Belgium / Landmark
Immortalised in Stephen Ambrose’s book and the subsequent TV series, Band of Brothers, Foy has become a well-known village in the history of the Battle of the Bulge. It was from the Bois Jacques (Jack’s Wood), located on the outskirts of Foy, that members of U.S. 101st Airborne Division succeeded in pushing German troops out of the village to the north during a daring attack on 13 January 1945.
The 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) of the 101st Airborne Division set up in the area surrounding Foy on 19 December 1944. The fighting was intense from the very first day. The 1st Battalion commander, Lieutenant-Colonel James LaPrade was killed in Noville, when the command post he was in, was hit by enemy shelling. The villages and surrounding area around Foy and Noville were repeatedly attacked by elements of the German 2nd Panzer Division and the 26th Volksgrenadier Division.
In difficult weather conditions on 13 January 1945, the 506th PIR attacked Foy, which was still occupied by German troops. Company ‘E’ and ‘I’ were tasked with leading the assault on the village under covering fire to definitively repel the enemy out, once and for all. Despite having to go house-to-house to clear out snipers, Foy was successfully captured with dozens of German soldiers taken prisoner.
The next day, German forces counterattacked. But, despite going back and forth, Foy ultimately remained in American hands. Also on 14 January, the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 506th PIR were ordered to advance towards Noville and Cobru. Over the next few days, with the support from elements of the U.S. 11th Armored Division, the 101st Airborne Division gradually helped to liberate the territories north of Bastogne.
Despite the violence of the fighting, the village of Foy suffered no civilian casualties, unlike the neighbouring village of Noville where several inhabitants were executed in a massacre by German forces. On the other hand, military losses were significant in this area. After the fighting, a number of bodies were discovered and moved to the American and German military cemeteries, which were located at the exit of the village.
Traces of the battle are still visible in Foy. Visitors can still observe bullet holes in the walls of some of the old houses. A little further along is the famous Bois Jacques, where the 506th PIR foxhole positions were located.