloody Bucket’’). I knew a vet who served with that outfit. The town of Bastonge because of it's being the hub of five major roads that converge through it was an important target but it was not the main objective of the German offensive. Manteuffel’s panzer's had surrounded the town but curiously he never engaged the 101st. or the 10th. Armored en masse who were defending it but instead chose to attack one spot, he would be repulsed and then would try some other point. I don't think he was playing to win, just running out the clock on a war that he knew was lost. Getting across the Meuse River was what the Germans were trying to do so they kept Bastonge surrounded but kept pushing west toward the Meuse River. Standing in their way was the Belgian town of Marche which at the time was being defended by the 84th. Infantry Division(''The Rail Splitters''). My late Uncle Fred served with this outfit at Marche and was wounded in combat. The 84th. held the line and the Germans never made it across the Meuse.
posted on 12/22/2013 3:51:50 PM PST
("Chasing God out of the classroom didn't usher in The Age of Reason''.)
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