Battle of the Bulge begins
Jul 21, · Called “the greatest American battle of the war” by Winston Churchill, the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes region of Belgium was Adolf Hitler ’s last major offensive in World War II . Battle of the Bulge, also called Battle of the Ardennes, (December 16, –January 16, ), the last major German offensive on the Western Front during World War II —an unsuccessful attempt to push the Allies back from German home territory.
On December 16,the Germans launch the last major offensive of the warOperation Autumn Mist, also known as the Ardennes Offensive and the Battle of the Bulgean attempt to push the Allied front line west from northern France to northwestern Belgium. The Germans threwsoldiers into the initial assault, 14 German infantry divisions guarded by five panzer divisions-against a mere 80, Americans.
Their assault came in early morning at the weakest part of the Allied line, an mile poorly protected stretch of hilly, woody forest the Allies simply believed the Ardennes too difficult to traverse, and therefore an unlikely location for a German offensive.
Between the vulnerability of the thin, isolated American units and the thick fog that prevented Allied air cover from discovering German movement, the Germans were able to push the Americans into retreat. One particularly effective German trick was the use of English-speaking German commandos who infiltrated American lines and, using captured U. The ploy caused widespread chaos and suspicion among the American troops as to the identity of fellow soldiers—even after the ruse was discovered.
Even General Omar Bradley himself had to prove his identity three times—by answering questions about football what does it cost to build a barn Betty Grable—before being allowed to pass a sentry point. The battle raged for three weeks, resulting in a massive loss of American and civilian life. Nazi atrocities abounded, including the murder of 72 American soldiers by SS soldiers in the Ardennes town of Malmedy.
The devastating ferocity of the conflict also made desertion an issue for the American troops; General Eisenhower was forced to make an example of Private Eddie Slovik, the first American executed for desertion since the Civil War. The war would not end until better weather enabled American aircraft to bomb and strafe German positions. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! December 16, sees the U. One of the most expensive films ever made, it was also one of the most successful, holding the title of highest-grossing film of all time for nearly a decade.
Director James Cameron was no In his review of the performance the following day, New York Times music critic W. In Boston Harbor, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump chests of tea into the harbor. The bombardment lasted for about Sign up now to learn about This Day in History straight from your inbox. Celebrated English novelist Jane Austen is born on December 16,the seventh of eight children of a clergyman in a country village in Hampshire, England.
Jane was very close to her older sister, Cassandra, who remained her faithful editor and critic throughout her life. On December 16,two airplanes collide over New York City, killing people on the planes and on the ground.
The improbable mid-air collision was the only such accident to have occurred over a major city in the U. Federal Judge Robert Vance is instantly killed by a powerful explosion after opening a package mailed to his house near Birmingham, Alabama.
Two days later, a mail bomb killed Robert Robinson, an attorney in Savannah, Georgia, in his office. Two other bomb packages, sent to the Truman declares a state of emergency. Live TV. This Day In History. History Vault. Art, Literature, and What is fleet phospho soda History. American Revolution. World War I. Sign Up.
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Battle of the Bulge On December 16, , the German military launched the “Battle of the Bulge.” It was a last-ditch German military counter-offensive against the Allied armies in the West. Hitler hoped that the German counter-attack would surround the British and American armies and stall the Allied offensive against Germany. Dec 14, · On December 16, , the Germans launch the last major offensive of the war, Operation Autumn Mist, also known as the Ardennes Offensive and the Battle of the Bulge, an attempt to push the Allied. Battle of the Bulge German Counteroffensive (Battle of the Bulge). In December Adolph Hitler directed an ambitious counteroffensive with the object of regaining the initiative in the west and.
In late , during the wake of the Allied forces' successful D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, it seemed as if the Second World War was all but over. On Dec. The battle that ensued is known historically as the Battle of the Bulge. The courage and fortitude of the American Soldier was tested against great adversity. Nevertheless, the quality of his response ultimately meant the victory of freedom over tyranny.
Early on the misty winter morning of Dec. Seeking to drive to the coast of the English Channel and split the Allied armies as they had done in May , the Germans struck in the Ardennes Forest, a mile stretch of the front characterized by dense woods and few roads, held by four inexperienced and battle-worn American divisions stationed there for rest and seasoning.
After a day of hard fighting, the Germans broke through the American front, surrounding most of an infantry division, seizing key crossroads, and advancing their spearheads toward the Meuse River, creating the projection that gave the battle its name. Stories spread of the massacre of Soldiers and civilians at Malmedy and Stavelot, of paratroopers dropping behind the lines, and of English-speaking German soldiers, disguised as Americans, capturing critical bridges, cutting communications lines, and spreading rumors.
For those who had lived through , the picture was all too familiar. Belgian townspeople put away their Allied flags and brought out their swastikas. Police in Paris enforced an all-night curfew. British veterans waited nervously to see how the Americans would react to a full-scale German offensive, and British generals quietly acted to safeguard the Meuse River's crossings.
Even American civilians, who had thought final victory was near were sobered by the Nazi onslaught. But this was not The supreme Allied commander, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower rushed reinforcements to hold the shoulders of the German penetration. Within days, Lt. George S. Patton Jr. Army to the north and was counterattacking against the German flank. But the story of the Battle of the Bulge is above all the story of American Soldiers. Often isolated and unaware of the overall picture, they did their part to slow the Nazi advance, whether by delaying armored spearheads with obstinate defenses of vital crossroads, moving or burning critical gasoline stocks to keep them from the fuel-hungry German tanks, or coming up with questions on arcane Americana to stump possible Nazi infiltrators.
American engineers emerge from the woods and move out of defensive positions after fighting in the vicinity of Bastogne, Belgium. Three members, of an American patrol, Sgt. James Storey, of Newman, Ga. Frank A. Fox, of Wilmington, Del. Dennis Lavanoha, of Harrisville, N. White bedsheets camouflage them in the snow. Left American engineers emerge from the woods and move out of defensive positions after fighting in the vicinity of Bastogne, Belgium.
Right Three members, of an American patrol, Sgt. At the critical road junctions of St. Vith and Bastogne, American tankers and paratroopers fought off repeated attacks, and when the acting commander of the st Airborne Division in Bastogne was summoned by his German adversary to surrender, he simply responded, "Nuts! Armored Division stopped enemy tanks short of the Meuse River on Christmas. Through January, American troops, often wading through deep snow drifts, attacked the sides of the shrinking bulge until they had restored the front and set the stage for the final drive to victory.
Never again would Hitler be able to launch an offensive in the west on such a scale. An admiring British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill stated, "This is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever-famous American victory. Courtesy of the U. Army Center of Military History. They had survived the cold, the snow and the battle.
MIL Features. PART 1 life before the war PART 2 before the battle PART 3 during the battle PART 4 life after the war Newsreel Footage Universal News Jan. The Enemy Strikes Universal News Jan. Online Resources U. Marshall Ardennes-Alsace by Roger Cirillio.