Battle of the bulge

Topics: Battle of the Bulge, World War II, Walter Model Pages: 9 (2687 words) Published: April 28, 2014
The battle was known by different names. The Germans referred to it as Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein ("Operation Watch on the Rhine"), while the French named it the Bataille des Ardennes ("Battle of the Ardennes"). The Allies called it the Ardennes Counteroffensive. 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[22][h][23] and became the best known name for the battle.

The German offensive was supported by several subordinate operations known as Unternehmen Bodenplatte, Greif, and Währung. Germany's goal for these operations was to split the British and American Allied line in half, capture Antwerp, and then proceed to encircle and destroy four Allied armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis Powers' favour. Once that was accomplished, Hitler could fully concentrate on the eastern theatre of war.The offensive was planned with the utmost secrecy, minimizing radio traffic and moving troops and equipment under cover of darkness. The Third U.S. Army's intelligence staff predicted a major German offensive, and Ultra indicated that a "substantial and offensive" operation was expected or "in the wind", although a precise date or point of attack could not be given. Aircraft movement from the Russian Front and transport of forces by rail, both to the Ardennes, was noticed but not acted upon, according to a report later written by Peter Calvocoressi and F. L. Lucas at the codebreaking centre Bletchley Park.[24][25]

Near-complete surprise was achieved by a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with Allied offensive plans, and poor aerial reconnaissance. The Germans attacked a weakly defended section of the Allied line, taking advantage of heavily overcast weather conditions, which grounded the Allies' overwhelmingly superior air forces. Fierce resistance on the northern shoulder of the offensive around Elsenborn Ridge and in the south around Bastogne blocked German access to key roads to the northwest and west that they counted on for success; columns that were supposed to advance along parallel routes found themselves on the same roads. This and terrain that favoured the defenders threw the German advance behind schedule and allowed the Allies to reinforce the thinly placed troops. Improved weather conditions permitted air attacks on German forces and supply lines, which sealed the failure of the offensive. In the wake of the defeat, many experienced German units were left severely depleted of men and equipment, as survivors retreated to the defenses of the Siegfried Line.

The battle involved about 610,000 American men,[2] of whom some 89,000 were casualties,[15] including 19,000 killed.[15][19] It was the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the United States in World War II.[26][27][28][29][30][31]

Contents [hide]
1 Background
1.1 Drafting the offensive
1.2 Operation names
1.3 Planning
2 Initial German assault
3 Attack on the northern shoulder
3.1 Kampfgruppe Peiper drives west
3.2 Malmedy massacre
3.3 Chenogne massacre
3.4 Germans advance west
3.5 German advance halted
3.6 Operation Stösser
3.7 Wereth 11
4 Attack in the center
4.1 Battle for St. Vith
4.2 Meuse River bridges
4.3 Operation Greif and Operation Währung
5 Attack in the south
5.1 Siege of Bastogne
6 Allied counteroffensive
7 German counterattack
7.1 Allies prevail
8 Controversy at high command
9 Aftermath
10 See also
11 Notes
12 References
12.1 Bibliography
13 Further reading
14 External links
Background[edit]
After the breakout from Normandy at the end of July 1944 and the landings in southern France on 15 August 1944, the Allies advanced toward Germany more quickly than anticipated.[i] Allied troops were fatigued by weeks of continuous combat, their supply lines were stretched extremely thin, and supplies were dangerously depleted. While the supply situation improved in October, the...
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