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Bastogne

A town in southeastern Belgium, a rail junction and road center, located in the Ardennes Forest. During the German offensive of December 1944, also called the "Battle of the Bulge," the American Army's 101st Airborne Division--under the temporary command of Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe, USA--joined elements of the 9th and 10th Armored Divisions on 19 December 1944 to defend Bastogne, through which ran roads important to the success of the desperate German gamble to split the Allies. Unable to take the town, the German 5th Panzer Army besieged it; but Bastogne resolutely held out from 20 December until relieved General George S. Patton's 3d Army on the 26th. The brave stand of the 101st earned it the Presidential Unit Citation; and General McAuliffe's purported one word response to a German ultimatum to surrender--"Nuts"--earned him a secure place in American military history.

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Bastogne (CVE 124)--a Commencement Bay class escort carrier-- was laid down on 2 April 1945 at Tacoma, Wash., by Todd Pacific Shipyards, Inc. The war’s accelerated conclusion, however, brought the work on her to an end on 11 August 1945. She was scrapped on the ways soon thereafter.

Robert J. Cressman



27 February 2006