The Battle of the Bulge (16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945) was a major German offensive campaign launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front toward the end of World War II in Europe. The surprise attack caught the Allied forces completely off guard. United States forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties for any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany’s armored forces on the western front, and Germany was largely unable to replace them. German personnel, and later Luftwaffe aircraft (in the concluding stages of the engagement), also sustained heavy losses.
Different forces referred to the battle by different names. The Germans referred to it officially as Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein (“Operation Watch on the Rhine”) or usually Ardennenoffensive or Rundstedt-Offensive, while the French named it the Bataille des Ardennes (“Battle of the Ardennes”). The Allies called it the Ardennes Counteroffensive. The phrase “Battle of the Bulge” was coined by contemporary press to describe the way the Allied front line bulged inward on wartime news maps and became the most widely used name for the battle.
The German offensive was supported by several subordinate actions including Operations Unternehmen Bodenplatte, Greif and Währung. As well as stopping Allied transport over the channel to the port city of Antwerp, these operations were intended to split the British and American Allied line in half, so the Germans could then proceed to encircle and destroy four Allied armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis Powers‘ favor. Once that was accomplished, Hitler could fully concentrate on the eastern theatre of war.
The offensive was planned by the German forces with utmost secrecy, minimizing radio traffic and moving troops and equipment under cover of darkness. Intercepted German communications indicating a substantial German offensive preparation were not acted upon by the Allies.
The Germans achieved total surprise on the morning of 16 December 1944 due to a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with Allied offensive plans, and poor aerial reconnaissance. The Germans attacked a weakly defended section of the Allied line, taking advantage of heavily overcast weather conditions, which grounded the Allies’ overwhelmingly superior air forces. Fierce resistance on the northern shoulder of the offensive around Elsenborn Ridge and in the south around Bastogne blocked German access to key roads to the northwest and west that they counted on for success. Columns of armor and infantry that were supposed to advance along parallel routes found themselves on the same roads. This and terrain that favored the defenders threw the German advance behind schedule and allowed the Allies to reinforce the thinly placed troops. Improved weather conditions permitted air attacks on German forces and supply lines, which sealed the failure of the offensive. In the wake of the defeat, many experienced German units were left severely depleted of men and equipment, as survivors retreated to the defenses of the Siegfried Line.
The Germans’ initial attack included 200,000 men, 340 tanks and 280 assault guns. These were reinforced a couple weeks later, bringing the offensive’s total strength to 300,000 troops, 1,500+ tanks and assault guns, 2,400 aircraft, and several thousand field guns and mortars. Between 67,200 and 125,000 of their men were killed, missing or wounded. For the Americans, 610,000 men were involved in the battle, of whom 89,000 were casualties, including up to 19,000 killed. Along with the Battle of Okinawa and the Battle of Luzon, it was one of the largest and bloodiest battles fought by the United States in World War II (font Wikipedia).
After sweeping through France and Belgium in the summer of 1944, the Allies were poised to enter the Netherlands. British Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery favoured a single thrust north over the branches of the Lower Rhine River, allowing the British Second Army to bypass the Siegfried Line and attack the Ruhr. To this end, the Allies launched Operation Market Garden on 17 September. Airborne troops were dropped in the Netherlands to secure key bridges and towns along the Allied axis of advance. Farthest north, the British 1st Airborne Division, supported by men of the Glider Pilot Regiment and the 1st Polish Parachute Brigade, landed at Arnhem to secure bridges across the Nederrijn. Initially expecting a walkover, British XXX Corps planned to reach the British airborne forces within two to three days.
The British forces landed some distance from their objectives and were quickly hampered by unexpected resistance – especially from elements of the 9th SS and 10th SS Panzer Divisions. Only a small force was able to reach the Arnhem road bridge while the main body of the division was halted on the outskirts of the city. Meanwhile, XXX Corps was unable to advance north as quickly as anticipated due to the destruction of the bridge at Son, and failed to relieve the airborne troops according to schedule. After four days, the small British force at the bridge was overwhelmed and the rest of the division became trapped in a small pocket north of the river – where they could not be sufficiently reinforced by the Poles or XXX Corps when they arrived on the southern bank, nor by the RAF’s resupply flights. After nine days of fighting, the shattered remains of the airborne forces were withdrawn in Operation Berlin.
With no secure bridges over the Nederrijn, the Allies were unable to advance further and the front line stabilised south of Arnhem. The 1st Airborne Division had lost nearly three-quarters of its strength and did not see combat again (Font Wikipedia).
Republican militiaman Federico Borrell Garcia falls to his death on September 5, 1936, at Cerro Muriano along the Cordoba front of the Spanish Civil War.
Well, I can’t deny to have suffered the “Fury” flu…
“…Best Job I Ever Had!”
Waiting for Mr. David Revelia do his magic on M4 Sherman & Diorama…
Saving Private Ryan is a 1998 American epic war film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Robert Rodat. Set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II, the film is notable for its graphic portrayal of war, and for the intensity of its opening 27 minutes, which includes a depiction of the Omaha Beach assault during the Normandy landings. It follows United States Army Rangers Captain John H. Miller (Tom Hanks) and a squad (Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Adam Goldberg, and Jeremy Davies) as they search for a paratrooper, Private First Class James Francis Ryan (Matt Damon), who is the last-surviving brother of four servicemen.
The film received widespread critical acclaim, winning several awards for film, cast, and crew, as well as earning significant returns at the box office. The film grossed $216.8 million domestically, making it the highest-grossing film of 1998 in the United States, and $481.8 million worldwide, making it the second-highest-grossing film of 1998 worldwide. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture; Spielberg’s direction won his second Academy Award for Best Director, with four more awards going to the film. Saving Private Ryan was released on home video in May 1999, earning another $44 million from sales.
On display at the Suncoast Center for Fine Scale Modeling (FLA)
Walter Gericke (23 December 1907 – 19 October 1991), was a German paratroop officer in the Luftwaffe of Nazi Germany during World War II and a general in the Bundeswehr of West Germany. He was a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.
The 28th Division had formerly been a component of the Pennsylvania National Guard. After mobilization, the division had been trained for participation in the invasion of France. On July 22, 1944, six weeks after D-Day, the 28th was shipped to France and quickly sent to the front. It fought with distinction throughout the Normandy campaign and, on August 29, had the privilege of representing the United States during celebration ceremonies marking the liberation of Paris. The men of the division did not have an opportunity to enjoy the City of Light, however. After marching through Paris they were immediately sent to the front. Once outside of Paris, the 28th, now under the command of Maj. Gen. Norman D. Cota, resumed its eastward journey. On September 7 the division rolled into Luxembourg, crossed the Our River south of Clervaux and became the first Allied division to breach Germany’s vaunted Siegfried Line (font Historynet.com).
The Battle of St. Vith was part of the Battle of the Bulge, which began on 16 December 1944, and represented the right flank in the advance of the German center, 5th Panzer-Armee (Armored Army), toward the ultimate objective of Antwerp.The town of St. Vith, a vital road junction, was close to the boundary between the 5th and Sepp Dietrich’s Sixth Panzer Army, the two strongest units of the attack. St. Vith was also close to the western end of the Losheim Gap, a critical valley through the densely forested ridges of the Ardennes Forest and the axis of the entire German counteroffensive. Opposing this drive were units of the U.S. VIII Corps. These defenders were led by the U.S. 7th Armored Division and included the 424th Infantry (the remaining regiment of the 106th U.S. Infantry Division), elements of the 9th Armored Division’s Combat Command B and the 112th Infantry of the U.S. 28th Infantry Division. These units, which operated under the command of General Bruce C. Clarke, successfully resisted the German attacks, thereby significantly slowing the German advance.
Under orders from Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, Clarke gave up St. Vith on 21 December 1944; U.S. troops fell back to positions supported by the 82nd Airborne Division to the west, presenting an imposing obstacle to a successful German advance. By 23 December, as the Germans shattered their flanks, the defenders’ position became untenable and U.S. troops were ordered to retreat west of the Salm River. As the German plan called for the capture of St. Vith by 18:00 on 17 December, the prolonged action in and around it presented a major blow to their timetable (font Wikipedia).