December 23, 1944

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By December 23rd holding the line around Bastogne was less of an issue compared to the crisis of dwindling supplies.  Not only were troops short on food and medical supplies but ammunition was frighteningly low.  Rounds were rationed and soldiers were ordered not to fire unless attacked directly and even then to only fire two rounds.  Colonel Thomas L. Sherburn, the artillery commander, was intentionally reporting overestimates of supply levels simply to maintain morale.

Hopes were raised when reports came in that the 4th Armored Division, commanded by Major General Hugh J. Gaffey, was headed towards Bastogne as fast as possible.

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Dec. 23rd 1945

Great news, we got a message today from Corp that the weather at the air-field were clear.[1]  Boy we’ll give them hell today.

Got another set[2] today from some guys in the 9th Armored Div. that got caught here when they

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surrounded us.[3]

We put up a good high antenna so we’ll put a long way now 10 to 12 miles at least.[4]

Oh boy also got a message that a fleet of C-47[5] will be over at 1300 with lots of chute bundles of

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Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. General Middleton as commander of the VIII Corps radioed on December 22 that resupply would come by air that day.  These reports had the best intentions but weather continually delayed the drop until December 23.
  2. Possibly an SCR-300 portable radio transceiver used by the Signal Corp. during WWII.
  3. The 9th Armored Division was dubbed the “Phantom Division” because Germans reported the troops seemed to be everywhere like a phantom along the front during the Battle of the Bulge.  When Bastogne was surrounded on the 21st many soldiers from the 9th were unable to leave so they stayed and helped defend the village.
  4. Installing a high antenna allowed for greater transmission and reception of radio frequencies assisting in communicating with soldiers farther out on the line.
  5. Douglas C-47 Skytrain military transport aircraft.

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