In 2001, the hugely popular HBO miniseries ‘Band of Brothers’ was aired for the first time. At the time of recording, the series was the most expensively produced TV series of all time ($125 million).
Some of the highest rated episodes of the entire series, was those that revolved around the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes forest, particularly at Bastogne.
The 101st Airborne Division of the US Army, also known as the ‘Screaming Eagles’ played a hugely important part in resisting the large ditch attempt by the Third Reich to push the Allies back and consequently, the counter attacking advance that took place.
Operation Market Garden, that had taken place earlier in 1944, was deemed a failure and consequently, the number of Airborne operations were ceased for the time being, until a better opportunity presented itself.
One of the results of Operation Market Garden, was the creation of the First Allied Airborne Army, under the command of the Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower. The First Allied Airborne Division was comprised of three American Divisions, the 82nd Airborne, 101st Airborne and the 17th Airborne Division. It also included two British Airborne Divisions, the 1st and 6th as well as one Polish Brigade.
After Market Garden, the Allies were caught by complete surprise as the Germans threw three armies into the Ardennes and hundreds of thousands of troops and tanks poured through the Belgian forest.
In some of the most brutal fighting of the war, in harsh conditions, the men of the 6th Airborne, as well as the other men in the Army, repelled a fierce German attack.
The German advance was held up until in late January 1945, the largest Battle on the Western front came to an end when the Allies crossed into the Netherlands.
The 6th Airborne in the Ardennes, had taken heavy casualties.