Bastogne, a Battle of the Bulge focal point
On 16 December 1944 the Germans launched their last major offensive in the West. Bastogne was a strategic position the Americans had to defend whatever the cost. Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, acting commander of the 101st Airborne Division, and his men arrived in Bastogne on 19 December 1944; headquarters were set up in the Sub-Lieutenant Heintz Barracks. On 22 December 1944 McAuliffe entered history when he said “Nuts” in answer to the German request for surrender when the city was surrounded. This both negative and firm reaction was to have a major impact on the Battle of the Bulge.
In 2010 Bastogne Barracks became a Second World War interpretation centre. One of the buildings houses the Vehicle Restoration Centre, where War Heritage Institute armoured vehicles receive a new lease of life; the venue also counts several exhibition spaces.