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the battle of the bulge (2010BD)

Page history last edited by Brian 14 years, 3 months ago

 

The Battle of the Bulge was a major turning point in World War 2. It was also the largest land battle of World War 2. Plus it was the Germans last chance for victory. But with fuel shortages an lower numbers of men than expected the Germans lost. If the Germans had know about their manpower complications they might have held off and won the war. But they didn’t. They attacked when they were badly informed and lost what was most likely was the most important battle of world War 2.

The Germans had been retreating since D-Day, but with a long stream of bad weather coming up the Germans were about to turn that around with a German counteroffensive. They had just come off of a horrible offensive in Russia, needing to advance some where the Germans started to devise a plan to attack U.S. and Canadian and British troops. But before any offensive could be launched the Germans needed to reorganize the troops. Because some divisions were at full strength and others only had head command left, so the Germans had to piece together new divisions. Hitler was told many lies about the strength and number of his men. So, Hitler was still confident about his idea about a offensive.

Throughout the war the U.S had maintained air superiority. But with a large string off bad weather coming their way, the Germans could avoid U.S bombing attacks and their observation flights. So, the U.S. couldn’t see the large massing of troops. Even after multiple assignation attempts Hitler had full confidence in his troops. When men complained, Hitler would tell them about what Fredrick the Great’s troops went through and still won the war. But even with encouragement the German divisions were all reorganized and many still weren’t at full strength when Hitler thought they were. Also most of Hitler’s men were all either old veterans or brand new recruits. Germany, still with not enough men hitler raised the upper age limited from 45 to 65. They also lowered the age limit of how young you could be to be drafted and join the army, from 18 to 16.

Now, with the problem of man power overcome the Germans moved on to planning the last and final chance for Germany to win the war. The Germans realized a couple thing if they were going to win.

The German plan:

A: The attack should be launched between November 20th and 30th.

B: It should be made through the Ardennes mountains in the Monschau-Echternach sector.

C: The main objective would be to capture bridges between Liege and Namur and over the Meuse river.

D: After that the next objective would be to capture Antwerp

E: A battle to destroy the British and Canadians would be fought north of the line

Antwerp-liege-Bastonge.

F: A minimum of 30 divisions would be available ten of those being armored.

G: Support would be given by a unprecedented amount of concentrated rocket and artillery fire.

H: Operational control would be in four armies- two panzer armies next to each other and two armies mostly made up of infantry to protect the flanks.

I: The Luftwaffe would be prepared to support the operation.

J: all of the planning of the operation would be aimed at having tactical surprise and speed.

These were the basis of any plan that could be formed. After many disputes amongst

Hitler’s high command they had come up with 5 different options.

Operation:

1.)Holland: Operation Holland would be a single thrust from the Venlo area with Antwerp as the goal.

 

2.)Liege-Aachen: Operation Liege-Aachen was a two pronged attack with the main force driving from the northern Luxemburg in a northwestern direction. Then turning north to meet the secondary attack which was launched from the sector northwest of Aachen.

 

3.)Luxemburg:

Operation Luxemburg is a two pronged attack launched at the same time from central Luxemburg and Metz to seize Longwy.

4.)Lorraine: Operation Lorraine is a double pronged attack from Metz and Baccarat and to meet in Nancy.

5.)Alsace: Operation Alsace is an unfolding plan to be done in two thrusts, one from the east of Epinal and the other east of Montbeliard. They would meet in the Vesal area.

 

Hitler and his men decided on operation Holland and Liege-Aachen. They formed a plan combining the two operations. For hitler everything seemed to be aligning for him. Its seems as the stars were about to align for him. But as Mike Tyson said, “ Every ones got a plan till they get hit.”

The actual attack would start at five P.M., They set the goal of the sixth Panzer army to attack their northern most flank and capture Antwerp. Also the Fifth Panzer Army was set to attack the middle route. And the southern most army was set to take the Our river. For their attack to work they needed it to be a surprise and the needed to reach the Meuse River by day four.

The German forces were all either older veterans of the war or brand new recruits. They also had very little fuel for the tanks so they had hoped to capture Allied fuel supplies. When the battle began on December 16 they started with an artillery attack at five thirty. By eight that night all three German armies have started their attack. The Germans northern most force was slowed by twenty hours by the 2nd and 99th divisions who surprised them with very fierce fighting.

The Germans had better luck in the center where they surrounded the 28th and 106th divisions and making them surrender. In the south the Germans tried to take the Our river but were slowed down by two days by the 28th divison. Also on this southern flank Germans were able to surge by the highly stretched American 110th division and the Germans were able to take many American held towns and villages. The 110th division needing help were able to receive it from the 101st airborne and parts of the 9 and 10th armored divisions. They had enough time to reinforce the 110th division because of confusion and traffic jams in German lines. With these reinforcements they were able to hold the town of Bastonge, but panzer columns still swept by on either side of the town but they didn’t capture the important crossroads they had wanted to.

The Germans had planned a paratrooper attack. The plan was to drop in 1300 troops and take important crossroads, but because of bad weather only about 300 men were ever assembled and the rest were spread over area, so there wasn’t enough man power in one area to counter the allies. They were therefore ordered to harass Allied troops. Because they were spread out so much the allies thought there was a massive force of troops there.

The Germans also planned to send some perfect English speaking Germans in to Allied lines to change sign posts and make over all confusion. They had accomplished this and Americans asked many suspect Germans about things that every American would know like capitals and baseball scores. One officer ask a man what was the capital of Texas and the man he had asked answered Austin Texas. The officer said no the capital of Texas is Dallas. The man was then detained until the officer was told the capital was Austin.

The sixth panzer army had sized Bullingen and refueled using captured Allied fuel. After they had left this town they were met by remains of 295th field artillery observation battalion and the 7th armored division. They were surrounded and captured. The 150 men that were captured, were stood up in a field and shot. This is called the Malmedy massacre.

The German general Kampfgruppe Pieper attacked Stavelot but met heavy resistance and left a small amount of men there and went to go take a bridge but when he had reached it, it had been destroyed and the Allied forces were waiting for them. They were cut off from the main German force but managed to escape but abandoned any vehicles and heavy equipment.

In the town of St.Vith Allied troops held it until order to retreat, then facing heavy German advances retreated west of the Salm River. In the town of Bastonge the German forces were trying to take it and had surrounded it. The Allies realized that they could turn this in to something good by not retreating, but by attacking and going on the offensive. The men in Bastonge held off until supplies could be dropped. The German forces left a small force there to take it but it wasn’t enough troops and tanks and all the German tanks were destroyed. Because of this the Allied forces were able to break through German lines making a path to the rest of the army.

Now weather started to clear and the Allied forces were able to use their air superiority, plus Germans were running out of supplies, but the Germans struck back. They struck back with a air attack on an Allied air base destroying many planes but the lost many of their own do to more Flak guns than expected and they lost most of the plans that attacked.

With the German attack at a stand still the Allied forces started to drive them back, but due to the their fuel shortage the Germans abandoned the attack and retreated out of the Ardennes Mountains without much of a fight. The Battle of The Bulge was won. And Hitler’s last chance for victory destroyed. The Allies now only had to make the last finally push to Berlin. But, it was the biggest land battle of the war . And a great victory by the Allies.

 

 

Bulge, Battle of the." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010. Web. 3 Mar. 2010 <

http://school.eb.com/eb/article-9018016>

www.historylearning.co.uk

Battle of the Bulge Published 2010

Ardennes: Battle of the Bulge

by Hugh M. Cole Published 1965 by Department of the army www.worldwar2history.info/bulge

Battle of the Bulge: The German counteroffensive

Published 2010

www.ushistory.com

Battle of The Bulge

Published 2010

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