The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge 

This is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the warand will,  

I believe, be regarded as an ever-famous American victory.” 

 Winston Churchill 

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew the Allied Forces had their backs against the wall when he uttered these famous words during World War II. The Allied Powers were led by Great Britain, the United States, France and the Soviet Union. They were battling against the three principal partners in the Axis alliance – Germany, Italy and Japan. 

         After the Allies successful D-Day invasion in Normandy, France, it seemed that World War II was nearing an end. However, the Nazi leader, Adolph Hitler had other plans since he wasn’t ready to surrender. On December 16, 1944, the Germany army launched a counteroffensive. It was Hitler’s desperate attempt to salvage victory on the deteriorating western front. The Allies were unprepared for the attack, the German offensive made considerable progress, creating a large bulge in the allied line.  

        The battle is sometimes referred to as the “Ardennes Counteroffensive” because it was held in the 75-mile stretch of the Ardennes Forest in Belgium. Winter was fast-approaching, so the soldiers endured hazardous weather conditions of freezing rain, thick fog and snowThe record-breaking low temperatures brutalized the American troops. More than 15,000 cold injuries – trench foot, pneumonia and frostbite were reported. It wasn’t until Christmas day that the weather conditions finally cleared, allowing Allied air forces to strike. 

       The Allies continued to rage their battle against the 30 divisions of Germans, which encompassed nearly 250,000 troops. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme Allied commander, and Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. led the American defense to restore the front. Through January, American troops waded through deep snowdrifts and attacked both sides of the shrinking bulge. They fought a bloody battle until they had restored the front and set the stage for the final victory drive. 

       In all, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, 1 million-plus Allied troops, including some 500,000 Americans, fought in the Battle of the Bulge. There were approximately 19,000 soldiers killed in action, 47,500 wounded and 23,000 plus MIA (missing in action). About 100,000 Germans were killed, wounded or captured. 

       Claiming victory over the battle on January 25, 1945, the Allies headed for Berlin. The courage and the fortitude of the American soldiers were tested against great adversity. Their valor brought the victory of freedom over tyranny.  Seventy-five years we honor them for bravery. 

By Paula Green