· The Siege of Bastogne was an engagement in December 1944 between American and German forces at the Belgian town of Bastogne, as part of the larger Battle of the Bulge. The goal of the German offensive was the harbor at Antwerp. In order to reach it before the Allies could regroup and bring their superior air power to bear, German mechanized forces had to seize the roadways through eastern Belgium. Because all seven main roads in the densely wooded Ardennes highlands converged on Bastogne (Bastnach in German), just a few miles away from the border with neighboring Luxembourg, control of its crossroads was vital to the German attack. The siege was from 20 to 27 December, until the besieged American forces were relieved by elements of General George Patton's Third Army.
· It was on the 22nd of December that General von Lüttwitz submitted the following demand for surrender to his American counterpart commanding the American forces in Bastogne, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe:
“To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.
The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Our near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands. There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note. If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term. All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well-known American humanity.
The German Commander.”
Shortly thereafter, McAuliffe sent the following communication to von Lüttwitz in response to the German demand:
“To the German Commander.
The American Commander”
The commander of the 327th GIR interpreted it to the German truce party as "Go to hell!"