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Today in World War II History—December 23, 1939 & 1944

Map noting the objective of and actual ground gained during the German Ardennes Offensive, 16-26 Dec 1944 (US Army)

Map noting the objective of and actual ground gained during the German Ardennes Offensive, 16-26 Dec 1944 (US Army)

80 Years Ago—December 23, 1939: British form Military Intelligence Section 9 (MI9) to aid resistance fighters, downed airmen, and POWs in Nazi-occupied countries.

Troops of US 101st Airborne Division watching C-47 Skytrain aircraft delivering supplies to their unit, Bastogne, Belgium, 26 Dec 1944. (US Army Signal Corps)

Troops of US 101st Airborne Division watching C-47 Skytrain aircraft delivering supplies to their unit, Bastogne, Belgium, 26 Dec 1944. (US Army Signal Corps)

75 Years Ago—Dec. 23, 1944: Germans reach maximum range of Ardennes offensive, within 3 miles of the Meuse River.

US C-47 cargo planes drop supplies, including medical supplies, into surrounded Bastogne, Belgium.

In US, all horse and dog racing is banned to save labor, effective January 3, 1945.

At Papago Park camp in Arizona, 25 German POWs escape, ecstatic about successes in the Battle of the Bulge, but their plan to float down a river to Mexico goes awry due to the riverbed being dry; all are recaptured by January 28, 1945.