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11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944by Stanley Weintraub
Synopses & Reviews
On Christmas morning, 1944, there was little reason to celebrate.
As the Battle of the Bulge raged, a small force of American solders—including the famed 101st Airborne division, tank destroyer crews, engineers, and artillerymen—was completely surrounded by Hitlers armies in the Belgian town of Bastogne. Taking the town was imperative to Hitlers desperate plan to drive back the Allies and turn the tide of the war. The attack would come just before dawn.
As the outnumbered, undersupplied Americans gathered in church for services or shivered in their snow-covered foxholes on the fringes of the front lines, freshly reinforced German forces of men and tanks attacked. The battle was up close and personal, with the cold, exhausted soldiers of both armies fighting for every square foot of frozen earth.
In the end, the Allied forces would hold the town of Bastogne, with the hard-won victory boosting morale and sounding the death-knell for Hitlers Third Reich. After this battle, the Nazis would never go on the offensive again.
Featuring interviews with the soldiers who were there, as well as never-before-seen or translated documents, No Silent Night is a compelling chronicle of one day that changed the course of the war—and the world.
INCLUDES NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN PHOTOS AND MAPS
December 1944. For the besieged American defenders of Bastogne, time was running out....
Hitlers forces had pressed in on the small Belgian town in a desperate offensive designed to push back the Allies, starting the Battle of the Bulge. So far the U.S. soldiers had managed to repel waves of attackers and even a panzer onslaught. But as their ammunition dwindled, the weary paratroopers of the 101st Airborne could only hope for a miracle—a miracle in the form of General George S. Patton and his Third Army.
More than a hundred miles away, Patton, ordered to race his men to Bastogne, was already putting in motion the most crucial charge of his career. Tapped to spearhead his counterstrike against the Wehrmacht was the 4th Armored Division, a bloodied but experienced unit that had fought and slogged its way across France. But blazing a trail into Belgium meant going up against some of the best infantry and tank units in the German Army. Failure to reach Bastogne in time could result in the overrunning of the 101st—a catastrophic defeat that could turn the tide of the war and secure victory for the Nazis.
In Patton at the Battle of the Bulge, Army veteran and historian Leo Barron explores one of the most famous yet little told clashes of the war, a vitally important chapter in one of historys most legendary battles.
It was truly a white Christmas in the Ardennes Forest in 1944, but that was cold comfort to the Allied soldiers trying to stop the Nazis from retaking Belgium in one of the most decisive battles of World War II. While a German loudspeaker taunted, ?How would you like to die for Christmas?? the Allied forces dug in, despite freezing conditions. They needed a miracle.
In a medieval chapel, General Patton, who needed clear skies to allow airborne reinforcements to reach his trapped men, uttered what would become a famous prayer: ?Sir, whose side are you on?? His soldiers wouldn?t be home for Christmas, but as the skies cleared, they went on to win a battle? and a war.
About the Author
Stanley Weintraub is the author of Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce and many other histories and biographies. He is also the Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at Penn State University and a book reviewer for The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.
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