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The Battle Of The Bulge Essay

2421 words - 10 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

Hitler decided to take a huge gamble while there was still a large enough Germany Army to attempt a massive counterattack. The Germans decided to strike, seeing opportunity in the fact that the Allied forces were being slowed by the extreme cold weather in Europe; their supply lines were distant and resources were stretched thin. The calling of the amount of Soldiers and resources for this kind of assault was not just a risk, it was more of a last ditch effort in the hopes of being able to regain their ground throughout the European front.
On the 15th of December 1944, Field Marshall Walther Model, of the German Army, began mobilizing an attack on the lightly defended Ardennes front. He knew that the American Air Forces would not be able to provide ground support against the attack due to poor weather conditions. The attacking forces consisted of General der Panzertruppen (U.S. equivalent to a Lieutenant General), Hosso-Eccard von Manteufel’s Fifth Panzer Army, Generaloberst (U.S. equivalent to full General), Josef “Sepp” Dietrich’s Sixth Panzer Army, and General der Panzertruppen Erich Brandenburger’s Seventh Army. The legions of the German Army overall for this battle consisted of 250,000 Soldiers, 1,900 artillery pieces, and 970 tanks and assault guns and was supported by 2,000 aircraft (Ent).
The German Generals knew that this would be a gamble, but they also knew that if they did not take the chance, they would not be able to turn the tide of the war. The American and Russian war economies were, at this time, out-producing Germany’s. In order to pull this operation off, Germany needed to pull Soldiers off the Russian front who at the time, were committed in the Eastern Theater of war. By transferring Soldiers off the Eastern front, they were giving time and space to the Russians to reorganize enough to begin providing effective resistance and their own invasion of Germany. At the time, however, Hitler had become somewhat unstable and declared it a necessary risk. He ordered his Generals to attack the Allied lines in France in an attempt to stop the invasion of Germany.
The attack began with a two-hour long artillery barrage at 0530 on the 16th of December along an eighty-five mile front defended by six American divisions. Three of the American divisions consisted of fresh troops who had not yet seen combat. The artillery piece that made an effective opening statement for the German Army’s attack was the Germany 88mm Flak Series – Flugabwehrkanone. Originally used as an Anti-Aircraft weapon, it had proven to be more than fully capable of pulverizing Russian and American tanks at distances of up to 1,000 meters due to its high muzzle velocity and its efficient heavy projectile. Although it was a heavy artillery piece, it has been said that a well practiced crew could dismount the gun and be ready to fire in twenty seconds, remount the gun and be ready to travel in less than one minute. Its size and weight, however, made concealment quite...

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