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US 17th Airborne Division From Wikipedia
The Battle of the Bulge
On 16 December the Wehrmacht launched an offensive in the ]Ardennes region of Belgium[/link], breaking through Allied lines and rapidly advancing towards Antwerp. On the afternoon of 17 December, Eisenhower decided to commit his theater reserve to the Ardennes in an attempt to halt the German advance; this consisted of the 17th, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions under the control of XVIII Airborne Corps. The three divisions were to be attached to the US First Army and were ordered to concentrate around the town of St Vith. However, while the other two airborne divisions were able to immediately make their way to the Ardennes as they were already stationed in France, bad weather prevented the 17th from flying in from where the division was stationed in Britain for several days. On 23 December the weather cleared and the division was finally flown to France by emergency night flights. It moved to an assembly area near Rheims. On Christmas Day, the division was attached to the US Third Army and ordered to assume a thirty-mile long defensive position that ran along the Meuse River near Charleville.
By 1 January 1945 the threat to Charleville had eased sufficiently for the division to be transferred to another area of the Ardennes, being transported to an area south-west of Bastogne near the village of Morhet on 3 January; there it relieved the 11th Armored Division which had occupied the village prior to its arrival. On 4 January the division entered combat for the first time when it was ordered alongside the 87th Infantry Division to seize a number of key towns to the west of Bastogne, in order to prevent German forces from encircling the town a second time; it had been relieved by the Third Army on 26 December. With the 87th Infantry Division on its left flank, the division advanced towards German positions with the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment and 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment forming the division's assault element; the 193rd Glider Infantry Unit and 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment moved behind these two regiments to deal with expected German armoured counter-attacks against them. During its initial advance the division engaged German forces, including infantry and armour, in an attempt to secure a narrow, high-rimmed road to the north-west of Bastogne; during a battle that lasted three days the division suffered nearly 1,000 casualties attempting to hold what the division's official historian labeled 'Dead Man's Ridge'. It was during the opening stages of this battle that the division earned its first Medal of Honor. Sergeant Isadore S. Jachman of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment engaged and destroyed two German tanks with a bazooka that formed part of an armoured column attacking American positions, forcing the column to retreat but simultaneously being killed by machine gun fire. Between 19 and 26 January, the division broke through German lines and captured several towns before linking up with elements of the British 51st Highland Division. After it had captured the town of Espeler on 26 January the entire division was withdrawn from the front and transported by truck to Luxembourg, effectively ending its participation in the Ardennes campaign.[
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