Battle of the Bulge

By Gavin Bunker-Vogt

History

The battle of the bulge is so called because of the a large nose-like shape the Germans made in Allied lines. The operation, officially called Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein or Watch on the Rhein, was launched by German forces on December 16th, 1944. In four days the German advanced 15 miles. By December 25th they had pushed 40 miles, the farthest they would reach. The Germans attacked a weak spot in the American line, taking advantage of this and bad weather to push into Allied territory. The plan was to cut the British and American forces in half. The Germans met fierce defense along the northern edge of the fighting that prevented them from reaching key roads. If the Germans had reached these roads in time, the Allies would have been unable to reenforce their troops, and would have been cut in half. This would have been followed by the Germans surrounding five Allied armies, forcing them into a peace treaty with the Western powers. This would have allowed Hitler to deal with the Eastern powers, winning the war.

Significance in World War II

The Battle of the Bulge is the turning point of the war. Being the bloodiest battle, it depleted the German forces of many resources including, ammunition, fuel, and manpower. This led the Germans Western front to collapse and allow the Western powers to end the war. The Germans attacked hoping to provide a foothold that they could then stage attacks, surrounding and forcing surrender. If the Germans were successful in this feat the war may have gone very differently.

Battle of the Bulge

Saturday, Dec. 16th 1944 at 12am to Thursday, Jan. 25th 1945 at 12am

Bastogne, Belgium

Bastogne, Walloon Region

Timeline

December 16th, 1944 - Battle of the Bulge begins.

December 17th, 1944 - German Colonel Joachim Peiper orders his troops to kill all POWs.

December 19th, 1944 - 6,000 US soldiers surrender due to encirclement.

December 20th, 1944 - 101st Airborne at Bastogne is completely surrounded.

December 20th, 1944 - 10th and 19th US Armored Divisions completely surrounded.

December 22nd, 1944 - German General Rundstedt asks Hitler to halt advance due to supply lines being stretched to the max. Hitler refuses.

December 23rd, 1944 - 2,000 allied aircraft are launched due to clearing weather.

December 25th, 1944 - German advance stops.

January 1st - Allied forces have regrouped and pushed back at the Germans.

January 25th - Germans are completely pushed back.

Sources