The offensive, launched by Marshal von Rundstedt on 16 December 1944, was a last attempt by German forces to break through the Allied front in the west. They hoped to capture the seaport of Antwerp, thus cutting off supplies to the British and American armies preparing to invade Germany. They sought to encircle and destroy the Allied armies, forcing them to abandon Franklin D. Roosevelt’s much-lauded dogma of ‘unconditional surrender’, instead negotiating a peace treaty in Germany’s favour.
The battle took place in extreme conditions. Not only could von Rundstedt’s forces take advantage of the foggy weather, soldiers also endured the coldest European winter on record. Temperatures plummeted to minus twenty degrees Fahrenheit; men suffered extreme wind chill and frostbite as the foxholes intended to shelter them became frozen tombs. On both sides, casualties resulting from exposure to extreme cold were soon as large as the losses from actual fighting.
The tactics and course of the Allied counter-offensive, which was launched on 3 January 1945, are afforded a comprehensive examination. General Eisenhower appointed Field Marshal Montgomery to temporary command of the First and Ninth armies, who attacked the German salient from the north. Simultaneously, the American third army attacked it from the south, and by 16 January, the German forces had been comprehensively routed.
Tags: World war 2, WW2, shootouts, Battle of the bulge, Bulge shootout, Wehrmacht, Waffen SS, allies, Patton, hitler, ardennes offensive, Surprise, panzers, Invasion, Europe, germany, Nazis, axis of evil, antwerp, decisive battle
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