• seperator

Bastogne Plaques


To commemorate the siege of Bastogne during the famous Battle of the Bulge some brass plaques were made by a foundry in Couvin, Belgium. The basic design features two giant military figure towering above a Bastogne city view. The figure on the right is a German soldier offering surrender terms to American General McAuliffe depicted as a typical American with his hands in his pockets. McAulliffe as we all know eventually replied “Nuts” to the puzzled Germans. That famous word “Nuts” is displayed between the two figures below the

 “Screaming Eagle” patch of the 101st Airborne division. The parachutes in the

background are purely symbolic since the American troops got to Bastogne in trucks. The type I version illustrated below is what I call the unfinished version because that is what it looks like to me. The type II version has a much more finished look stippled fields and an engraved border. The type III version is much more refined and octagonal in shape.

Just who made these plaques remains a mystery. Reportedly they were made by casting the brass from the old shell casings left over from the battle. Some veterans claim that these plaques were awarded to them for their service in the battle. If so these plaques were presented by grateful village officials or civilians to any random GI’s that were available at the moment. I can say this because my

 father was with the 101st throughout the entire battle and then continued on into

 Germany with the rest of his unit. He never saw any of these plaques until I gave him this one in the early 1970’s.

Considering the number of these plaques that I have seen over the years at shows and on the internet I know that they are not rare. They are also not an official award of any kind. They are neat pieces of history and if the high bids they are getting on the main internet auction sight continue brass could become the next precious metal!

Scan problem was solved with the help of Kevin Beyer of the U.S. Militaria Forum, Thanks Kevin

About Fred Borgmann

Retired from KP after nearly 31 years as new issues editor and the Standard Catalogs.
This entry was posted in The Militarist. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Bastogne Plaques

  1. Jim Fields says:

    I have one of these castings. Mine does not have the word AIRBORNE stamped above the eagle, but it does have the stippling you referred to.
    My father brought it back from the war but he never said that it was presented to him, I always thought that he just acquired it while there.
    On the back side are stamped the words: Made in Couvin Belgium and the word Patent. Is that typical?

  2. Fred Borgmann says:

    Yes Jim that is typical for the type II which you have. I pictured a type I above and there is also a type III which is octagonal. Sorry to be so late in responding but I get so few reponses that I don’t check back on old listings very often. Best regards, Fred

Leave a Reply