From December 20 to December 26, 1944, during the #BattleoftheBulge, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) formed a defensive perimeter around Bastogne.
As a result of the powerful American defense to the north and east, XLVII Panzer Corps commander decided to encircle Bastogne and strike from the south and southwest.
German panzer reconnaissance units had initial success, nearly overrunning the American artillery positions southwest of Bastogne before being stopped by a makeshift force. All seven highways leading to Bastogne were cut by German forces by noon of 21 December, and by nightfall the conglomeration of airborne and armored infantry forces were recognized by both sides as being surrounded.
The American soldiers were outnumbered approximately 5-1 and were lacking in cold-weather gear, ammunition, food, medical supplies, and senior leadership.
Due to the worst winter weather in memory, the surrounded U.S. forces could not be resupplied by air, nor was tactical air support available due to cloudy weather.
Allied control of Bastogne was a major obstacle to the German armored advance, and the morale of Allied forces elsewhere on the Western Front was boosted by news of the stubborn defense of the besieged town.
Learn more at https://go.usa.gov/xErBJ
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