I am a retired career artillery officer of the Belgian Army and witness I do private and customized tours in and around Bastogne and the entire area of the Battle of the Bulge. I also lead groups and battle rides. My expertise is the result of several factors: my own memories and study of the battle, a lonf stay in the area still impregnated with the battle,countless contacts with the veterans and a strong military background. I booked a three day tour with Henri.
By that morning, we had seized the airport. He was asleep in his sleeping bag. No one fired on me — every single one of them was dead. We were moved to a nearby compound, and the next morning, after interrogations, they decided to take us to Baghdad. Now 92, he lives in Bethesda, Maryland. See all 35 reviews.
Babe doctor let lyric play. What happened to Baracuda after WW2?
While the German command did not reach its goals, the Ardennes operation inflicted heavy losses and set back the Allied invasion of Germany by several weeks. German Sherman battle of the bulge supplies were precarious—those materials and supplies that could not be directly transported Jacking off increase penis size rail had to be horse-drawn to conserve fuel, and the mechanized and panzer divisions would depend heavily on captured fuel. In foreground a platoon leader indicates the target to a rifleman by actually firing on the target. Zaloga notes that the Panther was full of problems from the start. The disputes between Montgomery and Bradley were well known, and Hitler hoped he could exploit this disunity. Model and von Rundstedt both believed aiming for Antwerp was too ambitious, given Germany's scarce resources in late Schnellgruppe Knittel was forced to disengage from the heights around Stavelot. Moreover, the sole corridor that was open to the southeast was threatened and it had been sporadically hhe as the front shifted, and there was expectation that it would be completely closed sooner than later, given the strong likelihood that the town would soon be surrounded. I found the northern flank of the bulge was very disorganized. Adolf Hitler personally selected for the counter-offensive on the northern bule of the western front the best troops available and officers he trusted. The trusted voice in sports straight to your inbox.
Army Group B :.
- In this book Steven J Zaloga offers a fascinating comparison of the combat performance of the two most important tanks involved in the crucial fighting of , the Sherman and the Panther.
- To bring you the best content on our sites and applications, Meredith partners with third party advertisers to serve digital ads, including personalized digital ads.
- The 76 W stands for the 76mm gun version with the T23 turret and the "Wet" ammo storage bins built into the floor surrounded by a jacket filled with an anti-freeze solution.
- Army Group B :.
Staying Sharp empowers you to take control of your brain health as you age. Try it today! It was January, and it was cold. Our unit had already had a tank knocked out by a German 88 gun. Now we were in a new M4 Sherman with heavier armor, leading a tank column east from the Bastogne area toward Germany.
The commander, Bill Zalsman, was 6 foot 4, too big to be a tank commander, but he was good at it. The order of the day for our main gun was high-explosive rounds, not armor piercing. We hadn't seen a German tank in a long time.
I was in the turret; I was the loader of the gun and the guarder of the radio. We came around a curve, and from a couple of hundred yards downhill, an 88 at a barricade hit us square on.
That round should have penetrated the tank and killed us, but the new armor on the tank's front slope deflected it. We were so excited, we started shouting.
The tank stopped. Zalsman moved the turret toward where the firing had come from. Moving a tank turret is an agonizing thing; it seemed to take forever.
He called for a high-explosive round, which I loaded, and he told the gunner to stop and fire. I watched through my periscope as our shot struck the 88 gun and upended it. The adrenaline was running. We were yelling as if we had won the big game — and because we weren't dead. We approached carefully, but it was clear we'd be getting no more fire from there. Zalsman had done a great job.
That was a remarkable shot. After the war, Emerson worked for federal agencies and the United Nations, from which he retired in Now 92, he lives in Bethesda, Maryland. The nd Regimental Combat Team was formed in , mostly of nisei—second-generation Japanese Americans. For its size and length of service, the nd was the most highly decorated Army unit in the history of American warfare: A force of about 10, was awarded more than 4, Purple Hearts, seven Presidential Unit citations and 21 Medals of Honor.
Private Lawson Sakai , 20, was a squad leader with the nd in Europe. Whatever the mission was, we were to continue and defeat the enemy. Keep going until you win or lose it all. I was scared all the time. We were wet on the outside from the rain, and wet on the inside from the cold sweat. I never knew when I was going to step on a land mine or catch a bullet or get hit by shrapnel. The Germans were using 88 mm antiaircraft guns as artillery, shooting them directly at us.
The rounds shattered the trees, and large chunks of trees and branches fell on us. The Germans were heavily fortified. We were going up; they were firing down. A few days into that battle, on October 28 or so, the rain stopped and fog came in.
On that day, there was really severe shrapnel, and I finally got taken out. I was lying down, and a big, jagged piece of metal came down in the middle of my back, went through it and around to my ribs. I thought I was dead. We got many awards and citations—but still, all those casualties.
The mission was accomplished, but at a huge cost. After the war, Sakai attended what was then George Pepperdine College, in Los Angeles, and owned and operated a travel agency. He is president of the Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans. Charles Young middle row, third from left poses with some pals in Guam, about a month after Okinawa. More than , U.
Estimates of Japanese dead range from 77, to , Some , native Okinawans were also killed. At sunset, the aircraft returned to their ships and our big guns quit.
A tense stillness gripped our quarters belowdecks. Guys were quietly packing their gear, oiling their rifles, checking ammunition. A few wrote letters — for some, the final message home. On April 1, we finally went ashore. As we made our way up the beach, all the enemy positions had been stripped of their weapons. Where are the Japanese? Several soldiers joked that we had invaded the wrong island. For weeks we followed abandoned campsites, pursuing an enemy that always seemed "just up ahead. We had just moved out onto a bare rock yards from the crest when mortar shells and hand grenades began exploding everywhere.
We encountered the heaviest fighting in the southern part of the island, and it lasted for weeks. That's when the real weight of combat hit me. It wasn't even the fear of getting killed but the sight of the dead all around us, both American and Japanese.
With the Japanese dead, we could put some mud or dirt over them so the bodies were covered. But we were under strict orders not to touch American corpses until the graves registration men came by later to gather the Americans' dog tags and see exactly where they were killed. That took days sometimes. The stench was just awful. During our last skirmish, I worked my way up a slope to the top of a cave, which was still hot because we had sent flamethrowers in to burn the Japanese troops out.
No one fired on me — every single one of them was dead. Even the soldiers on stretchers in another cave used as a hospital had been euthanized. At an opening in the center of the plateau, I followed a stone staircase to the enemy command cave, which overlooked the entire bay.
There on the floor of fine white sand was the Japanese general, beheaded by an aide, who had then killed himself in a ritual suicide. You expect to see such things in war, but I was young and this was my first battle, and nothing can fully prepare you for how horrific and overwhelming it is.
Young later graduated from Columbia U. Now 90, he lives in Madison, Connecticut. X Corps in the Chosin Reservoir. Over 17 days, U. In the early afternoon of December 4, Lieutenant Tom Hudner , 26, was part of a six-aircraft flight supporting the Marines from the air; he served as wingman to Ensign Jesse Brown , the first African American Navy pilot. When Brown's Corsair fighter-bomber was hit by small-arms fire and he was forced to crash-land on the slope of a mountain behind enemy lines, Hudner had to make a decision.
I figured the fire would consume the airplane, and announced I was going in after him. There was absolute silence on the radio. I knew I could be punished. It's bad enough to lose one pilot, let alone two. But Jesse was a friend, not just mine but everybody's in the squadron.
So I decided to crash-land near his airplane. I know he would have done the same thing for me. My thinking was, It's just a matter of pulling him out of the cockpit, getting him away from the plane and waiting for the rescue helicopter. It was bitter cold when I got out of my plane. And it was late afternoon, so it was becoming colder. I had sprained my back in the crash, but it didn't slow me.
I knew there was a possibility of Chinese troops arriving and that things could go to hell at any time. When I got to the plane, Jesse was almost frozen. His lips were blue, and he was shivering. The fuselage had crushed his leg and pinned his knee to his instrument panel.
I grabbed him by the jacket and tried pulling him out, but he was trapped. And yet he was so calm. I radioed up to the helicopter to go get an ax. By the time it reached us, the sun was setting. I grabbed the ax and started swinging at the fuselage, but it wouldn't budge.
I couldn't free him, and the helicopter pilot didn't have instruments to fly at night. I promised Jesse we'd be back, but his head was slumped forward, and he'd stopped breathing.
Army's official history volume "Riviera to the Rhine" makes the following note on U. Write a customer review. Mr Zaloga has crafted this book very effectively The neighboring 1st SS Panzer Division only made modest gains before getting cut off at Le Gleize and having to retreat leaving almost all its tanks behind. For the offensive to be successful, four criteria were deemed critical: the attack had to be a complete surprise; the weather conditions had to be poor to neutralize Allied air superiority and the damage it could inflict on the German offensive and its supply lines;  the progress had to be rapid—the Meuse River, halfway to Antwerp, had to be reached by day 4; and Allied fuel supplies would have to be captured intact along the way because the combined Wehrmacht forces were short on fuel. The Germans had outrun their supply lines, and shortages of fuel and ammunition were becoming critical.
Sherman battle of the bulge. Navigation menu
After the war ended, this assessment was generally viewed as unrealistic, given Allied air superiority throughout Europe and their ability to continually disrupt German offensive operations.
Given the reduced manpower of their land forces at the time, the Germans believed the best way to seize the initiative would be to attack in the West against the smaller Allied forces rather than against the vast Soviet armies. Even the encirclement and destruction of multiple Soviet armies, as in , would still have left the Soviets with a numerical superiority. Hitler's plan called for a Blitzkrieg attack through the weakly defended Ardennes, mirroring the successful German offensive there during the Battle of France in —aimed at splitting the armies along the U.
The disputes between Montgomery and Bradley were well known, and Hitler hoped he could exploit this disunity. If the attack were to succeed in capturing Antwerp, four complete armies would be trapped without supplies behind German lines. Several senior German military officers, including Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model and Gerd von Rundstedt , expressed concern as to whether the goals of the offensive could be realized. Model and von Rundstedt both believed aiming for Antwerp was too ambitious, given Germany's scarce resources in late At the same time, they felt that maintaining a purely defensive posture as had been the case since Normandy would only delay defeat, not avert it.
The two field marshals combined their plans to present a joint "small solution" to Hitler. Rundstedt later testified that while he recognized the merit of Hitler's operational plan, he saw from the very first that "all, absolutely all conditions for the possible success of such an offensive were lacking.
In the west supply problems began significantly to impede Allied operations, even though the opening of the port of Antwerp in late November improved the situation somewhat.
The positions of the Allied armies stretched from southern France all the way north to the Netherlands. German planning for the counteroffensive rested on the premise that a successful strike against thinly manned stretches of the line would halt Allied advances on the entire Western Front. The Wehrmacht ' s code name for the offensive was Unternehmen [g] Wacht am Rhein "Operation Watch on the Rhine" , after the German patriotic hymn Die Wacht am Rhein , a name that deceptively implied the Germans would be adopting a defensive posture along the Western Front.
The Germans also referred to it as "Ardennenoffensive" Ardennes Offensive and Rundstedt-Offensive, both names being generally used nowadays in modern Germany. The battle was militarily defined by the Allies as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, which included the German drive and the American effort to contain and later defeat it.
The phrase Battle of the Bulge was coined by contemporary press to describe the way the Allied front line bulged inward on wartime news maps. While the Ardennes Counteroffensive is the correct term in Allied military language, the official Ardennes-Alsace campaign reached beyond the Ardennes battle region, and the most popular description in English speaking countries remains simply the Battle of the Bulge.
The OKW decided by mid-September, at Hitler's insistence, that the offensive would be mounted in the Ardennes, as was done in In German forces had passed through the Ardennes in three days before engaging the enemy, but the plan called for battle in the forest itself. The main forces were to advance westward to the Meuse River, then turn northwest for Antwerp and Brussels.
The close terrain of the Ardennes would make rapid movement difficult, though open ground beyond the Meuse offered the prospect of a successful dash to the coast. Four armies were selected for the operation. Adolf Hitler personally selected for the counter-offensive on the northern shoulder of the western front the best troops available and officers he trusted. They were given priority for supply and equipment and assigned the shortest route to the primary objective of the offensive, Antwerp,  : 1—64 starting from the northernmost point on the intended battlefront, nearest the important road network hub of Monschau.
The Seventh Army , under General Erich Brandenberger , was assigned to the southernmost sector, near the Luxembourgish city of Echternach , with the task of protecting the flank. This Army was made up of only four infantry divisions, with no large-scale armored formations to use as a spearhead unit. As a result, they made little progress throughout the battle. Recently brought back up to strength and re-equipped after heavy fighting during Operation Market Garden, it was located on the far north of the Ardennes battlefield and tasked with holding U.
For the offensive to be successful, four criteria were deemed critical: the attack had to be a complete surprise; the weather conditions had to be poor to neutralize Allied air superiority and the damage it could inflict on the German offensive and its supply lines;  the progress had to be rapid—the Meuse River, halfway to Antwerp, had to be reached by day 4; and Allied fuel supplies would have to be captured intact along the way because the combined Wehrmacht forces were short on fuel.
The General Staff estimated they only had enough fuel to cover one-third to one-half of the ground to Antwerp in heavy combat conditions. The plan originally called for just under 45 divisions, including a dozen panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions forming the armored spearhead and various infantry units to form a defensive line as the battle unfolded. By this time the German Army suffered from an acute manpower shortage, and the force had been reduced to around 30 divisions.
Although it retained most of its armor, there were not enough infantry units because of the defensive needs in the East. These 30 newly rebuilt divisions used some of the last reserves of the German Army.
Among them were Volksgrenadier "People's Grenadier" units formed from a mix of battle-hardened veterans and recruits formerly regarded as too young, too old or too frail to fight. Training time, equipment and supplies were inadequate during the preparations.
German fuel supplies were precarious—those materials and supplies that could not be directly transported by rail had to be horse-drawn to conserve fuel, and the mechanized and panzer divisions would depend heavily on captured fuel.
As a result, the start of the offensive was delayed from 27 November to 16 December. Before the offensive the Allies were virtually blind to German troop movement. During the liberation of France, the extensive network of the French resistance had provided valuable intelligence about German dispositions. Once they reached the German border, this source dried up. In France, orders had been relayed within the German army using radio messages enciphered by the Enigma machine , and these could be picked up and decrypted by Allied code-breakers headquartered at Bletchley Park , to give the intelligence known as Ultra.
In Germany such orders were typically transmitted using telephone and teleprinter , and a special radio silence order was imposed on all matters concerning the upcoming offensive. The foggy autumn weather also prevented Allied reconnaissance aircraft from correctly assessing the ground situation. German units assembling in the area were even issued charcoal instead of wood for cooking fires to cut down on smoke and reduce chances of Allied observers deducing a troop buildup was underway.
For these reasons Allied High Command considered the Ardennes a quiet sector, relying on assessments from their intelligence services that the Germans were unable to launch any major offensive operations this late in the war. What little intelligence they had led the Allies to believe precisely what the Germans wanted them to believe-—that preparations were being carried out only for defensive, not offensive, operations.
The Allies relied too much on Ultra, not human reconnaissance. This was done by increasing the number of flak Fl ug a bwehr k anonen, i. The Allies at this point thought the information was of no importance. All of this meant that the attack, when it came, completely surprised the Allied forces.
Remarkably, the U. VIII Corps area. These predictions were largely dismissed by the U. Bradley's response was succinct: "Let them come. O'Donnell writes that on 8 December U. The next day GIs who relieved the Rangers reported a considerable movement of German troops inside the Ardennes in the enemy's rear, but that no one in the chain of command connected the dots.
Because the Ardennes was considered a quiet sector, considerations of economy of force led it to be used as a training ground for new units and a rest area for units that had seen hard fighting.
The U. Two major special operations were planned for the offensive. These soldiers were to be dressed in American and British uniforms and wear dog tags taken from corpses and prisoners of war. Their job was to go behind American lines and change signposts, misdirect traffic, generally cause disruption and seize bridges across the Meuse River. By late November another ambitious special operation was added: Col.
German intelligence had set 20 December as the expected date for the start of the upcoming Soviet offensive , aimed at crushing what was left of German resistance on the Eastern Front and thereby opening the way to Berlin. It was hoped that Soviet leader Stalin would delay the start of the operation once the German assault in the Ardennes had begun and wait for the outcome before continuing. After the 20 July attempt on Hitler's life, and the close advance of the Red Army which would seize the site on 27 January , Hitler and his staff had been forced to abandon the Wolfsschanze headquarters in East Prussia , in which they had coordinated much of the fighting on the Eastern Front.
Believing in omens and the successes of his early war campaigns that had been planned at Kransberg, Hitler had chosen the site from which he had overseen the successful campaign against France and the Low Countries. Von Rundstedt set up his operational headquarters near Limburg , close enough for the generals and Panzer Corps commanders who were to lead the attack to visit Adlerhorst on 11 December, traveling there in an SS-operated bus convoy. With the castle acting as overflow accommodation, the main party was settled into the Adlerhorst's Haus 2 command bunker, including Gen.
Alfred Jodl , Gen. Wilhelm Keitel , Gen. Blumentritt , von Manteuffel and SS Gen. Joseph "Sepp" Dietrich. Model told him it was necessary to make the attempt: "It must be done because this offensive is the last chance to conclude the war favorably. The Americans' initial impression was that this was the anticipated, localized counterattack resulting from the Allies' recent attack in the Wahlerscheid sector to the north, where the 2nd Division had knocked a sizable dent in the Siegfried Line.
Heavy snowstorms engulfed parts of the Ardennes area. While having the effect of keeping the Allied aircraft grounded, the weather also proved troublesome for the Germans because poor road conditions hampered their advance. Poor traffic control led to massive traffic jams and fuel shortages in forward units. Vith , both road junctions of great strategic importance.
In the south, Brandenberger's Seventh Army pushed towards Luxembourg in its efforts to secure the flank from Allied attacks. German Forces. While the Siege of Bastogne is often credited as the central point where the German offensive was stopped,  the battle for Elsenborn Ridge was actually the decisive component of the Battle of the Bulge, stopping the advance of the best equipped armored units of the German army and forcing them to reroute their troops to unfavorable alternative routes that considerably slowed their advance.
The 6th Panzer Army was given priority for supply and equipment and was assigned the shortest route to the ultimate objective of the offensive, Antwerp.
Its newest and most powerful tank, the Tiger II heavy tank, consumed 3. The attacks by the Sixth Panzer Army's infantry units in the north fared badly because of unexpectedly fierce resistance by the U. Kampfgruppe Peiper, at the head of the Sepp Dietrich's Sixth Panzer Army, had been designated to take the Losheim-Losheimergraben road, a key route through the Losheim Gap , but it was closed by two collapsed overpasses that German engineers failed to repair during the first day.
To preserve the quantity of armor available, the infantry of the 9th Fallschirmjaeger Regiment, 3rd Fallschirmjaeger Division , had been ordered to clear the village first.
A single man Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon from the 99th Infantry Division along with four Forward Air Controllers held up the battalion of about German paratroopers until sunset, about , causing 92 casualties among the Germans. This created a bottleneck in the German advance.
Kampfgruppe Peiper did not begin his advance until nearly , more than 16 hours behind schedule and didn't reach Bucholz Station until the early morning of 17 December. Their intention was to control the twin villages of Rocherath-Krinkelt which would clear a path to the high ground of Elsenborn Ridge. Occupation of this dominating terrain would allow control of the roads to the south and west and ensure supply to Kampfgruppe Peiper's armored task force. At on 17 December, Kampfgruppe Peiper was near the hamlet of Baugnez , on the height halfway between the town of Malmedy and Ligneuville, when they encountered elements of the th Field Artillery Observation Battalion , U.
They were disarmed and, with some other Americans captured earlier approximately men , sent to stand in a field near the crossroads under light guard. The SS troopers suddenly opened fire on the prisoners. As soon as the firing began, the prisoners panicked.
Most were shot where they stood, though some managed to flee. Accounts of the killing vary, but at least 84 of the POWs were murdered. A few survived, and news of the killings of prisoners of war spread through Allied lines. Driving to the south-east of Elsenborn, Kampfgruppe Peiper entered Honsfeld, where they encountered one of the 99th Division's rest centers, clogged with confused American troops. They quickly captured portions of the 3rd Battalion of the th Infantry Regiment. They destroyed a number of American armored units and vehicles, and took several dozen prisoners who were subsequently murdered.
To the north, the th Volksgrenadier Division attempted to break through the defending line of the U. The 12th SS Panzer Division , reinforced by additional infantry Panzergrenadier and Volksgrenadier divisions, took the key road junction at Losheimergraben just north of Lanzerath and attacked the twin villages of Rocherath and Krinkelt.
Another, smaller massacre was committed in Wereth , Belgium, approximately 6. Eleven black American soldiers were tortured after surrendering and then shot by men of the 1st SS Panzer Division belonging to Schnellgruppe Knittel.
The perpetrators were never punished for this crime and recent research indicates that men from Third Company of the Reconnaissance Battalion were responsible. By the evening the spearhead had pushed north to engage the U.
Peiper's forces were already behind his timetable because of the stiff American resistance and because when the Americans fell back, their engineers blew up bridges and emptied fuel dumps. Peiper's unit was delayed and his vehicles denied critically needed fuel. They took 36 hours to advance from the Eifel region to Stavelot, while the same advance required nine hours in Kampfgruppe Peiper attacked Stavelot on 18 December but was unable to capture the town before the Americans evacuated a large fuel depot.
Following this, 60 grenadiers advanced forward but were stopped by concentrated American defensive fire. After a fierce tank battle the next day, the Germans finally entered the town when U. Capitalizing on his success and not wanting to lose more time, Peiper rushed an advance group toward the vital bridge at Trois-Ponts , leaving the bulk of his strength in Stavelot.
When they reached it at on 18 December, retreating U. At Cheneux, the advance guard was attacked by American fighter-bombers, destroying two tanks and five halftracks, blocking the narrow road.
The group began moving again at dusk at and was able to return to its original route at around Of the two bridges remaining between Kampfgruppe Peiper and the Meuse, the bridge over the Lienne was blown by the Americans as the Germans approached. Peiper turned north and halted his forces in the woods between La Gleize and Stoumont. To Peiper's south, the advance of Kampfgruppe Hansen had stalled.
Knittel pressed forward towards La Gleize, and shortly afterward the Americans recaptured Stavelot. Peiper and Knittel both faced the prospect of being cut off.
He followed this with a Panzer attack, gaining the eastern edge of the town. An American tank battalion arrived but, after a two-hour tank battle, Peiper finally captured Stoumont at Knittel joined up with Peiper and reported the Americans had recaptured Stavelot to their east.
Assessing his own situation, he determined that his Kampfgruppe did not have sufficient fuel to cross the bridge west of Stoumont and continue his advance.
He maintained his lines west of Stoumont for a while, until the evening of 19 December when he withdrew them to the village edge. On the same evening the U. James Gavin arrived and deployed at La Gleize and along Peiper's planned route of advance.
German efforts to reinforce Peiper were unsuccessful. Kampfgruppe Hansen was still struggling against bad road conditions and stiff American resistance on the southern route.
Schnellgruppe Knittel was forced to disengage from the heights around Stavelot. Kampfgruppe Sandig, which had been ordered to take Stavelot, launched another attack without success.
Small units of the U. They failed and were forced to withdraw, and a number were captured, including battalion commander Maj.
Hal McCown. As he withdrew from Cheneux, American paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division engaged the Germans in fierce house-to-house fighting. The Americans shelled Kampfgruppe Peiper on 22 December, and although the Germans had run out of food and had virtually no fuel, they continued to fight. In La Gleize, Peiper set up defenses waiting for German relief.
When the relief force was unable to penetrate the Allied lines, he decided to break through the Allied lines and return to the German lines on 23 December. The men of the Kampfgruppe were forced to abandon their vehicles and heavy equipment, although most of the remaining troops were able to escape.
The US 99th Infantry Division, outnumbered five to one, inflicted casualties in the ratio of 18 to one. German losses were much higher. In the northern sector opposite the 99th, this included more than 4, deaths and the destruction of 60 tanks and big guns. Eisenhower wrote, " Army prevented the German forces from reaching the road network to their west. The objective was the " Baraque Michel " crossroads.
Von der Heydte was given only eight days to prepare prior to the assault. He was not allowed to use his own regiment because their movement might alert the Allies to the impending counterattack. Instead, he was provided with a Kampfgruppe of men. The II Parachute Corps was tasked with contributing men from each of its regiments.
In loyalty to their commander, men from von der Heydte's own unit, the 6th Parachute Regiment , went against orders and joined him.
The parachute drop was a complete failure. Von der Heydte ended up with a total of around troops. Too small and too weak to counter the Allies, they abandoned plans to take the crossroads and instead converted the mission to reconnaissance. With only enough ammunition for a single fight, they withdrew towards Germany and attacked the rear of the American lines.
Only about of his weary men finally reached the German rear. The Germans lacked the overwhelming strength that had been deployed in the north, but still possessed a marked numerical and material superiority over the very thinly spread 28th and th divisions.
They succeeded in surrounding two largely intact regiments nd and rd of the th Division in a pincer movement and forced their surrender, a tribute to the way Manteuffel's new tactics had been applied.
The official U. Army history states: "At least seven thousand [men] were lost here and the figure probably is closer to eight or nine thousand. The amount lost in arms and equipment, of course, was very substantial.
The Schnee Eifel battle, therefore, represents the most serious reverse suffered by American arms during the operations of —45 in the European theater. In the center, the town of St. Vith, a vital road junction, presented the main challenge for both von Manteuffel's and Dietrich's forces. The defenders, led by the 7th Armored Division , included the remaining regiment of the th U.
Infantry Division, with elements of the 9th Armored Division and 28th U. Infantry Division. These units, which operated under the command of Generals Robert W. Hasbrouck 7th Armored and Alan W. Jones th Infantry , successfully resisted the German attacks, significantly slowing the German advance.
At Montgomery's orders, St. Vith was evacuated on 21 December; U. By 23 December, as the Germans shattered their flanks, the defenders' position became untenable and U. Since the German plan called for the capture of St. Vith by on 17 December, the prolonged action in and around it dealt a major setback to their timetable. To protect the river crossings on the Meuse at Givet, Dinant and Namur, Montgomery ordered those few units available to hold the bridges on 19 December. This led to a hastily assembled force including rear-echelon troops, military police and Army Air Force personnel.
The British 29th Armoured Brigade of British 11th Armoured Division , which had turned in its tanks for re-equipping, was told to take back their tanks and head to the area. British XXX Corps was significantly reinforced for this effort.
Unlike the German forces on the northern and southern shoulders who were experiencing great difficulties, the German advance in the center gained considerable ground. The Ourthe River was passed at Ourtheville on 21 December. Lack of fuel held up the advance for one day, but on 23 December the offensive was resumed towards the two small towns of Hargimont and Marche-en-Famenne.
Hargimont was captured the same day, but Marche-en-Famenne was strongly defended by the American 84th Division. Although advancing only in a narrow corridor, 2nd Panzer Division was still making rapid headway, leading to jubilation in Berlin. The narrow corridor caused considerable difficulties, as constant flanking attacks threatened the division. On 24 December, German forces made their furthest penetration west.
A hastily assembled Allied blocking force on the east side of the river prevented the German probing forces from approaching the Dinant bridge. By late Christmas Eve the advance in this sector was stopped, as Allied forces threatened the narrow corridor held by the 2nd Panzer Division. For Operation Greif " Griffin " , Otto Skorzeny successfully infiltrated a small part of his battalion of English-speaking Germans disguised in American uniforms behind the Allied lines.
Although they failed to take the vital bridges over the Meuse, their presence caused confusion out of all proportion to their military activities, and rumors spread quickly. Checkpoints were set up all over the Allied rear, greatly slowing the movement of soldiers and equipment. American MPs at these checkpoints grilled troops on things that every American was expected to know, like the identity of Mickey Mouse 's girlfriend, baseball scores, or the capital of a particular U.
General Omar Bradley was briefly detained when he correctly identified Springfield as the capital of Illinois because the American MP who questioned him mistakenly believed the capital was Chicago. The tightened security nonetheless made things very hard for the German infiltrators, and a number of them were captured. Even during interrogation, they continued their goal of spreading disinformation ; when asked about their mission, some of them claimed they had been told to go to Paris to either kill or capture General Dwight Eisenhower.
Because Skorzeny's men were captured in American uniforms, they were executed as spies. Skorzeny was tried by an American military tribunal in at the Dachau Trials for allegedly violating the laws of war stemming from his leadership of Operation Greif, but was acquitted. He later moved to Spain and South America.
These agents were tasked with using an existing Nazi intelligence network to bribe rail and port workers to disrupt Allied supply operations. The operation was a failure. Further south on Manteuffel's front, the main thrust was delivered by all attacking divisions crossing the River Our , then increasing the pressure on the key road centers of St.
Vith and Bastogne. The more experienced US 28th Infantry Division put up a much more dogged defense than the inexperienced soldiers of the th Infantry Division. The th Infantry Regiment the most northerly of the 28th Division's regiments , holding a continuous front east of the Our, kept German troops from seizing and using the Our River bridges around Ouren for two days, before withdrawing progressively westwards. The th and th Regiments of the 28th Division fared worse, as they were spread so thinly that their positions were easily bypassed.
Both offered stubborn resistance in the face of superior forces and threw the German schedule off by several days. Panzer columns took the outlying villages and widely separated strong points in bitter fighting, and advanced to points near Bastogne within four days. The struggle for the villages and American strong points, plus transport confusion on the German side, slowed the attack sufficiently to allow the st Airborne Division reinforced by elements from the 9th and 10th Armored Divisions to reach Bastogne by truck on the morning of 19 December.
The fierce defense of Bastogne, in which American paratroopers particularly distinguished themselves, made it impossible for the Germans to take the town with its important road junctions. The panzer columns swung past on either side, cutting off Bastogne on 20 December but failing to secure the vital crossroads. In the extreme south, Brandenberger's three infantry divisions were checked by divisions of the U.
VIII Corps after an advance of 6. Eisenhower and his principal commanders realized by 17 December that the fighting in the Ardennes was a major offensive and not a local counterattack, and they ordered vast reinforcements to the area.
Within a week , troops had been sent. General Gavin of the 82nd Airborne Division arrived on the scene first and ordered the st to hold Bastogne while the 82nd would take the more difficult task of facing the SS Panzer Divisions; it was also thrown into the battle north of the bulge, near Elsenborn Ridge.
Senior Allied commanders met in a bunker in Verdun on 19 December. By this time, the town of Bastogne and its network of 11 hard-topped roads leading through the widely forested mountainous terrain with deep river valleys and boggy mud of the Ardennes region was under severe threat.
Moreover, the sole corridor that was open to the southeast was threatened and it had been sporadically closed as the front shifted, and there was expectation that it would be completely closed sooner than later, given the strong likelihood that the town would soon be surrounded. Eisenhower, realizing that the Allies could destroy German forces much more easily when they were out in the open and on the offensive than if they were on the defensive, told his generals, "The present situation is to be regarded as one of opportunity for us and not of disaster.
There will be only cheerful faces at this table. Then, we'll really cut 'em off and chew 'em up. To the disbelief of the other generals present, Patton replied that he could attack with two divisions within 48 hours. Unknown to the other officers present, before he left Patton had ordered his staff to prepare three contingency plans for a northward turn in at least corps strength. By the time Eisenhower asked him how long it would take, the movement was already underway. Armies from Gen.
Conditions inside the perimeter were tough—most of the medical supplies and medical personnel had been captured. Food was scarce, and by 22 December artillery ammunition was restricted to 10 rounds per gun per day. The weather cleared the next day and supplies primarily ammunition were dropped over four of the next five days.
Despite determined German attacks the perimeter held. The German commander, Generalleutnant Lt. Anthony McAuliffe , acting commander of the st, was told of the Nazi demand to surrender, in frustration he responded, "Nuts! One officer, Lt. Harry Kinnard , noted that McAuliffe's initial reply would be "tough to beat. Both 2nd Panzer and Panzer-Lehr division moved forward from Bastogne after 21 December, leaving only Panzer-Lehr division's st Regiment to assist the 26th Volksgrenadier-Division in attempting to capture the crossroads.
Because it lacked sufficient troops and those of the 26th VG Division were near exhaustion, the XLVII Panzerkorps concentrated its assault on several individual locations on the west side of the perimeter in sequence rather than launching one simultaneous attack on all sides. The assault, despite initial success by its tanks in penetrating the American line, was defeated and all the tanks destroyed.
On the following day of 26 December the spearhead of Gen. Patton's 4th Armored Division, supplemented by the 26th Yankee Infantry Division, broke through and opened a corridor to Bastogne. On 23 December the weather conditions started improving, allowing the Allied air forces to attack. They launched devastating bombing raids on the German supply points in their rear, and P Thunderbolts started attacking the German troops on the roads.
Allied air forces also helped the defenders of Bastogne, dropping much-needed supplies—medicine, food, blankets, and ammunition. A team of volunteer surgeons flew in by military glider and began operating in a tool room. By 24 December the German advance was effectively stalled short of the Meuse.
The Germans had outrun their supply lines, and shortages of fuel and ammunition were becoming critical. Up to this point the German losses had been light, notably in armor, with the exception of Peiper's losses. On the evening of 24 December, General Hasso von Manteuffel recommended to Hitler's Military Adjutant a halt to all offensive operations and a withdrawal back to the Westwall literally Western Rampart. Hitler rejected this. Disagreement and confusion at the Allied command prevented a strong response, throwing away the opportunity for a decisive action.
In the center, on Christmas Eve, the 2nd Armored Division attempted to attack and cut off the spearheads of the 2nd Panzer Division at the Meuse, while the units from the 4th Cavalry Group kept the 9th Panzer Division at Marche busy. As result, parts of the 2nd Panzer Division were cut off. The Panzer-Lehr division tried to relieve them, but was only partially successful, as the perimeter held.
For the next two days the perimeter was strengthened. On 26 and 27 December the trapped units of 2nd Panzer Division made two break-out attempts, again only with partial success, as major quantities of equipment fell into Allied hands.
Further Allied pressure out of Marche finally led the German command to the conclusion that no further offensive action towards the Meuse was possible. In the south, Patton's Third Army was battling to relieve Bastogne. On 1 January, in an attempt to keep the offensive going, the Germans launched two new operations.
At , the Luftwaffe launched Unternehmen Bodenplatte Operation Baseplate , a major campaign against Allied airfields in the Low Countries , which are nowadays called the Benelux States. Hundreds of planes attacked Allied airfields, destroying or severely damaging some aircraft. The Germans suffered heavy losses at an airfield named Y , losing 40 of their own planes while damaging only four American planes. While the Allies recovered from their losses within days, the operation left the Luftwaffe ineffective for the remainder of the war.
The weakened Seventh Army had, at Eisenhower's orders, sent troops, equipment, and supplies north to reinforce the American armies in the Ardennes, and the offensive left it in dire straits. With casualties mounting, and running short on replacements, tanks, ammunition, and supplies, Seventh Army was forced to withdraw to defensive positions on the south bank of the Moder River on 21 January. The German offensive drew to a close on 25 January.
In the bitter, desperate fighting of Operation Nordwind, VI Corps, which had borne the brunt of the fighting, suffered a total of 14, casualties. The total for Seventh Army for January was 11, While the German offensive had ground to a halt during January , they still controlled a dangerous salient in the Allied line. Patton's Third Army in the south, centered around Bastogne, would attack north, Montgomery's forces in the north would strike south, and the two forces planned to meet at Houffalize.
The temperature during that January was extremely low, which required weapons to be maintained and truck engines run every half-hour to prevent their oil from congealing. The offensive went forward regardless. Eisenhower wanted Montgomery to go on the counter offensive on 1 January, with the aim of meeting up with Patton's advancing Third Army and cutting off most of the attacking Germans, trapping them in a pocket. Montgomery, refusing to risk underprepared infantry in a snowstorm for a strategically unimportant area, did not launch the attack until 3 January, by which time substantial numbers of German troops had already managed to fall back successfully, but at the cost of losing most of their heavy equipment.
At the start of the offensive, the First and Third U. American progress in the south was also restricted to about a kilometer or a little over half a mile per day.
On 7 January Hitler agreed to withdraw all forces from the Ardennes, including the SS-Panzer divisions, thus ending all offensive operations. On January 14, Hitler granted Gerd von Rundstedt permission to carry out a fairly drastic retreat in the Ardennes region. Houffalize and the Bastogne front would be abandoned. Vith was recaptured by the Americans on 23 January, and the last German units participating in the offensive did not return to their start line until 25 January.
Winston Churchill , addressing the House of Commons following the Battle of the Bulge said, "This is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever-famous American victory. Infantrymen fire at German troops in the advance to relieve the surrounded paratroopers in Bastogne. Americans of the st Engineers near Wiltz , Luxembourg, January The plan and timing for the Ardennes attack sprang from the mind of Adolf Hitler.
He believed a critical fault line existed between the British and American military commands, and that a heavy blow on the Western Front would shatter this alliance. Planning for the "Watch on the Rhine" offensive emphasized secrecy and the commitment of overwhelming force. Due to the use of landline communications within Germany, motorized runners carrying orders, and draconian threats from Hitler, the timing and mass of the attack was not detected by ULTRA codebreakers and achieved complete surprise.
He entrusted them with carrying out his decisive counterattack. The leadership composition of the Sixth Panzer Division had a distinctly political nature. Despite their loyalty, none of the German field commanders entrusted with planning and executing the offensive believed it was possible to capture Antwerp.
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A Sherman tank at Chevaux - Picture of Bastogne Battle of the Bulge Guided Tours - TripAdvisor
It has been restored and can be seen in the main town square in Bastogne at the junction of the Rue de Neufchateau with the Rue Joseph-Renquin. The tank was named Barracuda by its crew. On 30th December the tank crew were ordered to attack the south flank of the 'Bulge' from a northerly position. What they did not realise was that they were attacking into a simultaneous German counter attack that was intended to.
The nearby villages of Lavasalle and Houmont were successfully liberated by Combat Command B of the 11th Armoured Division but they suffered significant casualties. Ameno, had become separated from the rest of their unit. They decided to move north to try and find them and headed towards the village of Renuamont, not realising that this was German held territory.
Notice the track extensions fitted to help the tank negotiate muddy and snow covered ground. Panzerkorps commanded by Col. Otto Ernst Remer. When the two tanks were discovered they came under concentrated fire. As 'Barracuda' tried to turn and escape through a field it became stuck in a snow covered spring fed pond. The tank and crew were now an easy static target. A German Panzer IV tank opened fire with its 75mm gun as well as a infantry man armed with a Panzerfaust.
The tank crew bailed out but Tank Commander Staff Sgt. Wallace Alexander was mortally wounded. He died several days later in captivity. Gunner Peterman and Laoder Herbert received medical treatment for their wounds. Goldstein had been identified as a Jew by his dog tags, and a letter in his pocket from his mother, reminding him to observe the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah. Andrew Urda was also identified as a Jew because of his dog tags.
Goldstein and Urda narrowly escaped execution. The were treated as slave laborours, brutally overworked and starved. When they were liberated near the end of the war, the two severely emaciated captives spent many months recovering in US Army Hospitals.
Andrew Urda never fully recovered from his mistreatment in captivity. He died in He moved to Jerusalem. The fifth crewman was wounded, but died in captivity a short time later. His tank was not saved from the scrap metal merchants blow torch. Notice the shell hole in the rear of the Bastogne Sherman caused by a German infantry hand held Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon.
After the war the farmer Mousier Denis refused to allow the tank to be cut up by the scrap metal merchants. He feared that the work would pollute the nearby fresh water spring that he relied upon for his own household water and water for his farm animals and crops. Finally he allowed the Belgium army to tow the tank off his land rather than letting the scrap metal merchants cutting it up in situ as was normal practice.
By this time it was one of the few tanks left in tact. The Bastogne Commissioner of Tourism saw its value as a memorial and arranged for its purchase and restoration. It was placed in McAuliffe Square in Bastogne, in and enshrined in The city of Bastogne was encircled by advancing German tanks and troops as they made a mad dash for the port of Antwerp during the winter Ardennes Offensive that was later to be known as the Battle of the Bulge.
This tank has lots of battle scars. On its left side there a hole that was caused by a hit from a German armour piercing 75mm shell.
In the rear is another more jagged hole caused by a German infantry hand held Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon that would have destroyed the tank's engine. Here is an account of a Sherman tank crew commander from the th Tank Battalion as they headed towards Bastogne. He fired. Our 75 mm Armour piercing AP round bounced off the German tank. I believe we fired three or four rounds of armor piercing ammo at this German tank. None of our rounds caused him any damage.
In the meantime, the German tank had picked up our position from the muzzle blast of our tank gun. He laid his gun on our tank and began firing. After my tank was hit, it began to burn. Here is another account from a Sherman tank crew commander from the th Tank Battalion. The Sherman just above mine, higher on the hill and sideways had been hit and was starting to burn.
I looked out in to the mist and saw a German Panther, maybe 2, yards away. I saw another flash and at the same time I saw Tambar, tank crew from the hit Sherman, go running by and he had blood and stuff all over him.
And I said to myself in my subconscious mind, ' 'How the hell is he running with his guts all over him? It was the guy next to him. I said to Babe Harrell our tank driver, 'Never mind this goddamn brush, let's get out of here.