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The Real Battle Of The Bulge: WWII

Aug 18, 2007
No, I'm not talking about weight loss. The Battle of the Bulge, known to the Allied military forces as The Battle of Ardennes, was the bloodiest battle of World War II, and one of the most horrific encounters in the history of modern warfare.

The German plan was for this battle, along with three others (known to the Germans as Bodenplatte, Greif, and Wahrung) to sever the Allied line, splitting their forces in two, capturing Antwerp, Belgium, and destroying four Allied armies.

The operations were planned in complete secrecy, and in an almost complete radio silence. The Allied forces believed there to be a German offensive coming, but were completely unprepared for what happened.

At the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, Allied forces numbered around 83,000 men, 250 Sherman tanks, less than 200 tank destroyers, and just shy of 400 pieces of heavy artillery. The German forces, however, numbered around 200,000 men, 5 armored divisions, and about 500 medium tanks supported by 1900 pieces of artillery. The German forces deployed at the Battle of the Bulge more than doubled those of the Allies, and were well prepared to break the lines and destroy the four armies they had targeted.

The Allies had other plans. The forces fought for 40 days, until the Germans were finally forced to retreat. However, even this victory wasn't much cause for celebration. Both sides lost many lives, ending with more than 35,000 men lost their lives, with another 90,000 men being wounded and 50,000 ending captured or missing.

Of the numbers mentioned above, US casualties counted 19,276 dead, 23,554 missing or captured, and 47,493 wounded in action. The German forces had slightly lower death toll, and less wounded, however, they ended with 27,582 captured or missing. With the losses sustained by the German army, this Battle was certainly a pivotal moment in the war. It was far from over yet, but had the German battle plan gone as they'd hoped, they death toll would have been catastrophically higher to the US and Great Brittan, and it could have ultimately lost the war for the Allied forces, as it would have effectively given control of the entire region over to the Axis powers, giving them more resources, and more forward positions from which to launch major campaigns.

All in all, on of the bloodiest, most costly battles in recorded history, the Battle of the Bulge began December 16th, 1944, and lasted until January 25th, 1945.
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