The end of 1944 was fast approaching and with the Allies surprised by the unexpected German
assault through the Ardennes, it was down to the battle-fatigued soldiers of the US 101st
Airborne Divisions to hold the line at Bastogne.
Christmas was drawing near and the Germans were in retreat. The advance of the Allied armies
towards Hitler’s fortress Reich ground relentlessly on but Hitler had one final surprise in store.
Outwitting their opponents through guile and stealth, on 16 December 1944, the Germans
unexpectedly counter-attacked through the weakest part of the Allied front line – the
Minutes after a massive 90-minute heavy artillery barrage, three Panzer Armies advanced
through the swirling mists and snow-clad forests along a front 80 miles wide. The thinly-held
Allied lines wilted under the pressure. Reinforcements were needed – and fast.
In Reims, 100 miles to the west, two battle- weary units had just arrived to re-group following
Operation Market Garden – but the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions never got the chance
to rest: as news of the German breakthrough arrived, the 101st were soon heading towards the
pivotal town of Bastogne that controlled the roads to the west. If Bastogne fell and the Panzers
drove hard, they could split the Allied armies in two.
Simon's dramatic piece depicts the exhausted men of ‘Easy’ Company, 506th PIR, 101st
Airborne Division in their hastily dug fox- holes deep in the forests surrounding a now besieged
Bastogne. Heavily outnumbered and lightly armed they are desperately short of ammunition and
food. Equipped with inadequate winter clothing and unable to light fires for fear of giving away
their positions, they are freezing but proudly defiant. Tasked to hold the perimeter, whatever the
cost, the men of the 101st yielded not an inch, holding the enemy at bay for a week until relieved
by elements of General Patton’s 3rd Army.
Available in the following editions
Giclée on canvas 20" x 36" - signed by the artist - (ships rolled)