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. George S. Patton, Jr, Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army.


A BASTOGNE STREET AFTER LUFTWAFFE BOMBARDMENT

A BASTOGNE STREET AFTER LUFTWAFFE BOMBARDMENT

11 days in December : Christmas at the Bulge, 1944 Stanley Weintraub New York : Free Press, c 2006 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xv, 201 p. : ill., map ; 23 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 181-189) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.VG/VG

PARATROOPERS OF THE 101ST AIRBORNE MOVING UP TO BASTOGNE

PARATROOPERS OF THE 101ST AIRBORNE MOVING UP TO BASTOGNE

In 11 Days In December,historian Weintraub tells the story of the Battle of the Bulge as it has never been told before, from frozen foxholes to barn shelters to boxcars packed with wretched prisoners of war.

TROOPS OF 325TH GLIDER INFANTRY MOVING THROUGH FOG TO A NEW POSITION

TROOPS OF 325TH GLIDER INFANTRY MOVING THROUGH FOG TO A NEW POSITION

In late December 1944, as the Battle of the Bulge neared its climax, a German loudspeaker challenge was blared across GI lines in the Ardennes: “How would you like to die for Christmas?” In the inhospitable forest straddling Belgium, France, and Luxembourg, only the dense, snow-laden evergreens recalled the season. Most troops hardly knew the calendar day they were trying to live through, or that it was Hitler’s last, desperate effort to alter the war’s outcome.

105-MM. HOWITZER M7 OF THE 30TH DIVISION IN ACTION near la Gleize

105-MM. HOWITZER M7 OF THE 30TH DIVISION IN ACTION near la Gleize

Yet the final Christmas season of World War II matched desperation with inspiration. When he was offered an ultimatum to surrender the besieged Belgian town of Bastogne, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe defied the Germans with the memorable one-word response, “Nuts!” And as General Patton prayed for clear skies to allow vital airborne reinforcements to reach his trapped men, he stood in a medieval chapel in Luxembourg and spoke to God as if to a commanding general: “Sir, whose side are you on?” His prayer was answered. The skies cleared, the tide of battle turned, and Allied victory in World War II was assured.

TANKS OF THE 7TH ARMORED DIVISION in a temporary position near St. Vith.

TANKS OF THE 7TH ARMORED DIVISION in a temporary position near St. Vith.

Christmas 1944 proved to be one of the most fateful days in world history. Many men did extraordinary things, and extraordinary things happened to ordinary men. “A clear cold Christmas,” Patton told his diary, “lovely weather for killing Germans, which seems a bit queer, seeing whose birthday it is.” Peace on earth and good will toward men would have to wait.

ELEMENTS OF THE 3D ARMORED DIVISION ADVANCING NEAR MANHAY

ELEMENTS OF THE 3D ARMORED DIVISION ADVANCING NEAR MANHAY

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