On December 16th 1944. Hitler had convinced himself that the alliance between Britain, France and America in the western sector of Europe was not strong
and that a major attack and defeat would break up the alliance.
Therefore, he ordered a massive attack against what were primarily American forces.
The attack is strictly known as the Ardennes Offensive but because the initial attack by the Germans created a bulge in the Allied front line,
it has become more commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge.
Hitler’s plan was to launch a massive attack using three armies on the Allies which would,
in his mind, destabilise their accord and also take the huge port of Antwerp through which a great deal of supplies was reaching the Allies.
The Germans experienced great success to start with. Why was this?
? surprising the allied forces by the attack.
? The weather was also in Hitler’s favour.
Low cloud and fog meant that the superior air force of the Allies could not be used.
Though the weather was typical for the Ardennes in winter
The ground was hard enough for military vehicles to cross and this suited the armoured attack Hitler envisaged.
However, the success of the Germans lasted just two days. Despite punching a bulge into the Allies front line,
the Germans could not capitalise on this. The Germans had based their attack on a massive armoured onslaught. However, such an attack required fuel to maintain it
and the Germans simply did not possess such quantities of fuel.the Germans had to simply abandon their vehicles.
The 1st SS Panzer Division, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Joachim Peiper, had to make their way back to Germany on foot.
This was the unit that was responsible for the Malmédy Massacre.
By December 22nd, the weather started to clear, thus allowing the Allies to bring their air power into force and on the following day,
the Americans started a counter-attack against the Germans.
On 23 December, the weather conditions started improving, allowing the Allied air forces to attack. They launched devastating bombing raids on the German supply points in their rear, and P-47 Thunderbolts started attacking the German troops on the roads. Allied air forces also helped the defenders of Bastogne, dropping much-needed supplies—medicine, food, blankets, and ammunition. A team of volunteer surgeons flew in by military glider and began operating in a tool room.
By 24 December, the German advance was effectively stalled short of the Meuse. Units of the British XXX Corps were holding the bridges at Dinant, Givet, and Namur and U.S. units were about to take over. The Germans had outrun their supply lines, and shortages of fuel and ammunition were becoming critical. Up to this point the German losses had been light, notably in armor, which was almost untouched with the exception of Peiper's losses. On the evening of 24 December, General Hasso von Manteuffel recommended to Hitler's Military Adjutant a halt to all offensive operations and a withdrawal back...