The Soldiers of 'The Longest Winter'

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Awarded

The platoon survivors receive their belated awards, 1981. Courtesy Lyle Bouck Jr./Da Capo Press hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Lyle Bouck Jr./Da Capo Press
The Platoon

Members of the platoon enjoy their last warm weather before heading to the front lines. Da Capo Press hide caption

itoggle caption Da Capo Press

Sixty years ago, Adolf Hitler launched a last attempt to maintain Germany's hold on Europe. On Dec. 16, 1944, German troops blasted through allied lines in the Ardennes forest of eastern Belgium. The goal of the surprise attack was to force American troops into a humiliating mass surrender.

Soldiers on the ground held the Germans off in what proved to be a decisive fight. But after repulsing three German assaults in a fierce day-long battle, one platoon ran out of ammunition and was captured.

The story of their survival while being held at some of the Third Reich's most notorious POW camps is the subject of a new book by Alex Kersaw. It's called The Longest Winter: The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of World War II's Most Decorated Platoon. Kershaw talks with NPR's Jennifer Ludden about the 18 young men who were honored for their bravery more than 30 years later.

Books Featured In This Story

The Longest Winter

The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of WWII's Most Decorated Platoon

by Alex Kershaw

Hardcover, 326 pages | purchase

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The Longest Winter
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The Battle of the Bulge and the Epic Story of WWII's Most Decorated Platoon
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