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Date: Friday, 29 December 1944
Place: Bastogne, province of Luxembourg, Belgium
Destroyed American 76 mm Gun Motor Carriage (GMC) M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer and M3A1 Halftrack in the background, lost to the German artillery fire near Bastogne, 29 December 1944. Even though the Germans pressed their offensive all around Bastogne, they failed to take the city. The Allied forces did not break, and Lieutenant General George S. Patton's Third Army was rushing to relieve Bastogne from the south. Patton told an unbelieving Eisenhower that he could wheel his army 90 degrees and strike north into the bulge with three divisions in only two days. He accomplished this feat in one of most memorable mass maneuvers of that or any war. On 23 December, the weather cleared, freezing the ground and making it passable for armor. Allied planes filled the skies, and transports dropped resupplies to the defenders of Bastogne, then down to only 10 rounds per gun. On Christmas Day, 2nd Armored Division gunners had a "turkey shoot" near the Meuse, destroying 82 German tanks. On 26 December, Lieutenant Colonel Creighton Abrams's 37th Tank Battalion of the 4th Armored Division broke through the German lines, lifting the siege of Bastogne. The battle now expanded as both sides poured in reinforcements. 5. Panzerarmee made Bastogne its principal effort, as the planned German drive on Antwerp turned into a struggle for Bastogne. Meanwhile, the Americans brought up significant amounts of artillery and armor. Allied aircraft also attacked the German armor without letup, destroying large numbers of tanks. The last major German attack on the city occurred on 4 January. Other smaller attacks took place until 8 January, with the battle ending the next day. The fight for the city had claimed about 2,700 American and 3,000 German casualties; Bastogne itself lost 782 Belgian civilians.