The Battle of the Bulge

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Nazi Germany’s strategy of blitzkrieg, lightning war, had managed to overrun or subdue every nation on continental Europe, up until the involvement of the United States Armed Forces in World War II. The rapid fall of Holland and Belgium on 10 May 1940 set the tone for all of Adolf Hitler’s attacks on the European War front. Germany dominated the continent from 1940 until the U.S.-led invasion of mainland Europe on 6 June 1944. Germany seemed to have firm control over its gains, from air raids over London to the massive push into Russia. After D-Day, however, Germany slowly lost ground to the Allies. Hitler became increasingly desperate as his military began to lose its territory in 1944. A plan was developed to penetrate the Western lines in France and turn the tide of the war in Germany’s favor, and break the Allies’ assault. Hitler’s forces were slowly but surely losing ground in Africa, as Russian forces were beginning to re-take cities like Stalingrad from Nazi control. Hitler’s plans seemed to be inspired more from desperation than from solid military tactics. As Hitler would soon realize, this truly was Germany’s desperate hour; the battle that would cripple his forces beyond repair. Through the effective use of field artillery, the United States Army was able to withstand the approach of the German forces and prove to be pivotal in the outcome of the Battle of the Bulge. The Germans developed a plan to assault through the Ardennes, hoping to crush the American forces’ ability to continue successfully fighting on the European front. While the American and British forces were gaining ground on the European front, the long supply lines for the American forces were becoming tenuous. The German Army had lost around 500,000 Soldi... ... middle of paper ... ...of the American artillery bolstered the cannoneers’ confidence and determination, and acted as a shield protecting Bastogne from oncoming German forces. With dwindling supplies and manpower, Lieutenant General George S. Patton with the 4th Armored Division began to make a push into the Bastogne Region to relieve the beleaguered 101st Airborne. Known for his ability to inflict fear in the hearts of German Soldiers, Patton arrived in Bastogne on the 22nd of December and began to secure the city. With the city reinforced, a German counteroffensive was sure to fail. However, the battle for this key city raged on for four more days. As the logistical situation became desperate, and the bitter cold winter weather raged, there was barely enough food or blankets to keep the Soldiers alive. On Christmas, barely 400 gallons of fuel was available to Allied forces (Mitchell).

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