Battle Of The Bulge

Luke McDowell, Ray Gaither, Ty Manning

Definition

The Battle Of The Bulge (December 16th 1944 - January 25th 1945) was a major german offensive campaign launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front. This Battle was fought toward the very end of World War 2 and was the last offensive assault launched by German troops.

Cause Of The Battle

December 16th 1944. 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. Therefore, he ordered a massive attack against what were primarily American forces. Hitler’s plan was to launch a massive attack using three armies on the Allies which would, in his mind, destabilise their accord and also take the huge port of Antwerp through which a great deal of supplies was reaching the Allies.

Characteristics and Interesting Facts

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. However, the success of the Germans lasted just two days. The Germans based their attack on a massive armored Tank onslaught, such an attack required fuel, that the germans simply did not possess. 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.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. By mid-January, the effect of lack of fuel was becoming evident as the Germans had to simply abandon their vehicles. The 1st SS Panzer Division, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Joachim Peiper, had to make their way back to Germany on foot.

Significance

The Battle Of The Bulge was the largest Battle fought by the Americans in World War 2, with 600,000 American troops involved. American losses were serious with 81,000 casualties, but not as devastating as German casualties at over 100,000. This was the Last battle in which Germans were on the Offensive. Hitler's plan that a successful attack would split the Allies was also based on false hope. If anything, such an attack helped to engender a greater feeling of kinship with one consolidated aim - to defeat Nazi Germany.