Battle of the Bulge

Created by Josh Yargeau

The Battle of the Bulge was fought from Dec. 16, 1944 to January 25, 1945. The battle was mostly fought in the Ardennes forest. German goals for the battle were splitting the allied defensive line in half, the capture of Antwerp, and to destroy 4 armies. All of this would hopefully force the allies to sign a peace treaty in the axis powers favour. Also the eastern front against U.S.S.R. would become more fortified. The timing of the battle worked poorly in the Allies favour at first due to extreme weather conditions. This meant that the air force was unavailable for a period time.









German Attack



The initial assault began the morning of December 16, 1944. The heavy artillery bombardment was across a 130 km front, it lasted 90 minutes and 1,600 artillery pieces were used. General Joseph Dietrich led the 1st German panzer division of the 6th Panzer army. The 1st division was highly regarded and had been successful throughout the war. The attacks were directed at Elsenborn ridge which is in the northern sector. The aim of the assault was to eventually reach Liege. The defending unit was the America
German Propaganda Poster
German Propaganda Poster
n 99th division. They were outnumbered 8 to 1 but were able to pull off a miracle of 18 casualties per soldier. Eventually this led operation Stosser. This was a plan to air drop paratroopers behind American lines in the High Fens area. The operation was led by General Oberst Friedrich August Freiherr von der Heydte. Although the plan seemed promising it was a desperate measure and the air drop proved to be useless.

At the same time as all this the attack in the center was called the Battle of St. Vith. Originally the U.S.A defense of this region was successful and General Bruce C. Clarke was proving to be a fine General. However on Dec 23, 1944 the Americans were forced to retreat. However something positive came later that day as the Allied air force was active again due to improved weather conditions. With this boost the Germans advance was eventually stopped at Meuse River on Dec 24, 1944. The 2nd armored division of the Allies was able to cut off the 2nd Panzer division at Meuse. They were slowly choking the division and eventually the Germans were unable to continue their offensive. On January 7th, 1945 Hitler said he would remove Panzers from the Ardennes. Nonetheless the fighting continued for 3 more weeks and St. Vith was recaptured January 23rd, 1945.






In The End




At the end of the Ardennes offensive or Battle of the Bulge the Americans casualty numbers were up in the air. Eventually the number was put at a total of 80,987 American casualties. This made the battle one of the bloodiest battles the U.S.A. had experienced in all of World War II.
American Soldiers "kickin back"
American Soldiers "kickin back"
The British had significantly less casualties due to their lack of assistance during the battle. Their casualty numbers were at a diminutive 1,400 men. Even though American casualties seemed to be costly the Germans had lost much more. Most importantly their famous Luftwaffe had been shattered and all German reserves were depleted. The weakened Germans made for a positive allied push on the western front in early February 1945. German forces were pushed back as far as the Siegfried line. The battle took its toll on Allied troops and General Eisenhower was short troops, but 2,000 African Americans were able to step up. This was a very significant moment as this was the first step towards a “colourful” U.S.A.










Resources




"Battle of the Bulge." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 Dec. 2012. Web. 14 June 2012