Come visit us at The Museum of Military Memorabilia. Our Naples Municipal Airport location displays a just a fraction of the artifacts we have available. Here are some of our current showcases which highlight WWII Aviation.


2012 marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Naples Airport as a WWII Army Air Forces Training Base.


Battle of the Bulge

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American soldiers of the 290th Infantry Regiment 75th Division photographed in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge. {Amonines, Belgium 4 January 1945}
Date 16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945
Location The Ardennes, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany
Result Allied victory
Participants
 United States  United Kingdom  Canada  Free French Belgium Free Belgian Forces Luxembourg Luxembourgish resistance  Nazi Germany
Commanders and leaders
United States Dwight D. EisenhowerUnited States Omar N. Bradley (12th U.S. Army Group) United States Courtney Hodges (1st U.S. Army) United States George S. Patton (3rd U.S Army) United Kingdom Bernard Montgomery Nazi Germany Adolf HitlerNazi Germany Walter Model Nazi Germany Gerd von Rundstedt Nazi Germany Hasso von Manteuffel Nazi Germany Sepp Dietrich Nazi Germany Erich Brandenberger
Strength
840,000+ men,1,300 medium tanks, plus tank destroyers, 394 artillery guns 200,000 – 500,000 men  1,800 tanks 1,900 artillery guns and Nebelwerfers
Casualties and losses
United States American: 89,500 (19,000 killed, 47,500 wounded, 23,000 captured or missing) ~800 tanksUnited Kingdom British: 1,408 (200 killed, 1,200 wounded or missing) 67,200 – 100,000 killed, missing/captured, or wounded ~600 tanks and assault guns
approximately 3,000 civilians killed

Map showing the swelling of “the Bulge” as the German offensive progressed during 16–25 December 1944

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.

Background

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:

  1. The Allies had very long supply lines (routes that got food and weapons to the troops).
  2. The Allies were unable to cross the river Rhine.
  3. Bloody battles in the Ardennes forests. In those battles the American infantry suffered many losses.
  4. Winter weather meant that Allied airplanes could not help the soldiers on the ground.

Hitler’s plan 

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.

Peter Thomas story

The battle

German 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.

Allies’ counterattack

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.

Aftermath

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

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