The Hell that was Bastogne
by Simon Smith
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 heavily-wooded Ardennes.
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.
|Overall size: 20" x 26"||Available in the following editions||Image size: 11¼" x 20"|
|25||Limited edition||Signed by 101st Airborne veteran Bill Wingett - remarqued and matted with 4 Easy Co. signatures. **||$555|
|150||Giclée proof||Giclée on canvas 20" x 36" - signed by the artist - (ships rolled)||$595|
|** Limited edition is in very low inventory|
Each print has been made completely unique with the inclusion of a specially-commissioned pencil Remarque in the lower border by the artist, Simon Smith. (If you have a special request for the subject of your remarque please let us know when ordering)
Completing each unique piece and adding great historical importance, prints are conservation mounted to include the original autographs of four more veterans who served with Easy Company, (Limited edition) and nine additional signatures on the Collectors edition.
|Ltd. edition signatures|
|Private 1st Class Bill Wingett - Easy Co & HQ Co.||Colonel Ed Shames - Item Co, HQ Co & Easy Co. - (matted)|
|Corporal T-5 Bill Maynard - Easy Co. - (matted)||Staff Sergeant Frank Sobleski - Easy Co. - (matted)|
|Sergeant Amos ‘Buck’ Taylor - Easy Co. - (matted)|