A few weeks ago, we unveiled our very own 2017 calendars, which we gave away with orders on 1st December as part of our Facebook Advent Calendar. They feature twelve maps from key battles in WW2 and we’re very proud of them. We thought we’d devote one blog entry a month to each map and look at the events it portrays in more depth. Our first map details the Widening of the Bastogne Corridor and is dated to 2nd January 1945.
Prior to the end of 1944, a German operation, codenamed “Watch on the Rhine”, was launched with the aim of splitting the two Allied Army Groups advancing on Germany. Although the attack was stopped before it could reach its objectives, the advance had completely surrounded the American 101st Airborne Division in the Belgian town of Bastogne. Between 20th and 26th December, the U.S. Paratroopers held out against repeated attacks. Attempts to relieve them failed, largely due to poor weather. The Allies were unable to bring their air power to bear against the German Army. On 27th December, however, the U.S. Third Army succeeded in breaking the siege and opened a narrow corridor to Bastogne.
Over the course of the following days, the American forces set about consolidating their position and widening the corridor. By 2nd January, significant progress had already been made and the Allies’ position was much more secure. Elements of the American 4th, 9th and 11th Armored Divisions pressed on, expanding the safe corridor. By pushing units of the German XLVII and II SS Panzer Corps back in North and the 7th Army in the South, Bastogne and the 101st Airborne were finally secured. Fighting continued to wage until mid-January but the outcome had already been clear early on. Following their defeat, the German Armed Forces never mounted another major offensive operation in the West. By lifting the siege of Bastogne and breaking the German advance, the Allies had ensured their ultimate victory in Western Europe.
Next month, we’ll look at the Battle of the Kasserine Pass. For anyone who missed out on getting a calendar, we may have some left so it’s worth coming to find us at the Stoneleigh Militaria 2017 Show just in case. We look forward to seeing you there!