The poorly equipped American troops dealt with dense fog, snow and harsh cold as they huddled in foxholes dug into the forest floor. Fires were not allowed as it would give away their positions. American units that fought at Bastogne include the 101st and 82nd Airborne, 10th Armored Division and the 44th Infantry.
When the German commander pointed out that the Americans were surrounded and requested their surrender Gen McAuliffe gave the brief, but succinct answer that is now legendary:
To the German Commander,
The American Commander.
The people of Bastogne, and beyond, celebrate this battle every year in early December with the Bastogne Walk and a parade, which I hear includes the throwing of nuts.
Our motorcycle club makes the annual pilgrimage and I took part this year. The temp was about 6 degrees Celcius when we departed Brussels on Friday. On Saturday we met more friends and did the Walk of 18 km (more than 11 miles) through areas of reenactments, down muddy roads, through the forest, in small towns of Foy and Noville - all while dodging tanks, jeeps, cars, trucks, and transports of all kinds. The Belgians have kept and restored many of the vehicles left after the war. They made the walk as realistic as they could, it was quite amazing.
Along the way we met Eve (sp?), a native Belgian with a love of history and a conviction that this story should never fade. He does the walk each year in full gear - you should feel how heavy that full steel helmet is! He told us lots of history that we would not otherwise have known.
All in all, an excellent trip on my motorcycle, with good friends and several personal challenges bested.