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Battle of the Bulge
In World War II, Foy a Belgian Town was heavily occupied by German forces during the Battle of the Bulge. The American 101st Airborne Division held the Bois Jacques just outside of town. After being relieved by George S. Patton's Third Army, the 101st retook the town. The assault, spearheaded by Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th PIR, was depicted in the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers.
Battle of Foy
Foy was a small village occupied by the Germans in the early stages of the Battle of the Bulge. It's just 4 kilometers to the north of Bastogne on the road to Houffalize.
The American 101st Airborne Division held the Bois Jacques or Jacques Woods, up a slight rise outside Foy. Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers describes how its Easy Company of the 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment led the assault to capture the town in January, 1945. Foy is in the Ardennes Forest region, what the locals call l'Ardenne, an area of more than 11,000 square kilometers. It is largely in what today is Wallonia, the Walloons French-speaking area of southern Belgium, but it extends into France, Germany, and Luxembourg. The American 101st Airborne Division held the Bois Jacques (Jacques Woods), part of the Ardennes Forest, just outside Foy and up a slight rise toward Bastogne. The 506th, including E Company, initially commanded by Lieutenant Norman Dike, attacked Foy. They lost several men in the initial charge, During the January 1945 assault, which included Easy Company, Dike had ordered a platoon to go on a flanking mission around the rear of the town.
In one account of the attack, Dike ordered the company to take cover after coming under fire. With the unit unable to proceed, his subordinates informed him they were going to get killed because they were sitting ducks. At the same time, Captain Richard Winters, former commander of Easy Company and now the Battalion Executive Officer, tried radioing him to tell him the same thing. Having no idea how to control the situation, Dike froze. As Carwood Lipton, at that time the company's first sergeant, later put it: "He fell apart."
In another account, Dike stopped because he had been wounded in the right shoulder, not because he had panicked. Clancy Lyall saw the wound.
Dike was immediately relieved by First Lieutenant Ronald Speirs under orders from Captain Winters. however, they were still able to take the town despite the losses. Taking Foy was just another brick in the wall of battles and reasons to the Allied Victory in the Battle of Bastogne (Battle of the Bulge).
The company captured several German prisoners. A remaining, hidden German sniper killed a few of the men after the assault but was quickly discovered and neutralized. Today, there is a German cemetery west of Foy with graves of at least 6,804 men, some of them in mass graves.
A monument to the American paratroopers was built in 2004 at the edge of the Bois Jacques south of Foy.
On January 2, 1945, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was assigned to patrolling duties and to aid defence. They took part in the general advance passing the towns of Aye, Marche, Foy, and Bande. Their participation ended after the Allies captured Bande. During the operation, the unit sustained a few casualties in their active combat role. They were the only Canadians to take part in the Ardennes Offensive. The Role of the Canadian's was miniscule compared to the Allied presence here, they were more of a substitute for the 101st when they were called elsewhere.
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