Did you pay attention during history classes when the lesson was on the Battle of the Bulge?
This Battle played a huge role in how the world is divided and if good or evil will overcome. Every man, woman and child should be familiar with information about this major Battle.
In an effort to help, I am providing you with 20 cool facts about the Battle of the Bulge.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #1: World War II Battle
If you didn’t know that this was a World War II Battle, I am disappointed. I would ask how you even passed any history.
Yes, this was a campaign launched by Adolph Hitler and the Germans on December 16th, 1944. It went on for over 1 month until January 25th, 1945.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #2: Ardennes Forest
The Battle took place in the deep and dark Ardennes Forest which is mostly in my “Father” land of Belgium. But the forest also engulfs Luxembourg and also is in Germany and France.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #3: Who?
It is another fact you should know, but I will put it here anyway; it was Allied against Axis.
Allied – United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Belgium and Luxembourg
Axis – Germany
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #4: Why?
So far, I have answered all the questions in the bullet points at the start of this post. This is the last answer and I will summarize it.
But don’t stop, because I have more facts.
The Germans had a plan to stop supply deliveries at Antwerp, Belgium. They would then encircle and annihilate 4 Allied armies and force the Allies to settle for a treaty favoring the Axis.
Hitler believed it would work and he could then focus his forces on the Russians and the Eastern Front.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #5: The Winner
Many soldiers gave their lives during this Battle. It would be safe to say that in the scenario that the Allies lost around 90,000 soldiers while the Germans lost around 100,000. In that outlook, nobody won.
But the fact remains that the Allies held ground and eventually defeated Hitler and Germany in the Battle of the Bulge.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #6: German Field Marshals Opposed The Attack
2 German Field Marshals, Gerd von Rundstedt and Walther Model both opposed the attack. They claimed is would be doomed because Hitler was not providing enough time to complete the mission.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #7: Training Grounds
The area the Germans attacked was essentially a training area for newly deployed troops. This caught many of them unprepared.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #8: Initial Numbers
In the initial attack, it was like David versus Goliath. Germans sent around 250,000 soldiers to the Allies 80,000.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #9: Why Bulge?
That name came to be as a result of German forces creating a large bulge in the Allied front line units. It was a bulge the Axis could not break through.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #10: Missed Signs
The Allies could have been better prepared if they would have paid attention to the signs of a coming German offensive. There were several:
- Reports of increased activity by the Germans near the German Ardennes that were dismissed
- German prisoners who were talking about a major offensive
Allied commanders assumed the Ardennes to be too harsh for a German attack. So they were not prepared.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- The Top 20 Military Mistakes of World War 2
- Top 5 WWII Military Generals and Leaders
- The Role of the 101st Airborne in World War 2: What They Did
- Honorable Immigrants: World War II
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #11: Trivial Pursuit
While the game of Trivial Pursuit probably wasn’t yet created, American soldiers used trivia as a method to discover illegal spies.
It seems that Germans were breaking rules of warfare and were wearing American uniforms behind enemy lines to extract information.
When one was discovered, they began asking every soldier trivia that only an American would know. This helped the Americans find the rest of the spies.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #12: Nazis Murdered 84 American Soldiers
There were 100+ American soldiers captured by the Germans and being held in Malmedy. The German SS opened fire on these POWs with machine guns. They killed 84 and others managed to escape.
The ones who escaped reported the murders, but because of the battle, it was nearly impossible to do a proper investigation.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #13: The Phone Call That Led To The 2nd Largest Surrender In U.S. Military History
It is so frustrating when you get a terrible phone connection and you believe you heard what the person said just to find out later you were mistaken.
That is what happened to an inexperienced division… The 106th Golden Lions.
The division was ordered to cover a large area in the front lines at Schnee Eifel. The flanks of 2 regiments were exposed and this worried the division’s commander, Major General Allan Jones. He called Lieutenant General Troy Middleton to request withdrawal. Middleton agreed but Jones misheard the response and assumed he was to keep them in position.
The Germans routed the 106th and took around 6,500 soldiers prisoner.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #14: American Soldiers Murdered German POWs
Supposedly, American soldiers shot 60 German POWs near Chenogne, Belgium.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #15: Desegregation
General Eisenhower understood that more forces were necessary. He decided to use desegregation during this Battle. African American soldiers fought side by side with Caucasian soldiers.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #16: Weather Killed Many Wounded
Weather conditions became treacherous. Temperatures dropped to near-arctic conditions. Many soldiers who were wounded froze to death while other soldiers had to be treated for frostbite.
Finger and toe amputations were high.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #17: NUTS
The 101st Airborne has always been tough as nails. The 101st commander, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe was told by his German adversary to surrender or heavy artillery will begin firing on the town. The BG responded, “Nuts!”
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #18: Gas Shortage
The Germans did have superior tanks with the Panzers and the Tigers. But they would also drink fuel quickly. Gas shortages made some of the tanks sitting ducks.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #19: Lieutenant General George S. Patton’s About Face
An amazing feat by one of the greats… Patton managed to turn the Third Army in an about face to counter attack the Bulge and to relieve the battered but hold-out soldiers in Bastogne.
Battle Of The Bulge Fact #20: Winston Churchill
Churchill addressed the House of Commons just after the Battle of the Bulge. His words were:
“This is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever-famous American victory.”
Well, now you can say you understand more about one of the most important Battles in American military history.
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Thank you and have a great day!