The Battle Of The Bulge

This Day In History reminds me of the fact that today 61 years ago The Battle Of The Bulge started.



December 16, 1944

With the Anglo-Americans closing in on Germany from the west and the Soviets
approaching from the east, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler orders a massive attack
against the western Allies by three German armies.The German counterattack out
of the densely wooded Ardennes region of Belgium took the Allies entirely by
surprise, and the experienced German troops wrought havoc on the American line,
creating a triangular "bulge" 60 miles deep and 50 miles wide along the Allied
front. Conditions of fog and mist prevented the unleashing of Allied air
superiority, and for several days Hitler's desperate gamble seemed to be paying
off. However, unlike the French in 1940, the embattled Americans kept up a
fierce resistance even after their lines of communication had been broken,
buying time for a three-point counteroffensive led by British General Bernard
Montgomery and American generals Omar Bradley and George Patton.Fighting was
particularly fierce at the town of Bastogne, where the 101st Airborne Division
and part of the 10th Armored Division were encircled by German forces within the
bulge. On December 22, the German commander besieging the town demanded that the
Americans surrender or face annihilation. U.S. Major General Anthony McAuliffe
prepared a typed reply that read simply:To the German Commander:Nuts!From the
American CommanderThe Americans who delivered the message explained to the
perplexed Germans that the one-word reply was translatable as "Go to hell!"
Heavy fighting continued at Bastogne, but the 101st held on. On December 23, the
skies finally cleared over the battle areas, and the Allied air forces inflicted
heavy damage on German tanks and transport, which were jammed solidly along the
main roads. On December 26, Bastogne was relieved by elements of General
Patton's 3rd Army. A major Allied counteroffensive began at the end of December,
and by January 21 the Germans had been pushed back to their original
line.Germany's last major offensive of the war had cost them 120,000 men, 1,600
planes, and 700 tanks. The Allies suffered some 80,000 killed, wounded, or
missing in action, with all but 5,000 of these casualties being American. It was
the heaviest single battle toll in U.S. history.

18:02 Gepost door Lexman | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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