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Today in World War II History—December 19, 1939 & 1944

Paratroopers of the US 101st Airborne near Bastogne, December 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)

Paratroopers of the US 101st Airborne near Bastogne, December 1944 (US Army Center of Military History)

80 Years Ago—December 19, 1939: Inside US territorial waters off Florida, British light cruiser Orion fires at German freighter Arauca, violating Pan-American Neutrality Zone; Arauca puts in to port at Port Everglades, FL.

75 Years Ago—Dec. 19, 1944: In the Battle of the Bulge, US 101st Airborne Division arrives in Bastogne, Belgium to protect the crucial crossroads.

Germans capture two regiments (7000 men) of US 106th Infantry Division on Schnee Eifel, including writer Kurt Vonnegut, the largest US mass surrender of the war except at Bataan.