Thursday, December 16, 2004

Battle of the Bulge - 60'th aniversary.

The famous battle in the Ardennes region of Northern France, Belgium and Luxemburg started 60 years ago today.
With more than a million men committed to the battle from both Germany, Britain and the US it was one of the largest battles of WW2.

It is also the largest single battle fought by the US Army.
Battle of the Bulge Veterans Organisation.

Spearheaded by elite Army and SS Panzer units the battle was Hitler's last offensive in the west but ultimately led to nothing.
The plan was to reach the port of Antwerpen where the majority of allied supplies for the war in Europe were delivered.
In the process the Germans could also destroy the main body of the British forces which would hopefully force the British to leave the remainder of the war's fighting to the Americans. This could in turn cause a rupture in Allied co operation - always a major hope of Hitler and other top nazi's in the last months of the war, which might give Germany a chance for a separate peace agreement with the western allies.

In the beginning things went well for the German forces who where sheltered from allied air superiority by dense fog and clouds. Many American units were taken completely by surprise as the Ardennes were regarded as a "quiet" sector and the long rows of GI prisoners were shown in the German newsreels as a proof that the course of the war was changing.

After december 24'th the the skies cleared and German luck changed, in the end the major German effort was the ability to conduct a well organised retreat without loosing too many men, but the Battle of the Bulge caused the Germans huge losses in armoured vehicles which often had to be abandoned and blown up due to lack of fuel.

German Jagdpanthers destroyed during the battle.

For more info and some great photos, check this excellent page : Ardennes 44'

Babe - Something very appealing about the contrast between this delicate country princess and that rugged tractor wheel...

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