16th December
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1944 The Battle Of The Bulge

The bulge was a military formation, created by three German divisions which forced a bulge 60 miles deep, 50 miles wide into the allied line during World War Two.

The allies had been surprised in the densely wooded Ardennes region of Belgium by three German armies. The allies were initially unable to use their air superiority because of the dense fog, and for a while it looked like Hitler's gamble was paying off.

But the allies refused to give up, even when their lines of communication had broken, and a three point counter offensive led by British General Montgomery and American generals Omar Bradley and George Patton came to the rescue.

In a notable moment of the battle, the 101st Airborne Division and parts of the 10th, were encircled within the bulge, at the town of Bastogne. Here the German commanders demanded an American surrender.

US Major General Anthony McAuliffe sent a typed reply:

To the German Commander:


From the American Commander

The skies would clear on 23rd December, unleashing the air force which destroyed German tanks and transport lines. On 26 December, Bastogne was taken by General Patton's 3rd Army.

By January 21, 1945 the Germans had been pushed back to their original line.

120,000 Germans killed. 80,000 Allied troops killed (75,000 of which were from the USA), wounded or MIA. This was the heaviest battle toll in the US's history.

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1653 During the English Revolution, Oliver Cromwell, a parliamentarian, is proclaimed Lord Protector of England.

1773 The Boston Tea Party - a group of Massachusetts colonists, disguised as Indians, dump over 300 chests of tea into the Boston harbor to protest English import tax tariffs.

1811 What is regarded as the biggest series of earthquakes in the USA's history happened at Mississippi River Valley near New Madrid, Missouri. 8.6 on the Richter scale.

1913 Charles Chaplin starts work at Keystone.

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