The Battle of the Bulge was a battle of Allied Powers against Nazi Germany that took place during World War II. The battle took place between middle of December 1944 to middle of January 1945.
Until the end of 1944 the Allies had been able to recapture France and Belgium from Germany. However, the Allied forces were stopped. There were few reasons why they were stopped:
- The Allies had very long supply lines (routes that got food and weapons to the troops).
- The Allies were unable to cross the river Rhine.
- Bloody battles in the Ardennes forests. In those battles the American infantry suffered many losses.
- Winter weather meant that Allied airplanes could not help the soldiers on the ground.
Adolf Hitler’s plan was to push the Allied forces back from the Ardennes forests, recapture the port of Antwerp and prove that Germany would not surrender. As a result of this step, he expected the Allies to end the war with Germany so that Germany could focus on stopping the Soviets from the Eastern Front. The plan did not work. The Soviet Union forces almost reached Berlin and the Third Reich was about to collapse. Hitler gathered his last good soldiers to mount one last attack (250,000 soldiers and 1,000 tanks). He did it although his German generals did not agree with this plan of attack.
The Allies did not see the Germans coming. They were surprised and suffered many losses, especially because the Allies commanders did not believe that the German could attack with big forces (29 divisions). The Germans attacked on 16 December. On 17 December, the German forces massacred Allies forces near the city Malmedy. An armoured unit of the Waffen SS under the command of Joachim Peiper attacked American military convoy. They captured its soldiers and took them to a close field. The German shot the Americans and 86 of them were killed. Peiper was released by the Allies in 1956 and was murdered in his house in Paris in 1976. The soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division were besieged by the Germans at the important cross-road Bastogne. In brave battle they managed to keep Bastogne in Allies’ hands. The Wermacht managed to arrive 25 kilometers east to the city Namir.
Despite the big surprise, the Wermacht was not the same army from 1940. They did not have a lot of fuel and had planned to capture the Allies’ fuel to keep going. After the weather improved, Allied planes bombed the Wermacht columns pushing the Germans back slowly and on 16 January 1945 their outlet lines.
The Allies and the Germans did not gain or lose any land. Because the Allies had a much larger army, they could make up their losses, but for the Germans they could not replace what they had lost. It was their last major attempt to gain ground.
interesting tank battle ( Military Channel ) Source Wikipedia