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December 23, 2006

Dec 23 1944

SC 198389. A 7th Armored Division antitank gun covers the approach on a road to Belgium (12/23/44)--Railroad crossing near Vielsalm, Belgium

The bulk of the air cargo brought to Bastogne during the siege was artillery ammunition. By the 24th the airborne batteries were down to ten rounds per tube and the work horse 420th Armored Field Artillery was expending no more than five rounds per mission, even on very lucrative targets. This battalion, covering a 360-degree front, would in fact be forced to make its original 1,400 rounds last for five days. The two 155-mm. howitzer battalions were really pawing at the bottom of the barrel. The 969th fired thirty-nine rounds on 24 December and two days later could allow its gunners only twenty-seven rounds, one-sixth the number of rounds expended per day when the battle began.

The airdrop on the 23d brought a dividend for the troops defending Bastogne. The cargo planes were all overwatched by fighters who, their protective mission accomplished, turned to hammer the Germans in the Bastogne ring. During the day eighty-two P-47's lashed out at this enemy with general-purpose and fragmentation bombs, napalm, and machine gun fire. The 101st reported to Middleton, whose staff was handling these air strikes for the division, that "air and artillery is having a field day around Bastogne."

SC 246723. The members of the 101st Airborne Division, right, are on guard for enemy tanks, on the road leading to Bastogne, Belgium. They are armed with bazookas. 23 Dec 1944

You can read the rest here.

Now, here's something you most likely didn't know. There weren't many black combat units in the US Army during either world war. IIRC, none at all during the First, only a few during the Second.

One of those few was the 969th Field Artillery, which won a Distinguished Unit Citation and Belgian Croix d’Guerre with Palm for their performance during the Battle of the Bulge. Some more on Black soldiers in the war is available here.

Comments on Dec 23 1944
J.M. Heinrichs briefed on December 23, 2006 12:09 PM

New York National Guard 369th Infantry Regiment served in 1WW, but was attached to the French Army for the duration. StratPage on one of the soldiers: http://www.strategypage.com/respect/articles/20020321.asp

Cheers

JimC briefed on December 23, 2006 03:56 PM

Harlem Hellfighters if memory serves. They even wore French uniforms. Great combat regiment.

Justthisguy briefed on December 23, 2006 08:19 PM

They had an excellent band, too.

Jtg, Band Nerd

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