Within the fog shrouded stillness of the Ardenne forest in December 1944, this serene snow covered wood side was abruptly broken by the heavy clank of churning treads, the low growling of heavy engines and the labored breathing of determined soldiers. A monumental struggle was developing in this pristine wilderness, one that could effect the course of the war. The German army had launched a surprise winter offensive upon the Allied forces, known as the Battle of the Bulge. Among the Allied units that rallied to meet the German thrust were the 2nd Armored Division. Struggling mightily through the hazardous Belgium winter, these weary but battle hardened American soldiers conducted a long and treacherous 120 mile road march under the severest of conditions in a valiant effort to halt the German breakout. Without orders or rest, these men immediately engaged and broke the enemy within sight of the Meuse River in a fierce contest of man and machine. This heroic action prevented the Germans from splitting the allied forces and prolonging the war. Commissioned by the National War College 1995 graduating class, "Christmas in the Ardennes" is a poignant tribute to the soldiers of the "Hell on Wheels" 2nd Armored Division and to all those whose duty and honor moves them to heroic struggles defending freedom from tyranny. "Christmas in the Ardennes" is also a fond, farewell tribute to the honored 2nd Armored Division, whose flag will be cased for perhaps the final time in 1996.
Reproduced in exacting detail on 100 lb. Museum Quality Archival stock, each lithograph is individually signed by the artist, Dru Blair. A special limited edition signed by the distinguished George S. Patton, III. has unfortunately sold out.
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