Skip to comments.DEC. 22 - Battle of the Bulge-the largest, bloodiest WWII battle on Europe's western front
Posted on 12/22/2013 8:58:40 AM PST by NKP_Vet
The Battle of the Bulge was the largest and bloodiest battle during World War II on Europe's western front, with casualties of 81,000 Americans and 100,00 Germans.
It began at the end of 1944 when National Socialist Workers Party amassed three armies for an enormous attack against the Allies in the Ardennes Forest.
eneral Eisenhower stated in his order, DECEMBER 22, 1944:
"By rushing out from his fixed defenses the enemy may give us the chance to turn his great gamble into his worst defeat.
So I call upon every man, of all the Allies, to rise now to new heights of courage...with unshakable faith in the cause for which we fight, we will, with God's help, go forward to our greatest victory."
The Nazis soon surrounded the U.S. 101st Airborne Division in the town of Bastogne, southern Belgium.
When demanded they surrender, DECEMBER 22, 1944, U.S. General Anthony McAuliffe answered with one word: "Nuts."
This response caused the Nazi commander to hesitate.
Marching to the rescue was General George Patton and the U.S. Third Army, but they were pinned down due to bad weather preventing planes from flying to give air cover.
General Patton directed Chaplain James O'Neill to compose a prayer, which was printed on cards and distributed to the 250,000 troops to pray:
(Excerpt) Read more at campaign.r20.constantcontact.com ...
"Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen."
The reverse of the card had General Patton's Christmas Greeting:
"To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory.
May God's blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day.- G.S. Patton, Jr., Lieutenant General Commanding, Third United States Army."
If it hadn't been for the sacrifice made by the 28th and other divisions against an entire German army corps, there wouldn't have been a Bastogne for the 101st to defend.
Suggested reading on the seldom-talked-about, opening days of The Bulge:
"To Save Bastogne", Robert Phillips:
"Alamo in the Ardennes: The Untold Story of the American Soldiers Who Made the Defense of Bastogne Possible ", John C. McManus:
A question for people reading this post. Do you consider The Battle of the Bulge as an American “victory”? I do. I once got in an argument with a British leftist who said it was a huge defeat for the Americans. My point was that the German offensive failed to achieve its objectives and the Germans could not hold their gains - hence they lost this battle. Comments?
On cold winter nights I remember my dad saying, at least I am not as cold as I was during the Battle of the Bulge.
This british peter-puffer you speak of represents the first time ever that I’ve heard anybody describe the Bulge as anything other than a HUGE, MASSIVE, TOTAL American victory. The Nazis were CRUSHED in the West, and NEVER AGAIN mounted a major offensive (there was a minor one, NORTHWIND, I believe. It too, failed.)
They used up the panzer and many troops making that attack, that could have been used defending the Rhine, et al
My grandfather served with Patton. Back in the US he left behind 4 young children and his wife had passed away in February 1942 after succumbing to a head injury occurred on the night of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1996 my grandfather passed away. The Greatest Generation is slowly shrinking day by day. What a loss to America, the people whom made sacrifices and knew what America was up against!
I would say victory. The Germans could not push them out, and take the town. They also couldn’t get the 101st to surrender. Thank God for brave men out there. Patton was a great general. I’m no Ike fan. I believe Ike had something to do with Patton going away.
I also wouldn’t bother arguing with British leftists, they are like most leftists, they don’t hear facts or reason.
The Germans after the battle were done. 100,000 Germans were killed and their warmaking capacity severely hampered. Yes it was an American victory and anyone that says otherwise is ignorant of military history.
One of the major goals of this German attack was to capture the port at Antwerp. The allies needed this port in order to rush supplies to their troops as they moved on towards Germany. The actions of the U.S. military in the Ardennes stopped the Germans’ drive to Antwerp and sent them packing. Major victory.
With the casualties we suffered it was a bitter sweet victory. But I do think it was a minor victory for Hitler because he slowed down our progress but he just delayed the inevitable.
The Bulge was a huge defeat, especially compared to that masterful triumph of Monty’s, Market Garden.
My dad was a scout for the third army for this battle.
I haven’t read much about it and all he said was it was cold.
Thanx for the post and reminder to do my homework
No minor victory for hitler.
1. These things generally not up for interpretation: the army that holds the ground after the battle is the victor—period.
2. Almost all historians and such say that hitler’s efforts SPED Germany’s collapse. Quite simply they lost 100s of thousands more going on the offense than they would have lost being on defense. Also, hitler had to move a HUGE amount of men and materiel from the Eastern Front to launch the Bulge, a welcome gift for the Russians.
Two of my uncles participated in the D-Day invasion. One with the 82nd Airborne, the other with the 101st Airborne.
The uncle with the 101st was also in the Battle of the Bulge and was wounded. He passes away a few year ago and I was a pallbearer at his funeral. He was buried with full military honors. I went up to one of the young honor guard members standing in the funeral home and told him a little history of the man laying in the casket. His eyes got as big as saucers and as I told him about the 17 year old country boy from NC that went through pure hell for his country. My uncle Willie kept his military momentos in a little wooden box and every time I would go and see him I would always ask to see them. He was so proud to be a veteran of WW2, but the more he talked the more his eyes would swell up, because he would always talk about his buddies that had died and he felt guilty for the rest of his life for not dying with them. He was 86 years old when he passed and one of the finest men I have ever known in my life.
LOL! Good point!
My father was in both the 7th and the 3rd Armies. He was not involved in the Battle of the Bulge, but was nearby.
One of his best friends from high school was in the 101st and jumped behind the lines on D-Day and into Holland and was trucked into Bastogne in the Bulge.
I came to be close to he and his wife when my wife and I were in college. He was finishing his Doctorate then.
They are both dead now. We bought their home from the widow when she was moving to a nursing home after Leon died.
Absolutely wonderful kind but tough people.
I am very blessed to still have my father. He is 88. We talk almost every day about the parallels of then and now. You should see the serious look on his face when we discuss the daily details. He knows full well where we are.
Monty was an pompous arrogant b_tard. And Patton knew it.
Screw Monty’s nonsense.
May jyour uncle RIP, this good and faithful servant of the Lord.
So was my Dad, 3rd Corps, 101st, 26th Army Combat Engineers, “Yankee Division”, fighting all thru Europe, Ardennes, Bastogne, and they lived on frozen turnips and other root crops when supply lines were cut by nazis. He was rescuing wounded US Troops, when shot by nazi sniper. Received Bronze Star w/ V, and Purple Heart. At 89, he still turns-up the heat, even in the summer. He hates cold weather. LOL.
Thank You and God Bless. This is a great post.
Just the lightest zephyr.
My dad got a Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge. He has said the same thing many times. He also told me when they liberated a concentration camp under Patton - he doesn’t remember the name of the camp - he’ll be 88 on December 28 - but he does remember how Patton ordered the town’s people to walk through the camp. They were full of hubris on the way in, but as they left, the women were crying and the men looked shell shocked. The soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder on both sides of the road as the survivors left the camp. He said it’s a sight he’ll never forget. And he hasn’t. He still talks about it, the last time being over Thanksgiving.
When they went to the doctor for the results, the doctor looked at him and told him, that the army got his blood type wrong.
He went through the entire war with the wrong blood type on his dogtags.
Hurtgen Forrest was a mess. The Americans took heavy losses and so little is known about it.
He did however help liberate a POW camp. Dad was from a small town, and darn if dad didn't find one of his friends who was in the army air force and shot down over Germany there.
It's a good thing that people take an interest in history. Is it okay if I point something out?
(Please don't anyone take offense, 'cause I don't mean to criticize anyone personally.)
The Battle of the Bulge was not "The Battle of Bastogne", or "The 101st Airborne against the German army.", or "General McAuliffe's eloquent reply to a bunch of arrogant obtuse krauts."
The Battle of the Bulge was the largest, and costliest battle ever fought by the US Army.
Six US divisions were deployed to the east of Bastogne and fought a delaying action that allowed the 101st to get into position, and also allowed THE REST OF THE US ARMY to get into position to defend a front that was over a hundred miles wide, and to then counterattack and then effectively destroy the German army on the western front.
Those divisions took horrifying casualties, and at least one, the 28th Division, was ultimately written off as destroyed in action. (I know someone who saw this happen for real; so I'm sorry if I take it a bit too personally.) The Nazi objective wasn't the town of Bastogne; Bastogne was an important crossroads on the way to the ultimate strategic goal, the port of Antwerp, which happened to be smack between the American and British/Canadian forces.
Many military historians have argued that the defense of St. Vith, to the north of Bastogne (what, 90 miles, I think I read somewhere?) was every bit if not more important than the defense of Bastogne itself, just not as uh, legendary.
This isn't to diminish the 101st or their service at Bastogne, but jeez... how many US Army divisions were in Europe in the winter of 1944-45, and where do people think they all were at the time?
Sometimes one would think that a High School kid studying this for history would conclude that the 101st Airborne fought the war by themselves, with 1,000,000 "other guys" not doing anything, or maybe not even there.
That brit leftist is an idiot. .thinking the Germans won the battle because they gained major ground at the start of the battle is like saying the German won the war because they gained major ground at the start of the war....
the winner is determine at the end of a battle and the end of a war..and in neither the Germans obtain there objective...
Could have been Buchenwald.
In Branson, MO’s military museum they have rooms with walls covered with everyone’s name who was lost. We lost my brother in Nam and I was always overwhelmed by how many we lost there. Then I went into the WW1 & 2 rooms and thinking about it makes my head want to explode.
I knew someone who saw it too. Just some guy in someoranother artillery outfit...
Generals IKE, Patton, Bradley, etc., it was an era of great “Leadership”, where did all the leaders go? It seems today Leadership has been redefined as Rock Star Type Popularity.
I was in Buchenwald a year ago, Its pretty much leveled. The wooden horse barracks that housed the inmates were gone, except for a couple that were “rebuilt” for the museum. The guard houses and the dog kennels are still there along with the solitary cells. The taller brick buildings (factories?) are still there in the far right corner of the layout. It was sad to see school buses of HS students arriving and watching the kids texting instead of paying attention to the guide. I thought the place was going to be huge, but it wasn’t as large as I thought. It is located on a tall hill surrounded by trees, and there are still some old train tracks there. I’m sure when the GIs entered it, it had a greater visual impact.
It is a matter of history that when Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.
He did this because he said in words to this effect:
“Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses - because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.”
The Battle of the Bulge was the largest,, longest and costliest SINGLE battle the US Army ever fought. From the time the attack began on Dec. 16,1944 until it was declared ‘’contained’’ on Jan.27th.,1945 there was never a day, an hour or a single minute in which some American unit was not in contact with the enemy. This was the mother of all bar room brawls. It started in the bar, went to the floor, out the door, rolled down the block and around the corner. It didn’t stop until the Germans were out of fuel, exhausted and spent. Plus the weather finally cleared and the P-38’s and P-47’s had a field day with German armored columns stranded on the roads. American resistance was more then the Germans were expecting. Ironically though because Eisenhower chose to just roll back the German penetration in a frontal assault rather than attacking the flanks there were more American casualties in the American counter-attack then in the initial German attack. Among them was my late Uncle Fred(84th. Inf. Div.) who took shrapnel in the face attacking the village of Soy Belgium. This might be be what that Brit girly man was thinking of. The Bugle was a clear cut American victory.
Largely unknown by most Americans was that in mid-January of 1945 as the Bugle was beginning to peter out Hitler ordered another smaller ‘’Battle of the Bulge’’ code named’’Operation Nordwind’’. The objective was the French city of Strasbourg. Strasbourg is an important symbol of French historic honor and Hitler thought that if he took it the Allied coalition might break. Hitlers objective in fighting The Bulge was a political one. He was trying to fracture the tenuous Allied coalition. This second ‘’Bulge’’ fell largely on the American 7th. Armored Div. and the Army’s 45th. Inf. Div. (”The Thunderbirds’’). The Germans lost this one too.
Really? I’ll need to read up about nordwind sometime; the 45th division are\were our Homeys, ok ng. All the German commanders knew not to mess with the 45th but of course Hitler was nuts. Anyone who gets a look at the tbird dies you know esp krauts.
Good observation. We did lose 14 thousand men I think killed and captured. Not sure of the figures? God bless the men who died and survived and the men god only knows where their at.
Remind your limp-wristed British friend that Montgomery didn't win ANY battles of significance, and ask him to prove you otherwise.
I believe the 45th. liberated Dachau. I remember reading an account of the liberation by a GI who was there. He was in a half-track with some of his buddies and seeing the horror in front of them they saw a German soldier walking towards them. “All of a sudden we see this big tall Kraut with blond hair, good looking guy and he’s wearing so much Red Cross sh!t he looked like a friggin’Christmas tree’’. ‘’One of our guys spoke German and started yelling at him ,”Red Cross, huh? “Well where the hell were you five minutes ago to help these people you son of a bitch?’’ “Every guy in the column unloaded a full clip on that Kraut s.o.b’’.
I don’t like Montgomery, he was an arrogant, condescending and obnoxious upper class twit who never missed a chance to throw a dig at American soldiers and their fighting capability. The British participation in the Bulge was minimal at best but that didn’t stop this arrogant prick from giving a press conference where he said in so many ways that the Yanks had really made a mess of the situation and he came in and saved the day. I have known many veterans of the Bulge and who served in North Africa and Italy and they still to this day hate the man. I remember one vet who told me “I’d a shot that Limey son of a bitch quicker than I’d a shot Hitler’’. But he did make a success at El Alamien. But you can point out to any limp wristed Brit that his “Operation Market-Garden’’ was an unmitigated failure.