Year
1944
Month Day
December 26

General Patton relieves Allies at Bastogne

On December 26, General George S. Patton employs an audacious strategy to relieve the besieged Allied defenders of Bastogne, Belgium, during the brutal Battle of the Bulge.

The capture of Bastogne was the ultimate goal of the Battle of the Bulge, the German offensive through the Ardennes forest. Bastogne provided a road junction in rough terrain where few roads existed; it would open up a valuable pathway further north for German expansion. The Belgian town was defended by the U.S. 101st Airborne Division, which had to be reinforced by troops who straggled in from other battlefields. Food, medical supplies, and other resources eroded as bad weather and relentless German assaults threatened the Americans’ ability to hold out. Nevertheless, Brigadier General Anthony C. MacAuliffe met a German surrender demand with a typewritten response of a single word: “Nuts.”

Enter “Old Blood and Guts,” General Patton. Employing a complex and quick-witted strategy wherein he literally wheeled his 3rd Army a sharp 90 degrees in a counterthrust movement, Patton broke through the German lines and entered Bastogne, relieving the valiant defenders and ultimately pushing the Germans east across the Rhine.

READ MORE: 8 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of the Bulge

Tags
terms:
World War II

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

The first Kwanzaa

The first day of the first Kwanzaa is celebrated in Los Angeles under the direction of Maulana Karenga, the chair of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach. The seven-day holiday, which has strong African roots, was designed by Dr. Karenga as a celebration of ...read more

Jack Johnson wins heavyweight title

Jack Johnson becomes the first African American to win the world heavyweight title when he knocks out Canadian Tommy Burns in the 14th round in a championship bout near Sydney, Australia. Johnson, who held the heavyweight title until 1915, was reviled by whites for his defiance ...read more

Bugsy Siegel opens Flamingo Hotel

Mobster Bugsy Siegel opens the glitzy Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 26, 1946.  Well-known singer and comedian Jimmy Durante headlined the night's entertainment, with music by Cuban band leader Xavier Cugat. Some of infamous gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel’s ...read more

Truman dies

On December 26, 1972, former President Harry S. Truman dies in Independence, Missouri. Then-President Richard Nixon called Truman a man of “forthrightness and integrity” who had a deep respect for the office he held and for the people he served, and who “supported and wisely ...read more

Carmaker Preston Tucker dies

On December 26, 1956, the visionary carmaker Preston Tucker dies of lung cancer. He was just 53 years old. Tucker began his career in the auto industry as a mail messenger at General Motors. He quickly worked his way out of the mailroom, however, and before he turned 30 he was ...read more