The Battle of The Bulge


Winston Churchill called World War II’s Battle
of the Bulge “the greatest American battle of the war.” Is there any good reason to say this? Well lets see. Today,
Alejandro Hernández & Sergio Rodriguez present, The battle of the bulge. The battle of the Bulge, fought over the winter
months of 1944 – 1945, was the last major Nazi offensive against the Allies in World
War Two. The battle was a last ditch attempt by Hitler
to split the Allies in two in their drive towards Germany and destroy their ability
to supply themselves. He launched a massive attack using three armies
on the Allies which would, in his mind, destabilize their accord and also take the huge port of
Antwerp through which a great deal of supplies was reaching the Allies. It was a German penetration into the American
lines, which the Americans had then surrounded and eventually sealed off. It was launched through the densely forested
Ardennes region of Wallonia in eastern Belgium, northeast France, and Luxembourg. The surprise attack caught the Allied forces
completely off guard. American forces bore the brunt of the attack
and incurred their highest casualties of any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany’s
armored forces, and they were largely unable to replace them. German personnel and, later, Luftwaffe aircraft
also sustained heavy losses. Hitler believed that his forces would be able
to surround and cut off Canada’s First Army, America’s First and Ninth Armies and Britain’s
Second Army. On paper, it was a seemingly absurd plan, especially
as Germany had been in retreat since D-Day, her military was depleted of supplies and
was facing the awesome might of the Allies. However, Hitler, as commander-in-chief of
the military, decreed that the attack should take place. The battle started with a two hour bombardment
of the Allies lines that was followed by a huge armoured attack with the majority of
the German armoured might based at the Schnee Eifel. The Germans experienced great success to start
with. Why was this? The Allies were surprised by the attack. They had received little intelligence that
such an attack would take place. Before the attack started, English speaking
German soldiers dressed in American uniforms went behind the lines of the Allies and caused
havoc by spreading misinformation, changing road signs and cutting telephone lines. Those who were caught were shot after a court
martial. The weather was also in Hitler’s favour. Low cloud and fog meant that the superior
air force of the Allies could not be used, especially the tank-busting Typhoons of
the RAF or Mustang fighters from the USAAF which would have been used against the German tanks. Though the weather was typical for the Ardennes
in winter, the ground was hard enough for military vehicles to cross and this suited
the armoured attack Hitler envisaged. However, the success of the Germans lasted
just two days. Despite punching a bulge into the Allies front
line, the Germans could not capitalise on this. The Germans had based their attack on a massive
armoured onslaught. However, such an attack required fuel to maintain
it and the Germans simply did not possess such quantities of fuel. By December 22nd, the weather started to clear,
thus allowing the Allies to bring their air power into force and on the following day,
the Americans started a counter-attack against the Germans. On Christmas Eve, the Allies experienced the
first ever attack by jet bombers. Sixteen German Me-262’s attacked rail yards
in an attempt to upset the ability of the Allies to supply themselves. However, without fuel for their armoured vehicles,
any success in the air was meaningless. The Germans had advanced 60 miles in two days
but from December 18th on, they were in a position of stalemate. The fighting was ferocious. The New Year’s period was a time of particularly
intensive fighting as the Germans attempted to start a second front in Holland. This time in the Ardennes, coincided with a
period of intense cold and rain and the soldiers on the ground faced very difficult conditions. Trench foot was a common problem for infantrymen,
as was exposure. By mid-January 1945, the effect of lack of
fuel was becoming evident as the Germans had to simply abandon their vehicles. The fifth SS Panzer Division, had to make their way back to Germany on foot. This was the unit that was responsible for
the Malmédy Massacre. Hitler had convinced himself that the alliance
between Britain, France and America in the western sector of Europe was not strong and
that a major attack and defeat would break up the alliance. Some experts argue that it is rather Hitler’s
attempt to reassert his personal political control over the German general staff and
the entire Nazi hierarchy, that were having low bets regarding the future of the Reich. Therefore, he ordered a massive attack against
what were primarily American forces. The attack is strictly known as the Ardennes
Offensive but, because the initial attack by the Germans created a bulge in the Allied
front line, it has become more known as the Battle of the Bulge. It is important to note that the most weakened
allies offensive was the one located in Ardennes, so possibly Hitler could have
thought that they would have won. Hitler’s plan was to launch a massive attack
using three armies on the Allies which would, in his mind, destabilize their accord and
also take the huge port of Antwerp through which a great deal of supplies was reaching
the Allies. As this wasn’t an attack made by the allies,
but it was planned by the Nazis, there was no other objective that to defend the Ardennes
from the attack. Obviously, this defense wasn’t separating
from the general objectives of the allies for the war: getting closer to German territory,
defeating as many Germans that they could, liberating the villages and people that were
being tortured and killed by the Germans, and finally getting the Allies closer of the
victory of the WW2. The battle is significant in the
course of World War II because it is seen as Hitler’s last major offensive in the
war. While the battle was intended to split Allied
lines and force negotiated peace, American forces were able to contain the battle and
inflict heavier losses on the German forces, weakening them until the end of the war. For Adolf Hitler, the battle marked the end
of eight years of offensive maneuvers in the West, large and small, dating back to his
occupation of the Rhineland. More ominously, the battle marked the beginning
of the final military phase for Hitler, emphasizing Nazi fanaticism over battlefield logic as
the way to overcome shortages of men and equipment. Such fanaticism would soon cost many Germans,
young and old, their lives. Furthermore, the most of the African-American
troops were serving only as drivers of trucks and longshoremen. In the middle of the battle of the Ardennes,
the general Eisenhower was dramatically sparse of troops of replacement for the military
existing units. All of them, were of totally white composition. In consequence, he decided to allow that all
the Afro-American soldiers should take a weapon and join the military white units to fight
for the first time. This marked up a new era in the army forces
of the Allies, in which there was no segregation and more soldiers. For the Americans and British, it helped them
to position themselves for the great mission into Germany. Meanwhile, in the East, the Russians had launched
an earth-shattering attack involving 300 divisions. Within weeks they would be a hundred miles
from Berlin and closing in Adolf Hitler. The allies used over 840,000 men, 1616 tanks,
4155 artillery pieces and 6000 planes. The Nazis used over 500.000 men, 1800 tanks
(from which 106 were Panzers), 1900 artillery pieces and 2400 planes. The leaders that managed the battle for the
allies were: The high-ranking Officer: Courtney Hodges, General: George S. Patton, and the
Field Marshal: Bernard Montgomery. And the leaders of the Nazis were: the general
of the 5th Panzer Army: Hasso von Manteuffel, and the general of the Heer: Erich Brandenberger. In the Battle of The Bulge, the American forces
had over 19, 276 losses, 41,493 casualties and 23,544 men that went missing or became
POW’s. The British Army had over 200 losses, 969
casualties and 239 men went missing or became POW’s. The German Army had over 15,652 losses, 41,600
casualties, and 27,582 men went missing or became POW’s. The Allied forces lost over 1,500 tanks, 450
armored cars, and 1,000 aircrafts. While the Nazis lost over 544 tanks, 351 armored
cars, and 800 aircrafts. Nowadays the Battle of the Bulge is remembered
thorough multiple ways. The first one is through the museums that
there are regarding the war as the Bastogne war museum in Belgium and the Museum of the
Battle of the Bulge Clervaux in Luxembourg. Apart, there are several memorials to commemorate
this battle as the Mardasson Memorial, in Bastogne, Belgium. The Mardasson Memorial is a monument honoring
the memory of American soldiers wounded or killed during The battle. Also the US Veterans Affairs remembers them
and gives them special treatment for their services to the country during the war. The Germans lost so many experienced
troops and equipment that there was no way their army could launch another attack on
Allied forces. The Battle of the Bulge is most significant
in that it ruined the German army and in essence brought about the end of the war. Though the battle is
often remembered for its influence on the end of the war, the Battle of the Bulge was
also a horrendous experience for the forces that fought the battles. Veterans on both sides witnessed atrocities,
from German massacres of civilians to fellow comrades freezing to death. The Battle of the Bulge is a momentous battle
of World War II, not just because it brought about the end of the German army and the Nazi
reign, but also because of the profound effect it had on soldiers who fought in Ardennes. The Battle of the Bulge was the largest battle
fought by the Americans in World War Two. 600,000 American troops were involved in the
battle. The Americans lost over 20,000 men, and before it ended, The American army had already requested 35,000 more men to fight Could the Germans have won the battle? Almost certainly not, as they had one huge
problem, their inability to keep their armoured columns supplied with fuel. Any form of armoured attack needed a constant
supply of fuel, and Allied bombing of fuel plants in Germany meant that such supplies
did not exist. Concluding, this battle weakened even more
the Nazis, considering all the collateral damage and losses that were left for them. Hence, it was a key factor in weakening their
forces so the allies could invade Germany, and consequently win the war.

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