The Battle of the Bulge

The Battle of the Bulge was the last major German offensive during World War II. The Germans attacked the Allied troops on December 16, 1944 and the fighting lasted until mid January of 1945. The goal for the Germans was to split American and British lines in half, then to circle around and destroy them. They hoped to force a peace treaty in favor of the Axis.

Hitler ordered the attack as a last ditch attempt to stop the Allies from taking Germany and ending the war. However, his plan was almost impossible to execute. The attack was based on the idea of massive onslaught, which required large quantities of fuel. The Germans had a very limited fuel supply due to Allied bombing of German factories. Even Hitler's general, Marshall von Rundstedt, did not believe the plan had much of a chance of succeeding.

The Battle
A map showing the bulge made in the Allied line
A map showing the bulge made in the Allied line

The attack initially caught the Allies by surprise despite warnings that the Germans might launch an offensive. The Germans advanced quickly foward, creating a bulge in the Allied line (this is how the battle got its name). There was also bad winter weather, which helped the Germans move foward with less threat of Allied aerial assault. However, once the weather cleared, the Allies launched a counterattack using their air power and pushed the line back. Additionally, the major lack of fuel German forces suffered from ultimately led to their defeat in the battle, as they were forced to abandon their armored infantry.

The Battle of the Bulge was the largest battle that Americans fought in during World War II. 600,000 American troops participated and suffered 81000 casualties. The Germans suffered over 100,000 casualties. They suffered huge losses militaristically and were unable to continue fighting, leading to the end of the war in Allied victory 3 months later.